Well, if one has to be away from family for Christmas, I think the best place to be is in London!! The highlight of our holiday was skyping with all of our children and grandchildren and chatting with our parents on the phone! It did our hearts good to see you all and feel of your goodness and love. And we were especially grateful to be able to see our little Sam! He is doing well and Julie looks great! We are sooo very grateful that everything went well for them.
We had a wonderful week of visits and then we took off early Christmas Eve morning to head to London. We arrived in quick fashion as most businesses were closed and very few people were on the motorway. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch at President and Sister Stevens beautiful flat with almost all of the senior couples who are serving in the England London Mission! In fact, we met the Baxters. They are serving as Self Reliance missionaries. Sister Baxter is Steve Bentley's sister! (Steve and his wife Kris are in our Orem ward and are serving a mission in the Dominican Republic!) We also met up again with Elder and Sister Cardall. They are serving as the directors of the Hyde Park Visitors Center and will be leaving next week. (Sister Cardall is a very close friend of Scott Rackham's mother! also in our Orem ward). It was so fun to mingle and chat with Senior missionaries! It's like old home week even though some we have just met. There is an instant bond and connection with these lovely people who are doing the same thing we are doing! Then we were able to attend a Christmas Concert at Royal Albert Hall, an absolutely gorgeous building where we were entertained by a choir and an orchestra all decked out in white wigs, knickered trousers and tailed coats. The director played the harpsichord as he directed the choir. Every few numbers, the whole audience arose and sang along for Christmas carols, such as, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, Good King Wenceslas, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and such. It was inspiring to me to be singing about the Savior with a building full of Christian people not of our faith! We were able to go with several of the senior missionaries which made it even more special. Following the concert, we checked into our hotel, The Rembrandt (very beautiful by the way), and then walked down the street to see Harrod's Christmas window displays. They were brilliant! Brad especially loved the window with a white Bentley in it! (In fact, other than the Hyde Park Chapel, Brad's favorite things to see in South Kensington are the Ferrari dealership, the Lamberghini dealership, and the Bentley dealership!) We topped our evening off with pizza! Most of the people in the restaurant were Indians or Muslims. I guess the Christians were home with their families for Christmas! It was a lonely Christmas as we missed all our littles, but we felt the love of the Savior!
We missed our teaching evening with our friends the Tillbrooks, but they were in the emergency room with their two year old. But we had the tender experience to go to the hospital and Brad was able to give their little boy a blessing. You know sometimes the service seems very small, but we feel the love of the Lord and are so happy in our service! What a blessing this mission has been for the two of us!
On Sunday, we got to teach the Sunbeam class. What a treat! I'm going to have to record these littles speaking in an English accent. Our lesson was on the Christmas story. We had the kids act out the nativity and they wanted to do it over and over. Leila Johnson was playing Mary and Brad was the innkeeper. When she looked up into his face with her beautiful brown eyes and said, "Please can we live with you?", Brad turned to me and said, "She is just so cute, I can't say no!"
We love and appreciate all of you so very much. We appreciate your love and your support to us. Family is the greatest thing there is and it is because of the Savior, Jesus Christ, that we can be together forever. What a blessing it is for us to teach this to the Heavenly Father's children here!
With all our love,
Dad and mom
Papa and grandma
inside Royal Albert Hall in London
the choir and orchestra in Royal Albert Hall
outside of Royal Albert Hall
Leila Johnson and Nate Lyon playing Joseph and Mary. Nate insisted that he be Joseph and Leila to be Mary. Hmmmmm, could there be a budding romance in the primary?