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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

JOURNAL - March 19 - 25

Monday, March 19

The sun just can't make up it's mind today. One minute is is brightly shining and the next it is cloudy. Oh spring "where art thou?"

Pretty disappointed in FHE attendance - it is quite low. The YSA say it's to be expected due to spring break on the horizon and the students having lots of tests and projects due. But that doesn't explain why the working kids are not coming. We encourage and announce it. Not sure what else to do.

Tuesday, March 20

Last day for flat checks this transfer - Woo hoo! We were pleasantly surprised. All three flats were pretty good - especially Kidderminister. I think they will get the award for cleanest flat. Not only was it clean, it was a big improvement over last flat check. Those elders have worked hard!

Wednesday, March 21

Today is district meeting. President and Sister Ogden are here because he is doing interviews with the elders and sisters. Sister Ogden brought the fixings for panini's. They were soooo good! I made a big pan of brownies and they were yummy, too. The meeting was good, as usual. We don't have interviews as we technically are not part of the mission - we are CES missionaries. I don't know if the other senior couples have interviews, but they didn't today.

We had a great training meeting for the YSA Reps at YSA Council meeting. I brought Costco pizza so we had a really good turnout. We also released the two counselors in the presidency and called two new ones. The president is getting married in July, but he will continue until the end of this term which is the end of May. We and the stake presidency thought it would be best to replace the counselors now and give the new ones a chance to get oriented to their duties, rather than replace everyone about the same time we will be finished. Besides, one of the previous counselors is turning 31 and the other is also the ward YW President and just too busy. No word on a replacement for us. That is worrisome! No one posted that they needed a replacement. I guess everyone thought someone else was doing it. It is very doubtful a new couple will be here before we leave, but hopefully a new couple will be here by fall. They could call a couple from the stake to do it...so we'll see. One thing is for sure - our time is quickly coming to the end.

Devon's lesson was very good, but attendance is also diminishing a little at Institute. Several factors seem to be effecting that, and there is not much we can do about it for this term. We are suggesting some changes for next year.

Thursday, March 22

Not feeling great today. Devon has a haircut, but I cancelled mine. I actually trimmed it a bit myself and it is fine for now. I'm very anxious to have a hair cut from my beautician at home.


The Morgans met at our house this morning at 11:00. We went to lunch at a pub by the University of Birmingham and then walked up the hill to the Barber Fine Arts Center for their weekly lunch concert. Today they had students performing recitals. Half the concert was a soloist accompanied by a violinist, and the other half was a saxophonist accompanied by a pianist - all very good! Afterwards we all went to Costco to do some shopping - the Morgans for themselves, us for the YSA temple trip tomorrow - and then we went to the meetinghouse to drop off all the food. After dinner, Josh, the YSA president, came over to review and revise the responsibilities of his new counselors - rather, vice presidents as they are now going to be called. Previously one was over missionary work and one was over activities, but Josh and the previous counselors think it best to not divide the responsibilities - everyone will help with everything. We'll see how that works. Currently the activities portion is lacking - maybe this will help.

After Josh left we had a nice telephone chat with Allison. She is so excited to be turning 12 and advancing to YW. As far as she is concerned, it couldn't come fast enough!

At 9:30 pm we got a call from the executive secretary from Chorley Stake. We had reserved a room at the stake center (which is on the Preston Temple property) to have our pizza lunch and indexing activity. Well, it seems he over booked the stake center and we cannot use the room! He suggested we use the kitchen and lounge area at the accommodation building, but I already asked to use that and was told we couldn't as we were not staying in the accommodations. Besides they don't have wifi there for us to do indexing. He said he would call in the morning and "plead our case." Not sure how this will work out, but I'm going to go to bed tonight relying on faith that it will.

Saturday, March 24

We were at the meetinghouse about 8:15 am to get things ready to load on the coach taking us to the Preston temple. The YSA all arrived on time (miracle) and we were on our way right on schedule. Brother and Sister Cardenas went with us to help chaperone. They are assigned to home and visit teach the YSA in Harborne Ward, so we thought they would enjoy this trip with them. There is also a wedding today of two YSA from the stake - Matthew from Harborne Ward and Sarah from Solihull Ward - so many of the YSA planned to go to the wedding. Still we had a very nice group on the trip.

On the way there I called the accommodation office. The executive secretary hadn't called yet, so I explained our circumstances and asked if there was any way we could use their facilities. The sweet brother took pity on me and said yes! Only problem, no wifi - but they have a wonderful big kitchen with four ovens for us to heat up the Costco pizza. We handed out an LDS trivia quiz and LDS scatagories game I had prepared for the YSA to play on the bus - fun!

The morning baptism session was very efficient and very nice. Even with several girls with very long hair to manage we were out on time and headed to the accommodation building for our pizza. We had tons of pizza and everyone had a great and relaxing time eating, visiting, strolling the temple grounds, and visiting the Distribution Center. We didn't get to do indexing, but it was okay. After that we met for a nice testimony meeting. It was a little bitter sweet for both Josh and us realizing this was our last YSA temple trip.
Love these amazing young single adults!

Upon arriving back in Birmingham, we handed out the left over pizza and fruit, put things away, waited until the last YSA girl was picked up, and then headed home completely fatigued! It was a wonderful day - but also exhausting!

Sunday, March 25

Devon had a high council assignment to speak at Redditch Ward today, but first we needed to go by Harborne to turn in some receipts to the executive secretary and get a rather large reimbursement check for the coach. So we did that and made it to Redditch in time for Sacrament meeting. Upon coming home I put some dinner in the oven and then had a nice hour nap. After dinner the Morgans came over to play Wizard - they are hooked! It was relaxing and fun. We also enjoyed Skype and Face Time conversations with family this weekend. I don't know what I would do without that frequent contact.