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, August 31, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011--Released as Full-Time Missionaries--England Manchester Mission

. . . Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.  Psalm 30:5 

. . . I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.  Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many miracles we have wrought in this land for which we will praise his name forever.  . . . we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.  
Alma 26:11,12 & 15

It is always hard to be released from a mission, but we know there is still the responsibility to do the Lord's work and spread the gospel message wherever we go.  I tied to keep a stiff upper lip, but tears fell, and our hearts felt softly broken when we heard the words of our stake president as he read our mission president's letter and officially released us.  We were handed the above certificate, removed our tags, and that was that.

Yes, we do feel a bit like Ammon in the quote above, where he passionately recorded his feelings of missionary work.  It is true we saw many miracles and were used by Heavenly Father to accomplish things we could never have done on our own.  All honor and glory goes to our Father in Heaven and his Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, as their hands are in everything.  We testify their purpose to bring all of us back to them is true and pure because of the great love they have for us.

If anyone ever gets an opportunity to go on a mission, DO IT!  Better yet, make that opportunity happen.  To you senior couples:  Your kids need you more in the mission field than they do at home.  It is their blessing as well as yours.  We can testify that health matters and financial concerns also work out.  Grandkids can still keep in touch and be proud of you.  Concecrate all you have to give and you will not believe the blessings that pour forth in marvelous ways.

Our cups surely have runneth over!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saying Farewell to the U.K. and Hello Once Again to the U.S.A.

. . . For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.  Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.  2 Nephi 4:15-16

Our Delta plane waiting to load us up and leave
Elder Blain getting a last bite before boarding
An up-the-nose-shot at Sister Blain contemplating . . . simultaneously looking in her mind's eye towards home and back at the mission.
Fare thee well, English soil--a green and pleasant land

One last look at the west coast of beautiful Ireland

 Happy, loving faces and signs welcomed us back home.  I wish we'd gotten a picture of the family waiting at the bottom of the escalator as we came into the baggage claim area in the Salt Lake City airport.  Hearing their voices, and seeing them is a priceless memory.  These are the sweet signs that I took pictures of when we got home.
Not only did we have cool signs at the airport, but these signs welcomed us home when we arrived at the house. 
It was around 10 p.m. when we got home and the headlights showed these balloons flying in the front of the driveway.
The next day, some of the balloons were still up.  Cailin, Dave and the boys sure took good care of the yard.  We will never be able to thank them enough for all the hard work they did to keep the house and yard in shape, as well as the old white car running (Mike kept the Tundra truck running for us).  The house was spotless when we got in.  We can only imagine the work it was to make the place look like we'd never left.  We can only hope there were lots of blessings for the unselfish service rendered so we could go on this mission.  This included Mack and Rena, our across-the-street neighbors who kept the snow plowed and a watch out on the house.
The tree in the front, along with the hedges and other things had grown out of control until Dave was able to trim them back.  It was one of the wettest years on record, so things grew fast and thick.  The tree planted itself and was a twig when we left, so we thought we'd give it a little longer to live, never guessing that it would grow large enough to cover all of the windows in the living room part of the house!  Since it is a cottonwood tree too close to the house, it will have to go.  Too bad.  We've tried to plant trees and they often die, but this tree and the current bush (also self planted) have done quite well with no help except from Mother Nature.
The willow birch on the left has doubled in size.  We cannot believe how big the trees are now.  See how nicely trimmed Dave made the shrub in front?  It used to be twice that size and totally out of control!
People may wonder why I bothered with writing a blog, since these days hardly anyone is even interested.  Yet, the hits are approaching 13,000 people from 90 different countries.  For whatever reason, some people, besides the few family members and friends who checked in, clicked on the blog and hopefully found something of worth or enjoyment.  To us, the documentation of our second mission has been worth the effort even if we are the only ones to benefit.

We started out with the idea of sharing this mission experience with our children and found that others were searching for information.  The blog evolved into a teaching tool for those who were interested in exploring more information about the gospel and the LDS Church, a pictorial documentation of the beauties and interesting things we came across, and it became a way of sharing other uplifting resources and connections I found in cyberspace.

Now, once the initial mass of things that have to be done is over, I hope to finish documenting the last of our mission reflections, pictures, and thoughts.  From there, I currently have no idea if there will be a useful reason to continue blogging.  It'll be a matter of priorities and what is most important to be doing with my time in this particular season of life.  There is an immediate urgency to do family history and temple work for those who haven't had the opportunity to accept the gospel.  Indexing will certainly be picked up again as I enjoyed that part of member missionary work for the dead before we left on the mission (which, I know, sounds weird to those who aren't members of the Church).

Above all, I hope and pray people were brought somehow closer to our Heavenly Father in their desire to follow Jesus Christ's teachings and keep the commandments, to serve others, and basically make this world a better place with higher values and much love for others.  Or, if none of that happened, then maybe a new appreciation for the beauty in the world and the history it contains.

Because of computer difficulties, it'll take a while to post the rest of the stuff (pictures, etc.), but I intend to see this through to a closure of sorts for my own feeling of accomplishing the goal I set out towards

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On the Ferry to Ireland

There is free Internet connections on the Stena Line ferry to Ireland.  I am sitting in the front looking out as we head across to what is probably Ireland that is in the distance.  The captain just announced we are leaving the channel and will be in open sea in a few minutes.  I hope not to get my toe in the Irish Sea today.  Never should have watched the "Titanic" last night on TV.
Looking out towards Ireland from my seat at the front of the ferry.  I hope the sea sick meds work!

It took almost the whole 30 min. they give us here until we have to log on again, so I lost part of the post.  So, since it has taken almost that long to load this picture, I'm probably out of writing time.  The ferry is entering the open sea after spending quite a while getting out of the channel.  The sea is quite calm and there is a gentle up and down movement at the moment.  As we are leaving the land on the left, I can feel some side to side bobbing, which may yet do me in.  I shall think positively and quit writing, since that will probably not help!

We are having a wonderful time with the England and Scotland beautiful landscapes and oldness the last few days and are excitedly looking out towards what looks like a wee bit of land that is probably Ireland!

Yeah, I know all these pictures aren't too exciting, but there's Ireland and I've been waiting all my life to see it!!  Didn't get seasick in the least either, but on the ferry is where the fuse blew in the transformer plug I was using and it seemed at the time my computer was fried.  When we got back into England, I realized the computer was still working, though we didn't have Internet connection and the Scotland pictures still couldn't be found.  Until a couple days ago (we've been home two weeks today), when I finally found them in some obscure place in a file hiding.  The St. Andrew's visit is on there too, so Ercell will be happy those weren't lost.  So, later after I recover from being ill and get out Sunday talk out of the way, more pictures of the fabulous trip in Scotland, Ireland, and the Yorkshire Dales will be shared.  Meanwhile, pray for us that our talks will convey the spirit of these lovely countries and the good, faithful people.  Hopefully, we desire to help others have a new appreciation for the gospel throughout the world and the struggles others have to even go to church every Sunday.  We have it so easy in the U.S.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mission Ends August 8th---Touring Now

We found a free Internet connection in Taybarns, the ultimate eatery, which we can use because we are staying at a Premier Inn attached to it.  We left on the 8th and are driving a hybrid Toyota.  It should save us a lot in fuel.  I love that the rear view window has a corner where it shows what is behind you, with little "helper" lines to show how far to go, etc.  There will be a lot of pictures and catch up when we finally have a regular connection that doesn't take hours to upload photos.  It was nice just to check with a few emails and be sure all is well.

Since we are not released officially as missionaries, even though our mission ended, we still wear our name badges and give out pass-along cards.  Any opportunity that comes along for us to to share the gospel, we take it.  It seems strange to not be doing our regular mission duties and it really hasn't sunk in yet.  It probably won't happen until we are actually off U.K. soil and stepping off of the plane in Utah.

The most awe inspiring thing we have seen thus far is the York Minster.  I shall write more about it later.  We also stood on Hadrian's Wall, that is a couple thousand years old, built by the Romans.  Everything is so ancient.  We are searching for anything old, old, old.  It is hard to believe these buildings are still standing after thousands of years.  The Minster's history goes back thousands of years.  It is interesting that it is called a Minster and not a cathedral because it sent missionaries out from there.
Elder Blain contemplating the Romans once standing here as they built this wall

Sister Blain laughing about standing on a 2,000 year old wall
Part of the York Minster

View after climbing 200 some odd stairs--whew!

We eventually climbed to the very top of this monster minster-somewhere around 275 steps totally-winding, narrow staircase.

More magnificent information on this oldest and largest Minsters in the world.
Elder Blain is dressed in his casual clothing and not looking very holy compared to the man next to him in the robes.  Guess which one has the authentic priesthood?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oh, Say What is Truth-A Myth Cannot Be

Pegasus, in Greek Mythology, was the winged horse ridden by Bellerophon.  This particular one is found in the Darwen Aldridge Academy just down the road from us (the one Prince William and Kate visited before they got married).  It is made of horse shoes!!  The Pegasus never existed in real life, but it is a great myth.  In this modern era, with all its technology and media, we are swamped with myths of all sorts.  A person must be on guard to avoid being sucked into believing everything they read, see, or hear.  Using the power of discernment is critical.  Below is something that is NOT a myth.  Myths and truths are opposites. 

From the introduction in the Book of Mormon:

"We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true.  Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.  (See Moroni 10:3-5).
Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world 

and that

Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days,

and that 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on the earth,
preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah."

I testify to you I know these things are true.

Sabbath Snippets from the Talks Given

And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;  For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High.  Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-10

In church today, one of the speakers said we should not come to church to fulfill and obligation or just to tick off that we did it or we will experience no spiritual or personal growth.
He mentioned that members in large wards, particularly in places like Utah, can easily become a "Sunday Mormon" by never having a calling and just attending church on Sundays.  People like this are not developing inside, since having something that forces us to study and prepare helps us grow by doing.  It is a matter of us being what we need to be.  We cannot just do the outward stuff as it doesn't help us develop on the inside.
The speaker suggested we cultivate an obedient heart and discontinue doing things out of obligation, so we do not fall into the trap of doing things just to do them.  He used fasting as an example, suggesting we have a purpose for our fast and understand it better so we don't look at it as just a thing to do with no other thought or prayer put into it.
The bishop talk about the blessings of the temple and said that anyone not going to the temple is throwing away "crowing blessings" (as President Monson mentioned in a talk).  When we go to the temple, we receive these wonderful blessing when we go because we desire to bless the lives of others.  We may begin attending out of an obligation to fulfill what we feel we have to do and eventually end up realizing the spiritual growth and closer relationship we cultivate with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Temple attendance, along with other ordinances such as baptism, brings to us a mighty change of heart as we grow more righteous through keeping the commandments.
I shall continue to work on being motivated to do things not because of "the letter of the law," but in the spirit of it--purely out of love.
There is beauty all around in England!

I looked out the window and noticed they are getting the hay in off of the moors before the rain comes down!

A Mess for Our Last YSA Family Home Evening!

Nevertheless, the people of the church did have great joy . . . because of the church of God, which had been established among them.  And they did fellowship one with another, and did rejoice one with another, and did have great joy.  Helaman 6:3

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye havwe love one to another.  John 13:35

. . . feed my sheep.  John 21:20T

Family Home Evening was our last time to gather with our delightful family of young single adults whom we have grown to love as they family they have become to us these last six months.  We have fed them off a a tight budget, so it was tricky to fix food they'd like, but they ate everything and were always appreciative (even if it might have not been the greatest).  So, what did they do?
They put on a mess for us!!
Preparing the MESS!  One of our replacement senior missionaries (in the background) is maybe looking a bit skeptical, grossed out, or is he intrigued by it all?

First young man, always, to arrive and help us on FHE.  He is very thoughtful and brings delicious cakes and treat.  Tonight, he had a special cake made for us.  Isn't it lovely?
First they prepared the table for the "mess."
She's the one who organized this surprise mess--a first for us!  Our FHE leader has an extra loving heart.  You can tell by the smile she especially likes surprises--and doing things for others.
The young man playing the piano is the source of peace and enjoyment every FHE with the extra touch of MUSIC!!  It is sometimes hard to come by in our meetings here, since not many people are available with that talent.  Each Monday, as we were cleaning up, he played "Come Thous Fount of Many Blessings" and "If You Could Hie to Kolob," especially because they are two of my favorites.  Otherwise, he really got into the jazz or something beautiful he wrote himself. 
Endearing brothers--service minded individuals.  The one on the left is a family history missionary.
Our Family pointing the way to ??? (temple and home are all in that direction--both take us home, right?)
All of us together for the last time on this earth--someday to meet again.
The grand creation in the works
Yum or yuk?

Someone is tasting the mess before we dig in . . .

An eggless cake--delich
 Yes, our Family Home Evenings were great.  We not only have been fed physically, but, more importantly, spiritually.  Each of us took turns giving the lessons.  They continually amazed us at their depth of knowledge and understanding of the gospel.  We've uplifted one another in many ways.  Elder Blain and I were sent as missionaries to support them and they have been equally as supportive to us.  Our hearts hurt as we looked into their faces, knowing we have to leave them.

The following pictures will show that the replacement senior Elder is fantastic at basketball!!  He and Elder Blain had some fun after the festivities.  They played lightening with the FHE group first.  The group then separated to play their own games.

Elder Blain getting some of his last licks in with the new basketball he purchases
He nailed the basket 99% of the time!

The group gave us a nice card with precious sentiments written inside.  A heart-felt speech was made to thank us and testify we have made a difference in their lives even in the short six months we were here.  We know they have certainly impacted our lives forever and we will never forget them.

This was a fabulous evening to remember--lots of love.