Sunday, June 16, 2013

Special Visitor

Don't be too shocked. I realize it has not been a month since the last posting, but we need to tell you about our good fortune to have a visit to our mission by one of the Lord's  special witnesses, Elder M. Russell Ballard. Nine days ago I received a  conference call from the area presidency executive secretary, informing me and Pres, Jordan of he England London Mission that we might get a visit from Elder Ballard. He had come to Sweden for a regional conference and was scheduled to go to St. Petersburg Russia on Monday but they had dated his visa two days late.  They were trying to get it changed.  If they couldn't the backup plan was to fly to London and to meet with both missions at the Hyde Park Chapel.  We would not know for sure until Monday at 10:00 AM.
     We had to put our missionaries on alert so they could respond quickly if the call came, it being a
P-day. Now there are two missions of missionaries praying for the visa not to be sorted out. And, it didn't. We were able to get 6 out of our 9 zones into London by 2:30 PM.  Elder Ballard had Elder Teixeira from our area presidency with him.  They met with the London Mission at 2:00 PM then had us join them at 3;30 PM. He talked to the combined group then to our mission alone for 45 minutes, then they left and gave the mission president time to train our missionaries alone. It was a special time.  Many of our Sisters and Elders had never seen an Apostle in person, or heard them speak.
     Elder Teixeira instructed us setting higher expectations and to do more to further the work in England.   Elder Ballard talked about the association of the companionship between the Prophet Joseph and his older brother  Hyrum. He talked aout his mission to  England in 1948.  He also told stories of his ancestors who found the church in England and immigrated to Utah. It was full of faith and testimony. He challenged us all to treasure up chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel so we can be prepared to teach the doctrines of the restoration in any place, and in any situation with confidence , and to do it in our own word. Our testimonies of the restoration and the role of the Prophet Joseph was strengthen. Our desire to serve with faith was increased.  We were fed by the spirit in great abundance.
     We were moved by the fact that Elder Ballard didn't look at the problems with the visa would be an opportunity to get some additional rest, but that he looked for additional servants to minister unto. He brought us the Love of the Prophet Thomas S. Monson, his counsellors and the Quorum of the Twelve. We were richly blessed.
     May I say that I know the work we are involved in is the Work of the Lord.  We see miracles every day. Truly God does hear and answer his children's prayers.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer is here

I was  surprised and dismayed to see that it has been a month since we last posted on the blog.  We have been through our largest transfer since we arrived in the mission. We received 36 new missionaries in the month of May. The main day was the 29th although we had some arrive two weeks earlier.  Thirty-four came on Wednesday the 29th.  It is wonderful to see their eager and excited faces. Two days later we held Mission Leadership Council. (Used to be Zone leaders council) This consists of ten companionships of zone leaders and four Sister Training Leaders. They come to the mission home, and we feed them a light breakfast and Sister Millar cooks a big lunch (dinner), this takes a full afternoon of Costco shopping the day before, it is 14 miles away from here and takes most of the afternoon, plus doing a lot of the prep work the night before), there are usually about 30 in attendance, and we accomplish about 6 hours of training.  This week we are starting interviews along with each Zones individual conference.  We have done three zones: one on Tues, Wed. and Thurs.  This amounts to about 7-8 hours of non stop interviews plus driving sometimes 2 hours each way, and fixing a sandwich and chips and fruit with a drink .  It is like going to school again where we pack our lunch and go for the day.  We have three more zones next week and three more the week after.  Sister Millar interviews the sisters now that we are getting a lot more.  I still interview them as well.  Sister Millar ends up with several hours of patiently waiting for the President to finish.  She is wonderful and a good companion.
     I wish I could say that everything is always smooth, but it isn't.  There are always some illness problems, discouragement, homesickness, and others. Nothing too serious but it all takes time to sort out as they say here.  We have found 25 new flats this past month.  We opened 15 flats  in new areas this transfer and we will open ten more in five more weeks.  It is a big job to find the furnishings, bedding, kitchen things, get new area books, DVD players and supplies to open a new proselyting area. The master plan for moving bodies around the mission is mind boggling.  The office elders are amazing that we haven't lost anyone. especially on such a tight budget as we have. How they get all the luggage moved around is still a mystery, I think they must have Harry Potter's magic wand,
     The weather has finally warmed up.  The trees are in full leaf and there are lots of flowering  trees and shrubs. Here are some pictures of our back yard.

 This is our front yard Wisteria bush, just outside our office

this rhododendron bush is just down the street.
This is the main road going though our neighbourhood, all the streets are like this, with houses tucked in behind the trees. Below is one of the challenges we meet quite often driving down the street.

 This is one of the white horses carved into the hills, around Southern England, we saw this on the way to Bristol when we went for that YSA fireside about a month ago.

This is the front of the house with the wisteria in full bloom, it's on either side of the office windows. Below is our side entrance, looking toward the back garden, The garage is on the left, and that is a pink clematis in full bloom.
This is our neighbours home,
 We don't seem to have very much time to ourselves these days, but that is just fine, we are happy and very much involved in the Lord's work. Many nights it is very late when we get home, and a lot of days we leave home around  7:30am, with lunch bag in hand, We are having a great time with each missionary and love them all dearly, they now represent 53 countries, what a blessing this call has been in our lives, We love you all, and wish all of you our love and prayers, a very happy birthday to all, congratulations to George and Preston who became Elders on May 19th, and a special congratulations to Dezzie who got baptised yesterday.  We love you all, President and Sister Millar. (Doc and Val)                                                                                                                                We hope you like our little bit of England