Friends and family have been very generous in supplying us with the basic necessities of life that we can't find here - like chocolate chips and brown sugar. However, this Christmas season we received some special gifts.
Each missionary received a can of A&W rootbeer for Christmas from President and Sora Hill. The only missionaries that weren't moved almost to tears were those from outside of America. We had rootbeer floats using the first can on New Years Eve. Maybe we'll wait for our anniversary to enjoy the other can.
There is a wonderful American family in our branch that let us pick out something from their food storage shelves. This is what Brent chose. Ah, the memories! If only we could find Spam here.
And here is what I chose. "Fat Bars" baby!!!!!!
Elder Cross is one of our beloved missionaries. He is also a fellow Coloradian/Coloradoan/Coloradan. His mother, who must be a wonderful human being, sent this to me all wrapped in Christmas paper. This means another batch of chocolate chip cookies. Thank you, Sister Cross!
And speaking of missionaries.......
We invited our district to a hot cake and bacon breakfast the Monday after Christmas. We were going to eat and watch a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert on tv. Unfortunately, the concert time was incorrect so we missed it. But they seemed to enjoy the hot cakes and bacon.
Every six weeks is transfer day and we always try to take a district picture. This transfer we lost our district leader, Elder Nelson (second from the right on back row).
NOT A GOOD GIFT!
While we were cleaning out a closet at the church we found this doll. It is just too amazingly creepy to ignore. Don't you think she belongs in a "Toy Story" movie?
BTW if you have not received a personal thank you for something you have sent, it has not arrived.
We started playing Christmas carols at the beginning of November and the P-day after Thanksgiving we put up our little Christmas tree. Please take note of the nativity that our grandaughter Clara made. She told us that the reason there is only one wiseman is because the other two took a wrong turn on the way to see baby Jesus. Turns out they weren't so wise after all. So the one wise man brought all three gifts.
The first week of December we took a trip to the city of Arad with the Howells. He is a counselor in the mission presidency and we have been asked to help them with leadership training. It was nice to see another part of Romania. Because it is a two day drive we spent the first night in Sibiu which is a beautiful city in the mountains. They had their Christmas decorations up and we took a stroll through their city center (centru).
A choir, wearing traditional costumes, was singing in the town square.
Lights on the cobble stone walkway.
The square was lined with booths selling everything from yummy toasted nuts to lamb skin slippers.
Back in Bucuresti the Christmas decorations finally started showing up. Evidently they don't start decorating until the 1st of December. The city is full of round abouts and they all have a fantastic decoration of some kind.
We went to a Sector hall to watch one of our YSAs sing in a chorus. Ioana is the 5th person from the left wearing a choir robe. The performance was free and began at 5:00pm. They did a terrific job and the last few carols were in English. We were some of the youngest people in the room!
Two days before Christmas was the missionary dinner. We had a wonderful time eating and visiting with the missionaries in the two Buc zones. Have we mentioned how much we love these people?
Christmas Eve day we spent the morning walking in a park with the senior office couple, the Pattons. This is the fresh pine bough covered booth where children visit Mos Craciun (Santa Claus). We're not sure what Romanian fairy tales these people out front are from.
They decorate their trees a little differently than we do.
The park was lined with fun displays for the children and note the booths in the background.
We don't know quite how to explain this picture. While we were walking in the park, all of a sudden there were about 15 young men dressed in Mos Craciun outfits running past us to the top of the little hill that is in the middle of the park. This the very spot where Elder Russel M. Nelson dedicated the land of Romania for missionary work in February 1991, less than 2 months after the fall of the communist regime. Every missionary is brought to this little hill on their first day in the mission for a short service.
We spent Christmas Eve at the home of the American family in our branch. This is Elder Pettit, our zone leader, helping with the reading of the Christmas story. He is Samuel the Lamanite and yes, those are Jack Sparrow dread locks.
Here we are with the Pattons, President and Sora Hill, their son Joseph and us.
On Christmas morning we went to sacrament meeting with a lovely program of music and the spoken word. Then all the missionaries in Buc went to an orphanage where we spent time visiting with the children. Then we sang some Christmas carols to them.