Srijeda (Wednesday) 19 Prosinaca (December) 2012
Hello to all of you. We are busy enjoying this season of celebrating the birth of Jesus just like each of you must be. We think of all that is going on at home and miss each of you and celebrating with you. But, we are happy and especially grateful we can be here on a mission and have the privilege of representing Christ. We are so thankful for Him and enjoy bearing our testimonies to our Branch members and to others we can communicate with, sometimes not so successfully (at least in Croatian).
Dad has gone to take one of the members shopping for some food. He will take him to deliver some chocolate to a few places and on a few other errands. I just made some brownies to take to our Missionary Christmas conference tomorrow in Zagreb. All of the missionaries from all 4 countries will be there and it will be a fun celebration. We have also been preparing for our Branch Christmas party this coming Friday. We found a box of decorations in the Church closet along with 2/3 of a tree. So, we went with the Elders and got a nice tree from Hungary for about $20 so we will use it and enjoy the nice, fresh smell. For the party we are going to cook some ham and baked potatoes, green beans and fresh carrots and have a fresh fruit salad with mom’s lemon dressing. We have asked the members to help bring something if they can and all of them said they would bring cake or cookies.
Tashie, Geremy and Greyson, and Christian and Amy sent a picture of them taken at our 8th ward Christmas party. They had a photo booth at the party with a few hats, beards, etc and took pics of all the families. It was such a good picture and great idea that we are going to do the same thing here. A friend of one of our members is coming dressed as Michael Jackson and will dance for us. (We will miss Tim dancing; maybe you can get him to dance again for all of you at the Babbel family Christmas party.) We will have some special Christmas music, sing a few carols and have a spiritual message from one of the members or Elder Mulder. We have invited all the English class, investigators and even the guy who sold us the tree. We hope to have 50 or so but will be happy with whoever makes it.
We have had some positive experiences as we have been around to visit some of the less active members and invite them to the party and to Church on Sunday. When we can take a member with us to invite them, they seem more eager to come out. We bought the ham and other things for the party at a store, Metro, which is like Costco. A member had a card to get into the store and sent a text to another member who works there. He came down to visit with us and agreed to come and help cut the ham. We are hopeful he will really come. We feel as we get 1 or 2 of the members to come again who used to come all the time, it might trigger some interest in some of the other members to come back. We had a fast on Sunday with the missionaries and our 17 year old young woman to ask for help in the missionary work. She asked us to join her in fasting for 5 baptisms to take place on one day. There is a lot of faith with our members and a willingness to help in the work.
We met with a mom and her son (16) and daughter (19) yesterday. The mom hasn’t come for a long time but her kids have come to Aktivnost and also to church a few times. They love to come but live about 25 minutes away in the car. We are happy to go get them and have wondered why they haven’t wanted to come lately. The mom told us why; she said she doesn’t feel comfortable using our gas. She did say she will let them come once or twice a month and we can go get them, so we are grateful for that and want to respect her wishes. They are humble people.
The snow from our big storm has about washed away with the rain. Some snow is forecast for the next few days so we may still have a fresh, white Christmas. Pres. Rowe and Pres. Babić (District Pres.) are coming to our Branch this Sunday and will speak and also teach Sunday school. Everyone is excited for that and hopefully that will also get many of the members out.
We will have the missionaries over Christmas Eve. We will have dinner, sing some carols and read the Christmas story. They will also come on Christmas day for dinner and to call their families. We read “That Thine Alms May Be in Secret” with the English class. I read it to Dad a couple of days before and we both cried all the way through it. It wasn’t quite the same for them because we had to explain the meaning of so many of the words to them. Another evening in class we read “T’was the night before Christmas.” They enjoyed reading it but again we needed to stop often to explain what was being said. They are pretty good readers and I think they enjoy taking turns reading. We also read the Christmas story from Luke and some from Matthew. It has been really fun for us to read with them. We also have a book given to us from the Bretzings. They said while they were away as mission president the book was a great treat for them to read at Christmas. We have been reading and enjoying it.
We are happy and are so thankful for each of you. We are excited to talk with all of you Sunday and will enjoy being with you during your talent show. Have a great day. We hope you are not too busy and can enjoy Christmas every day. Read some of your Christmas stories! Enjoy some music and sing some songs. Visit your neighbors and have lots of fun. Peter, we can hardly wait for you to get home with everyone! Have a fun time at the Babbel family party. Enjoy it for us, too.
We love you all. Love, mom and dad xoxox