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.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

JOURNAL - March 6 - 13

Monday, March 7

I can't believe it - two sunny days in a row. I didn't even need my coat this afternoon; but then I did have on a T-shirt and two sweaters, not to mention my warm stocking tights! Yesterday was a nice, quiet Sunday with Church meetings and study for our lessons this week. This morning was more study and lesson prep, then we made a trip to Costco. We needed to order a sheet cake for the birthdays at Birmingham Institute this Wednesday. The YSA leadership decided they wanted to celebrate birthdays once a month - something new - and we think it is a good idea. While we were at Costco we bought a memory foam topper for our bed. It's not a bad bed, just HARD. We wake up with sore hips every morning, so we're hoping this topper will remedy that. I can't wait to go to bed and try it out!

FHE was fun tonight. Including us, there were 17 people in attendance . Two of the kids have birthdays this week, so after the lesson we each take a turn saying something about the birthday people. It's a really nice tradition. Then we played a game where you close your eyes and someone (the werewolf) "kills" people off. There are other little twists, but "killing people" to knock them out of the game and then trying to guess who the werewolves are is the goal. It really was fun - really!

Tuesday, March 8

I decided I wanted to try making yeast rolls - brave undertaking considering the oven in our flat. I used my mother's great recipe - no Bosch mixer need, just a regular hand mixer and refrigerating the dough overnight. The yummy results are pictured below.
We made our second bus trip to Birmingham City today. The prism in my new classes was not right so we took them back. No problem. The new ones will be ready on Friday. Found a fun street market with rows of fresh produce, fabric, and other stuff. Also toured an old church next to the shopping area.

Thursday, March 10

Institute lessons went well. It always feels like a weight has been lifted when they are over. But then in a couple of days we are back to preparing again. We have discovered it is a big help to listen to previously taped Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants discussions on BYU TV. We are able to get them over the internet and they really have some great insights. We of course have seminary and institute manuals, and other resources that also are big helps. I really like teaching with Power Point presentations. They are pretty easy and fun to prepare, and I think add interest for the class. There are so many wonderful clips from the CES website and Mormon Messages. I try to use them whenever I they are appropriate for the lesson.

Big mail day - got two packages, both items we had ordered. The first was a book from Deseret Book, Jehovah of the World of the Old Testament (we will be teaching OT in the fall), and a cribbage board. We haven't had time to play a game yet, but I hope we can soon.

Friday, March 11

Today we heard reports of the awful earthquake in Japan, and the tsunami that followed. We watched previously recorded news reports on the internet and are so saddened by the death and destruction. I think it will be a while before we know the full extent of the disaster.

We arrived in England exactly 2 months ago today. I'm glad those first two months are over. You wouldn't think England would be much of an adjustment, but it was harder than we anticipated. That being said, we are - as they say here - "settling in" and liking it!

Tonight was the big monthly 5 stake dance at Harborne Chapel. Birmingham Institute is responsible to facilitate them. We had about 300 kids show up - not as many as last time. It went well, and we were able to lock up and leave by midnight.
Dancing in the cultural hall
Mingling in the lobby

Saturday, March 12

We are old pros now at taking the bus to Birmingham city center. Today's trip was to pick up my glasses and check out the train service from Birmingham to London (the train station is at city center). We are planning a trip to London next month and are told the best way to go is by train.

While we were downtown we found a cute little knitting shop. I think I will sign up for a one time Saturday class to learn how to read patterns, and improve my knitting technique. The girl running the shop is YSA age, so who knows - maybe this will turn into a missionary opportunity!

We played our first cribbage game today (I won!). And - by the way - we love the memory foam topper on the bed. No more sore hips! YIPPEE!

Sunday, March 13

Church is always great and to top it off tonight was the CES Fireside with L. Tom Perry. It was really good! There were about 35 kids in attendance - not enough, but those who were there enjoyed the Fireside and visiting with each other.

We found out today that our good friend, Mike Rawlins, was in a very serious dirt bike accident yesterday and is in Intensive Care with multiple fractures and internal injuries. Things like this make it so hard to be so far away. Our kids have been good to notify us by email and we can call to get updates. And, of course, we can and will pray!