This week is off to a great start. Our lesson prep is well on its way, FHE was tons of fun last night, and spring is definitely in the air. The flowers are starting to bloom and the sun is shinning at least part of every day and sometimes all day - can't remember the last rainy day. It really is beautiful! And Mike continues to be stable. We rode the bus to the Bull Ring (city centre shopping malls) to go to the Apple Store. Needed to reset my IPad and didn't know how to do that. Turns out it is just a simple click. While we were there we did a little shopping. I found two new skirts and Devon got a new pair of pants. He was thrilled to find some ready made, not too expensive pants in inseam size 33 - hard to find that size at home. They are perfect!
In the late afternoon we met with the sister missionaries to teach Rita, a YSA aged investigator, and Sven, the German man we have taught before. Both are just hungry for the gospel and feel such a change in their lives since taking the lessons. Sven went to church for the first time last week and said he can't remember feeling so happy. Both have baptism dates scheduled. It's very exciting.
Wednesday, March 23 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALLISON - 10 years old!
We went to our first Missionary District Meeting. Seems we should have been going to these all along, but no one told us. Including us there was one sister team, 5 teams of elders, and the Zone Leaders. They had a great meeting, then took pictures, and went to McDonald's for lunch (we skipped McD's).
Then, in the evening, we had Institute at Birmingham. It was my turn to teach. There was a new YSA man there who was a bit of a problem in class - always had comments and usually not appropriate to what was being taught. I tried to be polite, but finally when he stated that he disagreed with one scripture, I just said, "Please see me after class," and went on. After class he came up to me to voice his opinion and right behind him was one of our returned missionary students coming to my aid - a knight in shining armor! The RM took over and handled the new student perfectly while I listened - did a much better job than I could have done. He sensed I would need help and came to my rescue - a true hero!
Birmingham Institute Class
Thursday, March 24
Today was another beautiful spring day - blue skies and warm temperatures. I'm afraid it is just a tease - hear a return to clouds and cooler temperatures is just around the corner. Oh well, we'll enjoy this weather while we can. Had a nice time in Lichfield tonight, as usual. He have heard that the mission is expecting a new senior missionary couple to arrive in May, and that they might be assigned to Lichfield. So we are wondering if that will change our assignment to teach Institute there. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Friday, March 25
The Elders assigned to Stourbridge Ward asked us to visit a recent YSA convert with them today, and we, of course, said yes. We had a nice visit with Tasha. She is the only active member in her family. She has been meeting with the missionaries and attending her home ward on a regular basis, and coming to Institute in Birmingham. We don't get to talk with her much at Institute so it was really nice to get to know her a little better. She rides the bus to Institute - an hour's ride each way plus a 15 minute walk from the bus stop to her home.
Stourbridge is a small city about 30 miles from our flat in Edgbaston. The one attraction they boast of is the Red House Glass Cone. Around the turn of the century making glass was a major industry with many glass cones in England. Today there are only 4 left. This one in Stourbridge has been restored and is now a tourist destination.
It is called the Red House Glass Cone because it is made of red bricks. It is huge, and one can only imagine the temperatures the workers endured while working in there.
The furnace was in the center with many working stations around the perimeter.
To the back of the glass cone was this canal. It was made so barges could bring coal to the glass cone. There is an inlet going into the cone so they could deliver the coal as close as possible.
Sunday, March 27
Yesterday we rode the bus to city centre again - this time for my knitting lesson. A sweet, young girl, Clair, gave me some great tips and instruction. I was mostly doing it right - just a few things learned that will hopefully yield nicer results.
Today was another great Sunday which included a nice (and needed) afternoon nap, and attendance at a fireside with President Ogden about missionary work. It was just what I needed. He spoke plainly about the importance of loving people and bearing witness of the joy the gospel has brought to our lives. I can certainly testify of that! I don't have the perspective of one who has lived without the church, but I can clearly recognize the influence and blessings of the church in my life. I receive frequent confirmation of the truth and goodness taught through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is one of my greatest blessings!