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.