Monday, January 9 HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATALIE
Our last two flat checks were today - Kidderminster and Redditch. Had we know that our district was going bowling for P-Day today, we might have rescheduled, but oh well. At least they are over for this transfer. It seems that Sister Clark (who went home in October) and Elder Yaskell (from Redditch) are writing and planning to meet up in Provo this summer. So it was fun teasing/talking with Elder Yaskell about it. They are both great people and great missionaries. Time will tell if they will make a great couple, but I hope so!
We had a real treat arrive in the mail today. Mail is always a treat, but today we got four pages of well wishes from our Onstott family. They wrote them at the annual Onstott Family Christmas Eve gathering. It made our day!
Tuesday, January 10 HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNA
Woke up to beautiful blue skies and mild temperatures - an absolutely gorgeous day. We took our first walk this year in Cannon Hill Park and it was lovely. Not too many people, despite the beautiful weather. But several people were there with bags of bread crumbs feeding the seagulls, pigeons, and geese. The birds were pretty excited. Before the day was over, the clouds had rolled in, bringing with them a light rain. I really can't complain about the weather. I just keep praying it stays this nice.
We had mail again today - two days in a row - WOW! This time it was birthday/Christmas presents from Emily - a CD of highlights of last year's BYU basketball season for Devon, and a calendar with family photos for me. The best presents ever!!! Thanks Emmy!
Today is pretty significant. Besides getting great mail, it is exactly one year ago that we boarded the plane to fly to England.
Thursday, January 12
Today is a missionary meeting with 3 districts: Stourbridge (our district), Coventry, and Redditch. I would guess about 40 missionaries in total. It was a great meeting. Later in the afternoon we rode the bus to the Apple Store in Bullring. I was having some trouble with my IPad cutting out on some programs - same problem I had about a month ago. They showed me what to do to reset and restore. Since it is a lengthy process (or so they said) we brought it home, followed their instructions and it seems to be working fine now. It is sure easy to get dependent on technology. We also went to "Poundland" (UK dollar store) in the Bullring to pick up paper goods for YSA events.
Friday, January 13
Made a quick run to Costco - more supplies for YSA events, a jar of Skippy peanut butter for Camie, and a few things for us. Then we went to Tesco to pick up the things we couldn't get at Costco. At 6:30 p.m. was another baptism for a sister the sister missionaries have been teaching. She was a "self-referral" which means she contacted the mission office and asked for the missionaries. She had a pass along card, looked up mormon.org, and wanted to know more. The mission is having great success with referrals from the pass along cards. We all need to be passing out more!
After the baptism we set up for the monthly multi-stake YSA dance at Harborne. There really isn't much for us to do to set up except get the squash (punch) and cookies ready in the kitchen. We also always empty all the rubbish bins, and refill the paper good in the bathrooms (they call them toilets) pretty much before every event. The Brits are not very good at taking care of the building. The dance had the usual about 300 YSA in attendance, and they were their usual well behaved selves. Brother Hamilton from Lichfield Stake is our hero. He is there every time, without fail, to help chaperone. We usually have one other priesthood brother from our stake but no one from any other stakes. We've gotten to be good friends with Brother Hamilton. Tonight he was very interested in our opinion about what is happening with the primary elections in the USA (Romney against everyone else). We do get news channels from home on the TV, so we were able to tell what we know. After the dance we had a devoted group of YSA from our stake stay and help clean the building - bathrooms, kitchen, cultural hall, and vacuum. The dance ended at 11:15 p.m. and we were out shortly after midnight - not bad! When we left, the temperature was a chilling -1 degree C - looks like our warm spell has disappeared. I keep a little blanket in the car to wrap around my legs - wonderful!
Saturday, January 14 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATELYN
Slept in, worked on lessons, did laundry, and Skyped/Face Timed with some of our kids. A nice day!
Sunday, January 15
Devon had a High Council speaking assignment in Solihull Ward today. We count it as a blessing because Jonny, one of our YSA, also gave his farewell talk. He flies to the Provo MTC early in the morning tomorrow to prepare for his mission to Taiwan. His departure date was postponed 6 weeks due to visa delays and it looked like he might get another delay. But, thankfully, his visa and passport came on Friday. He is the third of six children in a very active family and is such an amazing young man.He has never been on an airplane before, so it really is a big adventure. We got to meet the new senior couple from West LA who are living in Solihull Ward. They arrived about three weeks ago. He is a lawyer and is assigned to work throughout Europe. She is not exactly sure what her assignment will be - nothing specific yet.
We arrived early at the church this evening to get things set up for the CES Broadcast. A nice group of YSA came and enjoyed the fireside, ice cream sundaes, and chatting with each other. Then Jonny's family and the Stake Presidency came and we all went upstairs to witness Jonny being set apart as a full-time missionary. I know he will be a great missionary! The really hard thing about sending these missionaries off is knowing that we won't be here when they get home - hurts my heart to think about that. I tell them all to come to Utah and see us. I hope they will!