Monday, January 23, 2012

How To Build Another Nest in 7 Days or Less...

The roundabout sign near the London Temple in Newchapel.
Learning to count the exits and get off  (to the left)
at the correct exit is a daily challenge.  
      Yup, it's still true. When we first arrived on our mission in Washington, D.C., I wrote a blog about how quickly we become accustomed, as human beings, to new surroundings. I wasn't sure it would happen as soon in London. So many, many customs and practices are completely new and different to us - even strange - but even so, we are settling in. Within a week we were feeling pretty comfortable - especially around the Temple and the Visitors' Centre.

Road sign we encountered on our way to church Sunday.
Remind me not to go there when it rains....
          I can't say that we're really comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road yet, but we are beginning to get brave and trust our GPS (called "Satnav" here, short for "Satellite Navigation") to take where we need to go. We're able to find our way around enough to take care of our basic needs for food, shelter, and Sunday church meetings.

     We've been in our house in Ardingly for about a week. It seems more like home every day. On the way from Ardingly to the temple grounds every morning, we pass mothers walking their children to school. Lots of cute little kids and their moms all bundled up against whatever the weather happens to be. We snapped the picture below when we were stopped at a school crosswalk last week. Made us feel like we were home.

A "lollipop lady" (crossing guard) directing morning traffic.
There are lollipop men, too :)

      The place that we really feel at home, though, is on the temple grounds. I imagine that would be true no matter which temple grounds we were on. There are currently 136 temples operating throughout the world, and 33 more either announced or under construction, so that's saying a lot. There is a spirit in the temple and on the temple grounds that feels like home, no matter where you are in the world. I think it has the familiar feel of the time we spent in God's presence before we came to this earth.

      Our Visitors' Centre is just a few hundred feet from the temple and the entire front facade of the Visitors' Centre that faces the temple is floor to ceiling glass. We gaze at the temple as we work. We watch people come to the temple - alone, in couples, in families, in groups, and by the busload (or by "coach," as they say here). We work with five sister missionaries at the moment. They are a pivotal reason why we feel so at home already. They are warm, wonderful young women who have strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each one of them has been assigned specifically to a Visitors' Center mission, which means that they serve part of the week in a Visitors' Center and part of the week tracting and teaching in their assigned area. When they are working their shifts at our Visitors' Centre, they have been teaching us. We are so happy to have them!

From the left: Sisters Jones, Corbett, Cabrerra, Burrows and Casasola.

      What a joy it is to be on the sacred grounds of a temple nearly every day of the week.  It is a place of peace, of learning, of worship, of reverance, a place of covenant making, of inspiration and revelation, of respite from the cares of the world. It is such a privilege for us to see the temple every day, to feel the spirit of the building and the grounds.  If we have time to attend a session, it is a two minute walk from our Visitors' Centre doors to the recommend desk. We feel blessed to have this opportunity and this time here.

      It seems that we have built another nest in seven days. At least within the walls of the temple and on the temple grounds, it absolutely feels like home already.                     ~Pat~

P.S. - My intention to write about all the interesting new foods we've run into in the grocery store will have to wait until next week. We haven't had any time to go to the grocery store this week. We are finding ourselves grabbing a bite to eat here and there and surviving on loaves of bread from our
local village bakery, along with a few frozen dinners, yogurt, cheese and jam. Several days a week, we walk over to the temple for a meal at noon. The cafeteria is open for one main mean every day from 12 - 2:30 p.m. They serve authentic fish and chips every Friday. So Good!

Our car, stopped in front of our village bakery in Ardingly.
If you look close, you can see Elder Carpenter buying bread.

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