Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week Twenty Three

Our new missionaries arriving at the airport
What a great time to be a missionary! The Lord's work is rolling along with great momentum, and it's the best kind of busy that we could ask for! Last monday we received seven new missionaries from the MTC, four elders and three sisters. They're well-prepared missionaries with enthusiasm and resolve and we're glad they are here!
Pres blowing out the candles

Monday was also Pres Berry's birthday. He didn't get time to celebrate other than blowing out his candles!

Tuesday was transfer day, and this time the departing missionaries had a chance to bear testimonies to the new incoming ones and all the others who came in to change companions for new assignments. Pres Berry introduced each new companion assignment, and had pictures and bio's of the newly arrived missionaries. It was a great and uplifting meeting! After the morning meetings everyone had lunch and then loaded their bags to travel to their new areas.  
Tuesday lunch after the transfer meetings
Christmas puzzle at the mission home

Tuesday afternoon we went to the mission home and helped with the dinner for the departing missionaries. The Berrys host a nice dinner for the departing missionaries, where they get a chance to look back on their missionary experience and look forward to what's coming up next for them. 
Elders Romero and Thomas with us

Assistants to Pres Berry
Our ten departing missionaries

This time they had a little time to relax and watch the 17 miracles movie while waiting for dinner and their final interviews with the president. There was also a christmas puzzle and piano playing that made a nice pre-Christmas evening.

We had ten missionaries leave on wednesday morning, one sister and nine elders. It's hard to lose our seasoned mission leaders, but new ones are working hard and will step up and take their places. 

Friday night we went to a Brazilian Christmas fireside with the Orlando South Stake. It was a wonderful dinner that we enjoyed for the great food, our wonderful friends from several other wards, and entertainment that brought many saudades. They showed a Roberto Carlos music video filmed in Jerusalem at Christmas time. He has been the renowned singer of Brazil ever since the late '60's when I was on my mission in Brazil, and is still going strong. He's a bit older now, but his voice and performance are strong as always. They had hot chicken cochina appetizers, roast pork and pineapple, beef stroganoff with rice, a great veggie salad, and dessert, all served to our tables. 
Table decoration
Veggie Salad
Christmas table settings

Ocoee hospital lobby

On the way to the dinner we went to the Ocoee hospital to visit one of our elders who was admitted there Friday for testing. We visited him again Saturday, and Sunday morning, when he was supposed to get released. He's more than ready ... he was having a gospel discussion with the morning nurse when we got there this morning. The lobby palm trees are wrapped with christmas lights, as are many outdoor palms now.  

Yesterday on Saturday our senior district went to the Fort Christmas celebration in Christmas, Florida, which is in our mission between Orlando and the east coast. We got some christmas cards postmarked there, and saw lots of arts, crafts, food, etc. Will post those pictures with next week's blog because there's no more time tonight. 

We just got an e-mail from Elder Delgado's mother in Brazil, who is planning to be baptized next Saturday! What great news! His cousin will also be baptized the same day. We love Elder Delgado like a son, and we're so happy for him and for this great decision his mother and cousin have made.   
... 'till next week,  
     Elder and Sister Nielson

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