Monday, October 6, 2008

Beautiful Surrey in the Green, Green English Isle!

Approaching Bodian Castle

Beautiful Old Bodian Castle

We are still here and getting closer and closer every day to having things up and running here at the London Temple Visitors' Centre. . The backdrop behind the Christus statue is beautiful. Actually, Russ Rasmussen, the head man from SLC here putting the Visitor Centre together said that finding the right man to paint the mural was the first miracle that happened here. He was looking for a muralist to paint the wall behind the Christus after the mural from SLC got ruined. He found one in the yellow pages and contracted with him to do the mural. The man said that he had been praying for work just before he got the phone call from here. Russ told him that he'd have to be careful what he prayed for when the Mormons were close by. He did such a marvelous job that Russ asked him to come to the USA and paint a mural in the newly refurbished Los Angeles Visitors' Centre. We should be up and running by Friday or Saturday. We have a bunch of people scheduled to come on Saturday so we certainly hope that we are ready!!!

We do have a little down time right now as we are writing letters and coming up with policies, etc, to run this place. Last Monday, our friends, the Perrys came down and we went about an hours drive away from here down into Kent. There we went to Bodian Castle. It is so amazingly beautiful. It is a massive stone fortress surrounded by a huge moat. The castle was actually built by a nobleman back in the 1300's. He worked for years building the castle and then fortifying it from enemy attack. Not too long after the castle was finished he was sent off to France to fight in the war that was going on there and he was killed. The castle passed through many hands through the years. It was attacked and the inside pretty much gutted during the English Civil War in the 1600's. Later, it was bought by a wealthy man who donated it to the National Trust so that it could be preserved. It is a wonderful place to visit. When you think of a traditional old English castle, this is exactly the picture that you paint in your mind. We climbed to the top of the turrets where they had old toilets. They were a seat built into the outside wall of the castle with a hole that made it so that whatever went into the hole actually fell all of the way to the moat. You can just imagine how those moats must have smelled on a hot-humid night in the summer time.

I was able to get registered for the New Family Search Program that is now up and running here in London so that I could work more easily on genealogy. The program is so wonderful. I have found over 100 names of people on all sides of our genealogy who have not had all of their temple work completed and I have only just begun. We have been able to do some of the work here at the London Temple. We actually did over 50 sealings on Friday here. I have also sent names to my sister, Carol, our daughter, Brenda, and our son, Britt, to do some of the work. It has been so much fun. I love going through all of the names, dates, and locations and learning a little more about my family and Kenneth's, too. They say that Utah will not come on line for a few more months. Be prepared to be amazed when it finally comes to you. It is going to be a great tool in clearing up all of the duplicate dates, names, etc. that have collected through the
years. For the past 9 1/2 months I have been working on my mom's genealogy, but now it is easy and quick to work on all sides of our genealogy.

Well, I had best go. We were really pleased to be able to see all of the sessions of conference. We watched most of them here in the Mission President's Office, but on Sunday we went down to our old stake at Wandsworth and watched the sessions there with many of our old friends from the Mitcham Ward. We had a great time there. It was fun to see everyone again. All of the sessions are 7 hours behind us, so we finished the Sunday afternoon session at 11:00 pm last night. We thought the talks were wonderful and the spirit was strong. We were particularly pleased about the announcement of the five new temples. Have you wondered just which of the historic sites near Kansas City might be the place that the temple will be built? Could it be Independence, Far West, Adam - Ondi - Ahmand, or will it be somewhere completely different? We've had fun spectualating on it here.

Well, hope all is well there. We love you and think of you often.