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