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, September 4, 2011

JOURNAL - August 29 - September 4

Monday, August 29

The weather has been cooler - Devon would say cooler, I would say colder! We've had mostly cloudy skies, and off and on rain. You can definitely feel fall in the air and the leaves are starting to drop. I bundled up (Devon laughed at me) with scarf and gloves for our walk in Cannon Hill Park. I was warm enough, except for my ears. I'm going to have to find some ear muffs! Today is a "bank holiday" - don't know why and neither does anyone else, but all are glad to be off work. Some of the bigger stores are open. There was a carnival in Cannon Hill Park with lots of the usual thrill and kiddie rides. The park was full of people enjoying the day. In one area of the carnival they brought in sand for the kids to play in, and placed beach chairs around for people to sit in. The area for the carnival was fenced off with a short fence. They charged a pound to even get in to the carnival area, so we just kept walking!

FHE was...interesting. This last weekend was a big YSA National Convention in Nottingham from Friday through today, so most of the YSA were on their way home from the convention. We didn't expect many to show up, and we were right. One girl, who has to ride the train and bus an hour and a half each way, was there. Also there were about 7 kids who don't usually come to our FHE as they live with their family and have FHE with them. They were at the church to help take down the big tent rented for the wedding last Saturday. They stayed and had FHE with us, so it ended up being a fun time.

Tuesday, August 30

I really enjoy my aerobic workout session from BYU TV - like it better than walking in Cannon Hill Park (my ears don't get cold). There are a couple of internet sites I have really enjoyed since being in England. One is BYU TV, the other is the Mormon Channel. I've only recently downloaded the Mormon Channel App on my IPad and I love it! Some nights, after I've crawled into bed, I'll put on one of the conference talks, or articles from the Ensign and lay there and listen to it. And if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep, I'll plug in the ear phones and listen - love it!

I was able to catch up with paper work, emails, notes, and reminders to YSA and some of our stake leaders and others involved with the YSA. I am amazed at the amount of computer time that is needed to keep everything organized.

This afternoon we got a panic call from the Sheldon Ward Elders. They had a teaching appointment with an investigator (a woman) and couldn't find anyone to go teach with them. So we jumped in our car and picked them up. Much to everyone's disappointment, the investigator wasn't home when we got there. So we called one of our less active YSA from that ward and talked with him. His mom didn't want us to drop by, so that was out. Then we decided to just drop in on another less-active YSA that has very active parents - we knew they wouldn't mind if we just dropped by. When we got there he wasn't home, but while we were talking with his dad, the young man called home. I talked with him and invited him to our Institute activity tomorrow night. He said he "might" come, so we'll see. I've been trying to meet him for the entire time we've been here with no luck. He doesn't return my calls, but he did accept my friend request on Facebook. Facebook is the best way to message these kids!

Wednesday, August 31

The YSA from Birmingham, Lichfield, and Coventry Stakes have been asked to sing a musical item for the big tri-stake conference with Elder Bednar in a couple of weeks. Tonight at Institute was the first practice for Birmingham Stake. The other stakes are practicing on their own and we'll all get together to polish it up on the 10th - the day before the conference. I promised pizza after the practice, so we went to Costco and bought the pizza before heading over to the church. We had an Activity Committee meeting before the practice and it was great! It was pure inspiration to call this new committee, which is separate from the Ward Reps. I think it will really improve our activities. The practice was great. We had about 18 show up to sing tonight and others that came for the pizza. There will be many more for the actual conference in 2 weeks as many of the students will be back by then. I can hardly wait for us to get back into the full swing of things with all the kids back.

Thursday, September 1

Today was Zone Meeting in Coventry. We picked up the Elders from Harborne and drove about 45 minutes to the meeting. I am in awe of these young people. Their testimonies and devotion to the gospel are so inspiring. It is really fun to see them together. They are normal young men and women, and really have fun goofing off with each other, but also love being here doing missionary work. There is sadness in the hearts of those about to finish their mission and go home - they don't like to talk about leaving. Some would extend their time if they could, but our mission president doesn't encourage that. After the meeting we all went to a Chinese buffet in downtown Coventry - so yummy! I won't have to eat again today.

Friday, September 2

Busy day cleaning the flat and making a berry pie for the Senior Missionary pot luck tonight. Devon had his driving lesson in preparation for taking the driving test to get his license. There are a few things he needs to work on. They are very fussy about checking in your rear view and side mirrors every time you change lanes, or make a turn. It has to be done before you signal. He mainly needs to work on that. The instructor said to practice, and take another lesson in a few weeks. What a racket!!! She charges  £50.00 ($81.09) per lesson.

We had eight senior couples participate in our pot luck dinner tonight that was held at Wylde Green Chapel in Sutton Coldfield. It is on the same property as the mission office. Unfortunately, President and Sister Ogden couldn't attend - she had her knee "scoped" about 3 weeks ago and is having a lot of pain and problems with it - worse than before the scope. The rest of us had a great time visiting and getting to know each other better. I'm so grateful we are starting to have these get-togethers. We all need the sociality with each other! Oh...and the pie was a huge hit. I thought one senior elder was going to lick the pie pan!

Saturday, September 3

Woke up to cloudy skies after several days of beautiful sunshine, but that's okay. In the morning we rode the bus to city center. I had a question for the girls at the knitting shop - how to make a "3 whole buttonhole?" Cute little Clair turned on her computer, pulled up a tutorial on YouTube, and we both learned how to do it! Duh...why didn't I do that at home? Then we looked in a couple of stores for ear muffs (for me) but with no luck. The stores won't have any until the end of September. It was so crowded downtown we took the bus home as soon as we could. You would not believe how many people go shopping here on Saturday!

I wasn't feeling very well in the afternoon so decided to lay down for a little nap. No sooner had I fallen asleep than the sisters called in a panic needing someone to go teach with them. The member they had scheduled to teach with them apparently forgot, because they couldn't get in touch with her. So we quickly changed our clothes and left. It was a wonderful hour discussing the commandments with the cute African couple we have taught before. So far they have fully accepted and embraced every lesson and have set a baptism date. His boss has finally agreed to rearrange his work schedule so they can start attending church. Next week the Elder Bednar conference will be their first week at church - what a great way to start!

Devon was thrilled to be able to watch BYU's first football game live on the internet! The picture was a little blurry, but no complaints. They beat Ole Miss in the closing minutes of the game! GO COUGARS!

Sunday, September 4

Still cloudy and a little cooler. Church was wonderful today! We called a new YSA Counselor over missionary work - Sarah Hamilton. She is a returned missionary, law school graduate, and also currently the YW President in our ward. She accepted the call and is excited to be on the Council. She is going to be great to work with. We are so excited to have a full presidency up and running very soon!

We ended another great week here in England with Skype conversations with some of our families at home. What a blessing to be able to talk and and see them frequently!