Tuesday, December 24, 2013


HOUSTON, TX—During last Saturday’s Houston South Spanish Branch Christmas activity, Sister Heidi Conner, a missionary serving in the branch, was cast as the Virgin Mary for the nativity reenactment. “We just thought,” said Sister Tevez, wife of Branch President Tomás Tevez, “that a sister missionary would be the closest thing to Jesus’ pure and holy mother.”

Sister Conner, who very hesitantly accepted the role, said, “well, it was a little awkward, I mean especially since Brother Sandoval was Joseph.” Sister Conner continued, “I mean, my first thought was why not just have his wife, Sister Sandoval be Mary, but somehow that just didn’t fit what they had in mind.”

Several branch members reported that this year’s reenactment was “especially spiritual.” “I just thought it was perfect this year,” said Sister Alvarez, adding that “Mary was just so lovely and pure.” Another branch member reported that “it really gave you a sense of how difficult the whole thing must have been for Mary, I mean, you could just see all of the discomfort, pain, and awkwardness on Mary’s face. It was powerful.”

Only moments before the live nativity, Sister Conner and her companion, Sister Brooks had a short but rather intense discussion about the Branch’s request. Sister Brooks seemed less concerned about her companion’s interaction with the married Brother Sandoval and more concerned about why she was not chosen. The discussion only ended when President Tevez invited Sister Brooks to participate as “the loveliest, blondest, and most beautiful angel shepherds had ever seen.”

When the Mission President found out about the reenactment, he immediately sent an addendum to all missionary White Handbooks prohibiting “all participation in live nativity reenactments or even being in the room where one is going on.” When the local Stake President found out, his only comment was, “well, that is still better than the Sunday when the branch had several baptisms and so they ordered pizza delivered as refreshments; we’ll count this as progress.” 

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