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)

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Service Given Us and a Sunday Homecoming Talk on Pride

And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he sufferth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he sufferth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. 2 Nephi 9:21-23
The scripture above sums up why we went on a mission, why our family members sacrificed so we could go and supported us throughout the mission, and why we members of the Church are missionary minded, always wanting to share the gospel.  People need to know about what Jesus Christ did for them and what they need to understand they must do to return to our heavenly home some day.  He made it possible for all mankind to be saved.  That is an important message to get out into the world, or to our next door neighbor, or our family members.
This is evidence of the service the Scadden family gave to keep us on our mission.  Notice how the camera caught a large halo over our son-in-law's head?  It is no wonder!  He pulls up on Friday, after a hard day's work, and proceeds to mow the grass for us (still) because he knows we have a lot of family coming on Sunday and that we'd like it to look nice (since our mower is still broken).  This year has been the worse ever for overgrowth of grass and shrubs because of all the snow and rain.  Our daughter, Cailin, cut huge chunks of ice off the front steps and sidewalks in the winter, and she and her family tried to keep up with our yard through the summer.  She managed all of our other affairs as well.  This mission was just as much theirs as ours.    Mack and Rena across the street kept an eagle eye on things as well, with Mack clearing the drive with his tractor.  For these huge unselfish acts of service we are grateful beyond words.  We are deeply grateful for other family members who supported us in other ways, such as cards and letters, finger painting and pictures from the grandchildren, emails and family blogs that informed us as to what was going on in their lives, and helped us know the new great grandchildren as they were born and as they were growing through their various baby stages.  Karalee, our youngest, sent a daily email.  She is called the littlest angel because she is the youngest and littlest in size, but I'd say her unselfish heart is as big as any other big angel.  In any case, we were looked after in many ways by lots of different angels.
That's a LOT of grass and even going over it numerous times only cut it down a little.  What a lot of work they did for us!!
 Cailin and Sallyann had cleaned the house before we got home, and since I'd been too sick to do much since I'd gotten home, I was very thankful the place was still looking decent for everyone to come visit.  It was nice to just be able to focus on getting our talks ready.  Everyone planned to bring food, and Ercell had ordered ribs on Saturday, which only had to be warmed up on Sunday after church.

It was touch and go whether I was going to even make it to the church in time to speak, but we made it with a couple minutes to spare and I made it through the whole meeting without pain or having to run out to the bathroom.  That was truly a blessing.

I cried all the way through the musical reading Ercell did during Sacrament meeting last Sunday (when I actually tried to write this post that has been in draft form).  The 11th was our day to talk and he'd chosen to introduce the song, "Jerusalem" to the congregation.  Because it was our mission song, it really hit me hard.  This transition back seems to be harder than the last one, even though it was tough back them  as well.  We took a month to get home then and that may have softened the blow.  It just never is easy to leave one place where you loved so many people even when you come home to many you love at home.

It certainly was touching to see the family taking up several rows.  Their beautiful faces smiles up at us and we felt very loved.  The grandchildren are darling and have grown so fast!  We all went back to the house after the meeting and it was a grand celebration to be together again, though some were there in spirit only.
Family gathering outside to see a couple Gypsy Vanner (like we saw in England) owned by a daughter's friend

The soon-to-be-married couple (granddaughter) is posing on the other side of the horse.
Two horse-lovin' granddaughters
Grandson, Evan, wearing the helmet of salvation and wielding the sword of truth
 For our talks on Sunday, I took on the task to speak on the topic the bishop assigned and let Ercell talk on whatever he desired.  I was worried that the pride subject would be tough on those family members who came that day, but don't attend church or aren't members, but they took it all in stride and I'm sure the prayers helped it to turn out okay for those receiving the message.

The quote on our blog about senior missionaries leaving their families for a little while is still there, but we also heard that in the world we send the elderly to nursing homes to die.  In the Church, they send them on missions and work them to death (ha, ha).  NOT true.  Honest!

Senior missionaries have lots of flexibility and do only what they are capable of doing.  We are blessed beyond measure with whatever type of mission we are able to serve.  Our spiritual learning is accelerated, we witness miracles every day, we get to rub elbows with spiritual giants in the form of the younger missionaries, other senior missionaries, and our mission president and his wife, along with many wonderful and faithful people in the wards.

The people we meet have been the greatest blessing of all.  It is true that whom we serve we love.

The first people I talked about were the ones who were not prideful.  I talked about Liz, whom I wrote about in another blog post during the first year in the Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-Under-Lyme area.  She has challenges in her life that can hardly be believed, but she is keeping her faith.  Elder Blain once said, "If she is the only reason we are here on this mission, it is worth it."  I agree.  She taught us much about being humble and teachable and holding on to faith no matter what.

Elder Zohrabyan was the next person whom exemplifies a pure and humble heart.  Our relationship with him has brought priceless memories of miracles with the gift of tongues he received so he could bring non-English speaking people the message of the restoration.  He couldn't speak their language and they couldn't understand him, except the Holy Ghost made it possible!  29 Hungarians and a whole family of people from the Czech Republic joined the church.  He was still going strong when we left.  He is one of the humblest missionaries I've ever met.  He even sent me a birthday card after we got home!

Elder Zobrabyan was a branch president in Armenia before he went on his mission.  His father left when he was five, so his single mother did a fine job bringing the children up.  He and his sister went on missions at the same time.  His mother worked 19 hours a day cleaning to keep them on their missions.  Elder Z. can be found in various places within my other blog posts because he was an important part of our mission.

I also mentioned Brother and Sister Crane, our mission leaders from the Blackburn Ward.  She also taught the Gospel Principles class.  These two people could hardly walk, due to the pain they lived with each day.  Sometimes they couldn't walk.  They served to their utmost ability in everything, keeping positive attitudes, and desiring to do missionary work to the extent they want to put in their papers for a full time mission.  I'm not sure the medical part will let them go, but they meanwhile serve with all their heart, might, mind, and whatever physical capacity they have any particular day.
Their pictures are posted on another part of this blog--the day they were sealed in the Preston Temple.  She was in her wheelchair and he was using his crutches, but they didn't let that stop them.

Elder Blain mowed their lawn every Friday while Saddens were mowing ours.  Service is as service does, I suppose.  Again, an example of how family support allowed us to serve others clear across the ocean.

A good thing to remember about being humble:
 
We are judged not by the heights we attain, but by the depths from which we came.

The humble people were the ones most likely to open their hearts and doors to us.  Those who were rich were not as likely to allow us into their homes as we searched out the less active members of the wards.  Of course, we know by the scriptures that the Savior had the most luck teaching those who were poor and humble.  That is why we are warned so many times throughout the scriptures to guard against pride.  The Holy Ghost does not work where pride is present.  We discovered pride to be the main stumbling block that kept people from returning to attending church.

One very talented member was only active about a year because he could not tolerate the chorister singing while conducting the music.  In his prideful, profession, superior position, this simply was not done.  When he left the Church, it broke his wife's heart as she fears, rightfully so, that she will not to get to spend eternity with him.  Yet, she as a well educated and gifted pianist, has continued faithfully to play on Sundays even though she has lost most of her hearing and eyesight.  She plays all the hymns by memory.

Another member refused to attend church because the present bishop had offended her.  He apologized, but she'd never tell him what he'd one.  He still to this day has no idea what he did to offend her.

Being offended was the number one reason many people quit coming to church meetings.  They were too prideful to forgive, but instead chose to throw away all the promised blessings they'd receive by attending church and partaking of the Sacrament to renew those covenants they made to Heavenly Father at baptism.

The second main reason for non-attendance at church for investigators and less active members was failure to gain their own testimony.

The promise that we can know the Book of Mormon is true is always there waiting for anyone to put it to the test.  A person has to be humble enough to put in a sincere effort to gain his or her own witness of its truth through the Holy Ghost.

We can intellectualize, being proud in our own knowledge or education of the real evidences of its validity, or we can rely on others' testimonies temporarily, or we could even see an angel, but as scriptures record and history shows, if we do not gain our own spiritual witness through a sincere desire to know by studying, pondering, and praying, we will not be able to stand strong in our faith.  In fact, it is by being humble enough to be taught of Jesus Christ that we get to know and love him through the power of the Holy Ghost.  A proud person cannot be taught spiritual things.

In Blackburn Ward, when trials came and faith got a little shaky, the youth had a favorite saying:  "The Book of Mormon is true, so what else matters?"  In other words, get on with keeping the commandments and do what God asks of you.  Once you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, that's it. 

A testimony is to know and feel, and a conversion is to DO.  When we are converted, we are to go help save others.

One of the more interesting demonstrations of pride was by those who felt they are more important than God and knew better than He what is best for them and how they should live their lives.

These people chose the cafeteria style of obedience and were so arrogant as to choose which commandments they'd live--nothing too inconvenient or demanding was best in their opinion.

So many people were too busy with what they wanted to do on Sundays, they made no room for worship.

These many prideful people just did not want to put a sincere effort to get to know God because they knew there were responsibilities attached to that knowledge and a "my will" rather than a "God's will" is an easier approach in life.

The key to blocking pride from destroying our souls is to yield our hearts completely to God, putting Him first, and loving him enough to have the faith to do what He asks.

Let's not say, "What do I want out of life?"  Instead, let us say, "What would God have me do with my life?"

My prayer is that we are spiritually strong and aware enough to avoid pride in all its forms; that we will maintain a missionary spirit in our hearts and work to become what Heavenly Father wants us to become--saving our own souls and others in the process.

I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he lives and loves us.  He has suffered so greatly for us that we might gain Eternal Life and live with him and our Heavenly Father, who has provided a marvelous plan for us to return to our heavenly home.  The truth, power, and authority to do God's work lies in this, Christ's Church, in the power of the Holy Priesthood.

Of these things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

NOTE:  If you would like to read two very good talks on the subject of pride (where I got some of the terms used in my talk) go to lds.org and search under conference talks by Ezra Taft Benson in 1989.  His addresses are entitled, "Beware of Pride," and "Cleansing the Inner Vessel."  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Finding Hugil House--Yorkshire Dales National Park

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.  Malachi 4:5-6

Today was our adventure in Gunnerside, within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  It is a village I knew to search for if I ever got to England.  This village still bears the name given to it by Viking farmers who settled the area thousand of years ago.  Gunnerside comes from the word "Gunnar's saetr'.  I know my ancestors walked on these lands for my DNA has been confirmed as Celtic Viking.

It seems throughout history, mankind has had a need to know and return to their roots--to find their kindred and their beginnings.

Six years ago, while searching for a place in England where the Hugil family originated, I ran across a picture of a place in Northern Yorkshire called the Hugil House.  Further search revealed this was the only place in England where Hugils and Hugills lived.  I'm not sure about the "L" thing, but somehow they were all in this same area.  I had a burning desire to see this house and the cemetery where Hugil folks were buried.
Original photo found on Internet search
The Hugill House as I found it (with a sign on it with the extra "L").  So, somewhere there is a problem with the spelling.  Either people are dropping the original "L" or adding it, but I do believe these are all the same family.  More research will have to prove which is correct.  This is probably where ancestors on my mother's side lived long ago.
  When I planned our two week trip after our mission ended, I searched out the place where the Hugil house was located and found the closest place to stay from which to explore.  It turned out not only to be in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but James Herriot country as well (as in All Creatures Great and Small, etc.).  We never expected the massive mountains and thousands of stone buildings that we found.  It was an adventure to be remembered that yielded a great treasure of discovery.

I had to climb a locked gate to get this shot, but there was no way I wouldn't have trespassed to get this shot.  It looked like it was being used as a summer cottage, since there were broken beer bottles around and junk.  A window was open, so someone must be still using it.  It is quite the trek to reach it.
Here the Hugill House in its natural setting.  Different colored paint is on the doors, but otherwise it is the same house.  It was an exciting discovery for me!
The back yard of Hugill House
The path that passes the house and goes on behind--cars still drive this "road" apparently.
This is the side of the house as I walk back towards the car that is waiting a long ways back at a gate where the road got worse.  We didn't dare risk driving the rental car on the rocky path.
More outbuildings in the back of the home.

 The back and side of the property.  There's quite a view across the Yorkshire Dales.

These stone buildings are everywhere--many of them are barns.
Typical landscape
This tells us we are in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The expanse of this land is remarkably different than what we've seen in the rest of England.

The terrain changes in different parts of the park, but there is always the sheep and stone barns everywhere.  We saw only stone structures throughout the whole area, including the towns and villages.
This gals and guys were everywhere.  The own this place.

These are quite pretty sheep--different than the round, fluffy white types we are used to seeing.
more stone barns and fences

Heather was in full bloom up by the Hugill House and in other spots as we drove around.  This photo doesn't do it justice with the brilliant purple that really pops out in the sun.
This was the road we traveled in the rental car to get to the gate that lead further up to the house.

Tombstone in the local church in Gunnerside, the village below where the Hugill House stands.
Hard to read much on the old tombstones
Looking down on Gunnerside as we wend our way, creeping back off the hill from the house


Another view down on Gunnerside from the "highway" upon we traveled.  The speed limit is probably the national U.K. speed limit (60 mph) as is suggested where it isn't marked.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

St. Andrews in Scotland

We were so excited when we actually passed into Scotland, since we hadn't been able to cross over the border because it was out of the mission boundaries (actually, you could actually have put a hand or foot across, but that wouldn't have been exact obedience, right?
A blurry, on-the-move picture in the rain, but we are here!
The view outside our hotel room in Livingston, Scotland (raining)
Heading for St. Andrews
Crossing the bridge over the sea outlet near Edinburgh as we head for St. Andrews

Going towards St. Andrews
Arriving at the most famous golf course (and oldest) in the world



Sea view at St. Andrews

My hand in the North Sea
The Old Course

He is awed by it all--to see St. Andrews Golf Course has been a dream come true.  Standing by a monument to famous early golfers.
Still not showing his excitement.  It's that serious old military stuff about not smiling.
Finally looking happier (I'd just purchased a whole bunch of birthday gifts for him with "St. Andrews" on the items)

Still dreaming . . .
A beautiful place to sit and look over the ocean

Fancy houses


Campus of The University of St. Andrews, Scotland's first university



Attacking the dean with bows and arrows?  Wow!  Our university deans have it easy these days.





This is on the corner of the university wall where there is a walkway to other offices.  Students still attend this almost 600-year-old university.
This is a place like I used to work at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.  Modern sign, old building

Interesting stone work holding it together still

I'm impressed.  Kimberly Clark even provides toilet rolls to Scotland

Getting a chance to ask people about playing the course
Yet another castle
Old abbey is here too


You didn't want to open your mouth and express many opinions in days long ago . . .
Driving by farm land after leaving St. Andrews
Sheep dotting the hillside
A random street shot while in St. Andrews