Missions are Fun

Preston Temple photo taken 21 Nov. 2010

A missionary is someone who leaves his or her home for a little while so others can have their families forever.

Curious about Mormons? Go to the source and find real people at mormon.org--read what they believe and have live chats if you wish! (an official Church website)

Or, go to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, official web site: lds.org.

Note: The Blain's England Manchester Mission blog is a personal blog that is not endorsed, approved, or sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Our Mission Scriptures

Our Mission Scriptures:

"Oh, that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart . . . Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth." Alma 29:1-2 (Book of Mormon)

" . . . be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58 (Bible)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Unselfish Service for Peace

Today, as I sat in the truck waiting for a parking space in the Ogden Temple parking lot, I watched a woman hobbling along in what looked like a great amount of pain. Her swollen legs were wrapped in pressure bandages and she paused every few steps, grimaced, then gritted her teeth and push on across the expanse of the lot. When she was within hearing range, I rolled my window down and asked if she was heading for her car. She pointed to the last parking space near where I'd stopped to wait. I commented on her dedication in being at the temple when she was in obvious discomfort. She smiled and said, "It is the only place I can go to get peace."

I have often wondered how so many older people, some barely able to walk or move, find the energy to serve in the temple either as workers or patrons. Some have been there as regular as clockwork, serving quietly, hardly noticed by anyone year after year after year. Perhaps their blessing is peace in knowing that there is nothing so great as service to others with no thought of reward. Giving someone the opportunity to accept the gospel is the most lovely and precious of gifts. All it may cost for some folks is inconvenience, discomfort, and pushing through great pain.

Then, there is me--much healthier than they, arguing with myself as to whether I had the time to go to the temple today in the midst of the pressure of the long list of holiday to dos. Obviously, by being so caught up in the hustle and bustle of busyness, I missed the fact that the number one "to do" for Christmastime would be to go to the temple where one can be as close to the Prince of Peace as possible--doing His work. Unfortunately, as I was congratulating myself for giving a great Christmas present to the person for whom I had done the temple work, I failed to realize how much I've been given and how little He asks in return.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 Christmas Message * * * Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

Santa Whispered, “Teach the children the true meaning of Christmas.”

The Star: A heavenly sign of prophecy fulfilled long, long ages ago—the shining hope of

Red: The first color of Christmas symbolizing the Savior’s sacrifice for all

Fir Tree: Evergreen—the second color of Christmas shows everlasting life. The needles point heavenward.

The Bell: Rings out to guide lost sheep back to the fold—signifying that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord.

The Candle: A mirror of starlight reflecting our thanks for the star of Bethlehem.

Gift Bow: Tied as we should all be tired together in bonds of goodwill forever.

Candy Cane: The shepherds’ crook used to bring lambs back into the fold—a reminder that we all are our brothers’ keeper

The Wreath: A symbol of the never-ending eternal nature of love . . . having no beginning and no end.

 We hope your holiday season is a joy and that this letter finds you with peace in your heart. Let us pause in the hustle and bustle of the world and look at the lives we have touched and put aside the feeling that we have not done enough. The main thing our Savior has asked us to do while on this earth is to LOVE MUCH and DO THE BEST WE CAN. In that word, love, we find the foundation of selfless service that has the ability to touch one life that initiates a ripple that goes beyond the influence of the moment and on forever . . .

If anyone would like to get in touch with any of the kids, contact us at rando57@gmail.com.

Our goal is to wear our lives out in service to others in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. His gospel is a marvelous guide for our lives and we hope others can gain peace and joy in knowing of God’s great plan of happiness and salvation.

If you do not hear from us next year, it will be because postage is double from England and there may not be time to do cards. We plan to stay in touch via e-mail (hopefully).

A Christmas Reflection . . .

John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:11

It seems to take about the same amount of effort to be mean or rude as it does to be decent and kind. Certainly the mental and physical effects are different, but what happens on the inside to the recipient of our personal interactions is largely incomprehensible. There really is no way to measure the full impact, but we know by certain outcomes whether a person has been delivered more positives than negatives. a person can choose to use Satan's tools of negative words and actions and bring down, or be a disciple of Christ, and lift others up. Everyone, no matter the circumstances from which they come, can be an instrument to build others and help them feel like a worthwhile part of the world. Positive regard perpetuates human happiness.

Our Lord and Savior directs us to love one another--love one another--love one another . . . This message reverberates throughout the Holy Scriptures and it is not antiquated.

He knows our human tendecies to take out our anger, hurt, disappointments, and such on others. He also knows the worth of every individual, the innate respect each person deserves, and the need we all have to be told, through others on the earth, that we DO matter. If we can be an instrument in delivering this message, we help others to grow and contribute positively. We also benefit from the positive we give out. It comes back one hundred fold in more ways than we sometimes realize. These are the blessings promised by Him to those who do as He did while on the earth.

We have an assignment in the world, a duty if you will, a purpose to living--the important one we'll ever have--to LOVE! If this purpose is fulfilled, it will keep us on the strait and narrow path back to our Heavenly Father. Why is it sometimes so difficult to see in others what our Savior sees and to simply love them? Love begets benevolent service and service enriches individual souls, which grows humanity. A single person loving CAN change the world. He did.

-by Roberta 2006

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas Thought

Only One

One candle
can light the darkest

One candle
can warm a spot that's

One candle
can still useless

One candle
can save by gently

One candle
can keep a faith

One candle
flame . . .
we can be the

by Roberta, December 2002

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today was missionary suit day. Good 'ol Mr. Mac and his two-pant suit. O (the name I call Ercell--it'll be Elder Blain soon) looks very much the fine gentleman in his new suits. He cuts a fine figger, as they say in Sanpete County (where he is from--he HAS tried to lose the distinctive dialect from that corner of Utah. It didn't work, since he still uses, "sqooze" with the ''oo' being pronounced like "oh"). He wanted a yellow tie because he said that is one color he hasn't had and can't find. True to history, we couldn't find one, but he did find a pretty shiny gold one. No smilie face tie this round.

Got a missionary tip today: buy wool because it doesn't wrinkle as easily. The clerk in the store told us, believe it or not, younger missionaries don't always hang up their suits and wool can shake out even after it has been in a pile of stuff for a while. I didn't know either one of those tidbits of information. You mean to tell me the younger missionaries aren't fully trained? Guess it'll take a wife to do that someday. Judging by some of their apartments shortly before and after inspection, they're lucky to even find their suits.

While on the subject of suits, can you imagine women wearing only two suits during their mission? Actually, can you imagine only owning a couple of suits at a time throughout your whole life? Men try to make up for it by changing tie color and patterns, or maybe mixing it up a bit with a sports coat or colored shirt. On a mission, of course, they don't have the option of mixing contrasting coats and pants, though while in Georgia, Elder Blain did it accidentally a few times and it was rarely noticed unless he or I caught it. I think the mix up was usually a navy blue coat with black pants, or vice versa. It WAS dark in our closet in the apartment. Sometimes there were interesting shoe and sock combinations because it is hard to tell navy blue from black unless you're in the sunlight. To his credit, though, he didn't freak out about being mismatched like a woman might. The other Elders that accidentally did it never let it ruin a day either. They know what I discovered at work by intentionally wearing two different colored shoes and a blouse wrong side out--few people notice or care about what you're wearing, the majority of folks are too absorbed in worrying about you noticing or caring about what they're wearing. And we think people are looking at us? As it is said on a mission, "Forget about yourself." Amen.

No, I'm not done beating this subject to death.

Ah, to be a man and able to walk into a store, get eight white shirts without trying them on and you're done. It probably has taken my husband all of three hours to get the clothes he needs for this mission. He doesn't have to think each day on what to wear--just rotate. He loves it that way. It takes him back to his military days when he opened the closet and the uniform for the day was always there. No worries for 24 years on what to wear. How would that be? There is something to be said for uniforms and having no choice.

Somewhere I read how much time a woman takes each day in choosing what to wear. It seemed like around twenty minutes a day from thinking about it, to trying on and looking, to switching outfits, to looking some more in the mirror . . . That was calculated into years spent in a lifetime deciding what to wear. The study didn't even address the actual shopping and taking care of one's clothing, or exchanging what didn't work when you got it home. My, I'd better stop right here since it is starting to sound like a huge waste of time and a bit of a living nightmare from which you never wake up. Give me those white shirts and we'll leave for England!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Launching February 8, 2010

It isn't going to to be hard to leave the cold, but the snow is soooo beautiful! I will miss that in England. Snow is such a gift this time of year because it transforms the dried out weeds, brown undergrowth, naked shrubs, and bare ground into a wonderland that sparkles in the sun and gleams when moonlight touches it. There won't be snow like that where we are going, though I suppose all the green in England won't be hard to get used to. I do know we need to take warm clothing because the dampness chills one to the bone. Georgia was like that as well, but this time I won't have Cailin mail me my long wool coat since I'll be wearing it. I plan to wear all the heavy stuff to lighten the baggage load. I am being very scientific about luggage and clothes weight. It remains to be seen if I'll survive living out of two suitcases for 18 months!

Ercell and I are going back to our ancestral roots, with his grandfather coming from Carlisle (which is in our mission) and my great, great grandmother from somewhere in Yorkshire (which is east of our mission boundaries). We hope preparation days allow for a wee bit of exploring in the graveyards. Across the way, in Ireland are more of my family roots, and some in Scotland, which borders the mission.

Another missionary couple getting ready for their mission in Barcelona, Spain (Hadleys) sent us a check list to prepare for missionary service. Number one suggestions for preparation guidelines suggest that we "spend as much time together as husband and wife as possible to help you adjust to missionary life." I didn't know we spent any of our time together other than as husband and wife.
Maybe it means we need to practice getting along in close quarters, but if we decide to be in the same room too long here at home we may drive one another crazy. We are both the type who needs elbow room and personal space. Putting two would-be hermits together in a room together for a long period of time is dangerous without that mantel of the missionary calling. From past experience, it seems once we are set apart, we know we are representing someone other than ourselves and we will be a bit more "inspired" to help things work out in a tiny flat. Having the name of our Savior on our tags almost 24-7 (no, we don't sleep in our name tags) is a very positive motivator. We learned that in Georgia as we learned to live in a small two bedroom apartment. One bedroom was used for an office and the computer allowed for a retreat to home and family and escape from the present surroundings. We may not have such luxury in England. I expect prayers answered will take care of any issues we may encounter. I figured out that people praying for the missionaries' welfare actually do not realize that a good portion of prayers for their safety, success, and sanity is applied to working with companions. LOL!

I have decided this blog will be as honest as possible about adjusting and dealing with the challenges of a couple's mission, but I expect there will be much more about the marvelous blessings and experiences we enjoy for being willing to go where He wants us to go. Overcoming challenges, discouragement, trials, and our human frailties is just part of life that perhaps magnified a bit in the fishbowl environment of a mission. I wouldn't trade the experience for a cruise around the world or for the luxury of kicking back in retirement and lulling away the days. Yes, as some once said, we plan to use up our lives serving our Father in Heaven. Pray for us and help us stay on track, okay?