Monday was our Christmas FHE. We ate, sang carols and gifted each other with white elephant gifts. There were almost 60 of us involved. People liked my choices and I ended up opening 8 different presents because someone would take what I had unwrapped. My favorite part of the evening was introducing the group to “In The Bleak Mid-winter” one of our families cherished carols.
We laughed a lot in opening presents and taking from others.
Two bus loads of French patrons from Benin arrived at our building Monday evening. The first Stake was organized in that country in Sept. of this year and over 100 came to the temple for 3 days. One sister who I worked with spoke Fang [combination of 3 dialects—none of them French]. She was very attentive but did not understand any words although she knew what was happening. Two days later, when I worked with her again, I was amazed at how much she had improved—she could repeat almost all of the French words needed. Can you imagine the challenges of a 33 year-old stake president with the majority of his members being baptized in the last 3 years?
Friday, I was able to surprise our two full time laundresses with some Lindor chocolate. Big smiles from them reaffirmed that small things can give joy to both the receiver and the giver. Saturday, the two men who mop the floors in our building were just as appreciative.
Christmas eve we spent at the pool next to the residence of the Area Presidency and the Temple President. We grilled chicken, baked salmon, and gobbled home made french fries along with salads and desserts. I followed Pudges’ example and served fresh pineapple slush with Canada Dry. It was lovely to be outside even though it was still close to 90 degrees F. and was very relaxing. It culminated with Pres. Stanfill sharing his testimony. He grew up in Montana and shares similar experience with ours in S. Alberta. Tom and I were grateful to listen to Handel’s Messiah from Kings College Cambridge as we went to sleep.
Pool party for Christmas Eve
Notice the all-natural table decorations!
NZ Poi ball demonstration by Srs. Webster and Simpson
She's in shape!
Our first Siamese twin bananas