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)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oh, The Preston Temple!

You can see the temple waaaay at the end of the archway.
I love these trees!
We LOVE this beautiful temple!
Our 17th anniversary day was great.  No better place to be. 
Very special experience.
Guess who carries all the stuff?  He looks manely even if he is carrying a purse.  Ha, ha!
This picture doesn't show the name of the temple too well, but it is on there.  This doesn't do justice to the beautiful flowers.

I made him put his purse down in this pic.  He is not a sloppy missionary with his suit, the wind was blowing heavily.
Do you like these trees as much as we do?
The sun, the moon, and the stars.  This picture doesn't show very clearly the different "glories" of the moon--terrestial.

This is the huge hotel in we stayed in.  It took us a while to find the lights (we had to go find someone to tell us where they hid them!).  We couldn't move past one another at the end of the bed without squeezing by.  I took this picture standing at the door.  It was cozy comfy and that is what counts.  We were good missionaries and didn't turn the TV on once (LOL--we didn't have time!).  Actually, we have no clue what is going on in the world most the time and that may not be good to be that removed all the time, but it sure is less stressful and we certainly stay better focused on missionary work. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Breaking Away for a Holiday

Any time away from one's home towne that involves leisure and relaxation, or site seeing, is called a holiday, so we're going to find out what one of those is here.  We shall go to the Preston Temple this weekend and visit the Family History Library.  The sun is shining and it should be a glorious weekend of adventure and service.  Expect pictures--LOL!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Or, is it a Million Pics Are Worth a Word?

 Mow Cop is the highest place in Staffordshire

moon over Mow Cop
Looking down on the English countryside from on top of Mow Cop

 Narrow bridge in the country heading for Mow Cop

People sometimes think this is the remains of a castle 
Elder Blain has his hands open wide to say it is all his for the taking!  He's on top of the world. Ha, ha. 


We visited Mow Cop Castle because it was in the area we happened to be doing our work today.  This is actually the remains of a summer home built in 1754.  It can be seen for miles because it is the highest point in all of Staffordshire.  It seems to have been named after the town of Mow Cop, which is nearby.
English countryside and horses as seen through the car window.
You'll notice how the car on the left is parked on the sidewalk to make room for cars.  The car coming will pull over behind the blue car so we can get through without taking off the mirrors.  People usually push their mirrors in when parked.  The daffodil season is coming to its end soon, I'm afraid.
A new baby in the Gypsy horse field!  Mom is in with all the Gypsy horses, but she doesn't look like a Gypsy horse or have the feathers on her feet.  Maybe they breed her to get the black and white ones?  There is a big, beautiful stud in the field that is a Gypsy horse.

Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words

Elder Blain says, "I'm sure they'll be delighted to see a sheep."  Oh, well, I thought you'd like the rock wall.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Newcastle Towne Centre in 1901--It is still there and Elder Blain went there to debate a tax bill today.

My Ducky and Blanket Comfort Me

Spring is Springing

Blossoms are popping out even on this tree trunk!  What a beautiful time of year in England!

Two Reflections

To Fear or Not to Fear

19 April

Paul said, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”  Hebrews 12:28. 

Adam said, “. . . I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”  Genesis 3:10

A speaker in Church calls the senior missionaries the “recovery team.”  He told a story about how he was “recovered” back into the Church years ago and how thankful he is because of the blessings activity in the Church have brought to him and his family. 

Knowing that some people do return does give us missionaries hope.  That is why we go out day after day trying to find the lost sheep and are willing to be rejected time and again with words such as, “I want nothing further to do with contact from the Church,” or “I was offended by _______(whatever it was) and quit attending.”  Perhaps some people are shutting the door to future joy in the eternities.   I hope not.

“I’m having my kitchen redone, give me a ring in a fortnight,” she says.  We call her back in a fortnight and she says, “I’m having my bathroom re-tiled, give me more than a fortnight before you call me back.”  How many fortnights do we have to procrastinate our repentance?

All the excuses I’ve used over the years are going to sound quite ridiculous and feeble when Heavenly Father asks me for the accounting of my faithfulness to Him. 

When He mentions that we should “fear” Him, it often means to honor, respect, worship, and to hold in awe and reverence, but sometimes fear in the sense of being afraid of a certain outcome is usually a motivating factor to improve for most people. Look at obedience training for our dogs (smile).  

Reflecting on fear, when I have a lax attitude about keeping His commandments, I DO have cause to fear as to the outcome of my life for all of eternity.  We are reminded in the scriptures, though, that a person striving to live the very best he or she can should not fear God, for He looks upon the heart, desires, intentions, and works of each one and rewards accordingly.  A little or a lot of fear of God (in the context of either of the definitions mentioned above) is appropriate, depending on the circumstances of one’s chosen path in life.

Fortunately, we know, through repentance and Christ’s Atonement, our sins of commission or omission can be forgiven.  That is why He wants everyone in the world to know of His wonderful gift-- so we will not fear-- because He is always there beside us with His arms open wide.   

A Shocking Family Home Evening

A young woman from Spain told us, in a very animated and interesting way, a story of a lesson she learned when she was six years old.  Her father came home and said to the family, “Quick, we need to leave our home in five minutes!  Hurry and gather everything you need because we cannot come back home again.” Go where?   She ran to her bedroom with a large plastic sack into which she tried to put all of her ponies and cabbage patch dolls.  He father said there was no room for the large sack.  She related that she ran to the car and had managed to have only one small box of precious possessions, which she placed in her lap. At this point, she was very sad and hated her father. 

Then, the father put the keys in the ignition to drive off, and turned to the family to ask them how they were feeling.  After the upset family discussed this experience, the father explained that is how Lehi’s family felt when he told them they had to leave all of their riches and a comfortable home and go away from Jerusalem because it was going to be destroyed.

She went on to say that we should all stop to count our blessings every day and to remember, no matter where we are, someone is praying for us.  She challenged us to be a blessing to everyone.

As a side note, another speaker said we need to live for more than time only.

There are exceptional speakers of all ages sharing such great gospel tidbits and teachings every Sunday.  Attending Church is like getting in on the best sought after show in town.  The tickets are free!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Different Windows, Different Roofs--Individual Tastes

Connected Neighbors Don't Always Have the Same Tastes

Knocking Doors in Tunstall

Our little blue car is in front on one area we visited this Saturday.  The road looks wide from this angle.  Notice how close the doors are to each other.  Tunstall has many Muslims.  The call to prayer can be heard in the town.

Finding Closed and Open Minds (and doors)

17 April, Saturday

We found two entirely different people today in our travels from door to door.

The negative man with no hope: He criticized everything in the world and the leaders of the United States and Britain. He is sure 9/11 and the bombing in London were set up to blame everything on the terrorists to keep the war going. He said everything the governments do is conspiracy and lies. We have ruined the earth and it is too late to do anything about it. He said it isn’t reasonable that a God would care about a little speck that is the earth in this huge galaxy. He thinks religion is a fantasy to help people deny reality. Anyway, you get the picture—he just went on and on and on.

A positive woman with hope and faith:  A few miles down the road, we stopped by a house where a member supposedly lived and this young woman answered the door with a beautiful smile on her face. She told us she’d lived in the home for two years and the person we were looking for was no longer there. Elder Blain said, “We are sharing a message today about how the gospel has been restored by God through a living prophet.” “I’m Elder Blain, what is your name?” She told him her name and he said, “____, what would it mean to you to know there is a living prophet on the earth today?” She looked at our name badges and said, “Oh, I have been meeting with some missionaries from your church!” She then told us she had been gone a while and the other missionaries were transferred, but Elders were coming back to teach the second gospel lesson.

Seeing two little girls watching us from a gate near the stairs, I asked if they were hers and she confirmed they were. I said, “Soon you will know how you can have your beautiful children with you forever and be a family throughout eternity.” She radiated good will and we felt the Spirit as we talked a little more and bore our testimonies of the Savior and the Book of Mormon. She is looking forward to learning more. Her accent was not English and we think maybe she is from Jamaica.

This lovely experience of being greeted with warmth made us feel like we were back in Georgia. That was such a change from the normally polite but standoffish way most people here refuse the invitation to learn more about how they can have great joy and gain answers to questions of the soul. That one sweet woman made the whole day worthwhile! Hallelujah!

Our Hands Can Be the Saviour's Hands

3 Nephi 12:41 and Matthew 5:41 - "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twin."

A story was shared that I’m not sure is fact, embellished, or fiction, since there are different versions on the Internet, but I want to share it because it is quite touching. I will not share the artist's sketch, since it may not be legal to copy it. You can find it on the Internet if you’re interested in the history.

In the 1490s, two struggling art students, Albrecht Durer and Franz Knigstein, were having trouble making ends meet. Albrecht came up with a plan: he would work to support Franz’s studies and then when Franz had sold enough art to support both of them, Albrecht would quit working and go back to school. Franz liked the idea but insisted on being the first to work.

Albrecht became a highly skilled painter and engraver. When his art began to generate sufficient income to support the two of them, he returned to keep his part of the bargain. However, he was saddened to discover that Franz’s labors had left his hands too stiff and gnarled to hold a brush. Franz’s career as an artist was over before it had begun, yet Franz refused to be bitter.

One day, Albrecht returned home to find Franz kneeling by his bed, his hands uplifted in prayer, asking God for continued blessings on Albrecht’s artistic endeavors. Deeply struck by his friend’s unselfish act of love, Albrecht sat down and sketched what would become by far his most famous work—the “Praying Hands.”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Elder Blain has his sweats under the coat.  He is entering our actual flat, which is situated in a foyer with three other doors exactly like ours, but with different numbers of course.  The door next to him is just an area with wiring in it but it has to be open a bit or it gets a strong mildew odor.  Yuk!
Our outside door.  Elder Blain has pressed the security button to open the door.  It was raining this day.
This is the drive up to our flat.  Our flat is behind the one on the bottom left.  This is a partial view of the front of the building with our car parked in front.  We enter on this side.
Our flat's "front" window is the one on the bottom on the right.  We look out at the other building that is part of our complex.  The parking we look out on is their places to park.  Ours is down the hill on the right. 
See?  I told you the Brits are sooooooooooooo polite and considerate!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pigeons Whitewash England

I looked out the window this morning and saw a bunch of England's fat, waddling, giant pigeons pecking around on the grass.  Then, I noticed the car next to them had been decorated with their gift, just like our car and millions others are recipients of what they probably consider artistic expression, or displaying their disgust for the lowly humans who have invaded their country-whichever.  Anyway, England is plastered in white from the tip top of the highest mountain to the lowest valley.  There is pokka dotted pavement, roofs, walls, sidewalks, and everything else with a surface to hold anything.  These royal poop pigeons are beautiful birds and lovely to watch.  I guess they deserve to be here doing their thing wherever they wish since no one has provided them toilets.

Scripture for the Day

The Book of Mormon - Alma 38:9 ". . . learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ.  Behold, he is the life and the light of the world.  Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness."

Since we are missionaries, we shall post a scripture to ponder.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We park here often and walk to the towne centre.  The streets are narrow when cars are parked, so drivers will pull behind a car and flash their lights to let you know you can pass.  The driver's manual says it is against the law to flash lights, but everyone flashes.  Without the flashers, it wouldn't be safe.  99.9% of the drivers are VERY courteous.  They put American drivers to shame where polite driving is concerned.  St. George's Church of England (1879) is in the background.
Our first district meeting with a fine bunch of Elders.  Does Sister Blain stand out or what?  It is a family picture of sorts, right?  Grandpa and Grandma . . .
Elder Blain is praying he can get the package open.  It has taken him to his knees.  The Brits have it set up so many things are difficult to open and it is a great workout trying to get into packages and such. You could starve before you get to the food in some cases!  The washer hides in the cabinet on the left behind his head.
Our little blue car (Vauxhall Merida-made by Chevrolet) is parked our flat 2 spot.  You can see a little of the view over the top of the houses across the street. 
Newcastle Towne Centre has been here for at least 800 years!  The library we sent e-mails from is on the right where the lady in blue jeans is standing.  The flowers weren't out much a month ago when this picture was taken.  There are now beautiful flowers everywhere.

Zone leaders leading the way with traditional Scottish cuisine--The Haggis!  Elder Blain couldn't wait to try it--maybe?

The Elders enjoying Haggis on mashed potatoes with beans and corn.
The Haggis is the little sausage-like thing sitting on the counter.

The Glorious Haggis Meal

The is the Scottish lad (Elder) with Elder Blain admiring the Harris--YUM!  Some people say, "YUK!"  Just don't read the ingredients.