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)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Okay, we're ready to go fishin'.

Yesterday was the big run to town trying to get too much done in one day. Our arms are sore from the DT and H1N1 shots, we have two billion pill bottles we need to take with us (which they'll probably take away because they'll think we are drug smugglers), and we have our legal paperwork completed in case we croak off while we are gone. Almost-Elder Ercell O got another white shirt (only one to go to meet the requirement) and his missionary trench coat with a warm lining (also required). He looked very missionaryish with it on. I told him he has to wear that on the plane because there is no way it's going to fit in the luggage. If it did fit, it'd push us over the weight limit. I'm a bit fearful for how much all this stuff we think we are taking is going to weigh. It costs something like $200.00 or more if you go over on weight!

Our pantry and fridge are becoming emptier as we try to eat everything so we won't put ourselves on a guilt trip about being wasteful (you know, the starving people in the world). We'll find people who can use the extra food--especially the fish we still have from our trip to Alaska. That is like $250.00 a pound fish when you look at what we caught and what it cost to do that fishing trip. It isn't all about the fish, of course. It was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for me and something I'd dreamed of doing since I was little. I've always loved to fish. It never mattered if I caught anything because it is about the anticipation of catching THE BIG ONE (or actually anything) and being in a lovely place with water and scenery. Now, we go on another once-in-a-lifetime fishing trip. We'll be in a lovely place being fishers of men (women, etc.) and finding even just one will bring the greatest joy--can't get any better than that!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Are We Ready Yet?

Everyone keeps asking if we are ready to leave. If they mean having everything organized, then I have to say we are never ready until we just go out the door and head for the MTC. What gets done gets done and what doesn't, oh well . . .

We do have a checklist of most important things that need to be done. The Church provides very detailed information on what to take and what to expect. Delta Airlines is clear about what we can take and how much. Family members have promised to mail anything we cannot live without. Our first mission helped us realize how little we actually need to be perfectly happy. So, I guess we're almost good to go.

Are we ever really ready to leave our loved ones? No. That is hard to do, but it is for the greater good and the time gone will be shorter than it seems. We are most grateful for a very supportive family.

The hardest thing is to anticipate the things one might forget that we won't know we needed until we forget them and can't find them in England.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Speak Your Piece Easier Said Than Done

We have been asked to speak in Church this next Sunday on faith, hope and charity. An Elder talked on the same topic last Sunday. We'll see what we can do with this challenge. I freak out having to be in front of people no matter how well I prepare. Elder Blain is calm as a summer's breeze. Someone advised me on our last mission to "forget yourself." I don't think people who say that have social anxiety. It is good advice. Not only do I need to forget myself, but I need to forget (and not see) all those people looking at me and expecting to hear something worthwhile. We are also told to be bold and "open our mouth." I can open my mouth and just stand there and have nothing come out but a croaking sound!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Infinite-Power-of-Hope

Infinite-Power-of-Hope

Mormon Myths or Rumors.

It just dawned on me that someone reading this blog may not be LDS (a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). For those of you wondering about some things you may have heard about the Church, I offer some (often tongue-in-cheek) explanations.

TIP OF THE DAY: Members of the Church prefer to be called "LDS" (which stands for Latter-day Saint), as in, "Oh, you're from Utah, are you LDS?" "Mormon" is a label given in the early days of the Church because of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. In the 1800's, if someone called you a Mormon, it was usually in an offensive way (bad word). TIP OF THE DAY: Members of the Church prefer to be called "LDS" (which stands for Latter-day Saint), as in, "Oh, you're from Utah, are you LDS?" "Mormon" is a label given in the early days of the Church because of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. In the 1800's, if someone called you a Mormon, it was often in an offensive way (bad word). Well, in modern times, because of the ignorance of some misinformed persons, it can still be used in a derogatory or discriminatory manner.

Myths or Rumors:

1. Mormon's have horns: Check out any person's head who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You will NOT find any horns and, no, they are not retractable if there were any. You may want to ask permission first, though, as Mormon's do have rabies.

2. Mormon's have rabies: Just in case you are unknowledgeable enough to believe every weird thing you hear about Mormons is true and fail to ever check out the facts--they don't have rabies and most Mormons don't bite.

3. Mormon men have many wives: One wife is enough for any LDS man. Mormons manage quite nicely, thank you, with one wife and one husband and sometimes LOTS of children. A good number of the productive Mormon moms look like they've had no children, since, on average, Mormons have a tendency to look healthy, attractive, and not down-trodden in any way. In fact, you'll often see authentic smiles of joy as these women keep track of those many mini Mormons scurrying around doing all the normal things children do. You will also see that these same moms are like any other mom. They can look as worn out as anyone and not have smiles of joy. After all, it IS a lot of work to be a mom and Mormons are normal humans like everyone else.

4. Look Out for the Mormon Missionaries!: Why? They can't hurt you or hypnotize you into being a "follower". Telling people to look out for them is like saying, "Look out for those Christians who are spreading God's dangerous word that might bring marvelous changes into your life?"

Mormon missionaries are simply young men and women, and some senior adults, dedicating two years of their life (paying their own way) to take the message of Christ's atonement and resurrection to all the ends of the earth. Mormon missionaries are focused on one purpose--to bring souls unto Christ. They are doing the Lord's work to assist Him in reaching His goal as recorded in Moses 1:29: "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

A Mormon missionary brings people the gospel message, as taught by Jesus Christ. They give people the opportunity to hear a true account of the restoration of all things in these last days. The original Church that Christ founded is again established as promised in the Bible and Book of Mormon. This means God has once again given priesthood authority to men on earth to perform the sacred ordinances, such as baptism (by water) and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost(baptism by fire), for people wishing to take the first step to enter into the strait and narrow gate on the path to eternal life (read Acts 19). It is the only way to return to our Heavenly Father and live with Him and, his beloved son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. As He has said, "Let him who has ears let him hear." (Mark 4, 9, 23; Mark 8:18; Luke 8:8)

Mormon missionaries may seem extremely exuberant in their desire to bring their wondrous message to people, but they are not into force, manipulation, or deception. They carry only the message of faith, hope, and joy for all mankind. All people have the choice to listen or to reject. The promise is found in the Book of Mormon, the ONLY book with a promise that you can know the truth of it through the Holy Ghost. The promise is written by an ancient prophet named Moroni, just before he buried the sacred records, written on gold plates by prophets living on the American continent: Moroni 10:3, 4, 5:

3 "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that we shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that you would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

Now, what is so scary about that?

How best to treat the Mormon missionaries (they always come in twos with name tags on) when they show up at your door? Smile, invite them to give you their message, take any gifts they offer you, and promise them you will honestly take the time to search, ponder, and pray to find out for yourself the truth sent from God. It is either true or it is not. What harm is there in finding out for yourself?

So, what sets Mormon Missionaries apart from those caring and earnest other missionaries in the world trying to bring the word of Christ to all? They all have a message they truly believe will save mankind. The difference is the Mormon Missionary will bring you another witness that Jesus Christ lives. The message is, as Paul Harvey used to say, “. . . the rest of the story.”

I think I'll give up on the myth thing. It is impossible to address them all and new ones spring up constantly. People will believe what they choose and if they have not ears to hear, or eyes to see, no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise. Besides, everyone should check out anything they read or hear at the original source (including this blog); in this case, the Bible and The Book of Mormon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tr La La La La La La--Yeah, sure.

Yesterday we received in the mail a packet from the Church containing a bunch of music books with how to conduct and play the keyboard. The letter began, "With your music skills, you may want to . . . WHAT? We looked at each other and asked, "What in the world did you put down in your missionary papers?" Neither one of us is very musically inclined in the least--especially me--zilch, nada, zero, etc. (except Elder Blain can carry a tune and actually sang in the choir--he says he did NOT give them that information), so maybe we marked a box wrong and they think we'd know what to do when musical talents are needed. Yeah, we do know what to do--run away, suddenly become ill, point to someone else, act deaf, or muddle through it so terribly they'll never ask again. Actually, it would only take starting a song and they'd ask us not to muddle through it. Being out of your comfort zone is always part of a mission, but this is so waaaaay out that we might not survive. (I'm laughing and hoping this is all a big mistake).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Quote From Page-a-Day e-mail

Information collected on the subject of religion is worthless. Religion is, to the very end, something that you must verify for yourself through actual practice.
-Soko Morinaga

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Have a New Year Revolution

 And a little child shall lead them.  2 Nephi 21:6

A little girl stood up in Sacrament meeting today and said she had made a "New Year's revolution" to go without two meals on fast Sunday. She said that as she suffered with hunger pains today it suddenly dawned on her she was helping hungry little children in the world. She said she then thought of how much more pain Jesus Christ suffered as he bled from every pore in Gethsemane.

She concluded with, "I have a testimony that fasting is good, so that is why my New Year's revolution is to fast and put up with a little pain to help the hungry boys and girls and other people in the world."


A Truly Happy New Year Remembering Him

As we wish one another a good 2010, I want to share a thought posted on a bulletin board at home. Written simply on a 3 X 5 card is the word "REMEMBER." This word was extracted from a quote by Hans Christian Anderson, which reads as follows: "Time is so fleeting that if we do not remember God and learn of him in our youth, age may find us incapable of thinking of him."

To me, being capable of remembering God means not letting a day go by where I do not think of all the blessings He has given me and remember to express my gratitude daily. It means relying on Him for strength when I face a trial and not trying to handle everything by myself. It means I will not make it inconvenient to remember Him.

As any good scout would say, from this day forth, I will strive to be more humble, teachable, and obedient. I believe this should improve my attitude and lessen the chance that the things Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ ask me to do will be inconvenient. That sounds like it shouldn't be too hard being on a mission and staying focused entirely on spiritual things, you say? Ha! Being too caught up in day-to-day tasks at home or on a mission can easily find me falling into a repetitious cycle of prayer and scripture study that taking the time for seems inconvenient. I know I cannot remember Him, learn from Him, or keep the Spirit with me when merely doing these tasks in a redundant manner. Knowing is easy and doing takes work. Ugh, being human is sooooo hard sometimes!

The thought of the things of God seeming inconvenient brings to mind our experience on the mission at Ft. Benning with the soldiers and with one person we taught when she asked us to take a video about the Savior to her home.

Each Sunday we taught one of the lessons from Preach My Gospel. Many soldiers would gain a personal witness of the truth of The Book of Mormon often in the first lesson. They would be all fired up with wanting to be baptized through the next couple of lessons, but when we got to the fourth lesson entitled "The Commandments," the fires of exuberance for the gospel began to cool quickly. Why was this so? Because that is the lesson where the commandments are reviewed and the soldiers would discover some stumbling blocks they weren't quite ready to accept--the Word of Wisdom, the principle of tithing, and chastity were the three that seemed the most difficult for them to accept. These things were an inconvenience to their present way of life. Some said they were still young and needed to party a little longer and then they would settle down to church going. Some never made the commitment to Heavenly Father to always remember the Savior and keep His commandments through baptism before they left for Iraq or Afghanistan, and some never came back.

The soldiers were not the only ones who discovered becoming a member of Jesus Christ's Church inconvenient. There was a wonderful older African American woman who had a spiritual experience before our first visit with her. She described a dream in which the town sheriff told her to read Acts 19. After we had taught the first lesson, she told us about her dream and asked us if we could help her understand it. We didn't know what the message was until we looked up the scripture and read it with her (Acts 19:2-6). It is about baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, all done by the proper priesthood authority given by God to perform His ordinances here on earth.

This good sister had the Spirit witness to her that she had received God's truth, but was she baptized? No. It was inconvenient for her. Her little church in the neighborhood was like home. The members were like family. She didn't want to risk raising the ire of her preacher against her. There certainly was an inconvenience getting to an LDS ward to attend. She had no means of transportation and could barely walk. This dear woman could barely see to read and even with the large print edition of The Book of Mormon, she read very slowly. Yes, there were some inconveniences. She told us to keep coming back because she "didn't want to miss the mark." How sad. All because of God's true path being inconvenient she has missed the mark for now. Maybe in the future she will "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," as recorded in the Bible, Philippians 3:14.

Finding God's "lifestyle" inconvenient for the modern fast-paced lifestyle (so much to do, so little time) is not uncommon. I admit to feeling resentful at times because the Church asked something of me that wasn't convenient to do at the moment. There's that stage of "having to go to church" when others are free to do what they want on Sunday. There's those times when it seems people needing help schedule their crisis when I am most busy. Why doesn't that happen when there is nothing else to do? Oh, Satan, you sneaky devil, why do you put such thoughts in my head and why do I listen?

Yes, a life without structured religious observance or obligations to serve others is perceived as an easier life to live in this temporary earth existence, but is it at the expense of eternal life? Will I deceive myself into selling my soul, so to speak, for a mess of pottage? Heaven forbid! Okay, I know St. Mark (8:36) records that Jesus Christ said, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" All right already. I am convinced having the whole world will not solve my problems or bring me true happiness. Therefore, I will strive not to feel inconvenienced in the Lord's work. Please give me an "amen" to that. I need all the help I can get.