Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Annual Mission President's Dinner 12/17/09

The Annual Mission President's Dinner
Weather--Clear, blue sky Temp 23F -2.3C
Wind 3-5 MPH

Each year the Mission President hosts a dinner in the Mission Home for the Novosibirsk District presidency, the branch presidents, and their wives. The mission president's wife traditionally makes the dinner with some additions by senior couples. This year there were 10 Russian adults, two children, 4 senior missionaries, and President and sister Trejo.

This year Sister Trejo made a wonderful meal for 50 (18 attending) and we all ate well. She did a great job and the appetizers table would have fed us all.

The value here is to bring the local leadership into closer contact with the mission leadership and create a closer bond of trust and love. As you might expect, with the language barrier, it is difficult to get really close to someone with whom you cannot talk effectively. The seating ended up pretty much divided by language preference, but we did have some exchanges and the sisters always have a bond. Here, Sasha Ozherelev (an English speaker) chats with President Nikoliachev and his wife, neither of whom speak English. 

President Shadran, Novo First Branch president, had to bring his two children (no sitter) and President Gushchin is watching him play on the floor before dinner. They did very well until about 8:00PM when things began to get a little chaotic.

Here, Elder Miller is approaching the appetizers with a purposeful gait. In the background, Lena Ozherelev and the Shadrans inspect the mission library.
Prior to the eating, Elder Byers, Elder Miller and Elder Simmons team up for a half-dozen Christmas Carols as a warm-up. Sister Simmons joined Elder Byers and I in a couple of Carols as part of the "program" after dinner.

All-in-all, it was a nice evening and time well spent. Christmas for the members is sort of a mixed bag. Their Orthodox relatives celebrate Christmas on January 7th, their atheist friends celebrate only New Years, and their LDS friends celebrate the traditional American Christmas on the 25th. These good people stand at the crossroads of three very different approaches to the December holidays and often end up celebrating everything, sort of like Cindy and I eating two Thanksgiving dinners (her family & then mine) for several years until we finally insisted that the families formalize some sort of compromise. It's a challenge.

What a country


Shannon Simmons said...

You look good dad! Sounds like a nice evening...

Bob Steed said...

Some of the fondest memories of my mission are from the mission home. What a blessing it was for us to go there and feel loved. Missionaries spend so much time thinking of the needs of others and at times doing so with very little in the way of thanks (which is fine, of course). Great feelings being there. Is it wierd knowing it is your last in Siberia?