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)

Monday, December 27, 2010

'Tis the Season of Sufficiency of Fatness--Christmas and Boxing Day Feasts

Christmas cards decorate our apartment.  Below is a really extra special one.
This Christmas card was sent from the First Presidency to all the missionaries.  It reminds us of what a great and marvelous gift The Son is!!
This card will be treasured the rest of our lives.  How often do you get a card signed by the prophet and his counselors?
"And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of food . . . "  Ether 6:4  ". . . Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food."  Alma 8:20

Food, food, and more food!  None of our children need fear we aren't being taken care of by the members of the Church in England.  We have a bounty of cookies any child would think was a king's ransom.  Christmas cards and happy wishes fill our apartment.  Never have I seen so many cards since childhood when people sent Christmas cards out to the extent you could use them for decorating the whole house!

We managed to have at least one crashing of the Christmas tree even without cats or toddlers to help (just bring in an Elder who can accidentally accomplish that traditional task).  All in all, minus family over here, it was as glorious a celebration as one can have away from home.  The Spirit of Christmas hangs on still with giant snowflakes gently falling throughout today and everything still covered in white.  Indeed we are fortunate, people say they have rarely had a white Christmas since the 60's.

Below is a Kevin Beckstrom LDS cartoon from Meridian Magazine:

Our holiday season adventures:
Two days before Christmas we shopped to fill Christmas stockings for the missionaries with whom we work and get food to feed them on Christmas Eve, since Stoke Elders and we didn't have tea appointments for that night.  Can you believe these decorations were taken down in the store by Christmas Eve?
Two months ago, we were given a huge bag of Christmas decorations.  We hid them away and didn't get around to pulling them out until the day before Christmas Eve.  Among the many new items in the bag were these ornaments and two huge stockings.  I decorated the house with the items to enjoy for an hour or two and filled the giant stockings with the ornaments to take to our Czech family who had nothing at all for Christmas.  Since they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, we decided to deliver everything, plus some small gifts on that morning.
Rudolph always makes me happy

The pictures were sent to us from our Bishop's family.  Elder Blain was their home teacher before we left and we have been adopted as extra grand parents.  There were two brand new stocking like this one were filled with toys and animal cookies for the two little Czech boys.
 The items below also went to the Czech family, along with fancy candles and a bunch of other cute things.

I was tempted to keep this ornament, but realized it was silly to transport it back to the U.S.  Besides, the Czech family needed it more than I did.

Day before Christmas Eve:  (Shopping With Our English Family)
We caught Santa and made him take a picture with us

Ready to shop!!

It was a really fun time watching the girls try on items and decide what they wanted.   It is a good thing  we had them to fulfill Elder Blain's joy of taking his loved ones shopping whenever he gets the chance.  It made the Christmas season for us.
We shopped in the covered mall area
Lots of people were outside in the open mall area
That night we picked up the Stoke Elders and had tea at some Church members' home.  It was lovely.

The members had two beautiful aquariums with BIG fish in them.
 Christmas Eve:
At 8 a.m. I was at the hair dressers Christmas Eve morning for a long overdue cut (their blue tree is beautiful).  We delivered our Christmas Eve surprise to the Czech family immediately after I was done being transformed into a presentable missionary again.
Christmas Eve, we picked up the Stoke Elders and began a feast.  Elder Z. worked in the restaurant business, but learned to do this fancy stuff with food from watching his mother.
I ate the banana eel/fish
The apples were ducks.  I ate the ducks.

The Elders cleaning up in the kitchen.  Everyone should have Elders on hand.
Two kings (Christmas Crackers hats).  Guess who knocked over the tree?  Ha, ha!
We opened our one gift as is the tradition.  I chose this one because of its elegant wrapping and it felt like something I could wear to church the next day.
Indeed, it was warm socks to wear under my boots--YAY!
Elder Blain got a tie with little beehives on it.
Christmas Morning:
All our wonderful gifts from home!  Lots of warm scarfs and gloves for me!
It truly was a Merry Christmas!  We went to a Christmas Day service at the church and enjoyed the new ward choir.
Christmas Afternoon:

One of the coolest Santa decorations I've seen

They got this in the U.S.  I love stuff like this.
The older girls have a fantastic sense of humor, thus the looks here at the table as I tried to capture the festive decorations.  Notice the traditional Christmas Crackers.   We had fun popping them open for our hats, prizes, and silly jokes.
Somehow a little girl with her favorite toy being a snake seems odd
This snake slithered around and was quite creepy.

I'm not sure this item is found in the U.S.
Christmas Evening at the English Family's:

Teaching the Elder card tricks
Playing Christmas tunes
The ghost of Christmas?  I took a picture of the fantastically huge moon, which didn't show on the photo as always, but this mist was not visible until I posted the photo.  Weird, huh?  It is actually kind of spooky.
 Boxing Day--the Day After Christmas:
More food!  This is at the home of a new member and an investigator.
This is a really large home in England, which is more like an American home with a large Kitchen.  We brought the Zone Leaders with us to this food feast.  Their car was ruined in a crash a couple of weeks ago, so they have had difficulty getting around.  We get the new car when it gets here and they inherit our older one with lots of miles on it.  Ha, ha, the special privileges of senior couple missionaries!  We didn't know this was happening until the Elders told us today.  That is like another Christmas present!
Elder Blain imparting wisdom, or stories, or something to the Zone Leaders.  The one sitting is from Scotland and the other is from the Utah.  They are awesome leaders.
Looking regal in his crown.  He IS in the royal army of the Lord.
We stopped at a home of a newly baptized member on the way home and this crazy dog was there.  He kept biting the TV.  It is some kind of compulsive behavior because he used to be left home alone all day without exercise and developed strange behavior.  He is a rescue dog who has improved much of his compulsive behavior, though the remaining stuff may never go away unless the telly falls on him.  This breed seems to be the ultimate hyper animal.  We know one other one like him and they are impossible to wear out.  I would never own one.  They were meant to be out chasing sheep all day.
At the next house, for food in the evening, was this happy fellow.  Notice the wagging propeller tail.  I'm surprised he didn't go airborne.
MORE food!!  Burp.  Such generous people!!
Another wagging tail.
Yes, it was a happy and filling time both in the joy of association with  great people and good food!

Marvelous, wonderful holiday season!!
Any suggestions on how to lose the 15 stones we've probably accumulated around the waist?

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