To all our dear family members and friends whom we love so much, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed and peaceful New Year. Is it really going to be 2010? An entire decade has passed since all the scares and rumors about Y2K. It is truly God's world, and He doesn't need anyone telling how to keep it going.
We missed our family over Thanksgiving but had a lovely dinner with another couple in the mission at the home of their daughter. Elder Smith became ill with probably strep throat at the end of the day and spent the next week home sick. The same thing happened last year over Thanksgiving. He hopes this isn't becoming a trend.
We moved again! To the building right next door to a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with new blinds, appliances, etc. for the same rent we were paying for 1 bed and bath. We gave up our beautiful view of the mountains and gained a bathroom. Yeah! We still have a nice view of pine trees and grass when it isn't covered with snow. We are on the second floor instead of the 7th. Moving was a cinch (relatively speaking). We packed grocery carts and went underground from one freight elevator to another without having to go outside or pack the car. Our floor is so friendly and neighborly. Sister Smith calculated that we will save three hours of elevator time over the course of a year by eliminating five floors. Elder Smith thinks she is nuts for even thinking of it. (But I will have to do jumping jacks a lot faster!)
Christmas on Temple Square is so beautiful. The concerts and lights, potlucks and more concerts are just wonderful. The mission president and his wife gave us tickets for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert in the beautiful Conference Center with Natalie Cole, David McCullough, the Bells on Temple Square, and dancers galore. It was spectacular.
We're pretty wimpy, though, when it comes to mingling with the crowds at night who come to see the lights on Temple Square. We don't handle 22 degree weather very well! Brrrrr!!
To those of you who are working in New FamilySearch on your family history: The word from this morning's Family History Department with our presidency and some of the General Authorities is that right now, as you know, there is much cleaning up to do in the way of duplications and errors. The analogy was that it is like trying to clean up a pile of dirt with a tablespoon; however, in a year we will be using backhoes. It is very exciting to see the work progress. Elder Smith is much more up to date with it all than I am since he teaches it every day.
The mission office is the best place in the world for me. I can't imagine working with better people. Our president is just phenomenal. He is working miracles with our young missionaries, most of whom are trying so very hard. They are computer geniuses and do so much good in the mission. One of our dear elders, only 24 years old, was able to leave the hospital this past weeked after being at Primary Children's Hospital for 2 1/2 months with complications from spina bifida. What faith and courage it takes for some of these young missionaries to serve their missions through such overwhelming obstacles. Our zone leader and his wife in World Wide Support just received a letter signed by President Monson asking them to report to D R Congo
as soon as possible to replace a couple who had to leave immediately because the husband suffered a heart attack. We never know when or where the Lord will call us next.
We encourage you to seek out your ancestors. Find out all you can. They were real people and lived out their times here on earth just like we are. We know they want to be found and remembered. They know who YOU are and want you to know THEM! President Wilford Woodruff said: "Oh, I wish many times that the veil were lifted off the face of the Latter-day Saints. I wish we could see and know the things of God as they do who are laboring for the salvation of the human family who are in the spirit world; for if this were so, this whole people, with very few, if any, exceptions, would lose all interest in the riches of the world, and instead thereof their whole desires and labors would be directed to redeem their dead."
What greater gift can we give to our Father in Heaven who gave us life than to work to bring together the whole family of God.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
May we each recognize and feel the glory, the peace, the wonder, and the unspeakable love that came to earth that holy night when all of heaven rejoiced at the savior's birth.