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, February 12, 2012

JOURNAL - February 6 - 12

Monday, February 6

I made some lemon poppy seed cupcakes for FHE tonight. The kids really liked them. We can get Betty Crocker cake mixes here but they are over £2.00 ($3.15) per box. The types of mixes are limited - in fact no yellow cake mixes. But they did have marble, so I used that and omitted the chocolate bit. They really were yummy! JP and Mahdi were at FHE and had a good time, along with all the other kids.

Tuesday, February 7

Groan...flat checks begin again! This is something I will not miss after our mission is over. I do love seeing the missionaries and talking with them about their work with the YSA, but I don't enjoy being the "Cleaning Nazi." Today we went to the sisters in Solihull and the elders in Sheldon - both very nice and easy to check...and they seemed to love the Costco muffins we took as treats!

Then we drove to Burton-on-Trent to take Tish, one of our special YSA from Lichfield Stake, out to lunch. She is leaving for her mission to the California Anaheim Mission next Monday. We were supposed to go to her farewell party last Saturday, but were forced to miss it due to the snow. We wanted to see her before she left, so we decided to take her out to lunch. Her mother, Rae, also joined us. Tish has had a little "distraction" come her way since she received her call in the form of a new boyfriend. They are quite smitten. He is a returned missionary of only about 6 months and as such has encouraged her to go. I'm proud of her. She's a great girl and will be a great missionary!

Wednesday, February 8

We enjoyed lunch with Stourbridge and Sheldon Districts today - also had a great district meeting. Our weather has been so cold the last couple of weeks, but these great missionaries just keep going no matter what. I really admire them! Later in the evening it was Institute. After class the kids got together to practice their musical items for Stake Conference, which is about 2 weeks away. I wish more of the kids would sing in the choir, but for some reason there doesn't seem to be much interest, at least not tonight. We'll see if we can generate more enthusiasm...and if not, maybe guilt will work! At the end of the evening two of the girls (Camie and Lucy) came to me and said, "Sister Tufts, what can we do to help you?" Love, love, love it! They refilled all the paper products in the bathrooms, emptied trash, and helped with the clean-up in the kitchen. We love our mission, but cleaning up the building each Wednesday is getting harder and harder to do. I think/know we are the only ones who do it! Oh well, service comes in many forms!

Thursday, February 9

Our morning was spent in flat checks again. This time we did the Harborne missionaries - 3 flats. Harborne A and B are pretty close to each other, but Harborne C (the new elders) is way to the north - almost in Lichfield Stake. It took much longer than anticipated to get there and put us behind schedule. Our GPS system gets us to our destination, but often takes the most out of the way route, and this was the case today. You can't really rely on maps and directions from Google because there are very few street signs, so we use the Sat Nav and  hope for the best. "She" does always get us there.

In the afternoon we met the Harborne C elders to teach Angie, a convert of about 10 months. She is a mid-single age adult, but we have been with the missionaries many times to teach her. It's always a great experience. She recently lost a family member and has had some frustrations dealing with one of the utility companies - we had a good discussion about trials. She has a firm testimony so we usually end up teaching each other!

Friday, February 10 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY CONNOR

Woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground and very cold temperatures. Oh how I long for the sun! I made quite a few phone calls to less-active YSA and worked on my lesson for next week. I found a very inspiring video from Mormon Messages about the power of Christ's Atonement to save us from our mistakes and heal our broken hearts. Perfect for my lesson! 

In the afternoon we decided to go to a movie - a very nice break. The best part of the day was wishing our birthday boy happy birthday on Face Time!

Saturday, February 11

Sun, glorious sun! Not a cloud in the sky - but the temperatures are still in the single digits (C.). I spent the morning baking banana nut muffins. We are going to try to visit a less-active YSA today and I thought it would be nice to take a treat. I'm not sure exactly why she has stopped coming out, but I think she had her feelings hurt last year. She "chats" with me on Facebook, but always says she is "too busy with school" when I try to make an appointment to see her. So, we picked up one of our active YSA and dropped by for a surprise visit. We were very disappointed that she wasn't home, but we did leave the muffins and a note.

Sunday, February 12

Gloomy clouds are back. We met with one of the bishopric members prior to Sunday meetings to discuss the long list of inactive YSA and try to formulate a plan to contact them. It was a good meeting, but there is so much work to do! Church was very nice. After church we met with the Ward Council to discuss upcoming missionary oriented activities the ward and stake are planning. There is a big push in the stake and all of England towards missionary work. Harborne Ward has a great missionary plan that is off and running, thanks to the help of the three sets of full-time missionaries in the ward, dedicated leaders, and an enthusiastic bishop.

We slipped out of the meeting a little early to keep an appointment for dinner with the family of a new YSA. She just turned 18. She has been sort of hit and miss at YW. It's hard to break into the large group at Institute, and we thought it would help to get to know each other. We had a nice dinner and visit - it was a good thing...and her mother was really pleased!