Monday, February 22, 2010

You can imagine our excitement when our new mission car arrived this week.  We have been driving the mission van for the last 6 weeks while our car was caught in the Toyota "recall".  It arrived just in time for a long day of distant meeting and lots of driving. It only had 7 miles on it when we got it.  It now has well over 400, but that's not bad for 1/2 of a week.  It has heated leather seats.  And even more important, it has 2 automatic seat positions!  We think we have died and gone to heaven.  Even though we have had it less than a week it has lost its new car smell and now just smells like popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, or whatever other "stay-awake" food we've been munching.  It has a diesel engine so that is nice on the gas mileage AND the engine won't even try to turn over until after the glow-plugs have warmed up so I can stop goofing that up, like I did all the time on the van.  We loved the bench seat that the van had, BUT, I have to say that a smaller profile on these narrow streets definitely wins the prize!

Happy New Year! (Chinese, that is)

We have four wonderful Chinese speaking Elders here in Scotland.  One is from Taiwan, one is from Hong Kong and the other two are American citizens, called to Scotland to speak Chinese!  How would you like THAT call?  Anyway, we have found great success amongst the Chinese people and have had many baptisms.  As a special treat, the Chinese members in the Edinburgh Ward threw a Chinese New Year's Party for all of us.  They had singing and dancing, games and cultural presentations, and LOTS and LOTS of yummy food!  I wish you could have seen the mission home kitchen.  When I got home from Zone Conference last Friday afternoon my kitchen was just FULL of wonderful Chinese members scurry around making all kinds of traditional New Year's fare.  Oh my, was it delicious.  The party did much to teach about the Chinese culture, but even more important it was a perfect showcase for the many talents of these wonderful members.  After the program the Bishop was just inundated with Ward leaders requesting these sweet Chinese friends to receive callings in their auxiliaries.  This is such a HUGE step forward for us in letting the Ward leaders come to understand that new members have strong testimonies and can be given callings right away as soon as they join the church.  I know that this event was a real answer to Gary's and my prayers.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I bee-lieve you'll like this story...

This last week end we stopped at a place called Tain pottery.  It is just outside of Inverness and they do all kinds of patterns.  You can have dinnerware made with your family tartan, even.  I chose this "wee dish" because it reminded me of my Grandma Nana's garden up in the mountains when I was a little girl.  It has the hollyhocks and bluebells and of course, the scottish national flower, the thistle.  I finally learned why the thistle is their national flower.  It has to do with some battle in history when the enemy tried to invade at night and they ended up walking through a field of thistles.  All of their cries of pain woke the Scots and they were able to defend themselves and save the day.  So...the thistle is the "hero" of flowers.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The "Sisters" heading off on their road trip!

Mammoth, California--Kate's weekly exchange location

Katelyn is now serving in sunny California.  She has been transferred from North Hollywood area, up to Mammoth Ski Resort!

Here is a picture of President Griffiths making that earthshaking phone call on Feb 3, 2010 to inform the missionaries that the missionaries of Ireland and of Scotland would soon join together to form the new, dynamic, Scotland Ireland Mission.  In the background of this picture you see a picture of two draft horses.  This is our mission "logo" for the year.  We entitled it "A long pull, a strong pull, a pull all together" (Joseph Smith).  This picture reminds us of so many things.  First of all, you can see the tension in the horses muscles showing that they are pulling hard, giving their all.  Next, you notice that they are equally yoked together, each bearing part of the strain.  When asked what these two horses represent, these are some of the answers the missionaries gave:
--a companionship
--a missionary linked with the Savior
--a companionship linked with the Holy Ghost
--the missionaries linked in working together with Ward leaders/members
AND now we can add the following:
--the missionaries of the Ireland Dublin Mission and the Scotland Edinburgh Mission working together to build the Lord's kingdom in this part of His vineyard
This is the view of Edinburgh castle looking at it from the top of Pratt's Hill.  The bay that you see in the background of the Pratt's Hill pictures is off at about 2:00 or 3:00 o'clock.

Out with the old, and in with the new!

As the old missionaries were leaving on December 16, three new ones were arriving!  Here they are with their trainers, the Assistants (those annoying guys who show up in ALL the pictures), and President.  He is the one who looks like a "teenage mutant ninja turtle" from the waist up!  The departing missionaries come to the mission home on a Tuesday and we hike the hill, have a nice supper, and a wonderful testimony meeting (my favorite part).  The next morning, we have to get up to take them to the airport about 4:30 a.m..  While they are winging their way home, the new ones are arriving by train.  We hike the hill again for a fitting start to each missionary's mission.

And This Batch Goes Home!

Here is our group who left on December 16th.  They were all home for Christmas--pretty great Christmas present if you ask ask me.

          Look Who Just Arrived!
Here is our new group of missionaries who arrived on January 27, 2010.  They are standing atop Pratt's Hill in Edinburgh.  Each new missionary is accompanied by their trainer.  For privacy reasons, I can't list the names, but look to see if there is anybody there that you know.

    The Tradition of Pratt's Hill:
The real name is Arthur's Seat and legends date back to the famous King Arthur.  However, this being the highest peak in Edinburgh is the place that Orson Pratt hiked to when he arrived in Scotland to start his mission in the spring of the early 1840's.  He hiked the hill and presented his desires to the Lord.  He desired that the Lord would help him find 200 converts before he left the following spring.  He then hiked back down the hill and went to work preaching.  His record says that they "preached every day and seven times a Sunday" and by August they had about 23 converts.  Orson then began hiking the hill on a regular basis to commune with the Lord as to how to help the work in Scotland grow.  By the time he left the following spring he had 223 converts.
We hike our missionaries up this hill on the day they arrive in Scotland where we provide them with an opportunity to take a few minutes and go off alone and explain the desires of their hearts to their Heavenly Father.  After a song and prayer, we hike them down to a big hot lunch and an afternoon of training.
The practice of hiking the hill is repeated on a missionary's last day in Scotland.  This time he/she hikes the hill and "returns and reports" to the Lord the progress that he/she has made towards their personal goals.  It is a wonderful tradition and something that the missionaries really look forward to.