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, October 16, 2011

JOURNAL - September 10 - 16

Monday, October 10 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID

Sister Clark and Sister Whitaker came over today for P-day - so fun! We had taco soup and homemade rolls for lunch. Also made yummy cinnamon rolls. The sisters used our computers to do their weekly email and we had tons of fun playing Bananagrams and Wizard. Such a fun day!

Family Home Evening was great, as usual. Terry gave an amazing lesson and shared such a sweet testimony. He is a quiet young man in his early to mid 20's and has been a member for about 5 years. He doesn't come often to church, but he comes to all the YSA things. We asked him to be the FHE coordinator about 4 months ago and he's done a great job. The responsibility has really helped him to feel a part of things. He signed up to do the lesson a couple of times previously, but backed out at the last minute. I love Terry and so does everyone else!

Tuesday, October 11

Spent most of the day preparing my lesson for tomorrow. Will I ever get faster at doing this???
The YW President in our Harborne Ward is also one of our YSA. In fact, she is the CfYA counselor over missionary work. She asked me to come to YW tonight and take pictures of the girls.

Not sure of everyone's name, but the girls on either end of the back row are our YSA. On the left is Sarah and on the right is Gabriella (one of our summer YSA brides).
Most, but not all of the Harborne YM and YW.
Cute picture of Megan.

Wednesday, October 12

We went to District Meeting today. Elder Yaskell, the District Leader, asked us to come talk about working with the YSA. Two or three of the wards are having good correlation between the YSA ward reps and missionaries - the others seem to struggle with it. The really small wards struggle with missionary efforts in general. It doesn't help that our reps in one ward don't even go to church on Sunday. So, we had a really good discussion about ways to improve missionary efforts. The goal of missionary work is to bring people to Christ. I think that means everybody - non-members, less actives, and members. We should be an influence for everyone! We are encouraging the full-time missionaries to invite certain of the less active YSA to go teaching with them. When they do, the less actives have amazing experiences. We are also pushing the concept of every ONE finding and fellowshipping ONE - the old concept of "keep it simple." We are also trying to encourage the bishops to give a responsibility/assignment to every YSA. It helps when you feel needed and have a responsibility to motivate you. We are seeing amazing things happening in Harborne Ward and the missionaries in the other wards are anxious to see that kind of cooperative progress. Now on to some picturess from District Meeting:
Stourbridge District
Back row: Cauffman, Quilter, Tufts, Tufts, Clark, Whitaker, Yaskell (DL)
Front row: Von Brughan holding Querubin, Blatter, Anim and Collins (kneeling).
Me and my "girls" - Sister Whitaker and Sister Clark.

The big, exciting news for the day was that one of our YSA, Jonny Chan got his mission call and will be going to Taiwan. He enters the Provo MTC December 6th. He's very excited and a little in shock. He'll be a wonderful missionary! CfYA Council Meeting and Institute were great tonight - 56 kids, including two we haven't seen out for a long time. They really enjoyed it and said they plan to keep coming to Institute and going to church. It was a very good, though exhausting, day.

 Friday, October 14

Busy day on the road today. It started with flat check in Redditch at 10:00 am. After that we went to Kidderminister for another flat check. That completes our round of checks for this transfer, but next transfers are in two weeks, so the process repeats. Between checks we had about 30 minutes so I had Devon take me to a knit shop in Kidderminister that I read about. I'm impressed! It's much bigger than the one in Birmingham and their prices are much less. The owner is very friendly and an experienced knitter, so if I ever start a new project that's where I'll go to get the yarn. We grabbed some yummy Big Mac's to eat in the car while we drove back to Birmingham arriving in time for our much needed hair cuts. I'm growing mine out and it is driving me crazy. Oh well - another adventure! We had a nice supper of left over taco soup and salad, rested a little, and were back at Harborne at 7:00. The sisters were meeting some less active YSA there and we thought we would need to unlock the building for them, however, the YM/YW from the stake were there for an activity, so the doors were already open. We visited for a few minutes and then drove over to Solihull Ward for Pete's farewell party. He leaves for his mission to the Dominican Republic on Monday. I took Chelsey's Nutella cupcakes and they were a hit!

Birmingham YSA called to missions this year: left to right - Dave Arnold (Geneva Switzerland), Pete Wilkinson (Dominican Republic), and Jonny Chan (Taiwan). All three are from Solihull Ward.

We also had arranged to meet (at the farewell party) the new CfYA supervisors/trainers for our Mission and two other missions in England. Brother and Sister Jolliffe returned from service as mission president in New Zealand in April and have just been called to this new position. They are from Wales, but he works at the church offices in Solihull. It is exciting to think that we may actually have some meetings with other CfYA senior couples to share ideas and experiences.

Saturday, October 15

We woke up, showered, put on our jeans, and stayed home all day. We worked on our lessons for next week (we are each teaching a lesson), Devon finished his Sacrament talk for tomorrow, I did some laundry, and we had nice Skype conversations with some of our kids. To end the day we listened to the BYU football game live over the internet. Happy day...they won!! It was worth staying up to 12:30 am, besides the other tenants upstairs were having a house warming party and it was a little noisy. We have new neighbors across the hall - two girls about 30 years old. We were invited to pop in for "drinks and chatting" but we decided to pass (not a hard decision). The music was pretty annoying in our living room, but thankfully, we couldn't hear it in our bedroom.


I woke up at 2:00 am to loud laughing/shouting and banging in the landing area between our flat and the one having the party. It seems the party had moved to the landing right outside our door. I put on my robe and poked my head out the door and said shhhh. One scantily clad girl in the group said, "We're just leaving," so I closed the door and went back to bed. The noise on the landing lasted until almost 3:00 am. Arrrgh. Sure hope this doesn't become a pattern. It is just NOT acceptable! I wonder what the tenants living downstairs thought?!

We drug ourselves out of bed at 8:00 am, showered, and ate some cold cereal before heading to church. We went to Solihull Ward first to listen to Pete give his farewell talk. His talk was great - he is ready for his mission. Still it is a tender time and he was very emotional. We left quickly to get over to Sheldon Ward where Devon was assigned as the High Councilor speaker. Sheldon is a very small ward, but has a great bishop and great members. We always feel very welcome there. The mission office couple attends that ward, so it was great to see them. After coming home I had a short (20 minute) nap and then Skyped with some of our kids, ate dinner, and had a nice, relaxing Sunday.