The Brits are celebrating American Independence Day by encouraging everyone to support independent businesses today. We are celebrating it at P-day with the missionaries in our Zone. They all met at Harborne Ward for a BBQ. Devon and I went to Costco and bought American style hot dogs, chips, tangerines, and vanilla ice cream. Then we went to Wing Yip (a Chinese importer) to buy 2 cases of A&W Root Beer. I made 6 batches of kettle corn, and K-squares for the party. There were 33 missionaries in attendance including us and another senior couple (the Henry's from Spanish Fork) who heard about the "celebration" and decided to join us. Devon, again, was the chief BBQ'er and did another great job! The event began with a rousing rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner", complete with one elder waving an American flag - so great! Those boys ate, and ate, and ate, and then played soccer, ping pong, air hockey, and foosball for about 3 hours. Everyone - including us - had a great time (if you don't count the sprained ankle one elder got)!!!
After the BBQ we went home for a couple of hours and before returning to the ward for FHE with the YSA. It was so much fun! One of the girls is moving to a new house with three other YSA. She told a hilarious story about planting new flowers in their small garden and discovering a rather large dog buried about 2 inches under the surface. Apparently the dog hadn't been there very long. Her description of the event had everyone in stitches! After the lesson and treats, we played a highly competitive game of Uno - again very fun!
Then we came home and had a nice visit with Stephen's family on Skype. All in all - a great 4th of July!
Wednesday, July 6
Yesterday we spent a wonderful hour with our newest YSA Rep. He just graduated from Seminary and has moved from the biggest ward with the most YSAs to the smallest ward with only two active YSAs, and one of them usually attends another ward where his girlfriend lives. This is quite a change for Sharoon, but he has a wonderful spirit and attitude, and is excited for his new assignment. We are so grateful to have him on the "team".
This is the end of the quarter, so I have been busy yesterday and today preparing the quarterly CfYA report. Between the report, the minutes of our Advisory Committee Meeting, and general paperwork catch up, I have been really busy on the computer - so much so that Devon prepared and taught the whole lesson at Institute tonight. Now I just need to find time to catch up on ironing!
Thursday, July 7
Today is our third trip to Gadfield Elm in the past 5 weeks. This time we went with half of the missionaries in our mission (the other half went yesterday). Also different this time was that President Ogden was the narrator. Previously we had Brother David Head, a senior missionary at the GFE Historical Site. This time we also got to see the barn at Benbow Farm where Wilford Woodruff preached many sermons. The owners of the property, now known as Hill Farm, are very friendly to the church. They are very proud of and respect their property's historical significance. Mrs. Manning though not a member of our church, is an amazing historian regarding the early history of the church in England.
Another view of Benbow Pond.
President Charles Ogden speaking to the missionaries at Benbow Pond.
The sister on the far left just arrived from Zimbabwe.
These Missionaries represent half our mission.
Friday, July 8
Today we did another missionary flat check. This flat was a disaster! I have to give the Elders credit for trying, but that's about it. The flat itself is in bad condition from general neglect by the landlord. So bad, in fact, that the mission is looking for a new flat for them. They have given notice and this is their last month in this place. They can hardly wait to move! I hope they do a better job of cleaning the new one than they did this old one. We will see...........
Tonight was the monthly YSA multi stake dance. We had about 275 kids - less than usual, and that was nice. It didn't feel so packed with hot, sweaty bodies. They had their usual DJ in the cultural hall playing the usual music, and another one in the Institute room playing Motown and a little older music. So many of the kids loved the older music. It was nice to have it spread out a little.
Saturday, July 9
This is a red letter day - got all the ironing done! I'm pretty much caught up with everything and it feels really good. Tonight we went to a house warming event for four YSA students that moved to a new house. Probably about 30 kids showed up for the party and all seemed to be having a good time. We stay a short time, had nice visits with the kids, toured the house, and saw where the dead dog had been buried. It was a nice evening.
Sunday, July 10
Oh my goodness...we overslept and were late to church! I usually can't sleep past 7:30, so it was a shock! Thankfully, Sacrament meeting is last, so we didn't miss much. We probably had 30 kids in our YSA Sunday School class today - the largest number ever. Many were visitors. Some that came to the house warming stayed overnight, and we had visitors from Germany, Brussels, and (believe it or not) Highland, Utah. Yep - one girl served her mission here and two friends came with her to visit England. Small world!!