We have had many, many special Christmas gifts this month. Here are a few of them.
This is one of my new friends in Moscow, Irina Williams. Twenty years ago, when my Aunt Pauline and Uncle Joe Pace served here as the first senior couple missionaries in Moscow, they found, taught, and baptized Irina. She and her husband have been active members of the Church all these years now. She and I have a special bond because of my aunt. Thank you, Aunt Pauline! I love Irina!
On December 18, 2010, we reached the 2010 mission goal of 60 baptisms set by President Cranney and his missionary leaders a year ago. We actually ended up with 63 baptisms for the year 2010. Thanks to the guidance and tender mercies of the Lord in allowing our faithful, obedient, and hard-working missionaries to accomplish this inspired goal.
Thanks to some dear friends in Salt Lake City who were willing to let us borrow a violin, and with the help of a new friend in Moscow who brought it here, we were able to have the gift of beautiful violin music during Christmas. Our dear Elder Hansen touched many, many hearts with his talent of making this violin sing.
All our Elders sang at the District Christmas program the evening of December 18th. I liken them unto "the army of Helaman," valiant and faithful in every way.
Our Sisters ("choirs of angels") sang for us at our all-mission Specialized Training on December 14th.
We had a mission Christmas conference on December 24th with ALL our missionaries. We felt so grateful to be able to gather together to enjoy one another, have a delicious dinner, an uplifting devotional, singing Christmas hymns, and a fun time They are the very best!!! Below are some of the talents/skits that our Districts presented.
On Christmas Day we had a few of the older Russian Single Adults over in the afternoon for dinner, a devotional, and visiting. One of our guests is a son of one of our senior couples from Texas. Anyway, these wonderful members of the Church fixed most of our Christmas Russian dinner and it was delicious! We had chicken, two kinds of Russian salads (one is like a potato salad), and I prepared a relish tray, cheese and crackers and for dessert an ice cream chocolate cake with hot fudge sauce, a cranberry-raspberry sauce, toasted sliced almonds and a maraschino cherry on the top. We had a wonderful time together. While they were here it started to rain which, because of the cold, then turned to ice. We all tried to go out caroling after dinner, but I chickened out because is was so icy and slippery (my big fear is falling here). They went and I stayed put. All too soon it was time for them to catch the bus and they went to visit a Russian war memorial before they headed to their apartments.
This is what it looked like Christmas night after it had rained and turned everything into ice. Don't you think you could ice skate on that snow?
The next morning ice lay heavy on the trees in front of our home.
Our Merry Christmas in Moscow!
"God bless us, every one."