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, April 1, 2012

JOURNAL - March 26 - April 1

Monday, March 26

Today is mission football (soccer). It is actually just our zone which is half the mission. President and Sister Ogden were there along with several senior missionary couples. President Ogden was a referee - the rest of us watched and cheered our teams on. The missionaries were divided by stakes and assigned a color - Birmingham was pink, Lichfield was black, Coventry was yellow, Nottingham was green, and Leicester was purple. The colors have significance. Black was the #1 team from last mission football, and pink was the looser. Birmingham has had to wear pink for the last couple of mission football games, so they were out for revenge...and revenge was theirs! Lichfield still won first place, but Birmingham came in second. So, no more pink! It was a wonderful day. The weather was gorgeous, the missionaries had a terrific time, and no one got seriously hurt. Do I need to say how much I love these missionaries!
Birmingham Missionaries
Back row L to R
Jones, Pauley, Patch, Querubin, Christiansen, Pavan, Kramer, Zundel, Morrissey, Ensing, Turnbow, and Hedemark
Front row L to R
Nelsen, Rose, Choi, Eppel, Ockey
Lichfield Missionaries
Leicester Missionaries
Most of the Sister Missionaries in our Zone
Commonwealth Missionaries in our Zone
Sisters Turnbow (Utah) and Hedemark (Sweden) from Harborne Ward in Birmingham
Sisters Louis (India) and Baker (USA - but her parents are living in China right now) from Coventry - previous Birmingham "greenies" in Harborne Ward

We left mission football and went directly to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for my scheduled thyroid ultrasound. The hospital is huge, new and close to our flat, but since we were not sure how to get there from mission football, we put the post code in the Sat Nav (GPS) and trusted it to get us there. Well, it lead us on a goose chase and made me late for my appointment, but thankfully they took me anyway. In a matter of 10 minutes the scan was done. Results - several small thyroid nodules and one very large one (21.6 mm). The scan was done by a doctor who said she was going to recommend an evaluation with the "thyroid clinic." So, next step - see my doctor in a week to review the US and labs I had done, then she should schedule me with the clinic - who knows how long the wait for that? Having worked for a doctor's office for so many years I'm used to getting things done faster. I know - I'm spoiled!

We really didn't have FHE as so many students have gone home. But we did meet at the church and watch "Seventeen Miracles" with some of the YSA and munch on popcorn.

Tuesday, March 27

I stayed home all day today - wonderful! Devon ran some errands including a nurse visit to check his blood pressure (good), and trips to the pharmacy and bank. I worked on my lesson all day. I have to teach tomorrow and this is the first I've worked on it. Thankfully, it came together nicely. In the late afternoon we walked to Aldi for a few groceries. Then I fixed a comfort dinner of homemade creamy chicken vegetable and rice soup, spinach and strawberry salad with homemade poppyseed dressing, and yummy baguettes.

Wednesday, March 28

I had some very ripe bananas, so I made banana nut muffins to take to district meeting. The Harborne C elders called and asked for a ride to district meeting. They live on the outskirts of the Harborne Ward boundaries and usually take the bus to the meeting. It is way out of our way to go pick them up, but they asked so we said sure. On the way we asked them where they wanted to stop to pick up lunch as we usually eat lunch together as a district. They hummed a little and then said they were not buying lunch. I asked them why, and after a little bit admitted they were flat broke. Since they live so far out, they have to frequently take the bus. They submit the receipts for reimbursement, but haven't received the funds yet  so they didn't have money to buy their bus ticket or lunch today. So, we bought lunch! They seemed quite happy and quite hungry!

District meeting was wonderful...so spiritual. It was all centered on faith in Jesus Christ. I always thought this district leader was pretty much a "loose cannon," and he is in many respects. But, what a testimony!  When will I learn to not judge a book by it's cover?! By the way, they loved the banana nut muffins!

Low attendance at Institute - many students have already gone home for spring break. My lesson went well. We were thrilled to have two new girls in attendance. One is a less active girl from Redditch. She always says she is going to come to things and then never comes. Well, the elders got her to pinky swear she would come to Institute, so she did. As it turns out, she is delightful! Everyone was very friendly with her. She said she loved Institute and will be back next week and plans to come to General Conference on Sunday. She has been a member about 3 years and would "love to go on a mission."

The other new girl is an investigator. Her aunt is a member in Kidderminister and has introduced her to the church. She met with the elders there a couple of times, but since she actually lives in Harborne she will start having lessons with the sisters here. She is so sweet. She also felt very welcomed and wants to come again next week. She is a singer, so we are going to go hear her perform on Saturday before conference. Can't wait!

Thursday, March 29

We went with the Harborne A elders to have lunch with an older single sister in the ward. She fixed a wonderful roast chicken dinner - so delicious. Afterwards, we worked in her yard, mowing the lawn and weeding the flower beds. She had a little push mower that barely could cut through the grass. The boys worked in the yard, and I helped clean up in the kitchen. We worked as long as we had time - didn't finish the job, but made a good start. We'll have to go back.
Elder Christiansen (Utah) and Elder Ensing (New Zealand)
Wishing he had his nice mower from home!

Tonight is the long awaited Osmond brothers' concert at Symphony Hall in Birmingham. We organized the event for the senior missionaries. There were 8 couples including President and Sister Ogden. One couple, the Lathams, met at our flat. They are assigned to a small ward way out in the country - over 2 hours away. We all met at Symphony Hall and then went to the Homemade Hamburger Company for dinner - great burgers and fries. Then we headed over to the concert. Let me just say...the Osmonds did not disappoint! It was so much fun! After it was over we were visiting with each other out in the hall and along came the brothers on their way out of the building. Someone told Jimmy Osmond there was a group of senior missionaries and he stopped and came over to see us. I think he was as thrilled to see us as we were to see him. I've never been a huge Osmond fan - actually just never paid them much attention - but truly their show was great including an inspiring rendition of "I Believe" complete with a slide show ending with a familiar LDS picture of Christ - very impressive! And Jimmy couldn't have been more gracious. All in all, the evening was a big hit!
England Birmingham Senior Couples at the Osmond Brothers' Concert L to R
Turley, Latham, Tufts, Fanning, Skiles, Fugal, Ogden, Morgan
A few of us with Jimmy Osmond

Friday, March 30

I spent the morning organizing a list of less active and investigating YSA's in the stake and their phone numbers. It should be a big help to the YSA presidency as they work with the ward reps in fellowshipping - at least I hope it's a big help! Also spent a lot of time calling those on the list and inviting them to General Conference this weekend. Hope they will come.

In the afternoon we met with one of our active YSA to go visit a young man who is not returning calls lately. I think I know what has him upset and I'm not sure there is anything we can do to help him, but we will try. I think he is angry with God for some recent trials he has had. Unfortunately, he was not home...but we will keep trying! After that we did some grocery shopping at Tesco and then came home and fixed a yummy fajita dinner.

Saturday, March 31

We got an email from Brother McMorn and he is not going to be back from General Conference in SLC in time to prepare his Old Testament lesson for Institute on Wednesday, so Devon will do it for him. That means I have to teach the Eternal Marriage class. So, we spent some time this morning working on lessons. Devon had been working on the EM class, but will switch to OT (thank you!). In the afternoon we rode the bus to the Hairy Lemon Bar and Pub in the Bull Ring. Our sweet new investigator is singing at an event honoring women singers, so we went to see her. She is a wonderful soul singer. We loved it and she was pleased that we came.

In the evening (5:00 pm our time) we went to a live broadcast of the Saturday morning session of General Conference. It was wonderful! Afterwards the Morgans came over and we had another fun game of Wizard. We enjoyed visiting and munching on goodies. It was a fun evening.


This was a busy day of conference. The Priesthood session from last night was broadcast at 10:00 am for the brethren. At 1:00 pm the Saturday evening session was broadcast, and at 5:00 pm the Sunday morning session was broadcast live. Sister Morgan stayed with me at our flat while the men went to the Priesthood session. Then they picked us up and we returned to watch the next two sessions. In between the sessions the YSA had a really nice munch and mingle. We had lots of good food, so the Morgans and many of the elders ate with us. I made a crock pot lasagna - something I've never done in a crock pot before - and it was yummy! Conference was wonderful! There were so many inspiring talks and the choir was amazing! Our YSA investigator (the soul singer) came to the 5:00 pm session and loved it! My favorite talks were Elder Hallstrom - "the purpose of the church is to help us live the gospel," Elder Oaks - "sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit is schooling/preparation for eternity," Elder Eyring -  "laying a foundation of faith through personal integrity, keeping covenants, acting on faith,"  Elder Holland - "do not covet or tear others down, don't dwell on old issues/grievances, you can never fall out of the reach of Christ's atonement," Elder Cook - "be in tune with the music of faith," Elder Uchdorf - "the moment we judge someone else, we condemn ourselves," President Monson - "family and the gospel should be the center of our lives." I can't express how much I love the gospel and how much it has blessed my life.

We ended this perfect day on Face Time with some of our kids.