Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week Twenty Six

With encouragement of our portuguese elders, I finally posted my profile on You can check it out at I also got this layout for pass-along cards with the profile address. Kind of handy to give people we meet so they can read my testimony and pursue more information at their leisure. I plan to print some up soon. 

Last Sunday we went to the Olympia Ward's 8am sacrament meeting for the confirmation of Adriana, who was baptized the day before. We then attended the meetings of our Windy Ridge spanish ward.

Sis Nielson with final presents, and Sis's Danes and Vaden

Monday we left the mission office a little early to get some food ready for the Sr missionary Christmas dinner with our home evening group, and then went out to Conway to the Bevans' apartment for the dinner and a white elephant exchange, which was very tasty and a lot of fun! 

Saying bye to Elder Curtis
Tuesday we went to the office early and only spent a few hours there to pick up and sort tuesday's last pre-Christmas mail to get it out to our missionaries at their apartments. We also said goodbye to Elder Curtis, assistant to Pres. Berry, who finished his mission on thursday, about a week early, so he could get home for school startup at Utah State, where he's on a football scholarship. I knew he was taller than us, but didn't realize he was so much bigger until I looked at this picture when posting it. We'll watch for him in Utah sports news ... I think he'll do well!

Some of our missionaries getting their Christmas mail
Each senior couple took the mail for a zone or smaller area and delivered them to the missionary apartments, since they couldn't be forwarded in time by mail as they normally are. There were a lot of boxes, so we had a car full. We got most delivered by Tuesday night, but couldn't reach one pair even by phone until wednesday night. As it turned out, those elders didn't get their boxes until thursday morning because they were involved in a serious auto accident on Christmas day, and miraculously they and the other car's occupant all walked away with only bumps, bruises, and air-bag burns. Both cars were totaled, and one was rolled upside-down. We were glad to see them looking pretty good on Thursday! Elder Willard, a Portuguese elder by us also had an accident this week on his bike, saved only by blessings and wearing his helmet. Good to remember, bikers! 
Opening Christmas presents

We had a wonderful Christmas. Here we are opening our presents. We took this picture with the timer on our new camera, which we got to replace the red Nikon that we've had on the boat and in the dust for years. It started growing mold or something on the inside of the screen, probably helped by the high humidity here.  
As always, Jan decorated our inside doors with christmas cards from y'all so we could enjoy them the past few weeks. It made our apartment downright festive! 
Speaking of Christmas cards, we printed ours on-line, but ran out the week before Christmas. I just uploaded the same pictures to the same template and ordered more, which we picked up and gave out. Unfortunately I forgot to fill in the signature line the 2nd time, so instead of saying from Kirk and Janice Nielson, they kept the default signature, "from the Hopewells". To any of you who got a christmas card from the Hopewells with pictures of the Orlando temple, some senior missionaries, and Lake Eola, it was probably from us. Sorry! We learned this when a missionary here thanked Sis Nielson for the card she handed her and then asked who the Hopewells were.
Christmas morning on Lake Debra

We went for a walk Christmas morning to try out our new camera, and took the above picture of Lake Debra to show that it really exists. We live on Lake Debra Drive, and have been asked if such a lake exists, since it's not labeled on Google maps. Also got a picture of the horse fountain on Hiawassee Rd with its Christmas wreaths, and of the winter flowers and palm trees.

Elder Delgado with Jan and me
Elder Delgado, Eric, and Elder Agor
Saturday we went to two baptisms. The first was in the Poinciana Branch, where Elder Delgado baptized Eric, a mature 14-yr old who's been coming to church for a while and understands the gospel very well for a young man his age. 

Sis's Baker and Salvesen with Jan
Elders Cluff, Sherwin, and Gallo with Carmen after her baptism

The second baptism was in the Pleasant Hill ward, where Elder Sherwin baptized Carmen, a lady who bore her testimony right afterward, along with Xiomara, who was just baptized there last week. Sister Salvesen and Sister Baker sang a duet at the baptism that brought a beautiful spirit. They're awesome!

After the baptisms we picked up Elders Despain and Vailea and went to the Johnsons to give them a second lesson, on the Plan of Salvation. There was a great spirit there ... they said they also felt it while reading the Book of Mormon. We set up their third lesson for next Thursday. It was a great end to a great day and week! What a joy to be here doing the Lord's work, with dedicated missionaries and investigators who are getting baptized and who are progressing toward baptism, reading the scriptures, praying, and anxious to come unto Christ! After just celebrating the birth of our Savior, we have the privilege to invite people to come and hear the fullness of His gospel and partake of it by making covenants with Him to follow Him the rest of their lives. How blessed we are feeling!

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