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, December 4, 2011

JOURNAL - November 28 - December 4

Monday, November 28

Today is Lori's back surgery day. We invited the sisters from Harborne over for P-day to help us put up our Christmas Tree. Actually, the real reason was to have company to help keep my mind off Lori's surgery while we waited for news. And it worked!!! We had a great time decorating the tree, eating lunch (taco soup), and playing games.
Sister Louis and Sister Whitaker putting our cute Ikea tree together.
Let the decorating begin!
Beautiful little tree. Notice the "star" on the top. It's an English Tudor Rose Christmas ornament I purchased at Buckingham Palace this summer. I pinned it to the tree top and think it makes a perfect topping for our little English tree.

FHE was amazing tonight. Tina prepared a wonderful lesson/activity about the First Presidency and 12 Apostles. She divided us into three teams and we played a really fun trivia game while learning more about these wonderful men. 

And best of all...Lori's surgery went well! I talked with her twice. The first time she was just waking up and in a lot of pain. The second time she was feeling better, thanks to good drugs, and had even been up to the bathroom. She said that although she has pain at the surgical site, the awful pain radiating down her leg and in her foot was gone. She reports that many friends from her old and new wards have called and are helping with meals and anything else she needs. My prayers are answered and I am so grateful! She will stay in the hospital tonight, but hopefully can go home tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29

Today has been the windiest day yet here in England - just miserable to be outside. Thankfully we didn't need to be out in it very much. Devon ran a couple of errands while I caught up on paper work and worked a little on my lesson. I had a good conversation with Lori and she continues to do well and is discharged to go home today.

Enjoyed messaging with Natalie a little on "Face Time" this evening. Technology is amazing!

Wednesday, November 30

Woke up suddenly about 4:30 am to a loud thud and realized Devon rolled over and fell out of bed! Ouch! It wasn't funny then, but we snicker about it now. Thankfully, other than his pride nothing was hurt. Our bed is about the size of a USA double bed - much smaller than our king at home. The king beds here are about USA queen size (maybe a tad larger). 

We worked on lessons in the morning and then went to a movie with some of the YSA. It wasn't an official YSA event - just some of the kids that wanted to get together for a movie. We try to go whenever they invite us. Today it was to see "Arthur Christmas." It was fun to be with the YSA and the movie was okay. It had a timely message about not leaving anyone out - something the YSA Council is working on with the YSA.

The YSA have an assignment to sing as a choir in the Stake Christmas Fireside on Sunday. Tonight after class we practiced our song..."Where You There On That Christmas Night?" I get to accompany them and I'm loving it!  It's one of my favorite Christmas songs - brought back fond memories of the Leona Valley Women's Ensemble. Those were great times!

Our day started with glorious blue sky and sunshine, and ended with heavy rains at the end of Institute. We had four YSA attend Institute tonight that we haven't seen in a while. They seemed glad to be there and were warmly welcomed by the other YSA, so I hope they will keep coming. One young woman is from Lichfield Stake. She has classes in Birmingham and so will be coming to our Institute. It was GREAT to see her again. I miss the Lichfield kids - they are wonderful young adults!

Thursday, December 1

We actually have a day that we don't have to be anywhere - no appointments, classes, flat checks, etc. We spent the morning working on next week's lessons as we both will be teaching - Devon the Old Testament lesson for Brother McMorn and I will teach our Doctrines of the Gospel class. Then in the afternoon we caught the bus to city center to check out the German Market. There are 3 or 4 streets with various booths, one right after the other, lining the streets. We enjoyed looking, but didn't see anything we wanted to buy, except for a little food to eat that was over priced and not that great. But hey, we'll only be here for the German Market once so needed to give it a try.

Friday, December 2 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEVON

Lots of email's and birthday wishes for Devon! So nice! Went to Costco to shop for tomorrow's YSA Thanksgiving. It's hard to know how many will actually come. So far no one's called to say they can't make it - which is a good thing. We purchased the turkeys (3) and have distributed them to be cooked. Camie, our darling YSA culinary student from Wales, made the food assignments to the YSA. So hopefully they will all come - otherwise we could end up with lots of potatoes and no vegies. We'll keep fingers crossed and see....

We arrived at chill night about 6:45 pm to set up. But by 8:00 no one was there except Devon and I so we started taking things down and loading up the car to go home. When we went to lock up the church we couldn't find the church keys, so the next 30 minutes were spent looking for them. Fortunately they were under some stuff on the back seat of the car. Apparently they were put down while we were loading the car. As soon as we turned the lock on the church door, one of our YSA called to see if anything was going on. A few of them just returned home from dinner and thought about coming down. But since it would take them an hour to get there on the bus it was decided to scrap the evening.

Saturday, December 3

YSA Thanksgiving day - big success! We met at Solihull church. Lots of kids were there to help set things up before the American football game that was held in the park across the street. The weather was gorgeous - unseasonably warm and sunny - a gift!

I'm not sure which team won, but they all had a great time. As it turned out almost everyone with assignments came. We had lots of food...except no stuffing! Still no one complained as it was all so good and there was plenty. They loved my yams and apples!!!

This is Camie - culinary student from Wales. She bought me an apron to match hers - replica of the Welch flag. LOVE IT!!!

After our "feast" we went to the chapel for a devotional. Josh, the YSA president, gave a short message and then everyone stood and told what they were thankful for. There were wonderful thoughts - some very tender. What happened next was a gift. I was banished from the kitchen and the YSA did the dishes and clean-up. I can see why they want this to be an annual tradition.

As soon as our event was over the farewell for Jonny began. Jonny is going to Taiwan on his mission. He was scheduled to leave on December 5, but has been delayed for 3 weeks due to a visa delay. He is a little disappointed, but there's not much he can do about it. We'll be glad to have him around for a little longer. The farewell was very nice with many friends from the YSA, his ward, family, and others attending. 

Sunday, December 4

Fast Sunday today. We had ward choir practice after church to get ready for tonight's Stake Music Fireside. Then the Harborne Ward YSA had a "break-the-fast". All the left over food from yesterday's Thanksgiving meal was used, plus some that was brought today. The turn out was great. Afterwards they divided into four groups and went to visit some less-active YSA. I'm anxious to hear their reports.

The Stake Christmas Music Fireside was very nice! Everyone brought new, unwrapped gifts for women and children to donate to the Salvation Army. Two wards (Harborne and Solihull), the Primary children, and the YSA had choirs that each sang one musical item. They were all lovely (but of course I'm partial to the YSA). A representative from the Salvation Army and an Edgbaston government representative to Parliament were present and each gave nice remarks. President Griffiths also spoke. There were several "readings" from the scriptures, and the congregation also sang about 4 hymns. It was a lovely fireside and really helped to usher in the Christmas spirit. There was a really good turn out from all over the Stake. We especially enjoyed visiting with Elder and Sister Skiles, and Elder and Sister Edgson. It is probably the last time we'll see the Edgsons as they are released on the 21st. Also got to visit with some other wonderful people from the Stake and our Harborne missionaries. Transfers are due Wednesday, so wanted to give them each a hug/handshake. We know one elder will be transferred for sure - just don't know which one. I don't expect any change with the sisters...but we'll see.