Tuesday, December 9, 2014

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 LDS.org or on http://www.mormon.org/christmas?cid=HPFR112814529 . 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!


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