Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday America!

July 4th 2015 - Senior Missionaries serving in the Auckland, New Zealand Mission

Front row on floor Left to right:
Lynda Bennett, Patsy Brereton, Bruce Brereton, Paula Fugal, Jennie Reeves,
 Reed Spencer, Linda Olsen, Judy Terry

2nd row - sitting in chairs - Left to right:
Lilly Ann Cotterell, Carol Wallace, Eve Brunson, Marj O'Lee Irvine, Joy Mickleson,
Susan Winters, Nada Spencer, Gary Olsen

3rd Row - Standing - Left to right:
Dirk Cotterell, Karen Sayers, Randy Sayers, Gil Brunson, John & Debbi Beckstead,
Jim Irvine, Guy Fugal, Myron Micklson, Larry Bennett, Gary Winters, Linda & Robert Martin, Arendje and Allan Whidden, James Terry

Most of the senior missionaries here in Auckland came together Saturday afternoon to celebrate American Independence day.  We have some Australians and Canadians in our midst, but MOST are from the United States.  So we pulled out our red white and blue and threw ourselves a party.   There were silly games, great food, a very touching devotional message presented by Elder Wallace (who will be leaving to go home this month).  We sang My Country Tis of Thee and listened to a wonderful recording of The Star Spangled Banner.   We are all very far away from home, so on special days like this some of us have tender feelings close to the surface.   But right now I can honestly say I know I'm right where I belong and I couldn't find a better group of folks to be serving with.
What's a party without balloons - Sister Reeves is doing a great job of keeping them in the air.

What could be more American than grilling burgers and making root-bear floats?
We played several games - this is Elder Bennett getting into the spirit of things - a tennis ball was put in the toe of a pair of panyhose.  Pantyhose are worn on head.  Hands have to stay behind your back and you swing your head around using the leg of pantyhose with the ball in it to knock over bottles of water... it got pretty silly.

Our good friend Susan Winters won her round of moving skittles from one plate to the other by sucking them with a straw.
Elder Bennett guessed the closest number of candies in the jar so he won the peanut m&m's!

The meal was wonderful, and the games gave us all a chance to laugh. But the best part was having time to visit with the other missionaries.  We each have very different assignments and stay pretty busy, so it's always great when we get a chance to come together and catch up.

Our smiling faces!
At the end of the evening as we were preparing to leave we enjoyed some impromptu music and Elder Bennett and Sister Mickleson did some singing together.   It was not anything they had planned or practiced, but since they had a guitar handy (Elder Wallace brought the one he had purchased here to sell to Sister Mickleson since the Wallaces are going home soon). Larry and Joy jumped right in with making music and several of the other senior missionaries gathered around to hear them doing old favorites like Dream by the Everly Brothers and Amanda by Don Williams - also covered by Waylon Jennings.  

These family home evening gatherings truly are special times and leave us some of the best memories we will carry home with us. 

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