Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Past and Christmas Future

Traditional Christmas is past but here in Serbia we are now looking forward to Christmas future on Jan. 7th.  But as we drive around, you don't see decorated houses with lights or 20 blow up toys in the yard.  You don't see Christmas trees lite up in windows or people carrying wrapped packages.  It's very sedate.  The Traditional Christmas here was very different because people were doing their usual bustling around and all the stores were business as usual. It does make you reflect more on the true meaning of Christmas and the Spirit of Christ, but the secret ingredient to a wonderful Christmas is truly family.

We had a quiet reflective time in the morning and visited with several of our family.  Then in the afternoon the Sisters came over to call their families after which we had dinner and just visited and enjoyed the evening.  A very different that makes us so appreciate the hustle and bustle of home.  We were invited to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve but Alan and I both knew that we were too tired to stay awake for that.  We did have a lot of Serbian friends text us Christmas Greetings which was so appreciated.

The Sunday before Christmas we had a Seminary Dinner here for the youth. I had made some homemade Ranch Dressing and they had never tasted Ranch dressing before.  They loved it and besides using it on their salad they were even spreading on bread.  I thought I might have to provide glasses for them to drink it.  They had also never ever played the 'right/left' gift exchange game.  We all laughed a lot and enjoyed just visiting.  We were surprised they stayed all afternoon and finally left around 6:00 pm.
The two on the left side are the sister missionaries and Aleksander isn't in this picture.

Right and Left Game  (Elder and Sister Goodsell also came
for dinner...He is first counselor to the mission Pres.)

It was a busy week because we also traveled to Zargreb for the mission Christmas party.  The Zone leaders had the big van and came from Belgrade to pick us up on the way.  We had traveled 45 min. from Sremska when one of the zone leaders realized he didn't have his passport so we had to turn around and travel clear back to Belgrade which was 1 1/2 hours back to get his passport and then return.  We were about 2 1/2 hrs. late for the party.  The Elder driving was driving so fast that another Elder leaned over to me and said "Thank goodness the Church is true or we would have wrecked by now".  It made for a long day.

Missionaries from five countries makes for a transportation nightmare to get everyone there. .. but fun was had by all.
On Christmas Eve Alan, I, and the Sisters went caroling with a plate of treats for families and investigators in our little branch..10 homes in all.  We sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in English (it doesn't translate into Serbian)
 but people understood.

We hoped it was the thought that counted.
We are leaving for Slovenia tomorrow for four days of youth conference ..."never a dull moment".

We may be in Serbia but we did have all the comforts of home on Christmas ...even if it was "Only in Serbia".  We not only had warm hearts, but warm hands as well. :o)

Our own Fireplace...It just made the place feel warmer.
Happy New to Everyone...May the year 2014 be one of the best, rich with blessings and love.

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