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We witness tender mercies and mini-miracles every day as we find joy in pressing forward. We are immensely grateful for our time of service as missionaries in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life and opportunities continue. See our missionary and life story in pictures by clicking here: http://rayc.shutterfly.com/

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


December is coming to a close. In just five days, it will be 2012. We expect a mission call very soon!

The last few weeks have passed quickly. After setting up Christmas decorations, we took a spontaneous trip to Sun Valley, ID to celebrate Ray's birthday. It was very cold, there were few people as the ski season was just beginning, and it proved to be an enjoyable short getaway.

As is typical, the second week of December was our busiest. Ray returned to Fridays in the temple. We had two evenings of dinner with friends and Christmas shopping.  On Saturday we enjoyed the annual Wasatch Cruisers (Toyota 4x4 Recreational Club) party. Sunday brought the "Prelude to Christmas" concert - a performance by the Orchard Stake Choir and Orchestra. It's a 25-year tradition in our stake (the orchestra for 5 years). Linda has sung in most of the 25 performances - it's a Christmas gift to herself. We have amazing musical talent in our stake, and the music and rehearsals are challenging and stimulating. Never a soloist, Linda still enjoys singing her first alto in a good choir. Leanna Willmore, the director, is the director of the Bell Choir on Temple Square. The weeks of Sunday evening preparation are a spiritual feast  It was wonderful to have Mike and Faith and Hailey, our two granddaughters, attend the performance along with Ray.

Our best Christmas gift came when the surgeon cleared Ray on Wednesday, December 14 to reactivate our mission call. Bi-lateral hand strength is returning as well as some improvement in dexterity. On December 15 he went back to his hand surgeon and scheduled left carpal tunnel surgery for Friday. So all the repairs are complete and his stamina is returning. On Monday, December 19, we contacted the Mission Department and our application is in the works again. It's holiday season for Church headquarters, so we expect a small delay, but hope for a call in early January as our "new year" present!

We had a quiet and nice Christmas. We visited aunts and several niece and nephew families from both sides of the family in the days preceding Christmas and dropped off a homemade gift. A Sacrament meeting ward choir program completed Church on Sunday morning. A nasty intestinal flu is coursing through Mike and Wendy's house, so Wendy and Faith were unable to join the rest of their family for gifts and dinner with us and David at our house on Christmas afternoon. Healing tummies led to little appetite, so we'll make use of our leftovers by making some freezer meals to deliver to senior singles in our ward.  It will be a fun way to connect with them prior to departing for our mission. It's very probable our ward family will change while we're away, so we want to let those who have been our examples and mentors over the years know how much we love and appreciate them.

It's likely we will set an all-time record for low/no December precipitation or snow this year (a bare .1 inch right now). No shoveling gives us more time to ponder the birth and mission of Jesus Christ and to plan next steps in preparing for our mission call. Daily scripture and missionary study have become habits. We will begin packing away closet items as we take down Christmas to make space for our renters, Nephi and Lilla. We can complete our income taxes and take care of a few other business needs in early January rather than leaving them to family to do. We now recognize some advantages to our delayed call. Gradually what has come to feel like pretend missionary preparation is again turning into reality - restless waiting for news of when and where and purposeful preparation.

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