Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Missionary Life

What an incredible week!!!  We are trying to figure out what the Lord wants us to do in this beautiful Shire!  We love the people instantly and find them very kind and loving.  The youth are amazing and so eager to eat and learn! 
Monday nights we have FHE with the young single adults.  Last week we got to know them a bit better and they learned more about us.  It's amazing how food and games will open their mouths and hearts to us and to each other.  Yesterday, we talked about General Conference and how we can make it a revelatory experience.  Most of the young people were new converts and hadn't really experienced general conference, so it was a very tender spiritual experience for us.  We learned from Elder Hales, that the most important part of conference is what we do after it is over.  The process is Seek, Receive and Act.  Being in the mission field, so far from SLC we will have to go to the church to watch the sessions--what a choice experience.
This past week we had visits during the day from some of the young single adults.  There are some who are very needy and it is an opportunity for us to reach out to them in love.  As I listen to their stories, I am overwhelmed with how blessed we have been throughout our lives.
Wednesday morning we attended a Methodist Church Coffee and Cakes social!  The church is across the street from our house and we use their parking lot for the FHE and Institute meetings.  We tried several times to meet Mike Sharp, the man we pay money to each month to rent the parking lot.  He was there!!!  What a pleasant chap!  We loved him instantly!  He was so friendly and as we sat and chatted, several of the other members joined our table.  The minister who is not especially fond of "Mormons" was there and Mike warned us that she might not be very hospitable.  After almost an hour of chatting with almost everyone there, the minister came and sat at our table.  As we asked about her, her education, family, and such, she warmed right up and was very kind.  We asked her about combining our efforts to serve the community in some way.  She was so grateful and told us about an opportunity in the winter to feed the homeless.  She took our contact information and was very anxious to have us help them.  So we will follow up in a month.  Our morning was delightful and we felt we had made many new friends.  They were so happy we had come!
We have met our neighbors, wonderful people!  As we took treats to them, they were so anxious to let us in their homes and visit with us.  There are two sweet little girls in the family next door, Isabelle and Alicia.  I loved them instantly.  I told them I would like to adopt them as my granddaughters as I miss my own little ones so intensely.  We try to find opportunities to "run into them" often.
Last week we participated in Zone Conference, something I have heard of often from missionary sons.  We were able to hear from President and Sister Stevens.  We were so inspired!  Pres. Stevens talked about Peter and the experience of walking on the water.  Peter was so anxious to get out of the boat and walk to the Savior, but as we know, when he looked down and saw the waves, and heard the wind, he began to sink.  Through the Savior's strong and loving arm, he was saved and brought back to the boat.  Likening Peter's experience to missionaries, we all need to get out of the boat.  It is out of our comfort zone, it can be daunting and frightening, but to get to the Savior, we need to get out of the boat.  I left determined to get out of the boat!
We met with our Cambridge Ward Bishop, a wonderful, inspired man from Spain.  He gave us a list of people in the area to fellowship.  He wants us to teach a temple prep class.  We are teaching with the Sister missionaries one day a week in a village close by--two wonderful recent converts--who need to be strengthened by the good word of God!
We are loving our mission.  We find as we pray to be guided by the Spirit on what we should accomplish each day, ideas come, opportunities come, and we feel uplifted and so joyful!  The gospel is alive and well in Cambridge!  There is a lot to do.  We are finding that so many converts are still very young in the gospel and need effective gospel teaching.  We love the Lord!  Jesus is the Christ!  We love  you and appreciate your love and support of us!  And we LOVE emails!!!!  WE MISS YOU ALL! 
What we see along our walk!  Brad and I walk MWF along some gorgeous areas.  I've set a goal Heaz and Becca  to run TThS


A local pub just down the street from our house
Chloe, we have a pantry under the stairs that looks just like the cl

Our backyard.  The black squirrel hangs out by the birdfeeders in the tree on the right

Our FHE group!  New and different YSA every week; left to right: Elder Kendall, Elder Sunglau, Paul Wood, Arianne Aquino, Sister Shamukega, Sister Fav, Emily Sarah Anderson, Keirin Barron

 Our little neighbors set out a feeder for a hedge hog that comes to their yard!  We are trying to see if we can spot the little fellow!!  We also have a black squirrel in our yard!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Our New Home

     WOW!  What a week!  Have you ever tried to drink out of a fire hose?  We were supposed to come to an English speaking mission!  Then why can't I understand what anyone is saying?  I finally decided I have to ask people to write their names down!  I have a brand new appreciation for missionaries who are going to foreign language countries!  I have so much respect for them!
     We left Salt Lake City early Monday morning (Sept. 14), had a layover in Philedelphia and then flew to Heathrow Airport in London.  We had about 5 hours of sleep in two nights, so we were pretty groggy when we landed.  But as I looked out of the airplane window and saw the beautiful English countryside, my heart went out to Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young, John Taylor and the rest of the 11 Apostles who went to England, and felt a sacredness about this land and the work they did here.  I felt fired up and ready to convert the whole country, if I could just keep my eyes open!!!
     We were met by Elder Gayle from the mission office.  What a great guy!  We got all of our over weight bags into the mission van and headed toward Hyde Park to the mission office!  It was overcast and quite cold, but so beautiful!  We were greeted by Sister Gayle and Elder and Sister Williams who were the 4 office missionaries!  What a party!  They had a breakfast spread set out for us and made us feel so wanted!  Then we got to meet President Mark and Sister Jean Stevens!  Wow, I felt I had met the angels! We felt instantly of their love and genuine goodness.  How blessed we are to be led by them.  They were excited that we knew Matt and Lisa Richardson and Stacy Edgington.
     We had to apply at the post office for a BMP card for whatever reason and were told that we couldn't get it until Sept. 17 which meant that we would have to come back into London to get it.  We headed to the post office and talked to the manager.  He was so kind.  As they looked through the stack of envelopes, we silently prayed that ours would be there.  Yes, they were there! 
     When we got back to the mission home we met the Taylors, the couple we were replacing.  They are from Kaysville, Utah.  We drove to Cambridge, our new area.  They had cleaned the home and had it very inviting for us and for the next two days, they told us about the people, and the area.  They took us to the grocery stores, the post office, and other shops that we would need.  The center of town is about a 10 minute walk from our home.  It is absolutely beautiful.  It has the typical English charm of row houses, narrow cobbled streets, quaint little shops, and about a million bikes, all riding on the wrong side of the street, I mean the left side of the street.  The drivers are very courteous and proficient.  When you cross the street, you need to be sure to look right, not just left.
     The home is old and lovely.  It has kind of a musty smell, but that comes from the high humidity.  We park in the back and come through a wooden door.  We walk through a small and absolutely lovely garden area maybe about 10 feet wide and 15 feet long.  We enter into a little kitchen with a tiled floor and light oak cabinets.  It looks as if it has been recently renovated.  There is a single sink, an electric flat cooktop stove, a small oven with a warming oven above, a small refrigerator with a small freezer underneath, a dishwasher, and an very small combination washer/dryer combo.  The idea is that the same machine will work first as a washer and then as a dryer, but the dryer part doesn't work, so we can put the clothes on an outside clothesline and pray for a sunny day, or hang them on a clothesline in the spare bedroom and use them in 2 weeks.  It doesn't really take that long.  Everything just kind of feels moist.  The home is used as the YSA center, so the living room is quite large with a settee (sofa).  It has been well used!, some side chairs, and table and chairs.  There is a TV screen which is used to watch videos from LDS.org, an electric keyboard and small side tables.  The floor is a light oak wood floor.  There are two fireplaces in the room that have been covered.  In fact there is a fireplace is each room, so I'm sure in days long passed, the home was heated with wood or coal in these very quaint little fireplaces.  We climb up a very narrow and steep stairway to get upstairs.  There are three bedrooms and a small bathroom.  Our bedroom we told had a double bed, but it is about the size of a queen size bed.  The middle bedroom has a single bed and the extra bedroom is a storage/clothes drying room.  The home is heated by a boiler and each room has a radiator type heater in it. 
     We have discovered that it is very cold here.  I think it will take a while for me to grow fur  or artic skin to acclimate to the temperature and humidity.  It is gorgeous here.  I can't wait to plant a hydrangea plant here in the spring and some strawberries.  We went and met our neighbors the other night.  One neighbor said her mother watches her girls on Wednesdays and loves gardening.  I'm anxious to chat with her.  We are trying to friendship our neighbors and have found them to be very
 wonderful, warm people.
     I tried to add video, but it was just too large of a file, so you get the picture version!  My next blog will be about the mission and what we will be doing!  It is fabulous being here in this beautiful place!  We love it and my companion is fabulous!!!!

Our living room/institute room

our delightful kitchen!

Our back yard garden, looking at the back door  We have a cluster of squirrels living here!  The black one is our favorite!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Entering the MTC

We left for the Provo MTC on Monday morning, August 31, 2015!  The Bishop family and Heather and Asher were there to send us off.  We felt like we were going to our first day of school!!!


Standing at the world map in the MTC pointing to the England London mission

We ran into Elder Jake Ware in the cafeteria and took a picture before we were told we weren't supposed to take pictures in the cafeteria

This is one of our favorite pictures.  The thing that made it special was this picture was donated to the MTC by our dear friends, Layne and Mary Cannon!

We felt like celebraties!  We were treated with such respect everywhere we went.  The MTC was an experience like no other, one that changed our lives.  We went every morning at 8 and finished classes at 4:30, and we were inspired and exhausted!  We were in a group of about 45 couples and 14 single sisters.  Even though we only knew them a few days, we feel like eternal friends!  The whole experience was one of spiritual uplift.  The most tender experience for us was when we had the chance to teach the gospel in the TRC.  We were assigned to an investigator (a volunteer who acted as if they were not a member of the Church)  We were to get to know and understand them for about 15 minutes and then proceed to teach them a discussion based upon the assessed needs and observations we felt inspired to do for 30 minutes.  We were told as senior missionaries that we had lived the gospel all of our lives so we didn't focus on learning the discussions, but rather how to teach.  We had homework every night to read and study from Preach My Gospel.  Wow! what an inspired book!  We had been assigned prior to entering the MTC to read the Book of Mormon again and several chapters of Preach My Gospel.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks was one of our devotional speakers and he told us that we need to teach by the spirit or we cannot teach.  Brad and I were both nervous for our first teaching opportunity, but it proved to be the highlight of our MTC experience (as Nate told us it would be!).  As we prepared, and prayerfully approached our investigators, we found that as we opened our mouths, the Lord filled us with what we were to teach!  It was an incredibly humbling experience.
Bishop Causse from the Presiding Bishopric and his lovely wife spoke at another of the devotionals.  They were so inspiring.  They were very humble and taught us to be bold missionaries, by being humble and obedient.  A mission is not about us, it is about the Lord Jesus Christ.  After the devotional I felt so buoyed up, I felt as though I could convert the whole island of Great Britain!!!!

After we finished class, because we were staying at our own home, we were able to visit each of our children who live close.  They fixed us dinner and we had a chance to share a missionary discussion.  The lessons lasted maybe 1 1/2 minutes!  But what a precious time for grandpa and grandma!!!

Avery loved Grandma's missionary tag!

Two of our morning MTC instructors, Sister Patino and Brother Keddington.  We loved them both!

Our district!!!  From left to right; the Randalls, the Phaers, the Bairds, the Jackmans, Sister Yazzie, our afternoon instructor, the Bells, the Parks, and the Reeds

Teaching Keaton (and Tucker) about the Restoration


Teaching McKinley the Plan of Salvation