Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Report from England, December 11th.
Family and Friends,
      Here is our report of the past week starting with Saturday December 3rd.  Today we went to explore a different part of London.  The Brickyard Markets.  It is located in East London in a Muslim area of town and was hard to get to using the underground Tube.  We found a large mosque and got lost trying to locate the market.  We found the market with lots of ethnic food vendors. We watched Graffiti artists working on a long brick wall.  We next traveled to see several Christmas Markets.  Some areas were so very crowded!  It was crazy.  We caught the Rauschenberg exhibit and Elton John’s personal photography collection before finding the “members only” cafe and lounge (8th floor) at the Tate Modern Museum  with great evening views.  We ended up at the Hyde Park chapel for a YSA Christmas Dinner and Dance.  There we met Elder and Sister Wade who are in charge of the YSA at the Hyde Park chapel.  They really know how to cook for 80 to 100 at a time!  We met a few of our Watford Stake YSA there.  We saw Sister Kerr at the Visitor Center and also had a good visit with Elder and Sister Mullens.  Home by Tube by 10pm or so.

     Sunday, up early for a 45 minute drive to Aylesbury Ward for church.  They have wonderful very faithful YSA and a great small ward.  Great fast and testimony meeting plus a good YSA Sunday school class.  We love the chance to visit with our YSA friends.  After church and visiting, we walked through a Christmas market and a National Trust site.  We had dinner with Katie Hughes, a fun young woman from Watford and her awesome parents!  We finished the day by going with the members and missionaries to sing Christmas Carols at a rest home.

     Monday, we went to the gym and then shopping for food for FHE and for a cute Christmas Sweater (Jumper) for the ward and mission parties.  We found matching Elf sweaters. We ignored the sweaters with Christmas trees with lights that work.  We also found tinsel and lights for the outside of our home.  We looked for Christmas cards with a religious theme and have found none!  We even looked at three church Christmas markets without success.  We arrived home in time to finish putting up our outdoor Christmas lights.

     For FHE we watched the First Presidency Christmas program with Daniel and our four missionaries.  Many of our YSA are out of the country this week.  After the missionaries left, we went to the kitchen and had soup and visited with Daniel.  He is a YSA convert who is preparing his life to serve a mission.  Great young man with some real potential.  He is so good to us and has become a good friend.
   Wednesday, we made our Costco run for Institute and prepared our lessons.  Dad taught a lesson about those who fall away from the gospel and why.  Mom taught a lesson on the second coming.  Both were good lessons with YSA participation.  After the lessons, we had treats and played games.  We LOVE being with the YSA and visiting with them.  We have a couple of couples who may become serious and get married. Success! Yea!
    Thursday, we found more Christmas presents at a Christmas Market and made our way to the Eastbury Manor.  Very interesting Manor that has changed very little from when it was constructed.  Original spiral staircases with each step being a carved log.  The attic showed the original heavy timbers tied together with posts and dowels.  Very cool!!  Tonight, we made Brownies for the Zone meeting tomorrow.

    Friday, we attended our Zone meeting at the Wembley Chapel with the missionaries.  We have about 24 missionaries in the Zone.  One Elder from Madagascar, one from Malaysia, one from Germany, one from Spain, one Sister from France, etc.  Great group! We love our missionaries!  Good lessons and discussions.  The Senior Sisters brought fresh rolls, cheese, butter and jam for treats.  We brought great, moist, tasty brownies. 
    My grey suit is wearing out so we looked at suits in Wembley after the Zone meeting.  They have great prices on suits here.  They expect a better selection after Christmas so we will wait.
    Saturday, we went into London and saw two National Trust homes (Fenton Manor and Sutton House) and Christmas markets.  The homes were okay but probably better in the Summer.  We ate chicken soup and lentil soup in an outdoor church market and toured Sigmund Freud’s home and saw his famous couch and office.  It was interesting. 

     In the evening we attended a Watford Theater pantomime performance of Beauty and the Beast.  The British pantomime is a slapstick, fun, children’s play shown at Christmas time.  I guess it has about a 300 year history.  The play was very fun with a male actor playing one lead female role, kids from the audience participating.  It had great scenery and great music, very funny, and a little off colour British humor.   Mom gave two missionary cards to the Grandpa who sat next to us and visited with us during intermission.
       Sunday, we drove to Enfield Ward for church.  They have a very neat small ward that is very multicultural.  The spirit in their ward is amazing!  I heard at least five languages in the hall after church. The Elders quorum had six men of African descent, two Asians, four Latin men, a couple from Indonesia, and four western European.  Plus the multicultural missionaries from France, Spain, Madagascar, and USA.
         We had a chance to visit with several investigators and a brand new member who was confirmed a member in church. Our YSA in the ward who attend are awesome!  Lots more who are not active in the church.  We met with our YSA representative who has a Master’s Degree in IT Networking.  He is nothing short of amazing!  We are so lucky to have him in the Enfield ward. 

      Tonight we prepared gifts for our neighbors and tried to deliver them.  Only one family was home.  They are a cute family across the street who have two adorable daughters!  They had just put up their Christmas Tree and a very nice Nativity.  Their families are from Italy.
   In our spare time, we read scriptures (we are in Helaman in the Book of Mormon), plan for YSA activities, and brainstorm about how to help the YSA and wards in our stake.  We contact most of the YSA on facebook or whatsap. We are trying to do acts of service each day.
    Well that is our report for this week!   Have a great week preparing for Christmas!  We are excited to celebrate Christmas as Christ’s Birthday celebration!  We are very thankful for our Savior and His Atonement! 
    We love you all and miss you!
Clark and Joyce, Mom and Dad, Grandpa Baron and Grandma Joyce, Elder and Sister Baron

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

     We have arrived to our little home after a great day!  We have much to share with you so we better begin!  Maybe fewer details this time….

     Saturday, November 26th.  Today is the day of our YSA Workshops and Thanksgiving Dinner.  Today we cooked 40 foil wrapped potatoes in our little oven. Two of our YSA helped us set up the church.  Sister Wallace made  homemade rolls! Plus our 40 pounds of Turkey Breast and a great tossed salad!  Top it with Ranch dressing, Turkey gravy, and cranberry sauce.  Dessert was Apple Pie and English Custard. The dinner was wonderful!  We got many complements saying that this was the best turkey ever!
We fed just under 40 people.
    The Workshops were amazing!  Self Reliance with sub categories of Spiritual, Emotional, Financial, Educational, and Attitude.  All the presenters were professionals in their fields and it went very well!  We were very relieved and pleased!!

    Sunday, Today we had a Baptism for a young lady who we have been working with.  She is a wonderful, determined young lady. The gospel has brought some stability and friendship into her life. We have Skyped with her and the Sister Missionaries and had her over for FHE several times.  The plan was to baptize her and one other convert at 3pm, right after church.  During the Sacrament meeting, the heat in the building went out.  Dad helped Steve, a ward member, work on it and they got everything up but the chapel area.  The water heater kicked on and they were able to fill the font with warm water.  Everyone was so excited!

    Su was baptized and was so very happy!    She was so determined to be baptized that she was willing to use ice cold water if that was all that was available! She got up at the end of the service and spoke for about 10 minutes and gave the most wonderful talk about her testimony.  Mom gave a talk about the Holy Ghost and one of our YSA converts, Daniel, gave an awesome talk on Baptism.  Daniel was not attending church when we arrived in Watford but he became our good friend and he is now attending every week plus FHE and Institute.  He is getting to be so strong and is starting to plan for a mission!  He is a great young man.  We love these wonderful people!
    Sunday night we had the missionaries over for Thanksgiving leftovers.  Our young Sister Smiddy is being transferred and Sister Wright is staying for her last six weeks of her mission.  She will be training a new sister.  Sister Smiddy will be in North London so we will see her at Christmas.

     Monday,  We taught Seminary at 6:30am.  We then went into London to look for boots for mom on the Black Friday sales.  She found some Dr. Martens that are great! We grabbed some fresh Churros with Spanish Chocolate at Camden!  Yummy!  We toured the British Library and saw some great things including the original Magna Carta.  We then took Bus #10 clear across London looking at the Christmas lights! 
      We got home just in time for a visit with the Sisters and an investigator.  We prepared for FHE and had a great lesson on Prayer!  We had about a dozen people in our little living room. We love Family Home Evenings!

    Tuesday, was a cleaning, washing, shopping for food day!

    Wednesday,  Early Morning Seminary again.  Good kids, great lessons!  After Seminary, the Gym, and morning routines, we went to Hemel Hempstead to see one of our YSA.  Together we went to the movies to see “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”  It was fun to see the movie and to be with one of our YSA kids!  Her name is Katie and she is a returned missionary who is a really fun, “I can do that” kind of girl!  She has been one of most faithful YSA!  We Love Her!  We checked out the town centre and antique stores before heading home.  We found the granddaddy of all roundabouts!  It has six roundabouts tied together.  You can go around the loop either way and exit on any of the six mini loops!  Crazy!  Mom handled it so well and laughed all the way through it the third time!
     That evening we had a great Institute lesson on Tolerance and Religious Freedom!  Enjoyed the evening!
    Thursday, Today we drove to Hemel (yes, through the Plough Roundabout from purgatory) to do service at the Tesco grocery store.  We greeted shoppers in the entrance to the store and handed out little flyers that announced a food drive for the local Food Bank.  We talked to people and handed out flyers for a couple of hours.  I am amazed at how much food people donated.  Total for the week was over 6 tons of food donated.  The people were pleasant and generous.  After that, we drove to Milton Keynes to visit two of our YSA at their work.  Their dad is the Bishop of the local ward.  They have a restaurant with the BEST Chinese food EVER!  We enjoyed great meals (curry for mom and sweet and sour for dad) plus we brought home carrot cake!  We love visiting them!

    Friday, We wandered North to visit the Waddeson Manor in Aylesbury.  The manor was built by the Vanderbilt Family and is BEAUTIFUL.  They have beautiful grounds, a Christmas Market, stables with shops, art installations, fountains, and a beautiful mansion.  We purchased an annual pass so that we can go back in the spring.  The Manor was decorated for Christmas and was beautiful! The grounds included a lighted art installation with 9000 lights which changed color beautifully.  It looked like a shimmering lake of lights.

    The Christmas Market was excellent!  We tried Roasted Chestnuts, unique cheeses, Potatoes, Cheese, and Sausage, as well as great Hot Chocolate!  We arrived back in Watford in time to attend the ward Christmas Caroling Program. It was a delightful day!  We are glad we will be able to return to the manor when the weather is good.

    We have starting putting up our Christmas decorations and tree.  Of course we need lights on the outside of the house even though we may be the only one with lights on the street.  We want everyone to know we celebrate the birth of Christ, Our Savior!
     The days seem so short!  Of Course, the sunlight time is short (it gets dark about 3:20pm). It is cold so we wear vests and coats everywhere.  There is not much rain and some fog but overall, quite pleasant. 

It is so wonderful to work with the members, missionaries, and neighbors.  We know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings people happiness and peace in their lives.  We love sharing the Love!
We love you very much and miss seeing our family.

Elder and Sister Baron

Friday, November 25, 2016

Family and Friends,

         Just a note to tell you that we are doing well and are enjoying our adventure here.  We love the missionaries and members here!  Here is a one week rundown of Elder and Sister Baron in Watford England!

    Friday, November 18th.  We made our Costco run early today.  One of our Young Adults told us about a motorcycle shop so we stopped by the Royal Enfield dealer on the way.  Very cool motorcycles.  Truly British and retro! We shopped three grocery stores and found (drum roll) cranberries, Turkey gravy, and olives for our Thanksgiving Dinner and workshop.  In the afternoon, we drove to Wembley to meet with a “Letting Agent” to look at two apartments that will be used for the Elders who serve in the Wembley area.  One older apartment with a weird layout which was not our favorite.  The other was much newer, top floor one bedroom bigger unit that was being remodeled.   It is now cleaned up with new paint and hardwood floors.  It is in a good location, close to a tube station, and by a University campus.  We suggested the second one and it looks like the church will rent it and move two Elders in.

     Saturday was a sunny day so we walked to the Croxley Post Office to get a package.  If packages will not fit through your mail slot then the postal worker knocks on the door. If you are not home to receive it then they leave a note and take it back to the post office.  We cleaned our house, Joyce aka Sister Baron did some art sketching, and Elder Baron aka Clark worked on the computer for our next activity.  We then drove out to a health food store where one of our young women works.  We visited with her and purchased some things including a bottle of Macadamia peanut butter and avocado humus.  Wow!  We also looked at real Christmas trees for our little apartment.  Very neat!

    That evening we attended the Stake Road Show where we played a part in the Star Wars jazz band.  The crowd was really excited to see the Senior Missionaries in the show.  It was good to see all the members from all the wards.  Since we work with the Young Single Adults (YSA) for the stake, we had visited every ward to meet the people.  It was very fun and productive.  One southern ward is struggling and did not produce a show for the evening.  They have great hearts and are a happy willing people but they have trouble getting things done.  The contest for the best play has traditionally been between the two northern wards but this year the little southern ward of Enfield took first place!  You would have thought that they won an Oscar based on the celebration!  We love those good humble people!  The ward is mostly black and Asian families. They had a really cute play with some traditional African costumes and story line.  We had a great time!
    Sunday we attended church at Wembley.  They have a small cute building and a small humble multicultural ward.  We were able to talk to several of our YSA and encouraged them to attend our “Reach Higher” workshop this next Saturday.  The subject of the workshop is just what these people need.  We hope and pray that they will come and learn a lot!

    We noticed on a map that the largest and first Hindu Mandir temple in Europe is located in Wembley close to IKEA.  After church we drove over to take a look.  We found them to be very gracious and excited that two American Mormon Missionaries would come to see their temple.  An older gracious man took us through the huge facility.  Huge meeting room that will hold 3000 people.  They had a large youth conference going on.  We went through the traditional temple and it was beautiful!  Carved limestone pillars, statues, and designs.  Wonderful workmanship.  The interior was Limestone and Teak and Rosewood.  They had a visitor center with an exhibit on the history of Hinduism. It was very interesting.  We were impressed.  If they all lived their religion, the world would be a better place.
     We had a quiet evening at home preparing for Seminary, Institute, Family Home Evening, and the next week.

    Monday is Laundry Day!  We love our little washer and condenser dryer.  It makes life so much easier that hanging things out everywhere! We hit the gym and went for a walk in the sunshine!  Later we prepared the food, lesson and games for FHE.
    Two of our young Missionary Sisters came at 6:30 and taught an investigator named Ray.  We participated and tried to help when appropriate.  He is well versed in the Bible and had lots of questions.  At 7:30 we greeted the rest of the group.  We had four Missionaries, two investigators, six YSA, and both of us.  We talked about Gratitude and shared what we are thankful for with each other.  We then played some loud games and had fun.  One of the investigators is going to be baptized on Sunday and she is so excited.  She has some anxiety and some emotional challenges and has been working for years to reach some stability at this point in her life.  She has a hard time with noise and chaos.  She is a school aid who works with elementary age students and loves it!

    Tuesday was Joyce’s BIRTHDAY!  We had a very fun day! We Skyped with Family! President and Sister Stevens, our Mission President called to wish Joyce a happy birthday and to thank us for the work that we are doing with the YSA and missionaries.  We took the Tube to the South Bank in London where we found several small jewelry design shops.  We found a meat pie place and order one turkey and one chicken.  The chicken one was good, the turkey was okay. We saw a little Christmas market where we found some great hot chocolate. 71% Brazilian Dark Chocolate.  Yummy.   We then walked across the Thames, through Embankment, through Trafalgar Square, and up to Leicester Square to another small Christmas market.  We found a little silver ring for Joyce.

        We then walked up to Covent Garden and checked out the handmade shops.  Cute kids hats and Christmas decorations.  We then walked over to Piccadilly Circus where we caught the Tube home.  When we arrive (after a train delay) we quickly grabbed the car and drove to the Warner Brothers-Harry Potter Studios where one of our YSA had tickets waiting for us.  We toured the entire studio.  Three of our young ward members were working on the “Green Screen” exhibits.  We had our pictures taken in our wizard robes but skipped doing a movie riding on a broom. WOW. What a fun time!  We got home late and crashed in bed.

    Wednesday, We went shopping for treats for Institute and met Stephanie, one of our YSA who’s dad is Chinese and Mom is English.  She is going to Hong Kong this week for a trip with her family.  She served a mission in Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese fluently.  She just got a job using her language with a bank in London’s China Town.  She starts work as soon as she returns from China.  Neat Beautiful Young Lady!
    Later we worked on our lessons since we were teaching Institute that evening.  Elder Baron taught about the importance of scriptures.  Sister Baron taught a lesson on death, resurrection, and the life after death.  She was really good!  We had a smaller group than usual but we had three new YSA from Enfield attend.  We love being with them!  We felt a strong spirit in the meeting and was happy to be there.  Some of the YSA set up a ping pong table at the church and Elder Baron played for a bit.  Two big black members started to play and they were so very good!  It was fun to watch someone that big move that fast!  We had a fun time!   Two of our YSA are being seen together every day.  Maybe their status will change from being single.  They are both awesome young people!
     We appreciate an older couple from our ward who loves to provide transportation to the young adults. They drove several home after Institute.  They love them and love to serve.  We appreciate their wonderful service!  It was late when we cleaned up and locked the church to head home.  We were tired but happy!
     Thursday, we planned to meet Joyce’s artist friend from Park City in London for a day’s adventures.  We met her at her hotel and took the tube to Westminster Abbey.  We found lots of police and barricades up everywhere. We learned that the Queen was going to visit the Abbey that morning so we left and went to the British Museum to see the early English History section of the Museum.  Very interesting.  Much of what they have from the Roman times were found in a cache or trove.  People were afraid that the Roman army was going to lose the battle and leave the area. To keep things safe, they would take their prized possessions and bury them.  Their plan was to return later and dig them up but for one reason or another, they were not able to return.  Many treasures are found when farmers plowed the fields and dug up old silver platters but now many are found undamaged by amateurs using metal detectors.  One huge cache of over 15,000 Roman coins were found in our area in 2002. 
       When we finished at the museum, we made our way to Westminster Abbey for a tour.  When they saw our missionary name tags they ushered us inside and gave us Clergy Passes to see the Abbey. It is a very neat place with TONS of history since all the Kings and Queens are crowned in Westminster Abbey and many are buried there.  We even saw one door in the monks work area that was still being used.  It was installed in 1054.  That was 440 years before Columbus!  That wooden door is four times as old as the United States.  This place has HISTORY.
        It was very cold inside the building since they do not heat their old historic churches.  When we were inside, a woman ran up to us and was very excited.  She was a member of the church from Philadelphia and was excited to see Missionaries in London.  She said that she could tell we were missionaries and could feel our spirit.  She was very sweet.

     Next we went to Hyde Park to see the large Christmas Market there.  Well, it was really a carnival with rides, games, fun houses, and lots of fast food booths.  We were a bit disappointed. We grabbed a bite at the Muffin Man restaurant and walked to the Salvation Army Concert at Royal Albert Hall.  We had seats behind the choir (spelled Quire in the old churches).  The program was very good and we had a chance to sing several Christmas Carols using the words from the protestant hymnal.  Fun.  The Royal Albert hall is beautiful! What a wonderful building!  After the concert we walked back to the tube station with Joyce’s friend and rode the tube home.  We arrived at midnight.

    Friday, we were up at 5:45am so that we could be at the church by 6:30am for Early Morning Seminary.  Elder Baron taught about Luke 17 this morning.  We had 5 young people attend.  There are usually between five and eight each morning.
    We went for a walk and then went to Costco for the big things we need for tomorrow’s YSA workshop and Thanksgiving dinner.  Like 20 pounds of turkey breast, 40 pounds of potatoes, salad, fruit, etc. etc.   Sister Baron has been cooking turkey for about six hours today.  It is delicious!!  Tomorrow we will run four workshops on Self-reliance and Leadership and feed Thanksgiving Dinner to about 40 people!  Fun!

    Well, the missionaries need our help with an investigator at six pm so I better go.
      Love you all!  We miss our friends and family at this time of Thanksgiving but know that we are doing what we should be doing.  We love London.  We love the Missionaries.  We love the members.  We are having so much fun!
We LOVE and miss our Family and friends!!  Carry on and Pray for us!

     Elder and Sister Baron