As I mentioned in the last post, us missionaries were involved in a service project on Thanksgiving (and before and after) of making a nativity at the mission home/office for the members in the district to enjoy this Christmas Season. There were three parts: the figures, the stable, and the lights for up tree trunks and in bushes.
We decided to cut out life-sized figures from plywood, prime them, paint them, and stick them in the ground via back supports and stakes. While we were priming the figures, a YSA branch clerk in the district who just happens to be a self-taught portrait artist came by and offered to help us with the figures.He sketched in everyone’s clothes and what color the missionaries should paint them. Then he came back and did the faces and the lines and shadows that brought them to life.
He also helped make the angel fly and the star glow, and did the lettering for the scripture sign. We think he did an amazing job!
One of the missionaries designed our stable but due to the rules about missionaries not using power tools, we hired two carpenters to help saw the wood and drill the holes. The Elders tried to assemble it but the manual screwdrivers just weren’t up to the job. They did enjoy helping to raise it up once the carpenters had it put together.
A couple of days later one of the branches donated six Indian bales of hay for the stable, not rectangular ones like I was expecting, but each about 12 or 15 feet long. It was decided to use them to make a thatched roof and again, just as we were tying the straw down with twine, a YSA walked by who had helped build this type of roof and helped us use a couple of extra 1 x 2 on top of the straw to hold it down securely. How appreciated and timely!
The main challenge with the lights is that each string had to be individually wired into one of the outside lights, with each outside light being used for only 4 strings. We used blue lights at the bottom of the tree trunks with white lights higher up. Most trees just had lights up as far as the Elders could reach, but again we had a few YSA come and help. Also we put white lights in bushes around and behind the stable. We must have used at least 60 20-meter strings. It’s not quite like Temple Square in SLC, but it’s pretty!
It opened on Monday night, December 7, with a YSA choir singing carols, followed by a missionary choir. The Christmas videos the church as made the last few years were also playing on a monitor nearby. The display will stay open every night through Christmas, with carols being sung Mondays and Christmas Eve. We hope a lot of members come and enjoy it with their families and friends.