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.