Thursday, December 27, 2018

Christmas in Curacao & Brandon's Visit!!! (21-26 DEC 2019)

A Visit from Our Son, Brandon!!

Anticipating his arrival!

Brandon's plane was slightly late.  We were originally going to come over right after the Branch Christmas party but we actually ended up going back to the house for a bit.  President Baird got a little sleep  while he waited but I was just too excited and couldn't....I'm sure it will catch up to me later. Until then I'll just run off of adrenaline and excitement that he is here. 

He brought two suitcases, one full of his stuff and one full of stuff we had requested him to bring and things people had sent for us.....what a good young man to haul all that with him.

A Snack before turning in for the night...
A Christmas Tradition in our home Bratzlies (a thin delicious Swiss Cookie that I make)

A Morning Walk around the Beautiful Golf Course that borders our mission home.....

This is the Beautiful Lindeborg Family

It was so fun when the missionaries shared with me a little of their story.  They lost a child years ago so the message of the Gospel and especially Moroni 8 That talks about how "little children are alive in Christ", came as a great comfort and joy to them.  The concept and Eternal Truth that families can be together forever through temple sealings also rang very true with this family.  They talked about how much the feeling in their home has changed since they have been meeting with the missionaries.  It's so wonderful how the gospel Changes lives. 

My tooth started bothering me this last time going around our mission but I didn't want to have it worked on until we got back to Curacao.  I ended up having to have a root canal....😓 but on the bright side I met some wonderful people at the dentist office.  Along with the dentist, which I really like, this is one of her assistants.  Her name is Simone and she is originally from Suriname.  Her family is still there and when I told her I go there every 6 weeks she got excited so I told her I would stop by her family's home and say hi for her.  I'm excited to meet them when we are down there in a couple of weeks.  

This was taken from a spot overlooking Curacao....It was beautiful. 

One of our family traditions is celebrating "Christmas Adam"....(It's the night before Christmas Eve - because Adam came before  Anyway we usually go to Tucano's which is a Brazilian BBQ place back home.  Our family still went back home (on Saturday because Christmas Adam was actually on Sunday this year so we celebrated it a day early this year). This wasn't a Brazilian BBQ but it did have "meat on a stick"... so we celebrated here with Brandon! 
Family Traditions are fun!

Decorating Christmas Cookies to take Caroling.....

Elder McBride & Elderr Richards

Sister Melendez & Sister Anderson

Sister Meyer & Sister Davidson

Elder Buxton & Elder Durfee

Elder Groenendijk & Elder Naef

President Baird, Elder Jones & Elder Parr

Sister Jones & Sister Parr

Christmas Caroling
We had such a wonderful night Christmas Caroling.  One lady we went to teared up and said, "I feel so special, no one has ever done anything like this for me before"..  Another one said, "I can throw away my diamonds because you have made me feel like a queen without them".  We even sang to a guy that was drunk and he seemed to appreciate it.  We gave cookies to one man and he couldn't believe that we would do that for him.  It's so fun to do acts of kindness.  

Add caption

Christmas in Curacao

Experiencing Christmas on a mission was so rewarding.  It was amazing to be able to really focus on the Savior Jesus Christ this year and not on the commercial aspect of Christmas.  We truly were focused on Serving others, our missionaries and just spending quality time with those we love.  We so enjoyed the caroling, decorating cookies, meeting new friends in the streets, giving away copies of the Book of Mormon as gifts, a good Christmas Movie, reading the account of Christ's Birth and, my favorite sound....the sound of "Happy voices in my home".  The Sunday before Christmas we enjoyed a very special Sacrament meeting in the Curacao branch.  They had a beautiful branch choir and a number of other special musical numbers along with some beautiful messages about the Savior.  We had all the missionaries in Curacao over to the mission home later that day and, through wonderful modern technology, had a Video Devotional with the rest of our mission.  The messages were focused on the Savior and truly being able to find Joy in doing His work.  Christmas Eve we had all the Curacao missionaries over for decorating gingerbread houses and dinner and on Christmas we had them over for breakfast and a Christmas movie.  We were able to have a few of the Elders Skype their families home from our home and it brought me back to the past 6 years when we have Skyped missionaries of we are the ones Skyping home.  Family is where the true treasures of this life are found!! Brandon was on his mission for the last two years so it was so great to have him here with us. Due to the overlap in missions, we have not been all together for a Christmas since 2012 so we are hopefully going to gather here in Curacao next Christmas.😉 Interacting with our children at home has been priceless to me!!  They have banded together to support each other while we are gone and I love them profoundly more each day...and I didn't know that was possible.  I have this Scripture on my wall at home and it has greater meaning to me now than ever before:  3 John 1:4  "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."...  Now that we are experiencing this mission I feel like we have more "children" and as I watch them progress in the Gospel it does bring Joy.  

As a tradition in Sister Melendez's Family they would make Tamales every Christmas.  We wanted to help her fulfill that tradition here in the mission home and although I had never made Tamales before and Mexican Spices and peppers are hard to come by, we improvised and made it work.  I invited her and her companion over Christmas Eve day and they did all their laundry, emailed and studied in the mission home while we worked on the Tamales - (It's a process) They were a home run with all the missionaries on Christmas day and It brought tears to Sister Melendez's eyes when she tasted them.... she said, "It tastes like home!"

Sister Anderson & Sister Meyer

Elder Durfee

Brandon, President Baird, Elder Buxton

Sister Melendez, Elder Groenendijk

Elder Naef, Elder Richards, Sister Davidson

Making a "Surfing Santa" takes major

Elder McBride got frosting on his tie....
Sister Melendez, Elder Groenendijk, Elder Parr

President Baird & Elder Jones....They didn't want to
Decorate houses or they make better supervisors 😜.
Note: President Baird looks very casually dressed because
he had just returned from golfing  with Brandon for his P-Day. 

Sister Jones

Brandon & Elder Durfee

Elder Buxton 

Sister Parr & Sister Jones
These Ladies are incredible
Sister Parr leaves in March and I'm feeling
like my right hand is being cut off...
Luckily we have a couple coming to replace
the Parrs who are pretty incredible too.  

Elder McBride & Elder Naef
Elder McBride

Elder Naef

Sister Davidson

Elder Groenendijk
Sister Melendez

The Finished Products!....


Choosing Their Favorites!

Sister Melendez Received a package from Sister Burrup
It was so touching....It's wonderful to see how
much these missionaries grow to Love each other. 

Watching our Christmas Movie

A Christmas Message from President Baird

Sister Melendez, Sister Anderson, Sister Davidson, Sister Meyer, Elder Naef, Elder Buxton, Elder Durfee, Sister Jones, Elder Jones, Sister Parr, Elder Parr
Front: Elder Groenendijk, Elder Richards, Elder McBride

The Jenkins Family
This is my (Sister Baird's) Family, Taken just shortly before we left. 

Our Family At home - Oh, how we miss them!!

(This is the Christmas Party they had together before Brandon came out)

After all the Skyping and Activities of the Day, Brandon finally got around to opening his gift in the evening.

Pictures of Golfing 

Flamingos flying