Monday, January 2
We awoke early (thanks to alarm clocks), loaded up the car, and drove Howard and Edi to Heathrow to catch their flight home. Very sad saying good bye! Our ride back to Birmingham was uneventful and lonely. We came home and took down our cute little Christmas tree - time to get back to mission duties.
The students are still away, but we planned before the holidays to have FHE tonight just in case there was anyone who wanted to come. We advised the young woman who was doing the lesson to just prepare a short message as we really didn't expect anyone to come. But to our surprise a less-active young man also came. He has been in and out of activity for the past year. Hannah gave her lesson - a very nice message from President Monson about achieving the abundant life. Afterwards he spoke with us saying he had quit his job at a local pub, moved home with his dad, and wanted better things in his life - things that we talked about in the lesson. He joined the Church a couple of years ago, but I don't think he was more than socially converted at the time. Now he wants to build his testimony. Tonight's FHE couldn't have been better - it was exactly what he needed.
Wednesday, January 4
Met with the Elders and Sisters for District meeting. The meeting was a little different today. We all met in Stourbridge and were assigned to go visit less-active members. We were assigned an inactive YSA brother and sister to visit, but unfortunately they were not home. One of the YSA Reps from Stourbridge when with with us and we had a really good talk with her. So it was still a productive morning.
Our evening was also spent in Stourbridge. Elder Knecht asked us to go with them to teach/visit with a YSA aged investigator. Her name is Sarah and she is amazing. She was a "self referral" which means she looked up the Church on the internet and asked to have the missionaries come see her. We explained the YSA program to her and she is very interested in coming. It was a great evening and we are excited to see her again.
Thursday, January 5
Let the flat checks begin. Transfers are coming up so we need to get them done. Today we did both sets of Harborne missionaries, and both did a good job cleaning. We found out that there will be another set of missionaries assigned to Harborne Ward - that will make 3 sets! Amazing! But Harborne is a big ward and can support another set of missionaries. Actually, most of the missionaries in the area want to be assigned to Harborne.
Friday, January 6 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARBARA
Today's flat checks were Woodsetton and Stourbridge. Always good to talk with the missionaries about the YSA they are working with. I'm a little under the weather, so afterward we came home, had soup, and I went to bed.
Then in the evening we went back to the church for Chill Night with the YSA. We had four great kids come, and we had a great time playing Wizard and Banagrams.
Saturday, January 7
Two more flat checks - Solihull and Sheldon. It is going to be hard to decide which flat gets the award for cleanest. So far three are in the running and we still have two more to check.
Tonight was another baptism for the Sisters in Harborne. A few months ago our Highland 23rd Ward sent us a Book of Mormon that had been signed by all the Primary children. They asked us to give it to someone special. Well, the book was given to an African family - Bureh, Hawatu, and their toddler, Brianna. Tonight Devon baptized Hawatu. She is so happy - just glowing. She has been waiting for Bureh, but said she could not wait any longer. She is a real sweetheart. I hope Bureh will be baptized soon. He comes to Church and enjoys the lessons with the missionaries, so we'll see.
Also at the baptism tonight was a young man from Poland. He has been in Birmingham about a month and met the Elders on the street one day. He ran into them again and said he had looked at Mormon.org and was interested in talking to them. He is YSA age (29), so we were glad to get to meet him. We invited him to Institute and the multi-stake dance on Friday, and he seems really interested. It was a great night!
Sunday, January 8
We had a wonderful Sunday. Most of the students are back so our YSA Sunday School class was full. I think they were as excited to see us as we were to see them! Our YSA President, Josh, and a YSA girl in Harborne Ward got engaged on New Year's Eve. They were at church today and were so cute - just glowing! Unfortunately for us, they are not getting married until the end of July. We will be home by then - hard to imagine - and we feel heartsick to think of missing their wedding.
The Sisters from Harborne and the Elders from Stourbridge stopped by our flat this evening - not sure why, but we enjoyed their visit. Elder Knecht is the DL and he and his companion, Elder Roberts, were here to interview a sister that is getting baptized next week.
This evening the YSA Presidency came to our flat for our annual planning meeting and review of the budget. We are mostly following the same format as last year, so it isn't nearly as hard to plan as last year when we were new. I'm pretty proud that we came in under budget last year - barely under but that is just how we want it to be.