On Saturday afternoon, December 8, 2012, Tortola Branch held the annual Christmas Social. There were probably about 60 people present, 1/3 of them not Church members. Everybody was comfortable interacting with each other. There are no thoughts of race here.
|Brothers from Guyana, Winston & Jose|
I grew up in the 1960’s when the ugly race-motivated violence tore America apart. It was not just in the South, it was all across the land.
I served a mission in South Africa, a hundred years ago, where Apartheid was the ugly law of the land and we were not allowed to teach anyone but those of European (White) ancestry. Here it is different than even in the US. People here just associate openly with each other as equals, which is how it is anyway. An example is Krystin Kalama, the beautiful daughter of Hawaiian parents, and her best friends Samora, a beautiful Black Tortolan, and Sasha, a beautiful White Tortolan. All three are 14.
|Faith, Samora, Krystin, Sasha|
I am probably the only one who even notices skin color, and that is going away. We are all equally beloved as children of God. My heart nearly bursts with love every time I am around any of these people. So there will be no more comments about skin color from me.
|Esther from Haiti|
|Kendrew, our next young missionary|
|Terri and Hammie Hill, Snowbirds from Canada|
|Lisa, soon to be baptized we hope|
The branch members and their friends, and even some people who none of us had met before (there were five girls, including these, who came because President Zayas invited their mother to come when he ordered pizza for the seminary class), all showed up with fun and food in mind. We played some Minute to Win It games, listened to background Christmas music from my iPod, ate wonderful food until we were all stuffed, sang Christmas carols in a Flashmob style, had a manger scene enactment, and watched a recording of the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Then everyone grabbed a container or two and scooped up what was left of the food to take home for another meal. There was a lot of very good food, everyone had all they wanted to eat, and when it was all over, there was not a morsel left or thrown away. Gaye cooked all week for the dinner, including a medium-size turkey, and we brought a few cookies home with us. Great! I love it! I don’t feel a need to eat all the leftovers and all the food went to good use.