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