Friday, July 26, 2013

Yesterday was a very good day...

We attended the Mission Conference for all of the missionaries in Scotland.  They held a Conference earlier in the week with all the missionaries in Ireland.  President Brown, our Mission President conducted and Elder Teixeira of the First Quorum of the Seventy presided.  Elder Teixeira is from Portugal and is currently serving as the Europe Area President and works out of Frankfurt, which is the Area Office.  The meeting was geared to the young missionaries who are out meeting people and teaching the gospel lessons.  All of the Senior Missionaries were also in attendance.  They took a photo of the group which will be interesting to see as there were over 125 in attendance.

President Brown and Sister Brown talked with all the missionaries and challenged them to raise their goals to a higher level.  President Brown told of recent converts who have contacted the missionaries to find out more about the Church.  The young woman who was baptized in the Edinburgh Ward two weeks ago and the young man who was baptized last Sunday, both contacted the missionaries and asked to learn more about the Church.  There are two more baptisms scheduled this week for the Edinburgh ward.

Elder Teixeira and his wife then spoke.  He was a very interesting speaker.  He told of a number of his experiences as a Mission President in Brazil about how miracles are happening today within missionary service.  He also told of his conversion story.  The missionaries in his little town in Portugal were prompted by the Spirit to knock on the door of his Uncle.  They taught the family – Father, Mother, and 4 children.  They all accepted the message and were baptized.  Within 3 ½ months these two missionaries baptized an additional 41 family members – Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.  They all accepted the gospel message because of the example set by his Uncle’s family.  It was a very moving story to hear how other family members were converted.  The spirit was very strong and confirmed to me that the work we are doing is the Lord's work and it is true.

At the end of the meeting, the closing song was what I am calling the “mission theme song”.  It is called "Till the work is done".   I don’t yet know the history of this song, but it was neat to hear all the missionaries singing it.  I have tried to load an audio file so you could hear the tune, but I can't figure that out.  Sorry, but I will work on that for a future post.  The tune sounds like a Scottish or Irish folk song.

The words are as follows:
Our mission in life is to bring to the Lord
Souls that are precious to preach his word.
From Dublin and Lim’ric, Galway, Belfast,
Donegal to all the emerald isle.
For miles and miles o’er land and sea,
teach the gospel truth to those who believe.
Till the work is done,
United we must be as one.
Royal, Strong, and true
Till the Savior says the work is done
We thank God for his Spirit that carries us forth
to share all the love that He has in store
for the Highlands and islands and all in between
Edinburgh, Glasgow Dundee Aberdeen
For miles and miles o’er land and sea,
teach the gospel truth to those who believe.
Till the work is done,
United we will be as one.
Royal, Strong, and true
Till the Savior says the work is done

 Like Nephi of old we will go and be true
For we know each day
He’ll prepare a way
to accomplish all he asks us to do.

 Till the work is done,
United we will be as one.
Royal, Strong, and true
Till the Savior says the work is done

Following the meeting all the senior missionaries gathered for a picture.  Two or three were missing because of other assignments, but this is the group of missionaries in Scotland.

Front row: Sisters Byland, Hansen, Price, Wagar, Chamberlain, & Whitney
Back row: Elder Byland, Elder & Sister Condie, Sister & Elder Boden, Elders Chamberlain & Whitney

 Well, I better sign off for now, tomorrow is our first Career Workshop.  I'm hoping that we will have people show up!  When we get past tomorrow we start working on an employment  presentation for the youth and the young single adults in each of the Stakes.  We have been asked to make a presentation to stress the importance of education and planning for the future.  Also, we start planning our trip to Ireland.  We have purchased the tickets for the ferry from Cairnryan, Scotland to Belfast.  We leave on August 7th and will be gone eight days.


Friday, July 19, 2013

A quite week of work...

As of next Monday it has been three months since we entered the MTC in Provo.  In some ways it seems like so long ago, but in other ways the time has gone quickly.  We are now at the end of July and feeling much more comfortable with our surroundings, driving on the left side of the road, and our responsibilities at the Employment Centre.  We have met some wonderful people and have seen some wonderful things.  This is truly a beautiful country.

The weather the last few weeks has been unusually warm.  Yesterday it reached 30 degrees (that is 86 degrees Fahrenheit).  For Scotland that is very warm.  I was watching some of the highlights of the British Open Tournament today and the course is very dried out.  (Yes, they do play a bit of golf here.  The Muirfield course is about 20 minutes from our flat)  People are beginning to comment about how they need rain as no one has sprinklers and the lawns and gardens are getting very dry.
This next Saturday we are holding our first Career Workshop.  We have advertised the Workshop throughout the Edinburgh Stake.  We are hoping to have 6-8 people attend.  The course is normally to be taught over two days but we have had many comments that it is too costly to travel to Edinburgh for two days from the outlying towns.  We have always thought that the workshop could be condensed into one day…so we will see how it works out.

In the Workshop we teach participants how to evaluate their strengths, values, personal history, and accomplishments.  We teach how to verbalize these qualities and convert them into “power statements” that can be used in their CV and also in the interview process.  We do actual mock interviews to help them respond to common interview questions.

We also conduct the Work Choice Profile which is a psychometric evaluation to help identify attitudes and also career interests.  It is a very interesting process.  The Church uses this analysis tool throughout the UK and Ireland but they don’t use it in the States…I’m not sure why.  As we review the results with an individual, it is interesting to see how accurate the attitudes evaluation is with their current thinking about things.  Most will agree that the evaluation is “spot on”.

We have been working with one young man who just graduated from the University of Aberdeen and is now looking for a career.  We conducted the Profile with him and also helped develop his CV.  In the CV section regarding “Achievements”, we discussed what we could highlight.  He later sent an email stating that he had come up with an achievement.  He had gone to his boss and recommended a different way of distributing the materials to the work team which ended up being accepted by his boss because it increased productivity by 20% and resulted in a savings of about £200 per day in wages.  This young man has a bright future…I told him he should ask his boss for a raise.
We have helped  another person write an effective CV which has generated a number of job interviews.  Now we need to work on her interviewing skills.  We have had one individual find work and others are hopefully not far behind.

Overall, we are having a good time with the Employment Centre.  We are anxious about the Career Workshop and will be happy to see how it turns out.  If it works out as a one-day session we will be scheduling the workshop in other Stakes throughout Scotland on a regular basis.
We work in the Centre three days each week.  The facilities are nice but I struggle with the computer network and the printers.  I need my IT team from Rutan to come straighten things out.  I use my laptop instead of the Church computers because it is faster, but it won’t always connect to the wireless printer…it’s a wee bit frustrating. 

I’m still studying for the drivers license exam.  I am taking practice tests (written exam) and do fairly well…but I must admit, there are some strange traffic rules over here.  There are Zebra Crossings, Puffin Crossings, and Pelican Crossings for pedestrians and all have different rules and traffic lights.  The driving on the left side is becoming much more natural and I’m quite comfortable with most driving situations.
We are excited when we learned last week that the lady we helped teach a few weeks ago has decided to be baptized.  (See post from June 26)  The teaching missionaries are quite busy with people who have asked to be taught about the Church.  There was a baptism last Sunday of a young woman who was on the internet and found  She read about the Church and watched many of the videos.  She also watched some of the videos on  She walked into the Church building a few weeks ago and asked to learn more.  

There are some very interesting videos on the Church website that have been prepared to depict the life of Jesus using the scriptures from the Bible as the text of the video.  It is exciting to see how the Church is using the internet to teach the Gospel throughout the world.  There is a major media campaign in London right now inviting people to go to to learn about the Church.  Also they are encouraging people to read the Book of Mormon in connection with the publicity from the play "The Book of Mormon".  The ads say:

      "You have seen the play, now read the book"

       "The book is always better than the play..."

      "The play is entertainment for one evening.  Read the book and it will change your life forever bringing you closer to Christ"

These ads are in the Tube throughout London and posted on 250 of the double-decker buses.  I would echo the ads and encourage all of you to "Read the Book"!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Back to work tomorrow...

Today we went with Paul & Karen to Stirling Castle.  This is one of Scotland’s most famous castles.  If you look at a map, Scotland is almost cut in half by the River Clyde which flows west into the Firth of Clyde and the River Forth which flows east into the Firth of Forth.  Edinburgh is on the east coast and Glasgow is on the west coast.  Stirling is right in the middle between the two cities.  It was a major city…and castle.  It has been said that if you control the Stirling Castle, you can control Scotland.  (I’ve heard the same thing said about the Edinburgh Castle, but I’ll let the historians debate that one.)  On a clear day from the Stirling castle one can see Arthur’s Seat to the east in Edinburgh and Ben Lomond to the west.
There is so much to see at Stirling Castle.  We arrived about 10:30 in the morning and left about 5:30 in the afternoon.  They have just finished a £12 million restoration (that is about $18 million) of the King’s Palace within the Castle.  We have been learning much more about the Scottish history and the reign of the kings and queens and how they were related. 

The Castle was first built in the 12th century but was destroyed by Robert the Bruce in the14th century to prevent the English from occupying it.  Most of the present castle was built by James IV, King of Scotland (reigned 1488–1513)
James V, his son (reigned 1513–1542), added the royal palace with the King's quarters and the Queen’s quarters.  Before he could move in with his queen he died so he never occupied his new palace.  His daughter, Mary was crowned queen in the Royal Chapel when she was 9 months old and became Mary, Queen of Scots.  (She was born down the road a bit at the Palace in Linlithgow)
This is a view of the William Wallace Monument from the entrance of the Castle.  Wallace was victorious at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, September 11, 1297.  The battle was won because of patience and good military strategy.  We learned some history about Wallace and Robert the Bruce.  Bruce defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn.  We also learned that the movie "Brave heart" is not accurate according to Scottish History...but that is another story!
This is looking up from the Queen Anne's Garden to the Palace that James V built
Another view to the Palace and the Castle entrance.  When the Palace was built, the entrance had four of those round columns.  The base of the third is still there and the fourth is gone.  They were almost twice as tall as they currently are now but were damaged in fighting over the years.
This is the Palace and the Great Hall from the Outer Close.
The Great Hall looks out of place with this gold colour.  In the research they have done, and when they were restoring the Hall, they found that the stone walls had been plastered over with seven layers of plaster and painted with and Ochre paint.  Research has proven that when many of the buildings were constructed they were very colourfully decorated.
The Royal Chapel and the Great Hall
This is inside the King's quarters.  The major restoration project was completed in 1998.  The research took 13 years to complete and found that the inside of the palace would have been very colourful.  Also, the statues on the outside of the palace would have also been coloured very beautifully.  This was a sign of wealth.  James V was well traveled and brought back from France much of the French culture...and a beautiful wife.  His first wife died shortly after they were married and he went back to France for his second wife...Mary of Guise.
The research also have found that the fire places in the palace would have been coal burning.  Burning pete was too smokey and the fireplace was not large enough for wood.  The fireplaces in the Great Hall and the kitchens would have been wood burning.
This is the Queen's quarters.  Since James V died before they could move in, Mary was left to finish overseeing the construction and she never furnished the King's quarters but did furnish her quarters.  This is decorated in a way that research developed what it may have looked like.
These are tapestries hanging on the wall.  They have recreated tapestries that were hanging in the castle which were all made by hand using the method from the 16th century.  The originals are in museums.  They are currently making another one which we were able to see the weavers working on.
This is a view of the castle for down the street.  The castle is high on a hill that is cliffs on three sides.  The castle was reachable by boat which made it a great location.  Boats could come up the Forth with supplies and guests.  It is a marvelous treasure and if anyone comes to Scotland, this is a "must see"!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A day of travel…

With Carolyn’s Brother and his wife here in Edinburgh we took Friday afternoon and all day on Saturday to visit more of this beautiful country. 

Friday afternoon we went into Edinburgh again to visit the Edinburgh Castle.  The castle is truly amazing.  Edinburgh Castle is situated on Castle Rock in the city of Edinburgh. The Castle was built during the 12th century and expanded over the next 500 years. 

The tensions between the English and Scottish monarchies nearly always centred on Edinburgh Castle. He who held the castle held rule over the city of Edinburgh and, therefore, over all of Scotland. Consequently, the castle was almost constantly under siege.  There were battles surrounding the castle from the late 13th century when Edward I of England attempted to seize the then vacant Scottish throne.

In 1571, English forces laid siege to the city of Edinburgh in an attempt to capture Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle again witnessed strife when in 1650, Oliver Cromwell executed Charles I and led an invasion of Scotland. During the Jacobite Risings (1688-1746), the Scots attempted, several times, to recapture their castle. Unfortunately, they were never able to overpower the English. The final attempt was in 1745 when the Jacobite army was led by Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). Although the Scots were able to capture the city, they were never able to lay siege to the castle.   The Scottish
Crown, sceptre and sword are now held in Edinburgh Castle
Inside the Castle walls looking up at buildings within the castle grounds.

This was a chapel but is now a War Memorial to honor the soldiers from Scotland who were killed in the first and second world wars.  There were 150,000 Scots killed in WWI and 50,000 Scots killed in WWII.

This is the Queen's Palace within the Castle walls

This is the other side of the chapel (War Memorial)

A piper on the streets of Edinburgh just outside the Castle

St. Giles Cathedral just down the street from the Castle
 Saturday we drove to Stonehaven to see the Dunnottar Castle again.  We has seen the castle earlier when we went with the senior missionaries but wanted to show Paul & Karen.  It is really a wonderful castle.  Dunnottar is an impregnable castle that holds many rich secrets of Scotland’s colourful past.  William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II, all graced the Castle with their presence. Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels, the ‘Honours of Scotland’, from destruction.



In the afternoon we drove to the Glamis (pronounced “Gla:mz” – which means the meeting of many waters) Castle.  In 1034 King Malcolm II was murdered at Glamis.  In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth (1603–06), resides at Glamis Castle, although the historical King Macbeth (d. 1057) had no connection to the castle.

A legend tells of the 15th-century "Earl Beardie" who refused to stop playing cards on the Sabbath (i.e. gambling on the Sabbath was against the law), and either his hosts refused to play, or a servant advised him to stop. Lord Beardie became so furious that he claimed that he would play until doomsday with the Devil himself. A stranger then appears at the castle and joins Lord Beardie in a game of cards. The stranger is identified with the Devil, who takes Earl Beardie's soul and it is now rumored that the Earl is still playing cards in a “secret room” in the castle even today.   Yes, the legend means the castle is haunted.   

Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon (the Queen Mother) spent much of her childhood at Glamis, which was used during the First World War, as a military hospital.  On 26 April 1923 she married Prince Albert, Duke of York, second son of King George V, at Westminster Abbey. Their second daughter, Princess Margaret, was born at Glamis Castle in 1930.
Entrance to Glamis Castle.  The right side of the Castle is still a personal residence of Michael Furgus Bolyes Lyon.  The left side of the Castle is the historical part that the public can tour

Dutch Garden at the Castle

The Italian Garden
From Glamis we drove to Glen Isla which is the village Karen’s ancestors lived in the 1850s.  We found an old cemetery and found family records of the Robertson family.  We then drove home.  The drive to Glen Isla and about half way home was on a small "B" road but the countryside was beautiful!!  A "B" road is very narrow and one hopes there is not much traffic coming the other direction.  There is no center line on the road.







Thursday, July 11, 2013

Update on our activities…

It has been a while since I last updated the blog.  We have continued to be busy and have seen some successes.  One of the young adults we have been working with have accepted employment.  We continue to have people come into the centre for us to review their CV, guide them in the employer interview process, and conduct the Work Choice Profile.  We are preparing to teach our first Career Workshop on the 27th of July and will be going to Ireland during the first week of August.

Carolyn’s brother and his wife arrived in Scotland on Tuesday early afternoon.  Paul is presenting a medical paper at a conference at Edinburgh University.  We picked them up from the airport and they are staying with us while they are in Edinburgh.  The University campus where the conference is held is only about 2 miles from our flat.

Tuesday we rode the bus into Edinburgh to keep them moving to help them adjust to the time change.  We walked through the old town and dinner and got back to the flat about 9:45 p.m. 

I’ve attached a few more pictures from our walk Tuesday evening.  We will be spending some time with Paul & Karen through the weekend and I'll have more pictures next week.

This is an actual working clock that is decorated with live flowers.  The theme this year is the centennial of the Edinburgh Zoo.  The City has been doing this clock each year.  I saw this when I was in Edinburgh as a young man...many years ago.

The missionary couple

This is the Heart of Midlothian.  It is a place where public executions took place in the 16th century. 
It is a heart-shaped mosaic, formed in coloured granite bricks, built into the pavement near the West Door of St Giles High Kirk in the High Street section of the Royal Mile.   It originally was at the door of the prison.

This house is in the middle of the park on Princes Street.  I don't think anyone lives there but it is maintained as part of the park.