We hope that everyone had a good Christmas and we wish you the very best in the New Year!
Our Christmas was a little unusual this year, in several ways. Gifts were not so much a part of the day. We spoke to all our children, and seeing how the grandchildren were excited for Christmas was fun for us. We had a progressive Christmas dinner with the other missionary couples that serve in the Area Office, as well. We all serve in different capacities but we live in the same building, so Christmas was a great chance for us to associate with our new friends. We also thought of our many friends throughout the world and how grateful we are for their association and friendship. Naturally, Christmas also gave us a chance to reflect often on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his great mission on the earth. His birth, life, and atonement is the greatest of all the things that has ever happened on the earth and we are so grateful to have that knowledge firmly instilled in our souls.
While I was preparing for the Christmas dinner, I was baking some cookies. It was the first time I did any baking in the little oven we have in our apartment. As I was taking out the last batch of cookies, the oven door fell off! Craig had gone out for a walk, so our neighbor came with some duck tape to keep things in place until something can be done about the oven after the holidays. In Mexico, pretty much everything is on “hold” during the Christmas season, until after January 6. So we are without an oven, for the present! I really haven't felt much like baking since our arrival, anyway, but not having an oven makes it seem worse. Since virtually everyone is on vacation, it will be well into the New Year before we can use the oven again. In the meantime our two burners will have to do. (Eating out is also a very good option)!
We had the opportunity of attending a wedding reception on December 26th. The Manager of the Self-Reliance Office in Mexico, who we work with closely, is an Area Seventy, Elder Netzaualcoyotol Salinas, and one of his sons got married. (Everyone just calls him Netza, for short!) The wedding was actually performed in the Salt Lake City Temple on Dec. 22, and the reception was planned to be held here. The bride’s family is from Costa Rica but had lived here for a number of years because the dad works for the Bayer chemical company. So, the bride and groom met and knew each other here. Now, they both are attending BYU and started to date, and the rest is now history. The reception here was a really fun event. We arrived there a little early and that gave us the chance to help set up the table decorations. There was an MC, short speeches by both the fathers, and music and dancing! We were served freshly cooked tacos for dinner and they were yummy. We had a great evening chatting with and getting to know others in attendance and are happy to see two exceptional young people start off life together.
Both last week and this current week are slow times in the office, due to the holidays and so many of the area office employees taking vacation. So, we have had the opportunity to see some new things in Mexico. Saturday, Bonnie and two other missionary wives went to a nearby open air market that is popular, for the first time since our arrival. She found the fruits and vegetables there to be really fresh and much less expensive than in the stores. She hopes to be able to go there often in the future. The market, known as the Tianguis market, reminded Bonnie of other vegetable markets around the world that we have been to over our years abroad.
Well, that about wraps it up for this installment! We truly wish you all much happiness, health, and success in the New Year. May the Lord bless you in all of your endeavors. We enjoy being in this service here in Mexico, and pray for much success for the good people here.
December 18-20 we were able to travel to Veracruz and attend the temple there. Mexico City Temple is closed for renovations. We did a little sight-seeing as well. There will be more information about the trip later. But here are a few photos.
At the old Spanish fort near the port of Vera Cruz, It used to be used as a prison, and for storage, as well as a fort.
Bonnie at the fort.
Craig at the fort.
Us at Vera Cruz Temple
Vera Cruz temple. It is a small temple built of White marble.