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, June 27, 2010

Radom Thoughts and Pictures

The is our awesome Crewe District Elders and Zone Leaders.
These are mushy peas and they are good.  There is no dye in them, so they don't look green like our peas at home.  Mushy peas are put on lots of things, one of which is fries (or chips as they are called here).  I don't
 love them enough to make my fries soggy!
You cannot tell how big this giant rose is that we found last week.  It is rose season here and they are
blooming everywhere!
This is an antique mantle.  I want to have one built just like it in oak!  Won't be the same, I know.
This Egyptian and Siamese mix is Elder Blain's special "friend" that doesn't have a clue how much he is despised.  I, on the other hand, was very impressed with him and the regal way he brushed all over Elder Blain's pant legs.  Unfortunately, most the cats we meet know that Elder Blain hates them and they delight in brushing their tails in his face and walking back and forth on his lap.  They hardly bother with me because I want to pet them. Humph-fifftt.

England has lost the game today, so there will be no more curfews due to the games and the obsessed fans.  The last time England won a World Cup was in 1966, but they still cheer their team on.  I thought Americans were rabid sports fans, but the English may have us beat.  

The missionaries were shut into their flats from 1-6:30 p.m. today because of the game.  From the sounds of our wild, whooping-it-up neighbors cavorting about in red and white top hats and King George flag caps before the game started, it could have been dangerous to interrupt the game.  I'll miss all the flags everywhere.  We will be able to buy lots of souvenir items at a cut rate price starting tomorrow.  The games only come around every four years.

The neighbors tell us that little Polly hamster is sleeping, drink lots of water, and eating.  She is still recovering from her ordeal.  They left flowers and a thank you note at our door.  How nice.  Did I learn anything about the experience?  I thought you'd never ask.  As a faithful missionary, I must teach a Sunday religious lesson now.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

First, I learned that no matter how hard we try, none of us can be saved except by the Savior who knows the way.  I was helpless to save Polly.  The man who knew how to dismantle the fan saved her.  Yet, I was her advocate with the man, who would have killed her had I not been there, since he thought she was a worthless rodent (okay, I acknowledge some people do think she is a worthless rodent).  Jesus Christ knows our worth and he is our advocate with the Father, that through Him we can repent and gain life eternal.

Our Savior knows what is best for us and taught us the only safe path to follow in life.  I didn't know what was best for Polly and had actually turned her loose into danger (poor human judgment).  Just like Polly who thought she was breaking free of restrictions and instead wandered off and got herself trapped, we all sometimes end up on dangerous paths where we could be destroyed.  Polly was totally at our mercy as all of us truly are at God's mercy.  I loved that poor little helpless creature and felt compelled to save her life.  So it is with the Savior, only He loves us more than we can comprehend.  He gave His life that we might live again. 

I'm sure you have the drift of this and it could go on, but I will end my pathetic attempt at allegorying and just thank Polly for her courageous enduring.  Perhaps we may learn from her and do the same thing.  Hang in there, folks, no matter what.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Very Blessed Hampster--The Rest of the Story

Notice the message the little critter chewed in the lettuce and how it left the pretzel?  I see hearts.  Amazing, 
huh?  Yeah, so my heart has been shanghaied by those beady little eyes and the twitching whiskers.
Elder Blain was humoring me over this sudden obsession with saving the stinky little critter's life.  After all the research on what he/she was, getting votes in from everyone who saw it on the Internet, we went to the woods to release what we thought was a wild animal.  We thought it was so friendly because it was a baby, but since it ate regular food, drank water from a jar lid, and seemed to take good care of itself, we didn't want it to die eating the wrong kind of stuff.  The quicker it got back to its home the better.  Dumb idea.  Never act without enough information.  Don't judge us.  Hindsight is always 20-20, right?

Well, when we got it to the woods, it just meandered around slowly, came back to our shoes, went out some more and looked around, checking out the taste of grass and leaves, but it was just absolutely not an animal that would last long if a cat happened by.  After watching it for about 15 minutes and discussing if it was going to make it (it was sooooo cute how it skittered around on the ground checking everything out but not trying to find a hiding place), Elder Blain thought it would and I said I'd never forgive myself if we let a domestic animal loose.  After surviving against all odds, it would be horrible to let it go only to die.  Elder Blain finally said it was up to me to do what I felt I needed to do (big sigh and eyes invisibly rolling in his head).  I followed the little thing for a bit and put down the tiny box we had carried him to the woods in and he walked right in!!  There's no way that was a wild animal.  Good thing he didn't run away.  Lucky hamster.

We went to the nearest vet clinic (all the while I am apologizing for adding trauma to Don Quixote's life as he just stares at me like I'm something out of a horror show (Elder Blain named him D.Q. because of the fan fight thing).  The lady at the clinic identified our beast as a hamster!  Oh, no!  We almost killed it!  She gave us a bag of food for free.  All the way home, I stared into the hamster's pleading eyes and I thought I heard it saying, "How much more abuse do I need to suffer by the hands of this so-called rescuer--crazy lady--can't even tell I'm a hamster?"

The next thing was to finish checking the other apartments to see if anyone lost a pet (okay, we had at least checked the one apartment above us the first day we found him).  We had to wait for the England football game to end.  You don't dare knock on a door during the game.  The missionaries were all confined to the apartments during the game today.  Meanwhile, the hamster curled up in a little ball and pulled a paper towel over its head.  It was worn out from being so-called saved.

I zipped out the door to talk to the neighbors as soon as we heard the game outcome.  If England had lost, it wouldn't have been a good thing to knock on any doors for a while.  I knocked on the next door neighbor's door and about the time he opened it, a woman and little girl walked into the main door at the front of the flats and I hollered out to her, "Did you lose a pet?" and she said, "Yes!"  I couldn't believe I'd heard her right.  It turned out to be her little four-year-old daughter's hamster that was lost a week and a half ago!  Can an animal live that long without food or water?  Seth said they get dehydrated very easily.  It really is a miracle it lived.  Lucky hamster.

The little girl asked me if I would bring Holly back if she ever got away again and I told her she'd better not let her get lost again because she'd probably never find her a second time.  She has no idea the miracle of her pet being found alive.  Lucky girl.  Her dad said Holly was half the size she was before getting lost.

Seth sent me hamster tips, one of which said it can kill a hamster to give it a bath.  I would have washed it because of the stench of it after being in its own waste for almost a week, but I didn't want to traumatize it anymore after its rescue.  If I'd known it was a domestic animal, I may have given it a bath.  Whew!  Lucky hamster.  According to Seth, it seems I did almost everything right as far as providing a temporary home.  Must be the mothering instinct.  It is a good thing that the man didn't get her out of the fan without me there (that almost happened, except I got sick that day and was home--another strange coincidence in favor of the rescue).  Lucky hamster.

A side note since we're on the hamster subject, Seth sent me the tips because his daughter, Alexis, has one named Pipsqueak, which just recently returned from Utah where he had been stuck since their last visit from Sacramento.  At least he had food and water.  It seems they took the cage without Pipsqueak and didn't realize until they were in Reno that Pipsqueak was somewhere in the house in Utah (where cats and a dog live).  Luckily, they called and Darlene went looking, finding Pipsqueak in a closet.  Marie and Alexis were in Utah last week visiting the new grand baby and got Pipsqueak to take home to California.  My, these hamsters are escape artists.  It is a wonder they survive long.  Lucky hamsters.

So, there you have the story.  My last duty as the rescuer of Holly was to take a note up to the third floor and stick the tips sheet in their door (it is midnight).  I hope they haven't given her a bath . . . or her luck may have run out! 
                                 Oh, please just don't tell me about it . . .

The Critter Stuck is Out!

We have had some drama for the past six days.  Something was stuck in our fan unit above the stove.  I thought it was a baby bird and got distressed more and more each day as we couldn't figure out how to get it out and save its life.  When we called the flat manager, they couldn't come for a few days, so it got worse each day as I heard the scratching sounds and felt helpless to save it.  Elder Blain could never hear it.  I could even see something in there when we shined a light one it.  He couldn't see it.  So, I was a crack pot.  I think the guy who came to get it out thought so as well, until he saw it!  It took us two days to identify what it is.  We think it is a field vole.  He is very cute.  We have to release him into the woods.  I think I kept him alive in the fan by shoving pieces of wet bread through the cracks.  He is thankful and quite friendly, though he did try to bite me when I picked him up the second time (not when I first pulled him out of his trap).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Elation!

Mosiah 5:2  And they all cried with one voice, saying:  Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.


From crushing disappointment last Sunday to ecstatic elation today when an investigator came to church with his six-year-old son!  This man is a very spiritual man from Angola.  He stayed for all of the meetings today and said he enjoyed them very much.  His son was well behaved and reverent, just sitting on the bench attentively through Sacrament Meeting without playing with toys, drawing, reading, or eating.  He had plenty of energy when the meeting let out, though, and was excited to go to Primary.

We think, from what we experienced in Georgia and what we are seeing here, anyone with roots in Africa seems to be given a gift from God that makes them very in tune with the Holy Ghost and can discern truth easily.  They are open mined like children and eager to learn, being extremely receptive to the teachings of the restoration of the gospel.  They are intelligent and love to learn of Jesus Christ.  It is an absolute joy to teach these chosen children of Heavenly Father.  What strength they are bringing into the Church!

We got another referral to teach today, so that makes three investigators.  It is exciting to think the ward will grow with strong new people.  I know, I know, I'm setting myself up for disappointment, but it is fun to enjoy the celebrating of a sheep and lamb being found.  We embrace whatever joy comes our way and plan to celebrate even more when these people get baptized.  How is that for positive thinking?  Have faith.  Pray.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Devil and an Angel

1 Thessalonians 5:8-9  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

I wish we'd had a breastplate and helmet on today.  We needed it at one house.  It was like having Satan himself opening the door.

We drove out to this home we'd been asked to visit since the first week we were in England.  The first address we checked back in February and the people living there said the residents we were looking for had been asked to move because the man was abusive.  We felt concerned for the wife, since she is the most likely abuse target.  No one knew where they had moved to, so we couldn't do anything more about it.

Fast forward to today.  We previously had obtained a new address for this couple and had tried to catch them at home, but they never answered the door even though it looked like someone was home.  We had no previous luck calling either.  Today, I tried the number again and this man answered and said it was a wrong number and hung up on me when I identified myself.  So, we drove out to the home again.  We could see someone was there.  Elder Blain knocked on the door, we listened to the Jack Russell yapping his head off (there was a "Beware of the Jack Russell" sign on the door); it turns out it wasn't the dog to beware of.  Elder Blain knocked harder on the door--still no answer.  I walked back to the car and wrote a nice note and shoved it through the mail slot.  The note asked them to contact us and let us know if they wanted any contact from the Church.

I started walking away from the door and the door flies open and this huge man with wild black hair and a face screwed up in rage is standing there ripping up the note, which he throws to the ground as he yells at us at the top of his lungs while he gestures threateningly, "Go away you bl---y (bad English swear word) strangers!"  He is a rabid devil on a rampage--scary monster!  We are both standing there with our mouths open not believing this guy is real.  He slams the door and about shakes his house down.  I say, "Well, there's our answer--no visits."  The door flies open again and he is STILL so angry I think he could kill if he had a weapon.  He says he is going to call the police if we don't f----in' (universal swear word) leave (well, what does he think we were doing as we were walking directly to the car since our first encounter with him?)!!  He rants on with more threats and bad language and slams the door again.  

People in the neighborhood can hear this maniac well by now with the scene he is creating.  He probably won't last long there either.  Crazy person.  As we drive away, it is apparent he has run upstairs and yanked his curtains aside so we can see him yelling through the closed window and flipping us off.  I will have nightmares over that face, I'm afraid.  I'm not sure if I've ever seen a face so full of hate like that before and we couldn't help but have concern for the poor woman who is married to him.  I hope he didn't beat her after we left.  She already has health problems that probably were caused by him.  It was such an unbelievable show of pent up violence that we were stunned enough to not react as we just sorta walked back in a fog completely detached and stared at all of it playing out.  It was like watching a bad movie and I'm sure our faces were neutral.  We said nothing to him.  Maybe that fueled his fire.

A few minutes down the road, I had a flashback to my childhood and then the emotional part hit and it turned into trauma.  To think that evil man had an effect on me made me feel weak and vulnerable.  I didn't want to give that to him, but it just happened.  I ask myself, after all these years, how something so ridiculous as some stranger screaming at us can upset me?  My head was reeling as memories of scary episodes from long ago flooded my mind.  Then, I realized it was more than that.  The emotions also had to do with feeling helpless to protect anyone in that household he may be harming.  Lastly, seeing that level of hostility brought to my mind's eye a glimpse of what it may have been like for Jesus Christ, the early and latter-day Christian saints throughout all history, and Joseph Smith when men just like that in mobs looked into their face before they did their evil.

Several hours later, we pulled up to another home and could see Little Miss Sunshine Angel standing in the doorway waiting for us to join her for "tea."  This remarkable woman we joined for dinner will celebrate being a member of the Church for one year in October.  She is a lover of people and animals and is one of the angels on earth that some people are fortunate enough to meet at least once in a lifetime.  She goes about freely serving and  loving her neighbors--which means she is there for people in whatever way that will cheer them up, help them along their way in life, encourage them, comfort them, keep them going, and let them know they matter. Her face shines with good will and radiates the love of the Savior.  She glows with the Spirit.  Our bruised souls were healed as we enjoyed a lovely meal in the company of this beautiful woman so full of light and faith.  Yes, the Lord does care about His missionaries and is always watching over us. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Dreaded English Driving Test

Mosiah 4:12 . . . and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

Elder Blain has been pouring over the thick driver's manual and taking practice tests since we arrived.  He got a temporary driver's license based on the one he had from the states, but is required by the mission to pass the theory test ASAP.  He has now studied 945 questions and missed 54.  If the 54 he missed on the practice test show up as a majority on the actual test, he shall fail miserably.  They do not look kindly upon flunkies here, but they don't help you much to NOT be one.

With pelican, toucan, puffin, zebra, and Pegasus crossings, along with regular cross walks, just figuring which one is which is a monumental task.  Well, the Pegasus and zebra are easy, since the one is way high so you can press the button when you are on your horse, and the other has black and white stripes on the poles.

The street signs are another matter.  There are around 233 signs, road marks, and signals you need to know (and flashing your lights to tell someone they are letting you go isn't even one of them!!).  Grant you, some of the signs are familiar because they aren't different that in the U.S., but the British are detail people and you'll find a sign for almost anything (as in look out for bird droppings--just kidding.  I'm sure if I went to the council and suggested such a sign, they'd consider it).

The towne council thing is no joke, though.  Some lady complained that car doors are being shut before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m. in the church parking lot, so the council ruled in favor of the crack pot and there can be no evening or morning activities before or after those times so the ornery lady has virtually cancelled any New Year's Even parties and the like.  Geeeezzzz.

Now, all we have to do is get the Tiny Tim crutches out and have Elder Blain hobble to the nearest examination center to see if he has retained anything he studied (again, I'm just kidding 'cause his leg isn't to that point--yet).  I expect he'll pass because he doesn't get test anxiety.  Now me, well, that would be an entirely different matter and that is why I am not going to get a driver's license!  The only thing I worry about is him passing the parallel parking.  If they let him have four tries with me standing in the back to motion him on, he should pass with flying colours!

P.S.  Speaking of colours (Eng. spelling) and driving:  We saw in a paper that Elder Blain pulled out of the garbage bin that some guy was arrested for drinked-driving (Eng. term) while driving a pink Barbie car!  He is paying a hefty fine for this little joy ride.  The Barbie car belongs to his daughter and, since it is made for a three-year-old child, he was rather squashed into it.  It goes about 4 miles per hour.  He said he felt like a "twit" getting caught for it.  Duh.
Publish Post

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who'll Give Me $50.00 for an Old Leg?

Sometimes injuries from years ago have a way of creeping up on a person.  I think Elder Blain's leg problems are a result of his leg being smashed by a heavy metal utiltiies cover when he stepped on it at the campground he used to take care of in the summers when he still taught school.  Someone had not put it back properly and he fell in and the lid came down on the leg.  His was laid up for a couple months with that injury and the leg has never been the same since.  He is now pushing through the pain and trying to get out and do some teaching, but it really needs to rest more.  I hope the pain will ease up and we can be going full steam ahead soon.  It wears us both out being less busy.  Patience, I guess.

Meanwhile, we were out and about a bit today, so I'll send the photos of the day.

The scripture that a special lady we meet and share scriptures with was impressed to read to us today is from Alma 37:36-37  Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and withersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord, ; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.  Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up a the last day.

She also gave us one more quote (she doesn't know the source):  Though no one go with me, still I have to follow.
Yes, they are still rooting for England and will be until the World Cup is over.
Cute car, huh?  The lady we teach owns it.  At least we got one spiritual fix today!
Last night was Family Home Evening with this special family.  The boys are five and six.  This young man is a single father and doing a really great job bringing up his boys.


Queen Victoria stands in the Newcastle Towne Centre.  The following pictures are flowers from her garden.
 The "flower" in the back is quite unique.

Busy Bee.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Okay, so the American Goal Wasn't Spectacular

Last night (Saturday) was the HUGE football game.  I only wish I could show you how crazy the fans have gone over the World Cup Game.  English flags are flying over the streets and out windows.  Cars everywhere have at least two flags flying in their windows.  I didn't have my camera to catch some of the best scenes, but I may be able to catch some later while the games go on.

 


England thinks they won because the ball was dropped and the U.S.A. got a point.  It is a tie no matter how one looks at it (1-1).  The teams seemed fairly equal in ability.  We were lucky enough to get to go to a nice member's home to watch our first ever English football game (the mission president gave permission for all missionaries to watch it because nothing could get done during that time anyway).  The men playing this type of football run up and down on the field without breaks, unless someone gets hurt.  There are advertisements only at half time.  They have to be some of the best athletes in the world with the kind of stamina it takes to play.  The goal keepers are very skilled and quick.

Needless to say, having English and Americans cheering their teams on in the same room was wild and all in good fun.

Pouring Rain and Meeting the Needs of Individuals


We dearly love this sister we meet with every Saturday morning to read the Book of Mormon.  She has blessed our lives tremendously.  She reminds me of the widow and her two mites (Mark 12:41-44).


Well, it WAS sunny this morning, but coming out of our second Sacrament meeting today we were surprised to see it dark and gray with buckets of rain pounding into the ground.  We were rather tired from resting most of this week while Elder Blain recovered (ha, ha--it gets that way when you're penned up in an apartment), so we really wouldn't have gone to the other ward's meetings today, BUT we peeked in and there was this sweet, little sister sitting there all by herself with her crutches.  She has been coming out faithfully alone since we first met her.  She returned after many years of not attending and has the biggest challenges, so how do you leave someone like that alone?  We don't understand why someone doesn't sit with her.  People are nice to her and seem to genuinely love her, but I just don't think anyone notices.  There are a few people sitting by themselves every week and we wonder if it is by choice or if they'd like to have a friend sit with them.

The speakers (Newcastle Ward) apologized for giving their talks twice to us, since the same three spoke in the first Sacrament meeting this morning (Stoke Ward).  It turned out okay to hear them again, since we were crushingly disappointed (again) when none of those promising they'd attend showed up this morning in Stoke Ward and it left us a bit low in our hearts.

Right after Newcastle Sacrament meeting, a nice sister from Stoke ward came in looking for missionaries to teach a man she is dating!  THAT turned the somber mood around and made our day!  She said he lives in the Newcastle area, so she knew Newcastle missionaries would need to teach him.  It is always nice to teach someone who asks to be taught.

As we drove home in the deluge, we thought how it goes against our natures to not be able to give members rides in the mission-owned vehicles because of liability.  We know it wouldn't solve the problem of people getting to church for the long term if we did, since the ward could then become dependent on us, but it is tough to drive away and leave people stranded.  It is really up to the wards to watch over their members and figure out how to get them to and from meetings, so we just have to accept we cannot take responsibility.

Knowing we couldn't offer a ride didn't help as we envisioned our especially dear sister getting drenched as she walked down the hill to the bus on her crutches in the pouring rain--so faithful and full of hope for better days for herself and her family.  I have a feeling she'll be extra blessed for making the effort to attend.

D&C 84:  Also the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that the system may be kept perfect.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jerusalem-Mission Song and Many Brits' Favorite


Indulge me on this song and the English scenery, okay?  I've posted three for your enjoyment or not.  You can vote which one you want me to leave up.  I even put one on FB.  See?  That is what happens when your companion is laid up!  He IS better today though still taking it easy.  Warning:  Skip everything after the song because the skit at the end is rather silly.

Mary Hopkin Jerusalem


This is my favorite rendition of "Jerusalem" and the scenery is nice too!
You should have heard us try to sing it at zone conference!  It got slaughtered!  That is why I went on the Internet to find how it is suppose to be sung.  After all, it IS our mission song.

JERUSALEM; ENGLAND'S NATIONAL ANTHEM (ONE DAY)


I will post a couple renditions of this song because it is our mission song and people here in England love it so much they'd like it to be their National Anthem.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pulled Groin Muscle and Forced R&R

Okay, so you might say that Elder Blain is paying for his adventure as American Football King at the scout camp, but he would argue that his pain is from moving wrong.  In any case, he is laid up enough that we have decided to follow our Internet consultant on YouTube (isn't it wonderful to get expert? advice at the click of the keys?) and let it rest instead of pushing through it and creating more problems.  Everyone knows Elder B. isn't a cry baby, so he really has to be hurting to not work--especially for the Lord!  Oh, and you can give him that the groin thing happened just yesterday, so it probably had nothing to do with turning into a 19-year-old at the scout camp.

So, I am catching up on a few letters I owe, like one to Bishop W. back home.  Then, I had the luxury of reading Whitney's and Amber's latest posst that left me almost rolling on the floor and wiping a tender tear along with it for the touching girlie stuff.  I love their blogs!  If you aren't reading them, you're missing the fun boat.

Here is the exciting stuff we've seen as we've been out and about teaching:  (Ha, I told you we weren't getting out much!)  Imagine this, we go to a missionary correlation meeting last night and the mission leader tells us if we didn't have anything to report we shouldn't have come!  Just because we dropped two of the people off of the list because they are now active . . . well humph!  Actually, we've been working in the other ward, so there!  We are really laughing about this--honest.

There's a white one . . .
. . . and a pink one . . .

 
. . . and yellow one . . .
. . . and they all lived in boxes . . .  (that is Elder Blain going to the car after someone blew off our appointment--dejected, huh?  Well, actually the groin pain thing . . .)
. . . and they all looked just the same . . . (the song is really old, so you probably have NO idea what I am even talking about.  This picture shows the fabulous dinner our Zone Leaders fixed us the other night--fajitas!!
 
Here are all the sister missionaries at the camp last week.  Sister B. (Mission President's wife) is in the middle with brown hair and black skirt.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June Already? Scout/Zone Camp.Conference

We've been gone for a good part of the week to a wonderful retreat with both zones in the mission.  We had the privilege of being there to assist President and Sister B. with behind-the-scenes food support and clean up.  Being able to hear everything twice was a bonus because of the spirituality of these meetings and the excellent talks and program.  We didn't even notice we only had four hours of sleep each night.  The mission president and his wife are on the go ALL the time and get very little sleep--amazing, dedicated, and very capable leaders--inspiring!

The country was beautiful beyond the singing of it (one of my favorite quotes that I forgot from whence it came--I think Cry the Beloved Country).  We managed a photo shoot for some of the activities and while driving on the way home from the camp.  See if you can find Elder Blain in the sports shots.  Athletic men never lose the touch and it doesn't take much to get them in gear when a game is on, but it may be a little harder to move the day after.  Ha, ha!

It rained like crazy the day before our zone retreat, but you'd guess 150 people or so (mostly missionaries were praying for nice weather).

 Sooooo, what did we get all three days we were there?  Yup.  The Lord could not deny his faithful missionaries.  Better yet, this weather was the nicest we have had since being in England.  A cool breeze came if it got too warm, but it was calm and perfectly mild--not too hot and not too cold.  There weren't even mosquitoes except for Thursday night at campfire (I musta been a bad girl that day).
Find Elder Blain in the pictures.  Hint:  he has on a red England ball cap that he purchased for a whole pound at the pound store (equal to about $1.50)

He sure can (still) run!
Guess what I was going during the sports events?  The Bluebell season is about over.  Most of them are gone
in Newcastle area, so I was surprised to see these.  It is cooler as you head north, so these are still hangin' in there.
Actually, the bush and tree blossom "season" is about over also.
Here we are.
Gathered in the meadow to hear words of wisdom and inspiration.  Seeking the pathway to promise.  I could have sworn (but missionaries don't, right?) there was a glow over the heads of this group.
President B. and Sister B. leading the way.
Our own sacred grove.  Cool.
Looking up to the sky.

Listening intently but relaxed.

Do you see the perfect "O" in this giant? . . . or is it a one-eyed Goliath?

This is his backside (no bun intended).  Him a bit hollow. 

Buttercups cover the ground everywhere!
What a sight in the morning with all the missionaries studying their scriptures while waiting for breakfast.  This
was 7 a.m.

 Here's looking over Manchester from near the scout camp.
 
Do you get the idea I sorta like stone walls and buildings?  Good thing, since there's so many stone buildings in England--especially in this fantastic area!

 
 Obviously, I like purple flowers too!
A culvert or something?
 
The new ward in Congelton.
I tried to zoom in on this, so the quality isn't that great, but you can see this bell tower in the field in one of the pictures above.  The bells rang out at 10 p.m. each night we were at campfire.

Guess what?  It started raining about an hour ago (9:30 p.m.) now that the camp is over and everyone is home and saying their bedtime prayers (if they are being obedient).  Speaking of obedience, a Sister said she was a rebellious person who hated rules before her mission.  Then she was called to what she England Manchester mission, which she said has the reputation for being the "most obedient mission in the Church."  Now she said she loves rules.  That is funny.  Well, if I am to be obedient (ha!), I have to head off to bed in three minutes.  Elder Blain is already sound asleep.  He's the smart one because he knows we have an early teaching appointment tomorrow.