We are finally able to post to our blog after a long absence. My attempts to update using the mobile hotspot were futile, I lost a few posts so I decided to wait until we had our broadband installed in our house and it was installed on Friday so I am going to attempt to do some catch up and bring everyone up to date.
The day we arrived in Edinburgh the Broughton's, a senior couple who work in the mission home, took us down to the Royal Mile to look around. On the way there we passed a house where Maurene's great great grandmother lived, it was so cool to see it. We also saw the Nelson monument that her great great grandfather, who was an architect, designed. We got to listen to a few pipers who were busking and see a few of the sights. The photos that follow are a few shots I took that afternoon.
We are very happy with the house that the mission got for us here in Limerick and also the car although someone put the steering wheel on the wrong side! The car is a little Opel four door hatch back with suicide doors in the back. It is diesel so it gets great gas mileage which is important here given the cost of fuel. The house is much bigger than we expected and has central heating which is great. It is completely furnished including dishes etc. and is in a nice quiet neighbourhood. It is also close to the church and shopping. I have posted some photos of our new place below.
We have spent a good deal of the past two weeks getting things that we needed for our house and also arranging for delivery of kerosene, garbage collection, opening a bank account and getting an Internet connection. Our furnace runs on kerosene and you have to get a truck to come and fill up the tank in the back yard when it gets low. Also, garbage collection here is handled by private companies so you have contact someone to do that for you. The company we got leaves you three bins, one for recycling, one for compost and one for garbage. The garbage one is the smallest and they encourage you to recycle by charging you based only on the amount in the bin for garbage. They come by once a week to empty them. I managed to get a bank account open. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, and then I was able to get an Internet hookup which we are very happy with.
We have gone out teaching lessons with the sister missionaries here twice and had really good experiences both times. We attended Institute classes the last two Thursdays and this past week after the class we taught the YSAs (Young Single Adults) there how to play hearts. None of them had ever heard of the game and we had a great time playing. Maurene won getting only one point! The branch here is really quite big for a branch and they have attendance at Sacrament Meeting of close to 150 most Sundays. We have been going to visit the YSAs in the branch in their homes one at a time to get to start to know them better. A couple of them live close to our place so we walked there the other day. Below are some photos I took during our walk.
I have managed to go for a couple of runs in the morning this past week. The first day I went I just decided to take a road that led out of town and I came upon this historic site that had three old churches, 10th or 11th century, and cemeteries around them. They were beautiful old stone places. So when I got back home I told Maurene about it and we went back later in the day and had a good look around. It was very interesting reading the history of the place. It is great to be somewhere where you are surrounded by so much history. I have posted a few photos below that I took at the site later in the day.
We have found the people in Ireland to be most welcoming and friendly and polite and they really like to talk! They are even very polite and considerate in their driving habits. You never have to worry about getting let in when needed and when we have been walking and want to cross the street they stop right away. Driving has been challenging for me and I am slowly getting the hang of driving on the left side and going around all of those round a-bouts. There is a little fish and chip shop close to where were live so we went over there the other night to get some supper. It was delicious but boy were we stuffed. We are gradually getting busier and we figure out what we are supposed to be doing and are looking forward to some new adventures this next week.
This post is a little late but it took me a while to get a temporary wifi set up in our house until I can arrange for something more permanent. There has been a lot of water under the old bridge since our last post so here we go.
Last Monday we got started on our CES training. We spent most of the day talking about the best practices in teaching the scriptures to students. It went well and we enjoyed the discussions although it was difficult to stay awake during part of the afternoon. For the last part of the day we had a couple come in and talk to us about the YSA program in Europe and what the expectations were. The sister talked about all the cooking she did and Maurene wasn’t too happy to hear about that. She cooked a full meal two times a week for 50 young adults. I think that is a little much to ask. We will heed the advice that we got from the Andersons that we are not there to cook for the YSAs. I am all in favour of contributing food but not in just feeding the young adults or the missionaries on a regular basis.
After supper, Bruce and Carol Selk came and picked us up and took us to buy some measuring cups and spoons for cooking over there (for ourselves!) and also drove us by the new downtown Provo temple. It sure looks great! Then we went for some custard and chatted with them for a couple of hours. They are good friends and it seems like we are able to visit with them easily, like they had never left Lethbridge.
We completed our CES training on Tuesday. We finished up by teaching a short 20 minute lesson to another couple and then they taught one to us. One of the instructors, Brother Oldham, has a son who is serving in our mission right now and is assigned to Londonderry in Northern Ireland. I am hoping we will get a chance to meet him when we get over there. After we were finished this afternoon we had a one hour training session from Church Security on tips on how to stay safe while over there. It was interesting and although some of it was over the top, they had some worthwhile suggestions on how to ensure that you were safe.
We had a devotional that evening and the speaker was Sister Burton, the General Relief Society President. She gave a good talk and used a scripture in her talk that Maurene and I both really liked and decided it was the one we should use for our plaque in the hallway of the ward back home. It is 3 Nephi 5:13 and reads “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” We also took the photo below to put on the plaque.
Wednesday was our last full day at the MTC. We had classes in the morning put on by the people from the seminaries and Institute programs. They were really good. After lunch I went and did our laundry. They have a huge laundry facility in the main building. The washers and dryers are free and you just have to buy the soap etc. We spent the afternoon packing and then went for supper. After supper we walked up to the temple and went to a session. It was really great of course and the big difference from Cardston was that the session was full of young people!
On Thursday morning a van drove us and another couple that were going to Hawaii for their mission to the airport in Salt Lake City. We flew from Salt Lake to Dallas where we had to transfer to another plane flying to London. All of our three flights today were full, no empty seats whatsoever. The Dallas airport was huge but easy to get around on this Sky Train that went between terminals. The plane to London was a huge Boeing 777 and we got off to a bad start. We had to sit at the gate in the plane for an hour while they waited for a flight log to be delivered. We finally got on our way and it was a very long and tiring 9 hour flight. I thought that we might have trouble catching our next flight since we had to circle the airport for an hour waiting for an opportunity to land since there was fog so another delay but we made it okay.
Elder and Sister Broughton, office couple, were at the airport to pick us up and drove us to the mission home. There we picked up our phones and other things and were given a tour of the home. Then we took the bus to downtown Edinburgh where we had lunch and then toured the sites on the Royal Mile. We drove past the house where Maurene's great great grandmother lived and also saw the Nelson monument that her great great grandfather who was an architect designed. I will post some photos when I have some better bandwidth. We then went to the Broughton' apartment and crashed until the morning. Then it was back to the airport to fly to Dublin to meet President Donaldson who was there for a stake conference and pick up our car and drive to Limerick. President Thompson, first counsellor, met us and the airport and we went to the hotel where President Donaldson was staying and all had lunch together. Both he and his wife were very kind and down to earth. Then we said our goodbyes and off we went to drive to Limerick. It was white knuckle time! I didn't do too poorly, only got one driver mad at me that I knew about, but I had to focus all the time on my driving, no relaxing allowed.
It took about two and a half hours to drive to Limerick and when we finally found our new little home the YSAs from the Limerick branch were here to greet us. They had come over to help clean the place, had a nice welcome sign on our mantle as well as a cake and some brownies for us. It was a nice warm welcome to Ireland! A couple of the YSAs took us to some shops nearby where we got a few groceries and some bedding for our bed. We then had some sleep which we really needed
Some photos that we took of the mission home in Edinburgh
It has been a great week here at the MTC and we have both thoroughly enjoyed our time here so far although the title of the blog sums up how it feels. We sometimes feel that all we do it sit in classes and meetings and eat. Not that the food is bad, the cafeteria here at the MTC is amazing. Most of the food is great and they do a good job of having a big variety for you. The problem is that it is almost too good. I feel I am putting on a few pounds which is a problem I will have to deal with. Just the scale of the cafeteria and the number of meals they serve every day is mind boggling.
Monday was a long day but it was a good one. In the morning we looked after getting officially registered and getting some housekeeping done with travel and health services etc. Then we watched the funeral for Richard G. Scott that was broadcast from the tabernacle in Salt Lake. It was a very good funeral and the talks were very well put together. Then we had lunch and had a meeting in which the presidency of the MTC spoke to all of the new senior couples. The focus was on although it was a sacrifice to leave family and there never was a good time to do it, the Lord would bless our children and grandchildren in our absence for our service.. They gave many examples of circumstances that were difficult to deal with and things worked out for their families. We then had a discussion on our week in general and divided up into districts that will be our classes for instruction. That night Maurene and I went on a walk down to the campus and stopped at the BYU Creamery for an ice cream cone, it was delicious!
Tuesday we started our Preach My Gospel classes which went really well. We have two young returned missionaries for instructors and there are eight of us in the class. We did some study out of Preach My Gospel and prepared for teaching a lesson to a volunteer investigator. Not much time to prepare! In the evening we went to a devotional with Elder Costa of the Seventy speaking. He gave a good talk and spoke mostly about his experiences as an investigator of the church and as a mission president working with missionaries.
On Wednesday, we had a chance in class to teach investigators a lesson from Preach My Gospel. They were not real investigators but volunteers from the community. It was a good experience and although we did not teach all that we had prepared the lesson went well and I think we taught the things that he needed to hear based on the feedback that we received. In the evening we caught a bus and went down to the mall and bought a nice pair of slacks and a white shirt which I needed. The nice thing was that the store gave us a discount because we were missionaries.
Thursday was another busy day with classes. During the morning we did some more role playing with us taking the role of inactive people while others were missionaries and then we switched roles with some other people. It is amazing how well those role playing activities went and how you could determine what was best to say and to teach based on what the people told you if you were really listening to what they said. We had some wonderful experiences doing that this morning and we also really felt the spirit there directing us on what we should be saying and teaching. It was a great experience. It was pizza night for supper and it was awesome!
On Saturday and today we had to opportunity to watch General Conference from Salt Lake City. We enjoyed the sessions very much and just watched them in our room on my laptop. I did go down and watch the priesthood session on the big screen with the other Elders. Tonight after conference was over we had a devotional with a singing group called Vocal Point. They were a group of returned missionaries who sang acapella. They sang a number of songs and hymns and took turns bearing their testimonies between numbers. It was very entertaining and good to listen to. After the devotional we watched a recording of a talk given by Elder Bednar here at the MTC a few years ago on Christmas Day. It was on the character of Christ and it was an excellent talk. I wish I could watch it a few more times because it was so uplifting and was also entertaining and contained so much good doctrine.
It has been a good week and we look forward to next week and our CES instruction and flying over to Scotland on Thursday.
This is the blog of Elder Tom and Sister Maurene Wilson of our mission to the Scotland/Ireland Mission.