This week we are saying goodbye to two YSA that are returning home. Samantha is an exchange student from the USA (she calls me "Mama Tufts" - love it!). Miro is from...all over (born in Finland, lived in Spain and France, and went to school here). He is graduating and returning to Finland for 6 months of military service and then will serve a mission. Both of these wonderful people have shared their strong testimonies in FHE lessons in the last couple of weeks. I can't think of a better parting gift and way to remember them than through their testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. They are just amazing and my heart aches to have them leave.
Wednesday, May 25
We are starting the summer term of Institute and will be teaching the same lesson in Birmingham and Lichfield each week. This will cut down on the lesson prep time. We've decided to try team teaching each week as the class time has gone from 50 to 75 minutes. We have fewer classes in the summer so they need to be longer to meet the course requirements. We are teaching a course called "The Gospel and the Productive Life." It went well tonight, except we couldn't get the speakers to work so just had to play the video segments over the computer. It think they could hear it good enough. The university students are still in their exam period, but even so we had a good turn out. There were a couple of YSA we haven't seen for a while, so it was great to have them there. One in particular said she plans to come every week. She is a little on the fringes, so I'm really glad to see here come! Afterward she told me she enjoyed the lesson - warms my heart!
Thursday, May 26
Another first for me today! I rode the bus to Bull Ring all by myself. Devon had an opportunity to play 9 holes of golf with one of the YSA, so I went to the knitting shop for a little instruction. It worked out well for us both - despite the off and on rain. Thankfully, the speakers worked for our lesson at Lichfield tonight - found the reset button. Amazing how one little button can make such a difference!
Friday, May 27
Today is John and Gemma's wedding day - a very sweet YSA couple from Lichfield Stake. Their civil ceremony was in the morning at Tamworth Ward and then they drove to the Preston Temple with their family for their sealing later in the day. John is a returned missionary - Gemma is a convert of about 3 years and the only member in her family. Tomorrow will be the reception.
Some of our cute Lichfield YSA - Renee, Catherine, Tish, Sarah, and Rachael
We rode the bus to Five Ways shopping center to look for a hand mixer (the one in our flat is worthless - the beaters won't stay in.) It's the first time we've taken the bus there and we were pleased that we got there and back with no problems. We really are "bus illiterate" - especially compared with the YSA. They go everywhere on the bus.
When we got home there was the sweetest surprise waiting for us - a letter from our Highland 23rd Ward Primary with several pictures and notes from the Primary kids. It made our day...and made me a little teary! We so rarely get mail since everything is on email these days. It was a real treat!
Worked on next weeks Institute lesson on the Holy Ghost. Mormon Messages have become my favorite teaching aid! I watched one tonight with Elder Henry B. Eying that was wonderful. He says we should ask ourselves each day, "Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us?" He suggests we withdraw from the distractions of the world and take a few minutes to ponder our day and the many ways our lives have been touched by the Holy Ghost. I certainly need to do that.
Saturday, May 28
We have been debating the issue of whether we should buy a small TV or not for the past 5 months and finally decided to do it! So today we went to Costco and to our surprise the little 22" TV we were interested in was reduced by 30 pounds. We took that as a sign it was meant to be and we made the purchase. The cable company will come next week to hook up the line.
We went to John and Gemma's reception, then met the elders to help teach a new convert lesson to Angie, and then went to the evening session of Stake Conference (which was great). After coming home we Skyped with Logan - such fun!
Sunday, May 29
Today was Regional Conference. It was a satellite broadcast from SLC just for the UK. President Monson, L. Tom Perry, Barbara Thompson, and Elder Kerron were the speakers and it was really good. The goal is to double the church membership here in the UK in the next 10 years. We ran into some friends Devon worked with in the Alpine School District, Paula Fugal and her husband, Guy. They have been here for 4 weeks as the new Public Affairs Missionaries and will travel throughout the UK and even to the continent. We are hoping to have some social events with them and the other senior couples that are serving here. So far we haven't done any socializing other than with the YSA. It will be a good thing to interact with the other senior couples once in a while. We got to talk over Skype with our friends, Cheryl and Ken Fugal, who are in London on a Family History Mission. It is fun to compare notes about our mission experiences. We will end our day with our kids on Skype - such a blessing!