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.

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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)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sacred Experience

" . . . teach no other doctrine.  Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith:  so do.  Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."  1st Timothy 1:3-5  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  John 15:11-12
 We were asked by our outgoing mission president to submit our favorite quote or scripture and one sacred, spiritual experience while serving on our mission.  There were a lot.  Some I have shared on the blog.  The one below was shared, but the events were separated as they happened.  One other similar experience involved a choice Czech ♥ family in Stoke-on-Trent.  That one was previously shared extensively on the blog, so I chose this one due to the example it is of how connections among people spread the gospel message and the key roll less-active members can play when

A Sacred and Spiritual Mission Experience-Elder and Sister Blain
 June 14, 2011
The most spiritual and significant experience of this mission is hard to choose, as there were many, but one had the most components of missionary work—listening to the Spirit’s promptings, being not afraid what man can do, overcoming barriers to teaching, member support, activating less actives, and seeing the hand of the Lord in things and the marvelous ways in which he performs miracles.
Elder Blain and I were working on a long list of less active people in the Newcastle Ward one day and having problems finding an address.  I got out of the car (since there was no place to park) and walked up the street to find the house.  Upon finding it, I returned to the car and we went to the next street to turn around.  When we had driven down the main street, I noticed a pleasant looking women walking alone with a smile on her face.   As we turned the car around, this woman walked in front of the car, still smiling.  We both commented about her and watched her go on her way, parked our car, and got out to go visit the member.
 We found the less-active member not home and headed back to the car.  As we were walking back, I stopped to take a picture of some purple flowers in a garden.  Elder Blain was getting into the car and I went back to get in as we suddenly realized we hadn’t knocked on other doors in the area.  I told Elder Blain a strong prompting suggested we go to the house back across the street with the purple flowers.  Up the walk we trudged and knocked on the door.  I knew someone was home because I had seen a shadow move by the window while taking the pictures.  It took a long time for her to answer the door, but we didn’t give up.  She opened it just a crack and we said, “We are sharing . . .” and she slammed the door with the words, “I already have my own religion.”  Elder Blain and I looked at each other and smiled as he said (laughing), “Well, Sister Blain, that surely was an inspired move to go there.”  We didn’t know at that time we were being stalled so we’d be in the right place at the right time.   
We crossed the street and got into the car.  Just as we got on our seat belts and started the car, the lady with the smile walked by with a small boy in tow.  I felt myself literally being pushed out of my seat!  We had to get that lady’s phone number and address!  Scrambling to get out of our seat belts and grab our bag with missionary stuff in it, I jumped out of the car and started running after the lady while Elder Blain stopped and locked the car.  She’d covered quite a distance and was turning the corner, so I didn’t want us to lose her.  Elder Blain was coming up in the rear.  
 It was quite a chase, but we finally caught up to the lady and she stopped, still with the wonderful smile on her face.  She was dark skinned, and not knowing if she was Muslim, we asked if she was a Christian.  She nodded her head to affirm she was, but she didn’t speak English! We pointed to our badges and read them, gestured towards the sky, and told her God loves her and we had some wonderful information he wanted us to share with her.  She introduced her son (five years old), who could speak a little English.  We asked him to get his mother’s phone number so we could call her and have someone come teach her in her own language (Portuguese).  She held up her phone to show us her number.  We gave her a pass along card with the picture of the Savior.
 It took over a month of asking around for someone who speaks Portuguese before a member of the ward remembered a person who could help us teach.  He was a single father with two small boys (5 & 7 years of age); originally from Africa, he had grown up in Portugal.  He was on our less-active list, but we hadn’t gotten around to visiting him.  He still had all the missionary materials.  This was the beginning of a spiritual turning point for Stoke Ward’s member missionary work, as the ward became more involved with providing rides and fellowshipping investigators and less-active families.
  I’ll never forget the day I walked to the bus stop, picked up the investigator as she got off her bus, and walked back up to the chapel in Newcastle-under-Lyme.  On the way up the hill, Elder Blain, the less-active member and his two boys, and a member met us.  The member watched the children while we taught.  The less-active member bore a beautiful testimony in Portuguese during the lesson.  We felt the Spirit even though we couldn’t understand his words.
 From that time on, we became part of our less-active member’s family, holding family home evening with them, reading scriptures with him regularly and helping him comprehend, getting him to church, and helping him improve his English, which he had learned from the missionaries who baptized him two years previously.  This member had never had home teachers or any contact from the Church since he’d been baptized.  He had slowly stopped attending church as he had no transportation and the children were hard to manage when two extra hours of bus travel was added to the meeting times on Sunday.  Members stepped up to provide rides and we made sure there were car seats for the boys.
A very special single father rearing two boys.  He helped us with our teaching.
Because of the contact with the less-active member, we met two of his friends who also wanted to hear the missionary lessons.  One of them was a particularly spiritual man from Africa, another single father, who spoke English fairly well but lacked comprehension, thus benefiting greatly from the extra scripture study sessions.   He went to church for a while, with his young son joining him (another car seat), but then health, legal, and family problems interfered with him receiving the last lesson.   He did not meet his baptismal date.   We will never forget the overwhelming spiritual experience it was to hear the prayers of this man and to teach him.  We have faith these two friends of our less-active friend will someday join the Church.  Also, the less-active member had 15 family members move to England from Portugal just before we were transferred.  The local missionaries have that information to follow up with teaching.
 The lady (we originally found) discontinued lessons due to the language barrier and a work schedule that made it impossible to receive lessons or go to church.  She promised she would investigate further when she was no longer living with a family for asylum.
All of these people originally came from Africa.  We were familiar with working with this especially spiritual population because of our last mission.  A meeting in the Preston Temple with the three women from the European women’s golf team tied in with this whole experience (there is a blog post about this).  The coach was prompted to talk with us in the cafeteria.  She was from Zimbabwe (a blond woman with white skin) and one of the other golfers was from South Africa (also a blond with white skin).  The message we received from her was helpful in working with our African investigators, but also gave us a reference to her charity called, ‘Eyes for Zimbabwe,’ which we     have a feeling we will be connected with in some way after our mission.

 All of these related experiences are an orchestration of the Lord’s work.  It is marvelous to be in the middle of these things as they unfold.  If we didn’t know what was going on, we would never believe such a chain of events could occur.  We all know these things happen all the time within the Church. 
Miracles are all around us!!  It has been so very exciting to be part of the gospel spreading across the earth!!
There are no coincidences in the Lord’s work.

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