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, December 25, 2011

A Special Christmas Gift from a Grandson

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:  and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6
Sing a song for Christmas day:  Joy to the World

I attended two Sacrament meetings today.  It was extra special to be able to go to church on Christmas when all the Christian world is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  The first was our own ward meeting at 9 a.m.  It was a lovely program with beautiful readings and music.  The second was in a daughter's ward.  It was also a wonderful program with many talented people singing and reading, but I wasn't there because I couldn't get enough of the Christmas Spirit with just one meeting.  I was there to experience and celebrate an important milestone in the life of a grandson.

This grandson isn't just an ordinary 17-year-old.  He has extra-special qualities given to him, I think, to make up for disabilities that he has had since birth.  I was there to witness him blessing the Sacrament for the first time.  He has been practicing for a year to get his speech clear enough so the bishop could tell if he said the prayer correctly.  It has to be perfect, or the person blessing the Sacrament has to do the prayer over until it is exactly right.  He felt ready to do it, but he was terrified he would make a mistake.

His dad said he thought this was the most special Christmas gift he could get from his son.  It seemed a Christmas gift not just to his family, but to the whole ward.  I could see and feel the support the ward "family" have for him and we were all pulling for him and praying he could do it.  We know how important this was to him.  He has always taken his priesthood duties very seriously and has served as a faithful home teacher, who often calls to remind his senior partner they need to go.  The stories of the things he has done for his families are touching.  He has a very special gift to brighten the lives of others and to recognize needs that someone else might not see.

We sat in the bench, looking up at our handsome young man as he was preparing the bread first.  It was a task he found difficult when he became old enough for that to became part of his priesthood duties.  At first he experienced embarrassment because he was slower than the other priests, and they stood waiting for him as he practiced every week to get his muscle coordination trained so his hands could move fast enough to keep up.  He stressed every week over this, but today I noticed he has mastered that task and even finished before a couple of the other priests, even though his white shirt sleeves were way too long (he insisted on wearing his father's shirt that is way too big for him). When it was time to bless the water, we all held our breath as he kneeled and said the prayer.

We were overjoyed in our hearts when he was able to say it, though at first we weren't sure if he'd been clear enough in a couple spots for the bishop to know.  He got the nod from the bishop that he'd done it correctly.  Some of us had tears flowing down our cheeks.  It was one of those special moments in life that is never forgotten.  It made Christmas Day for me--such a touching, priceless, precious moment.  He showed the courage to not give up or quit out of fear, nor did he ever use excuses, and I'm sure he was happy in his heart to have accomplished what he'd dreamed of being able to do for so long.

God bless us, every one.
Here is the man of the hour (of whom I write)  goofing off as we drive through the light show at Willard Bay on Friday night.
Two grandsons enjoying the lights with us and their parents.

What's Utah without a dinosaur or two--and Indians dancing?
A purple tree for the daughters who love purple.
These critters were part of an animate sleigh ride that crashed into the tree

Santa started on the ground and flew up into the sky and out of sight.
A tribute to our armed forces

Streets of Ogden
We used to take the kids every year to Christmas Village.  It was always freezing and it looks most beautiful with snow on the ground.  This year, there's no snow by it is still cold.
Our last stop on the "lights" night was the cemetery where each year they put out over 6,000 luminarias as a gift to the community and to quote from a newspaper article:  "This is a way to reflect back to the good times, and what we have--the love that we have for our families and friends that we've lost throughout the years."
     -Mr. Leavitt of Aultorest Memorial Park.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Moving on to a New Blogspot

This is part of Ogden Valley as looking down from the North Ogden Divide.  People want to know where I live, so here is what it looks like in the spring.  If you want to see fall colors, you'll have to visit my new blog site.

Since the mission is ended and pictures are posted of our trip at the end of our mission, I shall keep the link to both my blogs for anyone wanting to catch up on pictures or posts, but it is time to move on to another mission--that of being a Church service missionary!  I will be a member of the lds.org response team and will also be taking photos of  people doing gospel oriented activities to submit for files where they can be used for Church publications.  Anyone who lives in my area and would like me to visit them and photograph them individually, or as a family, doing Family Home Evening, studying scriptures, doing service projects, or anything creative related to LDS living, call me to make an appointment.

My other big project is to do my family history and temple work for family members.  That should really keep me busy.  In light of all these plans, I do not know how the blogging will go, but I hope to be able to continue to post photos for other's enjoyment, as well as share uplifting things that happen in my life, or great stories and quotes that are inspirational.  We shall see what the future unfolds.

Thank you for following my blog to those of you who found something in it worthwhile.  I hope it enriched your life in some way.  There have been over 16,604 visits from 95 countries these past 21 months to date.  I feel like there may be friends out there in the world I've never met.  Some of them accidentally found the site and it wasn't what they wanted, but maybe someone actually learned about Jesus Christ for the first time, or found the lds.org link and was able to dispell some of the myths about "Mormons."  Maybe, because of the blog, someone has been inspired to serve a mission, or even just visit the beautiful UK and learn of the wonderful people there.  My imagination has no bounds and probably a lot of false hopes, but it was fun to do it and we now have a record of our fantastic mission adventure in England!  That is worth something to us at least and that is probably what matters most in the long run.

If even one soul was reached and found Jesus Christ, how great will be our joy.

Visit me on my post-mission blog site.

Countries (and areas within countries) that visited the mission blog: (my apologies to any country I spell incorrectly as I haven't even heard of some of them before and I regret my ignorance on geography, since some of the countries came into being when I was no longer educated on the changes--it has been a good opportunity to learn more about the world).

Afghanistan   Argentina   Armenia   Australia   Austria   Bahrain   Belarus   Bermuda   Bolivia
Bosnia & Herzegovina   Botswana   Brazil   Bulgaria   Canada   Chile   China   Columbia   Croatia   Cuba
Cyprus   Czech Republic   Denmark   Dominica   Egypt   El Salvador   England   Estonia   Ecuador
Finland   France   French Guiana   French Polynesia   Georgia   Germany   Greece   Guam   Hong Kong
Hungary   Iceland   India   Indonesia   Iran   Ireland   Isle of Man  Israel   Italy   Japan   Jersey   Jordan
Kazakhstan   Latvia   Lebanon   Lithuania   Libia   Malaysia   Malta   Mexico   Moldova   Morocco
Netherlands   New Zealand   Northern Ireland   Norway   Pakistan   Peru   Philippines   Poland   Portugal
Puerto Rico   Romania   Russia   Saudi Arabia   Scotland   Serbia   Slovakia   Slovenia   South Africa
South Korea   Spain   Sri Lanka   Sweden   Switzerland   Taiwan   Thailand   Trinidad   Turkey   Ukraine
Uruguay   United Arab Emirates   United Kingdom   United States   Uzbekistan   Vietnam   Wales Zimbabwe

If anyone has any question about the gospel penetrating every continent and visiting every shore, it is surely happening.  The whole world WILL know about Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Askrigg, Yorkshire Dales, Sykes House B&B

And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.  The Spirit of truth is of God.  I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying:  He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth.  He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.  Doctrine and Covenants 93:26-28

We chose to stay in Askrigg, within the Yorkshire Dales because it was where the BBC had, for a period of years, filmed the ever popular, "All Creatures Great and Small."  The pub, the vet clinic, and home were located just around the corner from the very old bed and breakfast in which we stayed.  It was also within about a 10 minutes drive to Gunnerside where I hoped to find evidence of my ancestors.  Not to mention, the whole area is wreaking with history and there are places where other popular films have been shot .  The actual James Herriott World, tourist attraction, is about a half hour's drive, but still he wrote about his treks in this area.  It is considered his back yard and a favorite place to write about and in which he loved to trek.

Sykes House is the name of the bed and breakfast in which we stayed.  It has a little shop at the front where newspapers, various goods, and food are sold.  The owner told us it is 500 years old!
Original fireplace rock.

Looking out our upstairs room overlooking the cemetery.  Our car is the silver one.
The stairway looking down
The pub where we ate across from the one filmed in the James Herriot TV series
Resident flower and my token flower for this post, which I am sure everyone is thrilled to see.  How many flowers and plants do you think I posted in the blog?

Original staircase.  I'm sure the fire extinguisher wasn't there 500 years ago.

The window in the toilet (remember that is what it is called in the UK)
Original beams
Awwww . . .

Three Kinds of People in the World

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and The Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  1 James 1:22-24, 27

The following article was found in my files and it seems like a worth while thought to pass on, even though I do not remember who gave this to me or where I got it, the print at the top of the page identifies it as coming from nowpublic.com.

"There are three kinds of people in the world today," Disney once wrote.  "There are
'well poisoners,' who discourage you and stomp on your creativity and tell you what you can't do.  [These are the negatives who put other people down and try to discourage them from achieving their dreams.  They're people who should be avoided and whose advice should be ignored.]

 There are 'lawn mowers'
--people who are well-intentioned but self-absorbed; they tend to their own needs, mow their own lawns and never leave their yards to help another person.  [Lawn mowers may be good citizens who go to work each day, pay their bills and taxes, obey the laws, and maintain their property but seldom volunteer or get involved in their community.]
Finally, there are 'life enrichers'
--people who reach out to enrich the lives of others, to lift them up and inspire them.  [These are the people who really make life worth living.  They go out of their way to enhance the lives of others with encouraging words and deeds.  They motivate others to have hope.]  We need to be life enrichers, and we need to surround ourselves with life enrichers."
All of us have opportunities every day to be life-enrichers.  It's as simple as offering a word of encouragement; volunteering our time, talents and treasures to enrich our schools, churches, government or community; or writing a note of thanks to a teacher, a pastor, a public servant or volunteer.  God calls us to be life-enrichers.  "Well-poisoners" try to build themselves up by tearing others down but never achieve relief from their misery.  Many :lawnmowers" may achieve material success and even respect in this world, but people who serve others will be first in God's kingdom.  

We all need to take time mowing our lawns, but take some time from mowing to get out of your own yard and take a few simple steps to be a life-enricher.  Thank you child's teacher, let your children know you're proud of them, lend a neighbor a hand, volunteer at your church, be a mentor, help with a fund-raiser, put your talents to work for a charity, give blood, invite somebody to dinner, write a note of congratulations to a friend or relative who has achieved something special.  You'll be amazed at how your words of encouragement, or your helping hand can have a dramatic impact on enriching another's life--and your own!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Portmuck and Derry (Londenderry) in Ireland

For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday,  today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.  2 Nephi 27:23
We went exploring on this narrow road to find a National Trust site where there was the steepest cliffs in Northern Ireland--something like sheer cliffs about 600 feet high.  We found this small settlement, which apparently was common in historical times.  People lived close together for protection and to survive by sharing their crops and labor.  

It was raining and cold, so we never did take the hike out to the cliffs.  The trail didn't looked like it was marked well and it was getting dark.  
Beautiful little cottages in their simplicity.  Some were attached.
We went to Portmuck simply because it sounded like a good place to check out with that name and all.  It wasn't really mucky at all.  People were on the beach and swimming in the freezing water, while children splashed around and built sand castles.  They thought it was a regular balmy day, I suppose.  I did meet two women putting on their bathing suits in the "toilet" (sounds funny, but that is what it is called), and they squealed, "We must be crazy!"  Yeah, since I stood there in a coat and scarf wrapped up against the cold.
Portmuck, The Port of the Pigs, is a quaint harbour, originally home to a small local fishing fleet.  To the west of the harbour are limestone cliffs, which have often yielded prehistoric fossils.  Muck Island, just out from this harbour, is an important bird sanctuary for many nesting seabirds and Puffins (which I really, really wanted to see).  This is also the site of an ancient abbey and castle.
The material on this house is attractive, along with the horse head gate posts.  This place faces the bay almost at water level.

There was a trail to climb the cliff overlooking Portmuck, but we went around the other side to look for shells and rocks.
Elder Blain is checking out the fishing, with Muck Island across the way.  We will go back to Scotland via this North Channel.

Our favorite past time by the sea, checking out the findings
Getting my foot into the North Sea.  From this angle, my leg looks like a prosthesis.  No, I was NOT cheating.
 The next place to visit was close to the Republic of Ireland border.  This city is called Londonderry, though residents prefer Derry.  It is the only remaining completely intact walled cities in Ireland, and stand as one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe.  It is the oldest continually inhabited place in Ireland (beginning in the 6th century).  The walls around the city were built in 1613-1619.  We walked the entire wall, which had a fabulous view over the city from all angles.
Walking the wall

One of the towers.  There were originally four drawbridges to allow people inside the walls (or keep them out).

Trees planted on the wall
A pretty building

I liked these windows

Of course I admired all the beautiful flowers hanging in the streets

Lovely churches--just can't get enough of them
This is the "Hands Across the Divide" sculpture of two men reaching out to each other, which symbolizes the spirit of reconciliation.  This was erected 20 years after Bloody Sunday in 1972, where British troops killed a group of people.  It is sometimes referred to as the Bogside massacre.
These planters made a pretty heart shape