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)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Busy Teaching and Supporting-Few Outward Signs of Results

"I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God."  (Mosiah 2:17).

Oh, if we could just describe the choice people we've met since the first of our mission!  I am overwhelmed with the beauty of their souls to where my cup runneth over!  Seven people we expected to see didn't show at Church on Sunday  It is a crushing disappointment when that happens.  Our hopes are high watching for their smiles and that special glow they'll have when they enter Sacrament meeting.  Then, our hope is shattered and is replaced by a deep hurt in our heart for their welfare that doesn't begin to match how the Savior feels for his lost sheep, but still the same brings us to tears.

On the other hand, one very special soul DID show up and strengthened our resolve to never give up.   My eyes wet my pillow at night for two reasons, one is for those who choose not to return to take advantage of the blessings promised for obedience and the other for the absolutely marvelous people we meet who are faithful.  Tears for sorrow and for joy.  I understand a bit of what Nephi was feeling when he said, "For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry."  (2 Nephi 33:3)

There's so much that goes on "behind the scenes" on a mission.  Not all individual progress is apparent in terms of attendance at meetings.  The people we contact, the prayers we have, the stories they share, the trials and heartache shared, goals set, understanding and enlightenment, seeing the beautiful souls of individuals . . . there is just more than can be described.  In all cases, we know the worth of souls is great or we would not be called to help others come unto Christ.  All ordinances, such as baptism and all temple work, are done individually.  All covenants are between an individual and God.  Christ saves each person individually.  The ONE is cherished and loved and Heavenly Father and His Son have high expectations of seeing the return of each individual to his or her heavenly home some day.  What a wonderful realization that we matter to Him!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Four Choice Souls Today

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  
                 Romans 13:10; 14:13, 19; 15:1-2

We taught in four homes today and were grateful for the beautiful spirit of love in each one.  Lucky us.  We learn, they learn, and we all are uplifted together on this long and winding trail/trial of earth life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

People Found = Zilch; Flowers = Thousands!

2 Nephi 2:27: Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Foal Update and One Amazing Person

Our little guy (yes, we think it is a little stallion) has a friend joining him today.  His mother isn't quite so concerned to even be near him tonight.  The little guy (he needs a name) was frolicking in the woods and came out when I called him, along with his beautiful buddy.  That was a bonus for the evening.

The bonus for the day was meeting this wonderful older man (80 years old) who has the greatest sense of humor.  He is a small man who is very sharp mentally and physically spry.  You'd never know he is as old as he is.  He showed us a treasure of very old motorcycles he has restored and kept running.  They range from 1946 to 2007 and all are in perfect condition.  I will take a picture of them the next time we see him.

This man has a very strong testimony, but he has mostly not been involved with the Church for six years, since his wife died.  We fell in love with him within five minutes of meeting him.  The Spirit was so strong in his home that we were all brought to tears when he bore his testimony.  What was funny, though, is he kept saying there was no way to deny what he was feeling as we talked about his need to return to Church activity.  He was arguing with himself about how happy he was just going on with his life and not getting involved again all the while talking about how he was being pulled back because we'd arrived.  He kept cracking up over us being there and we laughed our heads off all the while.  You would have had to have been there to enjoy what I'm trying to explain.  Anyway, he promised to come to Church Sunday.  He'd better, or he will never get away from us.  After all, we told him we came all the way from America to get him back.  He is another one of those choice persons who makes being on a mission 110% worthwhile.  He is one more confirmation that the worth of a soul is sooooo worth it!

Roadside Scene & a Baptism!

 Scripture for the day:  . . . this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God . . .  2 Nephi 31:21

Going back from the baptism on Sunday in Stafford.  This scene was shot while going down the highway, holding the camera out the window and pointing it backwards in hopes of catching it.  I do not know what the yellow is.  Maybe a mustard crop? 
These two lovely sister on the left had a baptism today--a couple!  One of the person baptized has lung cancer.  None-the-less, it was a happy day for the parents and the family because they have been praying for years for them to accept the gospel.  These sisters have been amazing in the work they have done.  People seem more receptive to sister and senior missionaries because they probably aren't as easy to reject rudely at the door. The one in  the middle is from England via Holland (where she was living), and the other is from Canada.   The one in the middle goes home on Wednesday.  We will miss her greatly.  

Notice my stupid hair?  My hairdresser is in Utah!  When I'm on a mission, I cut it myself and it turns out looking like a Buster Brown do.  All the gray is starting to take over too.  Oh, for my Emily to help cover the gray and give me back manageable tresses!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Freedom to Choose

Sabbath Day Scripture:  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.   John 10:27

It was Stake Conference today and our mission president (President B.) spoke about his dog Chip, who died of old age about a year ago. He loved that dog and especially admired and appreciated the dog's obedience and self discipline.  Chip would go on runs with President B., but he didn't have to be on a leash because President B. would only have to call him to his side if another dog or person came near.  Thus, Chip had all the freedom to run and enjoy his time outdoors as long as he obeyed his master's call to come to his side when it was necessary.  President B. marveled at how Chip obeyed, even when other dogs threatened him or wanted to play.

One day while running with Chip, President B. could see this really mean dog he knew coming their way.  The owner always had to keep this dog on a strong lease with a choke chain to try and control him.  Every time President B. saw this dog, he was dragging his owner along, trying to get loose, all the while being yanked back by the uncomfortable chain collar.  As the mean dog approached, President B.  called Chip to him, who immediately responded and came to his side.  Chip stayed there faithfully as the mean dog and his owner went past.  All the while the mean dog strained and lunged at his lease, causing the owner to yank him back violently and scold him.  Chip stood firmly by President B.'s side.

President B. couldn't help compare the two dogs.  The vicious dog, who was not willing to listen to his owner, had no freedom.  He couldn't be trusted to run and explore.  He had to be spoken to harshly and suffer discomfort and pain for his bad behavior.  As long as that dog was unwilling to obey the rules, he could not be freed.

Chip listened to his master's voice and came immediately when he was called.  He didn't look around to see if there was something more interesting to entertain him or divert him from the call.  He didn't ignore his master and pretend he didn't hear him.  He didn't question if there was a good reason for his fun to be interrupted.  He allowed nothing to keep him from his duty to be obedient.  Chip remained faithfully dependable all of his life and enjoyed true freedom while lovingly being taken care of by his family.

Rest in peace, dear Chip.  Good dog.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

She Came! We taught!

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.        . . . And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father . . . D&C 18:10&16

We have been working to find a translator to teach the lady with the beautiful smile whom we literally chased down the street about a month ago so we could give her our message. She is from Angola and speaks Portuguese. At that time, she managed to understand just enough with our pointing heavenward and saying, "God loves you," to give us her phone number. 

Last Sunday, a ward member gave us the name of a less active member in the ward who speaks Portuguese. We rang him and he agreed to ring the lady, set up the teaching appointment, and to interpret for us as we taught. We went to his home on Thursday and he set up a meeting with the lady for Friday. We had to meet at the church building because there was no home to teach in (she lives with a bunch of people and is not free to offer their home). She said she'd meet us at the bus stop.

Missionaries can only transport members when they are going to a teaching appointment with them. Since our interpreter had no car, we picked him up at home, his two darling boys at school (he is a single parent), and got a key for the church. We also found a young woman in the ward who was willing to babysit the boys at the church while we taught. 

We went to the pound store and got a bunch of toys for the boys and loaded up lots of goodies.  A member dropped off his daughter to watch the boys.  Elder Blain had left me at the bus stop to wait for the lady and walk with her back to the church.

Waiting there, almost holding my breath, a thought popped into my mind about Heavenly Father waiting for us, and I suddenly realized that the love I was feeling for this stranger was not my own. It was overwhelming to recognize that I was only comprehending a small part of the great love He has for us. I could feel His great desire to have His children on Earth found and returned back to their heavenly home someday. He is anxiously watching over us and He sees our efforts to find people to teach about His Plan of Happiness. He anguishes over those who reject the opportunity to learn of Him. He wants to be able to run to us with open arms and shout with joy that we have returned to Him.

While in this reflection, I became increasingly anxious that we were being stood up. My faith wavered and I felt that the lady wouldn't show. Such terrible disappointment washed over me, thinking she would reject the most precious gift she could obtain--then, she showed! I saw her and waved above the crowd. Wanting to jump up and down, I rushed forward and gave her a big hug. She was still wearing a beautiful smile.

As we walked up the hill towards the church, I saw Elder Blain, the volunteer interpreter, his two boys, and the babysitter coming down the hill towards us. It was a grand reunion and small celebration to have this special soul to teach. Through the interpreter, we conversed as we walked to the building where we would teach her the first lesson: The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Oh, glorious day and happy hearts!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Finding Folks and Seeing Beauty

Yesterday was a hot, sweaty day driving all over, getting in and out of the car, trying to get the Sat Nav to work (some connection problem), finding few people at home . . . , but it was a FANTASTIC DAY!  Why?  Because we found a young man, with a wonderful spirit of service, who is willing to translate as we teach the beautiful smiling woman we chased down on the street to share the gospel message about a month ago.  She couldn't understand English, but she gave us her phone number.  We have prayed to find someone who speaks Portuguese and he was been found!  Today we teach!

Below is some of the beautiful scenery we found as the Sat Nav took us to another address yesterday whilst (Eng.) looking for lost sheep (less actives on the ward list).

Also, Elder Blain had to get a hair cut and his hair dresser really gives him a short one that last for about three months.

I know, if you've seen one church, street, purple flower, narrow lane, rock wall, green meadow,  etc.,  you've seen them all, but we can't get enough of them.  We hope you won't either.  If so, you can always not look.  Ha, ha!         

"For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies . . . For the beauty of each hour of the day and of the night, hill and vale, tree and flower, sun and moon, and stars of light, . . . For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child, friends on earth, and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild, Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise."
 The yellow up on the hill has a sign that says it is a "heather reclamation" area.  I see no typical lavender heather, so a assume the bushes all over the hills there are related to the heather family.
I  know, the church thing is a bit overdone, but what can I say? I love them!  They are amazing!  Children are just getting out of school here.  It was a quaint little village called, Brownedge.
It says "1846" on the wall.

An old library--1883
These are everywhere for people to walk under the round abouts.  They aren't all painted lovely like this one
found in Hanley.
Wisdom's Barber Shop in Tunstall.
Here's what we wish we were driving on the mission!
The barber shop road and the purple wish on the left.
Here is one of those "ones" He cares for, growing against all odds, hoping to survive, and showing such courage and hope . . .  Matthew 6:29  "And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Shirt Sleeve Day in England

We pulled up to the Church for District Meeting this morning and I saw this house across the street.  It says, "1912" on it.  Lovely.
Scripture for the day:  Genesis 1:31 - "And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good."
After speaking on goal setting at District Meeting, all of the missionaries set a goal to go eat.  Ha, ha!  The two white specks way up  ahead were in a rush for food.  It will be transfer week next week, so we will not see some of them again as they get moved away to another area of the Lord's vineyard.  We get to go out to eat once a transfer as a district.  The rest of the times we bring sack lunches.  We went to a Chinese restaurant today that wouldn't let us have free tap water.  They charged us the equivalent of about $9.00 for two big bottles of water to share (six pounds).  We'll never go there again!
I saw this on the sidewalk while we were waiting for the lady to show up we had an appointment to teach.  It is probably Tiny Tim's crutch.  The lady never showed up (Scrooge made her work late, me thinks).  We were disappointed with two cancelled teaching appointments today, but we did find one very nice couple who recently returned to church activity.

This is Merlin, the wonder dog.  He can catch like a pro.  He is a really fast dog with lots of energy.  He has been listening to the missionary lessons.  His master will be baptized in the near future.

Merlin likes to bring the ball to Sister Blain and stick his head under her skirt, dropping the ball and then he just stands under there in the shade.  When she moves, it looks like she laid an egg!  Goofy dog.

The Bluebells have finally arrived!  Absolutely beautiful!  This tree looks like it has some sort of face.

Elder Blain with the clouds over and on his head ; D.

What was that you said about Moooroni?  These two potential investigators seemed a bit interested, but the others totally ignored us!  How rude.  Tracting pastures is utterly unproductive. 

We failed to convert Mr. Wedgwood even though we purchased three much-needed bowls at a total cost of four pounds 50 pence.  That was cheaper than at ASDA!  Why such a good deal?  They're seconds with flaws that would have just been thrown away (plain white).

Okay, so here is our little darling growing like a bean stalk.  We get to see him weekly as we go to the teaching appointment because he is in the field behind the lady's house.
Are those little feathers starting to grow on his feet?

 Can you see my big blue eyes?
Mama, I DON"T want to move!  I really want to listen to the missionaries!