In The Beginning...
We decided to have the whole mission meet as one for the Christmas party and devotional. The missionaries loved being together in one place, and we realized that this is probably a one-time-only event. It was possible this year because of our low total number of missionaries associated with our new mission status. There were lots of hugs and handshakes as past companions and those in the same "batch" got to see each other again. I loved sitting on the stand and looking out at them as they filled the chapel of the Las Pinas Stake. It was a wonderful sight. We started with a short Christmas video and then divided everyone into two groups. Once all were divided, we left the chapel and went into the cultural hall for some games.
Below is the full chapel with all of our missionaries. I had to take three pictures to get them all in.
Each half of the whole group was divided again but this time into four groups, and they were given either a red, blue, yellow, or green strip of felt to designate their different groups. Now they were ready to play some games!
Everyone brought a gift and we had the largest gift exchange ever! The chairs and missionaries twisted and weaved all around the cultural hall of the church. It was great. Thanks and to Sister Davis and her "right, left, and across" story.
Crowding 150 people into the church hallway was hard, but all were fed and happy.
Each zone prepared a skit and they were all very funny. One zone did a skit about the "Twelve Weeks of Training", a couple of zones acted out some awesome scripture stories, and another zone had a sister and elder pretend to be President Tye and I. It was perfect!
After the skits, all chairs were stacked up and we headed back into the chapel where we watched a video of mission pictures from July thru December. We received the pictures from all the Cavite missionaries to put this video together.
The Senior Couples Who Come To Us Direct From Heaven!
The last hour and a half was the best part. It was by far, the most spiritual devotional I have ever been to - a musical and scriptural timeline of the birth of Jesus Christ. The theme was "True Love Was Born In A Stable" and one of the sisters gave a beautiful talk about the love of the Savior. I can not describe how strong the Spirit was while we sat and listened to everyone sing, speak, and read the Christmas Story from the Book of Luke. One of the songs was sung by just the elders and as I sat on the stand in the chapel, the power of their voices hit me with such force that I began to cry. They sang loud and clear as they bore testimony through the words of the song. It became so obvious to me that there was no where else I would rather be than here in the Philippines being a part of this GREAT WORK! It was a perfect day and a beautiful way to celebrate the birth of our Savior.