Family and Friends,
Well, we have had a great couple of weeks so here is our report from Watford Hertfordshire England!
Our last report ended on January 8th so, let's start on Monday, 9th Jan.
Monday, we spent the day cleaning up the house and preparing for Family Home Evening! Our local Elders and Sisters came over for waffles before Family Home Evening! They LOVE waffles and Dad loves to cook them and Costco has Syrup and pancake mix in bulk and we have a 120 volt waffle iron with a special transformer to make it work so it all works out very well!
We Love working with our missionaries! We had a good crowd at FHE. We said our Goodbyes to Sister Wright who is leaving for home in Utah and Elder Mecham who is being transferred to Northampton.
We played Camie's SpyFall game and they loved it! Mom and I don't fib very well so they can always catch us when we are the spy.
Tuesday, we met Sister Wright and Sister Adams in London with our friend Sister Smiddy and her companion for Sister Wright’s LAST preparation day in the mission field. We took the tube to Westminster Abbey and took a tour. Thankfully, they give clergy free tickets so we got right in. We took the audio tour and enjoyed it since it was not busy that day. We next took pictures of Big Ben, Parliament, and the red British Phone booths before going to St. Paul's Cathedral. They would not let us in unless we waited 30 minutes for a prayer service so we walked around the outside. We remembered Tyler's secret roof top observation point at the mall next door so we took the missionaries over there to see over the city. We walked out midway on the Millennium Bridge, saw the River Thames, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, etc. and headed back to the Mission Office.
After Sister Wright's final interview, we again zoomed out! This time we went to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone, Greek Parthenon, Egypt sculptures of Ramses, and other world treasures! We returned her safely back to the office and headed home. We love our Missionaries and will really miss Sister Wright! She is from Logan and is totally awesome!
Wednesday was a catch up day! Mom painted a large abstract painting that worked out very well! Dad prepared lessons and worked on a power point lesson on the computer. We went to the church and taught Institute later. After Institute, we practiced singing a song with our YSA and ate the refreshments that we brought. It was a very fun evening spent with our young friends!
Friday the Painters came and painted our second upstairs bedroom. It looks awesome. They also replaced a window lock and removed and cleaned the plumbing for the tub which was running slow. We have had to really work to get the Landlord to do the painting. The original paint was very thin and the previous renters had touched up places with the wrong color. Not good but livable. Now the Kitchen and both bedrooms are nice!
We drove about an hour and a half (on narrow roads with round-a-bouts every mile or so) to Milton Keynes. The main freeway (motorway) had an accident and was delayed 30 minutes or so. There we met Elder and Sister Jackman (Brad and Vicki) from Cambridge Ward and Elder and Sister Powers from Northampton Stake YSA. Brad and Vicki end their mission in about two weeks! We will miss them So much! There is another couple coming to replace them so the work will go on! We ate Chinese food at the Mii & U café’ which is owned by Bishop Fu of the Aylesbury Ward and run by two of his children who are in our YSA group. It was so good to meet with the other Senior couples who are working with YSA like we are! The food was delicious. They served Mom and extra plate of Salmon and a special soup just for her! The drive home was much better because we took the freeway which was cleared by then.
One of our frustrations is that it appears that the British are so very cautious that they nearly shut down the motorway for anything that happens. We have seen the speed reduced to 30 miles per hour for 10 miles because of a minor car accident even after both cars were safely parked off the side of the road. One slowdown and five mile traffic jam was caused by “Debris in Road” which turned out to be one 2x4 board along the side of the road. We rarely see the police on the motorways but they do have cameras everywhere.
Saturday was a London art day. We saw an exhibit of Australian Impressionists at the National Gallery. We then sat in the main foyer of the gallery and used earphones and our phone to join a conference call with our Mission President and all the Missionaries. It was a very inspirational call and very fun to hear the mission plans for 2017!
We next traveled to the National Design Museum on Kensington High Street. It was a great building and very interesting exhibits of products that were unique, well designed, and trend setting. It included a pair of Crocs shoes (in Pink). It is a working design center that is showcasing new designs by students everywhere. Before heading for home, we visited the Leighton house and Studio to see the exhibit “Flaming June”. Sir Leighton was an artist and director of the Royal Academy for years before he died. The home was very unique, decorated in various styles room by room. The paintings were beautiful! When we got home we had a chance to visit with Carol Jean over the phone! Very Nice!
Sunday, we visited the Watford ward and taught the YSA Sunday School class since it was not going to happen unless we did it ourselves. We had a very good lesson on the Apostasy, the Great Reformers, like Martin Luther, Joseph Smith’s first vision, and modern revelation. It went very well with a strong spirit and humble testimonies. We had a new convert named Joseph receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost in Sacrament meeting. It was very good to visit with him and feel of his love for the Savior and the Gospel.
That evening we hosted a multi-stake fireside in our Watford building. We arrived early, got the heat and lights turned on, set up chairs and tables, and started preparing the refreshments. President and Sister Otterson, President and Matron of the London Temple were the speakers. They were awesome! Our YSA President, Amy conducted and President Levens of our Stake presided. Our YSA sang a special number with Mom being in the choir. It sounded really good and we felt blessed! We had a great turnout of over 75 people!
For the refreshments, we had awesome hot chocolate (Cadbury Chocolate with real milk and Nutella!!), cookies, pastries, pretzels and some candy. Everyone stayed around and ate and ate! I really think we had another miracle of the “Loaves and Fishes” because we feed so many people with the food that we brought! We had a great time, the food was awesome, and our young adults enjoyed the evening!
Monday, we did some shopping, went to the gym, and prepared for FHE. When everyone arrived, Mom and a couple of our YSA prepared grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. We served 12 people which was exactly the amount of meat and cheese we had purchased. Whew! We played the SpyFall game again but this time Dad was the dealer. We talked to several of our YSA about their lives and what they are doing to plan for success. We are helping Sara decide what she wants to do for her education. She is a returned missionary from Japan. She was born in Portugal, raised in England, and speaks four languages. She works at the Harry Potter Studios, is brilliant, and is gorgeous. Her family situation is difficult and she is helping support her mother and younger brothers. She really wants to come to BYU but is concerned that her family will not be supportive. Mostly we listen and help her see her options. We love her very much!
Wednesday Institute was great! We started a new course on the Eternal Family and Bishop Manning taught and did an awesome job! We talked a great deal about “The Family, A Proclamation to the World” written in 1995. There were some GREAT quotes presented such as “Choose who you Love, and Love Who you Choose!” by President McKay.
Mom whipped up another batch of Cadbury Hot Chocolate with the last of the Nutella. Again, it was awesome (and habit forming!). Ellie, one of our young adults is going to Oxford to Nursing school next week. We will miss her!!
Our young adults had the idea to plan a trip to Paris for the Temple Open House in April so we have been making calls. We have the permission of the stake to have the YSA plan it and go. We have made a contact with the Paris Stake to see if their YSA could join us for an activity. We sent a request to President Stevens to see if we could go to the Paris Temple with our YSA. He has to take the request to the Area Authorities and is meeting with them this weekend. We hope that they will approve our going with our YSA! We want to follow the rules so we will be happy to do whatever they approve.
Thursday, we went to the London Art Fair in the morning where we saw some awesome artwork including work from Henry Moore and Joan Miro prints. It was a large and interesting exhibit! Of course, we needed to go to Camden Town for lunch for mom’s favorite Curry. Dad got a huge order of fish & chips. We had fresh churros to eat as we walked back to the tube station.
Later we went to the church with the Sister Missionaries to a Relief Society gathering. Mom and the Sisters visited, ate, and enjoyed being with the members. Dad did a service project on the damaged white board in the Young Women’s room and then played the piano practicing his hymns.
Dad has been looking at our English ancestors and has found some interesting things! Some of Mom's Payne ancestors lived just outside of St. Albans which is very close to where we live. They spelled it Payne, Paine, and Pain depending on who was the clerk at the time. It appears that their records and some graves may be at the parish church so we plan to visit there in the spring!
Dad also discovered that his direct line of "Barons" came from Great Harwood and Blackburn in Lancashire England. That is up north by Leeds and Preston England. The earliest Baron in our records appears to be "John Baron" who married "Alice" in Great Harwood in 1560. We have not yet been able to find John in earlier Harwood history so he may have moved in from somewhere else. His date of birth is about 1539 and the records are not as good before that. We did find a Betty Baron in the parish records from 1759 who was not on the Family Search records so that was neat! Her parents are William and Jane Baron who are our direct ancestors.
Well, that’s about it for now! We love you all and wish you the best!! We were able to watch some of the Presidential Inauguration and the Tabernacle Choir sing. They did a good job. We pray that our new President will listen to good advisors and will be led to do good things for the country.
Love you all!!
Mum and Dad