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.

Monday, April 9, 2012

JOURNAL - April 2 - 8

Monday, April 2

Laundry, laundry, laundry. I've let it go too long! Thankfully our little washer also dries the clothes (well sort of). Some missionaries just have a washer and have to hang their clothes all around the flat to dry. We hang ours up after the dry cycle - they're almost dry, but not quite. By the time the next load is done, the first one is ready to fold and put away.

Had my doctor's appointment this morning. We were there all of 5 minutes. My doc is on vacation so I saw someone else. He gave me good results - normal thyroid, kidney, and liver function tests - and ordered a consult with the thyroid clinic. It will probably take four to five weeks before I see them. Seems lots of people have thyroid nodules - no big deal.

Our beautiful weather has given in to cloudy skies and cooler temperatures...still it's better than January and February. In the afternoon we took a walk to Aldi for a few things including 3 1/2 dozen eggs! The YSA want to color Easter eggs for the activity at Institute this week, and my assignment is to boil the eggs - assignment completed with only one cracked egg! They only have brown eggs here, and the YSA plan to color them with marking pens. We'll see how that goes.

Had a nice Face Time talk with Emily. We really want to go to Paris with the girls when they are here, so we were planning how to work it all out.

FHE turned out to be really great, but I was sure worried at first. The young man giving the lesson didn't show up. He called and said he had been there but no one else was there...strange, as we arrived early. After questioning, we realized his watch was wrong. What he thought was 7:00 was actually 6:00. The two girls with treats and activity came on time, but the others were at least 30 minutes late. The activity, a scripture treasure hunt,  was so much fun. I thought it was a game she found on the internet, but nope. She is on spring break from university and so she spent the whole day looking up scriptures and planning the activity. It was perfect! Afterwards we played "no peekie" and watched our YSA president do some card tricks. It was a fun FHE!

Tuesday, April 3

I woke up this morning and knew it was not the right thing for us to go to Paris with the girls. As much as we would love to, we shouldn't be leaving England. That decision feels right! Maybe we'll get there at the end of our mission.

We worked on our lessons this morning and finished putting away the laundry. It is cloudy and rainy today, but after a little lunch, we rode the bus to Bull Ring to return a shirt and get some markers for the Easter egg coloring project at Institute. Taking the bus is so convenient. We were gone and back in an hour. Afterwards, I decided to take a nap while Devon went to the driving range. He came home with a couple of yummy homemade muffins from Becket's Farm. We had a yummy lasagna dinner, and finished working on our lessons.


Very busy day - and to top it off it snowed!!! I'm not happy about that at all!

Today is the last district meeting before transfers next week. I think we are only losing Sister Hedemark, who is finished with her mission and going home to Sweden. I expect the rest of our district will be the same for this next transfer period. The Morgans and us decided to treat the missionaries to pizza for lunch today. Our districts both meet at the Harborne building and have lunch together. We went to Costco to buy the pizza, then picked up the Harborne C elders, and then headed to the church. The take and bake Costco pizzas are really good and only £6.00 each. We bought 6 pizzas thinking that would be enough for 22 people, but I think they could have eaten at least another 2. Our district meeting was once again amazing - so spiritual. Elder Hopkinson, our DL, continues to deliver wonderful district meetings. At first I didn't know what to think about him, but now he is one of my favorites.
Sheldon District
Front row L to R: Elders Hopkinson (UK), Choi (SLC), Kramer (American Fork)
Middle row: Elders Zundel (Provo), Walton (zone leader Calif.), Christiansen (South Jorden), Ensing (New Zealand), Sisters Hedemark (Sweden), Turnbow (Sandy)
Back row: Elder Merrell (zone leader PA), Tufts

We drove the elders home, stopped at Aldi for bread and cheese for Institute, had a few minutes at home, and then headed back to church for Institute. Our attendance was about the same this week as last - low, but more than I expected. The best part was that the two new girls who came last week came again tonight. I had nice talks with each of them. They both really enjoyed the lessons and fellowship with the YSA - win win! Even the Easter egg coloring activity was enjoyed by all!

Thursday, April 5 and Friday, April 6 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAYLEY

Today we decided to go see Cambridge - a big university town about 100 miles from Birmingham. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which is becoming one of our favorite chain hotels. They have a yummy hot breakfast and free parking. The hotel was about a 10 minute walk to the bus stop that took us to the heart of the city - so convenient, especially since we can ride free with our senior pass - love it! The town is very old and adorable. It has tons of little shops and even some of the larger department stores. Cambridge University is very similar to Oxford. It is made up of 31 different colleges dating from as early as the mid 1300's. Most of the colleges have their own churches - some small and some very large.

One of the first things we did was to take a punting tour of the "backs and bridges." There is a river that runs through Cambridge between some of the colleges. The tour is run by students. They tell you some history and show you the bridges and backs of some of the colleges. It was quite enjoyable and very picturesque.

It is spring break so most of the students have gone home. Some of the colleges were closed, including King's College which is the largest and most impressive college. Because it was "Maundy Thursday" they were having a mass in the great cathedral at King's College. It was free to the public, so we went. Maundy Thursday celebrates the events of the Last Supper and the betrayal of Judas. The service was almost an hour and a half - full of pageantry and ritual from the Church of England. The famous Cambridge King's Church choir, comprised of boys and men, sang throughout the ceremony. It was amazing to hear their pure, acapella harmonies ringing throughout the cathedral - absolutely breathtaking! I would guess there were about 300 people in attendance. They offered communion to all, regardless of denomination, and many partook. While it was much different than our worship services, it was still a wonderful opportunity to reflect and give thanks for the Savior and His amazing atonement.
Entrance to King's College. Taken from the inside courtyard.
Building to the right of the entrance and directly across from King's College Church.

King's College Church
"The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge" - (official name)
founded 1441 by King Henry VIII
Example of the Gothic English architecture on King's College Church.
Corpus Chrisi College's newer courtyard.
Older Corpus Cristi College courtyard - dating to 1350.
Corpus Cristi Chapel

Buildings at Pembroke College
Pembroke Chapel. Original chapel was built in 1500's It was restored in 1800's.

Saturday, April 7

We enjoyed talking with some of our kids today, and was busy making hotel arrangements for Bradley and Stephen's visit in May. The Morgan's invited us to dinner at their cute cottage in Stourbridge. We had a very yummy dinner, visit, and game of Wizard. 

Sunday, April 8

It was a beautiful Easter day, despite the on and off drizzle and clouds all day. We learned some disappointing news. One of the women (not YSA) recently baptized has decided to go back to her Catholic faith. The reason - she doesn't like the way we celebrate Easter. She thinks we should have a service on Good Friday. This just came out of the blue. The stake did had a lovely Easter fireside with musical items, scripture readings, church videos about Easter, and nice talks by each of the stake presidency. It was really nice, but she did not attend. 

After the fireside, the Morgans came over to use our Skype to call their girls. The internet is finally up at their house, but they would miss the window of time to talk with them if they waited until they drove home. So we had another nice visit and one more game of Wizard. We also talked with several more of our kids. Seems all are doing well. Emily and Marianne are busy making final preparations for their trip to Europe next week. We are all so excited!