Friday, February 26, 2016

What a fantastic week!!!!

 Dear family and friends,

What a fantastic week!!!!!  It started out with a FHE with Bishop Sanz and his wife Mila, and their 7 year old daughter Andrea.  They shared their dating and courtship story.  This was very appropriate for Valentine’s Day.  The young adults loved it!  One of our YSA’s is just coming back to church.  He told Sister Sanz that he wanted what they have.  He was so inspired, as were all who attended.  We had a group of 21.  After the discussion we had treats and a game of “signs” and we had a blast.  (I haven’t played that game since girl’s camp!!!!)  It gave the Bishop the opportunity to mingle with the YSA’s and relate to them as friends.

We experienced a miracle this week.  Our missionary district meeting was held on Thursday.  I had planned a girl’s outing with our sweet neighbors, Elizabeth Steen and her two daughters, Alicia (age 7) and Isabelle (age 5).  We went to a nearby park, then to see the girls school and then to Costa to get hot chocolate and cake!  I have grown to love these little girls like my own.  Elizabeth is so kind, knowing how I miss my grandchildren so much, so she includes me in things!  Well, Brad had to go pick up the Bury Elders at the train station for the district meeting.  They were so excited to tell him all about a new baptismal candidate in their area, a man named David.  He showed up at church about a month ago and wanted to learn about the gospel, so they taught him.  One Sunday, the priesthood lesson was on priesthood blessings.  After the meeting, David approached the Elder’s Quorum President and told him he had a knowledge and testimony of priesthood power.  Quite surprised, for someone just introduced to the church, the EQ President asked him about it.  He said he had been in the hospital visiting a friend of his (he was the landlord).  She was pregnant and suffering from pre-clampsya and was very ill.  Then he said this tall American came in and asked if he could give her a priesthood blessing.  The American explained what a priesthood blessing was and how it was administered and invited David to stay in the room while he gave it to her.  After he left, David said, Keisha was miraculously healed.  He had never seen anything like it, and knew it was truly a miracle.  After the Elder’s finished the story, Brad asked if David was at Addenbrooks Hospital and if the mother was Keisha Cosette?  Yes, to both questions.  Brad then said, I was the tall American!  We had been asked to go the hospital that day to visit a young unwed mother who was very ill.  She lives in another village and in another ward and the Bishop couldn’t get there to see her.  We waited there that day (probably in October) for several hours.  The nurses kept putting us off, I’m sure for Keisha’s safety because she didn’t know who we were.  Well, we were almost ready to leave, when for the last time we stepped into the room and asked Keisha if Brad could give her a blessing, as we were missionaries from her church.  She finally agreed.  We left shortly thereafter.  We did go see Keisha a couple more times and did see her after she had the baby.  A miracle, yes! We thought we had wasted nearly a whole day waiting, and yet apparently, the Lord knew what needed to happen.  This touched David’s heart.  Whether it had anything to do with his conversion, we don’t know, but he definitely felt and witnessed a miracle that day.

Well, this was our big week!  We taught the Word of Wisdom to our two investigators, both Andrew and to Lucy.  Lucy is so close to baptism, in fact we challenged her to be baptized in March.  She is praying and thinking about it.  We can see the change in her and she can feel the change.  We had a sweet member of our ward with us during the discussion, (Fiona Boston).  She was wonderful and shared her testimony of joining the church and having to give up her tea, and what a blessing that has been in her life.   Andrew didn’t take it so well.  He is a dedicated coffee drinker and likes his glass of whiskey every other week or so.  He has never gotten drunk, and doesn’t see the reason to quit drinking.  We told him, it is obedience!  He said, this is going to be a hard one!  I thought of the Savior’s words, that this one goeth not out but by fasting and prayer.  I think it is going to take some time with him. 

We have become very close to both of these families!  Andrew loves golf and he and Brad have set up a tee time with another member of our ward to play this Friday.  You would think that Andrew just discovered King Tut’s tomb!!!  He is so excited to have a friend to go golfing with him.  He has two sets of clubs.  He is about Brad’s height, so the clubs will work for Brad.   Who would have thought that golfing is part of missionary work!!!!!!  (We are thinking that maybe they can strike a deal about giving up the alcohol)

We try to meet each week with inactive members, kind of on a regular basis.  It is amazing how much we love them and have gotten very close to them.  Mike and Sandra Budd and their son David have become wonderful friends.  Mike is not a member and Sandra and David are not active.  They are some of the kindest people I have met in this country.  They are so welcoming and we enjoy their friendship so much.  We also met Fabiola a lovely lady from Brazil.  Her son is one of our YSA’s who is just coming back to church.  She is a member, but has gone back to the Catholic faith. The longer we talked, the more she warmed up to us and just before we left, she pulled out her computer and showed us on facebook a picture of the missionary who baptized her.  We invited her to come back to church!  With her son’s encouragement, we are hoping she will return.  There is a lot of work to do, and WE LOVE  IT!!!

My thought for the week is from President Howard W. Hunter.  How I loved this great prophet.  “The gospel of Jesus Christ is the divine plan for that spiritual growth eternally.  It is more than a code of ethics.  It is more than an ideal social order.  It is more than positive thinking about self-improvement and determination.  The gospel is the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ with his priesthood and sustenance and with the Holy Spirit.”   

I know this to be true.  Every day, I cherish more and more my membership in this glorious church, and I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  May you all know of our deep love for you all who have been such a strength to us.  We love you all!

Happy Birthday this week to Scott Miles (February 23) and Avery Jackman (February 27).  We are so grateful for these two very special members of our family!  They have brought us such joy and happiness!  We love you both!!!!!
With all of our love,
Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Elder and Sister Jackman

Bishop and Mila Sanz and Andrea at FHE

Our FHE "signs" game

Alicia and Isabelle Steens at Costa for girl's day out

funeral of Barry Palmer--the pall bearers lower the casket into the ground with straps.  There is no concrete vault.  It is lowered right onto the ground.  Then the family throw handfuls of soil on the casket.

Vicki with Westin McCoy Bateman--3 days old.  I had to snuggle this little guy because I miss my own little grandsons so!  What a blessed experience!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

Dear family and friends,
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
Roses are Red
Violets are blue
You are wonderful
And we love everybody!!!!!
Our FHE!!  We love to play games!!!
So funny!!  I get laughing so hard, the tears come!!!  Can you believe it?
Sister Nebeker's and Elder Tamilarason's farewell  front row Sister Nebeker, Sister Lawler
from left to right: me, Emily Anderson, Chris Matthewman, Cheryl Li, Elder Tamilarason, Lindsay Lucas, Elder Aurus, Carl Hutber (ward mission leader) back row; Will Baistow, Dan Lucas, Kalil Studier, Sam Dearden, Madeleine Ary

Sister Nebeker and Sister Lawler

It’s funny, but as I start writing my weekly blog, I have to look at my planner to see what has happened!  It’s amazing how each day just rolls into the next day, and the week flies by.  In talking to one of our Elders today, he made the comment, I can’t even remember what I did each day unless I look at my planner, so it isn’t just an old age thing!!

Our highlight this week was a baptism in Bury St. Edmunds, a village about 25 miles from Cambridge.  Our sweet Elders, Elder Nielsen and Elder Wood were responsible for teaching Nicole.  All the missionaries in Cambridge along with the Zone Leaders participated in the baptism held at the beautiful Bury chapel.  The little chapel was full.  We had two non-members from Cambridge attend.  They were both very inspired by the meeting.  We are hoping that they will soon enter the waters of baptism as well.  I got to accompany the missionaries as they sang, “Because I have been Given Much”, and “I Believe in Christ”.  Sister Nebeker played the violin.  As they sang, the tears just coursed down my cheeks, as I felt the Spirit of these incredible missionaries.  Brad sang with them as well!  It was magnificent!  Following the baptism, a buffet was served and everyone munched and mingled.  There was such a sweet feeling of love.  I told Chris and Lucy (the investigators) that no matter where you go in the world, when you walk into a “Mormon” church, the feeling is the same, a feeling that you have just come home!  They loved the feeling they felt there!

We taught the Tilbrooks the third discussion this week, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It went well, but we still feel like Andrew is just not filled with a desire to believe.  He is such a good and kind man.  We wonder if he is just listening to the gospel because of his wife Gail.  He made the comment that all churches feel as if theirs is the right church, so how do you know?  We told him again about Joseph Smith, that he had the same question.  Andrew needs to ask.  The Lord will tell him!  We reminded him about the priesthood authority restored to the earth.  We also told him that our job is to invite him to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ, by teaching him, but it is the Holy Ghost that converts and testifies.  This week in our planning and study, we feel very strongly we need to teach him the Word of Wisdom.  He enjoys his liquor on occasion and his coffee in the morning.  So this discussion might make or break him.  Our feeling is if he has faith to live the word of wisdom, the Spirit will testify to him of the truthfulness of what we are teaching.  So we’ll let you know how our next visit goes!!

Brad had the opportunity to help dress Barry Palmer, (the dear man who passed away) and move him into his casket.  He went with two other brethren in the ward.  It was a very sacred experience for him, one for which he was very grateful.  He had never done this before and it was a holy experience.

We are teaching a sweet lady in our ward the temple preparation classes.  She is preparing to go to Los Angeles and with her family be sealed to their parents.  She is so anxious to complete the lessons, so she can receive her own endowments.  Because she is going soon, we are giving her an accelerated course!  She has had a very hard life, and we are so very excited for her to be with her family.

We had our last day of cleaning the Methodist church for the homeless housing project this week.  We have come to love these people we serve with!  They asked us if we would be available to help next winter.  Of course!!!!  We feel this has helped us build a bond and friendship with  these wonderful neighbors.

One of our own, our dear Sister Nebeker will be leaving us.  She has served valiantly as a missionary and has made such a positive impact on the members and non- members alike here.  She will be very much missed.  We were able to have an open house Sunday night here with members and investigators here to wish her well.  We love her like a daughter and have learned so much from her enthusiasm, her strict obedience, and her love of the gospel!  Too bad we don’t have any more sons!  She’s a good one!!!  In fact, yesterday, Monday, we went with Sister Nebeker and Sister Lawler to a teaching appointment to a man named David.  As she testified of Joseph Smith and shared the First Vision experience, I think all four of us were emotional.  She even challenged David to baptism, and he was put on date!!!!  What a way to leave the mission!  We are so very proud of her.  David agreed to say the closing prayer, his first time in a public setting.  He was so willing, humble and honest.  He said, “I’m thankful for these sisters and these other two people I don’t know!”  Brad and I were so touched and grateful for this sacred experience!

We love you all so much!!!  We know all of you have been challenged with health issues.  We pray for our babies every day and their parents!  We hope that warmer weather will be just around the corner!

We know our Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us and our needs and desires!  He lives and cares intimately for each one of you.  We pray that you have a great week!  Stay warm!

Love you all,
Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Elder and Sister Jackman
Brad and Vicki

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wow! All we do is eat!!!!!

Dear family and friends,

I wrote up my blog yesterday and tried to insert pictures, and the blog disappeared so I guess I’ll start all over!!!  Sometimes this technology makes me crazy!!  It was a great blog too!  So here goes nothin’!

As I looked over our last week, it seems like all we did was cook and EAT!!!  Now that’s not so terrible, because we have some great memories!  I will just need to up my exercise regime.  Oh brother!  The curse of the Battle of the Bulge!

Monday night is our YSA FHE!  (these acronyms are only decoded by members of the LDS church) We had invited a young man to dinner and several YSA’s came early and we couldn’t let them starve, so luckily I had made a lot of dinner.  After FHE we of course have to have treats.  It’s amazing how much food triggers the vocal chords and the young will really talk!  So I’ve learned that if you want information, just fill the mouth with lots of carbs and sugar!!!!! 

Tuesday we invited dear friends, the Hutbers, for lunch.  We went to Wimpole Hall (say that with an English accent!)  It is an English Trust Estate with acres of lush fields, orchards, and barns.  There is a gorgeous home on the estate and the servants quarters have been turned into a lovely restaurant.  It is here that we had lunch.  Brad had lasagna and I had salmon surrounded by fabulous steamed veggies of every color.  It was wonderful and the company was superb!

Thursday we host our YSA institute and serve dinner before.  You would think these kids have never seen food before!!!  I fixed some CostaVida sweet pork burritos.  I had to explain to the English what they were and how to eat them.  They inhaled them.  And of course after the lesson, the treats come out.  So we all crowd into our little kitchen and watch the chocolate cookies bake.  They devour them as fast as they can come from the oven.  We also buy a lot of milk.  I don’t think these single kids ever drink milk except when they come to our house.  I feel so sorry for them!  Ha ha ha!

Friday night we had two of our YSA’s over to our house. They love to cook and experiment with new recipes, so Justin and Arianne fixed us gourmet mac and cheese with lamb mince.  It was really good.  And of course, Dad Jackman, we had to end the evening with a rousing game of SkipBo!  This was a new experience for them and they loved it.

On Saturday morning we invited a dear friend of ours, Chris, an investigator, over for an American breakfast.  We served him fruit, hot chocolate, ham, eggs, and pancakes.  I had to ask him if he knew what pancakes were.  Well he found out and loved them.  He took all the left overs with him to eat later as a snack!  One thing you need to know about this wonderful young investigator is that he is a graduate of Cambridge Unversity.  He is very smart.  But for an Englishman, he is also very clean and smells nice.  He is kind and very appreciative and he is homeless!  He works at a jam factory.  He has been investigating the church for a few months now and seems to question everything.  He studies religiously all the material the sisters give him and much more.  We worried that maybe he was wanted by the law, so we asked him.  He is not.  We have shared our testimony with him many times.  We told him how President Hinckley was such an advocate for education and improving our situation.  We challenged him to do that.  We had a 3-hour breakfast, and again the power of food loosened his tongue!  It was a delightful morning!

Saturday night we had another YSA come and fix us a Chinese meal with a pork belly roast and all the fixins!  It was also very yummy!  So needless to say, we were grateful that it was Fast Sunday on the Sabbath!!!

We met some wonderful interesting members of our ward this week—a little lady who sailed around the world with her daughter in a 42 ft. boat.  It took them a year!  We were blown away that this little lady did that!  She also got her pilots license and would take her friends flying, but she said, they would only go with her once, so she doesn’t fly anymore!  She is 72 and to look at her you would think she would be the kind that stayed at home to knit!  We were instant friends, and when we saw each other at church it was like old home week!  These people love company and visits!

We had the chance to go to Ely Cathedral with the couple we are teaching, Andrew and Gail Tilbrook for a Candlemas.  The cathedral was filled with 5000 candles which was gorgeous, but I think also provided the heat for the cavernous building.  It was freeezzzing inside, but we sat close to each other and kept fairly warm.  We heard a recitation from the former Arch Bishop of Canterbury and then beautiful choir and organ music.  The acoustics were phenomenal and it was an inspiring evening.  Afterward we introduced ourselves to the Arch Bishop as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I don’t think he was overly impressed until we mentioned that we knew one of his choir members at a Cambridge college, one of our YSA’s.  He immediately opened up and was very cordial and kind.

On Saturday night as well, we were able to participate via Skype with our family to witness the baby blessing of Russell William Jackman, son of Justin and Amber.  Justin gave a beautiful blessing, filled with wonderful council and blessings on this valiant little stripling warrior.  Brian, Nate, and Kent from our family and members of the Bertram family participated along with a member of their ward bishopric.  We were so very touched by this sweet and tender ordinance.

It has been a glorious week!  We love and appreciate you all and are so proud of you and the love you show each other and to us.  We want to wish our Julie a very Happy Birthday on February 12!  We love this beautiful daughter, the mother of 4!  Julie you are a blessing in our lives and we are so grateful for you and noble way you love and care for your sweet family!

A closing thought for the week, one I read from President Uchtdorf, which really resonated with me; “I learned in my life that we don’t need to be “more” of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become.  God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you.  All you need is a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord.”  I know that to be true!  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is magnificent!!!!!

With all our love,

The Bishops; Maddie, Lily, and Bailey holding new brother Sam
Brad was so excited to find a road in the UK named after him!
Ely Cathedral Candlemas--Brad even got to blow out some of the candles because he was tall enough
Brian, McKinley, Heather and Jordan
Jordan Bradley Jackman
Jordan's first smile--what a cutie
McKinley with baby brother Jordan--how precious
this is a friend of ours in Cambridge; Marcus Bateman--he is a dentist serving in the airforce here.  To let you know how small the world is--Marcus grew up with Heather's brother, Tyson Ferguson.  Heather used to babysit him.  He said he was a terror!!!!  Who'd have thought?
Baby Russell William Jackman on his blessing day, 6 Feb, 2016
Baby Russell
Baby Russell with his Grandma Bertram!  She kissed him on those fat little cheeks for me!
Little Samuel Spencer Bishop

Baby Sam's first grin caught on camera by Maddie--so cute
Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Brad and Vicki

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

my first solo flight!!!

Dear family and friends,
Each week brings a new wonder of adventures, challenges, testimony opportunities, and happiness!

 This week, I want you to know that I took my first solo flight--I drove home from a Relief Society activity all by myself!  Wow!  That was awesome!  I told the sisters in the ward that I was doing it and they said, they would leave 10 minutes earlier so to be sure to be out of my way.  I felt so confident;  I went to get into the car, opened the door and sat down and realized I had gotten in on the passenger side.  Well, that wasn't a good sign, but I got home without a hitch.  I felt like I could do anything from now on.  I felt so proud of myself.  Brad, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck at home!!!

Just a recap of some of our adventures this week;
* we are working with a new convert and feel that she would benefit greatly from doing family history.  We took her to the ward family history library to work with one of the experts who was so nice, but the poor little gal was so overwhelmed.  So we will try it again and explain to the family history person to start at the VERY beginning for our dear friend!
* we visited with a young couple in our ward who met each other at YSA, fell in love and got married, a true success story!  They gave us some great suggestions on how to run a successful YSA program--lots of food!  Jonathan and Aimee Smith are dear friends and we had a fabulous evening together visiting.
*our dear friend, Barry Palmer passed peacefully away on Wednesday, the 27th of January.  This has been expected, but we are so sad just the same.  He and his wife Yolande have become dear friends.  She is a rock and has been a true inspiration to us all.
*we were able to visit with a single mom who is just going through a divorce.  We read from the Book of Mormon together and shared testimony that the Lord is in charge.  As we turn to Him, we can find peace and happiness even in very trying times of our lives.  Brad was able to give her 7 year old son a blessing of health.  I think she was very touched to see the priesthood in action from a worthy priesthood holder.
*we visited another sweet widow friend, Joan Inwood.  She was telling us how much the gospel has enriched her life.  Many years ago after joining the church, she and her husband listened to the prophet tell them to get our of debt, so they worked really hard to buy their own home and pay off their mortgage.  Because they listened to the prophet, she is now in a very secure financial situation as a widow.  She was young when they married and they had 5 children, so she said she wasn't as educated as she had wanted to be, but because of RS lessons early on, (especially Cultural Refinement lessons) she was inspired to expose her children to many cultural things, and encouraged them to be educated.  She was a good mother and attributed her strengths to the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ!
*went to help teach a young lady with the young elders.  The young lady didn't show up, so we needed to do some finding.  I approached a young lady at the bus stop and asked her about the church.  We had a sweet conversation.  I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and gave her a copy!  It made my day!  Wow, I love missionary work!!
*we had a combined Stake Institute class at our home this week.  We had 35 people there.  We were pretty crowded, but it was an incredible evening.  We got to know some new YSAs, had some fun food and played a really fun game (Family Feud--they call it Family Fortune in the UK)
*got to go on a RS bus trip to the London Temple--fabulous--We were able to hear from the temple president, President Kenneth Johnson, and attend an endowment session as the witness couple.  It was a very tender day for us.
*Sunday night we were invited to Skype with our home ward combined Priesthood/RS 5th Sunday lesson in Orem, Utah.  We got to share a little bit about what we are doing on a mission, answer a few questions, and share our testimonies of Senior missions and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was so fun to see our friends from across the ocean.  I hope they know how much we love them and how much we love what we are doing!
We just gave a brief summary of some of our week!  We love you all and pray for you every day.  Happy Birthday to Heather (Fergie) this week on Feb. 4th!  We sure do love you!
Stay strong! Remember prayer, and scripture study and service every day!!
Dad and Mom,
Grandpa and Grandma
Brad and Vicki