The EMM Leadership Council. We were invited so Elder Meese could give a brief motivational talk to these Zone Leaders to help them complete their AUF (Address Unknown File) Reports. What's AUF, you say? That's another whole story for another time, but Elder Meese is in charge of this program for our mission. And he does some great work.
Anyway, it's pretty inspiring to see the very confident and spiritual mission leaders
these Elders and Sisters have become in the short time we've known them. It's a room full of spirit, and a privilege to sit with them.
This week was also the 'official' ribbon cutting of the new YSA building in Manchester. Several local mayors attended the occasion by invitation - and of course, they all wore 'their chains'.
Pretty posh, huh? They really look classy, each in their custom designed, actual gold chains - the symbol of their office. They wear them at every official gathering.
Well, we also received a personal phone call this week from two wonderful Elders inviting us to "Russian Night" in Oldham (a suburb of Manchester). So of course we had to drive down.
Elder Yasvinskii and Elder Nebesnii had fixed all sorts of breads, canopes, borscht, and a sort of 'bulgar dish'. And then they taught us all about Russia with their overhead presentation and delightful narrative. It was such a wonderful time.
These little breads at the front had some sort of cheese 'folded' in with them. Pretty tasty.
I was also brave enough to sample the 'treats' below, although I would have been happier if they'd left the tail off....just for presentation's sake!
We also had no idea that we would be present that evening for another amazing occurrence!
When we arrived, we found ourselves in a massive crowd of people milling about getting ready for the evening. "Quite the turn out for their ward Russian Night", we thought! Well, we soon found they were dovetailing that event with a baptism to be held first. These two people, Ken and Jenny, were about to be baptised by their dear friend, President Preston!
Okay, their story can't possibly be explained in this short space. But it began when Pres. Preston was a young bishop and Ken was his Elders Quorum President. At that time, they promised each other, 'Should one of us ever go less active, the other has to promise never to give up on him.' Ken has now been out of the church about twenty years; during this time he married Jenny, a non-member.
Pres. Preston has kept touch with him in phone calls and occasional invitations all this time. And last year, this young Sister knocked at their door:
True, it's my adopted granddaughter, Sister Leslie. And there began his amazing journey back. Seeing Pres. Preston re-baptise his good friend and his wife (in the last two weeks of his calling over our mission) was a sweet, sweet experience. No wonder the chapel looked like a Utah stake conference.
And speaking of baptisms, I finally received a picture of the other baptism we had in South Ribble Ward in May. Mark is doing well and has been fellowshipped right into the ward family. I've really gained a testimony of how essential the members are in the lives of these converts.
Well, now I can close and get ready for our mini-road trip to the old British South Mission. We've been given permission to revisit this area now because the church is highly discouraging 'touring' after senior missions. Our visa as a 'minister of the church' expires the day after we're released. Hey, that's a pretty good incentive to board the plane!
And here's a last 'just for fun' shot - the front hall closet in our Sisters' flat. I was told every Sisters flat has one of these areas. When transfers come, you leave all your wearable clothes you're tired of. The next sisters take what they want....and it continues on! Brilliant. So many of our Sisters are just about the same wonderful size. And with every transfer, their wardrobe is 'renewed'.
Sister Leslie leaves in July, and she says she's boarding the plane with her journals and scriptures. Other than that....nothing. Now that's what I call 'leaving it all in the field'!