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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

JOURNAL - November 21 - 27

Monday, November 21

Cold, rainy day - but never mind. Sister Whitaker and Sister Louis picked me up this morning to go shopping for a traditional Indian outfit. Sister Louis knew of a shop that was having a going out of business sale, so I said, "Why not?!" 
It really is pretty, though not exactly missionary clothing. It will be fun to wear at home. I'm sure the grandkids will like it. The day was rounded out with flat check in Kidderminister and FHE.

Tuesday, November 22

The highlight of today was a dinner appointment with a less active family and the Elders in Harborne Ward. The family is comprised of a mom and three brothers in their mid to late 20's. A couple of the boys come to church once in a while, but we haven't seen them out to Institute or any activities. They are all finishing up their university studies. A very nice, friendly family. They really like feeding the missionaries, but don't seem to have much interest in coming to church. They're all good people and would be great assets to the church. The missionaries will continue to meet with them. You never know when a spark will catch fire.

Wednesday, November 23

We went to District Meeting this morning. Some of the elders are really struggling - especially the elders in one small ward. They attended the first Ward Council meeting they had in months and it was nothing but complaining from everyone about how bad moral was in the ward. The cancer of discouragement is so destructive. The elders are trying hard to change things, but it is really hard. We have one really active YSA from that ward and she complains about the same thing. 

Institute started tonight with YSA Council meeting. The presidency has decided to dedicate one meeting each month to "training" for the Ward Reps. Tonight was their first training night and I think it went well, especially for the first attempt at this kind of thing. Most of the Reps were there for at least some part of the meeting. Our attendance was very low at Institute...so discouraging. I always question "what am I doing wrong," but no one else seems very concerned with this one night of low attendance. Our presidency says that the colder weather, shorter days, and university demands all take a toll this time of year. 

Thursday, November 24 - HAPPY THANKSGIVING

I've been having a very "blue" week - won't elaborate on all the reasons as some things are best left unspoken. BUT...I'm determined to work this out! I'm starting today with a nice nap - haven't been sleeping well and when I'm tired I'm cranky. The nap was wonderful! Also wonderful was the Thanksgiving dinner at President and Sister Ogden's home in Sutton Coldfield. Most of the other senior missionaries were there. Sister Ogden cooked the turkey and stuffing, and the rest of us brought the side dishes. It was delicious!!! I think turkey dinner with all the trimmings is my favorite meal. It was also wonderful to be together as a group.

Someone on Facebook said they were thankful for a day that made them think about all things they had to be thankful for and I agree. Happiness doesn't come from focusing on the problems, but rather from focusing on the good things...and there are so many good things. I am grateful for a wonderful family (parents, sisters, husband, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins), good health, my lifetime association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the many wonderful people I've met and associated with throughout the years, the amazing YSA and people we have met here in England, and so much more. Perhaps we should have days of thanksgiving more often.

Friday, November 25

Busy day. We did flat checks for the final three areas today - Solihull, Sheldon, and Redditch. Always glad to get them over. Transfers will be in less than two weeks and then it begins again. We had lunch at a nice carvery between flat checks - very nice!

Tonight was a multi-stake event in Coventry. Each of the five stakes made videos and submitted them. We had an nice ham dinner and watched the videos. Afterwards everyone voted on different categories for the videos and then presented the awards - much like the Oscars. It was fun, though disappointing that more of our YSA didn't attend - probably because no one organized rides. 

Saturday, November 26

Another nice nap today and I am feeling better! Tonight was the Birmingham Stake Winter Ball. A couple of our YSA girls have been working very hard the last four days putting up decorations for the dance - and it looked beautiful! The dance was scheduled to start at 7:30 and about 5:30 I got a frantic call from one of the girls saying that the photographer the stake had scheduled to take pictures of the couples couldn't make it and they asked me if I would fill in. I have a nice camera, but I'm certainly no photographer. But...have camera, will travel. I took pictures until about 9:30 when one of our YSA arrived and took over the duties with his camera. The dance was very nice. Everyone had a good time, the decorations were amazing, and the food was great, too.
Here are a few pictures from the dance.
Stake President Griffiths and his wife, Heidi
President Sagal, his wife, Carol, and their daughters Laura, Marietta, and Natasha.
President Wilkinson, his wife, Pat, and daughter, Laura. He is over the YSA.
Bishop DeSous and his wife, Ann from Harborne Ward.
Naomi and Joseph McMorn. He's our new S&I Director.
Owen and Sharoon
Kezia and Adam
Back row L to R: Laura, Sarah, Sarah, Lauren, Amanda, Tasha, Marietta, Beth.
Front row L to R: Josh, Jared, Adam, Yanos, John.

Sunday, November 27

We went to Sheldon Ward today with the YSA presidency. We planned a "munch and mingle" after church with the YSA from that ward in an attempt to get to know them better. There is one active YSA and many inactive, but five with potential. We contacted and invited them to come, and so did the presidency, but none came. Pretty discouraging! We did have a nice lunch of taco soup, homemade rolls, salad, and chocolate cake (the presidency all helped bring part of the meal), and spent the time discussing the inactive YSA with the ward rep and what we can do to fellowship them. The bishop was glad we made the attempt. I sent Facebook messages to them saying we missed them and three of them responded with apologies for not coming - so I guess that is progress.