The title of today’s post is the traditional Twi greeting for Christmas/New Year’s, pronounced “afeeshia paw”. Literally it means “(I give you) a good meeting of the year”, meaning the year has gone full cycle. The appropriate response means, “May the year go around and find us again”. It is a good time to reflect on the past and look ahead to 2018.
The older we get, the more this poem/hymn by Charles Wesley seems to resonate:
Our life as a dream, our time as a stream
Glide quickly away; and the fugitive moment refuses to stay.
For the arrow is flown and the moments are gone.
The Millennial year presses on to our view and eternity’s here.
We had a wonderful Christmas Eve devotional. It was our own version of “Lessons and Carols from King’s College” - the Christmas story from Luke 2 interspersed with group singing of carols and musical solos, duets, and trios.
|Pres. Graham, me, and Elder Pierson singing Noel Nouvelet|
We ate hors d’oeuvres before the program and dessert after. The spirit in the meeting was very tender and sweet. It is difficult to have a better meeting than with a group of senior missionaries - seasoned, talented, full of love, committed to making the world a better place.
We also enjoyed a casual group brunch together Christmas Day. Here is a photo someone took of us on the way home with a gift of a watermelon on my shoulder.
It has been a good year for us: adventures during temple closure in January in Israel with Grahams, and in France in June with Ben and Christy, and the family reunion in St. George; challenging experiences in the temple office with the transition to a new recorder while awaiting the arrival of new office staff; the opening of the new MTC and larger groups of unendowed new missionaries; Sue’s relationship with her YSA Sunday School class; being a small part of the growth of the church in West Africa; and helping the individual patrons and families who arrive at the temple for their own ordinances.
Our family has had a good year as well. Erin and Michael are happy in San Antonio with their growing-up family. Ben is nearing the end of his PhD coursework at Claremont. He and Christy have been publishing and teaching in their respective fields. Neal and Candice and their three have had a good year in Utah. Hugh and Kristi and their four are very busy in Madison at work, church, and school. Tal has had a successful year of teaching music lessons and performing in San Antonio and has a significant girlfriend. Yay!
We will all experience significant changes in 2018. Tom and Sue will return home in March and make the rounds to visit family and friends. Ethan, our oldest grandson, will be driving. Ben and Christy will relocate somewhere undecided as yet. Neal and Hugh are both applying to graduate schools and will likely be living else where. Candice plans to graduate with her BA before they move. Tal is saying nothing. There will most likely be some surprises next year.
We have been greatly blessed with such a wonderful family and with dear friends old and new. May the year go around and come to find us all again!