MERRY CHRISTMAS GREETINGS TO YOU FROM THE CANADA EDMONTON MISSION / LLOYDMINSTER AB/SK & BLESSINGS TO YOU IN 2 0 1 8
Lloydminster Comprehensive High School: FIELDS volunteers feel very blessed to begin offering a Reading Program in the Lloydminster Public High School to First Nation Students. Sam and Jeannine were introduced to this Reading Program (from Kaysville, Utah) by their son Robb; we studied and then prepared Power Point Lessons for FIELDS volunteers to easily teach First Nation students who struggle with reading. The lessons are presented during I-Time Study periods Tuesdays and Fridays by FIELDS volunteers: Elder and Sister Kunkel and young Sisters: Hacking and Baxter. Sam and Jeannine study and prepare lessons to keep ahead of the upcoming classes. It is a great program; we’ve never taught reading so we are learning so much.
DECK THE HALLS: Meanwhile the City of Lloydminster prepares for the Christmas Season. The Senior Missionaries enjoy taking a Light Tour on Monday Evening.
DECKING-OUT OUR MISSIONARY APARTMENT: Elder and Sister McCollum decorate their “home”.
We looked out our window and what did we see? Indeed, a “Jack” rabbit decorating our yard! Mr. Christmas Rabbit stayed in a snow-bank burrow just looking at us for quite some time.
LAKELAND COLLEGE – CHRISTMAS SEASON ENTERTAINMENT
STORY-LINE: 3 generations of First Nation women use their “band money” to take a Christmas Vacation in Las Vegas. Despite their cultural, religious and age differences, the women enjoy their time together while sharing their feelings and beliefs about Christmas. Great entertainment.
FIELDS ( Foundation for Indigenous Education, Leadership Development & Sustainability) – SERVICE CONTINUES:
Inspite of all the pre-Christmas activities, we manage to continue our regular service opportunities. At the Upgrading Classroom at Onion Lake, we present 14 participants with FIRST FLIGHT Certificates earned by attending an 8 session challenge program and completing the Challenge Activity sheets.
Sylvia (above in the blue jacket) has a brother who custom builds hand drums. One of Jeannine’s Christmas gifts to Sam is the gift of a drum!
The Kihew Cree Immersion School goes all out with Christmas Decorations in the gym & hallways.
MORE PRE-CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES:
#1 Lloydminster LDS Church Branch Christmas Brunch
#2 View broadcast of First Presidency Christmas Message and enjoy hearing the Tabernacle Choir.
#3 Serve dinner to the young LDS missionaries Elders Vernon and Roberts just before missionary transfer day.
#4 Jeannine’s brother, Tom gets special recognition for being our first family member to make it up north to visit Elder and Sister McCollum! We enjoy dinner together, Tom’s overnight visit and the next morning introduce Tom to the other FIELDS volunteers at LCHS. Then we enjoy a brunch together before Tom is on his way. (Tom presented at Agricultural meetings at Lakeland College, Vermilion.)
#5 Attend Vermilion LDS Church Branch Christmas Dinner with Elder & Sister Kunkel.
#6 Young Adult Christmas Activity at LDS Church
#7 Dinner Invite for Senior Missionaries with Choi Family – Paradise Hill SK
#8 Visit to Henry Hudy (newly baptized member of the church) & his wife June Hudy
#9 Spend Saturday Baking Christmas Goodies for Gift Giving.
#10 Our Primary Class act out the story of the birth of Jesus, including the visit of the Wisemen.
#11 Deliver Gifts of Christmas Baking at Lakeland College, Lloydminster Comprehensive High School, Onion Lake Cree Nation: Upgrading Classroom, Eagleview Comprehensive High School and Atoskasotan Employment Centre.
#12 Regular Service at ECHS – Eagleview Comprehensive High School
We asked these two sisters at ECHS why they were selling raffle “tickets” for this BIG BEAR. We saw other students paying $15 to receive one card of a deck of cards for a 1/52 chance to take the bear home for Christmas. When we asked what was the fund raising cause, they replied, “We are raising money so our brother can attend a hockey tournament in Calgary.”
This reminded us of days when we served our mission in Laie, Ohau, Hawaii. We’d see a neighbourhood family selling $15 lunch plates so they could help a family member buy a plane ticket to a wedding on the mainland!
D E S T I N A T I O N – CALGARY
Once again, Elder and Sister McCollum take advantage of the Senior Missionary option/blessing of time away from Missionary responsibilities for a Family Event. (Note: Schools where FIELDS volunteers serve, have classes end Dec 20 and do not begin again until January 8th.) When S&J hear a blanket of snow arrived in southern Alberta, Elder and Sister McCollum decide to depart a day early, Dec 19th for Calgary. Late afternoon, they leave ECHS, head back to Lloydminster, pack up and leave for Calgary.
Heading south on the country highways, we are blessed to have clear roads until we are 30 minutes East of Calgary on #1 Trans-Canada Highway. We find deep snow on the city roads and Jeannine’s sister Glenda is waiting up for us!
#1 Time at the Temple
#2 Time in Okotoks AB with Family
#3 Birthday Time – Sam’s 73rd, December 21st.
A trip on the Polar Express with grandchildren: Lincoln, Autumn & Ryder, and their parents Andrew and Andrea. Having fun and making Christmas memories.
#4 Family Gathering Time in Calgary. Meeting our First Great-Grandson Rohnan Anderson and more 73rd Birthday Celebrating for Sam.
Rohnan is the Reason for Celebrating the Season in Calgary! Our first great-grandson’s parents, granddaughter Caesha and her husband Kole, left from Vancouver, drove across mountainous winter roads to arrive in Calgary on December 23rd. Nearby McCollum Family gathered together for a wonderful evening at the home of our son Andrew & his wife Andrea in SW Calgary.
Fun with cousins!
#5 Christmas Eve is all about Family Time: Church service in Ellison Park Ward. Dinner with Jeannine’s niece Allison, her family & friends. Followed by time at Andrew and Andrea’s home for stories, acting out the Nativity and bedtime hugs with grandchildren before “visions of sugar plums danced in their heads”.
#6 Christmas Day: Yes, Christmas began with a family celebrating the birth of a baby. We too are thankful for Jesus and Christmas. We get to share on-line time with family despite the many miles and an ocean that separate us.
Left to right: Brett / Calgary; Cliff, Deanna & Nyah / Cambridge UK; Andrew & Andrea / Calgary; Jared & sons / Okotoks AB.
We are grateful for technology!!
FAMILY EVENTS IN USA:
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018: We will end this entry of our CEM Blog with a favourite Christmas Photo taken in Lethbridge AB. (Christmas Train passing through the city.)
Also, here is a youtube address we received from our son, Cliff, so we could view the New Years 2018 Fireworks in London, UK.
FYI: On Dec 31st the wind chill temperature in Lethbridge was -50 Celsius (-58F). Here in Lloydminster, our low thus far was -34 Celsius (-29.2 F). YIPES!! What a way to bring in the New Year.