Monday, January 5, 2009

Beckstrom's top ten list for 2008!

The entry gate at the London Temple

Tabernacle Square

Penshurst Place

Ken and Barbara by the Roman Arch at Kew Gardens

Wow, 2008 has come and gone! We have been in Jolly Old England now for over a year and we are thrilled. What a great experience it has been and we have less than six months left to go. We are excited at the prospect of more opportunities to serve here and then to be able to return home to see and associate with all of those we love. I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this first email of 2009 to the "Top Ten Blessings we have enjoyed this year in England". So here goes. By the way, they are in no particular order of preference:

1. MITCHAM WARD IN SOUTH LONDON: What a great opportunity we had here to serve in many, many capacities and to learn to love so many wonderful people from countries all over the world. We had ward members from: Ghana, Nigeria, Iran, Philipines, Ireland, Scotland, England, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, South Africa, Mauritius, Spain, France, Barbados, Jamaica, Thailand, and Canada.

2. MY FIRST COUSINS FROM ENGLAND - We have had the chance to make and renew friendships with my cousins from my mom's side of the family. We have been able to spend many weekends and holidays with all of them. We have found them to be wonderful people and they seem to be people that we have known all of our lives. What a blessing to have found them and to have learned to love them all over again.

3. VISITS FROM OUR USA FAMILY AND FRIENDS- One of the things that has kept me going throughout this year has been an occasional visit from some of the wonderful people that we love. It has been great fun for us to spend some time with Brent and Carolyn Russon (from SLC), Glen, Helen, and Erica Esplin (from SLC), Doug, Cindy, and Stefanie Westbrook (from Santa Clara), our son, Brice, his wife, Nicole, and kids, Matthew and Brandon (from Santa Clara), and our daughter and her family, Brooke, Ben, Ady, and Emma. Oh, how we have loved those visits and visitors. Thank you so much. We are also looking forward now to a visit in March from my two sisters, Carol and Sheila, and their husbands, and also, Brian, Lacy, and Alli (our newest grandchild who we have not seen yet). Our three oldest children, Britt, Brice, and Brenda are scheduled to come and pick us up in June so that we can tour the UK before we go home on July 11. What a great support group we have!

4. OUR ASSOCIATION WITH THE YOUNG ELDERS OF THE LONDON SOUTH MISSION: What a blessing it has been to learn to love and appreciate the great young missionaries here in this mission. We have spent lots of time working with, feeding, nursing, caring for, and loving these great young men. The memories of our associations with them will last a life time.

5. OUR FRIENDS, THE OTHER SENIOR COUPLES, OUT HERE IN THE MISSION FIELD: What fun it has been to get to know great senior couples from all over the United States that have sacrificed to come out here and serve. It has been salvation for us to visit with them and occasionally even to party with them as we work together out here in Jolly Old England.

6. HISTORIC LONDON, ENGLAND: Oh, all of the places that we have learned about in our history classes and here it all is right before our eyes. How we have loved seeing all of the historic places, beautiful architecture, wonderful museums, and the beautiful River Thames as we have learned to navigate this large city.

7. THE GREEN VERDANT LAND OF THE UNITED KINGDOM - We have visited beautiful spots like the Cotswolds, the Isle of Wight, the south coast of England, historic Dover Castle, Brighton and Southend-On-Sea beaches looking out across the English Channel, many, many, many historic and architecturally beautiful castles too numerous to mention, and Herefordhire, the county bordering Wales in the Western part of England.

8. SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE: What a blessing it has been to us to be able to serve the Lord in many different callings. The opportunities have been endless and we have truly come to love the great people of England because of these service opportunities.

9. TESTIMONY BUILDING EXPERIENCES AT THE LONDON TEMPLE VISITORS' CENTRE: When you have a chance to share your testimony with others and hear their testimonies and stories of conversion, your testimony grows. We have found that to be so true here at the Visitors' Centre. We meet people from so many different parts of the world and are able to share a little bit of the spirit that the Christus Statue conveys along with the kiosks and films available at the Centre. What a blessing it is to us especially.

10. MUSICAL OPPORTUNITIES: Here in the church in England, the opportunities are extended often to share musical talents with others. I have had the chance to play the piano for many occasions, lead Stake and Ward Choirs, sing in Stake and Ward Choirs, teach piano lessons to eager students, and what a blessing it has been to be able to cultivate that talent again and enjoy participating in great musical happenings here.

Have a wonderful New Year.