Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Walking in the steps of the first missionaries to London in 1840!

Ken and Barbara on historical tour

William Wallace Memorial

The history of Smithfield Market

John Wesley Statue

Smithfield open air meat market

Tabernacle Square

We have had another busy week. We have again been checking Elders and Sister's apartments and doing quite a bit of repair work. It has been fun for us to get to know many of the missionaries better. Almost universally, they are great representatives of the Church and work very hard to do what is right. We have also been working with three part member families to get those members who are not currently in the church into the fold. We think we are gradually making progress and we will see success with these members soon. I am also teaching 8 piano lessons each week to members of the ward and we help with YW/YM each week. I also help with Relief Society Enrichment activities monthly. This month we had a multi-cultural night with everyone wearing their own cultural clothing and bringing food to share from their country. It was a great success. It was fun to learn a little bit more about all of the countries that
our members represent. We also cook lots of meals to share with missionaries, inactives, and part member families. It has been a great tool to get to know people better and to make them comfortable with us and want to share their lives with us.
On Saturday, we took a historical walk in Uptown London. It was very interesting. I thought I would share a little bit of the history of the early missionaries in the London area: Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, etc. I am also attaching some pictures of some spots of interest.
In July of 1840 it was decided that Elder Kimball, George A. Smith, and Wilford Woodruff would go to London to preach the newly restored Gospel. They still had not baptized anyone by the 28 of August so they went to Smithfield Market to preach. It is a very popular meat market, and they were told that they could not preach there so they went to Tabernacle Square and preached to a large crowd of people on the ground and also many people were looking out their windows to the street below and listening to the sermon. Just a little bit of history that also occurred at the market. Smithfield Market was where William Wallace, of Scottish fame, was brought to be drawn and quartered after he was caught by the English in 1306. This market was also bombed twice by the Germans during World War II because it was such a popular gathering place for people at that time. The first convert in London was finally baptized on August 31, 1840 in a public pool called the Peerless Pool. The missionaries also attended a meeting at John Wesley's Church near Tabernacle Square that summer. There they passed out 500 leaflets advertising meetings to be held by the Mormons on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and twice on Sunday. Work was slow in London and Lorenzo Snow records that by August, 1841, the church membership had grown to more than 200 in London while in the northern part of England the church membership was in the thousands.
Missionary work here is still very difficult. There is still a lot of anti-Mormon sentiment around especially from the born-again people over here. We will have our 4th baptism this week, we hope. The Elders here, there are two sets in our ward, are hard workers and we pray for them to see success in all of their labors. London is just full of history. I will share some more of the historical spots and information with you another time.
We are well. Fall has come here. It is mostly cloudly and cool. We wear jackets every day, because you just never know what to expect. Of course, we always take an umbrella, too.
We hope that everyone there is doing okay. We pray for all of you wonderful people each night and we look forward to hearing your news.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wonderful people in Mitcham Ward in London, England

Ken and Barbara at the beach

Barbara at the London Temple

Sister Hansen and Sister Walton and Bunhill Cemetery

Life continues to be busy here and productive, we hope. We have many opportunities to serve and that is what this mission is all about for us. We have finally finished painting the church so we can now scratch that job off of our list of things to get done. Kenneth is still serving in the Bishopric here and because of that he has many opportunities to help organize and make the ward and stake run a little smoother. I am still teaching Gospel Doctrine. That has been a great opportunity for me to study and ponder the Book of Mormon. It is actually the first time that I have been able to even attend a Gospel Doctrine class for years and years, because of callings in the Young Women and Primary. I am really enjoying all of the studying and preparing for this class. I am also still the Ward Organist, Choir Director, YW Special Helper, Piano Teacher for 8 students in the ward, Teacher Development Leader, and
adviser to the Relief Society Presidency. All of those jobs keep us very busy and involved. We also do a lot of teaching and visiting of new members, part-member families, and inactives. I thought I would tell you about a few of the people that we are now working with:
First, there is Jose. He is a wonderful man from Spain with a very active family. His wife, son, and daughter are all great members of the ward, but for some reason he has never quite made the step to be baptized. He attends Sacrament Meeting and my Gospel Doctrine class every week and seems to really enjoy them. We have been working with him, teaching him, and becoming his friend. Now, we have just found out that he has all the syptoms of Colon Cancer and they are running tests on him to determine the extent of the disease so we are going to their home on Wednesday to give him a blessing and begin a fast for him with the family. He pray that he will recover completely and will feel the spirit strongly as he recovers. We hope that then he will enter the waters of baptism and be able to take his family to the temple.
Next, there is Lynn. She is a single lady about 45 years old. She has never been married and still lives with her father. Her mother passed away about 5 years ago. Her mom was an active member of the church so Lynn has been attending church for about 40 years with her mom, but she is afraid of the water so she has never been baptized. We are meeting with her weekly and teaching her about the need for the Holy Ghost in her life and that the Lord will bless her with the comfort to be able to enter the waters of baptism if she will only cultivate the faith in Him to make the committment. She comes to Sacrament Meeting each week and we hope that she will soon take the Giant Step.
Then there is the Jenkins family. Sadie, the Mom, and David, her 38 year old son, were just baptized about 3 months ago. She is a great lady who has been a chain smoker and has recently had a bout with breast cancer, a stroke, and has heart problems. She knows that she needs to completely quit smoking because of her baptism and also for her health, but she is having a very hard time after about 50 years of heavy smoking. We go weekly to visit and teach them a new member lesson. I also take several packages of gum each time in an effort to give her another alternative to smoking. David, her son, is very slow. He is a very talented artist and is currently drawing me several pictures using the art method of pointellism. The pictures that he produces are phenomenal. He is drawing a picture of a B-52 bomber, similar to ones that my dad worked on here in England during World War II, and a picture of our cabin in Pine Valley.
We also work with Terry and Pat, who are from Ireland. He is completely inactive, but he and I are working on Family History together and he is loving it. I hope to catch him with that net and get him activated again.
We also have two other young women from part member families that we have taught lessons to and hope that they will go well, also. We also spend a lot of time visiting some of the elderly members of the ward and many less active. We try to visit them all at least twice monthly. We have truly learned to love the good people here that we associate with. You find that there are many wonderful people all around the world who all want the same things in life: faith and comfort from God above and a loving family and friends to associate with.
We also had an opportunity to go to the beach at Southend-on-Sea this Saturday with the ward members. They hired a large coach and took 70 members of the ward to the beach for the day. It was great fun. On the way down to the beach, we headed almost straight east from here and we traveled into the County of Kent. We went right through the small town of Pratt's Bottom where James Jackson, my great- grandfather came from. It is a beautiful, small village, very lush and green. Also, we were very close to Shoeburyness where my mom lived as a young teenager with her family. She used to walk through her back garden every day down to the sea and take a swim each morning. We could see that area from the long pier at Southend where we were enjoying the beach. There are so many places here that we are able to see that I have heard about through my mom's stories or reading my ancestor's histories. What a great blessing this has been for us.
Well, I must close for now. We hope all is well there with all of you. The summer is quickly coming to an end. It has really ended for us, I think. It is now cool and rainy here almost every day. Actually, it is quite lovely! Take care and keep us updated on all of your news.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Buckingham Palace and Buckingham Mews Tour - The Queen is out of town!

1954 Rolls Royce

Coronation Coach - 4,000 tons of gold

Leslie and Barbara behind Buckingham Palace

Another busy week has come and gone. Life is great here and we are constantly trying to choose between many good choices on what we should do next. We have spent a lot of time this week traveling all over the south side of London checking out Elders flats. It has been fun to see where they all live, but not quite so much fun to see HOW some of them live. This month we will be giving out prizes to the cleanest flats and most improved flats. Most of the Elders work very hard to have their places clean when they know that we are coming. There are a few who have had to spend their P Day cleaning with us because they didn't get it done beforehand. After that experience, I think that they will remember to clean a little better.
We are also teaching new member discussions weekly and are involved in teaching the missionary discussions to a couple of investigators now. We also have a couple of part member families that we are working with and hoping to get those members of the families baptized so that the family is completely in the church and can prepare to go to the temple. Each week we have a family over for Family Home Evening. We feed them dinner and then teach a gospel lesson to them. It has been really effective and the members seem to really enjoy it. We are using the new DVD just put out by the Church called "Finding Happiness" quite a bit. It is very well done.
On Friday, the Perrys and the Beckstroms went to uptown London and took a tour of Buckingham Palace and the Mews. The Queen is out of town so they have opened up the palace for tours for two months while she is gone. We visited 29 of the State Rooms. It is a beautiful place, so tastefully done. There are actually 470 rooms in the palace., About 250 of those are bedrooms. The grounds cover over 30 acres. The palace was actually hit by bombs 9 times during the blitz of World War II but it did not suffer too much damage at all. We saw the banquet hall where the Queen entertains heads of State at official functions. It is a huge room and is the only room in the palace that is air conditioned. The tables were all set with gorgeous china and gold utinsels and decorations. There were fresh flowers everywhere. It was really quite a sight. The mews is where the carriages, horses, and official cars are kept. There are three Rolls Royces, two Bentleys, and a couple of other cars in the collection. The British take quite a lot of pride in the Royal Family and all of the pageantry that goes along with it. It truly was amazing to see the lavish life styles that they lead and the beautiful places where they live. I am sending a few pictures of the carriages and cars that we saw in the Mews. We also took the picture of the back of Buckingham Palace with Leslie Perry and I after the tour while we were touring the gardens.
Hope all is well there. I think summer is over here. It is now back to cool, cool, cool!!! I know I am making some of you jealous that hate that hot summer weather. It really is pretty nice. The days are getting shorter, so I guess fall is on the way.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Breaking and entering in Morden!

Kenneth at Wimbledon Park

Another week has quickly slipped away and here we go on August. We had a few days of unbearably warm weather and now the cool, rainy weather has returned. I've decided that I like this cool, rainy weather the best so I will not wish for hot, muggy summer any more. We keep very busy with many assorted responsibilities. We have done lots of visiting this past week with part-member families, new-member families, and inactive families. We seem to be making a lot of progress, but we shall see.
We had an experience this past week that was amazing. Kenneth and I went down to the post office to mail a package to Brian and Lacy in Ohio. They expecting their first little baby in October or November and I found a cute English baby present for them. As we walked out of our door, I asked Kenneth, "Do you have your keys because I don't have my purse today?" He responded, "Yes, I have my keys." So off we went and when we came back he realized that he had his church keys, but not his house keys, so the dilemma was - How do we get into our house now without having to call a locksmith? We went through our neighbor's back garden, into our back garden and discovered that we had left a small window open in the back of the house. The opening was about 10 inches high by about 3 feet wide. Kenneth looked at that and thought that he could scoot through the opening. The window opening is about 8 feet from the ground. He scooted a trash can over and got on top of it and proceeded to push himself through the small opening. I was pushing him as hard as I could up and through the opening. It was quite a struggle and quite a sight. I wish that I had gotten it all on video. Everyone could have gotten a good laugh. I pushed and he slid and grabbed the drapes so that he wouldn't fall too far. He finally managed to find the floor inside the house without breaking any BONES!!! He now has a huge bruise from the back of his knee to the top of his thigh. It is quite a battle scar. He also has all of his keys on one key chain now and they will stay that way for the rest of the time we are here. Now when I look at the size of that window, I marvel that he could fit through there and that he didn't kill himself when he fell to the floor. It is really good that he is still in such great shape that he is flexible enough to make that kind of a manuever. The window Kenneth crawled through (the top small window)

We spent a great day on Saturday running a Wandsworth Stake Sports Day at Wimbledon Park. This park is right outside the huge tennis facility and is a beautiful place. We organized track and field events for everyone and everyone seemed to have a great day. This was a joint project that we organized and ran with our friends, the Perrys. Some of the black men and women here are superb runners and leapers. They look like something straight out of the Olympic Trials. It was pretty impressive.
If any of you are interested, our daughter, Brooke, has put all of our emails on a blog for us. The address is: This will be a great reminder for us when we get home of what we did each week on our mission. We will publish the letters into a book and that will be our journal. Great idea. Thanks, Brooke
Well, we hope that you are surviving the hot summer weather. School starts next week and that is unbelievable. The summer has gone by so quickly for us and I'm sure for all of the children who have to go back to school soon. We love hearing your news. We hope all is well with all of you. We are praying for our dear friend, Debbie Blake, who we understand is very ill. Please let her know that our thoughts and prayers are with her.
We are well and happy here, but we miss all of you and think of you often. Take care and have a great week!