Monday, December 28, 2009

Read about our Christmas Conference

Meridian Magazine wrote their cover story on the Washington DC South Christmas Mission Conference. To read the article: http://www.ldsmag.com/churchupdate/091228remarkable.html

Monday, December 21, 2009


Our Christmas Conference was truly unbelievable. We held it in the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill. It is considered the hardest room to get on the hill. And it is really spectacularly beautiful. We had 10 Congressmen visit and deliver Christmas greetings. There were 3 Senators and 7 Congressmen. We had a wonderful meal, and great musical numbers, 18 departing words of advice from our missionaries leaving in 2 days, and Santa and Mrs. Clause visited and each missionary sat on their laps . We took this wonderful picture on the steps of the capital. And we had a tour of the capitol building. It was a Remarkable Conference. Pres. and Sis. Nixon along with Mac Haddow, and Rep. Faleomavaega and his aid Lisa, were responsible for pulling this off and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts. (I will add more text and pictures after the holidays.)


We attended the Christmas Musical program for the Mt. Vernon Stake. It was just fantastic. It was advertised as "an Evening of Fine Musical Performances as we Honor and Celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ through the gift of Music." And it was completely professional. There is a Hand Bell Choir in the stake that plays all over the area and they were exceptional. There were trumpets that sounded like they were announcing the events. A french horn and flutes played Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Reed Flutes from the Nutcracker. Amazing. There were violins and great pianists. And lots of incredible vocalists. There were probably 1000 people in attendance. We had a wonderful time. There is an incredible amount of musical talent in this area. Culture and the arts are encouraged and most people put emphasis on learning musical instruments. The primary children's programs that we saw were also filled with talent. In one ward about 6 different children accompanied the songs. Music is such a powerful tool for creating a spiritual experience and it just makes the holidays feel right.


My oldest daughter, Nicole and her family are here for the holidays. She and 3 of her children, Bailey-7, Payton-5, and Romney- 6mths, arrived on Sat the 12th. Then on Mon the 14th, her husband Taylor, Cannon-2, and my mother-Joyce arrived. They will be here for 3 weeks and we are so excited. I will post pictures later.


We received 4 new Visa Waiting Missionaries today. They are assigned to another location and their visas have not come thru yet and so they are sent here to work until it arrives. We got 4 great young men this week. Elders Bydendorp, Grange, Johnson, and Nield. We fed them dinner and then sent them with their new companions in threesomes.


On Dec 8, 2009 we had a Return and Report. This was a wonderful group of 18 new missionaries who have been out for only about 3 weeks. They return for some breakfast and to let us know how they are doing. We eat and visit for a while and then head downstairs for a meeting. The office missionaries also attend and address things like car safety and maintenance, mail, medical, referrals, and finances. They get alot of info they would never of remembered if given the first day. Then each of them takes a few minutes and shares how their weeks have gone and how they feel about their missions so far. This is such a great meeting. In just 3 short weeks they have started to adjust and had many wonderful and spiritual experiences already. It is such an amazing thing to watch how quickly they have caught the spirit of the mission and love their companions and the work. This group includes: Elders Bluemel, Brazell, Butcher, Davie, Doman, Hadfield, Hougaard, Chimee, LaRochelle, Lawson, Markestein, Orme, Pomeroy, Reeves, and Stuart. Sisters Gwynn, Larsen, and Battulga.

After the testimonies of the missionaries, Pres. and I give instruction and encouragement.
We love this group already and are feeling excited about them as missionaries here in DC South. After the meeting they go to the mission office for a tour.
In the basement family room for the meeting

Sunday, December 20, 2009


BOY ARE WE TIRED.!!!. Interviews for this transfer started at the end of November and took
2 1/2 weeks to complete.Each day we would drive to a chapel in the zone and then take about 6 hours to interview. This is a really enjoyable activity.. I get to just visit and get to know the missionaries better. However, 8 days of long drives and constant talking and listening is pretty tiring. Especially when each day is usually followed by an evening of meetings or other commitments. Pres. Albright had lots of Stake correlation meetings and 2 nights we went to the lighting ceremonies. In November we saw Mt. Vernon, and Annandale. Then on the 2nd, I went to DC to see my friend Pilar and so I missed the Ashburn Zone and Pres. Albright went alone. Onthe 3rd, we saw Centreville, the4th- McLean, the 9th- Fredericksburg, the 10th-Oakton, and the 11th- Woodbridge. Although we schedule the interviews so it should only take us till about 1 or 2:00 we can't seem to get done until near 4:00. They are so interesting and fun to visit with that we just keep going and going.


I woke to a beautiful sight... white, cold, beautiful snow. It was snowing when we got up and it was so fun. The yards and trees and everything looks beautiful.It warmed right up and was all gone in a couple of days.


Our friends, Pilar and John, were coming to visit for 4 days and we were so excited. John had business in DC and Pilar and I were going to spend the time together. When they arrived they got the news their son had been taken to the hospital to have his appendix removed. So I had lunch with them and they went backto the airport. It was really great to see them, if only for a SHORT visit. They are two of our dear friends from home and hopefully they'll make it out again.


We had about 20 baptisms scheduled this weekend and although we could not get to all of them, Pres. and I made it to the baptisms of 5 people. It was a wonderful way to spend the weekend. We felt the spirit so strong at each of them and it is so great to see the fruits of the missionaries work and see their excitement as they participate in a baptism. This is Gabriela Villatoro. Baptized by Elder Brogan.
Gabriela with Sis Funch

Gabriela and Sis. Downey. Sis Downey loves Gabriela. Hermana Downey speaks not only Spanish, but is also gifted in ASL. She has a degree in it. And when she does sign it looks like a dance. She found Gabriela, who is Deaf, and changed her life. She comes from an inactive - Part-member family. When they tracted into them, she immediately connected to this little girl. Here was someone who could speak English, Spanish and ASL to her. What a blessing.

There was a musical number at this baptism with Hermans Downey, Larsen, Knutsen, Ferry, Gwynn, and Reid all singing, " I lived in Heaven". Sisters Reid and Gywnn gave talks. And of course Sis. Downey interpreted it all.

This is Mohamed Jollah. He was baptized by Ryan Anderson. Sisters Arnett and Murray are pictured here. and Sisters Bertucci , Bagley, and Kim attended also.

This is mother and Son. Donald Perry and Ruby Thomas. They were baptized by Elder Bird.
Elder Allen gave the opening prayer. Elders Lee and Stuart also attended. And Pres. Nixon and Pres. Albright were witnesses. Another well supported baptism. They members are wonderful to come a welcome new converts.

This is Rosemarie Daly. She is an incredible young woman. She is a police woman, on the highway patrol, a First-responder to accidents and crimes. Bro. Frank Ingham, a fellow officer, introduced her to the gospel. We had the privilege of holding one of her lessons in our home. She is a super smart and spiritual person and so ready for the gospel. Elders Gifford and Gannaway taught her the first lessons and Elder Ross finished up with Elder Gifford.

Celebrating Christmas & Chinese New Year

I received an invitation from Sister Tammy Nixon, wife of Pres. Nixon of the Mt. Vernon Stake. She sent a letter telling about her opportunity to take Ambassador Wenzhong Zhou of China and his wife, Madame Shumin Xie to meet the First Presidency and to visit Yellowstone. After becoming friends, the two woman decided to have a holiday activity inviting friends to learn of the customs of each others' holiday traditions. I had the great opportunity to be invited to take part. They sent a beautiful invitation that said, "An Evening of Holiday Traditions, Celebrating Christmas and the Chinese New Year". The party was held on Dec. 4th.These pictures show what a wonderful event it was. There were about 15 Chinese women and 20 American Women. We visited for a while and then some of the American women presented a program showing American Christmas traditions. They shared the story of the "Birth of Christ" from Luke and how we celebrate Christmas for this reason as Christians, the symbols of Christmas, like bells, trees, lights, music, etc. Then they were telling the story, "the Night Before Christmas" when Santa and Mrs. Claus came into the room when she read the line "down the Chimney Saint Nicolas came with a bound"... The Chinese women were so darling, they were excited and jumping up and down and shouting with delight,. It was such a cute thing to watch. Like small children seeing Santa for the first time. Then everyone had to sit on their laps and get gifts.
After that we shared a dinner of traditional American and Chinese dishes. Next, the Chinese women presented a program telling of the traditions of the Chinese New Year. It is their biggest holiday. It is also called Spring Festival. Many festivals are held according to the Chinese lunar calendar. It is based on the cycles of the moon so the New Year Day can fall anywhere between late Jan and Middle of Feb. Each lunar year is associated with one of the 12 zodiac animals. They put up lots of red decorations and banners, and lights.

The whole group of woman
The Chinese woman, the Madame Xie and her assistants and companions.
Sister Nixon and Madam Xie in the center

Illustrating the Night Before Christmas
Mr and Mrs Claus come in the room
Santa greets the ladies
Sitting on Santas lap

The Madame Xie on Santa's lap

Sis. Santini on Santa

Pres. and Sister Nixon on the laps.
The chinese women sharing their traditions
Showing decorations put by the doorways

Madam Xie
Sis. Nixon

The cookie exchange when we left
The lovely home.