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 13, 2011

JOURNAL - November 7 - 13

Monday, November 7

Today was a nice Monday, as usual; worked on our lessons, laundry, and getting things ready for an anticipated very busy week. I always mention FHE because we enjoy it so much with the YSA. We have such a nice group (mostly from Harbone Ward) that come faithfully and enjoy the evening with us. The young woman who signed up for the lesson called about 2 hours before saying she couldn't make it, so Devon prepared a lesson from PMG (Preach My Gospel).

Tuesday, November 8

Zone Conference was today at the Wylde Green Chapel by the Mission Office in Sutton Coldfield. Elder Donaldson and his wife were the main speakers. It was really good although lasted longer than usual. We gave the Harborne Elders a ride over. They are on bikes and are always very grateful to get a ride!

Wednesday, November 9

This is a red letter day - Devon passed the driving test for his UK license! Oh happy day!!! He scheduled this test in Cannock - a smaller community in the Lichfield Stake area. When looking for a date to repeat the test this center had the first appointment, so he took it. The tester was a very nice, relaxed man. Devon said it was so much different than the first test. He is very relieved to have it over. Totally it cost about 300 pounds ($483)! At least it is a tax deduction.

We found out today that the equalization plan that went into effect for senior missionaries in September will finally go into effect for us in January. It's been such a problem figuring out who would help us set it up. We are CES missionaries and as such are separate from the Birmingham England Mission. It has been quite annoying, but at least it is finally getting set up.

Institute was good - 55 kids.

Thursday, November 10

Rain off and on the last few days, but the temperature has been rather mild - I'm so grateful! I must also mention the short days we are having. Since we turned the clocks back a few weeks ago, the sun is up about 7:30 am, and it is dark by 4:30 pm. Unfortunately, the days will continue to get shorter until winter solstice on December 21st.

We drove to Kidderminster today to visit a recent YSA convert, Becky. She is going to church and doing great, but unable to attend Institute or other YSA activities due to her work schedule and lack of transportation. It was really good to visit with her. She is hoping her work schedule will change in January and she can come to Institute. Transportation is a continual problem for the YSA in the small, outlying wards and we don't see any solution in site. We try to visit and encourage, but even the YSA Reps struggle.

Friday, November 11 (11/11/11)

Today is Veteran's Day here and in the USA. They sell little red poppies that everyone pins on their shirts, just like at home, except a lot more people wear them here - in fact most have a poppy. It's nice to see.

We did a big shopping at Costco today to get ready for a very busy weekend - and we had a list from both sets of Harborne missionaries of things they wanted from Costco. Elder Anim from Paris wanted a whole box of Snickers candy bars (48). Hope he doesn't get a tummy ache!

Tonight was the monthly multi-stake YSA dance at Harborne. We had about 300 kids attend. After the 500 in September, it seemed like a small group. They were well behaved, as usual, but it took nearly an hour to get them to vacate the building - always such a struggle. Our YSA were lined up with brooms, vacuums, supplies to restock the bathrooms, etc., but we couldn't get the cleaning started until the others left.  Our YSA have gotten so good at helping with clean up after everything. The building is generally not cared for well - except for our YSA who have earned a reputation for cleaning-up after themselves. I'm really proud of them and grateful for their help!

Saturday, November 12 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILY

We met the YSA at the Stake Center at 8:30 am, and boarded a bus to go to the London Temple for a service project on the temple grounds and baptisms. Brother and Sister McMorn (our S&I Director and his wife) and President Wilkinson went with us. Our area is assigned to the Preston Temple, but we couldn't get a date there. We started trying to get a date shortly after we arrived last January, but no go. So President Griffiths, our Stake President, gave us permission to go to London. They had today open and we took it. The YSA were thrilled to go to London as they have been to Preston several times. It took 3 hours each way, but was well worth the drive (and cost of the coach - very expensive). The temple grounds are large at London. We divided into groups and worked several areas weeding, cleaning the pavement, and raking leaves. After our service outside we changed into our Sunday clothes, had lunch in the Temple cafeteria and then did baptisms for about 250. It was the first time at the temple for two of our YSA. Tasha was baptized a little over a year ago, and Madhi was baptized about 6 months ago. It was very special for both of them - such great kids!!! All in all a great, though exhausting, day of service outside and inside the Temple. Thankfully, we have already booked dates for Preston Temple in 2012.
 Sister McMorn, Daisy (her cousin), Kezia, Amanda
Bradley, David, Sharoon, Jonny
Camie, Marietta, Stephanie, Darren
Betty, Alex, Tasha, Michael (the tall, cute guy is Elder Tufts!)
Joshua and Madhi with Laura in the background
Jared, Jonny, Sarah, Laura

Sunday, November 13

Can't believe how tired I am today. Enjoyed church, came home, fixed dinner, and then took a nice hour nap! This evening was our last CES Fireside broadcast of the year. The fireside was great and we had a good turnout of kids. They are so cute and really enjoy being together - and we love being with them!