We have been called to serve a CES (Church Education System) mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the England Birmingham Mission. Our assignment is to work with the Young Single Adults - ages 18 to 30 years - teaching religion classes, supporting their activities, assisting in the day to day running of the institute, and anything else as directed by our Mission President. Our 18 month mission begins on December 27, 2010.

Monday, February 28, 2011

JOURNAL - February 21 - 27

Monday, February 21

What a great FHE tonight with the YSA! Tash gave a great lesson about fellowshipping new and less active members. For the activity Brother and Sister Cardenas did a cooking demonstration: potato taco, tomato salad, garlic bread and fresh squeezed lemonade. They wanted to show the students some inexpensive and easy things to fix - it was all really good! We had 12 members, 4 investigators, 4 missionaries (not counting us) and the Cardenas'. Everyone had a great time!

Potato Taco

Just a few of our cute YSA and the sister missionaries.

Thursday, February 24
Tuesday was a cloudy, rainy study day - nothing new to report. Wednesday was Institute at Birmingham. Today was a glorious spring day - sunshine and all! Unfortunately rain is expected for tomorrow:( 

We participated in a missionary discussion today taught by the Sister Missionaries here in Birmingham. They are amazing and always have someone to teach! Today it was Zsuzzanna, a very nice girl from Romania who is here as a nanny. She has such a sweet spirit, and has had some wonderful experiences with the Holy Ghost. She is going home for two weeks, so it will be interesting to talk with her when she gets back. Institute at Lichfield tonight was really nice. One sweet young man has been having trouble getting his mission application papers processed for the last 3 months. A couple of things have "mucked it up," as he puts it, but he has been assure it is in SLC and will be given top priority. He thinks the call should come next week. I certainly hope so!

I've felt a little "down" the last couple of days - not sure why. Sometimes we feel a little out of the loop.We love the kids and the time we spend with them - they are wonderful! But we have very limited interaction with other senior missionaries or adults. Brother and Sister Kleijweg are flying here from Holland in about 3 weeks to give us I&S (Institute & Seminary) training. We're looking forward to that.

But relief came today in the form of an email from Gwen Dodge. She shared a story/thought she heard at her Institute class and it was just the encouragement I needed to hear. The Lord knew exactly what I needed! So, I'm ready to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get on with the work!

Friday, February 25

Tonight was the Birmingham Institute Cultural Night activity. The attendance was fair, but everyone had a great time. Four continents were represented with reports and food from their culture. Our Chinese investigators did the food for China and it was delicious. We ate Vegimite sandwiches from Australia - actually wasn't bad. Europe did a wonderful nut, chocolate, raisin cookie - yummy. We did North America - kettle corn and rice krispie squares. We also taught them the Virginia Reel. It was a lot of fun

Saturday, February 26

Today was our first ride on the city bus. A one-way ticket normally is £1.80, but for us it was free with our senior passes. I must admit we weren't terribly brave. We took the bus to Birmingham City Center - a straight shot of less than 3 miles to a huge shopping center called Bull Ring. It was packed with people -  I've never seen so many people shopping. There are tons of stores - big and small - some in big malls, others just on streets with walking only access. Our main goal was to go to SpecSavers to get some piano glasses for me (I couldn't find mine when it was time to leave). Bradley contacted my optometrist for my prescription and emailed it to me.  The glasses were made in one hour and only cost £25 ($40.27). That is the lowest priced glasses they had. The most expensive I saw was £125. I didn't need an exam, but if I had it would have been an additional £10 (with a coupon). So far, socialized medicine has been good to us.

We enjoyed our evening listening to a live audio broadcast of the BYU/San Diego State basketball game on the internet. They won - go Cougars!

Sunday, February 27

Very nice Sunday, except we found out that probably neither of the dates we booked for a Birmingham Temple trip will work. Back to the drawing board for that one! We drove an hour to a multi-stake Fireside at Leicester Stake which was very nice. While there we met the couple serving with the Leicester CfYA - Tim and Ann Corbin - a very nice English couple that knew the Karrens from their youth mission days in England. They are submitting their mission papers this week and are very excited. Most of our YSA from Lichfield were there. A few of our Birmingham kids arrived just as the meeting was ending. They carpooled and one of the cars broke down on the way. A tow truck was coming, but they needed us to pick up two of the girls and take them home to Solihull, which we did.