This was a good week for Christmas activities. We participated in the annual Christmas gift exchange for senior missionaries at our FHE on Monday evening. Everyone brought a small gift and after drawing numbers, in turn opened a gift of their choice. Then we took turns going around the circle again, in order. A die was rolled. If it came up 1, everyone passed their present to the right. If it came up a 2, every passed their present to the left. If it came up 3 through 6, the person could choose anyone else’s gift. Once a gift had been “chosen” like that twice, it was frozen in place and couldn’t be moved. It was great fun!
On Tuesday evening we attended an outdoor Christmas concert in the garden of the home of the deputy head of mission for the Netherlands Embassy. It was the second year we enjoyed this beautiful venue, a clearing surrounded by mature trees and bushes, decorated with Christmas lights, and the deep night sky overhead.
The choir sang some inspiring songs supplemented by solos and instrumental music. Our dear friend (and almost-relative) Mary Richards was the keyboard accompanist for the evening. The choir has a new director and sounded greatly improved over last year. We would suggest that you listen to two carols that were new to us: Hymn to the Virgin, by Benjamin Britten, and Sure on this Shining Night by Morten Lauridsen. We have already added them to our favorite Christmas playlist. We are grateful for the virtual ether world that provides access to wonderful music during this Christmas season.
A superb jazz keyboarder with cellist
Mary the amazing Richards and the choir
After the concert
On Thursday there was a woman in the temple who had had a stroke. Her right arm and hand were immobile. I (Sue) got to dress her completely and we used left hands for all the covenants. In all my temple experience, this was my first opportunity to do this. She made me so grateful for good health.
Interestingly, I met a grandson of one of my high school friends in the temple. He is at the MTC here and I saw his name tag - Tollestrup - and asked who his grandparents are. He said Tim and Linda Tollestrup. I told him that I grew up in the same town that they did, that I was one of his grandmothers’ friends and was in the same grade as his Uncle Phil. Elder Tollestrup is from Southern California.
One of our gifts to give this year is to do the ordinances for all the names Tom has discovered online in Family Tree. Friday evening we did 4 couple sealings and have about 19 children who go with them and other parents. They are from late 1700’s and middle 1800s. I am working on 28 other women’s names. It is a marvelous blessing to them and to me to do this work.