It was special this week to be able to celebrate the birth of our Saviour as full time missionaries and a very positive experience. At the same time it was a difficult week since this was the first time Maurene had been away from family for the Christmas season and I don't think it was much easier for me although I had experienced it as a young missionary a few years ago. The opportunity to share the season with the young missionaries and help them through what was difficult for some of them was a highlight however.
The best part of the week came on Sunday as we had the baptism of two Young Single Adults, Richard and Dani. It was a wonderful service and many members stayed to witness this great event. I had the privilege of confirming Richard a member of the church which was great since Maurene and I had attended many of his lessons and he has been a regular at our weekly YSA family home evenings. Richard is a native of Ireland and Dani is a recent arrival here from Brazil.
We decided on Tuesday to Wednesday to do some more Billion Graves work at the cemetery in Mungret, St. Nessan's. It was a nice clear morning so a good one for taking the photos although it was very cool. Maurene needed a couple of things for the Christmas Eve dinner for the missionaries so we decided to drive over to a store to get them and that was a mistake. The traffic was bumper to bumper for a long ways so it took quite a while. Another "Vive la Difference" moment. Here the residential neighbourhoods are arranged so that there is one road in from the main road and that same road is the one road out. They call them estates here. That makes for very quiet neighbourhoods traffic wise but puts a lot of stress on the main roads. With the traffic circles the roads are as efficient as they can make them but most of them are narrow and there aren't many options to get from A to B. So if it is busy at all, you need to learn to be patient!
We spent most of the day out shopping for groceries etc. for the meal we were hosting for the young missionaries here in Limerick on Christmas Eve. It is challenging to host a meal here because adjustments have to be made because of the kinds of food that are available to purchase and also because there is not a large well equipped kitchen like the one Maurene is used to at home.
Christmas Eve was a very busy day. First of all I got quite a surprise that morning. The doorbell rang and it was the mail man with a small package. It was my new practice chanter that I ordered from Frazer Warnock in Belfast. I ordered it online on Tuesday and never dreamed it would arrive here already especially with it being Christmas and everything. The mail system here is amazing!
We spent most of Christmas eve afternoon getting food ready and also spent some time having a video chat with Kailey and Caleb. They were celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve since Caleb had to go to work Christmas Day..
The missionaries came over at 6:00 pm and we had a nice turkey dinner. Then some of them watched a movie on my MacBook Pro and the rest of us had a game of hearts. We had a great evening together and it was nice to have all of them over and spend some time together relaxing and it was nice to help make their Christmas a little nicer. They are very dedicated missionaries and really do work very hard and are obedient. They gave us a really nice photo/Christmas card. We sent them home with a chocolate orange each, a Christmas tradition over here. Very nice evening indeed. While we were doing the dishes we had a FaceTime chat with our kids in Lethbridge. Corey and Julie and their family came down to Lethbridge for the day and Jay was over there too. So we got to have a nice visit with them and it was nice to see them get together and for the cousins to have an opportunity to play together. It was a good Christmas Eve!
We had a very enjoyable Christmas Day too. We slept a little longer than we usually do. When we got up we exchanged gifts. Maurene got me some goodies to eat and also a new pair of Star Wars pyjamas. Corey and Julie sent us this amazing little book that was full of photos of their kids along with humorous things they had said. That afternoon we went over to the Faloon’s place. He is the branch president here and he and his wife are wonderful people. He is from New Zealand and she is from Australia. One set of Elders and the sister missionaries were there to Skype home. After they were finished we had Christmas dinner with them. It was a delicious huge meal and just as delicious a dessert. When we got home we had a FaceTime with Skye and her family and also one with Scott, Stacey and Archie. It was wonderful to be able to have a visit with them on Christmas Day. It wasn’t the usual Christmas but we really had a good day.
On Boxing Day we had a long but good day. Four elders and two sisters came over to our place. We made them something to eat and they watched two Disney movies in our living room on my MacBook Pro.
During the Christmas season it is important to reflect on and celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. We were able to do that in abundance here in Limerick. It is also an important time for family and we missed ours greatly although being able to spend time with the young missionaries and celebrate the season with them was a blessing.
We'll finish up with some random photos from Limerick!
This is the blog of Elder Tom and Sister Maurene Wilson of our mission to the Scotland/Ireland Mission.