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 5, 2012

JOURNAL - January 30 - February 5

Monday, January 30

Another wonderful Monday! Worked on lessons, did a little grocery shopping, and went to FHE. We had a really good turnout tonight - the room was full. Elders Steed and Frimpong were there because they came to support JP. Everyone had a great time, except JP who seemed engulfed with depression again. He didn't participate, didn't want to talk, and left early...very discouraging for us, the YSA, and the missionaries.

Tuesday, January 31

We picked up Camie (our YSA culinary student) and drove to Woodsetton to have lunch with another YSA girl who is also pretty discouraged. She was baptized about 10 months ago and was doing just great until she went home to her mom's over Christmas. We enjoyed lunch and learned so much about her. She, too, has problems related to growing up in a dysfunctional family. She was in foster care from age 14 to 18. She is now living with her dad. He owns a pub and they live above it...less than an ideal situation. She seems to lack desire to do anything - church, school, work. I guess it seems easier to do nothing. She really enjoyed lunch and our visit and says she might come out to FHE and Institute. We will keep in touch and continue to encourage and fellowship her.

On the way home we stopped at Cat's house (another YSA who lives in the same area) to see if we could catch her home. She is a good girl, wants to go on a mission, but is not very consistent with attendance at church or Institute. She wasn't home, but I brought some note cards with me and wrote her a little note.

Wednesday, February 1

It's district meeting today. The Stourbridge District meets in the morning and the Sheldon District (our district) meets in the early afternoon - both at our Harborne building. They enjoy lunch together between the two meetings. We had a great time with the missionaries for lunch and was able to set up all but one flat check appointment for the next couple of weeks. They love to have us there for lunch because we open the Tuck shop for them to buy sodas, chips, and candy bars at a pretty good price. Our meeting was really good, as usual.

It was my turn to teach at Institute - a lesson on dating standards. It went well, thanks to some fun group activities. The attendance at Institute was down during January - probably because so many of the students had exams, and the cold weather. But, tonight we had 50 kids there! It was great. After class they had a rousing game of football (soccer) in the cultural hall. JP came and had a really good time. He even interacted with the kids. Everyone had such fun that we didn't lock up until after 11:00 - they wanted to stay and visit so we just hung out till they were ready to leave.

Cat came to Institute and almost tackled me when she came in the door. She was so tickled to get our note yesterday!

Thursday, February 2

We slept in after our late night. Later in the day we made a trip to Costco and Tesco for some shopping. We take treats to the missionaries when we do flat checks and sometimes it's a challenge to find something. This time we are taking Costco muffins. They package them in units of 6 muffins and you get 2 units for £2.50. We settled on blueberry - hope they like them!

Friday, February 3

Did two flat checks today - Woodsetton and Stourbridge. I was pretty disappointed in one flat, but the other one was pretty good. The missionaries (especially the elders) are so funny. It is very obvious that they are rushing around right before we get there to get things cleaned up. In one flat the counters in the kitchen were still very wet! Some just clean out the middle. They will clean the sink and tub, but the edges are very dirty, or they will sweep the middle of the floor, but not the edges - same with vacuuming. It makes me laugh, and makes me wonder what it looked like before we get there. We do flat checks to get them to clean up, but also to look for anything that is damaged or broken. One flat had a leak from under the toilet tank. I don't know how long it had been there or why they hadn't reported it to the office. They were using a bucket to catch the leak. We made them call the office while we were there.

Tonight is Chill Night. We had a small turn out, but to our surprise both JP and the YSA we took to lunch earlier in the week came. We had such a good time!!! One of our active RM YSA's also came and was amazed at how much fun it was. Hopefully he will spread the word. We played Uno, chair football, and a "gut splitting" game of pictionary. The best thing is that EVERYONE had so much fun. JP was his old self - laughing, teasing, and having a great time! When we left it was -3 C. Brrrrrr!

Saturday, February 4

We had two important events we were anxious to attend this evening. A YSA baptism in Stourbridge and a farewell party for a YSA from Lichfield Stake who is leaving for her mission in a week. It started to snow about noon - just little, wimpy flakes. We didn't think much of it. But, by the time we needed to leave there was about 3 inches of snow. Still, we bundled up and headed out. We got about 3 blocks and realized there was no way we were going to make it to our destinations - each about 40 minutes from home. The roads were uncleared and very slushy - cars fishtailing all over. So we turned around and "crawled" back home. We called, gave our regrets and watched it continue to snow for several more hours. By the time it stopped we had about 6 inches. It was beautiful to look at!

Sunday, February 5

When we woke up this morning the snow was already melting. This is what it looked like out our window.

It was slushy getting out of our complex, but the main roads were pretty clear. There was a pretty good turn out at church, though many arrived late. To everyone's surprise, Elder and Sister Donaldson were there. They were in town yesterday on business, but due to the snow couldn't get home. So they stayed the night and came to our Ward for church.

After the meeting we had "Break the Fast" with the YSA. The rest of the ward is so jealous, but we just go ahead! I made a very yummy crock pot of creamy chicken, rice, and vegetable soup. Everyone loved it...especially on a cold winter day. Thankfully no more snow, but they say February is our winter this month - it's expected to continue to be cold. Maybe we will get more snow, but I hope not!