protecting our children

Dear friends

This morning I read the headline that Brady was dead and my mind went back to many years ago.

In 1994 I was serving as a full time missionary for the Lord, assigned to the England Manchester Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  One of my first areas was at the edge of the Pennines, a town named Oldham.

As we met people on the streets, a question was often raised concerning the nature of God and:

Why did He let that happen to those children?

I didn’t understand at first and then someone mentioned the names – Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.  I understood; I explained to my American companion.  This is where it happened, this was the town, our view to the hills was a view to the moors, Saddleworth Moor.  Five children, tortured and killed in the 1960s, buried on the moors.  I was not born but the murders were notorious and 30 years later, even with the guilty ones in jail the community still felt the pain and anger; no remorse was ever shown.

I have not come close to feeling what those parents and the community felt.  But there will be some people who sadly have.

Summer is approaching and growing up it seemed this was the time when children tragically featured in the news – Sara Payne, Milly Dowler, the Soham girls, Jamie Bulger.  This has made me cautious as a parent; I think it’s made many parents cautious and changed the way children play outside the home.  

Today the world has predators, games, social media and wrong influences in the form of images, music, films that can reach right into our homes, through modern technologies.  We can not let down our guard or let anyone else raise our children.  Our children are still vulnerable; they are our treasure – they need teaching, they need our protection.  Its difficult but not impossible.  As parents, I believe, that we must trust God, stay close to Him and His counsel, and everything will be alright.  

The world is incessantly pulled by a flood of enticing and seductive voices.  Overcoming the world is trusting in the one voice that warns, comforts, enlightens, and brings peace “not as the world giveth.” 

Elder Neil L Anderson, April 2017

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having hope – it will be alright

Nothing really to do with post, but I was on a train while finishing this post so thought you might like a view!

Dear friends

It’s a month to go until the general election. 

It’s a couple days after the local elections – not in our area.

It’s great results for the government.

It’s dismal results for the opposition.

It’s concerning to me how the media can villify and how the public accept it – as if everything in the media is true! 
I work in local government and I live in an area with an opposition member of parliament and an area with majority vote remain rather than Brexit.

In this unfair society in which we live I’d be quite happy for high earners and high profit businesses to pay higher taxes to support publicly accessible and high standard education, health and social care services.  Hey, I’d pay more taxes if that were the guaranteed outcome!! 

But, in this unfair society, there are those who exploit, those who cheat, those who take advantage of others, and those who suffer.

I sat in a meeting this week to hear a headteacher say the school would have an £80k deficit within the next year, and there are others.

I sat in a meeting this week to hear a residential care home manager say they need more nursing care beds, needs of the elderly are increasing.

I sat in a meeting this week to hear my manager say that we may all be asked to do our jobs on less salary; we may have to apply for our jobs in the imminent restructure; he may be served a redundancy notice.

So much uncertainty. So many troubling issues.  

**(5 days pass…)**

But, I don’t feel hopeless.  I will keep hoping for a better world, because I know there is one.  

I read this verse in the scriptures (Moroni 9 verse 24) this morning: 

but I trust that I may see thee soon; for I have sacred records that I would deliver up unto thee.

This is a prophet writing to his son as they are separated and being hunted down by their enemies.  He did see his son and it occurred to me that his hope, his trust, was led by his understanding of a greater purpose, the bigger picture – which was the need for the sacred records to be safe.  

So even though I don’t know what to title this post which stayed as a draft, to a certain point, for nearly a week, I want it to be more hopeful than the way it starts​.

I know that we can have hope, when we know and understand the bigger picture.  We do not need to feel helpless nor hopeless.  There’s​ always someone who needs you and who only you can be  🙂  Take care! 

Why it will all work out!

And the prophet said…

Dear friends

This past weekend (first weekend in April) was General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which I am a member.  This happens twice a year, six months apart, and is when the general (world wide) leaders of the church address the general membership and the world.  With satellite and internet technology, wherever we are in the world, we can receive the messages, virtually instananeously, through live streaming, audio and/or video as the conference takes place at church HQ conference centre in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

As a Latter Day Saint I believe in living prophets and I trust that, for our spiritual safety, when they speak, we should listen and follow.  For me it’s​ no different to the trust the ancient Israelites had to have in Moses, that if they followed him, they would gain their freedom from the Egyptians where they were in a state of slavery.  Which ultimately is what happened.

So the conference actually all began last weekend with the women’s session where female church leaders spoke on trusting the Lord and not leaning (Proverbs 3:5-6), the beauty of holiness and being faithful, certain women, in the New Testament sense.  And then an Apostle (Henry B Eyring) spoke on the peace that we can only receive from the Lord Jesus Christ; it was sublime.

When you prepare yourself for conference, it’s as if the speakers are speaking to you, personally.  The words resonate within my spirit as I hear words of truth.  There were admonitions to be kind, charitable, true, faithful, how to recognise and follow the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, how to not live by fear, how to overcome the world. 

And the prophet, Thomas S Monson, in his Sunday morning address, asked: We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? And the answer: I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety.   And to develop and keep a strong testimony: read the Book of Mormon, each day 🙂  And the promise if we do this? 

As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.

I am very grateful for the simplicity which is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ – it is a the greatest blessing in my life and that of my family.  I love our Saviour, Jesus Christ; I’m grateful that He speaks still through living prophets, same as anciently – all things have been restored.  

Primary role

Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19 verse 14

Dear friends

In recent weeks I have been called to serve in the Primary organisation of our church ward (local unit).  The Primary organisation is for the children, up to 12 years.  

It’s been about 10 years since I last served there – I recall because Son1 had not long been baptised (at age 8) when I was released. Daur1 and Daur2 were also there, but Daur2 was 3 years old so doesn’t remember.

You can imagine how excited Son2 has been since finding out that his Mum will be with him each Sunday:)!!  And I’ve been excited too.  I’ve already had a week in nursery (with children aged 18 months to 3 years) – I’d forgotten how delightfully stubborn a 2 year old can be! And this month I’ll be doing sharing time, with all the 3 to 11 year olds, about 12 of them so not too many.

Of course, I will miss the youth Sunday School class… not sure if the feeling is mutual 🙂 … and Daur1 did remind me they are little children!!  We had our first presidency meeting – I’m a counsellor -the secretary is the same, and filled us in on recent issues. With a couple of families moving out before summer we will lose several children in a short space of time. But things change quickly so we’re not relying on a small number of children to ease anything.  

This will take me out of my comfort zone, that’s always a good thing for me as it stops me becoming complacent. And I feel it’s so important to be able to share the gospel with children; the gospel of Jesus Christ is beautifully simple, and simply beautiful (not my phrase… I think one of the modern day apostles) and so to be able to explain eternal concepts in a manner that a child can understand is important.  That’s the way the Saviour taught us 🙂

inside church

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Dear friends
This is my current view. It’s early morning, at the chapel, I’m waiting for Daur1, and yes, those are my sock clad feet to the bottom right of photo. 
I’m reading the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13 verse 1):

Look! And I looked and beheld many nations and kingdoms…

And I looked around to ponder. And my mind cast back to when I first entered this building nearly 30 years ago, one spring morning for church.  It looks a little different – back then the walls were brick internally. But the feeling was the same. A feeling that I was home, where I should be. 🙂
And the beautiful paintings always remind me who I’m following.  I love our buildings, so simple and functional on every level.  When I visited St Vincent (in the Caribbean) it was great to see a lovely two storey building reflecting local stone materials, responding to the terrain (a hill and that’s why it was two storey).  And to know that our tithes are used for these. 🙂

I’ll take a few more photos (I need to slip on my shoes…) for those of you that have not seen the inside of a LDS church building. Enjoy! 🙂

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miracles

Dear friends

“Why don’t we see things like that now?  Why is it always a long time ago?”  These were questions our youngest, Son2, asked me a few evenings ago, as we were reading about Jesus visiting the people after his resurrection  (3 Nephi chapter 11) and how they heard the voice of heavenly Father introduce Jesus – ‘Behold, my Beloved Son…’ 

I think many of us have asked that question – do miracles still happen today?  I explained a couple of things to him. 

First, that miracles do happen today, in our family lives, everything is not coincidence. 

I reminded him of the door key incident.  We – the children and I – had all gone out one Saturday afternoon to the library and the market – this was when my dear husband was away studying.  As we headed back down the road towards the house I became aware that I did not have the house keys.  We checked all bags, pockets, hands. Nothing. I am not prone to forgetting things and our door is such that it won’t close properly without using the key.  So I was worried.  No neighbour has a spare key and no back door left open.  So I encouraged the children to pray as we approached the house.  I think Son1 and Daur2 ran on ahead and then quickly one of them ran back – a look of joyful shock on their face.  “They were in the door!!” they exclaimed.  The keys were in the lock.  The house was locked,  nothing disturbed outside or inside, after a quick check.  I offered thanks to Father and we discussed the many possibilities of the keys miracle – had I actually lost them outside but an angel put them in the door? were they made invisible so no passersby took them out the door?  I don’t know. But, for the older children and me, it’s a miracle.  Son2 would have been under 5 years so probably doesn’t remember everything about it. I reminded Son2 of other more personal miracles to him, such as when he has been healed.

Second, I reminded him that we live before the time that Jesus will come back, and that maybe we would be alive when He comes back.  If so, I’m fairly certain Heavenly Father will introduce Jesus and all the world will experience His return to Earth. 

Third and finally, I shared that first we need to trust Father and Jesus (have faith in Them) and then miracles and signs will follow, not the other way round. 

I was reminded of the verses in Moroni 7 where he quotes words from his father, Mormon, saying:

it is by faith that miracles are wrought… if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief,  and all is vain.

I hope I never stop believing. The truth is very simple to understand, and beautifully simple to live.  It does take effort, especially since we are not wrapped in cotton wool, but that is why Father does give us help and miracles.  He loves and will always love you, me, them, us.

Sabbath delight

Dear friends

Mini holiday was fun! Unfortunately I missed the ‘chilly night’ in the weather forecast which had day temperatures of +20c.  And even though I was sandwiched between my daughters, they’d already chosen the superior sleeping bags, and I kept waking up.  Kayaking was great and relaxing – it’s a sheltered spot on the river – neither of the girls capsized this time.

The rest of the weekend has been uplifting.  There was a special Europe (northern) wide broadcast of a live conference from Edinburgh (my second home!) with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, an Apostle of the Lord.  What would an Apostle say specifically to the Latter Day Saints in this part of the world?  Well, it was a warning message – this is a time of sifting – wheat & tares, goats & sheep, wise &foolish – but also one of hope – cling to the iron rod, cling to the word of God, cling to the scriptures.  And the following description from Paul of this time was used a couple of times 2 Timothy 3 vv1-5:

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

But we do not need to fear – we need to have faith in Jesus Christ and know that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion – if it stands, everything does; and if it falls everything falls; after 185 years of the book, no one has claimed to be it’s author, despite the impact it has on lives and the claim that it’s one of the most important US books.

I have read the Book of Mormon many times – I know it is the word of God. It stands with the Bible as another testament of Jesus Christ. If you’ve not read it, you need to – get a copy and get to know some wonderful prophets of old.