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, October 31, 2010

Sunday Services--No Probabilities About It--He Lives!

"In my Father's house are many mansions:  if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."  John 14:2-3 

"All things denote there is a God . .  ." Alma 30:44
fall is just outside our front door

this was captured next to the Family History Center on the temple grounds in Chorley on Friday
at the MTC in Chorley

a bit worse for wear but still hanging in there

The speaker in Sacrament Meeting today is the counselor serving with our mission president.  He is a dynamic speaker and his topic was how to share the gospel with others.  Obviously, all Church members believe the world needs to hear about Jesus Christ and the restored gospel.  The Savior has always asked his followers to spread the good news of hope, forgiveness, and life after death.

Some years back, here in England, there were signs on buses saying, "There probably isn't a God, so relax and enjoy your life."  A British author and university professor, and well-known atheist, believes he needs to save all Christians from themselves.  His campaign has managed to draw some people away from believing in God.  Our speaker said it was interesting that this highly respected and educated scientist had to use the word,  "Probably," since he couldn't prove his claim.  Why would that message help people relax and enjoy life?  How can this short existence without any hope of future progression produce a sense of joy?

Christians everywhere have an enjoyable life knowing through the Holy Ghost there IS a God.  Trying to explaining knowing God lives is like trying to explain how it feels to love someone (or how salt tastes--Boyd K. Packer, New Era, Jan., 2007--find this article by going to lds.org, search in articles by typing in "salt.").   A person just knows it from the feelings inside the heart and mind.  We can relax in the knowledge their is a purpose to our life here on earth.  Hope is a magical motivator to endure many things.  No so-called expert in atheism can destroy our faith and hope as long as we choose to keep God in our lives by living the commandments.  I know this is true and bear witness we have a loving Heavenly Father who sent His Son to accomplish the Atonement so we might all live with them some day.  I testify of these truths in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Can you find Moroni amongst the leaves?
Preston Temple at night around 11:30 p.m.
Preston Temple on Friday at 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rest in Peace, BOOMER

Boomer and family visiting us while we were on the Georgia mission
In this picture, you will see Boomer, the smartest, funniest, and craziest Basset Hound you will ever meet.  Each Halloween, as he saw everyone dressing up in costumes, he'd get upset and do his big booming bay (howl) if he couldn't also have a costume.  R.  would put him in a costume and he'd prance around on his big short legs all proud and happy, posing for pictures.  He also loved wearing hats, or glasses, jewelry, and any other outfit someone would bestow upon him from time to time.  If he were human, he probably would have been called a cross dresser, though his outfits weren't necessarily female.  You have to admit, along with him, that human females certainly had a better choice for flamboyance and frills.

Boomer had his last Halloween party a week ago on Friday.  He was dressed in costume and enjoyed himself immensely being the life of the party.  Perhaps there are pictures that will get posted on Facebook so we can see his costume. 

The day after the party his health began to deteriorate and is was downhill from there.  He will miss the actual day of Halloween this year because he is leaving today, but he got that last party in.  R. has chosen to do the most loving, unselfish act a pet owner can do and help him on his way out of the torment, pain, and suffering of his current world.  He has gone blind, has various other health issues that have made him miserable, and he lost the use of his back legs.  He gave her that look that said, "Please do something and help me--fix it!"  He will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed.  The funeral is this afternoon in Florida.  He'll be buried under the grapefruit tree in their back yard.  He liked that spot for shade and he could survey his little kingdom there in peace and guard the property from real or imagined threats. 

Boomer has lived a charmed life.  His eating habits (rather, stealing food habits) took him to the emergency vet office many times.  He enjoyed everything the family was into--especially food.  He learned how to make the corner circular kitchen cabinet spin around and bring him goodies he wasn't supposed to eat--like chocolate coco puffs.  He was family and thus a part of everything.  It is an understatement to say he will be missed.  We know he is in a happier place, but that isn't much comfort right now for his family when they cannot see, hear, or touch him, even though we know time will eventually soften the great sorrow of losing such a precious individual. 

Our wish to the family is that there will be great comfort in memories of the happy and goofy times with him.  Those will live on forever with the joyful gratitude that Boomer was able to share a grand life with you.

Just recently, many of our family members have been dealing with the decision to let their aging pets go on to a better place.  D. had to make that decision a few weeks ago for the family cat, Midnight.  It was terribly upsetting for the whole family.  He'd been around a long time, with most the children growing up with him.  Then, K., had to decide what to do with her dog, Cajun.  He is getting on in years and has cancer.  She decided on surgery and Chemo to give him more time, but there will come a day she'll have to face that big decision.  All of us have been there.  Just before I left for the mission, C. had to have her dog, Sage, euthanized.  I went with her and it was heartbreaking to let her go.  S. is trying to know the right time to let her dog, Zeus, go.  He too is very old and suffering many health problems and pain.

To all of you who have lost or will soon be losing your beloved pets, may you find comfort and peace in knowing you will see them all again.  Their spirits are alive and their sick old bodies had to be put to rest for a while.  What a wonderful reunion you have to look forward to someday when all is put back into perfect order.  Meanwhile, they may be nearer to you than you know.

Happy Halloween-Children & Grandchildren from Last Year

"Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.  For the Lord shall be they confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken."  Proverbs 3:25-26

This Halloween you can "be not afraid of sudden fear" as it states in that scripture, which I thought sounded funny and quite Halloweenish.  Halloween is some of our family members' favorite day of the year.  Since Elder Blain and I can't really dress up as anything but missionaries for Halloween, and all missionaries are in by 5 p.m. that night, and we wouldn't be trick-or-treating on Sunday anyway, I decided to celebrate by posting some of the Halloween pictures from last year.  Oh, and I was told that children still trick-or-treat in various areas. which means trick-or-treating isn't totally non-existent in England as I previously had been told.
B. and me last Halloween--everything is just ducky with me!
Daughter and grandson E.
Some family member loathe the Cowboys, but not grandson S. apparently
Granddaughter L. is dressed as some character of whose name I've forgotten
Grandson B. was Michael Jackson
Last year, I went to visit daughter K. in Denver and her husband had put this bony fellow on my bed to greet me.
Grandson D. didn't really dress up--too cool, I guess, but I did manage to get a pose out of him and turn him purple!

A Charade 4U

Turn off your sound and try to guess what she is doing.  This was created after we had finished our Family Home Evening charades of characters who acted on FAITH.  You can see by this what a creative and fun
bunch of individuals our English family is.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'ave a gday, Love 'n 'ave Faith

". . .  whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world . . . which hope cometh from FAITH, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.  Ether 12:4
Our leaves are quickly disappearing.

We 'ad a 'appy 'alloween party on Monday for Family 'Ome Evening wit our English Family.  As President David O. McKay once said:

"No other success can compensate for failure in the home."

Yes, everyone spend as much time as you can with your family.  It is critical and a priority.  Teach values, the gospel, and how to be a good person.  LOVE and have fun!!  Have Family Home Evening on Monday nights!  Below is part of our Family Home Evening this week.
There really aren't any trick-or-treaters here for Halloween from what we've been told.  There are costumes and Halloween candy in the stores but no cards except ones for Christmas. 
Elder, you are out of character!
Eating an apple with marshmallow lips
Can you guess what she is eating?  It grossed everyone out!
Pigging out on sweets--YUMMY FUN!
There actually was a real spider this size in the kitchen where the cat was batting it around.  I freaked out!!
Yes, death by chocolate is the best way to go.
After a great performance of scripture stories that demonstrate FAITH.
Dig that enthusiastic hair as they take their bows.
Great is their FAITH in God as the go about reading scriptures to the people
Wrapped in her bear skin--cozy for scripture study about FAITH
The finger of God touching the stones gathered by the brother of Jared--FAITH in action!
Reading scriptures about FAITH
By FAITH Alma and Amulek caused the prison to tumble to the earth.
A certain Nephi doing Laban in because he had the FAITH to follow God's direction in order to save a nation from "dwindling in unbelief"
What was Isaac thinking at this point?  (I have FAITH in my father?)
Nephi and Lehi preaching to the people with mighty FAITH

Nothing happens (or has ever happened) without faith.  Read Hebrews 11 and Ether 12:1-22

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Short Video on Blessing Others

 "Be of good cheer."  Jesus Christ

Elder Blain told this story in a talk he gave.  If you haven't seen it, I thought it was something quite endearing that will touch your heart.

Short video:

Lessons I Learned as a Boy

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spiritually Self Reliant

"Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all they 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 at the last day."  Alma 37:36-37

A talk given yesterday at Sacrament Meeting explained how we could become more spiritually self reliant through prayer.  References used were from 2008 Conference addresses, particularly one by Elder Bednar on the topic of prayer.  The speaker suggested that we are counseled by the Lord to pray always, expressing gratefulness for our blessings.  She asked us to create a virtual prayer day to experience how we might be able to pray all day (not on our knees, but in our hearts).

Since all things are created spiritually before they are created temporally, the speaker suggested we begin our day by creating the kind of day we will have with our prayer first thing in the morning.  We would tell Heavenly Father the things we plan to do that day, ask for help for any of our personal faults that could get in the way (anger, impatience, jealousy, depression, etc.) of treating others how we would like to be treated.  We would ask for the blessings needed for people we would interact with that day.  As we pray for blessings, we would also ask to be aware of the blessings we receive throughout the day. 

By setting up our day to be spiritually in tune, we will be able to recognize the things God is doing for us every day.  We will feel the effects of our prayers on our daily life and be able to thank Him specifically for those blessings we notice He is bestowing upon us, our family, friends, and others in the world for whom we are concerned.  Our hearts will be full of gratitude for small and large miracles as we are more fully able to recognize them.

I think I've posted this already, but it bears repeating because as we become spiritually self reliant, we will be stronger in our day-to-day challenges.

The Oak Tree
      by Johnny Ray Ryder

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree's leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
How can you still be standing, Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You'll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn't sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I've found, with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew.

Thanksgiving in October & Travels North

Now thank we all, our God, with hearts and hands and voices, Who wonderous things hath done, in whom his earth rejoices . . . Hymn #95

There is no Thanksgiving Day holiday here in England, obviously, but I have found Thanksgiving dinner in a bag!  So, even though Halloween isn't even over, I decide to rebel against the fact there are Christmas trees, Christmas candy, and gifts in the stores here.  Harrrrrumph!
These things may not be any better for the arteries than the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but they are scrumptious!
These are Elder Blain's favorites (besides stinky cheese).  The marshmallows are so tall you can barely get your mouth open wide enough to pop one in--YUM!  (creamiest and lightest marshmallow ever).  He is quite the bar tender with his drink called "The Elder Blain."  A little orange juice, a little of these other mixes and it is the only "squash" drink I or most the other missionaries actually like!

This is the pub I've been wanting to eat at ever since we got here.  We can always get Thanksgiving dinner here!  Actually, any pub/carvery will have stuffing, cranberry, turkey and basic Thanksgiving food always available.  No wonder the Pilgrims had that for their meal, since it is typical English food.
Sign on the pub wall.  Should I leave since I'm not sure if I could be a Tinker?  (better look it up in the dictionary)
This dog is following the rules and staying out of the kitchen only because he is on a leash.  He is eying Elder Blain's sausages and lovely smelling dinner . . .
The sign reads "Way Out" like so many do here in England (instead of "Exit")

Heading to Preston on Tuesday.  Here we were going to Bolton.  This is a round about sign with all the little roads going off in different directions.  Traffic jam isn't helping us get there very fast. 

This sign with the black line is the national speed limit sign meaning you can go 60 mph.  Problem is, there aren't many places you can do that safely in England.  Obviously, in rush hour traffic, we are going no speed--ha, ha.  Someone of the little country lanes have this sign posted and we are thinking there better not be anyone trying to go that fast!
Frost in the morning.
Stop off the motorway and get food or shop in the fly over.
A beautiful modern church in Bolton
Outdoor winter sports area
Come ski in England!
Some fall colors here
This tree is in the parking lot of the mission office in Knutsford.  There are more fall colors as we travel north.