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, February 27, 2011

Notes from a Lovely Sabbath, Day of Rest

"For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again . . ."  Alma 41:15

Quote from a Relief Society sister:  "Live love as a verb instead as a noun.  Love isn't really love if you aren't taking some action and doing something to demonstrate it."  If we send out love, we will more often than not get it back.

EXAMPLE!  One speaker reminded us today that we are to be good examples in public and in private.  We need to strive to treat our family members just as kindly and respectfully as we normally treat people in public.  As we work to be a truly Christlike person, our public and private behavior and speech will become the same.
EDIFY!  Everyone in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints realizes that the Sabbath day isn't always a "day of rest" in the sense that you get to take a nap all day.  Most members have a job to do on Sunday, or during the week, such as teaching or leading others.  The "rest" part has to do with resting from the things of the world and focusing on Jesus Christ and learning of Him and His teachings.  Sabbaths are for edifying one another--our family members, friends, neighbors, or strangers we meet along the way.

For thou wilt light my candle:  the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.  Psalms 18:28

"Edify" is a magnificent word!  I love it.  The dictionary says it means to improve the moral character or mind of another. Jesus Christ commanded everyone (3 Nephi 18:22-25) to meet together oft and edify one another.

To me, this words seems like a balloon that starts out small and we give it the breathe of air to enlarge into a much enjoyed thing of beauty.  To edify is to bring light and hope into another person's life, to lift, to make better, to teach, to reach out and strengthen, to share knowledge and truth, to enlighten others spiritually, to magnify other peoples' worth, to inspire, to lift the hands that hang down, and cheer the heavy hearts, and doing whatever marvelous thing we are inspired to do to draw others into a protective fold of love, nurturing, and charity.
We may start out in the spiritual marsh lands struggling to make headway in life . . .
. . . and be lifted by others to glorious heights we never knew could be achieved.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Flowers Return to England! Senior Couples & Musing in a Down Period

" . . . peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."  Doctrine and Covenants 121:7

We visited Knutsford to do some training of a new missionary couple, plus have a farewell lunch for our departing office senior couple.  They drove us over to a churchyard where these beautiful Crocuses were blooming.  It was a wonderful surprise to see so many, since we had seen only a few poking out of the ground by the temple in Chorley.
There always have to be some who aren't willing to follow the crowd.  They stick out beautifully in their own uniqueness.
The contrast with the moss on the headstones is lovely.

Delicate and dainty Snowdrops

Beautiful brickwork
Old bicycles hanging from the ceiling in the place we ate.  A little train hides behind the 1869 "Eagle Boneshaker" name plate.  (Name of a bike?)

The little train would take off every once in a while and go all around the top of the ceiling and back to its station.
This novel idea that would be fun to duplicate at home in the living room--ha, ha!
All the senior couples gathered in a row.
Downtown Knutsford has narrow streets where the sidewalks almost disappear in some areas where you end up walking more like on the curb of the road.
Musing:  I dreamed the other night that Elder Blain put a "for sale" sign on me.  I actually wondered why it wasn't a "free to the first taker," sign instead.  We all have those days in the ups and downs of life when we don't act as nice or feel as energetic and positive as we'd like and don't want to go out into the world and do the things expected of us.  Sometimes I selfishly think it would be nice to be a hermit where there are no demands on me whatsoever and life is fairly simple.  In verbalizing this hermit idea to Elder Blain, leave it to him to come up with something he was reading at the time that specifically addresses this topic (is there a conspiracy against me out there?).  He read it out loud to me (in a non-judgmental way) where it said the Lord has no use for a hermit, since he or she contributes nothing to make the world a better place).  Guess that it true, but I could be a temporary hermit just to regroup and get a proper perspective and motivation back.

My personal trials and afflictions come in many forms, similar to the challenges others face.  Some have to do with worrisome things happening at home related to children or grandchildren.  Others have to do with adjusting to change and challenges of a new assignment, or just my own anxious nature and tendency to become overwhelmed until I can see how to break a task down to smaller manageable pieces.  In any case, I'm sure I'm not easy to live with or to understand.  It is a blessing to have a husband, children, and friends with forgiving natures.

Today, at a baptism, we watched President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's address, "Of Things That Matter Most," which was given at General Conference in Oct. 2010 (this talk can be watched or read on lds.org).  In this talk, he suggests, "If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most."

President Uchtdorf says, "Some people can't get along with themselves.  They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves."  He says we all need to take the time to connect with ourselves and to learn to see ourselves as precious children of our Heavenly Father who have great worth and much to give in this world.  I think we can easily lose sight of that when we are caught up in day-to-day trials and challenges.
I am only one . . .

The War to Overcome Evil

 "Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil . . ."  Isaiah 5:20

For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.  And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say:  All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well--and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.  2 Nephi 28:20-21

And God shall show unto you that that which I have written is true.  Moroni 10:29
Even in the bleakness of winter, there is something bright and beautiful.  These berries were found on a climbing vine or shrub in Darwen
At a recent District Meeting for missionaries, Elder Blain, a retired Air Force veteran from the Vietnam era, discussed war strategies called "rules of engagement," as an analogy for what is going on in the world today with the war between good and evil (Satan and God).  Below are my notes.
  • We need intelligence services to keep us informed of what tactics the enemy's is using to destroy us.
  • Intelligence services provides true information about the enemy and where the threats are.  Some of the things we can learn from Intelligence are:
    • who the enemy is
    • what the enemy's strengths are
    • what variety of tactics we must plan against
    • how the enemy operates in certain circumstances 
Never underestimate the power of the enemy!

Intelligence services provides something called TAC DOC, which is tactical doctrine.  In the Church we have this in the form of scriptures and modern day revelation.

We can be lulled into a feeling of false security if we don't study and keep up on the latest information from the TAC DOC.  (The attack on Pearl Harbor is a prime example).

Pride causes people to feel they need no help, that they can handle things by themselves (General Custer is a good example for pride going before the fall).

There will always be opposition.  Remain cool and calm so you can think clearly and make correct decisions.  Do not let the enemy anger you.  Anger will cloud your judgment and cause you to lose control eventually.

The enemy always tries to disrupt communication in warfare. 

A pilot must always know the flight plan and path--altitude and speed, but the enemy wants to know that too.  The enemy will send out no information about where he is, or he will use deceptive tactics like sending out faulty information or even try to block communications to cloud vision and hearing by releasing chaff, which is a mass of little pieces of aluminum foil that forms a cloud against the radar.  Noise and confusion is sent out to interrupt communication.  (" . . . the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray . . . "  2 Nephi 32:8)

Pilots are always needing to send out information and wait for information to come back as they proceed in the flight plan (similar to us using prayer--" . . . ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."  2 Nephi 32:9).  Giving and receiving true information is vital to survival.  Do not allow the enemy to block your ability to communicate with the intelligence services.

Both sides use similar tactics in warfare in order to deny the enemy the ability to find and destroy their plane.  When a heat seeking missile is launched, the target for that missile can confuse it by sending out flares that are hotter than the plane engines, so the missiles (hopefully) chase the flares instead of the plane.  Stay stronger than that which is attempting to destroy you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who is the Most Beautiful and Best?

Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.  Alma 4:12
This regal looking, fantastic specimen of a goat/sheep (whatever he is) has no mirror.
He is sitting in a field with about twenty other goats/sheep (I'll find out soon what he is).  His horns are at least four times the size of any other of his kind in the field.  He has no way of knowing this, unless another of his kind has told him.  If he has been told how cool he really is, is he haughty and puffed up with pride over his greatness?  Is he even now looking down on all the others as mere underlings?

He is laughing at the mere suggestion that he is any different than the rest in the flock and it means nothing.  What does it matter that he has bigger horns than someone else?  One of his friends in the flock has only one horn pointing towards the sky.  No one cares about the differences.  They are all impressive just as they are individually and as a group.  Each one is unique and beautiful in his or her own way.  They are all in the pasture together and they all need the same things--to belong, to have food, to be comfortable, and to be safe.         

Random Sabbath Reflections

Sometimes I fail to render charitable service when I should.  It just so happens that I failed miserably this week when there was an opportunity.  Too many personal issues were involved, which hampered my ability to follow the example of Jesus Christ.  That opportunity is gone, but there will be more.  Next time I hope to have grown out of my cloud of concerns and just freely be able to give.

Concerning service to others in our family, home, community, and world:

"Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?  Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding?  Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things?  Behold, I say unto you, Nay.  Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.  And now, except ye do repent of that which ye have done, and begin to be up and doing . . ."  Alma 60:21-24

Talks and lessons today were on the topic of faith, accountability, agency/choice, and service.  Sometimes we have to just do something and have faith that it will work out.  Just sitting around and hoping things will get better won't help that to happen.  We have to act when we see the needs of others and do something to meet those needs.

One speaker said agency was like a box of chocolates.  It can be one box of chocolates but there are a lot of different choices of individual treats within the box.

When we break commandments, we can spiritually paint ourselves into a corner.  We have to make the choice to walk across the newly varnished floor and get ourselves out of a situation we've gotten ourselves into that we know is wrong.  Just like we would have to repair the damage to the floor by sanding and refurnishing the floor we ruined, once we change our ways, there is still a lot of work to repair the damage we've done. 

In a frame in the  Relief Society room is the following poem that had no author printed on it:

Support Groups

You can fall here.
We are a quilt set to catch you.
A quilt of women's hands
Threaded by pain made useful.
With generations of comfort-making
Behind us, we offer this gift--
Warm as Grandma's feather bed,
Sweet as Heavenly Mother's
Lullaby song.

You can fall here.
Women's hands are strong.

The teacher in Relief Society today said to live love as a verb instead as a noun.  As a verb, there will be action with it and we will be showing love by doing service for others.  As a noun, it is just a word or concept neither we nor others will feel.

The wounded and bleeding around us are on the battlefield of life, trying to live in this challenging world.  Can we see them?

Do you want to be uplifted by true stories from people who are trying to live Christian lives?  See the writing on the car?  These elders were spreading the word as a service to others using a very creative method on the back of what used to be our mission car.  Way to go, Elders!!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lifting Burdens--an uplifting short video message

Lifting Burdens

Beware of Mormons! (Laugh for the day)

Daffodils & Angels!

" . . . summer is nigh . . . Matthew 24:32

A chat from someone out of the blue today put sunshine in my soul.  We are each others' angels.
Daffodils mean hope of warmth to come.  They are sunshine pointing towards spring!  I brought some home from the store yesterday, nipped the bottoms off, and popped them into some water.  Within minutes they began to open up to reveal their full beauty and experience their true potential--like humans when they receive the living water of the gospel.

A dear friend/angel (ex-zone leader) sent a link through worth sharing.  Read about the little soul at www.sapphyr.net/largegems/littlesoul-thesun.htm

Friday, February 18, 2011

More Young Single Adult Fun

 " . . . learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God."  Alma 37:35

We are slowly learning our duties to support the young adult program for Preston and Chorley area.  Elder Tom Perry received revelation that the future growth of the Church in Europe is within the age bracket of 18-30.  They are our strength and our leaders of tomorrow.  Centers for Young Adults are popping up all over Europe to provide a means whereby these wonderful young adults can attend Institute classes and other activities that strengthen them spiritually and provide support in their life.

Thursday night was another fun activity that was totally organized by one of the leaders.  Everyone was invited to taste the numbered items on the table to guess which one is the most expensive brand.  Most of them could tell the better brand, which did usually cost the most.  Is the lesson here that we get what we pay for?  Can a person really tell the difference if they don't have the expensive brand from which to compare?  The only answers I got from the evening is which brands we should purchase where the least expensive were truly bad.

Before the big tasting tests
Taking eating seriously

Most people guessed the drink just by looking at them.  Coke won over Pepsi.

big difference in the chips

A Tribute and Thanks to Office Elders Everywhere!

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  Revelation 22:12

". . . they were industrious, and did labor exceedingly."  Mosiah 23:5

Today, I thought it appropriate to honor office elders, who work for a few months in the mission offices throughout the world.  Office elders are sometimes under appreciated by those who do not know that missionaries sometimes get different assignments that take them away from the regular missionary routine and require a different kind of labor other than proselyting in the mission field, though they do get some time to find and teach.

This, found on a tombstone at the old church where the office elders were closing out a flat in Darwen, seems to reflect the obedience of our office elders.
Last week, when the work began to move the stuff in the flat, Elder H. was Super Elder without the cape.
The missionaries assigned to assist in the office, through inspiration from the mission president, are reliable types.  They can be depended on to follow through with all they are asked to do.  Their obedience is such, that they drive by themselves all over the mission to move furniture and appliances in and out of missionary flats as needed.  They also clean flats that missionaries have been moved out of to other areas.  This job is challenging in planning the logistics of it.  Often, many hours of travel to an area must be repeated two or more times to accomplishment an assignment.  It seems almost a thankless job, since no one knows all that goes on behind the scenes.  Sometimes they move furniture while still in their suits, which seems rather odd, though sometimes necessary if they have something else they have to do where they need to be in "official uniform."  As a mother, I know I've cringed at times when I've witnessed what those suits go through on the backs of those hard-working elders.  Our office elders do their work mostly in chilly and wet weather, since England is prone to lots of rain.  It is a wonder they look still very professional and presentable after a long day of travel or hauling things around.

A happy attitude in their work
Does this look like fun?  They make it fun.
I cannot begin to list the varied duties of these special missionaries, but I do want to say that as I've seen them work, I am once again touched in my heart to see their faithful service in helping the Lord's work go forth through their use of muscles, skills, talent, and sheer determination to go and do whatever is asked of them.  Without these backup teams of elders, a mission could not function.  
We applaud you, oh young men of valor who fight the weather, the traffic, the deadlines, the odd unexpected jobs, the mold, the kitchen grease, the dirty bathrooms, the sore muscles, the back-breaking loads, the floppy mattresses . . . and . . .  having to drive past those you are sure are perfect investigators!
Elder W. hiding behind the mattress
Office Elders, if you happen to see this, know that you are appreciated and you have strengthened us spiritually with the example you set.  We applaud your faithfulness and devotion to furthering the work of the Lord!

This is the beautiful building the Darwen Elders lived in.

Does Elder Blain looked translated yet? 
An icy wind was blowing and it was SO cold!
It was spongy walking on this beautiful moss in the graveyard of the church/flat
 The following tombstone will tell a story.  Can you guess what was done in this graveyard?

Ha, ha!  Good use of space.  As long as you were related somehow . . . hope they all got along well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Welcome to the World, Sweet Boy!

And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.  Isaiah 3:4

How precious is a great grand child?  There are no words to describe the joy in our hearts to know he is safely here and has been born into a home where he will be loved and given all the opportunities for happiness and success available in the world.  He has arrived fresh from the Spirit World where he was in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ, our Savior.  His spirit in that tiny little body reaches out to all of us and touches are hearts as a witness that God has sent him to this earth to do marvelous things and touch lives beyond our imagination.
Baby Jet
Publish Post

All the Pretty Little Horses

For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?  Mosiah 5:13

These horses certainly knew I wasn't their master as they paid me no mind.  I couldn't get their attention at all!  Too much green grass to eat!

He was wondering what I was up to.  Elegant mustache.
. . .  and take a look at this beard--right nice
Hey, don't you think I'M way cuter?
Coming across the moors
A bit muddy but still lovely