Still spring break here, so attendance at FHE was down again. The girl who was giving the lesson called us late in the afternoon to tell us she was ill and not going to be there to give the lesson. So, we opened "Preach My Gospel" and quickly decided to use the section on developing the Christ-like attribute of Faith. It turned out to be a really good lesson as we read certain scriptures with the YSA and discussed how they applied to our lives. It proves that the spirit teaches better than the best prepared lesson.
Tuesday, April 26
We are very busy today with final preparations for the YSA Preston Temple trip scheduled for the 28th and 29th. The count of who is going keeps changing: we add a few then lose a few. Hopefully, it will all get sorted out tomorrow night at Institute.
Wednesday, April 27
Found out that my Uncle Tom Adams passed away today. He is married to my mother's youngest sister, Wilma. He was in his 80's and had been in the hospital for several days and was not expected to recover. Still it is a sad loss. It's hard to be so far away when these things happen. Our prayers are with Aunt Wilma and their family. I'm grateful for two great sisters that keep us informed about things at home, even if it is bad news.
Low attendance at Institute tonight - again probably due to so many kids still away for spring break. Still it was good to see those who were there!
Thursday, April 28
Met at the Harborne Ward about 6:00 p.m. to start the drive to Preston. We had two minivans filled to capacity with 30 people, their luggage, and some food for breakfast the next morning. The drive took a little over 2 hours. We were blessed with not much traffic and made it there faster than anticipated. After checking into our rooms, a couple of the adult chaperons went to pick up pizza and KFC for dinner. By the time they got back with the food it was almost 11:00 p.m. We ate, had a short devotional and instructions for the morning, and were in bed a little after midnight.
Friday, April 29 - the Royal Wedding Day
Woke up with the help of our alarm clock at 6:00 a.m. so we could be downstairs in time to set out the muffins, pastries, fruit, and juice for breakfast at 7:15. By 8:00 we were headed up the hill - a very short walkable distance to the temple for our 8:30 a.m. baptism session. What a special treat to be with the YSA in the House of the Lord!
After pictures, we walked down the hill a short distance to the Preston Stake Center which was showing the live broadcast of the Royal Wedding in their Cultural Hall. We watched a few minutes, but most of the YSA were not very interested, except to see what the bride's dress looked like. Next was lunch together in the temple cafeteria. Everyone here serves fish and chips, including the temple! We opted for cream of asparagus soup and a roll.
Josh, our YSA president, works at the MTC (Mission Training Center - directly across from the temple accommodations where we stayed the night before). He had prearranged a tour of the MTC for us. The facility is really nice. Currently they have 41 missionaries there, but have room for about double that amount. At the end of our tour President and Sister Walker - MTC Mission President and his wife - spoke to us. Previously they were the President and Matron of the Salt Lake City Temple. They shared some special thoughts and stories specifically about the SLC Temple.
The highlight of the day was remarks from Sister Walker, who is the daughter of President Gordon B. and Marjorie Hinckley. She shared with us that today, April 29, 2011, would have been her parents' 74th wedding anniversary. She told about their humble circumstances 74 years ago, their wedding for "time and eternity" in the Salt Lake Temple, and their little four day honeymoon to Zion's National Park. It made today's event in London pale in comparison. There is no question in my heart which "Royal Wedding" memories I will treasure. How I love President and Sister Hinckley!
Before we started our drive back to Birmingham, we met in the lounge area of the accommodation building for a testimony meeting. It was a perfect ending to the YSA Temple Trip!
As soon as we got back to Birmingham, we got in our car and drove to Lichfield for a Mission Farewell Party for one of our YSA, James Knight, who is leaving for the Provo MTC very early Monday morning. He has been called to the Hungary Mission and will be a GREAT missionary.
Saturday, April 30
We had the privilege of participating in a Stake YM/YW conference at Birmingham Stake today. The YSA were putting on the morning workshops. They found out yesterday afternoon that the YSA's doing the workshop on Education were not going to be there, so they asked us to fill in. Our original assignment was to speak for 5 minutes each at the close of the morning session. It just happens that I already had thoughts prepared for that assignment on the topic of Education, so it was easy to expand a little to fill 15 minutes. I ended up teaching it for three, fifteen minute sessions and it went very well.
In the evening we attended a baptism for two very nice investigators that we helped teach a few lessons to. Devon was privileged to baptism them both. The Sister Missionaries taught Sven, our German friend, and the Elders taught Angie, a lovely English woman. I've never met two people with such open hearts - both amazed at the joy the gospel has brought into their lives. They will be great new members in the Harborne Ward.
Elder Clark (from Idaho), Angie, Elder Brook (from the UK)
Sister Clark (from No. California), Sven, Sister Hedemark (from Sweden)
Sunday, May 1 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM
Beautiful, sunny Fast Sunday. Devon confirmed Sven and Elder Brooke confirmed Angie. We had two less-active YSA attend church today and it was great to see and talk with them. They are both nice kids - one is going to school and says that is why he can't come all the time, the other wants to come but doesn't have transportation. Today a member gave him a ride. I hope they will keep coming and also try to come to Institute. Another young man, Terry, came to church today. He comes to Institute almost every week, but rarely comes to church on Sunday. He couldn't get a recommend to go on the temple trip because he doesn't come to church. Maybe that helped him realize he should be at church as well as Institute. He is a nice kid - hope he keeps coming to church.