Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Leeds Castle Adventure

our adventure to Leeds Castle waiting for the train, with Jim and Nita Haskins

lunch-  I had game pie--  a meat pie with pigeon, pheasant, and rabbit

Leeds Castle

castle grounds

mote around the castle--no there were no alligators

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas dearest family and friends!!!!

What a way to celebrate the Lord’s birth, in the mission field!  It has been a glorious past two weeks here in Cambridge.  We miss you all so much and want you to know how very much we love you!  We appreciate your letters, gifts, and messages of love, and all the adorable pictures!

One of the highlights of our week was our waffle breakfast with Brother Clements, our Zimbabwe monk friend!  We invited the elders to join us.  It was an incredible experience.  He had a lot of questions about Mormonism.  As a Catholic, he doesn’t believe in a great apostasy.  He feels the priesthood came down from Peter and passed on through today.  He wanted to know what the fullness of the gospel meant and how a 14 year old boy would be the one to receive a vision.   He asked why we needed the Book of Mormon.   He struggled with Adam and Eve and why the Lord would want to have them partake of the fruit in the Garden of Eden.  We had a very interesting discussion.  In the end we told him that he doesn’t need to take our word for it, but he can know for himself the truthfulness of what we teach.  We read him Moroni 10:4-5 and testified that we knew the Joseph Smith was a foreordained prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true.  He was here for nearly 3 hours.  We sent him home with a Book of Mormon and he wants to stay in touch.  We pray for him that someday the truth will penetrate his heart.

We visited with many friends, both members and non-members alike!  We rented a van so we could take the missionaries with us as we went to different parts of the ward to do some Christmas Caroling.  It was really a sweet experience.  We caroled for two nights with the missionaries.  After singing at a house, the family came out of their house next door.  We asked them if we could sing them a song.  Their little boy asked us to sing Away in a Manger.  As we sang, he followed along and sang every word.  I was really touched as he sang.  Our ward boundaries are about 60 square miles, so we had to prayerfully decide who to go to, as we were limited by time.  Each house was so welcoming and very touched to be remembered.  On Friday, we started out early and tried to get to the rest of the people we had planned on visiting, but couldn’t get to with the other missionaries.  We gave some dear friends copies of the Book of Mormon which were very touching opportunities.  It was an absolutely wonderful spirit filled week.

On Saturday we took the train into London to meet up with President and Sister Stevens at their flat along with about 30 other Senior missionaries for a delicious lunch.  We sang some carols together and then walked over to the Royal Albert Hall for a Christmas candle and carol concert.  We saw it last year and were anxious to see it again.  The orchestra was dressed in their knickered trousers and powdered wigs.  We heard beautiful music and sang about 10 carols together.  It’s fun to sing carols here, because several of the common ones, have the same words, but a different tune.  As a reader read parts of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, it truly was an inspiring English experience!  After the concert, we went with Elder and Sister Baron for crepes and then caught the train to Cambridge.

Sunday morning we attended Sacrament meeting and heard Brother and Sister Kenneth Johnson speak.  They have just been released as the London Temple president/matron.  We love this sweet couple!  We had invited two of our YSA’s for dinner and a recent convert as well.  All of our YSA’s have gone home for the holidays or have family here.  These three were by themselves, so it was fun to have them join us for a ham dinner and a game of Skip-bo.  For Christmas dinner in England, it is common to eat a lot of vegetables, so I prepared, brussel sprouts, carrots, and parsnips along with mince pies for dessert.  EVERYONE eats brussel sprouts, parsnips and mince pies for Christmas dinner!

We were able to talk to all of our children/grandchildren and wish them a Happy Christmas!  As much as we miss them, it won’t be long before we will be able to hug and kiss them!  Our cute neighbors, the Steen girls made us a gingerbread house, and Tony, brought over his 4 month old granddaughter and asked if we had room in the inn for her!!  Just to hold this beautiful little Phoebe soothed a grandma’s aching heart on this Christmas day!

We love you!  As we ponder the Christmas story we recognize how the Creator of the heavens and earth condescended to enter mortality as a babe in a manger, in a lowly country village.  And yet because of His life, His atonement, death and resurrection, we honor and celebrate that Christmas story!  We love Him.  As we follow Him, love Him, and serve others as He did, our lives can be filled with peace, and happiness.  We know He lives!  We worship and give glory and honor to Him. 

May the New Year be full of joy and great peace for you our dear family and friends.

With all our love,

Dad and Mom

Papa and Grandma

Elder and Sister Jackman

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas is in the Air!!!!

Dear family and friends,

Is it possible for the time to fly so fast that two weeks fly by and you think it has only been a week?  Well, guess what….. that is what is happening in our missionary life!  I can’t believe how fast the time is zipping past!  We have had an incredible week (I mean 2 weeks!).

Christmas is in the air!  We feel it and we love it!  “The Light the World” iniative has been a great source of joy to us.  It is miraculous how little acts of service really do light the world!  The Spirit of love is shared and received in very tender and memorable ways!  As President and Sister Steven’s told us, Christmas in the mission field can be a life changing experience.  We can testify of that!

We have been involved the past 2 weeks with missionary flat inspections.  Although, these can be somewhat “temporal” assignments, we find them uplifting as we get to visit with the young missionaries, and see the lists of investigators on their hanging white boards, and the goals they have set!  Where else would you have your heart fill with love for 18 and 19 year old men and women who are focused on bringing the light of the gospel to the world!  The is truly a miraculous work to behold and to be a part of!  We are able to see the “goofy” side of these “teenagers”, but when they talk about the gospel, when they conduct meetings, when they teach the gospel, the Spirit takes over and we see how the Lord strengthens and provides with His compensatory power.  It is a miracle to behold!

We have started again the Cambridge homeless project in concert with 7 other local churches.  This year we were able to have our ward join in the project.  We are assigned one night a month to provide a meal for 15 homeless men in the Methodist Church across the street.  We had two families volunteer to help us.  It was truly a humbling experience to work side by side with good Christian people who want to serve God’s children.  Now, as we see these friends walking down the street, we greet them with hugs of true kinship!  Now, while on a mission, I have learned a lot of things.  Well, I learned something last week as taught to me by our friend, the Baptist minister, how to make coffee!!!!  Now that is something, I’m not sure every missionary will learn!!!

Also, last Saturday, we had our last opportunity to serve with the Anglican Church in working in the Ascension Cemetary.  We cleared out a large area and were able to plant Yew trees.  Now, when our grandchildren serve missions in Cambridge, we will send them to check on our trees!!!!  Following the work project, we were invited for mince pies and mulled wine!  One of the sweet ladies who has become a very dear friend, made a delicious non-alcoholic wassail for the Mormons.  We had a chance to visit with these friends we have come to know and love.  I met Marie, a sweet lady from Lusanne, Switzerland.  I told her of my Swiss heritage.  She asked me how my ancestors ended up in Utah.  It was a tender experience to share with her how my grandparents were converted to the Gospel, were ostracized by some and chose to join the body of the Saints in Utah at the call of the living prophet.  Our Anglican friends were quite amazed that members of the church would have been treated that way.  They are so impressed with the young missionaries and young single adults that come to serve.  We even had a write up in their monthly newsletter!!  They begged us to come back and visit them when we come back.  This has been a highlight of our mission, to become really good friends with these wonderful Christian people.

Another highlight of our week was the visit we had with our young married couple in our ward who want to join another church.  They came to the Ward Christmas party and we were able to visit them at their home.  They are very friendly and welcome us to come and visit.  We shared with them the Light the World video.  Brad asked them how they felt.  They shared some very deep feelings and then Brad bore a very powerful testimony of the Savior.  The feeling in the home was one of peace and great spiritual joy.  We have such a deep desire for this couple to come back and pray sincerely for them.  It is experiences like this that give us hope that something will touch their hearts!

We have a wonderful week ahead of us as we have plans of sharing Christmas joy with so many of our dear friends!  We miss you all and pray for you that you will feel the Spirit of Christ!  Please know how much we love you all!

Happy Birthday to our dear Carlee Nelson on December 17th!  We love you Carlee and can’t believe that you will now be going to Young Women’s!  You are one in a million, a beautiful girl, with a tender heart that touches so many, including your grandparents!  Happy Birthday to our sweet Samuel Spencer Bishop on December 21st!  He will be turning 1!  What a light he is to our family!

We have felt the Spirit of the Lord in our lives as we have served Him.  What a glorious experience we have had and continue to have!  The Lord’s Plan of Salvation is truly a plan of happiness!

With all our love,

Dad and Mom

Papa and Grandma

Elder and Sister Jackman


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy December!!!!

 Dear family and friends,

Happy December!!!  The most glorious time of the year!  May your month be filled with magical moments of service and feeling the Spirit of the Lord in your lives.  As we put up our Christmas tree, I pulled out the family ornaments Nate and Becca sent last year.  They grace our tree and it looks magnificent!  The four littlest warriors are still pictured in ultrasound form!  We can’t believe how all our precious grandchildren have changed, and we can’t believe how fast this past year has flown by!

Each week it seems we do very similar things, so I know this must get really monotonous to read.  I’ll just highlight a few experiences that were really special for us this week!  
 As you know, every six weeks we have transfers, so at our waffle breakfast this week we said good-by to our dear district leader Elder Moulton from Provo!  He was a fine missionary and luckily he won’t live too far away from us in Utah.

We were invited by our dear neighbors, the Steens, to attend their Christmas concerts, one for Elizabeth who plays in a community orchestra in Hitchin.  It was fun to drive through this lovely little village knowing that Dad and Mom served there.  Then we were invited to join the Steen grandparents to hear Alicia and Isobel sing.  No matter what the country, these school carnivals and concerts are all the same-a lot of noise and excited children!

We attended our dear friend, Vivienne Cook’s father’s funeral.  Yes, we have had a lot of funerals in this neck of the woods.  This was a particularly tender funeral for me.  In all that was said about this dear man, despite his busy church callings, and working to provide for his family, (they never did say what his profession was!), he was first and foremost a fabulous father.  He had a really rough childhood and so was determined to make his own home one with loads and loads of love.  And apparently, it was just that.  All those who spoke and those we talked to knew this dear man as a wonderful father who made everyone feel loved and important.  I think it was tender to me  because he reminded me of my own father and father-in-law.

Well, we’ve started our missionary flat inspections again and as always it is such a pleasure to meet new missionaries and revisit those we already know.  I’ll not get over how precious these young elders and sisters have become to us.  We are all involved in the same work and it bonds us in a way that we will be eternally connected!

We had a group of Senior office and family history missionaries call us up and ask us for a tour of Cambridge.  What a fun group!  The Felsteds, the Rees’s, the De Johns, and the Barlows.  Bailey Scott, one of our YSA’s took us on a tour of her college, Gaius, then we saw King’s chapel, City Centre, the backs, and enjoyed lunch at the Eagle Pub, a famous pub in Cambridge where the British airmen from WWII signed their names on the ceiling, and also, where the discovery of DNA was first announced to the scientific world!  (The atmosphere was awesome, but the food wasn’t very good!!!)  They wanted the 2 mile walking tour, and not the 10 mile walking tour.  It’s a good thing because after lunch, they were cold and tired so we sent them on their way.  But what a great missionary memory for us.  People who visit Cambridge want to come and see the university, but don’t realize that the University consists of 31 separate colleges.

One of our highlights for the week was an email we received from Brother Clements, our Catholic friar  friend from Zimbabwe!  When he couldn’t come for Thanksgiving Dinner, he said he needed about 2 weeks notice to schedule a visit.  So I gave him two weeks notice, and he is coming in 2 weeks for breakfast.  He said that now his classes are over for the Christmas break, he has more time for reading!  I sent him an email and told him I had a great book for him to read!  We’re anxious for a 2 hour discussion on the 21st!

Another highlight happened on Sunday, 4 Dec.  We scheduled several weeks ago to attend church in Southend on Sea with Terry and Yvonne Ebbs, the dear friends Brad met on his first mission.  He spent his first Christmas with them 43 years ago.  They are the ones who have been inactive for over 30 years.   We met them at the chapel and were so excited to see them!  They had come to Cambridge Ward a few months ago and even went back to the Southend ward on their own a few weeks back.  Members of the ward are so excited to have them back.  As it was fast Sunday, Brad felt he needed to share his testimony and bore a powerful witness of the Church, the Savior, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  He told the members he had served for 6 months in Southend 43 years ago, and expressed his love for the Ebbs.  Immediately after the meeting, a lovely lady came up to us and introduced herself.   Her name is Wendy McDonald.  She remembered Brad.  She is Catholic and lives close to the church.  She said 43 years ago, she and her 2 year old son were in a really bad way.  The missionaries showed up at her house and offered their services.  She asked them to please cut her grass that was about 3 feet deep.  As she watched Brad, and his companion and others help her, she felt such love for this church who exemplified Christian service.  That very morning, (Dec. 4) she awoke early and said she felt strongly that she needed to attend church in the Mormon building.  She was there and when Brad spoke, she said, “I knew it was you, the same missionary who helped me 43 years ago.  I need to go talk to the young missionaries!”  Now whether she is an investigator, or just showed up that day, we don’t know.  Maybe nothing will ever happen, but the thing that touched us so, was that a simple service by humble missionaries 43 years prior in her life made an impression for good on this sweet woman.  She had to leave to go to work, so we couldn’t find out any more details.  Brad did not remember this woman or the service.  We met another wonderful man, the high councilman.  He was from Zimbabwe.  We were instantly friends!!  His first name was Clemens, and I couldn’t understand his last name.  But he said he would meet us again at the Harare, Zimbabwe Temple dedication!!  Hey, now that sounds fun, huh, Justin and Amber!!!  We left the church with such gratitude for the Lord’s hand in our lives.  It was a glorious day!

We love missionary work!!  We love you all!  Have a wonderful week!

With all our love,

Dad and Mom

Papa and Grandma

Elder and Sister Jackman