Christmas Season 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
“Time flies on wings of lightning.” Here we are, a year older and wiser. This is the year that Cyndy was granted senior citizen discount at her favorite store: Goodwill! We put a lot of miles on our bodies this year with outdoor adventures, a trip to Ecuador and another to Germany. We have 4 at home, 3 in college, 1 away working full time, 1 on a mission, 2 away married, 6 grandchildren and another soon to arrive.
Elder Samuel C. Weiss (19) entered the MTC in Sao Paulo, Brazil mid-November. He is District Leader and a well prepared servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will study language for 8 weeks and then go to Cuiaba, a city due west of Brasilia near Bolivia. Average temperature there is about 119 degrees with 100% humidity! This past year when Sam wasn’t climbing on the rock wall of the community center, he worked hard earning his money for his mission and even saved enough to come with us to Quito, Ecuador to pick up Hermana Weiss the 5th (Deborah) in June. It was a grand adventure and good preparation for Samuel to see the cities where his sister labored and meeting those whose lives Deb touched as a sister missionary. Samuel was privileged to baptize his good friend, Alex, prior to leaving for Brazil.
Then in September Allison was able to join us as we made a similar trip to pick up Jonathan from his LDS missionary service in Berlin, Germany. Again, “what joy!” to see the work of the Lord going forward in places that we had been reading about in Jon’s letters for two years. Jon served as Zone Leader for over a year in three zones of the mission and was in a car for about a year, so he knew the roads and took us safely on the autoban into Switzerland where we saw the cities and met 2 of the families that Mark saw join the church 33 years earlier! (Autobahns are cool, going 220 kph or over 140 mph. Yikes!)
Cyndy and Mark spoke at the LDS National Homeschooling Association Convention in SLC, Utah this summer which meant Cyndy was able to attend BYU Education Week for the first time in 10 years. It was great to run into old friends and spend time with her sisters. She continues to attend baptisms of all the 8 year olds in her Primary class and enjoys helping out at bi-monthly Activity Days.
Mark was recently released as Young Men’s President. Last B-Ball Season, “Coach Weiss” watched his super star Sam and the team of church members and neighbors as well, take the Young Men’s Basketball team to win regional championships! He continues to teach 19-21 year olds in a Mission preparation class Tuesday nights and loves working the early morning shift at the Portland Temple Fridays. He is volunteering as adult leader (6th year) for SOGUS (BSA Jr. Leader Training) in June. Mission Prep, Leadership Training and the Temple are "home" for him.
Benjamin will be Senior Patrol Leader this coming year at Sogus and William is on staff again as Asst. Sr. Patrol Ldr. over Facilities, with Joseph attending as a learner this summer. Jonathan, Sam, Ben, Will and Joe will all now have had the benefit of advanced group dynamics training that this course provides. It is a huge commitment with over 60 hours of graduate level training each year. Benjamin is soon to achieve his Eagle Scout Rank (his project was completed 2 years ago!) and will finally have his driver’s license!
Jonathan (21) is working in the electronics department of Fred Meyer saving money to get back into college. He is making a great transition from mission life to normal life. Being an excellent "returned missionary" is not something you are automatically because you returned home, but something you learn to become in the weeks after you arrive home again. It takes effort. Deborah (23) is at BYU-Provo, teaching Spanish in the Mission Training Center. Jennifer (25) is finishing her senior year at BYU and continues teaching Mandarin Chinese there at the MTC. She was working in Seattle this summer as part of the Flourishing Families Project. Christine (27) had an internship is Washington DC this summer working with the Pan American Health Organization and able to use her Spanish. She will complete her masters in Public Health this spring. She lives in the same apartment complex in Provo, UT as Jenn and Deb. Allison (31) is at University of Chicago Lab School working as Language Lab Technology Coordinator. She serves in the Stake Primary (Music) and works at the Chicago Temple once a month.
Tamarah (29) and Jeff tried to sell their house in California, but the market downturn convinced them to stay put for the present and Jeff is working in LA District for Franklin Covey. In March, their little Spencer Mark was born pre-maturely and is now “safely home” with Jesus. Another little spirit will come to their home in April. Tam was called to serve as Relief Society President in May.
David (30) in the Elders Quorum Presidency and Launna, working with the Young Women, had their #4 “David Abraham” join their family in July. David made the tough choice and is leaving Microsoft to attend college at BYU-Idaho in January. Selling the house and moving and starting school is all part of a grand adventure for his family. We will so miss their frequent visits to Vancouver.
Homeschooling is not too tough this year. Ben and William do internet courses and this year are amazingly disciplined at staying on top of the course work. Their personal discipline in this area, is really gratifying to Mom and Dad, as well as the learning. William (15) also attends band, choir and takes biology and Spanish at our new Union High School Joseph (13) gets more of Mom’s personal time. We’ve read some great books this year. Joseph keeps adding to his fine collection of skateboard ramps. Benjamin (17) started his own indoor Soccer Team. He has Joseph and Jon and even William playing soccer with him in the back yard or at nearby parks. Ben worked at a cycle shop during the summer and has the fanciest bike around.
Some of the highlights of 2007 have to do with hiking-camping-and youth super-activities: Camp Cooper (Wilamina, OR); Camp Pioneer (Sisters, OR); Cape Lookout and Ft. Stevens (Oregon Coast); rafting on the Deschutes; Leavenworth, WA; Silver Falls (Silverton, OR); hiking to waterfalls (Columbia River Gorge); and a week at Port Townsend, WA have made for some great memories this year. We have more "high adventure" in our family than they have in the scouts. Ultimate Frisbee, air pressured backyard rocket launching, and shotgun shooting are the new sports that the boys have experimented with in 2007. Mark has been doing a lot of reading, trying to decide what to do after leaving his company. If any of you need a good trainer, teacher, consultant, don't hesitate to call.
This year we’ve had some big events in our home. In March, my sister came to live with us while looking for work. In June we hosted a welcome home from Iraq party (100) for friends. In July we had a funeral gathering for a nephew who passed away (60). Also this summer, the aging paint on our home was covered with a fresh coat by our very own “College Painters”, Christine and Deborah. Then we had our big Thanksgiving celebration (42-indoors!) before Samuel left. Our home is always open to anyone who wants to come sleep on the hide-a-bed. Soon we will actually have a guest room!
We are thankful for your friendship and love hearing your family news. Keep in touch. “We proclaim that The Lord Jesus Christ truly is the Savior of all. He whose birth the Christian world celebrates is indeed the Son of God, the Redeemer, the promised Messiah. No message is more significant than the one He brought. No event is of greater importance than His atoning sacrifice and subsequent resurrection. And no mortal tongue can express sufficient thanks for all that Jesus has done for us.” (First Pres. Christmas Message, 1985) Check out the great website at www.mormon.org.
Mark and Cyndy Weiss 360 882-7995