Sunday, September 7, 2008

New location and new assignment for this couple missionary in London, England!

Elizabeth Sintim-Aboayge and Sister Beckstrom at the Temple

Ken outside the London Temple

Mitcham Ward Elders August 2008

We have had a very busy, exciting week. We were able to go to the Family History Center in Hyde Park in uptown London and finish enough geneology that 37 more people on my mom's line can now have their temple work completed. We are sending those cards to our children so that those can be completed at the St. George Temple. Sheila, if you would like to do some of those ordinances, just contact Brenda about that. It has been so exciting for me to be able to do this work here in the home country. What a blessing that has been!

On Tuesday, we attended a Zone Meeting and received a call from our Mission President Jeffrey Swinton to have our assignment changed to be the directors of the new London Temple Visitors Center. 2008 is the 50th anniversary year of the opening of the London Temple. As part of that celebration, the visitors center has been refurbished and will have its grand opening on Oct 9-10. We will be moving down to the Temple Site as soon as possible, probably in the next couple of weeks, and living in the housing provided by the Church there. We will immediately set to work lining up tour groups, Stake and ward groups, school field trips, etc. to tour the visitors center and learn of the history of the Church in the British Isles. The goal is to make this visitor's center a destination for people traveling in the London, England area. We have our work cut out for us, but we are really excited for the change. They say that "A change is as good as a rest!" so we will set to work soon doing a different assignment, but serving the same purpose here.

On the 17th of April in 1952 President David O. MacKay authorized a search for two temple sites in Europe, one in Great Britain and one in Switzerland. Two or three sites were selected in the London area, with the most attractive site being just on the fringe of Wimbledon in South London. They began negotiations on that site, but suddenly a 32 acre site in Newchapel became available. As soon as Pres. McKay saw the Newchapel site, he loved it and in June 1953 they purchased the property here. He recorded in his journal after the dedication of this beautiful site that his goal was to "bring the temple to the people."

Pres. McKay and the Church Architect spent some time deciding on the best spot on the property to build the temple. The site they selected was partially covered with a lily pond. The engineers feared that the marshy ground would prove unsuitable for the foundations of the temple, but Pres. McKay insisted that this was the place. Further studies were completed and they discovered that a natural solid shale platform under the ponds was exactly at the correct depth to support the temple. One of the engineers commented, "You could build the city of London on that site." The temple was constructed on that site and dedicated in 1958.

It is a beautiful, peaceful place not far from the busy center of London. We look forward to working there for the next 9 months and having an opportunity to get the Visitor's Center up and running smoothly.

It will be hard to leave the Mitcham Ward and all of the people that we have learned to love here. We will also miss the opportunity of working with the great young Elders. They are an asset to the Church and a living tribute to the influence of good families that support them back at home. We love them all. They are all so different and some are easier to love than others, but they all win your heart over eventually.

We hope you are all well and happy. Summer is almost over with and the beautiful fall season in St. George and the surrounding area will soon begin. We love that time of the year.

We love you all and enjoy hearing your news from home.