Thursday, December 25, 2014

Special song from the Missionary Christmas Devtionals, lyrics written by Sister Hanks

A special moment captured at each of the devotionals: Missionaries singing a song Sister Hanks wrote upon the birth of the Hanks' first child. 

May you all have a beautiful and Christ filled Christmas!

One Little Angel
(Liz Hanks, for Emily 1985)

One little angel, polishing the stars
Up in the heavens, working very hard
This little angel has a very special job
She will polish all the stars for God

All heaven waited for a special birth
Our Brother Jesus was coming here to earth
Each angel hoped to send a gift – it must be from the heart
Of this the little angel wished a part

All day she polished a great enormous star
Light from one of this size is sure to travel far
She held it over Bethlehem for all the world to see
This is where the new Christ child will be

Shining over Bethlehem for all the world to see

This, dear Jesus, is your gift from me
From the Birmingham meeting (Southern areas):
From the Huntsville meeting (Northern areas):

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Party FUN!

There were two parties for the entire mission - one for the southern areas of the mission and one for the northern.  They each started out with President and Sister Hanks conducting a wonderful and ​spiritual devotional, followed by great lunches (we've got lots of pictures of missionaries eating and having great contacts with friends), followed by talent shows (we'll have multiple albums depicting those many different talents), and then closing with the Carbs and Candy Loading before the movie that Sister Hanks selected for the missionaries to see: Frozen. 

The talented missionairies of the NORTHERN ZONES (HSV North and Southeast, Madison, Tupelo North and South zones)

Ladies and Gentlemen, the talented missionaries of the Northern zones at their Christmas Talent Show!

The talented missionaries of the SOUTHERN zones! (Birmingham Northeast and Central zones, Montgomery North and South and Bessemer East and West zones)

Ladies and Gentlemen, the talented Missionaries of the Southern zones at their Christmas Talent Show!

Let's get the party started in Huntsville! NORTHERN AREA (zones included: HSV North and Southeast, Madison, Tupelo North and South zones)

Here's some of your favorite missionaries, getting ready to party like it's Christmas!

Getting the party started in the Huntsville Area:

Candy and Carb loading before the movie FROZEN in Huntsville!

Pre-movie munchies in Huntsville!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Let's get the Birmingham Party started! SOUTHERN AREA (Zones included: Birmingham Northeast and Central zones, Montgomery North and South and Bessemer East and West zones)

Here's some of your favorite missionaries, getting ready to party like it's Christmas!

Getting the party started in the Birmingham Area:

Carb loading before watching FROZEN in Birmingham!

Yes, we feed your missionaries- lots of good Southern home cookin'!  YUM :)

Pre-movie munchies in the Birmingham Zone:

Christmas is the BLOG!

Get Ready!!! SO MANY PICTURES are coming your way! 
We've got Christmas parties, talent shows, Missionary style carb loading, and MORE!  We'll do our best to label the areas the pictures were taken from so you'll have an idea of if your missionary is in the slideshows or not. But there are just SO MANY....
Hold on to your Santa hats and get ready for the 1,000+ picture avalanche  :)
Merry Christmas!
Sister Austin, Blog Moderator


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Missionary Selfie at the Birmingham Temple!

Love those bright faces and bright spirits!

Temple Trip with the Bessemer West, Tupelo South and Huntsville Southeast Zones

A special treat from the departing missionaries at the 12/10/2014 meeting

Abide With Me 'Tis Eventide sung by the departing missionaries at the 12/10/2014 transfer meeting - with an additional verse written by Sister Sheri Millard and Hermana Aubryann McClune - piano played by Sister Millard

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

From Alabama (and a little bit o' Mississippi) to you, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Zone Conferences!

Tupelo Zone Conference

Birmingham Zone Conference

Montgomery Zone Conference
Bessemer Zone Conference
Huntsville Zone Conference

Sunday, November 23, 2014

October 2014 Transfers!

Hello!  Sorry it's been awhile since the last post! I hope to make up for that this week by bringing you tons of photos of your favorite missionaries!  Stay tuned for all kinds of Zone Conference fun! 

But first, I bring you...October 2014 Transfers!

Friday, October 10, 2014

P-Day at Redstone Arsenal

Huntsville North Zone serves six units that more or less surround the Redstone Arsenal, home of the Marshall Space Flight Center (and Space Camp) as well as major US Army Commands and units.  Many members work on or are contracted to Federal agencies located there, and as such enjoy access to all its facilities.  Two weeks ago, just prior to transfers, one of those members provided a discounted pass good for up to 75 games at the Arsenal’s bowling alley. 

Seeing an opportunity to build unity and camaraderie within the newly reconstituted zone after Transfers, Zone Leaders arranged for all 25 missionaries to gain access to the Arsenal and to the bowling alley for two hours Monday afternoon.  Having the alleys almost to themselves for the first hour, it was pure fun; once the alleys began to fill, members from the area as well as intrigued random other bowlers stopped to visit and enjoy the energy that the missionaries brought. 

Anyone who happens to glance at the pictures of the scoreboards will soon realize that there was far more energy and excitement than bowling prowess.  But, in the end , keeping score isn’t something that we really do anyway!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A rare photo of Sister Austin

Hi, Sister Austin, Blog Moderator here.  Most of the time I'm thrilled to be doing the behind the scenes work on the blog.  However, that means that most of the time the missionaries in the Alabama Birmingham Mission have no idea who I am!  

One day I was in Walmart, in the pet food aisle, trying to decide what brand of food to get for my picky cat.  I hear a voice say "I really love your skirt!" I turn and see two sister missionaries! Turns out they were contacting in Walmart and decided to try talking to me (thinking I was a nonmember).  It's always fun to tell them not only am I already LDS, but I'm the also the mission blog moderator because they always respond the same way: "No way!" 

These two sweet sisters then wanted to get a photo with me, which I promised to post on the blog.  So here it is!  Two sister missionaries and Sister Austin.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mission Tour By Elder Zwick of The Seventy

"We love you trusted friends!  ROLL TIDE!" - Elder Zwick

On Sunday evening, September 7, 2014 Elder W. Craig Zwick of the First Quorum of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Jan Zwick arrived in Birmingham at the start of a five day Mission Tour.  He also serves as a Counsellor in the Southeast Area Presidency and our Mission is one of 18 in the Area.  Furthermore, they had recently completed an emergency 2.5 month assignment presiding over missionary work in the Caribbean and we anticipated their arrival with great enthusiasm.  We remembered Elder Zwick’s “target of opportunity” visit to the Alabama Birmingham Mission last January as filled with spiritual energy, enthusiasm and instruction and we weren’t disappointed this time either. 

Just to give you an idea of how much General Authorities put into everyday of their consecrated and sacrificial service, here’s a review of the Tour, characterized throughout by excitement, energy, enthusiasm and enlightment:

Sunday evening arrival, dinner and discussion about the objectives of the Tour and the vision for the mission, planning the actual parts of the tour, and other conversations at the Mission Home.

Monday, visits and interviews with individual missionaries and companionships, visits to missionary apartments, tour and inspection of the operations of the Mission Office and overnight at the Mission Home.

Tuesday morning, with an early departure from Birmingham, drove north to Huntsville where a multi-zone conference – including Tupelo, Madison and Huntsville Zones – was held at the Huntsville Stake Center from 1000 to 1600.  The Zone Conference included a delightful luncheon prepared by a Missionary Mothers Group, with each Missionary Mom identify her missionary and where they were serving.  Naturally, there was much “I have a cousin/brother/sister/friend serving in the same mission as your son/daughter” small-world Church conversation that continued after the traditional thank-you singing of “We’ll bring the World His Truth.”  It seemed even more meaningful when it was being sung to all the Missionary Mothers.

Tuesday evening, began with an early dinner with each of the three Stake Presidents and their wives, followed by a two hour devotional with members drawn from all three stakes in the northern tier of the Mission.

Wednesday morning, started with another early morning departure, this time going south to Birmingham for the Mission Leadership Council and luncheon.  Then, departing for Bessemer, AL for an early dinner with each of the three southern tier Stake Presidents and their wives followed by yet another adult member devotional that evening and return to Birmingham.

Thursday morning, another early start with another multi-zone conference representing Birmingham, Bessemer and Montgomery, lunch sandwiched in between sessions of this conference, followed by a quick trip to the Birmingham airport for the Zwick’s return flight to Salt Lake City in time to perform a sealing Friday morning at the Salt Lake Temple and preparations for the next week. 

All this against the backdrop of the “regular” labors, Elder Zwick is also of currently serving as an Assistant Executive Director of both the Missionary Department and the Correlation Department of The Church in addition to his service in our Area Presidency. 

Elder and Sister Zwick Visit to Huntsville

Elder Zwick with the Mission Leadership Council

Elder Zwick's Northern Tier Multi-Zone Conference

Elder Zwick's Southern Tier Multi-Zone Conference in Birmingham

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sister Missionaries at Time Out For Women in Birmingham!

Hi y'all, Sister Austin, Blog Moderator, here.  This past weekend I was able to attend Time Out for Women (a motivational/spiritual miniconference for women presented by Deseret Book) in Birmingham.  While I was there, I saw a few of our Sister Missionaries also in attendance!  I asked them if I could take their pictures and post them on the blog.  

Most of the work I do on the blog is technical work in the background.  I rely on others in the mission to send in the pictures and descriptions of events.  So I was geekishly excited to be the one taking the picture and to meet the missionaries I often only know through pictures. They were very sweet and there was much hugging :)

Also, to the parents and family out there, the Sisters say "Hi!" and that they loved the event.

(I'm sure there were more but these were the only companionships I could find.)

Birmingham Zone Conference

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Senior Couple Spotlight: The Kellys

Elder Rodney and Sister Bonnie Kelly
Three months before the sixth year anniversary of being called as a Bishop in Tampa FL, retired Marine Corps Major Rod Kelly was prompted that he and his wife should serve a mission.    Papers went in soon thereafter and just weeks after that release, Elder Rodney and Sister Bonnie Kelly departed for the Missionary Training Center, en route to service as a Military Relations Senior Couple at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.  They’ll be completing a year of their service in September 2014.

In retrospect, perhaps they could have seen it coming even sooner: as converts in adulthood, they had already sent off two sons and two daughters on missions of their own – sons to Dallas TX and Japan; daughters to Louisiana and Chile.  As a military family, they all had considerable experience with relocations to distant places.  Further, as is most often the case in military units of the Church, opportunities for service abounded.  Elder Kelly served as a Counselor in four bishoprics before his own, as well as having been a Scoutmaster, Young Men’s Counselor, Elders Quorum President, Executive Secretary, five times as a ward clerk: clearly he was no stranger to demanding callings in The Church.   Sister Kelly, enjoyed the same levels and types of callings as well: Young Women’s President and counsellor, Relief Society President and counsellor, nine years as a Gospel Principles teacher  (not to mention those six children).  

Current calling?  Absolutely the best calling in The Church

Monday, September 15, 2014

August Baptisms!

Welcome to all of our new friends in the Church!  What beautiful glowing faces!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

July Transfers Part I

Still playing catch up!  Hence the July September.  

We'll get up to date eventually.  In the meanwhile, enjoy!

- Sister Austin

Leaving on a Jet Plane!

July Transfers Part II- here come the New Arrivals!!!

New Arrivals With President and Sister Hanks

New Arrivals with their companions

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sister Jones, the Mission Nurse, teaches missionaries about stress

In the middle of a day long zone conference, sometimes the message is lost on administrative and health issues.

Recognizing this, Sister Jones - the Mission Nurse - and her husband come up with entertaining and imaginative ways of getting their message across - with maybe a little gentle skewering of the people she depicts.  This video is the introduction to a presentation on dealing with the inevitable stress that many missionaries feel in their daily lives.  In this video, you can begin to understand the approaches that the mission leadership try to help alleviate it without contributing to it:

  • The Mission President who is always emphasizing the spreading of the Gospel among everyone encountered.
  • The Mission President's wife who is ALWAYS so upbeat and cheerleading!
  • The 1st Counsellor who also does a lot of the picture taking for the blog
  • The Mission Secretary whose continuously upbeat phone answering are on display.
  • The Car Czar who's always emphasizing the safety dimension,
  • The Financial Clerk, whose able to manage to get the right amount of money to the right missionary all the time.
  • The Housing Clerk, whose real emphasis is on getting and maintaining clean apartments. 
  • And, of course, the Mission Nurse Herself.

Hope you find it as enjoyable as the Elders and Sisters!

From Sister Jones on Stress 1

Monday, September 1, 2014

June Temple Trip Part I

Note from Sister Austin: Sorry the blog has been inactive for song!  Life got in the way for a few weeks, but I'm back on task with lots of new and exciting content for you from the Alabama Birmingham Mission!  Keep checking back because there should be new stuff on the blog EVERY SINGLE DAY THIS WEEK :)

Also, to make it up to you, I give you two slideshows of our amazing missionaries on their June Temple Trip!

June Temple Trip Part II

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Welcome to the South Y'all...

It should come as no small surprise that this Mission – just like any other Mission – has its share of peculiarities.  Perhaps some of those peculiar things in far flung places in Alabama, Mississippi, and smaller portions of Georgia and Tennessee might be expected to be a little more peculiar than other places.  That remains to be seen. 

Come to think of it, perhaps there are places and things of such peculiar interest in the hometowns of Alabama Birmingham missionaries from around the country and the world that families would like to have posted on this blog.  If so, fire away with your photography and commentary. 

That’s what we’re going to be doing on a somewhat irregular basis from here.  We hope that you’ll enjoy these aspects of life among This Peculiar People here in a somewhat peculiar place.  

To view all of these peculiarities, simply click the Label “Only In the South”

Only in the South: Some fun from the the Mission Presidency at the Highland Home Branch

Highland Home:

Highland Home is one of the more remote branches within the Mission, located some forty miles below Montgomery in the southern end near the border with the Tallahassee Florida Mission.  It’s pretty much off the beaten track of the Interstate system throughout Alabama (no, not all directions to meeting houses include such phrases as “….. then turn onto the dirt road….”) 

One of President Hanks’ counselors, setting out to visit two Elders in Highland Home planned to not only meet with them, but also to have lunch with them at a place of their choice.  The following is the conversation, drawn from voice mails left between busy people:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Great article on the Sister Missionaries in Alexander City!

"Whether you are attending an event, shopping or just been out and about you may have encountered two young ladies who are doing Christ’s work. 

(Picture credit:
Sister Mallory Butterfield and Sister Danielle Gomm are young Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints missionaries who have been assigned to the Alexander City area. They say that they have enjoyed meeting the people, sharing a message and helping people in any way that they can."

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July Mission Leadership Council

Mission Leadership Council (MLC) and Zone Training - July 2014

Previously, we have displayed photos of Mission Leadership Councils without much in the way of explanation, since what MLC’s are, when they started, who goes and such things were previously described. 

July 4th Huntsville Zone Conference

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Alabama Fireflies!

You can call them Fireflies, Lightning Bugs, Mood bugs, or Glowflies, but whatever you call them, these sparkly little bugs are part of the South every day at dusk. Your missionaries have seen them in every area of our mission. They've kept them company as they've been out bicycling from house to house, appointment to appointment. And they are a glimmer (pun intended) of the beauty of the South!  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Alabama Birmingham Mini Missions!

Missionaries in the three Huntsville area Zones of Madison, Huntsville North and Huntsville Southeast were grateful for the opportunity to help 16 and 17 year old youth to become more familiar with missionary life as they prepare themselves for their next big steps: into the mission field themselves!