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, April 17, 2011


Monday, April 11

Today is the first day of our two week spring break in England. We are still in Canada finishing up business after Devon's mother's passing a week ago.

First on today's agenda was to meet Gwen and Carol to sort through Grandma's things and clean out her room at the care facility in Raymond. Grandma and all of us have been so blessed with the amazing and loving care she has received. Many of the employees told us how much they enjoyed her sweet spirit and beautiful smile. She was not only well cared for, but also loved - such a blessing.  The rest of our day was spent with Gwen and Carol in Taber working on business for Grandma. It was all pretty simple, still there are a few things to finalize and the funeral expenses to pay.

Marianne, Emily, and Lori's family decided to drive to Waterton as it may be quite a while, if ever, before they return to Canada now that Grandma is gone. Much to their disappointment Waterton was literally "closed" - all the stores and even the old Prince of Wales Hotel are closed until May, so they went to Cardston and did a little tourist shopping.

Our grandkids have loved swimming in the hotel pool every evening, and we have loved watching them - then we all fall happily and exhausted into bed.

Tuesday, April 12 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDA

Emily and Marianne drove safely home today. We slept in - what a treat! Did a little shopping with Lori's family for souvenirs for the kids, ordered pizza, and watched the kids swim. It has been wonderful to spend this time with family, and Gwen and Carol.

Wednesday, April 13

Lori and family left for Idaho to visit with Eric's brother's family this morning. Gwen and Carol left a littler later. We are ready to go, too, but our flight isn't until tomorrow at 6:15 p.m. We did go back to Taber one last time to get the contents from Grandma's Safety Deposit Box and pay a bill at the Taber City offices. On the way back to Lethbridge we drove through Barnwell and Devon reminisced about his early school years there - such a nice place to grow up. He has many cherished memories of those years.

We went to dinner with our dear friends Howard and Edi, and another of Devon's school "chums", Blaine Burbank and his wife Judy - so much fun! While we were there we looked out the window of the restaurant and saw that it was snowing. Gotta love Alberta in the spring!

Friday, April 15

We woke up Thursday morning to 6 inches of white, slushy snow. By the time we needed to leave to catch our flight back to the UK, the roads were all cleared and we had a smooth drive to the airport. Our flight was about 30 minutes late leaving, but due to a strong tail wind we arrived on time (10:15 a.m. UK time). I have to say...I love Air Canada! Our flight wasn't full, so the two of us shared the middle section of 4 seats. I actually was able to lie down (somewhat) and sleep 4-5 hours. Sweet! Air Canada seems to have a little more leg room than I remember on other airlines, and the food was really good! 

I wondered how I would feel about coming back. When we arrived in January it was hard. We missed our family and were keenly aware that we were in a new strange place. But returning today felt like coming home - back to a familiar place that we have grown to love. We are exhausted and have tons of laundry, but feel so grateful for all our blessings: a wonderful family, good health, great friends, the opportunity and resources to be able to serve this mission, and especially for the atonement of Jesus Christ that will enable us to be with those we love most forever.

Saturday, April 16

Beautiful day here in England! This morning we attended the wedding of Chris and Aimee - two of our YSA kids from Lichfield. England does not recognize the temple ceremony as a legal union, so the couples have a civil ceremony first. Chris and Aimee's civil ceremony was at Wylde Green Chapel and was lovely. They had a formal printed program: welcome by the Stake President, opening hymn (#85), opening prayer, marriage ceremony performed by the Stake President, signing of the register, closing hymn (#3), and closing prayer. A government representative was present to witness the wedding and signing of the register, which is done by having all the wedding party, parents, and Stake President leave the chapel to go to a room to do the signing. After the closing prayer we all went outside for pictures. When that was done we went to the cultural hall, which was nicely decorated, and had a sit down luncheon with tons of delicious food served buffet style. The best man, groom, and bride's father all gave remarks and toasts. Then the couple, their families, and a few friends made the two hour drive to the temple to be sealed. The ceremony started about 11:00 a.m. and we left the church about 3:30 p.m. Quite a busy wedding day!

This evening we attended a baptism for Rita and Daniel - not related except through their love of the gospel. It was pretty typical except for a beautiful cello solo by Lucy, one of our Birmingham YSA. I accompanied Lucy and conducted the hymns. We were involved in some of the missionary discussions with Rita, and Daniel is a YSA student here from China. His friend, Edward, who will be baptized next month gave an amazing opening prayer.
Sister Hedemark (Sweden), Rita, Sister Clark (California), and Daniel.

Sunday, April 17

I can't believe how wonderful the weather is - it's a balmy spring day. Everything is out in bloom - all the flowering trees from white to different shades of pink, the tulips, and many flowers. Pretty pansies have been planted in planter boxes along the roadway. It is just beautiful! We decided to be brave and do our first home visits to a couple of less active YSA. The man at the first door we knocked on took one look at our name tags and shut the door...but it's not as bad as it sounds - we knocked on the wrong door! We thought it was 134 and it was 136. The two YSA we intended to visit were both home and very sweet. They didn't invite us in, but they were friendly and, we think, happy to see us. Let's hope they will come to FHE, Institute, or church.