Sunday, December 18, 2016

Zone Training Meetings, Christmas zone devotionals

This week we were able to attend 3 different zone training meetings, which are always so great.  We were able to be with the Calgary Zone, the Calgary North Zone and the Calgary Foothills zone.  All three were just wonderful--and what makes them so wonderful is that the zone leaders and sister trainer leaders plan and prepare all of them and invite other missionaries to participate in the training.  You would be so impressed if you could see what these missionaries can do when they have prayed and prepared.  They are just amazing.  We love to sit and listen to their teaching and insights, and then the things all the other missionaries share with each other.  Those were on Tuesday and Wednesday and then on Thursday and Friday we held two of our Christmas zone devotionals--these were with our different zones in Calgary.  Our wonderful office couples prepared a great luncheon of ham, baked potatoes, salad, rolls and desserts for the missionaries (about 60-65 each day).  We met at noon in the cultural hall for lunch, and then following lunch we had a white elephant exchange.  I read the story of 'The Night Before Christmas' which incorporates the words RIGHT and LEFT many times throughout, and whenever the missionaries hear it they pass their gift either right or left, accordingly.  By the end of the crazy story the gifts have gone quite a ways around the huge circle.  And then we open them up!  It's a pretty fun game to do with them!
After that we went into the chapel for a more spiritual devotional.  With our devotionals we have had some incredible musical numbers by our missionaries!  All of our Mandarin elders sang in Chinese an arrangement of "Once in Royal David's City" that was so beautiful.  It really brought tears to my eyes both days they sang it.  I just wanted to hug them all!  We also had some quartets, solos, flute accompaniment.  We have some pretty talented missionaries.  And the music brings such a great spirit.  At the devotional, along with the musical numbers we have 3 missionaries read the story of the nativity in does it in Mandarin, one in Spanish, and then one in English.  This is a tradition we have had in our own family, where we have our sons and sons-in-law read it in the language where they served their missions.  So, we incorporated that into our devotional.  Then we have showed two Christmas Mormon message videos, and both Steve and I gave a few comments.
This year for their Christmas gift, we gave all of our missionaries a copy of the Book of Mormon with our testimony in it, and we are inviting them to read it with us beginning Christmas Day and ending 113 days later on Easter Sunday.  This means we will read 4.6 pages per day.  So, I invite any of you who are reading this to join us in this.  It will be a great experience!  As we read we will underline any references to the doctrine of Christ--faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  We are really excited to do this.  We also gave them a personalized temple recommend holder that has a picture of John the Baptist with the Savior on the front, and inside it says, 'Canada Calgary Mission' and then the scripture from 3 Nephi 5:13 that we recite at every meeting.  Our devotionals were wonderful and it was a great way to feel the spirit of this wonderful Christmas season and cherish this time as missionaries to share the true  meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate Christ's birth.  We know that He is our Savior and the Redeemer of the world.  And because of His atoning sacrifice, we will all be resurrected and will have the  blessing of being able to be together for eternity with our families if we will be faithful and follow Him.  We are so blessed because of this wonderful gospel.  My life is so happy because of it.  He truly is 'the reason for the season'!
Yesterday we were able to attend the sealing of a whole family that was baptized last year.  It was the most tender and special experience ever!  Rob and Hillary McLachlan and their 5 children were sealed together for time and all eternity in the Calgary Temple.  I can't even describe to you the beautiful sight to see Rob and Hillary first kneel at the altar to be sealed, and then to have their 4 daughters and little son also kneel at the altar, all dressed in white, and hear that beautiful sealing ordinance performed.  It was an incredible experience to have witnessed their baptism last year, and then to see them in the temple this year.  That is what this whole missionary work is about!! And then the other great thing was that 3 of our past assistants who have returned home, all drove up together to be part of it, since they were all part of their conversion we got to see them for a visit on Friday evening.  It was great to see these past wonderful missionaries of ours.
Youth from the Valley View ward that came to the mission home last Sunday-along with our two  sisters-Sister Boylan  & Grange- (on the right)

Calgary North Zone Training Meeting

Foothills Zone Training Meeting

Getting ready to pass white elephants!

Showing off white elephants!

Even our Senior couples got in on the white elephants!

More white elephants!

Calgary West, North and Confederation Park Zones

Sisters Moss and Sims and Me!

Sisters first in the lunch line!

4 More zones getting ready to pass white elephants

Showing off the goods!

Foothills, Bow River, Fish Creek and Calgary Zones

Past assistants, Colton Christensen, Logan Roberts, Nate Warenski came to visit us!

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