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