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)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Those Special Lost Sheep and How He Meets Their Needs

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.  Romans 12:12-13
Look deeply into the soul.  There is more beauty and value to behold than shows on the outside.  -R. Blain

A ward missionary has been trying to get us to visit a lonely woman in a care centre  (English spelling until we're off our mission) for over a month.  We kept having other "priorities" get in the way, I'm embarrassed to say.  We finally got around to visiting her and one other lady in the same centre today.
Yes, roses are out in the yards and I couldn't resist as we walked by!
One woman told us the care center was like a prison where people never were taken out to see the world around them.  How very hard to keep hope alive under those conditions!  These people are being lost and forgotten in such places.  Often we hear they have never had visiting or home teachers.  Fortunately, for some people, ward members remember them and do visit.  More often than not, the care center residents get few visits from anyone here and in similar facilities in the U.S.  The one difference in the states is there are buses that take people out for rides and activities, and in Utah there are LDS services for the residents. 

I noticed there is no private bath in the room we visited.  There's a chair with a pot in it.  The humiliation and tribulation the residents of these places must face is something none of us want to even become aware of, since it is so disheartening to see how they must live compared to our standard of living.
This yellow rose is different than anything I've seen with pink highlights and darker pink spots.
What can we do when we visit people in these circumstances?  What possible hope or comfort can we give?  It seems when a missionary (or member) is sent in circumstances like this, the Lord does use them to fill a need.  The first thing we do is pray in our hearts we will know what to say and do.  Next, we listen and hope to hear something that will indicate a thread of faith we can strengthen with a scripture and prayer.

It was one of those coincidences that are small miracles orchestrated by God that when I happened to bring an old Ensign magazine, a copy of a song, and a picture of Christ to give to whomever we might encounter.  While listening, it came to light the one lady was laden down with guilt over something that happened years ago.  Flipping open the Ensign, there was a main article on the Atonement!  She also mentioned she didn't understand why the people crucified Christ when he was only doing good.  The cover of that Ensign had a depiction of Christ giving his apostles the Sacrament at the last supper.  We were able to explain he gave his life voluntarily for us so we can live again and be forgiven for our sins.  She seems relieved and grateful by the time we left.
The picture was the one of the huge statue of Christ in the Visitor's Center in Salt Lake City (Christus)
The song was, "He Sent His Son, Children's Songbook #34 (see lyrics below).  Just what she needed!
Here you see our two guides (the one on the left is walking with the ward missionary.  The man in the front is the husband of the woman in the care centre.  The two men hang around town and know many people there.
We were supposed to meet the ward missionary member at Morrison's and she was going to take us to the care centre.  Instead, the lady's cute little husband (he always said "aye" for "yes because he is from Yorkshire) was found in the large foyer at Morrison's grocery store, where he sits on a bench every day.  Another friend, who visits his wife regularly, along with the husband, ended up being our guides to the care centre.  We had fun walking together because they had knowledge of the history of the area.  I wasn't aware that the Muslims trained missionaries and sent them out all over.  They are very aggressive according to the one man.  He showed us the missionary training centre for the Muslim missionaries. 
The typical shop area in Blackburn
These two men, because they hang out downtown all day (nothing better to do), they know people all over town.  They were greeting the Muslims in front of their shops and asking about their welfare.  One Muslim hugged Elder Blain and called him "brother."  These two lonely men go about spreading sunshine in people's lives.  Though neither one is active in church attendance, they both are living Christlike lives.  Once again, our hearts were deeply touched by the great love we felt Jesus Christ has for these humble individuals.  They are the little sparrows he will not forget.

The song "He Sent His Son" -
How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a new born babe, with peace and holiness.

How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.

How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.

What does the Father ask of us?  What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.

What does he ask?
Live like his Son.
Click below on the link to hear the song on You Tube.

Since enduring faithfully to the end seems the theme for people dealing with many trials and tribulations, below are some scriptures we used during our meeting today:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Romans 8:35

If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel . . . Colossians 1:23

For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.  Doctrine and Covenants 58:2

But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.  Alma34:41

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

God Is Our Father & Our Last District Meeting

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  Romans 8:17

Yes, all missions must come to an end at some point.  All the struggles, the miracles, the choice experiences, and the spiritual growth and knowledge doesn't have to end when a mission is over.  We can continue to help others understand they have a Father in Heaven who want us all home someday.   Fortunately we have Jesus Christ's teachings and ancient and modern prophets to guide us.
Our district leader is on the left.  He is from Muldova, and his companion is from Russia.
Our last supper
Beautiful day at the temple
Today we took the last pictures and enjoyed the sun all the while reminding ourselves these are not good byes if we work hard to keep the commandments and endure in faithfulness throughout our lives on earth.  We CAN see each other again some day and live as one big happy family together, since we are all Heavenly Father's children and he has a place prepared for all who love and serve him.

Here's a lovely link to a short video:   God Is Our Father

Monday, July 25, 2011

There are Saints and Then There are Latter-day Saints

Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and  ye call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.  3 Nephi 27:7   

And also unto my faithful servants . . . For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Doctrine and Covenants 115:4

Two things of interest in the above scriptures are 1)  All ordinances, prayers, testimonies, talks, and lessons taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are done in the name of Jesus Christ.  2)  All prayers address Heavenly Father and end in the name of his son, Jesus Christ.

A dear friend from Newcastle-Under-Lyme called today.  She has been a member of the Church for over a year now and there haven't been many who have embraced membership in the Church more fully in such a short time as she has.  She is charity personified as she goes about doing good.  She will do anything asked of her with a cheerful attitude.

Coming from a different religious background, my friend mentioned she has a problem with us being called Saints because people outside of the Church may think we are trying to be better than they are by labeling ourselves saints.  Saints to her means the people have become holy and perfected.  She thinks we should be called servants, since that is what we essentially are supposed to be by serving Jesus Christ and our fellow man.  Hum, she's noticed the members aren't perfect.  ( ;  I had always thought of saints as followers of Christ.  Looking it up in the dictionary verifies that is what it means in these modern times.

The Bible Dictionary says the following (p. 767):  The word saint is a translation of a Greek word also rendered "holy," the fundamental idea being that of consecration or separation for a sacred purpose; but since what was set apart for God must be without blemish, the word came to mean, "free from blemish," whether physical or moral.

In the New Testament, the saints are all those who by baptism have entered into the Christian covenant (see Acts 9:13, 32, 41; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Philip 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:14-15). 

A picture I took today has nothing to do with the subject, but it is the back of the old 1641 manor I took pictures of a couple months ago.  The bricks on the sides are interesting.  It is still hard to imagine this home being that old.  Obviously, there are new windows in this house

The blue flowers in the back are beautiful, but I couldn't get close enough to capture them decently in the photo.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Liverpool Docks Where People Left for America. Happy Pioneer Day in Utah!

And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.  And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.  1 Nephi 13:13 & 19
Seen in a shop in Liverpool.  I like the logo.
The British converts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided the strength and root system from which a mighty Zion was built up in Utah, making it possible for the Church to survive and thrive.  Many more converts from other countries also contributed to the strength of the Church in Utah.  Mormon immigrants were part of the million who left from England in the 1800s.  Today, we visited the Liverpool docks from whence they launched.  It is an historic place in history for many who now live in America because it is where their ancestors left to cross the ocean.

We felt we needed to see the docks before we left our mission because Elder Blain's grandfather (a small boy at the time) sailed from here with his mother and family (the father died before they could leave).  The Blain family then crossed the plains to Salt Lake City with a hand cart and settled in Spring City.  Can you imagine that single mother with a young family being so courageous as to attempt such a journey?  She was among thousands of other valiant Latter-day Saints who left for America from the docks in Liverpool, along with other immigrant groups who were not converts to the Church (probably my ancestors from Ireland who left during the potato famine).

It was a sunny day, for a change, and the wind was blowing strongly as it usually does near the sea.
Driving into Liverpool just before getting to the docks.

Elder Blain standing on the dock where his grandfather left for America.  This is looking out to sea in the direction they went.

This is the main dock where many left for America
Some of the things we saw while walking the docks
Enclosed area for ships to dock safely.  There is an exit on the right to the sea.  Ships could load directly from the warehouses in this area.

Shops now surround the dock on the inside area.
This explains the weird banana shaped statues all over the docks

The blue flag flying says "Downing" on it.
King Edward the 7th with British flags flying behind him

Roman numerals to mark the water level

Why can't the U.S. have cool historical mail boxes?

A more modern version of the famous black cab like is found in London
I wanted something like this when I was in Wales and couldn't find anything, so I found this in Liverpool!  Notice the Beatles pictures in the background?  Beatles museums and souvenirs are everywhere.
Can you tell I LOVE these logos?  I felt the same about the English Lion and the Welsh Dragon.

Is Elder Blain going to have to walk the plank?
I talked the pirate into giving Elder Blain his freedom.  I should have left a Book of Mormon in his hand but he wasn't too receptive, refusing to let go of his broken sword.
This sailor was just hangin' around

Scriptures I Studied to Find the Truth of the Restored Church of Chirst

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Luke 11:9
 In my original search to seek, knock, and have truth opened to me, a lot of praying, pondering, and study of sacred things was undertaken.  Eventually, through this process involving much faith and prayer, a testimony was gained that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, and his Church has been once again restored on the earth.  What is a testimony?  Below is a quote and a story that try to explain.  

“A testimony is a most precious possession because it is not acquired by logic or reason alone, it cannot be purchased with earthly possessions, and it cannot be given as a present or inherited from our ancestors.

We cannot depend on the testimonies of other people. 
We need to know for ourselves.  

Our previous prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, ‘Every Latter-day Saint has the responsibility to know for himself or herself with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God."  -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 Pumpkin Story

A lady had recently been Baptized. One of her co-workers asked her about what it was like being a Christian. She was caught off guard and didn't know how to answer, but when she looked over she saw a jack-o-lantern on the desk and answered: it's like being a pumpkin”.

The worker asked her to explain that one. “Well, God picks you from the patch and brings you in and washes off all the dirt on the outside that you got from being around all the other pumpkins. Then he cuts off the top and takes out all the yucky stuff from the inside. He removes all those seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc...
Then he carves you a new smiling face and he puts His light inside of you to shine for all to see”.

I'll never look at a pumpkin the same way again!

The following are some questions I had when growing up in another religion before I was baptized by proper priesthood authority, confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost (again, given by a man who was ordained to God's priesthood by another priesthood person who was given the power to do this ordinance):
     *How can God be three persons in one?  (Surely he wouldn't pray to himself!)
     *Where do we come from, why are we on this earth, and where do we go after we die?
     *Why does the bible mention baptism for the dead and what is the reason for it?
     *What is the one faith and one baptism mentioned in the Bible?
     *What makes the LDS Church any different than all the other churches in the world?
     *What does a person have to do to be able to live with God someday?
     *Why did God stop sending prophets to the earth to guide us?  (Don't we need word from heaven as much as in the old days?)
As far as my initial argument that the scriptures cannot be added to, the Book of Revelation was written before some of the other books in the New Testament and was placed as the last book in the Bible when the various individual books were gathered.  Deuteronomy 4:2 warns of adding words or taking them away.  Certainly the scriptures as we know them wouldn't be here if the prophets had stopped writing because of that verse!  Those words were written so no one would add more to those particular books when they were written, since the Bible had not even been compiled yet!

Many scriptures in the Bible helped me discover some of the answers to the questions I had and the rest I received from the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants (and through much prayer and study).  When the Church declares we have the "fullness of the gospel", it means the precious truths that were lost in translation over the centuries have been now been restored with the Book of Mormon coming forth and the modern day revelation given to us through prophets once again who have been called of God as in days of old.

The Book of Mormon compliments the Bible in its teachings, and plainly opens up more 
understanding of the basic gospel principles.

Some scripture references that helped me see the light of truth:

 Baptism for the dead:  1 Corinthians 15:29; 5:25-29 (the dead are given a chance to hear the gospel); 1 Peter 3:19-20; 1 Peter 4:6; 

There is one baptism:  Ephesians 4:5 (one Lord, one faith, one baptism) 

Method of baptism:  John 3:3-5 (born);  Matt. 3:16 (Jesus came out of the water);  Mark 1:5 (in river Jordan);  Mark 1:10 (Jesus coming up out of the water);  John 3:23 (because there was much water there);  Acts 8:38 (went down into the water);  Romans 6:4 (buried);  Col 2:12 (buried and raised up);  Mosiah 18:14 (buried in the water); 3 Nephi  11:22-26 (shall immerse them in the water); 3 Nephi 19:11-13 (went down into the water and came up out of the water). 

Authority to baptize:  Matt; 3:11;   Mark 1:8; Luke 3:15-16; John 1:25-33; Acts 8:5-25 (John the Baptist had the Aaronic Priesthood and he recognized the difference in authority of the priesthood held.  Jesus had the Melchizedek priesthood. 

Priesthood authority:  Melchizedek-  Gen. 14:18;  Psalm 110:4;  Hebrews  7;  Heb. 5:1-10 (Jesus Christ was a [high]priest forever after the order of Melchizedek;  Numbers 25:13;  Rev. 20:6;  Jacob 1:18 

The Gift of the Holy Ghost given by proper authority:  Acts 19 (tells how Paul found followers of Jesus who had been baptized in the name of John and they hadn't even heard of the Holy Ghost, so Paul had to baptize them correctly and then was able to give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Christ’s Church built on a foundation of apostles and prophets:  Eph. 2:19-21; Eph. 4:11-16 

Prophets:  Amos 3:7; Acts 10:34-43; Jacob 4:4, 6; Mosiah 8:13-18 

Falling away for the gospel teachings and lost priesthood authority—Apostasy/Restoration: Acts 3:19-21; Mark 12:1-9; Acts 20:28-30;  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Gal. 1:6-9; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; 2 Peter 2:1-2; Amos 8:11-12 

Prophesies of Book of Mormon coming forth in latter days:  John 10:16;  2 Cor. 13:1;  Gen. 11:9; Gen 49:22-26;  Psalms 85:11; Isaiah 29:4; Isaiah 45:8;  Ezekiel 17:22-23;   Ezekiel 37:15-20; 2 Tim 3:16; Rev. 14:6; Rev. 29:8; Rev. 33:10, 1 Nephi 13:40;  1 Nephi 15:13-14;  2 Nephi 12;  2 Nephi 25:18  2 Nephi 26:14-18;  2 Nephi 27: 27:29;  2 Nephi 29:1-14; Enos 1:16; 3 Nephi 15:21; Mormon 5:12;  Mormon 8:16; Ether 5:4; Moroni:  10:3-5;  Moses 7:6.

I ran across this on the Internet and liked the idea that He is knocking on our hearts.  He cannot pry our hearts open.  We must open them to Him.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Over 52,000 Missionaries in More than 165 Countries!

" . . . preach my gospel . . ."  Doctrine and Covenants 50:14
Yes!  The standard of truth has been erected and no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing in any way!  This quote by Joseph Smith was what we memorized and repeated at our zone conferences on our last mission.  It is being fulfilled!!  Such a marvelous thing to literally unfold before our eyes in our lifetime.  The gospel is going to all the world.  At YSA last week, I spoke to a young woman from China, a new member of six months, and she is so excited to go home and share the gospel with her family, after she finish her university degree in England.  The Church is growing in places where missionaries cannot yet go but members take it home with them.
20,813 more missionaries are Church Service Missionaries working from home or somewhere within driving distance of their homes.  This is a picture of some of the senior couples in this mission, along with some of the younger missionaries.  Isn't it marvelous how no one gets paid and all volunteer for this work?  This is evidence of true love for our Savior, and our fellow man/women in action.  There were only us, the office couple, and one other senior missionary couple when we came here.  Now there are eight sets of couples, with the new ones arriving on 24 July.
Soon we will have to take off our missionary badges--OH NO!
Our zone before the mission president left

Our Blackburn Elders for whom we gladly furnish lifts.  Don't they look so young?  Oh, but are they ever mighty in work of the Lord!!

Mormon Life

 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith.  Doctrine and Covenants 109:7

 Stories, blogs, articles, photos--lots of interesting and worthwhile things can be found here:
  Mormon Life

Find beauty amongst the thorns in life