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, March 4, 2012

JOURNAL - February 27 - March 4

Monday,February 27

Sooo tired after our busy weekend. I guess all the YSA were tired, too. The only kids that came to FHE were the ones doing the lesson and activity. That's a first - and I hope it doesn't happen again!

Tuesday, February 28

We are both teaching at Institute this week. I'm teaching the Eternal Marriage class and Devon is teaching the Old Testament class for Brother McMorn, who is out of town. So most of today was spent getting our lessons ready for tomorrow.

I've had it with my hair! Hate it!!! So made an appointment at a different salon and got it cut today. It is much better, but not quite as I would like. I'm trying to not complaining - it is much better. I picked the salon because they had half off on your first visit. It's a very busy and nice salon on Harborne High Street. Don't know if I will go back though, as they are super expensive (half was £27.00). I still came home and did a little "trimming" of my own - can't figure out why they can't make the sides even!

Wednesday, February 29

It is interesting to me that in this, the shortest month of the year, we actually have 5 Institute classes. Both the 1st and the 29th fell on Wednesday. Wonder how often that happens?

Today is transfer day. Of the six full-time missionaries that are serving in our Harborne Ward, 1 "died" (finished his mission and went home - Elder Steed from St. George), and  3 are being transferred. So, we were needed to take missionaries and luggage to the mission office for transfers. I love going to transfer day because we get to see many previous missionaries we've worked with. We also got to meet some parents from England that were picking up their son. His mission was over. His mom found my blog and has been reading it. Guess I'm almost famous Here are just a few great missionaries who have served in Harborne:
Elder VonBrughan (South Africa)
Elder Frimpong (London)
Elders Fairbourn and Choi (both Utah I think)
Elders Hudec (Czech Republic), Christiansen (Utah), Collins (North Carolina).
Sister Whitaker (Nevada)
Sisters Louis (India) and Hedemark (Sweden)

These are just a few. It is an amazing blessing to get to know these wonderful young missionaries. Also, there were three other senior missionary couples there transporting missionaries, and it was good to see them. This transfer a record 20 "greenies" arrived - the largest number during President Ogden's time. Of the four new missionaries to our ward, three are greenies (two from Utah - one from  New Zealand), and one trainer, also from Utah. Truly nothing is as constant as change, and these amazing young people take it right in stride.

After delivering the missionaries to their flat, we had time for a little rest and dinner before heading to the church for Institute. Our lessons went well and there was good attendance.

Thursday, March 1

Went to see our sweet Dr. Harrison this morning. Their system is quite different than ours. I signed in on a computer in the lobby and then in a few minutes was called in by Dr. Harrison. She does everything herself - no nurse or medical assistant. I noticed a lump on my neck last Sunday. She thinks it's a benign thyroid nodule, but to be sure I am having an ultra sound and some labs done. We'll see how long it takes to get the US appointment. Notification of the appointment will come in the mail, and I'll return tomorrow for the blood test. I'm not worried about it. On the way home we stopped at Frankie and Benny's for their breakfast special. It was good, but I miss good old hash brown potatoes.
Came home from my doctor appointment to find a letter! That's a real treat - we don't get letters as everything is over the internet. The letter was from Sister Corner (YSA from Lichfield that is in the London Mission waiting for her visa to go to the California Anaheim Mission). She is doing well - adjusting to the missionary life and schedule. 

Friday, March 2

Yesterday was St. David's Day - the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales. The celebration is in remembrance of the death of Saint David. Tradition holds that he died on that day in 589. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.

St. David was born towards the end of the fifth century. He founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosyn (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Pembrokeshire, at the spot where St. David's Cathedral stands today. David's fame as a teacher spread throughout the Celtic world. His foundation at Glyn Rhosin became an important Christian shrine, and the most important center in Wales. The date of his death is recorded as 1 March, but the year is uncertain - possibly 588. As his tearful monks prepared for his death, St. David uttered these words: "Brothers be ye constant. The Yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfill."

So, in honor of St. David's Day, Chill Night was held tonight at Camie's house (she is our culinary student from Wales). Not many came, but we had a great time and ate yummy Welsh Cakes Camie made - delicious!!! Devon especially loved them because they had raisins.
Left to right: Ruth, Camie, Leanne, Stephanie, and Lucy

Saturday, March 3

This weekend is Stake Conference. Devon's on the High Council so he went to the afternoon leadership meeting. I stayed home to clean the flat, finish laundry, and take a very nice, though short nap - such a treat! We had yummy fajitas for dinner and then went to the evening session of Conference. The chapel was full and the meeting was very good. 

Sunday, March 4

Stake Conference this morning was amazing! Our YSA choir sang and two YSA young men gave terrific talks. I'm such a proud "YSA mamma!" I love that they had to come ask me how they did after the meeting. We had a visiting general authority - Elder Teixeira and his wife from Portugal who both spoke along with brief remarks from President and Sister Ogden. All the talks taught simple truths of the gospel and it was very powerful: don't reject faith...choose to embrace it; do not come to church looking for what you will get, but for what you can give; "we are obedient not because we are blind, but because we can see" (Boyd K. Packer); repentance needs to be a daily process...not just when we sin; what we give away, always comes back.

We saw Elder and Sister Skiles at Conference and enjoyed visiting with them. They are the mission office couple and they told us we needed to be thinking about our flight home in June. We need to decide which airport we want to depart from and arrive at. It hadn't occurred to us that we had a choice, but guess we'll research it and see where we can get the most direct flight. Elder Steed, who just flew home to St. George, went from Birmingham to Amsterdam to Portland to SLC to St. George! That would be a nightmare!

After church we ran home to grab a plate of homemade cookies and headed out to visit a less-active YSA girl. Unfortunately she was not home, so we left the cookies with a note. We've had good response when we leave cookies - hope it works again this time.

We came home and made a Tufts' staple - pork chop casserole. At home I make it with Campbell's cream of chicken soup, but the Campbell's cream of chicken soup available here is made here and is not the same! So I made my own using chicken bouillon and it was pretty good - better than the English Campbell's soup.

We've had beautiful, spring-like weather this week - until today. It is cold (3 degrees) and raining - almost snowing. Still, it has been a wonderful week! We'll top it off with Skype and Face Time with family.