We are finally starting to feel healthy again and getting over that awful cold/flu that afflicted us and made us feel miserable. We travelled to Portadown on Tuesday to our first district meeting. The zone leaders were also in attendance so there were eight Elders and two senior couples at the meeting. After the Elders had reported on their investigators the district leader asked the couples to report on what they were doing. That had never happened before and all I could say was we were sick all week.
Elder Watson, Elder Wayment, Elder V., Elder , Elder , Elder , Sister Angel, Elder Angel, Maurene
When we got home that afternoon we were invited out to Maggie's place to join with some of her family to see photos of their trip to Budapest. Her son had recently completed his mission there and they went back for a visit. We had a nice time with her family and enjoyed visiting with them and seeing the photos. She lives out in the country and has a nice home with a beautiful sun room with a great view of the surrounding countryside. We also went out to Ann Lee's home and had nice visit with her and her family. We met her husband Andrew who is not a member of the church and he was very friendly and seemed like a great guy.
We did our first inspection at the Elders' apartment this week and they didn't do well. Their apartment is in the city centre so it is quite old but despite that it can still be kept clean and they are not doing that. It was pretty dirty and basic cleaning was not being done. So we filled out the report and sent it to Sister Clark at the mission home and she asked that we inspect the apartment again next week. So they have a few days to get things into shape.
We had a baptism on Saturday for Dean. We attended a lesson for him earlier in the week and he was ready to be baptized. The baptism went well and it was nice to be there. He is a good man and will make a great addition to the little branch here.
After the baptism, the branch had a party with a spy theme. We were divided into teams and had to go around the chapel to different rooms to get clues. It was not easy and a bit confusing since there didn't seem to be a theme to tie things together. But we had a good time and also met two sisters that President Nelson asked us to visit so we were able to make a first contact with them.
We had a very busy day on Sunday. Maurene played the piano for Sacrament Meeting and we both gave talks. I was asked to confirm Dean a member of the church which was a great honour. After Sacrament meeting Maurene taught the YSA Sunday School class and her lesson was great. When church was over we were invited along with the missionaries to Tom Henry's place for dinner. I guess the young missionaries eat over there every Sunday. He is a good man and prepared a nice dinner for us. He puts the food on everyone's plates before you eat and the portions are huge. I guess he is used to feeding the Elders.
We got to visit more of the branch members this week and have appointments to meet many more of them this next week. So we are gradually getting to know the branch and they make us feel very welcome here.
This past week has been very trying for us because of our health. We both came down with flu/cold like symptoms and have been mostly staying at our place staring at the walls. i took the Elders to district meeting on Tuesday and also went to meet that evening with the branch president but that was about it. We have had sore throats, bad coughs and congestion and have had little to no energy. I am happy to say that we are starting to feel better and attended our church meetings yesterday and I taught our first YSA Sunday School class. It went well.
There are these large spider like bugs that fly here in Omagh that Maurene calls prehistorics. They seem to find their way into our place at night through the open windows. They seem to be harmless enough but Maurene does not like them at all.
We travelled to Belfast this week for zone conference on Wednesday. I was worried about navigating our way to the city and then to the stake centre but it went well. We had the Omagh Elders with us but they were not much help as they are fairly new to the area and don't drive. At the conference we met Elder and Sister Angel, a new couple who are serving in Portadown which is in the same district as us. They are converts to the church and it turns out they were taught by Gary Folsom when he was on his mission. Gary grew up in Pincher Creek and Maurene taught him in Primary. A small world! Also, we met Elder Gibb who is from Lethbridge and is the nephew of Max Gibb who lived in Pincher Creek when we were there. We drove him and his companion to the city centre in Belfast when the conference was over on our way home. The Omagh Elders stayed over in Belfast to work with the zone leaders.
One day we went down to the library to get some books for Maurene. When we were leaving we noticed an old motorcycle parked outside. We talked to the owner and it was an old, 35 years, military Harley Davidson that he bought and he has not changed it all. It was a pretty cool looking bike!
Later that same day, Maurene saw a little car on the street in Omagh that she fell in love with. It was a Ford but I am not sure of the model, I have never seen one like it at home. I am sure it had nothing to do with the color!
After finishing at the library we had lunch at a little cafe in the city centre and then decided to take some photos on the church street. There is a street at the top of a hill in the city centre that has four large churches within a block. There was Catholic, Methodist, Church of Ireland and one other we can't remember. It is strange to see four large churches so close together.
We got one very nice sunny day this week so we had decided when we got one of those that we would return to the Gortin Glen Forest Park and go on a bit longer hike. So we did that and enjoyed a 3km hike through the forest and also though some boggy peat areas with lots of heather that are on the hills here. We also took a 5 mile drive along this narrow one way road that wound through the forest. It was beautiful but the forest was very quiet, not much animal or bird life.
We were invited last week to go to Tom Henry's place after church for dinner this week. Maurene was sick this Sunday so after church I went over to his place for dinner with the Elders and also a missionary who taught and baptized him 10 years ago and was back for a visit. It was a delicious meal but the portions were huge and I was stuffed afterwards.
Since we arrived here in Omagh we have not had Internet access in our house. I ordered it the day after we got here but it was going to take two weeks to get all arranged and working. Well, this week the equipment arrived and it was easy to set up and we are very happy to have it. It is important for us to stay in touch with the world and especially to be able to communicate with our family.
This was the week that we pulled up stakes in Limerick and made the trek north to Omagh in Northern Ireland. It will be a change in assignment also as we will be assigned to the branch in Omagh as an MLS couple. We loaded up the Meriva on Monday morning with all of our stuff. We were quite worried, well I was, that it was not all going to fit. With a lot of prayer and effort, we got everything to fit except for our little Christmas tree. We are hoping it will somehow make it up here before Christmas. We drove to Dublin and met President and Sister Thompson to leave our car with them and take a UK licensed car. So we had to unpack everything and load it all up again. We then drove the last two hours to Omagh, got the keys from the realtor and moved into our little place.
It was not as well equipped as we had anticipated, so we did a lot of shopping on Tuesday and have been cleaning all week. To say it was not left clean would be an understatement. But we are excited to be here and look forward to serving in the branch in whatever capacity they need us. They have a nice little chapel here and we have been spending quite a bit of time there. We have to wait until Friday, September 9 to get our Internet service connected so we go to the chapel to use the wifi there to do things like write this blog post. Friday can't come soon enough!
We needed to get away from all of the shopping and cleaning for a while so we took a drive a little ways out of town to Gortin Glen Forest Park. It was high up in the hills and we went for a little hike on a trail there and really enjoyed it. We are going to revisit it and do one of the longer hikes next time.
We went to the library one day and got library cards so Maurene could check out a few books. The limit was 9 so that is all she could get but she was thrilled that you could keep them for three weeks. We did a little exploring of the city centre while shopping and had a nice lunch at one of the little cafes there. It is going to take me a while to figure out the roads here as they are quite a maze.
While we were walking around we came to little memorial park. It was built to remember the people in this city that were killed and injured in the horrible bombing that took place in the 90's. It has a plaque with all of their names and the story of what took place that day.
On Sunday we attended Branch Council and then the meetings of the day. The people in the branch were really friendly and we enjoyed the meetings. The branch president didn't have any specific assignments for us, we were hoping that he would. So we will just have to wait and see exactly what he wants us to do. I think we are going to be teaching a YSA Sunday School class and hopefully an Institute class. We just want to be wanted and needed and busy. We are looking forward to our service here.
After the hike at the Forest Park we visited the little town of Gortin. They had some beautiful flowers in the square in the town.
We will finish off with another "Vive la difference" moment. No real explanation needed.
This is the blog of Elder Tom and Sister Maurene Wilson of our mission to the Scotland/Ireland Mission.