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, November 20, 2011

JOURNAL - November 14 - 20

Monday, November 14

It begins again - another round of flat checks for the missionaries. Today it was for the Harborne Sisters (Whitaker and Louis). They are great and their flat was nice. When I say nice I guess I should explain. All but one of the flats are old and could use remodeling. We have a check list we go though for each room. I must admit I'm pretty easy and we always take treats - this time cookies from Ikea.

We had a smaller than usual turnout for FHE. Several of the uni kids had "tons" of school work and so they didn't come. But we did have a very nice lesson and played "Scatagories" - so much fun! The young woman who gave the lesson shared these "beauty secrets" from Audrey Hepburn.

For attractive lips - speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes - seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure - share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair - let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise - walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

Tuesday, November 15

Flat check today for the Harborne Elders (VonBrughan, Anim, and Hudac). Usually they chat with Devon while I do the check, but today one of the elders followed me around the whole flat and was very interested in what they need to do a little better. He is a great elder, but sometimes I have a hard time understanding him. He has a strong accent (from Slovakia) and a stutter; but it doesn't keep him from expressing himself. He is such a nice guy - they all are!

The flat check was in the afternoon, so we spent the morning working on our lessons - AGAIN!

Wednesday, November 16

Today is Zone meeting in Coventry. I'm feeling a little under the weather, so we thought we would stay home, but...the elders needed a ride to Coventry, so we went. Really glad we did for two reasons: first, it was a great meeting, and second, we realized the reason the elders wanted a ride was because they were getting low on money for the month and didn't want to buy a train ticket. Missionary work has slowed down a bit as evidenced by fewer people to teach and fewer members going with the missionaries to teach. They say the slow down is due to the colder weather and the holiday season that is approaching. They talked about trying some new things and hopefully that will improve things. Usually the missionaries all go to lunch together, but the Harborne Elders didn't even want to spend money to buy lunch, so we just came home after the meeting. After we dropped them off, we stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. It was sooo good and tasted like the Mexican food at home. I must admit I was a little afraid of what we might get, but I'll go back there again! They even served taco chips and salsa - a very small bowl with no refills, but still very good.

Got an interesting phone call from one of our YSA prior to Institute. She is a Ward Rep from one of the smaller wards. She told me she would be late, but that she wanted to make "an announcement" - a problem with the YSA she thought they should know about. She wouldn't tell me what it was over the phone, so we agreed to talk about it before we would have it announced. She didn't come at all, so now I'm wondering what it's about. Tried to call her, but no answer so I left a message. Will call her back.

We have a new YSA young woman that just moved into Woodsetton Ward. She was baptized in February and has moved to Woodsetton to live with her dad (who is not a member). She is wonderful and will be such an asset to Woodsetton Ward. We have three other YSA there - two (the reps) who rarely go to Sacrament meeting, and one other young woman who is very active. She is thrilled to have someone to sit with at church!

Thursday, November 17

Still not feeling very good and didn't sleep well last night. We had two flat checks scheduled, so we did those and then came back home. I went to bed while Devon worked on next week's lesson and his Sunday High Council speaking assignment.

Friday, November 18

Feeling better, but plan to take it easy again today. It's haircut day. There's a wonderful little sandwich shop, "Pickles," next door to the salon, so we had lunch there prior to our haircuts.

Chill night was fun - we played a very exciting game of Monopoly. I was the first one to go bankrupt and Devon was second. After a while the rest of the players banded together into two teams (basically boys against girls) for a very competitive game. It was tons of fun. When the evening was over we were surprised by the thick fog that had rolled in. I always envisioned fog in England, but this is the first time in almost 11 months we have had this kind of fog. It made driving an even bigger challenge. The kids said the thick fog was pretty unusual.

Saturday, November 19

Still some fog this morning, but much less. Made a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for the YSA event tonight. It was a trick to find canned pumpkin here, but one of our YSA did an internet search for me and found that Waitrose stocked it. Fortunately there is a Waitrose close, so we picked up a couple of cans of Libby pumpkin a coupe of weeks ago. Also did laundry and a good flat cleaning - love when everything is clean!

We rode the bus to city center to pick up our tickets to a candlelight Christmas event we had ordered over the internet. We were aware the much talked about "German Christmas Market" had started, but didn't have any idea of how massive it was, or that the building where we had to pick up the tickets was in the middle of the market. I would say it is like Swiss Days in Midway on steroids! We didn't have time to look around - just picked up our tickets and headed back home to get ready for evening YSA event. We'll go back and check things out on a week day and hope there will be less people.

Tonight is the farewell party for Lauren - our very special YSA from Australia. She has finished her nanny job and will be flying home on Friday. Her mother is here for 2 weeks to tour England with her. We had a nice group of kids come to say good-bye. We are really going to miss Lauren!!!

With Lauren and her mom, Annette
Some of the YSA at the farewell party

Sunday, November 20

Devon's talk went well. This evening we went to Lichfield for a multi-stake fireside with our Area Authority, Elder Donaldson. It was a wonderful fireside! I sat in the small chapel and thought how blessed I am to be in the company of so many amazing young adults. Elder Donaldson's talk was inspiring - the spirit was so strong. Also, it was wonderful to see and visit with the Lichfield group of YSA. In one word - it was PERFECT!