Thursday, April 28, 2016

Great Reason to Rejoice!

Dear family and friends,

We have great reason to rejoice!!!  Brad passed his British driving test!!!!  I’ve never seen him so nervous.  We went to King’s Lynn, a village about 45 minutes from us.  We were told that it was a good place to take the practical test, so we thought it would be a sleepy little village.  Ha!!!!  The examiner goes in the car with you and tells you where to drive and then keeps a tab on all the mistakes you make.  If you make over 15 minor faults, you fail.  A minor mistake is forgetting to look in the rear view mirror before you signal, brake, or turn.  While he was taking the test, I was talking to two driving instructors asking them all kinds of questions.  They told me that if 10 people walked in to take the test from America, 9 of them would fail!  They told me I would be very smart to hire an instructor for 2 or 3 hours before taking the test.  The irony of the situation is that they were with students who were taking the test.  Well, Brad passed with 3 minor errors which is excellent!  Neither of their students passed!  Needless to say they couldn’t get out of the building fast enough!  I think they were very embarrassed!  But me, I’m not sure I will even try.  Brad says I will. Needless to say, I’ve been driving everywhere since he passed!

We had a great week!  We had dinner with many dear friends this week, Mike and Sandra Budd, Jim and Nita Haskins, and John and Vivian Cook!  I’m going to have to come home to relearn how to cook!  All of these friends are very good cooks.  Their food is superb and the company is so fun! We also try to keep tabs on our YSA’s whom we don’t see a lot of for one reason or another.  We love them all so much, and we feel such a closeness to them all!

We got to do a training for district meeting on using the Book of Mormon in our missionary work.  We learn so much from our dear young missionaries, our time with them is so inspirational!

I had a great morning with Sister Bader and Sister Vizaco as we helped clean a kitchen for a young sister in our ward who is moving!  We really had a blast and got to laughing so hard as we boxed up and cleaned her kitchen.  Amazingly enough, she didn’t have an oven, so I didn’t have to clean the oven.  (that is usually my favorite job!!!!!not)  I am constantly amazed how much I feel the spirit when I serve someone, and feel an increase of love for the people I serve and serve with.  We then had another service project with the YSA’s and the missionaries as we helped clean up the cemetery with the Anglican church folks!  They were so excited to see 10 of us show up ready to help.  They love these young people and are so impressed that young adults would show up early on a Saturday morning to work hard.  We uncovered gravestones that have been hidden under ivy and bushes for decades.  And I’m always so impressed how the young people love to do it.  One of our missionaries made the comment that this is the coolest service project he has ever done!!  This is one of our missionaries that is having a tough time, so this was particularly rewarding to hear him say that!

We are still teaching and staying close to Lucy and Gail and Andrew Tilbrook.  As their lives have become so busy, scheduling time with them gets to be a real challenge.  Gail and Andrew are hoping to move to Scotland and get into the hotel business.  We don’t like to think of them moving, but their home sold in one weekend, and it looks like they will leave if the offer is accepted on the hotel they want to buy.  I always thought it would be so fun to run a Bed and Breakfast, but after talking with them about this new adventure, I’m not sure I would want to do it anymore!

We’ve got a full week ahead of us!  We are excited!  Our thoughts are always with you.  We love you and miss you.  Keep sending the pictures!  The videos are the best!  Then we get to hear how their little voices are changing, and their vocabulary is growing!
News we have heard is that Jacob Robertson (John and Barbara Robertson's son) passed away on April 23 from brain cancer.  We watched this young man grow up and it has really affected me.  He is an outstanding young man, age 37, a loving husband and doting father of 4.

Have a great week!  Please tell your precious little ones often how much you love them.  Hug and kiss them a lot and pray with them!  You are the most glorious blessings in our lives!  (Happy Birthday today, Nate!!!!  We love you!  Happy Birthday Asher on Thursday!  We love you!!!)

With all our love,
Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Brad and Vicki

Elder Walker at Cemetery

This head stone was covered by ivy and has probably been covered since 1950's

some of our cemetery workers: Sam Ablett, Sister Vizaco, Sister Bader, Eric and our church of England friends
walking home from the cemetery

Elder Hiltunen (Finland) Mike Gardiner, Sister Vizaco (Brazil), Elder Walker (Provo),
Sister Jackman, Elder Jackman, Sam Ablett Jordan Clarke, Sister Bader (Bern Switzerland--she knows how to make zupfe bread!!!), Cheryl Li (Australia)

Brad, uncovering another headstone

Elder Toa ( demonstrating his talent to make a raw egg stand up)

Driving home from the London Temple on April 26

Friday, April 22, 2016

It's a Small World

Dear family and friends,

This will be a brief blog post this week!  We are doing well!  Not much new to report other than we are once again in the middle of flat inspections.  Those are always fun as we get to interact with all of our zone missionaries.  What is so great about it, is that many of them know people we know and/or are related in some way.  For example, Elder McComber is from Orem and went to Clark Baron’s school.  When I told him that the Barons will be coming here on a mission, he was elated despite the fact that he is leaving in June and they won’t get here until August.  We met Elder Lindsay, a fine missionary who is the son of Bruce Lindsay from KSL fame and related to Gordan Lindsay who once lived in our stake!  Another sweet sister missionary, Sister Phillips from Clearfield served in Leighton Buzzard (that is the actual name of a beautiful little village).  She knew Hazel Price well!  (My parents taught Hazel the gospel when they were here on their mission!)  The church certainly shrinks the size of the earth!!!

We had a great opportunity to meet with President and Sister Stevens at our zone conference!.  They are heading to Germany for a semi-annual meeting with European mission presidents.  While there, they will meet with Wayne and Luanna Watson who are the mission presidents in Finland!  President Watson was our stake president in Orem and we LOVE them!  It was fun to send our love and greetings with the Stevens.

During one of our flat inspections, the missionaries had two bikes they weren’t using and asked if we could get rid of them.  After checking the other missionaries, no one wanted or needed them, so we brought them home and took them to a bike repairman, a friend of ours and he fixed them up both for 80 pounds.  We went on our first bike ride and it was a blast!!!  We are bound and determined to be expert bike riders in Cambridge!!!  They have knobby tires and the seats are a little too short, but we love them!!!

We’ve had some great visits this week with dear friends and we made some new ones.  On Saturday, a cold and rainy day, we felt the need to visit a young single adult we haven’t been able to make contact with.  We said a prayer before we went up to her door.  Laura opened the door and obviously had been crying.  We introduced ourselves and she asked us if we could come back another time because she had just received some very sad news.  Then she paused and asked us how we knew to come to her house that day?  She seemed very pleased and surprised that we would come right then.  It is amazing to us how the Lord knows things we don’t know!  We have since texted her and found out that a dear friend had just passed away and Laura felt that her friend had sent us!  But we know who sent us!!  We’re anxious to meet up with her next week.

Have a great week!  We love you all!  Oh, and JaLee, I met a young mom who knows you and loves you.  Her name is Qwenivere Wulstenhulme. (I slaughtered the spelling!) She used to teach in the ancient scripture department at BYU!  She and her husband Clarke are thinking about moving to Cambridge for work with their 4 children.  What a lovely family!

This is the work of the Lord!  We reverence, love and honor Him!  We love you all!  Happy Birthday this week, Doug Glauser on the 21st, Nate on April 25th, and Asher Brown on April 28th!  We love all the outstanding men in our lives!!!

Dad and mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Brad and Vicki

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy driving!!!!

Dear family and friends,

Happy April!  I think Spring has finally arrived in England, at least for this week.  The leaves are starting to pop out and the cows in Kings college field are back!!!  They are quite a picture event!

We had a great week!  It was one of those when all the people we wanted to see or meet with were still out of town for Easter holiday, (these people take a lot of long holidays!!!!) or just weren’t available.  However, we did start up Institute again this week which is always a great thing!  We are trying to find some of our lost souls in our YSA group.  So to find them, we do a lot of searching on facebook.  It’s amazing what you can find.  One of our young single adults works as a bartender at a local pub, so since we’ve never been able to find her at home,  we found out the name of her pub!  So here we are two missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, entering a pub and walking up to the bar to ask if Ashleigh worked there!  I think the bartender thought we were from the FBI or Mafia or who knows where.  Needless to say, she wasn’t working that night and he was very hesitant to give us any information!  We are just going to have to go back hoping to catch her there!

We had another baby boy born into our ward which is always a wonderful thing!  Sweet little Elijah Huck Lucas!  As always it is such a treat to go visit these new parents and cuddle their little bundles of joy.  It fills a need I have to hold a new baby!!!

We spent some down time this week studying for our theory and perception driving tests.  I was nervous, but Brad was really nervous!  So Monday morning, we went to the testing center.  Our American driver’s licenses are good for 12 months while we are here, and then we are required to get a British license.  We can also leave the country and get a stamp on our passport and we would qualify for another 12 months.  But as missionaries, we can’t leave our mission, so we’ll take the test!  You are not allowed to take anything in the testing center, like a purse, keys, phone, paper, etc.  They required that we take off our missionary tags.  They push up your sleeves to make sure you don’t have any answers written on your arms I guess.  I had to lift up my hair to make sure I had nothing hidden there!  Wow!  There must be a lot of people that cheat!  Well, to let you know, we both passed!!!!!  We were both relieved.  Brad beat my score, but we were just excited to have passed.  Now we have to schedule the driving part of the exam.  That is the part I am nervous about, because they might make me parallel park!  I can’t do that in America, so I’ve got some practicing to do!!!

Saturday we spent the day with our friends the Hutbers at Wimpole Hall, a National Trust farm estate property.  They opened their gardens and it was lambing season.  It reminded me a lot of Thanksgiving Point.  They had corralled all the expectant ewes in a protective area while they awaited their “time”.  I was hoping we would see a lamb being born, but we didn’t.  We saw baby lambs though, baby pigs, chicks, goats, and large Clydesdale like horses.  Just the smell and feel of a working farm was so invigorating to me!  I think I must have been a farmer in a previous life because I feel at home at one!!!!  We enjoyed being with Carl and Goshia and their children Alex and Angelina.

On Sunday we were able to talk to Julie’s primary class about baptism on skype!  We loved that!  We believe in it!!  My thought for you all this week is from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Keep loving. Keep trying.  Keep trusting.  Keep believing.  Keep growing.  Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever!”

Have a glorious week!  Please know how much we love you and can feel of your love and prayers!  This is the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  What a grand blessing to be involved in it!

With all our love,
Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
our new friends in our back garden, Fred and Ethel

daffodils at Wimpole Hall--they are everywhere and stunningly beautiful

this little lady spins the wool, washes it and knits it into hats and mittens.  She buys about 73 wool fleeces each year.  We figure she makes about $2.50  an hour, but she drove off in a Mercedes, so she must have a side job!!!!!  She is one of a few women who still actually spins their own wool in the UK

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dear family and friends,

The weeks seem to go by so quickly, I can’t believe it’s time to send a blog again!  March has flown by!
We had some wonderful experiences last week which add to the excitement of a mission.  Monday, we attended a craft fair at a local Anglican Church at the invitation of Ank, the pastor or vicar of the church.  We need to find out their proper titles.  While there, we were introduced to her “boss”.  Her name is Pip and she is the Rector of 4 or 5 different Anglican churches in the area.  She has 26,000 members in her flock!  We think she is kind of like a Stake President.  She was a lovely woman.  We asked her if they are involved in any community service opportunities that we could help them with.  She was very excited!  She said they have Methodists and other religious groups that join them, but have never had “the Mormons” involved with them.  We will meet with her when she gets back from her Sabbatical in Rome in May.  She was very anxious to meet with us.  We are looking forward to the opportunity.

Last week was transfer week, always a very hard week for us, because we knew we would be losing some missionaries.  We have had 3 sisters here and 4 elders here, so we knew we would be losing 3 missionaries.  Sister Lawler, Elder Wood, Elder Tomas, and Elder Auras were being moved.  So we invited them all on Tuesday morning for waffles.  It was a delightful send off.  We have gotten very close to these wonderful missionaries, but we know they will be magnificent wherever they go next!  On Wednesday we welcomed Elder Walker from Provo and Elder Champion from Australia and Elder Toa from an island off the east coast of Australia.  We are very impressed with these elders.  Because of driver’s license red tape, Elder Champion and Elder Toa who are serving in Bury St. Edmunds, can’t drive for a few days.  So after district meeting we drove them to their new flat and went shopping with them to help get them settled.  (Only missionaries will carry  bed sheets, cold cereal, whole milk and toilet paper down the center of town without embarrassment.  You have to pay for the bags to carry your groceries in here, so we carried the stuff without bags)  We heard their conversion stories which were inspiring.  Elder Champion is the only member of the church in his family and is 27, a fine young man.  Elder Toa lives on a very remote island with no electricity.  Everything they eat, they grow or raise.  He is a very humble Elder.  He really had a culture shock when his first area on the mission was in London!  There are 200 people of his island.  We were so impressed with him and his courage!

We had a great outing this week!  Because it is Easter break here, many of our YSA’s are on holiday.  So we decided to go see a play in London!  Yeah!!!  We took a train into London and rode the tube into the theatre district where we saw Guys and Dolls.  It was fabulous.  We stopped for soup and a sandwich and then took the train home!  It was so fun, we decided we want to do it again soon!!!!  So, you who are coming really ought to take in a play. 

Wasn’t General Conference magnificent?  Every conference seems the best I’ve ever heard!  This was no exception.  We attended the General Women’s meeting on Saturday at the church followed by a lunch by the priesthood, and the Saturday morning session at 5.  Sunday, Brad attended the Priesthood session at the church.  That afternoon we had Saturday afternoon session and Sunday morning session at our home for the missionaries and the Young Single Adults who were here.  We had dinner in between and had a good group attend. (If you feed them, they will come!!!!) It reminded us of the young people we always had come over with Brian for conference!!!
transfer day: left to right Elder Wood from Mississippi, Sister Lawler from Arizona, Jackmans, Elder Auras from Germany, Elder Tomas from Spain
people punting on the Cam River in Cambridge
 Monday night for FHE we saw the Sunday afternoon session.  Now that was an incredible session!  Elder Kieron is our Area Seventy and our stake has been involved with helping out the Syrian refugees in France.  It was great to hear from him and see how President Uchtdorf was so touched!  We had written down questions or concerns we had before conference and the answers that came were just what I expected!  Be worthy, be committed, make the harder right choice, be worthy of the guidance of the spirit, and keep going!  I was so inspired!  Three comments that sunk deep into my heart were from Elder Snow, “ Our genuine concern should be the success of others.”, and from Elder Renlund, “the more we distance ourselves from God, the more entitled we feel.”, and from President Uchtdorf, “as we increase in faith we must increase in faithfulness.  Obedience is the lifeblood of faith.” 
I testify that Jesus Christ is the head of this Church.   This is His Church.   His plan of happiness is perfect! I know we have living prophets, seers, and revelators on the earth today.  They say the words that the Savior would say if He were speaking.  I can imagine that President Packer, Elder Perry and Elder Scott were attentive attendees from heaven!!!! The music was angelic and so inspiring!  One of our friends, Richard Woolley just joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir a few months ago.  It was so fun to see him from England on television!!!  I am so excited and honored that we can be serving the Lord on a mission!  We feel the presence of angels around us!  Thank you for your prayers!  We feel them!  We love you all!
Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Brad and Vicki

PS.  Carlee,  thank you for your sweet note!!!  It is on our fireplace mantle!  It is a cherished token of a very special granddaughter whom we love!