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.|
|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.|
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!)