Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Joys of Our Christmas Week in the Netherlands

What a great time of the year for all of us, but especially for my wife and I as we serve the Dutch people in Rotterdam. We have had a wonderful week filled with blessings. We began the week with a special sacrament meeting at church. We enjoyed the special talks and songs. After the meeting we all went into the recreation hall and sat down for a light lunch that included Christmas goodies. On Monday we hosted the other five Senior Missionary Couples from the Dutch side and our Mission President (Paul Woodland and his wife Marilyn), for a special pre-Christmas Dinner. It was great to be with them and share our common bonds. We enjoyed a wonderful meal of delicious foods that all contributed. That night we went to Dan Croese's home (an older member couple) for a nice Dutch meal (potatoes, meat, and beans). Then on Tuesday we had a District/Zone meeting in the Rotterdam North church. It was great to be with these special missionaries and to share in good food and fun. That night my wife and I went to a member family's home (Charles Croese) with our two elders for a great turkey dinner. Wednesday night we attended a special Christmas program at our church. We listened to a great speaker talk about the significance of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that were brought to the Christ child. A harpist shared some beautiful music with the congregation before we all enjoyed hot chocolate, punch, cookies, holiday bread, etc. On Christmas Day our elders, my wife and I went to a single member's home and enjoyed a special lunch that included turkey. That afternoon the four of us went to another member's home and enjoyed turkey, duck, rice, and other good food. That evening we got to call most of our children and grandchildren and enjoyed talking with and seeing some of them on the webcam. We missed them greatly but were grateful that we were here doing an important work. Thursday, the 26th, was the Second Day of Christmas here. All stores were closed again and people did more visiting and eating. Sister S. and I were invited to the home of another couple in the Ward, who serve as Ward Missionaries. We had an enjoyable meal with them, which they called a "gormetta meal". Basically there was a hot plate grill in the middle of the table and many plates of things that could be cooked set on the table. We each put rolled up pieces of various meats on to cook. We also had small pannakoeken skillets that we could use. There were also vegetables and fruit that we could add to our plates. It took us about an hour to eat the wonderful meal. That brings us to Saturday, went a wonderful week was culminated by having two baptisms this evening. First we had the first convert baptism in R'dam South that has taken place since we arrived here. We were thrilled for the elders and for our friend Jim. Many Ward members attended the nice event. We then drove to Spijkenisse for the baptism of Verginia. We had a small part in teaching both of these new members. Our hearts are full as we rejoice in these new converts. Our mission will end the year with a record number of baptisms. We hope that all of you also had an enjoyable Christmas week filled with thoughts of family and Christ, and that you will all share this great message with friends and family who may not be members of this church.

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