Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Hogmanay!

In Scotland, the last day of the year is referred to as Hogmanay. It is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner.  It's normally only the start of the celebration that lasts through the night until the morning of New Year's Day.

Happy Christmas 2014!!

PART 1 (Dec 29, 2014):  What a week! So much happened, I can hardly remember anything. I'm going to try my best to remember it all.
Elder Penman and Elder Christensen, Omagh, Northern Ireland Christmas 2014

So Monday, we played football in the pouring rain. It was so much fun. We got back to our flat for a nice cold surprise. Our central heating broke. Our boiler wasn't pushing hot water to the heaters.
Tuesday, we found a Hungarian man. He loves religion and we told him about the Book of Mormon and he was very interested. One day later we went to teach him, but he wasn't in so we left him a book. We went and visited widows in the Branch and wished them Happy Christmas.
Christmas Eve we went to the Cathers an awesome family who had us over, and we played games and ate pizza. We then helped the father milk 50 cows. It was so fun. We will later help him some more I hope.
The milking shed at the Cather's farm
Christmas we went to Tom's and Skyped home. That was fun. It felt like I was back in our house and then we watched an Arthur Christmas.
I can't finish today but I will next week.
Elder Penman

PART 2 (Dec 30, 2014):   Sorry yesterday we were only able to email for a little because the library closed really early. I didn't even get to tell you about half the week. 

So like I said Monday, we played football in the pouring rain and came back to find our heating was broken. Which we still haven't fixed so our flat is super cold. So we wear our biggest coats around the flat. Then we found Christian and his family.

Tuesday, we went by Christian but he wasn't in. So we left him a Book of Mormon. We then traveled around with President Nelson (Branch President of Omagh Branch) to the single sisters in the branch. We then traveled  to some members to introduce Elder Christensen.

Wednesday, Christmas Eve and Elder Christensen's Birthday we were at the Cathers. I love that family. The father is not a member, the mom is a member and is one of the nicest ladies ever, their son is Royce and their 4 active daughters who are the twins, Brooklyn and Courtney, then Shelly, and then Lucia. We ate pizza with them and we played a bunch of games. Then we helped their dad milk his cows. That was a ton of fun.
Christmas Eve with Cathers
Christmas Eve with Cathers
Christmas Eve with Cathers
We went into this bunker like room with all sorts of gadgets everywhere.  You put these four suction cup thing on the utters and it sucks it up into a glass container which goes to a big refrigerator where the milk cools. 

Thursday, Christmas was at Toms. We had an amazing Christmas dinner. We watched movies and Skyped home. It was a fun day. 

Elder Penman and Tom Henry
Christmas Day at the Henry Home

Christmas Dinner

Elder Christensen
Friday, Boxing Day, which is a holiday over here in the UK and also Ireland. We went to the Nelson's in a town called Mile Town. President Nelson is our Branch President, they made us Mexican food  :)  Not like UK Mexican food but like spicy real Mexican food. It was great. We then played a game called "Ultimate" Uno with a bunch of added rules. It was so fast paced and fun! 

Saturday, we did a lot of tracting but not too many people wanted to hear it because it is still a holiday. We ran into some drunk people and all that fun stuff. While we were going to head to Christians we got a text from him saying he had to move back to Hungary. Man we were bummed, but then he started telling us how much he loves the Book of Mormon and said he was pretty far into the book. Then he told us he was already through 1 and 2 books of Nephi and is now in Jacob. He said he wanted us to teach him over Skype but we told him there were missionaries who could teach him in Hungarian and he said this news is very good. So we are trying to get him in contact through 

Sunday, the roads had frozen over and because there are so many members that are far away there were only 6 members at church and  3 visitors from Leeds England. We only had sacrament meeting and then went home for lunch.

One thing I learned this week is that we all need to master repentance in our lives which will help us reach exaltation.

Mosiah 4:27
27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

From way across the pond,
Elder Penman

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day Skype

Hooray!  The long awaited day was finally here and a wonderful Christmas present to talk to Elder Andrew Penman via Skype (at Brother Tom's home in Omagh) for an hour. We also said hello to Brother Tom and Elder Penman's companion, Elder Christensen.  He was wearing one of his new sweaters we sent him for Christmas.  He seemed very happy, calm, and like he's being an obedient missionary.  At home in Ogden were Mom, Dad, Kellie, and Ray.  Our dogs Dodger and Lily were excited to hear his voice, but couldn't figure out WHERE Andrew was. He imitated some accents for us and told us all about his current area and previous area.   We loved being able to talk to him and he seems really settled into his missionary work.  We love our Elder!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Irish Christmas Blessing

Transfer #4 Begins (Companion #5)

Elder "Wilson" ???
I dropped off Elder Smiler in Belfast and picked up Elder Christensen in the bus station. He has red hair and is an awesome guy. He is from Wyoming, just on the Idaho side of the Tetons but still in Wyoming.  We get  along pretty well. He works really hard  and so we have been biking and tracting all over town. Its funny because we are both out for less then 8 months so we are both really young and not the most experienced. We don't know exactly what to do in some situations so we always ask the district leader. 

I cant believe its already Christmas!!  Its going to be a good one though. I don't know how I feel about talking to my family but I'm excited to see them. But other than that I have no idea what I'm going to say. 

 We got an internet referral for a place called tempo about 20 minute drive south. We got Tom to take us down there and while we drove we saw some beautiful scenery. I got some cool pictures. When we got to the place we knocked and the referral's brother answered the door so we left him with a Book of Mormon for his brother. We will need to go down there when he is in. 

Elder Christensen and Elder Penman....drenched
At the beginning of this week, we got some snow and it was cold. I thought it would be fun to tract in snow but i was wrong. Anything beats having to tract in 1 degree Celsius rain. Yesterday Elder Christensen and I rode our bikes across town to knock some doors and half way through it was dumping and  so we thought we could wait it out under an over hang.  Then the rain started even harder and we were going to be late if we waited. We rode for about 30 minutes in a down poor and by the time we got back to the flat we were soaked!! It was so much fun though. 

Remember Christ this Christmas. Keep the Faith and merry Christmas!

Elder Penman

Monday, December 15, 2014

Center Your Christmas

Well I'm better. Elder Smiler got sick again so we took a bunch of breaks throughout each day so he could rest. While he rested I got in some amazing work outs. Like this crazy push up thing Elder Smiler does and I got to do 3 x 10 min on the stairs. My Quads were screaming at me. Also I got to do Yoga and power Yoga. It was some good stuff. So I was able to do a work out in the morning and in the afternoon.
We were able to teach Rachel's friend named Pete. We've known Pete for some time now and now  he is letting us teach him. But we had a short sweet lesson with him. Pete loved it though.

At church this week, I had to teach the lesson in priesthood. I taught from The Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith; lesson 25 ("The Birth of Jesus Christ: Good Tidings of Great Joy") 
and I related this chapter to the story when Jesus is walking toward the Apostles on the water and Peter wants to walk on the water too. Well, when Peter gets on the water he is only focused on the Savior just like we all should be on this Christmas season. As Peter is walking toward Him he sees the waves and clouds and hears the thunder of this storm as soon as he lets himself look off the Savior and get caught up in these things, he sinks. Like all of us tend to do around Christmas time into the commercialism. What I'm saying doesn't mean  that we can't have presents or give gifts, what I’m saying is whatever you do this Christmas  always have the Savior in mind and keep your eyes on Him. Also center activities you enjoy around Him and your Christmas will be a very merry one indeed.

Well, 4 transfers 5 Companions for me. Elder Smiler will be leaving, what a shame, me to go to the highlands. Elder Christensen will be here as my new companion. I actually met him when we were in Dublin. I'm excited. Also Elder Lesuma Is going to take Elder Benesch’s spot as our Zone leader. Which is okay because Elder Leizuma is an awesome guy.
That’s my week done. Keep the faith. Pray on.  I love all of you so much.

Elder Penman

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Scotland/Ireland Missionary Choir

Scotland and Ireland Missionary Choir Delights Crowds

Delighted shoppers in Limerick. Republic of Ireland, whipped out their smartphones to video a flash mob coming together to sing the hymn “Joy to the World”.  The missionary choir was formed from missionaries of the Scotland/Ireland mission serving in Ireland.  Their counterpart choir of missionaries serving in Scotland also brought the message of Christmas to hundreds of people through their music in various public venues as well as our own church buildings.  Several grateful hosts expressed the hope that they would return.

The Revd Helen Alexander of the historic St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, welcomed the choir back where they had given a memorable performance at Easter.  In Ireland the choir broke new ground by singing in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

Between them the choirs performed in 14 venues. The tours also provided an unforgettable experience for those taking part.  One missionary said, “…  It was the greatest week of my mission. It has given me such a renewed spirit that I have never had a greater desire to go forward and invite others to learn about the restored gospel.”  

Sing Choirs of Angels

Performance at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin   Their conductor is Brother Ralph Jamieson,
a wonderful musician and music teacher from Scotland.
This week was amazing. We went on a choir tour all week long. I know it sounds like a vacation, but we worked too.

To start off, on Tuesday, me and Elder Smiler went to Belfast for a district zone meeting but our bus wasn't there to take us. We showed up in Belfast late so we were told to just catch a bus to Dublin. So we did. It was a very long but pretty ride. It was a lot shorter this time compared to last time. We showed up and we got picked up by a senior Elder named Elder McKendrick. (Don't be too jealous—Dameon Andrews!). 
A nice hotel bed with springs that work and aren't broken

We went to the Finglis road chapel and practiced. Our practice was okay but needed much improvement. That night we stayed in a hotel. It was so weird to sleep on a bed that actually had springs that worked and weren't broken.
Ireland Missionary Choir Practice

Elder Smiler and 2 other Elders singing
Elder Penman and Elder Kropushek

Elder Smiler enjoying his lunch

The next day we practiced again all day long. We got much better. A senior couple fed us our lunch and dinner. They are saints. That night we went back to the hotel and somehow most of the elders ended up in one room and we were singing some songs while Elder Simpson played his guitar. To close the night, he played “Nearer my God to Thee” which brought a very sweet spirit into the room. Then we went to bed early because we performed the next day.

The Ireland Missionary Choir bus ride with Elder Hale giving instructions

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
On Thursday we traveled into Dublin and at lunch. I ate at this place called Boojums which is similar to Costa Vida. It was so good. Then we went into St. Patrick's Cathedral. The sound in there is amazing and it was so cool looking.  We practiced for a little and a bunch of people listened then we started performing and even more came. A lot of people in the audience were crying and stayed the whole time during the rehearsal. 

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
After people were thanking us for the spirit they felt. We were able to take pictures and look around this giant building. Afterwards, we handed some flyers out. Elder Smiler had his guitar so people asked him to play and sing so we did.  

Performance at St. Patrick's

Voice of God: "Yes, I want you....Elder Penman..."

Elder Smiler: The Door of Reconciliation (see story at end of blog post)

While we were passing fliers out we also were passing out "He is the Gift" cards which is an amazing Christmas video put out by the church. It hits me so deep every time. All of you should watch it, it’s just on or on . It’s amazing. 

Still capture of "He is The Gift" video

That night we performed in the stake center in Dublin. So many members and non-LDS people came. That night all of the Elders ordered Kebabs to the Hotel. The kebab shop thought it was a joke that we were ordering 16 Kebabs so the called the hotel to ask. I ate a chicken Kebab which tasted amazing.

On Friday, we woke up early and played football in the park by the hotel then traveled across Ireland to Limerick. When we got to Limerick we performed in a mall and had many people come and watch. Then we had an hour lunch break and started the next show with a flash mob. It was awesome. People started videoing us and so many people enjoyed us. That night we performed in the Limerick Building and a lot of people were there and our singing got a little better. We stayed at a New Zealand family’s house and they had grown up with Elder Smiler’s dad. They talked a lot about Australia and New Zealand.
awesome Christmas Jumper!
a well earned lunch

The whole route Elder Penman and Elder Smiler traveled
this week (B pin is under the E pin in Belfast)
588 miles (946 km) in all

Saturday we traveled to Belfast which took a pretty long time. I got to know a lot of the missionaries who are in Ireland. Then that night we performed in the Belfast stake center. That was by far the best program we have done. The spirit was so strong. Through the whole program the spirit was felt. Pretty much all the missionaries were crying. It was awesome. We traveled home with a member and her family. On the way home we stopped at her house and saw the baby cows they had. The baby cows suck on your fingers, it felt way weird.
This week was so fun and Brought members and missionaries closer together. It was an amazing way to start off Christmas!
Elder Penman

Story of the Door of Reconciliation, St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin: 
Door of Reconciliation, St. Patrick's, Dublin
In 1492 two Irish families, the Butlers of Ormonde and the FitzGeralds of Kildare, were involved in a bitter feud. This disagreement centred around the position of Lord Deputy. Both families wanted one of their own to hold the position. In 1492 this tension broke into outright warfare and a small skirmish occured between the two families just outside the city walls.  
The Butlers, realising that the fighting was getting out of control, took refuge in the Chapter House of Saint Patrick's Cathedral. However, the FitzGeralds followed them into the Cathedral and asked them to come out and make peace. The Butlers, afraid that if they did so they would be slaughtered, refused.
As a gesture of good faith the head of the Kildare family, Gerald FitzGerald, ordered that a hole be cut in the door. He then thrust his arm through the door and offered his hand in peace to those on the other side.  Upon seeing this, FitzGerald was willing to risk his arm by putting it through the door the Butlers reasoned that he was serious in his intention. They shook hands through the door, the Butlers emerged from the Chapter House and the two families made peace. 
Today this door is known as the "Door of Reconciliation" and is on display in the Cathedral's north transept. This story also lives on in a famous expression in Ireland "To chance your arm".

Elder and Sister Hale
Note from Sister Sandra Hale (Sr. Missionary assigned to the Choir) about the Ireland Missionary Choir:
Elder Hale and I are traveling with the Mormon Missionary Christmas Choir this week. They will be performing in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast. Tuesday and Wednesday were rehearsal days in Dublin and today they had an early afternoon concert at St. Patrick's cathedral and an evening performance at the Dublin Stake Centre. Tomorrow (Friday) we'll be traveling to Limerick for performances at the Crescent shopping center and the Limerick District Centre and on Saturday the choir has a performance at the Belfast Stake Center. For all of the parents of these performing missionaries, please know that they're working hard and their beautiful performances are putting the Christ back in Christmas! We are loving our time with them. I hope that I've included each missionary in these photos taken on the first day of rehearsals during dinner time. There will be more photos to come.
Note to Elder Penman's Mom from Sister Hale: an absolutely awesome experience. We took videos of all of the numbers and will be working on cleaning them up and posting them over the next while, as we have time. The performances improved with each successive concert and culminated in a brilliant performance on Saturday night in Belfast. The numbers were bright and energetic and full of the Spirit. We saw Heavenly Father magnify the talents of the choir members . . . the improvement from Wednesday night to Friday night was nothing short of miraculous. Many people in the audience were moved to tears.
Note from Elder Brent Hale (Sr. Missionary assigned to the Choir) about the Ireland Missionary Choir:
Here are a few more pictures from today's concert at St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. They sounded beautiful - the sound resonated and filled the cathedral. Visitors reverently stopped to listen. The spirit was magnificent. I took some video, but don't know how it turned out. We are exhausted and headed for bed. I'll let you parents tag your missionaries. More to come later.

Note from Sister Margaret W., member from Belfast, Northern Ireland:
To the parents of all those missionaries in the Ireland Missionary Choir - under the direction of Brother Jamieson from Scotland your sons and daughters did you proud. They brought such a strong spirit with them and everyone performed beautifully. Magnificent experience all round. xx

Note from Sister Christina A., member from Belfast, Northern Ireland:
Elder Penman came to stay with us on the Friday night after the choir, with his companion Elder Smiler! They are both such great missionaries and your son couldn't have been more polite!! They are such a laugh. He got photos with us, so he will probably send them on to you. He was fab!