Week 34: Goodbyes, hellos and the Mining Museum

First off, thank you Mara Lyman for the box of goodies!!  You asked me for my address on Sunday and I had a box of treats by Thursday.  I’m sitting here munching on Tootsie Rolls and getting my blog off and running.  I plan on sending you a thank you card.  Of course last time I sent out cards it took 3 months to get there.  Not sure what I did wrong. And I don’t think some of them even arrived.

Well, the baptisms last Saturday were wonderful.  Like I said last week five people were baptized.  I have sat in on lessons with Bowen and Sam so that was a bonus.  And then there is Ching who we have driven a few times to her flat and are picking her up for church the next little while.  Since there were five and we needed to do two minutes of silence at 11:00 in church they also did the confirmations that night.  It was a pretty incredible night and you could see each one of them as individuals and hear the blessings and learn about them.  Of course that was only true with the ones in English.  Elder Huang does the Chinese in their language so they can understand better and that is pretty special in its own way.  You can feel the sweet spirit even though you don’t know what he is saying.

Sunday was a great sacrament meeting.  Probably my favorite since I’ve been here.  Not probably…for sure.  The talks were on the memories of veterans in peoples families and being thankful for the sacrifices they made.  Peter Thompson gave a wonderful talk and I wish I had gone right home and written down my thoughts from his talk but I didn’t.  I am wondering if he would give me a copy of his talk.  It was very touching. Everyone was wearing red poppy pins and we had a poppy wreath on the podium.  Peter talked about the poppies and the symbolism.  On the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month in 1918 the great war ended. The first Remembrance Day was held in 1919 to commemorate the end of the war.  King George V initiated a two minute silence to remember those who had given their lives. The poppy is an international symbol of remembrance. Poppies were the first flowers to grow in the former battlefields in Belgium and France where many soldiers are buried. Their paper-thin petals were the first signs of new life and renewal.  And they grew in thousands and thousands. It was an extra special day as I thought about the sacrifices my dad made during the Korean War and how proud that makes me of him.  I also remember exchanging letters with my Uncle Robert was he fought in the Vietnam War.  We actually played chess through letters.

After church we were right back into transfers.  We had nine going home and they are all at the mission home by the time church is over and they were all missionaries I knew so we had to say hi and spend a few minutes talking and then they were off to hike Pratt’s Hill while we worked in the office getting airline tickets printed and other things.  I was so busy this time which is weird since it was a smaller group going home but there was lots to do.  After dinner of course Sister Gifford and I do the dishes while they go have their final testimony meeting with the Donaldsons.  Then we got home and fell straight onto our beds.  Usually work slows down a bit before transfers but we all felt like this time we didn’t really have a break.  It has been go, go, go.  Of course just as I thought I was going to get into my pajamas my phone rang and someone in Glasgow was missing a bus and ferry ticket.  I was sure I had everything sent out and I tried really hard to help them find it but they didn’t have it so I got back in the car at 10:00 and went back to the office.  I found the ticket in my Drafts.  I must have gotten interrupted just as I was sending that one out.  My bed looked even better the second time around.

Monday is always a little bitter sweet when we walk into the office knowing some of our missionaries are no longer here but there is still plenty of work to do and we stayed busy.  Both Elder Grant and Elder Carter were transferred so we have two new zone leaders.  Meet Elder Worley from California and Elder Wang from China. 

Tuesday morning we are getting ready for the bus to pull up around 9:30 with the new missionaries.  This group of 13 were a great group.  They were all talkative and excited to be there.  They all felt really strong and ready to me.  We do a short training with them which I enjoy getting to talk to them and letting them know we are here for them.  I think 10 of the 13 are from Utah this time.  Including Sister Osmond from Cedar Hills and Sister Lough from Highland.  Crazy.  This day is always a long one for me since I have to wait until the end for them to take pictures and then I have letters to email to the parents before I can leave.  I’m getting better at this each time though and I was home by 9:10 PM.

Wednesday is new leadership.  We had five missionaries coming in that day for training.  One of these was Sister Kim who has been serving here in Edinburgh and has now been transferred to Dublin to be an STL (Sister Training Leader).  It was good to see her even though she has only been gone two days.

I’m getting to know another missionary who has been here three transfers (I think) now.  Elder Derry.  He is such a great missionary.  He was in for new leadership as our youngest District Leader.  He is so upbeat and genuine.  Every time I talk to him he is so happy and just wants to hang out and talk.  Two different times on Wednesday they had to come down to tell him they were starting and he was still hanging in my doorway just talking away.  He had been in Thurso and I really wanted to go to Thurso to take him and his companion out to dinner and to see Thurso.  It’s supposed to be a really beautiful place.  But I’m sure we have another set of great missionaries up there now.  Not sure who.  Elder Derry is now off to Ireland as well.

Thursday is MLC (Mission Leader Council) and all the zone leaders are in for training and planning.  We also have Sister Zimmerman and her newbie companion Sister McKay still here from Tuesday because Sister Zimmerman is teaching on the POD which is the tri-fold we made up last month that has scriptures and the doctrines that are taught in lessons bulleted for easy reference.  She is a very talented girl, great with words and organized with a sharp mind.  I enjoyed seeing her all this week and her cute companion who is brand new here and always smiling. (Even though she won’t here her name pronounced right for the next 18 months, she is excited to be here.) McKay as we say it is Mc Kay with a long A sound.  The Scottish say Mc Kai with a long I sound.  That is one word I have picked up and I have a hard time saying it the way we say it in the states now.  That and garage which I swore I wasn’t going to pick up but now I say garriage.  Like carriage with a “g” in the front.  That’s the way they say garage and it is stuck with me now.

Also on Thursday Sister Checketts and Sister Phillips came into town from Stornoway.  So at 11:00 I drove Sister Allen and her companion to the doctor then headed straight to the airport to grab Sister Checketts and Sister Phillips.  I got there about ten minutes early so I pulled off the side of a pretty country lane and read a talk by Sheri Dew that I needed to read for my Book of Mormon class I’m keeping up with from home.  I could have sat there all day.  It was the most relaxed I had felt in over a week.  But my phone rang and the plane landed so I was off again. I have really gotten to enjoy Sister Checketts over the past months.  She stands out with her red hair and big grin.  This is her last transfer now.  I swear just as I get to know them well, they leave.  But I’m always happy for them.  On to bigger and better.

Sister Phillips and Elder Worley (an amazing pianist) were playing at an interfaith thing on families I think that night.  Parliament is also in session here and I think some of them were going to this event as well.  I’m not really sure but I got to hear her practice and then on Friday morning they played their number for the office staff.  I am so excited for Avery to listen to them.  I videoed it and will put it out for anyone who wants to hear them.  Avery, Sister Phillips took Suzuki method on violin and you should hear her now.  Please make sure you listen to the video I’m going to send you.  She said to not give up.  It is slow at first but you are going to be an amazing violin player if you keep practicing.  And when you do something like that you get neat opportunities like she did to play on her mission and have a fancy night out on the town because of it.  They also got to tour the Parliament which would never happen for most missionaries.

Thursday night Sister Gifford and I were supposed to go to a Relief Society dinner at the bishop’s house.  I told them to plan on us and we would bring something for dessert.  Luckily we were not being counted on for dessert (I hope).  We thought about it all day and we had been too tired to cook anything so we were going to stop at a store to grab a cake or something.  Then President Thompson and Sister Thompson needed a ride to the airport.  I offered to take them and we hopped in the car at about 5:45.  It took us over an hour to get to the airport and then we decided we were hungry so we drove towards home trying to decide where to go.  Something looked familiar and I thought let’s go to Corstorphine to Toby’s Carvery.  It’s not that far away.  Well, I took a wrong turn and it was dark and I had no idea where we were pretty quickly.  So I plugged Corstorphine into the GPS and it had us turn on this teeny little lane.  There was no way two cars would be able to pass by each other and it was dark and the road was hilly and I was just about to give up and turn around when all of a sudden we saw this little dark sign that said – You are nearly there!!  I thought nearly where??  Then up and around a couple more curves we could see a pickup truck sitting kind of skewampus on the side of the road with its flashers going.  I was trying to decide if we should turn around or drive by the truck.  I made sure our doors were locked and I told Sister Gifford we are not stopping for anything.  Even if they jump out in the middle of the road.  But as we passed the truck I saw a lady coming out of a farm gate and closing it.  I realized that was her truck and she was probably just there to feed her animals so I stopped and rolled my window down.  The first thing to come out of my mouth was – Are we lost??  She just laughed and said I guess it depends on where you are going!!  Well, we were nearly there after all and we got it all figured out.  Just as we got back on the main road it hit me that we were supposed to be at the relief society dinner.  Oh well.  We missed that.  Toby’s was good though!

The other thing on Thursday while I was at the airport President had come down from MLC and put a note on my desk along with a spiral bound book.  He said, can you make me 26 of these by 3:00?  It was almost 1:00 when I got back to my desk and saw the note.  So I looked it over and with Sister Gifford cutting the edges off the booklets and me punching the holes and adding plastic covers and putting on the spiral bindings – we got about 18 of them done by 3:00 which was enough for everyone who needed to leave to catch planes to have theirs.

Then we got the rest done before we went home and they were all so excited to have them.  These are all the lessons that are taught now to investigators and we put them all together in spiral bound books.  I made one for myself as well.  I have been wanting to study the lessons so I can know exactly how much of the concepts we are trying to teach each time.

Friday was clean up and catch up day.  I had Sister Checketts and Sister Phillips there so we got all the board cards done which I don’t usually do until president is at all-Ireland so now I’m ahead of myself.  That feels good.

Today is Saturday and we got up and headed to the National Mining Museum.  It was so neat.  I was excited to go but it was even better than I thought it was going to be.  We had our own private tour since we were the only ones there.  It was really interesting to see the conditions and hear stories of young children, both boys and girls that worked down in the mines for ten and twelve hours a day and then if they were lucky took night school so they could learn to read and write.  It was especially neat to me since I know I have a great… grandfather who worked in these mines in Glasgow as a young boy.  I also thought of LaNiece and her father who was a miner all his life.  What grueling work.

Tonight Sister Gifford and I went to a production of The Story Goes On which is a traveling company of LDS people telling a story through song.  It was really good.  It takes all kinds of songs from Broadway and tells a story of life.  I enjoyed it.  We had met one of the actors this week because he was staying at the mission home.

Well, it’s about time for bed.  I hope you have all had a good day and week.  I think it is snowing there.  Our grass is still green here.  It has been fairly warm and has rained for a little bit one day is all.  It rains often at night while we are sleeping.  I’m good with that.

I love you!!

2 thoughts on “Week 34: Goodbyes, hellos and the Mining Museum

  1. Love to Elder Wang please. He began his mission here in Belfast in my home ward of Holywood Road, where Sister Zimmerman is. Thank you. xxx

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