Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Beautiful Week!!!!

Dear family and friends,

Cheers!!!! We trust you are all enjoying this beautiful summer!

We had a fantastic week!  We had a chance to travel a little throughout a bit of the northern part of our mission to install CO2 and fire alarms in all the missionary flats.  The area was absolutely beautiful and it was delightful to meet a lot of missionaries we haven’t met before.  They are all so kind and warm.  We loved them all instantly.  This is a church wide instruction apparently for all missionary flats (apartments).

Another highlight this week was participating in a BYU Ballroom Dance Exhibition in our neighborhood!!!!  The event was hosted by our stake with our ward in charge of the organization.  Many members in our ward hosted the dancers, we talked to many of our friends, inviting them to come.  It was absolutely magnificent!  As you know, Brad was on the dance team while at BYU, and the whole evening was a blast from the past for him.  All who attended were mesmermized by the professionalism, and the high quality of the production.  Brad was amazed at the work involved in performing the dances!  He remembered the great amount of practice required!!!

We are still in the process of finding a new flat for a set of our missionaries.  So we have been flat hunting!  One flat we went to see was being rented by a cute little family from Greece who had two little girls.  She had family pictures in her home and a frame about family.  I felt impressed to go back into her kitchen when we were done and thank her for letting us come.  We were dressed in our work clothes because we had just finished moving and cleaning the Tilbrooks.  We finished just in time to meet up with an agent to look at the flat.  We were embarrassed that we had grubbies on, but we did wear our name tags.  When I went back into thank Marjorie, she asked about my name tag.  I told her that we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (the Mormons).  She had never heard of us.  I told her we have a strong belief in the sanctity of families and would she like to hear more about our church.  She said she would!  We had transfers last week and we got a new sister missionary, who is incredible, so I gave her name to the sisters.  They have taught her twice!  I got to go with them the second time.  She is very interested in God, and learning about Him.  She has a lot of questions.  The sisters have another appointment set up with her and she wants to come to church.  So we are praying that the spirit will touch her!!!  I love missionary work!!!

We are excited for next week as the BYU students are coming!  This is a combined BYU/Cambridge program that occurs for eight weeks every summer.  The students attend Cambridge University classes and live in various college housing units.  They will attend the Cambridge ward and we encourage them to attend FHE and Institute each week.  Our YSA numbers are shrinking as many have finished their studies and are leaving for the summer, or are going home.  The ones staying are really excited to meet new young people, as are we.  We’ve experienced a real miracle of sorts involving the planning of this event.  I’ll tell you about it in my blog next week!!!

We are also really looking forward to this weekend as the Hardy family and Janet are coming to see us!!!!!!  We LOVE visitors!!!  We’ll tell you all about that next week as well!

We want you to know that the “stripling warrior” picture has gone gang busters in the UK.  Our mission president’s wife, Sister Stevens was so very touched by the picture, she said you need to write an article for The Friend and/or The Ensign!  (Sister Stevens served as a counselor in the General Primary Presidency and has a real soft spot for children!!!)  So dear daughters, that is your challenge!!!!!  Thank you for all of your pictures, your calls, your videos, and your love and support!  We love you so very much!  Have a wonderful week!

“No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done!!!”  Joseph Smith

We love you all!

Dad and Mom
Papa and Grandma
Brad and Vicki

BYU Ballroom Dance

BYU Ballroom Dance

Our new district: from l to r front row
Sister Becker, Elder Chew, Elder Coon, Elder Dalley
Sister Daines, me, Brad, Elder Walker

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Meeting Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Dear family and friends,

A missionary’s life is full of different experiences every day!  That’s what makes it such an adventure!

We had a great week serving and working!  Last Tuesday, we had the opportunity to meet with all the missionaries in our mission as well as the entire England London South Mission.  We converged on the Hyde Park Chapel around 9 am, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  He and his lovely wife and Elder and Sister Kieron, an Area Seventy came about 11:00.  So for nearly 2 hours, the missionaries waited, and studied.  We were asked to sit very quietly while in the chapel.  It was quite an experience to be among these dynamic souls!  After Elder Oaks arrived and before the meeting started, they asked all the missionaries to file up one by one to shake their hands.  The senior couples were seated together and we were nearly the last to file through the line. (Mom and Dad, we were able to meet Elder and Sister Record, a vibrant and lovely couple who serve in the office in the South Mission. They are in my parents ward in South Ogden and they love “the Glausers”.  I guess their granddaughter, or daughter had a thing for Brother Glauser and knew he would one day become the President of the United States!!! We had planned to meet up at the London Temple later in the week, but were unable to catch each other, but we know where they serve!)  It was a very sweet experience to shake a prophet’s hand!  He was very kind.  Elder Kieron expressed gratitude for our service.  He and his wife were also very wonderful.  We were inspired by Elder Oaks words.  He spoke of missionary work in Europe as being very challenging, where people commit to read, attend church, listen to discussions, but then don’t show up.  He spoke of the misnomer that a successful missionary is one who baptizes a great number of investigators.  Our call is to teach repentance and baptize converts.  But we can’t get caught up in the numbers.  He made the comment that he heard a missionary in Denmark say that every time a European missionary knocks on a door, an investigator in Latin America is baptized!  Every mission is different.  He said, we need to focus on teaching the people that Heavenly Father loves them and is their Father, and that the Savior came to earth to make it possible for us to receive immortality and eternal life.  Even with that information, they can at some future day be perhaps softened to the point of accepting the gospel.  I wish I could explain the feeling we felt as he spoke.  As missionaries, Brad and I were buoyed up and left feeling that we CAN make a difference in this country.  We may not find many friends to baptize, but with all the inactive and nonmember friends we have met here, we can let them know that we love them and Heavenly Father loves them, and testify of the Savior.  The other wonderful thing about being with the missionaries, is that we were able to meet up afterward with the missionaries that served in Cambridge and were transferred to different areas.  It was like meeting up with our children again!  We also were able to meet Sister Daines, a beautiful missionary who is the niece of Michelle and Boyd Craig, our dear friends from our Orem ward!  And she was being trained by Sister Lawler, one of our missionaries we served with and loved in Cambridge.  Even better than that is, this week is transfer week and Sister Daines has been assigned to serve in Cambridge!  She even has red hair!!  She truly is like a daughter!

We have been busy this week moving and helping clean houses of ward members who are moving!  We are making up for the fact that we won’t be around to help both sets of parents move in the next few weeks!!!  Brad has been a trooper and really was a help to the Tilbrooks to organize and load up several truck loads for them.  I got to help clean bathrooms, and reorganize and box up stuff from garages.  We worked hard.  It felt really good to work so hard!  We had a chance as well to teach a temple class, teach a discussion with the sisters on the restoration, teach a new member lesson, attend the temple with our ward and some new converts.  (I even got to work in the baptistery handing out clothing!), attend one of our YSA’s rowing competitions, feed YSA’s, teach primary, check out new flats for missionaries, and skype with our kids during their family reunion in St. George!!!  We had a great week! 

We are so grateful that our kids got together for a few days in St. George.  All of them were there!  I will include the stripling warrior pictures and other pictures of the family! 

We feel that the Lord has truly blessed us.  Rick, a man we were teaching with the Sisters asked us if we had ever experienced hard things in our life.  Of course, we have, but at the moment, I had to really think what those things were.  I feel that the Lord has blessed us with the strength to deal with hard things.  He has eased the burdens which have been put upon our shoulders, that even we cannot feel them upon our backs.  That is what the gospel and making and keeping sacred covenants do for us.  It is hard to explain those miracles to those not of our faith. Our hearts are brimming over with gratitude!

Another miracle happened just this week.  Since meeting with Elder Oaks, I’ve been praying every morning that we will be able to meet people in our comings and goings that are receptive to hearing about the gospel.  Well, Tuesday, we went on our monthly Costco run, and happened to run into a lady that was so anxious to talk to us.  As she spoke, she said she lived at one time in Aylesbury.  I asked her if she knew Elder and Sister Glauser.  She was shocked out of her head, as she said over and over, I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it.  Her name is Pat Knight and dad and mom were dear friends when they were here on their mission.  We met her daughter Sarah as well.  She loves them!  She has left the church as has Sarah.  When we asked why, she explained the situation that a member of the church had said something very offensive to her.  So she left and hasn’t gone back.  She begged us to come to her home sometime for “tea”.  I can’t get her out of my mind, as I feel it was not a coincidence that we ran into that day.  She doesn’t want anything to do with the church and doesn’t want the missionaries to teach her, so we have been praying about what it is we can say when we meet up with her for tea!  She is a very lovely lady and as much as she said she doesn’t want anything to do with the church, I sensed she feels something missing from her life.

We love you all!  We feel a rejuvenation for the work and love what we are doing!  This is God’s work!  We feel Him close to us and will cherish this experience forever! 

Happy Birthday to Todd Jackman and Jaylee Nelson (June 12) and Grandma LaDawn Jackman (June 13).  We are so grateful for these special people in our lives.  Also, we wish our dear fathers and sons a very Happy Father's Day this upcoming Sunday!  We love these noble men in our lives and thank you for your goodness!

Have a glorious week!

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

June 2016 family picture in St. George

our stripling warriors- from l. to r. Asher Brown, Charlie Jackman, Grayden Miles, Russell Jackman, Samuel Bishop, Jordan Jackman (oldest to youngest)

another stripling warrior pose.  We want to do this in 18 years again

the beautiful mothers

Monday, June 6, 2016

Picture adendum

Here are some more pictures!
Andrew Tilbrook

Gail Tilbrook listening to Chloe

FHE after pizza with Tilbrooks--getting ready to move to Scotland

Dearest family and friends,

This blog post will have to do for two weeks!  We had a glorious time this past week with our children. Scott and Sherri and their girls, Chloe, Carlee and Jaylee were here with us and it was magnificent.  They were able to stay in our home and then we spent a couple of days in London with them.  It is an adventure I won’t soon forget and I think they all had a memorable time as well.  I’ll share some highlights from our week!

They arrived on Thursday, 26 May, 2016 at Gatwick Airport near London. We had rented a 7 passenger van, so we could get around with everyone.  We picked them up at the airport and on the way home stopped by the London Temple for a tour around the gardens and some pictures.  They brought the nice sunny weather with them which we enjoyed for a few days!  We were planning on them meeting President Johnson, the temple president, but he was in meetings.  With traffic it took us a while to get to Cambridge!  We picked up some pizza and headed to Littleport, a  nearby village to visit the Tilbrooks.  They are moving to Scotland and we wanted to bring them dinner and host a family home evening for them.  We thought this would be a great missionary opportunity for the kids, and it was!!!  Though the Tilbrooks are in the middle of great chaos as is the case when one moves, they were so welcoming to have us come.  This being the Tilbrooks first FHE, it really was a tender experience.  We had an opening song and Chloe gave us lesson.  She shared with us her 13 year old life experiences of diabetes, dealing with divorce, a new family, and moving to a new home.  She shared that even with these challenges, she felt the peace of the gospel and Heavenly Father strengthen her to learn and grow from these challenges/opportunities.  We shared feelings of gratitude and love for each other.  Tears were freely shed as we said our good-byes to our dear eternal friends, the Tilbrooks.  We told Andrew, that he is to let us know when he gets baptized, and we want to be there!!!  Feelings of love are deep and Scott and Sherri felt a sweet love for this wonderful family in just the short time we were there. (Scott and Brad did go back on Saturday afternoon to help Andrew load up a truck for another trip to Scotland!)  We’ll get to see Andrew again next week as they have one more load to take and I can help with any last minute cleaning.  But we won’t see Gail again for a while.  They truly have penetrated our hearts with love forever!!!  Hey, if anyone is planning a trip to Scotland, we now know of a great place to stay, as they are buying a hotel near Lochness!!!

For two more days, we spent walking around our beloved Cambridge!  We enjoyed an afternoon tea in the Grandchester Orchards with scones and hot chocolate, walked down the college backs, through the country, and experienced the city centre.  We saw the shops, tasted the fudge, found Harry Potter memorabilia, met friends, ate a “proper burger”, and tried on hats!  We just enjoyed being together.  Sunday morning, Scott and Sherri headed to Paris for 2 days and the girls stayed with us.  We proudly introduced them in church, ate, played games, did more walking, grocery shopping, and took them punting!  (Our next door neighbor, Neil Steed, is an avid punter and took us on the river tour on Monday!!!)

Tuesday, in a torrent of rain, we headed for London on the train with the girls.  We met up at the train station with Scott and Sherri, who by the way had a fabulous time in France, fulfilling a lifelong dream for Sherri of getting a dipped kiss from her honey at the Eiffel Tower!  She’ll have to share her pictures!

With suitcases in tow, we boarded the tubes (the subway) and set out to find our flat we had rented for the time in London.  When we got there, we found out that the boiler was broken and we were not able to stay in that place while in London—a traveler’s nightmare!  So here we were, 7 of us, in downtown London with no place to stay.  We spent the rest of the day trying to sort out the problem.  Luckily, we found a lovely hotel a block down the street that had rooms for us to rent! Despite the worry and concern, we were blessed to find a place and enjoy the rest of our trip!   That night even though it was raining, the kids wanted to see some of London, so we headed to Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye.  Even in the rain, it was magnificent.  There is something to be said about seeing sights that you’ve only seen in pictures.  It was so fun to see how excited all the family was to see London! The next day we awoke early and going by tube, rail and bus, we arrived at the Warner Brother’s Studio where the Harry Potter films were created!  This was Chloe’s favorite place!  It was really a fun place to see!   We saw the small but complete Hogwarts School of Wizardry, thousands of props, all of the sets, the costumes, and learned the secrets of the film magic in producing Harry Potter. We got back in time to rest a little while and then headed to see the acclaimed Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre!  As tired as the girls were, they were mesmerized, as were we all!

Thursday, Brad and I headed back to Cambridge to prepare for institute and get back into our missionary routine.  All day long all I could think of was that my kids were an hour away from me and I wasn’t with them.  That was a hard day for me!  But I was excited that they could take the London bus tour, see Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London, and the sights in between.  They even got their meal of fish and chips!  They then left back to America the next day and arrived home in the wee Saturday morning hours!

Will we be able to focus on missionary work now?  Yes, we have a new motivation—to work as hard as we can!  We’ve been gone 9 months now and seeing the family, although the girls look a little older and have gotten a bit taller, it was as if we haven’t even been away!  All the love, the interest, the chatting and listening hasn’t even changed at all.  We loved the late night chats on our bed with Scott and Sherri!  We loved the hugs, the games and the laughter, and the genuine caring with them all!  Family is eternal!

Thank you for coming Scott and Sherri, Chloe, Carlee and Jaylee.  Of course we missed little Greydon!  Our love only gets stronger with each passing day!

Happy Birthday to Justin and Keaton on May 29th!!!  We love you wonderful men in our lives!

Have a wonderful week!  My challenge for you this week is to read Elder M. Russell Ballard’s conference talk on family councils!  Here is a message from a prophet, seer, and revelator, on how to protect and preserve our families!  They are the most important things we have in this life!  You are our everything!!!!  We love you forever!

Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma

meeting our kids at Gatwick airport!!!  They looked BEAUTIFUL!!

stop off at London Temple

our beautiful girls

how many bodies can you fit in one British phone booth?

a street in downtown Cambridge

our afternoon tea in Grandchester Orchards

cemetery at Trumpington Church (where Brad got did one of his large brass rubbings)

man's search for happiness--we have found it!!!!

time with the girls is not complete without a game of telestrations

on Sherri's bucket list!!!!

nothing like punting down the Cam River--Jaylee is under the blanket--typical spring like weather in Cambridge, UK

the ladies are ready for Ascott!!!

Diagon Alley

The rain didn't stop us!!!

Hogwarts School of Wizardry

train to Hogwarts

more hats--the mother's of the brides wear them to weddings here!

trying to get on the Hogwarts express


riding the tube!  Mind the Gap!

sharing our FHE with the girls and our YSA's

waiting in the lobby of the place we were supposed to be staying!