Sunday, July 16, 2017

Last Post - Thanks for Tuning In!!!

Besides saying good-bye to people, we have been taking extra care to admire, enjoy, soak in, and be grateful for the beautiful country in which we have served.  For every picture of the landscape that we have posted, there were several others that were taken!  On our walk to Church today we strolled past the temple and took some last pictures of the incredible landscaping.

This will be our last post since we leave on Friday to go home.  There is no way to tell who has looked at this blog, but we need to say:  Our purpose in coming on this mission was to help facilitate the performing of the eternal saving ordinances for deceased family members, which can be done only in the Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Because what is done in the Temple is sacred and not talked about out of the Temples, we have not been able to share most of our experiences in this blog, but we have indeed enjoyed some marvelous events that have impacted our lives, and we are so grateful for them.  We KNOW that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Church upon the earth, and provides the saving ordinances that enable us all to return to our Heavenly Father.
Last Sunday stroll around the Temple that we love so much!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Good-Byes Have Begun....

Last night we went out to dinner with the two other Temple Missionary couples from the US.  While eating, we found out that the Galbraiths are unexpectedly leaving today, due to a family emergency!  This is their fifth mission.  They have been good friends and amazing examples.  We will miss them, but are glad we will see them soon in the US.
Dinner last night - L to R, Days, Us, Galbraiths
(Well, THIS wasn't dinner - we're in front of the restaurant!)

The others to whom we have started to say good-bye we will not see soon.  As we have mentioned, most of the Ordinances Workers here come for one week a month, or one week every other month, etc.  As each of the last few weeks have ended there have been tearful goodbyes with those we know we will never see again in this life.  Our lives have been blessed by our interaction with so many people here.

In an effort to soak up all the phenomenal exquisite beauty that we can before we leave, we got permission to go down to Cornwall with the Days last weekend.  It is in the South of England and is a vacation destination.  
You can see why!!!!
Does this look familiar?
How about this?

This is Port Isaac, aka Port Wenn, from "Doc Martin"
Anyone ever see that TV show???

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

As we have served in two foreign countries, few things make us more homesick than not being home for the Fourth of July.  Our wonderful country is certainly not as great as it once was, and has its flaws; but it is still the best, most blessed country, and we are proud to be Americans. 

Even if this country (England)  does have Grand Estates 
("Pemberley" in the 2005 "Pride and Prejudice)

 And amazing old country churches in every little village
(Most of which are now restaurants or nightclubs)
 And royalty

 And the most incredible countryside

And we get to be here as missionaries

There's still no place like America - the land prepared by Heavenly Father to be the birthplace of the Restoration!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Few of the Things That We Are Still Not Used To

Adjusting to living in England has not been difficult like Brazil was, but after nearly a year there are still some things that we are not used to.
Walking along the sidewalk and having a car pass with a child
(or a dog) in what we are used to being the driver's seat!!!
It can still shock us!

Round-abouts.  At every intersection.  Instead of stop lights.
And they go clockwise instead of the US counter clockwise!

Turning a country corner and seeing a picturesque little village still takes our breath away!
(These three pictures were taken yesterday!)

GORGEOUS hillsides that go on forever.  The cows we're used to, but the intense GREEN  hillsides are still overwhelming!

Rock walls lining narrow roads - good thing we have a SMALL rental car!

The language!!!  There are SO MANY delightful accents, words we can't say, and great verbiage:
  • I thought I could come home being able to imitate a fun accent, but EVERYBODY has a different one - all charming.
  • When I serve at the Clothing Counter in the temple I keep forgetting to ask the men what size TROUSERS they need - when I ask their PANT size they snicker, as "pants" are women's underwear!
  • SOOO many unique sayings we could fill a page, but my favorite was an adorable old Scottish man who passed me in the grocery store and stopped and said, "My but you're a bonnie lass."  Adorable!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"I Think The World Is Glorious...

.... And Lovely As Can Be"    The Primary Children don't sing this much anymore, but it's a sweet, relevant song.  Living here, it runs through our minds often as we look around!

On this Father's Day, in addition to being grateful for our own Fathers, and the Fathers of our grandchildren, we are especially grateful for a Loving Father who created such a beautiful world for us.  This part of England is so marvelous - we will miss the foliage and the intensity of green that surrounds us here!
As if they don't have enough big green fields, their parks have HUGE green areas.

We could look at scenes like this all day!!!!  We LOVE being able to get out in the country.
This Garden of Eden-looking tree is one of our favorites - it's here on the Temple Grounds

This is a close up of the tree above - the flowers are on top of the leaves!!!
So Pretty!!!

An odd picture of one of our favorite plants - this is taken from a window
at the end of our hall!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Gospel of Love

For the first time since December 23, (when we had kids visiting) we took a day off from the Temple this week and went to Scotland.  We weren't able to go to the Western Highlands during our shutdown in January because of the weather, so we took our P-Day plus one more day and had a lovely little road trip (is it still a road trip if you go by train???) to Scotland.

The Scottish have a harsh history - a lot of massive slaughters similar to what we read about in the Book of Mormon.  In the last 500 years most of their wars have been based on conflicts over which religion should rule.  As we heard stories of religious zealots conquering this area or that, we were so grateful that we know that the true Gospel is one of Love.  In the last General Conference there were great reminders that we are not to respond to opposition with anything but love.  How different the world would be if everyone would embrace that concept.

We were able to have a wonderful private conversation about the Church during lunch with our Tour Guide, who had asked earlier about our religion.  He knew absolutely NOTHING, and it was nice to have a conversation about the Gospel with no pre-conceived notions!    
Even though it was freezing and cloudy, it was still gorgeous!

And as always, pictures don't begin to do the beautiful landscape justice! 

Scotland has numerous castles - this one was built in 1387

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Double-Sided Blessing

These last few weeks we have been able to have a different assignment in the Temple that allows us to oversee and often assist patrons at the end of each session.  (Trying here to be careful in what we write and not use wording not appropriate out of the temple!)  The first week we were there, I assisted an older sister who had been an Ordinance Worker for years, but because of memory struggles associated with her age is no longer a Worker.  She comes often to the temple, but in this one area she had quite a bit of trouble remembering verbiage that she used to know so well, and needed my assistance.  I ached for her and could not hold back the tears as she turned apologetically to me and said, "I am getting so dumb." 

As we get older and less capable, there are a lot of things that we are no longer able to do, or do well.  Our society is not particularly interested in helping the aged feel valued.  But participating in the temple ordinances CAN be done by those who struggle physically and in other ways.  As I looked at a recent session with two patrons in wheelchairs, two walkers (they're used a lot here) and three canes (out of about 15 people on the session) I thought about how loving Heavenly Father is to have 150 temples around the world where older and physically disabled people can come and not only be useful, but do some of the most important work that can be done on this earth.  It is a place where they can be contributors, be productive, and still have purpose and focus in their lives.

We are so grateful for the example of so many who are truly enduring to the end - not just by "hanging on," but serving in such an important place, performing redeeming ordinances for those who cannot do it for themselves.  Some come at great inconvenience and difficulty. Some are in excessive pain.  Some are embarrassed at how they look or what they don't remember.  Some are apologetic at the extra help and care they need.  But they are here.  And we are grateful that they are and hope we don't ever forget their examples. We love being part of this great work.

More flowers from last week.  These Peace Lilies are HUGE!

We're going to miss these unique streets!