Monday, December 21, 2015

Good Tidings of Great Joy...

 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

We are holding nine zone conferences in two weeks so that we can get all of them done between transfers and Christmas Eve.  All of the conferences are being held at the mission home to give the missionaries a little taste of the holidays.  We held five of them this week.
I spend the first two hours instructing on applying the principles and covenants of the temple to our work as missionaries.  
Then, as the room is being prepared for lunch, the missionaries restock the apartment first-aid kits.

Lunch is a huge plate of chicken and rice.

After lunch, Sister Stevenson and I include each of the missionaries in our family Christmas traditions.  One influence we hope to model for them is a loving, happy marriage and family. Hopefully, we are doing that just by being ourselves.  We thought by showing them some of the family traditions we have enjoyed, it would encourage them to form their own traditions when they go home and begin their families.
Each zone presented a musical number.

Then we act out the Nativity while "Dad" reads from Luke 2.

Then we watched "A Gift to the World."
After a closing hymn and prayer, we settled down with brownies and ice cream and watched "A Christmas Carol" (George C. Scott version).  None of the African missionaries had ever heard the story before, so it was fun to see their reactions.  I think it was a hit. 

Some very thoughtful families joined together to make sure that each of our 200 missionaries received a Christmas gift this year.  This was a wonderful effort and has been greatly appreciated.

On Saturday, we had the Priesthood training for the mission branches in the Central Region.   Different group, same enthusiasm.  

On Sunday, we attended the Yamoransa 1st Ward worship services with a baptismal service following.

Elder Garry and Elder Jennings doing what we do.

I got to do a temple recommend interview for one of our returned missionaries, Elder Quasie.  He is going to school in Tarkwa and is a member of one of my branches.  He was in Yamoransa visiting his family for Christmas.

We received a surprise visit late Thursday from three of our six mission home watchmen. They were representing the whole group and presented us with some beautiful wood carvings for Christmas.  We are so grateful for their kindness and for the way they take good care of us.  


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