Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Reason for the Season

   I was born in Virginia and I was raised in Utah. Until now, I took the four seasons for granted.  They always came and they always went... whether I noticed or not.  However, without a noticeable change of seasons here, I feel lost.  Christmas cannot be only weeks away when we still enjoy days of high temperatures in the 70's! How strange it is to for me to see Christmas lights outside on fake pine trees swaying in a soft warm breeze!  The wintry, Christmas atmosphere of white snow and hot chocolate (that I grew up with) just simply is not here...
   However, I know that there is a true reason for the Christmas season, and it isn't the wintry atmosphere. Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus Christ- His life, His example, His sacrifice, and His love for us. It is a time when all mankind may reflect on the impact that one humble soul has had on the world.
   More than two thousand years ago, Pilate asked the question, "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" (Matt 27:22).  That is a question that we may still ask today. Christ answers our question, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt 11:28-30)

News from the past few weeks in the mission:
1. Thanksgiving.  We kept our door open to any missionaries that needed somewhere to go to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast.  Because church members here in Southern Texas are so generous, many missionaries enjoyed more that one turkey dinner and there wasn't a single missionary that had to resort to coming to our home.  At the end of the day, I talked to one elder who said that they had been to six homes-yes-SIX and gained nine pounds! Aye! Aye! Aye!!!
  We didn't eat Thanksgiving alone, because Nate, Megan and kids could join us from Dallas. We loved having them visit us again!



Making Lemon Pie with Grandma
 2. BYU Basketball. Yes... BYU came and played in a tournament on South Padre Island- in our mission boundaries. Of course, President Trayner will never let an opportunity go when he can support BYU athletics- especially when a member of BYU's team is a missionary here.  Somehow, they both made it to the tournament (with a few others)!



3. THE SOCCER GAME... Apparently, there are some serious soccer players in this mission. The day before transfers, the Brownsville Zone took on the Harlingen Zone.  Of course, we never keep score... but the game was even played on a real soccer field.



4.  Missionaries entering the field with faith.  I love welcoming new missionaries into the mission! This week, we had nine new elders and four new sisters join forces with us. They come to us so full of faith.  The mix of emotions in them is apparent- from excitement to nervousness!  Here are pictures of the new arrivals:

 







5. Missionaries returning home with honor.  We truly do honor these missionaries. They can all return home with their heads held high.   Even though they spent only a portion of their time as missionaries with us, we consider them to be "our" missionaries.  Well done elders! As they signed our longhorns, they shared a story with us about the mission.  Thanks to Elder Turley for sharing this inspirational story with us.  I'm going to use the words from his companion-     "Thanksgiving was wonderful! It was our most successful day of the week. Everyone was open to receive us. We also received a huge blessing from the Lord! For a few days, we had been out of toilet paper... We had been resorting to the use of an old shirt, tearing it into pieces to get the job done...We prayed mightily unto the Lord for comfort and help. On Thanksgiving, we were driving into an area to contact when we noticed that a house had been T.P.'d. We admired how well of a job the felons had done. We continued on our way... then Elder Turley and I both realized what had just happened!!! We ran and started gathering the toilet paper from the trees and the bushes. While we were so doing many people passed by and were astonished that we would be so kind as to clean up a yard for someone we didn't even know... little did they know that we just needed the toilet paper! The Lord definitely knows our pains.  He loves us and won't put us through more that we can handle. He will provide!"

WOW!  You've got to love these missionaries!


Elders Kocherhans, Reilly, Turley, Sister and President Trayner, Elders Dreisel, Torres, Meservy

Good-bye to our assistant, Elder Torres!

Thanks Elder Turley for the toilet paper story... and keep watching your budget!

Thanks to a very talented Elder Meservy!
 
Give Elder Reilly a challenge and he'll succeed!
 
President and Sister Trayner with their assistants

6. November Transfers: