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)

Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Eve Reflection and a Visit to Conwy Castle in Wales!

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained: What is man that thou art mindful of him?  Psalms 8:3-4

Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth.  Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever.  Amen.  Alma 26:37

Tomorrow begins a new year--2011.  One daughter will have a birthday next year that will be on 11-11-2011.  Will it be significant or just another number and another year passing along as swiftly as the pages of the calendar did this year?  Whatever we do with 2011, may I suggest we reflect on 2010 and the things that were most important that we will want to focus on for the coming year?  Hold on to that which was good and build upon it. I would venture to guess the "things" that were most important were not things but people, specifically family and friends and events involving and surrounding them.  First and foremost, throughout the history of the world, most dear to human hearts have been personal relations.  May the peace and joy we desire be found in the presence of our loved ones this coming year.

Speaking of personal relations, Elder Blain and I had to look for another missionary flat in Rhyl this week, so we took one day for us, as we had been advised to do, and went to see some of the sites in this beautiful area of Northern Wales.  Wales is sometimes called the castle capitol of the world with its some 400 castles, with about 100 still standing.  We saw three castles in the area, but we shall focus on just one for the blog today--Conwy Castle.  It was exciting to see a 12th century castle!  Exploring and marveling about history and this ancient land was an experience never to be forgotten.

As I reflect on man's ingenuity in building such an impressive structure, I realize we are only in our infancy compared to God.  He must have watched the people who built these castles and chuckled a bit to Himself as a parent does while watching a toddler building with his blocks.  I'm sure He was proud of man's progress each step of the way from hut building to castle building to where we are now with architecture and technology.  It never ceases to amaze me what man is capable of doing after seeing the creations of man throughout the centuries on into our modern days.

I testify that God is ever mindful of our comings and goings and doings on this earth.  He has watched His children grow and progress since he placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  His hand is in all things and He guides us ever onward and upward in knowledge and light as times unfold and the world progresses.  There is wisdom given to mankind from God in human progression as it fulfills eternal objectives.


I have tried to capture the sign going into Wales every time we have been there.--finally proof!  (even if it is through a wet windshield that Elder Blain tried to clean with the window wash just before I took the picture)
Driving into the village of Conwy, the castle dominates the landscape
This bay is part of the "mote" protecting the castle.  It is low tide here as we arrived.  Part of the castle wall that surrounds the city can be seen going into the bay just beyond the pier.
We parked our car on this side and walked to the other end to get into the castle.
I took this picture as we walked in.  The entry to pay is on the right.  They punched holes in the walls so people could get in and explore the castle easily.
A painting in the visitor's center showing what it must have been like with the sea against the castle walls.
How the castle originally looked

Romantic, isn't it?  Probably very hard living is more likely the reality, except for Royalty.

Elder Blain and the Raven nevermore

Hi Y'all!
A Welsh Seagull guarding the castle.  Actually, the pigeons have claimed it for their property.
A view of the harbor looking out from the castle at the modern yachts 
Being blessed by a priest?
Part of the castle wall surrounding the city
More of the wall

Looking up a tower
Ground floor

We got a workout climbing to the top of all the towers
More of the wall around the city
Can you see the steps going down?  I wonder how many fell?  There must have been ropes or hand rails.
I don't know if this was a murder hole or a chimney
One side of the "mote" where the sea came in
Modern necessities mixed with old.  motorway, toll bridge, and train tunnel.

Here you can see the two levels of tower.  Winding, steep stairs, with a rope to hold on to takes people to the top.
A chapel area
It was very easy to get lost in the maze of rooms, stairs up and stairs down . . .
This was part of the king's room
Elder Blain on the left
Looking down a tower to the bottom from a lower floor
The frames around the windows must have at one time been very beautiful wood

There are about 200 photos and I tried to post the ones that display the different aspects of this amazing building.  The weather was very damp, but it did not rain all day.  It wasn't too cold, so we enjoyed everything about this day, including trying to convert a knight we met across the street.

Elder Blain is on the cutting edge.  Don't mess with the sword!
Sister Blain tries different tactics, which, um, are NOT in the missionary handbook!

We went around the block so we could drive out of the city and see the magnificent castle one last time.
A little more information for those of you thirsting for more castle history:

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