Dear Family and Friends,
Another week has flown by and it is again past time for me to report to you! Life is good here in the United Kingdom. We LOVE working with the people here!
Here is what our week looked like:
Thursday, November 3rd, we spent in London! We scheduled a walking tour with Matt Gedge and “Fun London Tours” to see the “Changing of the Guard” at the Royal Palace. What an adventure!! The British LOVE pomp and ceremony! We started at Piccadilly Circus and walked to St. James Place to watch all the action. Matt, our tour guide has the routine timed to the minute so we had literally front row positions for all the bands, guards, and horse guards. Perfect Timing! We made five stops which were timed perfectly for us to arrive just as the Guards, Bands, or Horses would arrive. It was a fun event to watch and it was great to learn about the traditions surrounding the ceremony. Because it is winter time, the crowds were smaller and that also made things easier. There were only about 1000 people or so watching the event! We will attach pictures.
After grabbing a sandwich at Pret-a-Manger we took the Tube to Temple Station where we again met Matt for a second tour. This time we wandered through the alleys and backroads to see some of the “Hidden Treasures” of London. Again, we enjoyed the tour and learned much more about historic London including “Roman” baths, Ghost Subway stations, Printing Press Row, dozens of churches, some showing evidence of WWII bombings, the Knights Templar Hall, and lastly the Cheshire Cheese Pub which was Rebuilt in 1667. The pub still has the original floors and steps with not a straight corner or level floor in the place.
Lastly we visited the Cass Abstract Art show. They did not pick Mom’s entry to be exhibited so they made a poor choice! The picked only 8 of 700 entries so we did not feel too bad.
Friday was clean the house and do the laundry day. It rained most of the day. We did have a meeting scheduled in the Library with the missionary Sisters and an investigator but he cancelled at the last minute so we walked to the Mall. We felt sorry for our poor missionaries! They are so good and they work so very hard. Later Mom worked on some art sketches and Dad worked on the computer.
Saturday, we drove up to Milton Keynes to visit one of our YSA members. She works in the family Chinese grocery store and restaurant. We visited a museum early in the day. Wonderful Museum with tons of antiques that have been restored so that they all worked. Many old music boxes, player pianos, ancient record players with no amplification, Stereo Master viewers, water wheels, brick bread ovens, farm machinery, BSA motorcycles and many many other things! They even had a Formula One race car next to the antique bikes. Wonderful exhibits!
Milton Keynes was a rail depot exactly 50 miles from London and 50 miles from Birmingham. The town as it now stands was “created” in 1967 and consolidated a number of small communities.
We found the restaurant and our YSA. She was so happy that we came to see her. She is a wonderful young woman. Her YSA older brother runs the restaurant and her father runs the store. Her father is serving as the Bishop of the Aylesbury Ward and many of his extended family work at the store and restaurant. We found some great treasures in the store including a solar powered Lucky Cat from China! We ate in the restaurant and the food was WONDERFUL! Large servings, great sauces, and fresh ingredients! We drank mango and coconut juice and had sushi for an appetizer. When we went to pay, they would not take any money for the meal and even gave us a cup of their special salad dressing that we loved. Wonderful loving people.
We next visited the National Computing Museum at the secret Bletchley Park. During WWII this was the center of the British code breaking spy center. They had some brilliant scientists and mathematicians who were able to break the secret codes used by Germany and Italy during the war. The challenge was that it took too long to decode the messages so they created several early computers to help with the work. The computers used vacuum tubes and racks of paper tape readers to accomplish their tasks. They were very successful and developed several of the earliest computers in the world but they did not reveal that information for many many years. It is thought that their work in breaking the codes shortened the war by two to four years and saved many many lives. Dad was totally in seventh heaven! He saw the WITCH, EDSAC, and Colossus computers actually work! Amazing! They also had good exhibits and examples of early working computers including the Altair, Commodore PET, Commodore 64, Apple, and Sinclair. WOW!
That evening we joined the YSA (and about 2 or 3 thousand others) at the large Cassiobury Park by our home to watch a celebration, huge bonfire and fireworks. It was freezing cold!!
Sunday we were off to church. Mom drives with nice leather gloves because it is cold and her hands hurt. We heard testimonies of wonderful happy people who have found peace through the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are sincere, humble, and have great faith. We love these people. A married woman from Chili had not seen or heard from her family and her mother in years. Her Mother did not want to have any contact with her children. This woman has been praying to be reunited with her family. She was able to contact her father this fall and her Mom called her this week and they spoke. Her mother from Chili cried and asked to be forgiven. They now have plans to get the family back together.
Monday was a beautiful day. We went to the Gym, rode our Bikes, and walked up to High Street in town. We did some of our laundry and prepared for Family Home Evening. We never know how many, if any, will come. When evening came, the Missionary Sisters came with two wonderful men who are investigating the church. They are both black, one from the Caribbean and one from Africa. They are sincerely reading, learning, and praying to know what path they should take. Daniel (our YSA friend and scooter owner) came and brought Mike who met with the Missionaries some time ago but wanted more time to think and study. Stephanie then arrived. She is half Chinese and served a mission speaking Mandarin. We discovered that she was at the Provo MTC while we were serving there. She was wonderful.
The Missionary Sisters (Wright and Smiddy) gave a lesson on Faith which was very good. The spirit was so very strong and everyone enjoyed the discussion. We played UNO and ate the delicious Brownies that Mom made. The missionaries left and the others stayed to talk and play games. We loved it!
Tuesday we drove to Hampton Court Palace. The Palace and grounds are huge. Henry VIII lived there as did a number of English Royalty. We toured his chambers, kitchens, and courts. It was very interesting. They had fires in the fireplaces and the original wall hangings. Castles and Palaces were NOT comfortable in England’s winters. Very Drafty and very cold. We participated in a reenactment of an event in Catherine Parr’s life. She was Henry’s last wife. The costumes were excellent. Dad was Catherine’s Uncle who delivered a message from her sister that Cardinal Wolsey was coming with a warrant for her arrest for heresy. Her crime was that she had been reading a book by Calvin. It was fun and informative! We toured much of the palace and gardens. We even found the world’s largest grapevine which was about 500 years old. We ate meat pies just off of the royal kitchens. In Henry’s time they cooked many meat pies but the crust was just there to keep the meat and sauces together so they usually did not eat the crust.
Wednesday, We picked up two Missionary Sisters who are finishing their missions next month. Sister Johannas was in Watford when we first arrived. The other sister was a beautiful young girl from Rwanda Africa. The two were together at the MTC when they arrived in the mission. We drove with them to the London Temple so that they could go through the temple once before finishing their missionary service. The temple is not located in our Mission so the missionaries only get to go once. We enjoyed being with them and visiting with them. The temple session was wonderful and we had a chance to see some sealing rooms and the baptismal font! We ate lunch at the temple cafeteria, toured the grounds and little visitor center and drove back to Watford.
Wednesday evening was Institute. We had a good lesson from Bishop Manning with treats and games afterward. It was our biggest group yet for Institute. We love working with these young people! It was a good day!
We that’s about it for this week!
We love and miss you all. We appreciate hearing from each of you! Let us know what is going on in your families! We love you all so much!
Dad and Mum