Monday, October 24, 2016

Dear family and friends,

Well, the week blew by last week so fast, I completely dismissed writing in my blog!  So, I will just comment on two weeks!  I read something in our mission newsletter.  “The day President Hinckley decided to lose himself in the work and serve his mission with real intent, his life changed forever.  He wrote, ‘The whole world changed.  The fog lifted.  The sun began to shine in my life.  I had a new interest.  I saw the beauty of this land.  I saw the greatness of the people.  I began to feel at home in this wonderful land!”  That about sums up our experience here.  It has been a glorious autumn.  The leaves are beginning to burst into fall colors.  The air is crisp and the days are getting shorter!  The time is going too fast, and there is much we still want to accomplish!

Everyday we start off with gospel study!  I love it!  It sets the focus for the day.  Then as we go on our Cambridge walk and breathe in the magnificent English air, our day continues to get better and better.  It’s fun to walk now, as we see a lot of people we have gotten to know.  We were able to meet up with one of our BYU students who is on a semester abroad in London.  We went for tea at Grandchester Orchards, which is a special place for her.  We had one of our struggling YSA’s over for dinner.  Then we spent time studying Alma 36 with him at the Bishop’s request.  It is the chapter when Alma tells his son, Helaman about his incredible conversion story.  Kalil was so engrossed in the story.  He said, wow, I get this.  This is so much like me.  As I watched this young man’s facial expressions and how he became so hungry to read more, my heart burned within me with gratitude for this second witness of Jesus Christ!  I love the Book of Mormon!  It is a great testifier of truth!  It is a source of strength!   It is a life changer! It is a miracle!

We have spent time one on one with young single adults to get to know them and to let them feel that they have a place of safety and love here away from home.  We were able to visit several people, dear friends who are struggling with one thing or another.  We were invited to dinner with our next door neighbors, the Steens.  We got to get a bed time story from our little Steen girls, and then enjoyed dinner and conversation with their parents.  We are praying for the right opportunity to share the gospel with them.  They are so dear to us!

Our dear friend Lucy came over and we gave her a repeat of the Word of Wisdom lesson as well as a lesson on patriarchal blessings.  It went really well.  She has a limited knowledge of the Bible as she was never taught from it as a child.  Everything we teach, we need to teach very simply.  But I have found that as we teach simply, it enables our own understanding to increase.  We were able to take her to Chelmsford, a village about an hour away to meet with the Stake Patriarch, Brother West.  We love this dear man and have gotten to know him quite well, as we have taken people to receive their patriarchal blessings from him.

Brad was asked to baptize Harry Shailes this past Saturday.  He is a dear man who is so humble and thrilled to become a member of the church.  At his baptism, he shared his testimony and love for the sisters who taught him, calling them his angels.  As I looked at Harry and saw the light in his countenance, I was overcome with the power the gospel can become in our lives.  It was as though I was seeing him the way I envisioned the Savior would look on him, a pure and humble follower of Christ.

We pray every day for opportunities to share the light of the gospel as Elder Anderson counseled us to do in General Conference.  This past week, our dear neighbor, Toni, a crusty and delightful friend had an ambulance in the front of his house.  Brad was over immediately.  When Brad went in, Toni said, “I knew you would come!”  With paramedics and his wife working on him, Brad wasn’t able to offer him a blessing, but did say we will be praying for him.  He got home later having been cleared of a heart attack, but we went over to check on him and felt a softening of him.  The same day, another of our friends went into the hospital for an angiogram and was told that he has a heart deformity from birth which has caused his heart issues. He is facing possible open heart surgery.   This experience has had a real softening affect on Clinton as well.  I feel that these are some of our opportunities that we have been praying for.

A dear friend, Sheila Newman, a valiant saint in our ward, passed away this week.  She has had such good health but discovered less than 2 months ago she had a tumor as well as cancer of the liver.  It was so advanced, that they sent her home to die.    Her family of course is grief stricken, but we have found it an opportunity to visit and share our testimony that the family will see her again. 

Our sweet friend, Alison Walker, the Methodist minister, lost her father unexpectedly a few weeks ago.  We were able to go to her home and confirm that she will see her dad again.  Now that I am recording these opportunities, I am thinking I had better not pray for opportunities.  They are coming fast and furious.  But it is amazing how such experiences humble people and soften hearts.

We got an email from a Church of England pastor the other day asking if our group could help them clean up around a little church just down the street!  Our gardening skills are becoming famous!!!!  When our kids were here, we walked into town and bought some treats from their church bake sale.  Heather bought a handmade knit doll from a sweet lady as well.  The ladies were so impressed and grateful.  In her email about cleaning up the church, Ank commented on how touched she was that we supported their bake sale.  It is really humbling for me to see how simple little things we say or do can make such a positive impression on others.  I feel that the service with these other churches has made a real positive impact on the church here.  Our Bishop wants to include the ward on our homeless project, and the Methodist and Anglican churches are so appreciative.

I want our parents to know that we have introduced the game of Skipbo to our dear friends in Cambridge!  We had some couples over for dinner the other night.  I told them we wanted to introduce them to a Mormon game!  They LOVED it!!!  They asked if it was really a Mormon game.

The time is flying by.  We are becoming more immersed in what we are doing!  We fall into bed at night, but awake refreshed and energized!  We absolutely love the people here!  I love the badge we wear everyday and feel strengthened by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  We are truly experiencing a miracle!

We love you all so much!  Happy birthday to our dear sweet Grayden today! (24 October)  He is 1 year old today.  We love this little soul and are very much looking forward to snuggling, loving and kissing him.  Also, Happy Anniversary to our dear Kent and Heather!  What a match made in heaven!  You two are perfect for each other and we are so glad you finally got together!  We love you both so much!

Have a fabulous week.  Please know we love you and pray for you all every day!

With all our love,

Dad and Mom

Grandpa and Grandma

Elder and Sister Jackman

Friday, October 14, 2016

Our piece of the Gospel Puzzle

Dear family and friends,

Wow, this week has flown by in such a way that today I had to ask myself if I had even written in my blog this week!  I know I am getting old!  This is a sign.  It has been a good week, kind of a hype up week.

We had such a great time with our kids last week that it took us a little while to rest up and get back into the swing of missionary life.  But as we read and study the conference talks, it doesn’t take long to get motivated into what we need to be doing.

School has finally started here and Cambridge is crawling with people, and bikes, and early into the morning hours partying.  In fact, I picked up a Cambridge student newspaper and was looking through the topics, thinking a paper might just be a perfect place to put in an ad for LDS Institute!  The second page talked about the proper way to go clubbing in Cambridge.  The third page talked about ways to get over a hangover.  Our Cambridge YSA’s recommended that this wouldn’t be the best place to advertise for institute as we wouldn’t be targeting the most promising students.

They have what the school calls a Fresher Fair.  This is a chance for the new students to see what is available for clubs and extra-curricular activities besides bar hopping.  We wanted to set up a booth, but after talking to the right people, we couldn’t do it unless we signed up way last spring.  So note to self, we are putting the contact information into our stuff for the next YSA missionary couple.  We were able to talk to the right guy about our Institute program, and next week we will meet with him to get the scoop of being involved in the Cambridge theology website.  We are doing the same kind of thing with the other university (Anglica Ruskin) in Cambridge.  We are praying and thinking about how we can get the word out that the Mormons are here!!!!  I know if we do, the students will come running to join the church by the thousands!!!! (wishful thinking!)

We did have a miracle this week.  We have been trying to find a young single adult, and have gone to the flat listed in the church records as her address.  We have tried different times of the day, and have asked her neighbors.  Well, this week, the fifth time we went, she answered the door!  I had a lovely chat with her.  She is living with a partner and doesn’t want anything to do with the church!  Now you ask how is that a miracle.  Well, first of all, I was able to talk with her face to face and she was very kind. Second, I have her address, so I could send her a thank you note for talking with me and include the address of the church and my phone number if she ever needs anything.   And third, I found out where she works, so every time we go to the train station, we can pop in and say hello!!  And amazingly enough, two days later we were at that train station and she was working.  We went out of our way to say hello!   We have learned that missionary work includes finding ways to befriend people in a genuinely caring way.  We just pray every day that we can receive inspiration of who we need to see and what we can do to touch their hearts.

We were able to visit some of our older friends and as always have found joy in their friendship.  One of our friends, Leslie Ryan age 92 is in a care center close to our home.  We try to stop in to see him regularly.  He suffered a stroke and is physically limited.  His mind is very sharp other than he gets mixed up and forgets on occasion. ( Wow!  That's why we get on so well together!)  We went to see him this week.  He loves to talk and we love to listen.  He served as a Bishop several years ago and we encourage him to tell us about those experiences because they bring him such joy.  We always leave with a prayer.  This day he wanted to offer the prayer.  It was amazing.  He was clear, and offered a humble prayer that was inspiring and absolutely beautiful.  Afterwards, he acknowledged that his prayer made sense.  He was obviously touched by the spirit that was so prevalent in the room.  We left having all been buoyed up by the strength of the spirit!
One of the fun ways we have found to really bond with our young single adults is to invite them to dinner.  Usually they are very willing to meet with us.  Food has a way of enticing the young to talk!!!    As we approach the week, we prayerfully consider the YSA's that might need some one on one time.  We love it!!!!  We continue to meet with Callum, our volleyball friend we met in Provo.  He told us that he knows he will one day join the church.  We just keep praying!

For our p-day this week we joined up with our wonderful senior missionary friends, the Barons, the Gales, and the new office couple, the Feldsteds.  We went to the musical, Beautiful, the story of Carol King!  It was magnificent!  It was one of the best theater productions we’ve seen.  The music is from the 60’s and 70’s and was so good!  We ate at Byrons, Proper Burger afterward, and had a ball.  Before, we went with the Barons to the James Bond museum.  Brad was mesmerized by all the cars on display.  It was pretty sweet to see!

It was a great week!  Life is moving very fast!  We love the blessing of serving the Lord here.  We see little tender mercies each day that strengthen our testimony that the Lord is involved with the details of building Zion.  Our puzzle pieces in this work are small, but we feel the love of the Lord as we try to place them where the Lord wants them to be!

We love you all!


Dad and Mom

Papa and Grandma

Elder and Sister Jackman

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Jolly Holiday with family pictures

bhiking to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral



in front of Parliament

A Jolly Holiday with family!!!!

Dear family and friends,

What a glorious past two weeks!!!    Our lives have been blessed by family, and by being taught at the feet of apostles and prophets!  Wasn’t conference wonderful!  The talks were powerful and the music inspirational.  We truly came away uplifted and motivated.  A lot was said on missionary work and the doctrine of Christ, repentance specifically!  I loved the directness and power of those who shared testimony and truth.  It was truly an inspirational experience for us!!!

Our past few weeks started with an opportunity for Brad to speak to the USU Huntsman Scholar students at Oxford University.  This was out of our mission and we were given permission by President Stevens to participate in this annual event.  We joined the group of 30 for dinner the night before and then Brad spoke to them for about 90 minutes the next morning.  He shared lessons he has learned in the business world.  I was very moved by the things he said.  His closing statement was “Never, never, ever loan, rent, or sell your integrity!”  It was really an awesome and inspiring experience to watch him share his thoughts wearing his missionary nametag.  I was so proud of him.  The student scholars were very impressed with his presentation.  At the end, I was able to join in on a question and answer session.  They asked how one measures success and finds balance.  I quoted President Harold B. Lee, that “no success can compensate for failure in the home”.  These were not all LDS kids, attending a state university, but we felt the values we shared were universal principles.  It was a humbling and delightful experience for the both of us.  As we had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in the Oxford area, we stopped in to take a quick tour of Blenheim Palace, the place where Winston Churchill was born.  It is a magnificent palace built and designed by a Duke of Marlborough.  As we went through the palace, we saw out of the windows a polo match being played, and rows of very expensive cars.  Come to find out, they were filming a #5 Transformer movie.  The next day they filmed a car chase through the streets of Oxford, and the next week, they filmed a car chase scene over the Tower Bridge in London.  (Anthony Hopkins is starring in this film, and no, we didn’t get to see him!)

Last Sunday, Kent and Heather and Dave and Julie arrived at Heathrow Airport! They were able to go to church at Hyde Park Chapel in their travel clothes. (Kent and Heather were supposed to fly in on Saturday, but their plane had mechanical problems, so they had to wait until the next day to fly out.  The funny thing was that when they got on the plane for the first flight, they took a unisom to help them sleep.  They sat on the plane for 4 hours before they were told that the flight had been cancelled.  Then they had to get a hotel room.  Needless to say they were pretty dopey and very exhausted!)  After church, Brad and I caught a train and headed to meet up with the kids at a flat we had rented in London.  We toured around London and had a ball. (The President knew our kids were coming and that we were spending some time with them, in case you were wondering!)  We saw London on the On and Off Bus tour, saw St. Paul’s Cathedral from the top, saw parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey (we got to attend an evensong there!), tower of London, tower bridge, Windsor Castle, the British Museum, Wimbledon, see the musical Matilda, see Heather participate in a street entertainer’s show, and eat lots of food, play games, and have a blast together.  We saw London at a break neck speed, but had so much fun doing it.  We then came back to Cambridge.  We went on walks in the city and country, and even got to play tennis on clay and artificial turf courts.  (the grass courts were not accessible).  We walked through the markets.  Kent, Dave and I tried a lot of the international food while Brad and the girls went into a very posh jewelry store. We got to introduce the kids to some of our friends in the shops.   We got to have tea with our wonderful neighbors, the Steen’s.  The kids enjoyed so much talking and hearing the little Steen girls speak.  Then we got to listen to conference and enjoyed dinner and conference with a few of our YSA’s.  The week went by so fast and was so fun.  We were sad to see the kids go, but we are now more excited and motivated to work hard as we complete our mission.

Thanks Dave and Julie, Kent and Heather for coming and spending time with us, and thank you Nate and Becca for watching Asher and Roberta and Annie for watching the Bishop clan!  We love you all and are so very grateful for family.  You are the light of our lives.  Happy 30th Birthday to Becca on Oct. 3!  What a magnificent daughter!  How we love you and your mother heart!

We are so grateful to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is the fullness of God’s gospel on the earth today, the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that is rolling forth and filling the whole earth.  We are so happy to be a part of that great gathering! 

With all our love,

Dad and Mom

Grandpa and Grandma

Elder and Sister Jackman