I was worried about coming back to work on Monday after being away for two days, but it turns out there was no need to worry. There was lots of catch up work, but it went smoothly and I was able to get a lot done. We had another huge influx of packages for the missionaries, but with four of us in the office the task was soon accomplished. President was in the office most of the day doing missionary interviews, so I was able to catch him between interviews and get lots of questions answered. It was a good, but busy Monday. Devon was gone most of the day moving missionaries from one apartment to another. He is closing one apartment so repairs have to be scheduled. Thankfully we have a wonderful member who is happy to take on all our projects. He is such a sweet man and does a very good job. I think most of Devon’s week will be moving people and things.
It was great meeting our new office couple, Elder and Sister Shurtz from Washington state. They are excited about serving here and ready to get to work. I think they will pick things up quickly and will be a blessing to our office. We will miss the Overduyns – don’t want to talk about them leaving.
Monday evening we had our Senior Missionary FHE at President and Sister Bekker’s house. In December they are in charge of FHE and it was wonderful. We had baked salmon with a yummy pesto sauce, wild rice, rolls, tossed salad, and a great chocolate cake with berry topping. It was delicious! For the activity they invited Sister Swinton to give a talk about the prophet Joseph Smith. She and her husband are the Visitor Center Directors. She is an accomplished writer about church history and has been specifically involved in special projects about Joseph’s life. I wish I had a recording – it was so wonderful. I have a new understanding and appreciation for this amazing prophet of the Lord.
Tuesday was good. Devon was gone most of the day moving more missionaries and helping the Overduyns move things out of their apartment. Tuesday evening I had a wonderful phone conversation with one of my dearest friends. I treasure our phone conversations. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers. We talk about our challenges (there are plenty) and rejoice in our blessings (also many) – including our friendship. She is my hero!
Wednesday was busy moving people and things…again! I was busy in the office: letters, mail, updating rosters, working on senior travel, etc. In the evening Sister Reeder and I went over to the Overduyn’s apartment and helped them do some cleaning. They are scheduled to fly home tomorrow night and they still have so much left to do. I sure don’t envy them.
Thursday was interesting. It started off with a brunch for all the office staff to say farewell to the Overduyns. Elder and Sister Evans joined us. Later that morning I received an email with the travel itinerary for the couple that will be replacing us. What’s interesting is that they weren’t in the computer system, which means they hadn’t accepted their call yet. I wondered if they had even received it yet, so I sent them an email asking if they had heard anything. Sister Williams said, “Not yet, but we are so anxious.” I told her to keep watching – surely it would come soon, being careful not to let on that I knew anything. A couple of hours later I got an email from her saying the call had come and she could hardly contain herself. WooHoo! I shared what I knew about her travel and wished her well with her mission preparations.
Thursday evening Elder and Sister Overduyn came over for a quick dinner of stew, salad, and rolls. Then we hopped in the mission truck and took them to the airport to catch their “red-eye” flight home to Utah. What an experience. Their bags were overweight, so they had to rearrange things to stay under the weight limit. The goal was achieved by giving some items to me to ship home. The important thing is that they made it home safely in time to enjoy Christmas with their family.
Friday was another busy day in the office. The highlight was a FaceTime chat with Marianne and Tony’s family. We watched them open their gifts from us – so much fun. Friday evening we ran errands and arrived home exhausted. We have received so many wonderful Christmas cards. It’s been wonderful to open our mailbox each day and find it holding a treasure. One of those days a package came with all these cards.
Our extended Onstott family had written notes to us at the Onstott Christmas party. What a treat! We divided them up so we could read a few each day and have them all read by Christmas. Each one was a treasure!
Saturday we drove to Laie…again! I had an appointment with Dr. Hughes. He thinks my hip pain is a pinched sciatic nerve and no problem with the joint – good news. He and I both think it’s from sitting at a desk so much. He gave me some good ideas about how to relieve some of the pressure. Sure hope it works.
We also dropped off some things at the Visitor’s Center, and a box springs at a senior apartment. When we arrived at the senior apartment we were surprised to find there had been a bad water leak that caused extensive damage to the bathroom. The apartment was vacant, so no one was there to catch the leak. The owner is going to have it fixed…well, she is going to let Devon arrange for the repair and will pay for it - one more thing on his plate.
Saturday evening, Christmas Eve, we had a gathering with our zone and the AP’s at the mission office to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We had popcorn, pile up dip and chips, soda, and movie candy. We all enjoyed it.
Christmas morning we got up early, showered, and waited to FaceTime with our kids. While we were waiting I put a crockpot stew on. We visited with Lori’s and Brad’s families, saw some of the wonderful things Santa had brought them, and watched them open our presents to them. We received Brad and Jenna’s presents early in the month and have been enjoying them. We opened the ones from Emily and Lori while we were on FaceTime.
Devon got a nice BYU tie and I got these adorable “peg dolls” – replicas of us! So cute. I can’t wait to show them to the office staff. The Christmas card is from one of my childhood friends, Ellen. It's a watercolor she painted. I love it!
Church was just an hour long and was very nice – great talks, and nice musical items from the ward choir and the primary. After church Elder Schmidt and Elder Jensen came over for lunch of stew and rolls, and then used our computer and iPad to talk with their families. After they were done we FaceTimed with Stephen’s family and Daryn’s family while we watched them open the gifts from us. Good times! Later we enjoyed FaceTime with David and some of his kids. It was great to have talked with all our kids today!
In the evening we went to Brother and Sister Mataele’s home for an amazing dinner and Christmas celebration.
LOVE the Hawaiian Christmas Tree!
There were probably 35 people there – family, missionaries, and some members
without family near by.
The Mataeles are some of the most generous, loving people I know. What a blessing they have been to us while on our mission.
Sister Mataele had prepared a wonderful program starting with the Hawaiian version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” that Sister Reeder and I accompanied on our ukulele. We played a couple of fun games, and then had a nice program with various people sharing special memories and impressions of Christmas. We sang a couple of carols and Brother and Sister Mataele bore their testimonies. We left with hearts full of gratitude for the opportunity to be in Hawaii on our mission and share in these special moments, and increased gratitude for the greatest of all Christmas gifts – God’s Son and his gift of the Atonement for us. There is no greater love and no greater gift.