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)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More White Stuff in England and Other Events

"His countenance was like lightening, and his raiment white as snow."  Matthew 28:3

No, two pictures below are NOT from England, but couldn't resist posting Colorado snow along with some family.  Who needs Christmas lights when you have kids like these?  I can hang this picture on the tree and call it good.  The only way I can sort out who is who in this picture is by the skis and snowboards because I know which of them don't board.  There are two females (daughters), two husbands of daughters, and two teenage grandsons.  Which one took the picture?  Smith's provided their Thanksgiving dinner.  Who wants to cook when the slopes are calling?

What is with the pink purse on the slopes?  Ha, ha, that is the fashion daughter.
England was not green today as seen through the car window as we traveled to look for flats to rent for the sister missionaries.  It was about zero Celsius, which is equal to 32 Fahrenheit, with a gentle wind blowing that made it feel colder.  I had seven layers of clothing on and boots!
Elder Blain is sitting in the car in Didsbury today waiting to see a flat.  We found another flat that is perfect--finally after looking in this area for almost two months!!  There wasn't as much snow here as there was where we live.

Guess where I am sitting as we got ready to leave this morning?  I am cozy in my seven layers of clothing and my dear husband, always the gentleman, is outside in his suit cleaning the windows.  He will NOT let me help, so unless I'm really quick on the draw with the snow scraper, he usually does this job that no one likes to do on cold days.  I am grateful that he always looks out for me in these ways, but I do feel guilty just sitting there watching him deal with what he calls, "Dirty rotten filthy white stuff."
An interesting study from my window
Kinda "cool" huh?
What a sweet gentleman--always doing the hard stuff while I sit and watch
He even looks pleasant as he does it.  No gloves.  What a tough, hardy pioneer!  A man's man--a snowman--ha, ha!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I know my Savior lives Primary 2010

A Real Thanksgiving in England!

"That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings, which he doth bestow upon you."  Alma 34:38

Previously you saw the theme posted for this year's Primary Sacrament Meeting presentation.  Sunday was extra special because the children sang many beautiful songs and filled the chapel with the Spirit, AND, after that, we drove an hour in the early evening for a Thanksgiving feast at the mission home!!

The dining table is ready and the house smelled like turkey and dressing when we go here for the Thanksgiving dinner made for us by our mission president's wife.  Everyone brought a traditional American plate to add to the meal.  We had all the trimmings!  The sister in this picture serves with her husband as the hard working office couple.
This is the lounge (living room) of the mission home.  All missionaries sit here when they first meet the mission president and his wife.  We sat on the couch facing you in this picture (half asleep and jet-lagged).  A nice Kincaid is on the left and the room's atmosphere has the  Spirit there.  This night there was soft music playing and it was lovely.  There were 90 people here last Sunday night for a fireside meeting that is held once a month.  The word is out--our mission president and his wife, plus other speakers who present at these firesides, are all very entertaining and the evenings are very special for learning more about the gospel in interesting ways.
Our mission president's wife working over the gravy and turkey, with two of the other senior sisters who are here with their husbands on a mission.
Our mission office manager with an EMM (England Manchester Mission) apron on, and the mission president with his favorite apron.  Two turkeys!!  Lots of white meat! 

Today, Monday, we went to a home to help some people from the Czech Republic learn to speak English.  It was very fun.  They are fast learners.  The family has nothing, not even paper to write on.  We took a catalog to show them things and wrote names, speaking in short sentences that explained how to use the items.  There are two families with five children.  The father is out of work.  The father and boys (including the two year old) come to church dressed very well in suits, white shirts, and ties.  The family is respectful of being in a house of worship.  They feel the Spirit and want to learn more, even though they understand very little.

Elder Z. (Armenian) and Elder F. (Dutch) had to learn English for their mission, and they are the missionaries who found this family!  This has to make for a very interesting teaching arrangement.  It seems the Holy Ghost is doing a lot of the teaching.  Miracles never cease!

I have to mention one more thing about the Primary Program in Sacrament Meeting yesterday.  Three of the children had their grandfather pass away a couple of days ago.  They still showed up to the program, sang solos, did their speaking parts well, and only one of them broke down a little.  Meanwhile, grandma (who had just lost her husband) was there to support them, along with the mother who just lost her father.  That kind of dependability is remarkable.  They had every excuse not to be there, but they were there to fulfill their responsibilities because they love the Lord and didn't want to disappoint the people at church in the Primary's efforts to present an uplifting and spiritual message of God's love.  I stand in awe of the remarkable talents and skills the children all demonstrated as they sang their hearts out in praise and adoration of the Savior and our Father in Heaven.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SNOW in England!

"As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters."  Proverbs 25:13

Below is what we woke up to this morning.

Both cars had the snow cleaned off here

Opening the gate to our first teaching appointment at 10:30 a.m.  A little less snow in this area.  We are on a hill in our neighborhood, so there seems to be a little more snow that sticks longer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Joy to the World Pass Along Card

" . . . may God grant that your burdens be light, through joy of his Son."   Alma 33:23

This is our new pass along card for the Christmas season.  Bring the spirit of Christmas into your home with the story of the Saviour's birth and His life, featuring music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Order a free DVD called Joy to the World.  Go to lds.org.uk or lds.org and watch it on line, order a copy for yourself, or call 0300 123 3450 (U.K.)  to request one be delivered. 
The Christmas lights go on tonight at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah!

Missionary Sports Day

Alma 7:23:  "Always return thanks to God for whatsoever thing you receive." 
Here's my Thanksgiving dinner!  This Costco pizza is actually the first pizza in England I like!!  Maybe I was extra hungry . . .  Our mission sponsored a two-day sports day for all of the missionaries Thursday and Friday.

These are the leftovers.  No pans to clean up, no dishes to wash.  This is what didn't get gobbled up by the missionaries, but a bunch of them took slices home leaving not a crumb.

Elder Blain checking out the leftovers.
Elder Blain showing the young missionaries what basketball is all about.
Everyone shocked and awed--ha, ha!  Did it go in?
Elder Blain with his buddy.  It isn't often he gets his hands on a ball these days.  The mission president was giving instructions for the day.  These are half of the missionaries in the mission.
The sister missionaries playing some kind of karate game
Sister Blain with Sister D. in the process of 239 continuous ping pong hits over the net without stopping.  The most athletic I got for the day, besides baking cookies.
Two senior elders enjoying a talk for the afternoon after football and basketball playing was over after lunch

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Great Grand Baby

"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of  such is the kingdom of God."  Luke 18:16

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Travel Tales & Owls

"The plan of [salvation] . . . was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name."  Alma 22:13

Below are some pictures from our travels this week.  Bear in mind that some of these pictures were taken through the window when the rain was pouring down!  I just wanted you to get a flavour (Eng. spelling) of the language in Wales.
How would you like to live in Mold? 
Protecting the wildlife in English and Welsh
Pronounce Gwasanaethau--I wonder how you say, "McDonald's," in Welsh?

I wish I could have gotten some photos of the area of outstanding natural beauty.  See the Welsh flag on the left--a red dragon.

Colwyn Bay Town Centre

This looks like a very, very old castle that we could not stop to see.  It looks like a mirage through the window in the rain
A round about in Burnley, England

This is the view from a missionary flat we rented in Burnley
Burnley's housing looks mostly like this.  Lots of rows and chimneys
Typical terraced houses in Burnley

The back yards
More of the back yards in the terraced houses.  This is in a nice neighborhood.
We did some temple session in Chorley, at the Preston Temple, on Wed. and Thursday while we were there for zone conference.

Our room to stay over night two nights was in the temple accommodations center near the temple.  The light is on in our room above.  Nice view, huh?
Me taking a picture of the temple while in the hall at our accommodation.  The temple accommodations are for people traveling and needing a place to stay so they can go to the temple.  The Missionary Training Center is located here, along with the temple workers' rooms.  Some ordinance workers come in for two weeks and go home for six.  We paid 22 British Pounds per night to stay.  That is about $35.00 a night for a couple.  We have to clean our own rooms.  Towels, sheets, blankets, and pillows are provided.  No TV or computer hook ups.  Bare necessities is all.  They are warm and comfortable with a small kitchen area with fridge, microwave, toaster, dishes, etc.
The workmen were working to put up this nativity as we arrived.  I visited it all alone later on in the night.  Music played all night and it was lovely.  More pictures of this will be posted for the Christmas season on this blog.

Stopping at ASDA on the way home to get groceries and we see this display in the store.  All kinds of beautiful owls were there.  People got them when Harry Potter first came out and then found out they are high maintenance birds.  They are taken to the animal protection folks who use them for educational purposes and to raise money for charity.  I took most of the pictures through glass, so excuse the reflections.
Must be nice to be able to look behind yourself like that

You'd better donate to the needing children's fund.  I ain't doin' this for nuttin,' ya know.
Am I precious or what?
Guess my favorite

Small but feisty
Loved the expression on this owl's face and he really had personality.  He kept flying off of his perch and the man told him to get back on and he would, but he'd get off again as soon as he wasn't looking
No, I'm all business, no time to listen or dilly dally about anything

I'm all ears--er, eyes.  I see what you are saying and totally believe. That Joseph Smith story is an amazing event!
We came home to stark contrasts in the yard around our flat.  Still some leaves a clinging on, but most the trees are naked after the big wind and heavy rain.  Up north we noticed the fall colors are still changing and not so many leaves are off yet.
This is how the trees looked when we arrived.  We shall not see this season on our mission again.
Elder Blain getting educated about the owl.  We got to stroke his soft breast.  They also let people put on the gloves to hold some of the smaller owls.

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It would be easy to forget that we are missionaries when we are wrapped up in the various tasks of finding flats for the missionaries.  Sometimes people think that a "real" mission is only when one is preaching the gospel to people and baptizing them, but senior missionaries serve in a variety of ways, not always in the same way as the young missionaries.  There are official callings as missionaries and then there are many types of service that members who are not full-time missionaries do that is still fulfilling the mission of the Church--to proclaim the gospel, to strengthen the members, and to redeem the dead.  When people serve others with love and try to follow the Savior's example, they are being his disciples.  There are too many ways to serve to mention here.  We know there are many things done behind the scenes that help this marvelous work to go forth in the world for the benefit of mankind.  It is a blessing to be able to serve in any way.

Below are some ways we discovered we can be still spreading the gospel message no matter where we are and what type of work we are doing.

#1.  A young man had just lost his job and has to move out of his flat, so we were looking at it for the missionaries.  We thought it may be too small for four missionaries (the flat is for the four Chinese-speaking Elders who teach many students from China who are attending the university).  We took a couple of the Elders with us so they could check out the flat and give us their opinion.  We told them we thought it was too small, but we felt strongly that this young man may accept to be taught.  I had a quality gospel conversation (QGC) with the man as the others looked around.  I asked him when could the missionaries teach him the four lessons I'd discussed with him.  He said, "You all have such a feeling of peace about you, but I don't think religion is something I should force.  It should just come to you, do you know what I mean?"  We said, "It has, it is here.  That feeling of peace is the Holy Ghost witnessing to you to accept being taught."  He said, "Okay, if that is what you say it is."  The Elders took his information to follow up with teaching.

#2.  The second person was talking on his cell phone, waiting to see the same property we were viewing.  I got a strong feeling I should talk with him about the gospel.  As soon as he was off the phone, I got out of the car into the cold (suffering for the Lord's sake--ha, ha) and began discussing the restoration (Elder Blain was nearby but taking care of a bad tire with the AA service technician in the parking lot of this apartment complex).  It turns out that the young man (who was smartly dressed) is from India and has only been in England for three weeks with a new job he'd obtained upon graduating from a prestigious university in India.  He was very interested in hearing more about Christianity and said he was willing to be taught.  I mentioned that he could have an instant family when he attended church. and he said he needed friends.  When he came out of the viewing appointment, I gave him a Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet while reconfirming his number.  We then called the local district leader and gave him the name and phone of this choice individual.

#3.  Most of the letting agents we have encountered are curious about what we are doing.  We have been able to teach and provide pass along cards almost everywhere we go.  We leave cards in restaurants and give them to people on the street as they pass our car.  We took two elders out for lunch yesterday because one of them was having his birthday and we were having them check out the area where we were looking at a flat. We street contacted on the way into the restaurant and on the way out, plus exposed the owner of the restaurant to the gospel.  One follow-up teaching appointment came from a street contact with a man digging a ditch to repair water mains.  The young elder likened the man's fixing a pipe to the restoration.  He said he could wrap it in duct tape and it would be like a reformation to fix the pipe, but it wouldn't be back in its original condition.  The Elder said the restoration was like when the pipe was replaced exactly as it was before.  When we complimented him on his object lesson, he said it was the Holy Ghost that taught and he was thankful for the idea given to him.  Beautiful experience!

Last post, I said Elder Blain needed a hair cut and we had a light to replace.  He got a hair cut in Colwyn Bay, where we found a perfect flat at a very good price.  The next town had a little repair shop right by a place we looked at and the headlight was fixed on the spot before it got dark.  We went to three towns that day and it poured rain most of the day.  It was cold and windy, but our spirits were warm and nothing could beat us down from the special feeling we had to be doing the Lord's work in any way He sees fit.  He is there leading us on to accomplish his purposes.  This work is so very satisfying and fun!  (Even if I have to wear long underwear and layers of clothing to stay warm!)