Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dear family and friends,

A grand Cheerio to you all!  We hope all of you are well and happy!  We’ve had a great week.  With each passing of another week, I feel as though I repeat myself.  We do pretty much the same things each week, just usually with different people!  We are feeling such a part of this country, this city, that we have to remember American words, and try to remember what things are like in the West!

We did have some wonderful experiences this week, so I will share a few that are new to you and meaningful to us!

With the BYU YSA program here, we had the opportunity to sing as a choir in a college chapel.  We sang in the Girton College Chapel.  This is a gorgeous building with a magnificent organ, beautiful and ornate wood and leaded glass windows.  It is fun to sing here because the acoustics are brilliant! (kind of like singing in the shower!!!)  Carolee Fairbanks, a lovely sister in our ward sings in a College Choir.  She has a beautiful voice and is generous with sharing her musical talents in a very humble way.  She was the director.  So for FHE last week we gathered at the chapel and sang for about 45 minutes or so.  Carolee had taught us an Anglican Chant, and some other Anglican hymns which were amazing to hear in the chapel.  It was so fun to sing some of our own hymns as well;  The Spirit of God, How Firm a Foundation, and I am a Child of God.  We had a professional organist work with us.  It was an amazing experience! I've sung "The Spirit of God" in a Temple dedication.  Nothing can compare to that for me.  So as we sang the words, my heart filled with such love for the miracle of the restoration of the gospel, even in this ornate place! The organist had never seen our hymns, so as he sightread them, he played them very fast!  Sometimes, I would like to sing them that way in Sacrament Meetings!!  The young adults loved this experience!

We finally found a new flat for the Elders!  We have been looking for a long time, trying to find something big enough and yet not exorbitantly expensive (as most things are in Cambridge).  We found a very nice place, so we spent a couple of days moving their stuff, and looking for things to use in their new flat.  We went to charity shops to look for kitchen chairs, book cases and a kitchen table.  I was so amazed at what we found for so cheap!!!  It was great!  They love their new place, and we love it as well!

We had some really fun visits this week with some members of the church we haven’t even met before!  One of our YSA’s from Utah was asked to teach RS on Sunday.  We had a chance to meet her for ice cream this week and talk.  She has been inactive in the church for 2 years, and when she came here, her mother encouraged her to go back to church while she was here!  She told her mom she would.  So this opportunity to have her teach a lesson was a real tender mercy.  She is lovely, confidant and articulate, and so very sweet!  She just has a lot of questions and uncertainties about the church.  We had an incredible visit.  She was very open with us and we left feeling like really good friends.  So all week we prayed that she would feel the spirit as she studied for the lesson.  It was Elder Renlund’s talk entitled,  “That I Might Draw All Men Unto Me.”  It couldn’t have been a more perfect subject for a struggling young person.  As I fasted for her on Sunday, I felt such a testimony that Heavenly Father knows and loves each of his children very intimately.  She was nervous, but you would never have guessed it!  She was very honest with the sisters and I think they opened up in a way that was wonderful.  Every comment was so inspiring!  At the end she said, “the gospel is very good.  I can’t say I have a testimony of it, but I am trying, but I do know that it is very good.”  I hugged her and told her how much the Lord needs her!  She has had some really challenging experiences in her young life, but because she lives in the Provo/Orem area, we are going to keep in touch.  I have developed such a testimony that the people we meet aren’t by accident.  The Lord has a plan and I think in the next life we will be amazed at how many people we have met that the Lord has put in our way to help us along the path.  The sweet young lady has been such a blessing in my life!

Our time here is going so quickly, I can hardly believe it!  We were able to skype with the couple who are taking our place.  That is incredible.  They are a delightful couple and we just wanted to suggest some things that they could prepare for, such as banking, cell phones and such.  Just to let you know, we are not trunky.  It was hard for me to talk to someone who is going to take my place, because I feel so attached.  It just made us so determined to work hard and not think about how fast the time is going!

We love you all!  The Gospel is good and the Gospel is true!  This IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life!!!  WE love Him!

Have a great week.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A wonderful week

Dear family and friends,

It has been a wonderful week for us!!   We have done some really fun things this week which make us appreciate British life very much!

We were able to attend an outdoor rendition of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  It is good I took a warm blanket, but the play was one of the best I’ve seen of this production.  All of the characters were either double or triple cast which was hilarious!  We went with our YSA’s, about 31 of us!!!  What a blast to be with our dear friends.  We told them to bring snacks or treats if they wanted.  One of them brought a layered chocolate cake!!!  It even got consumed in a quick hurry!

On Friday, we had an experience of a lifetime!  We were invited by one of our YSA’s, Sam Dearden, to attend his graduation from Queen’s College as a Master of Philosophy.  He had two extra tickets and we were so honored that he would invite us with his mom to attend!  All the attendees had to be in their seats 45 minutes before the graduation ceremony.  There was no pomp and circumstance music, or applause, or picture taking in the Senate Building.  We all entered quietly and were ushered to our seats by men in tails and top hats (some of them).  The seats were a plank of wood with no backs which lined the big room.  The graduates paraded down the street in front of King College. (But because we had to be seated we were not able to see them parade down the street!)  They entered the building and stood in line during the whole ceremony.  (That’s one way to shorten a graduation!!!)  It lasted about 50 minutes.  The important people entered and some carried in a silver candle-stick like torch about 5 feet tall.  The most important person, either a master of mistress of the college entered with a red and white fur robe and bowed to all the people with the torches.  It was very somber, sophisticated and regal!  One of the men gave some instructions on etiquette during the ceremony.  Then he started reading in Latin!  As the graduates proceeded toward the mistress who was seated in a throne-like chair, they were announced in Latin, their names were read and they went forward, and kneeled before her and she clasped their hands and said something in Latin to each.  Sam told us later that she basically said she proclaimed them graduates.  The graduates had the choice to have her proclaim it in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.   After the proclamation, the graduates stood up and bowed to the mistress.  There probably were 80 graduates and it really went quite quickly.  However, when they got toward the end, one of the graduates almost went down.  She must have been locking her knees and so they had her sit down and then one of the distinquished gentlemen ushers helped her to the mistress and escorted her out.  It was really tender.  So after the graduates were all escorted out of the building after they were presented, all the important people bowed to all the other important people and left the building.  We then were escorted out and met up with the graduates outside.  It was really a cool experience.  We were so proud of Sam.  What an accomplishment for this outstanding young man!

After the graduation, we were walking down the street in front of King’s College, when a woman called out, Elder and Sister!  We turned around and were met by Clayton and Christine Christensen.  He is a professor at Harvard University, has written books on business as well as missionary work.  They were in Cambridge to participate in a wedding of a former student of his at Harvard.  We have never met these wonderful people, but in the short time we spent with them, we feel like they are life-long friends.  We were able to take them to church with us.  What a tender mercy for us because before we left them at their hotel, Brother Christensen asked Brad if there is anything he could do for us.  We have some dear friends, the Budds!  Their son, David, has graduated from Oxford and has gotten a master’s degree from a London University, and is looking to get a PHD possibly at Harvard, but needs some work/intern experience first.  So David has come to us asking if there is any suggestions Brad could give him.  What a miracle to suddenly meet an incredible Harvard professor who would do anything to help a young man succeed!  I can’t tell you how touched we both were to just happen to meet this wonderful couple in the middle of a very busy city center street in Cambridge, UK!


Saturday, Brad and I spent an incredible day with some other dear friends, the Haskins!  They wanted to show us some real UK country villages.  We were blown away!  We headed to a village called Lavenham, where the city center was a row of crooked houses.  You know the poem:  There was a crooked man, And he walked a crooked mile, He found a crooked sixpence, upon a crooked stile.  He bought a crooked cat, who caught a crooked mouse and they all lived together in a crooked little house!!!  Well we stopped in this little crooked house and it was set up for tea!!!!  Our friends had their coffee, Brad had a mineral water, and I had elderflower juice!  (this is incredible, by the way!!!!)  We went into some of the little shops—a lot of beam and plaster ceilings, crooked and slanted floors, short entryways!  I felt as if we had gone back into time to about the 1400’s! (actually, most of these buildings were built then!!!).  We then passed through other little villages Kersey, Hadleigh, and ended up in Flatford, a gorgeous country where the artist John Constable painted his English countryside pictures.  The day was warm and clear and absolutely beautiful.  People were having picnics on the grassy slopes of the River Stour, rowing up and down the river, and walking on footpaths which meandered through the countryside.  I WILL be going back to do some meandering of my own!!!!  We had some lovely lunch, and wandered around a beautiful church before heading home.  The best way I can describe the day is mesmerizing!  I was so overwhelmed with the calm, the beauty, and the peacefulness of this magnificent country!

Needless to say, we have had a wonderful week!  We appreciate our study time everyday and our exercise time each day to walk around this lovely place.  We have met some wonderful new friends this week, and each day feel more and more connected to the people here!  We were able to talk with our friend Ank this week.  She is the Vicar of the Anglican Church down the street.  We have become good friends.  We asked her about her vicarage and how many people they have.  She said, 15,000 in this area.  How many would you say attend Sunday services each week.  She said, maybe 30 to 50 people!  It made me feel so sad!  How empty life would be without God in our lives.  I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is what fulfills and completes us!  Perhaps this is what I have felt most of all from this mission—how much I have grown in appreciation for a loving Heavenly Father, and His Beloved Son, and the gift of the Holy Ghost in our lives.  We are truly blessed!!!

We love you all!!!  Happy Birthday to our big 4 year old Tucker Royal Jackman on July 19th.  How we love you Tucker!  You are so precious to us!!  Have a wonderful day!  Also, Happy Anniversary on July 18th to Scott and Sherri on 2 wonderful years of marriage!!!!  We are so grateful that you two discovered each other!  What a blessing you both are to our family!  Also Happy Anniversary to Dad and Mom Glauser on July 23rd.  If I do my math right this is #64!  Wow!  That is fantastic!  What a miracle your lives together have been!  We are sooo grateful you two got married, and what a posterity!  We love you both dearly!

With all our love,
Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Brad and Vicki
(I'll send pictures later!)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hello from Cambridge

Dear family and friends,

Good Monday morning!!  It seems as though things get busy and I don’t send out my blog on the same day each week!  So, I won’t worry about it and just send it out when I get it out! 

Since the BYU students have arrived we find ourselves very happily engaged in YSA planning, logistics, feeding, and preparing to feed!!!  One thing I have found in every culture, the language is different, but  young single adults love to eat no matter what country they come from!!  Food is a common language!

This BYU/Cambridge program has typically been organized and spearheaded by someone from BYU, until this year.  Their thinking is that the youth are mature enough to take care of themselves, so they don’t need to pay for someone to watch over the flock.  And besides, there is a Senior missionary couple that can take care of them.  We don’t mind doing that!  It’s just that we really didn’t receive any  official direction from BYU, so we are winging it!!!  We finally got approval for some money for food and activities for the group, so we have spent this week calendaring and trying to come up with some cultural and fun activities to involve the YSA’s in.  We are really excited!!  They have a Shakespeare festival for 2 months in Cambridge, so this week we are scheduled to go to King’s College Gardens to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream!  The youth are really excited to participate, as are we!

 We held a munch and mingle affair after church yesterday for the ward as an opportunity for the new students to thank and get acquainted with the ward members.  Thank heavens for Costco!!  We had the youth serve up the fixins for hoagie sandwiches, veggies, crisps (chips), cookies and drinks.  In the summer, we have a lot of visitors come to our meetings, so we had a full house.  It was really fun to have a chance to meet a lot of new people.  And it is also amazing to us, that these kids have been here for 2 weeks and we feel like we have known and loved them our whole lives.  We are so impressed with the caliber of youth we have the blessing of knowing and working with every day.

The tragic part of the week was my practical driving test!!!  I can’t remember when I was so nervous about anything in my life, except maybe by first driving test in America at age 16!  I prayed that I would be calm!  Well, I must say, I was calm, but I flunked the test!!!!  (I flunked my first practical driving test in America as well!)  So I will try again.  This time I think I will pray that I will pass the test!!!!  Those darn round-a-bouts.  I took it in an area I was not familiar with and she had me go through some seriously busy and multi-laned round abouts, so I should have failed, but I was so ready to be done with the testing stuff.   Ho-hum!  I guess I needed to be humbled!

The highlight of the week was to be with the sister missionaries as they taught the restoration to two new investigator friends.  Tang from Viet Nam and Landy from China were both very receptive.  As we taught them about prophets, the apostasy and the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith, my heart was very touched by the spirit.  I think my favorite thing to do on a mission is to testify of the truth of Joseph Smith, and the reality of Heavenly Father and His Son! Tang offered the closing prayer, the first vocal prayer he had ever said.  He was very nervous, but his prayer was thoughtful and so humble.  It was truly a sacred experience for all of us. We also got to testify to a sweet member family of the Savior and the sanctity of baptism to their 8 year old son.  I thought so much of Jaylee and Bailey as they will be baptized in the next 2 months, and how much we will be missing them.  This was an especially tender experience for me.  Last night we visited a less active family whom we love and shared with them the story of the First Vision and testified of Heavenly Father and the Savior’s love for them, and the truthfulness of the Gospel.  You know, we are just ordinary people declaring an extraordinary message.  I think often of the Lord’s message that through the weak and simple of the world, He does His work.  My goodness, do I get that!!!  I can better understand that a mission is more for the missionary than for those they teach.

 We love this work.  Thank you for your love and prayers!  We love what we are doing (other than the driving tests!)  We love the missionaries we serve with and the people we serve!  And we LOVE you!
Have a wonderful week!  Hug and kiss and cuddle those precious little children, and pray with them!  Please teach them that Heavenly Father loves them and that the Savior is real!!!!  And please tell them that Grandpa and Grandma Jackman love them will all of our hearts!!!
Happy Birthday to our precious Charlie on July 14th!!!  He'll be in Texas when he turns "1".  We love you Charlie Ryder Jackman!!!!!

We love you all,

Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom

visited American Cemetary in Cambridge  over 3000 soldiers buried here from WWII, over 5000 soldiers and others who were killed in WWII whose bodies were never found--Glen Miller-the great trumpet player died and his body was never found--remembered here!  Very beautiful and sobering

the day we visited the American Cemetary, we watched 400 motorcycles come in for a special service

Our home is on Honey Hill!  We thought it was named that because there were beehives here--No, this was the area of Cambridge used for the sewage!!!!

on a skpe call with the Bishops--This is Sam, our dapper chap!  What a cutie!!!

Can you believe it?  Brad is picking strawberries!!!! with his wellies and missionary clothes.  This is what we did on the 4th of July--we went to a PYO (pick your own) berry farm to get some strawberries  for our YSA FHE treats--strawberry/blueberry shortcake (red, white, and blue)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Visit from Family!!!! YEAH!!!!

Dear family and friends,

Sorry this blog post is late!  I’ll have to just combine 2 weeks worth!  Some weeks get so busy that I am not able to write, so it is what it is!!!  I’ll just mention some highlights from the past couple of weeks.

This is the time of year when we get to host BYU students who come for 8 weeks to attend classes at the different Cambridge Universities.  They have changed the program this year in that the person who directed the students is no longer in place.  So Brother Paul Kerry , who was the director, is now serving as a volunteer.  What an incredible man.  He is a “Fellow” at Oxford as well as a visiting Fellow at Cambridge.  Because BYU has just installed a new dean who oversees this program, no one really knows what is going on, including us!!!  But we have met the students and find them confident, bright, friendly, and extremely on the ball!  We love them already!  There are 22 of them as of right now.  With that size of group, we had to find a place to hold FHE.  In the years past, they have used the Quaker’s church.  The Methodist’s have a beautiful church just across the street from us, but they have never wanted Mormon’s using their building.  So, our goal since we’ve been here is to try to build a positive relationship with the Methodist minister.  We attend their Wednesday morning coffee and biscuits social on occasion, we rent their car park for our FHE parking, and we have volunteered with them in helping the homeless during the winter months.  This has been an incredible blessing, as we’ve come to know and love them, and I think they have come to know and trust us.  So when we prayerfully approached Allison, the minister about the possibility of renting a room in their church for FHE for the next 2 months, she very graciously said, “Yes!”  In fact, she came to our home and we had a wonderful conversation!  She knew quite a bit about our faith.  I asked her how she knew so much.  She did a paper on Mormonism and listened to missionaries.  One thing, she said that I like about your church is the fact that you know how to do missionary work.  Those missionaries are gorgeous!!!  She is anxious to sit down and have a discussion about our doctrine and how it compares to the Methodist sect.  We, of course, are very interested in doing the same!

Scott, Lisa, Ruth and Hamilton Hardy and Janet came for a visit, YEAH!!!!  They got here Saturday night and stayed with us through Monday afternoon.  It was so fun to see them, hug them, and visit with them.  It was fun to show them off to the ward members.  Hamilton got to pass the sacrament.  Our neighbor took us on a walking tour of the early history of Cambridge from the Roman times.  The weather was nice, but the tour got really long.  So, I think we exhausted them to the max.  We chatted nonstop it seems and then Monday, went on a walk through city centre and around the Cambridge colleges, and stopped in for a bit of fish and chips!  They left on the train for London, Monday night, then we headed into London on Wednesday and joined them to see the matinee of “Wicked”!  It was fantastic!  The girl who plays Mary in all the recent Bible videos plays the part of Glynda.  Their voices were spectacular!  We enjoyed a delicious Thai dinner, walked to the LDS visitors center, then went our separate ways!  It was so fun to spend time with family!  We won't see Ruth for about 2 years as she will be on her mission when we get home.  What a great family I have!  It meant so much to us to have them spend some time with us here!

We booked a hotel in London as we had a mission zone conference with Elder Kearon on Thursday.  What an inspirational experience.  His main message to us was how to become an exceptional missionary.  He gave us 7 things that really inspired us: 1. We need to know who we are—that we are children of Heavenly Father. 2.  We all have choice—choose to be happy. 3.  Be the message 4. Don’t worry so much, just work hard! 5.  Make changes aggressively—Be happy—Be authentic. 6.  Attack the morning (get up, exercise until you sweat, eat a good breakfast, study wholeheartedly).  The way you start the day will determine the success of your day! 7.  Star the things pertinent to you and act on it, don’t just take notes, but act on those things.  We had to leave early as we had to get back home to prepare for Institute, but what we heard was magnificent!

Time is flying by.  We are very busy, which is good!  We are loving our mission!  We love you and pray for all of you.  Have a wonderful week.

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

We had a massive hail storm!  some of the pieces were the size of a dime!

saying good-bye at the tube station--and laughing of course

looking for a hat for Hamilton and Scott

just the right hat for Janet!

a selfie while waiting for Wicked to start

Lisa, Hamilton, Ruth, Scott and Janet waiting for Wicked