Sunday, April 29, 2012

She Chose To Believe

We lost a good friend this month.  She was a lady of great faith.  She had courage.  She sought after truth.  She chose to believe. She loved people and spent her life serving them.  She was a caring wife, mother, and grandmother. She left a wonderful heritage. She died on April 6th at the age of 76. 
I first met Margot Blaser-Poth at their apartment in Basel in the summer of 1963.  We had knocked on their door and taught her husband, Dieter Blaser, a week earlier. We told him that the true gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored to the earth through a prophet.  He believed us, he prayed with us that afternoon, and he invited us back.  We were excited to meet with Dieter again.  He was friendly and receptive, but we were apprehensive to meet his wife.  We didn't know her.  Our fears were relieved when Margot met us at the door with open arms.  She had listened to our entire discussion with Dieter through a crack in the kitchen door the week before, and she was more excited to see us than he was.   
Margot and Dieter were baptized a few months later, and they and their three daughters have been like family to us ever since. They were only 28 at the time, eight years years older than me, and our families have grown up together.  Even our grandchildren know each other and have played together.  We're looking forward to a visit from their daughter, Caroline, and family here in London in a few weeks. On one of their family's visits to the U.S., Dieter presented us with a diskette containing 1100 names of genealogy on Pat’s Schwendiman lines that he had extracted from Swiss ancestral records in Thun.
Peter and Bea
Peter and Bea (their daughter) came to see us two weeks before she died.  I wish we could have gone to visit Margot once more, but none of us knew she would leave us so quickly. I was invited to speak at her funeral, but we couldn’t leave our mission. I was grateful to have been able to speak at Dieter’s funeral six years ago.  Prior to my remarks, we listened to a recording he had prepared to be played at his funeral.  He said that when we first taught him, he looked into my eyes and just  knew I was telling the truth -- that I would not lie to him. Wow. That's trust. That's faith!  
Dieter and Margot
I recall that when Margot and Dieter came to visit us about 12 years ago we went to the Visitors’ Centre at Temple Square.  I will never forget standing in front of The Christus, when Dieter looked over at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Don, I love that Guy."  I cried too.  I often think of Dieter when we stand in front of The Christus in the London Temple Visitors’ Centre.  People often have difficult times in their lives-- times of fear, worry, doubt and frustration. Where can we turn when our faith is weak and it's hard to believe?  I think the answer comes from Jesus.  In the brief narration we play, he says simply:  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me. (Matthew 11:28-29) 

Since I had to give a talk on faith in Addlestone this morning, I've been thinking about what causes people like the Blasers to believe, while others do not.  Some have sufficient faith to act and accept the gospel, while others don’t.  Experience has taught me that belief is a choice we make.  We can say, I will believe.  Or we can say, I will not believe.  Some seem to make this choice easily, and early in life, while others may struggle throughout their lives and never really choose to believe with an active faith.

April 29, 2012
Here in England, the fastest growing religion and way of life seems to be atheism. Tradition and national pride seem to be more important than belief in a living, caring God.  Like much of Europe, this may be a byproduct of having a national, state religion run by men, government, and committees. When our wonderful sister missionaries testify of Christ, or when we do, a few will believe, but many will not.  I pray that more of them will, because I know that choosing to believe in God and follow the Savior can make a great difference in our lives. The cumulative, positive effect of a person choosing to trust the Savior and follow His teachings over a lifetime can be enormous.  To me, Margot and Dieter Blaser are exhibit #1.  I miss them both.          ~Don~

Thursday, April 26, 2012


We've had some angels watching over us since we arrived in London. Kind and thoughtful people we've learned to love who have been there when we needed help - sometimes when we didn't even know we needed it!

The Kearls

First, there was Elder (George) and Sister (Myrna) Kearl. They were our "guardians" for the first few days, feeding us dinner, taking us to the grocery store, helping us track down lost luggage. They are the Mission Office couple for the England London South Mission and they pretty much take care of everybody in the mission, from the mission president to the 160 elders and sisters in the mission. They are from Canada and have a family of 11 children (with 2 sets of twins) and lots of grandchildren. We still see them most every day and love to take little jaunts to church, to the grocery store, or to dinner with them once in awhile.

The Knights
Next, there was Elder (Earl) and Sister (Connie) Knight from Bountiful, Utah. In the midst of winter, when Don was suffering from bronchitis and had taken a bad fall on the ice (with a resulting lump on his forehead), we heard a knock on the door of our little office one afternoon and there they were with a kettle of the most delicious soup, some hot muffins, and a fruit salad for us. We had been so busy we hadn't even thought about eating. What a treat, and what a lift to our spirits. It's amazing how a little thing like sharing what you have with someone makes such a big difference. Their kindness gave us new energy and made us wonder how many little things we could do for others that might make a big difference to them.

President and Sister Shamo
Then there is President (Lyle) Shamo and his wife, Tracy. They have been our heroes since the first telephone call we received from them before we had even entered the MTC in Provo. Filled with enthusiasm and passion for missionary work, President and Sister Shamo seem like Everyready Energizer Bunnies to us. President Shamo has had a powerful impact on us and on the rest of the mission. The first thing he did was find housing for us when we arrived. Not a small feat around here. There are a limited number of apartments (flats) on the temple grounds for temple workers, temple employees, and Mission Office personnel, along with a number of rooms that can be rented by temple goers on a nightly basis. While the nightly rentals are easy to reserve, the flats for temple workers/employees are in high demand and there is always a long waiting list. We have President Shamo to thank for arranging whatever needed to be arranged for our flat. We are so grateful to be living on the temple grounds. Our work is infinitely more productive now that we are close to the Visitors' Centre.

There is more that makes the Shamos heroes to us, though. They have been champions of the Visitors' Centre, and always available to give us support and insights when we need them, but they are never intrusive. In the same way, they are champions of the elders and sisters in this mission. They are vitally aware of what is going on throughout the mission and work hard to inspire and encourage all the missionaries.

Elder Turner and Elder Henderson

Two of the missionaries who work hard to assist President Shamo are Elder Turner and Elder Henderson. They are the "Office Elders."  They work in the ELSM office, here on the temple grounds. Our mission president and family live in a home about an hour from the temple grounds, but the Mission Office is here. Elder Turner and Elder Henderson regularly rescue missionaries, and they have definitely rescued us. They have a wealth of knowledge about everything a new missionary needs to know about England. They give all new senior missionaries (including us) their first driving lesson. They helped us figure out how to get Internet access in our office and in the different places we've lived (complicated in this country). They have helped us design announcements and flyers for VC advertisements,  move boxes from our shipment to our flat, find places to buy supplies for the VC and bookcases for our flat, set up audio and video feeds for firesides, find the best place to buy a bed, educate us about how to pick someone up at the Gatwick train station, etc., etc., etc. And they have been unendingly cheerful and patient. Elder Turner just finished his mission last week and has gone home to Belgium. We already miss him! They are both awesome young men.

Savannah Stevenson is another hero. A native Brit, she is the actress who plays Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the outstanding new Bible Videos that the Church has produced. . If you haven't taken time to watch the videos, please do. 

We had the opportunity to listen to Savannah speak and get to know her during two days of mission Zone Conferences in March. What a beautiful young woman, inside and out. She has a beautiful voice, as well, and is in the cast of The Warhorse, playing in London. She has an amazing story to tell about her life experiences and how she has met her challenges. She is a great example to us of someone who has been refined and tempered.

From the left, Sisters Cabrera, Corbett, Burrows, Barber, and Maughan.
Sisters Jones and Corner were in the kitchen when the photo was taken.

Our sister missionaries are also our heroes. This is a picture of the surprise dinner they made us the day after Mothering Sunday, the British equivalent of Mothers' Day. It was another one of those days when we were in our office working all day instead of taking a P-Day (Mondays are our designated day off). We had no idea what time it was when they called and said, "You are invited to come to the Accommodation Center in a half hour for dinner." It was delicious! The sisters had spent their PDay planning and shopping and cooking the most wonderful meal. What a special bunch of sisters we have.

Back row: Sisters Jones, Maughan, Burrows, Barber, Corbett, Cabrera, and Corner
Front row: Elder Carpenter, me, Elder Mark Lippert

This picture was taken after one of our sister training meetings. Every transfer (about 6 weeks), we have a luncheon or dinner for our sister missionaries after the meeting. Elder Mark Lippert, the young man in the photo, attended a few of our training meetings during March, though he is certainly not a VC sister missionary. He had received his mission call to Romania at the time, and actually just left for the MTC in Provo this last Monday, April 23rd. He is a true modern-day pioneer and definitely one of our heroes. When he joined the church just a little over a year ago, his family disowned him. They had been given a lot of anti-church literature by a friend/relative and they have spent the past year trying to dissuade Mark from being a member of the church. Mark really loves his family and has suffered a lot during the year as he has felt them pull away from him. Mark, however, has a powerful witness of the truth of the gospel and is convinced that he will be a better person and make more out of his life by living the precepts of what he knows to be true. He doesn't feel he can turn his back on the spiritual witnesses he's had. It has been a sweet experience to watch Mark grow and learn and become a strong, caring young man, despite the tremendous price he's paid. We know he has great things ahead of him.

Kristen, Amy, Janet, Jenn, and Emily

And last, but certainly not least, our daughters and their families. We love them so much! Elder Holland made a statement to our group of Visitors' Center directors and MTC presidents while we were in the MTC in January. I've thought a lot about what he said:  "No one ever asks the children when couples receive a call such as this."  

Our mission is a sacrifice for them. (Though we are certain that we miss them and their families a lot more than they miss us!) With gratitude, I will tell you than not one of them has ever said one thing about us serving these two missions that was not positive and supportive in every way. Maybe they were just glad to get us out of their hair for awhile :)  In truth, when we first received this call to the London Visitors' Centre and the surprise and shock were still fresh, our daughters were the ones who encouraged me and told me I could do it. 

We do miss them, and our sons-in-law, and our grandkids - so much. We are thrilled that we can communicate with them every week. We love to hear from them about what is going on at home. On a continuing basis, they let us know they are behind us in every way. WE ARE SO GRATEFUL for their love and support.

These are just a few of our heroes. It's likely that if you are reading this, you are probably one of our heroes, too. We appreciate and recognize how lucky we are to have good friends and relatives whose examples make us want to be better people. Thank you for your influence in our lives!     ~Pat!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I'm hoping to make it to heaven, for a lot of reasons, but for one reason in particular today:  it'll be technology free (Please?).

It's been quite an education learning to live in the United Kingdom.  We have truly fallen in love with southern England, but we are continually reminded that there's a lot more to establishing a long-term life here than we ever imagined!  Exhibit A: technology.

Figuring out how to communicate with the rest of the world has proven to be a full-time job.  Besides wanting to keep in touch with our family, we've needed to be in contact with several departments in the Church Office Building on a regular basis.  For the first couple of months that was nearly impossible.  It's been an ongoing challenge.

When we first arrived, while we lived in the little village of Ardingly, there was no satellite reception at all.  No cell phone (our only phone), no Internet, no email, etc.  No way to contact anybody - even in an emergency.  Luckily, we didn't have one :)

Internet access in our Visitor's Centre has been, shall we say, unpredictable.  Because of some remodeling/updating that went on in February, we had a couple of months where it only worked when it felt like it.  There is no Internet access in The Lodge (where we live), either.  Consequently, we bought ourselves a "dongle" - a little handheld piece of equipment that gives us a WiFi signal wherever we take it.  You'd think that would be the end of the story....  It ain't that easy.

Here's what we do to communicate (more or less frequently) with the family and the C.O.B. to avoid exorbitant international fees:

  • Email? Easy enough if we're near out laptop at home and the dongle is on.
  • Text? We have a "text-free voice" number that I can use on my IPad if the dongle is on and I'm where I can find wireless access.
  • Phone call?  We have a Magic Jack thing-a-mabob that we plug into the side of the laptop, then when the dongle is turned on we can make and receive free calls from the states.  We just speak into the computer.  Awesome!
  • Video call?  Skype usually works if the dongle is on. 

Notice that the dongle has to be on to communicate in any way, shape or form. Therein lies the next challenge. We pay for it by the gigabyte.  When it runs out we either have to make a trip to the grocery store to buy more time, or we go online to "top up."  That happens quite regularly.  Email, surfing the web, and phone calls don't take many gigs.  Skype and conference calls do, but we don't have any way to communicate with anybody without those gigs so we pay for them cheerfully.

Another technological challenge has been learning how to get where we need to go with our "Satnav" (short for Satellite Navigation,or GPS).  When we gave up our Smart Phone with GPS in the states, our Swiss friends, the Kopps, donated the Garmin they weren't using anymore to our cause.  It has saved us! We'd be permanently stuck going around some gigantic roundabout somewhere without it.  Satnav is our new best friend.  It's loyal (always available when we need it). It's honest (always tells us the truth, even when we're lost). It forgives us when we make a mistake.  It's patient and always gives us another chance. It just recalculates.  It's devoted to our well-being.

All this has taught me one big lesson: It's almost impossible for us to function or communicate from this country without Internet access, and that can be a complicated process.  So, next time you pick up your Smart Phone and call, text, Skype, email, or surf the Internet, appreciate it!

Me?  I'm hoping it's easier in heaven.                              ~Pat~

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blazing New Territory

Traveling through the countryside of Southern England is a treat.  The pastures and farmlands are surrounded by well-trimmed hedges and beautiful but sometimes unfamiliar flowers.  I love the small quaint villages we pass through.   Noticeably absent are the flashy and obnoxious billboards so prevalent in the United States.  Outdoor advertising is carefully controlled, and even in the cities the signs are rather small and unobtrusive. 

Because of government regulations, we can’t put up billboards or erect signs inviting people to the London Temple Visitors’ Centre.  As a result, most people are unaware of its existence.   Consequently, we are working with Salt Lake to put a Visitors’ Welcome sign at the temple gate, and we have made a formal request of the Surrey County Council to approve some directional “brown signs” to guide motorists to the temple grounds.   We’ll let you know what happens in a future blog.

In the meantime, we have had some success in placing articles about the Centre in local newspapers, most notably in local Mantra Magazines (circulation 70,000) and in the East Grinstead Courier and Observer.  The Courier carried a brief article and picture about the Visitors’ Centre two weeks ago, then last week published an amazing, full-sized, accurate article on the Church and the history of the temple.  The Church has had some biased negative coverage lately from the sensational London press, so this article was refreshing and much appreciated.  In fact, it was even picked up in the Mormon Times section of the Deseret News.  You can find the articles in the following links:

When we were called to direct the Visitors’ Centre in January, it changed from being managed by the England London South Mission to being supervised by the Church Missionary Department in Salt Lake City, which oversees all 16 visitors’ centers and also historic sites operated by the Church.  We were asked to promote the Centre in ways not previously attempted and have had to be creative and use our own best judgment in attempting to blaze new territory.   At times it has felt overwhelming to work in uncharted territory in a foreign country where we don’t know the ropes, but we are learning.  We are now working to invite teachers in the area to bring their students to the Centre to learn about the Church as part of their curriculum in religious education.  We have established a Sunday fireside series, planned Monday night activities at the Centre, and now have a Facebook page.  We travel to a new ward each Sunday to speak in meetings and encourage members to bring their friends to the Centre to learn about the Church.  An added blessing is that this gives us the opportunity to travel throughout southern England.

We enjoy welcoming people to the Visitors’ Centre and getting to know them – members and non-members.   I love to stand next to The Christus and testify of Jesus Christ and the atonement.  We have excellent exhibits on The Book of Mormon, the temple, the current apostles, and the family.  We have more than 60 different films to show in our 60-seat theatre.  There is much you can learn in a visitors’ center.

The best thing about our London Temple Visitors’ Centre, and the most powerful tool we have to bring people to Christ, is our sister missionaries.  We’d rather watch them teach than teach ourselves.  They do a better job – they are just terrific, and we love them.   Most investigators who now come to the Centre are brought by the missionaries or by members of the Church.  We have found that investigators taught at the Centre on the temple grounds feel the strength of the Church and the influence of the temple.  They take the lessons more seriously, and they are more likely to keep commitments.  ~Don~

Sisters Burrows, Corbett, Jones, Cabrera, Barber and Maughan

Monday, April 16, 2012

On The Street Where We Live

It's been awhile now since we moved into our amazingly wonderful flat in the Lodge, but we are not taking it for granted. We are soooo happy to be here!!

This is what the Lodge looks like now, in April.
Our flat is on the top floor on the left.   So  nice!

You might remember that we spent the first month of our mission in a rented house in Ardingly, about 20 minutes south of Newchapel, where the London temple is. It was a great blessing to live there, but a difficult commute in to the temple grounds early every morning and late every night. It is really dark in the winter, at night, on the foggy, icy, winding, narrow roads of southern England. 

This was our commute from Ardingly to the temple grounds.
Well, it didn't look like this for very long, but even without the snow
it was a crazy adventure for two senior Americans learning how to drive
on the left side (not wrong) of the road!  Thank heaven the British
are really respectful on the roads. Only got honked at once
during all our trips back and forth to Ardingly....

We got word on Friday, February 17th, that there was a two bedroom flat (apartment) available for us in the Lodge on the temple property. We were surprised and grateful! Since we didn't have time to write about it earlier, here's a little photo journal essay of what has happened in the past two months:

The Lodge - about a week before we moved in.

It was a great day when our shipment of belongings arrived from the U.S.
We hadn't seen our stuff since it was packed and shipped (slow boat) from Draper
two months earlier, on December 16th.  Thankfully, it all arrived a week before
we moved into the Lodge. 

Don was happy to help the movers unload the truck :)

With the help of a few do-it-yourself bookshelves, a couple of trips to Tesco, Costco, and the local mall, along with some furniture from a mail-order catalog, we got our flat whipped into shape.

View from our living room (called a "lounge") to the kitchen
Living room/dining room area

Moving into our sunny kitchen!

The view from our flat. The Visitor's Centre is on the left, London Temple on the right.
At night, it's even prettier when everything is lighted.  Some mornings, though,
when we wake up, it is so foggy we can't even see the temple at all.
We are quite content to have our "home" just across the parking lot from the Visitors' Centre and the London Temple. We still pinch ourselves every once in awhile to see if it's really true.

Living Room/Dining Room

The finished kitchen

A view of the Lodge from the east side of  the Visitors' Centre.

Planes overhead on approach to Gatwick at all times of the day and night.
I don't mind a bit. It reminds me of growing up near LAX.
Interesting that we lived right under the flight pattern in Washington, D.C., too.

Now that it's spring, we love watching all the changes to the landscape of the temple grounds.

The Manor House on the temple grounds - built before the Church purchased
the property 60 years ago. It is also used for housing.

We're so glad that Spring has arrived on the temple grounds!

Our home away from home.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thoughts from the Visitors' Centre on Good Friday

Two experiences we have had in the Visitors’ Centre this week have made me stop and ponder what is really important and how I should be spending my time.

First, we met Bayo, from Nigeria. Bayo joined the church 14 years ago when, as a reporter, he was asked to write a story from a press release he had been assigned about a large conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that was going to be held in his city. After writing the article, something kept telling him that he should go to the conference and see what it was all about. When he went, he had a spiritual witness that what he was hearing was true. After investigating the church and being taught, he joined. He is now in a Branch Presidency in his hometown in Nigeria.

Bayo’s Elders Quorum was having a temple day together while he had to be on a business trip to London, so he found a way to “join” them while in London by traveling an hour south on a train to attend the London Temple for the first time. We met him and got to know him in the Visitors’ Centre. What a sweet man. Since he didn’t have a camera, he asked if we would take his picture by the temple and email it to him. Of course! A simple kindness that only took a minute or two, then we emailed the photos to him later in the day.

The next morning, we received this email response from him:
            Dear Elder and Sister Carpenter,
            Words cannot express adequately enough how grateful I am in
            your selfless effort to help me capture in pictures the memories of
            my experience at the London Temple and sending same to my
            email. I forwarded the pictures home to my wife and 3 kids and the
            joy they expressed was spiritually electrifying. This couldn't have
            been but for your love and kindness. May Heavenly Father meet
            you always at the point of your needs.  Thank you.
            Brother Bayo O.

Oh, that we could all be that gracious and humble. The world would be a different place….

The second experience was on Tuesday morning this week, when a group of Primary children and their leaders and moms came to the Visitors’ Centre. They had gotten up early, dressed in their Sunday best, and traveled an hour and a half in a car caravan to spend some time on the temple grounds. They were on their very best behavior.  Fortunately, it was a beautiful, warm day and the temple grounds were in their Spring glory.  The one remaining little white duck on the grounds was happy to see them. So were we.

Their first stop was the Visitors’ Centre.   They came in and enjoyed running around to our different kiosks to see what videos and pictures each had to offer.  After they got their fill, their Primary president brought them all together and sat them down quietly on the benches, facing the Christus.  The president asked one little girl of about 7 to give an opening prayer. Her prayer was a simple, heartfelt expression of everything she could think of for which she is grateful to Heavenly Father. Nothing more. Two of our sister missionaries talked to the children and asked them questions about Easter and what they knew about Jesus. They had thoughtful answers. Then, the sisters played the beautiful two minute recorded narration of the words of our Savior to us. As I watched the faces of those little children as they looked up at the statue of the Savior and listened so intently to his words, it brought tears to my eyes. These were not doubting children. They were children who lived with him not so long ago, and they recognized his voice. They were children of simple faith.

We often have the opportunity to watch as little children interact with the statue of Jesus Christ. The babies and the little toddlers are the ones I love to watch. Yes, it’s only a statue of someone’s interpretation of the Savior, but it is amazing how often little children stop whatever they’re doing and look at the Savior and listen to his words with complete attention and reverence. Many of them gaze into his face intently for a long, quiet time. Often children go up to the statue to touch it and wrap their arms around it. I always wonder if there is something familiar in what they see or hear that they recall from before they came to earth.

On this Easter weekend, I express my heartfelt gratitude for the life and mission and death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He spent every part of his life showing us the path and providing the way for us - all of us who have ever lived on the earth - to return to live with God again after this life. Through his magnificent, personal atonement for each one of us, he gained an understanding of everything we have ever suffered or ever will suffer on earth. He is always there to help us through our pain and sorrow and inadequacies and disabilities because he already took them upon himself. He has been there before.

Elder Holland once said, "Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion, Christ is not going to turn his back on us now." All he asks of us is to come unto him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, with full purpose of heart.

Only days after his death and resurrection, Christ told the Nephites (and all who would listen):

      “Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto
me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of
mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will
come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who
come unto me.
      Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I
created the heavens and the earth, and all things that
in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning.
I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me
hath the Father glorified his name.
      I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha 
and Omega, the beginning and the end.
      And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken
heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me
with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I
baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost….
     Behold, I have come unto the world to bring
redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
     Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me
as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the
kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down
my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent,
and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.”   
                                   III Nephi 9: 14-15,18,20-22

He has extended his arms to us with an invitation to come unto him. He is waiting for us.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

General Conference: London Style

      What a joy General Conference is! I've been looking forward to it for weeks. Time to recharge my spiritual batteries. Time for the healing words of modern-day prophets on pertinent issues - in real time.  And no matter where in the world we are, if we have Internet access, we have General Conference. I'm not taking that for granted.

Our experience the last two days has really made me appreciate how easy we have it in Utah, though. Pajamas, a bowl of trail mix (or Skittles), and a TV. That's all we need in Utah. Washington, D.C. proved a little more difficult, but we just hooked up the computer to an LCD projector and watched it on the "big screen" (wall) of our townhouse two hours later than usual. Not too hard. Not so in Europe.

Because of the seven hour time difference, the first session of General Conference is broadcast here from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m Saturday evening. The second session is from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Priesthood is from 1 a.m. - 3 a.m. Sunday morning, but is shown Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at local stake centers. A little more challenging.

Thanks to our laptop, Don and I could watch Conference in our "flat," but our sister missionaries don't have access to computers except for brief email privileges on P-Day (Preparation Day), which is Monday. In addition, the stake centre is quite a trek, so we decided to show Conference in the Visitors' Centre theatre. It turned out to be a great idea, albeit challenging.

London Temple Visitors' Centre
The flowers are sure beautiful right now!

We broadcast the morning sessions of General Conference at 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Without any publicity, we had about 25 people show up to watch Conference with us, including several who are investigating the church. I found it impressive that all of them came, both Saturday and Sunday, dressed in suits and ties (for the men) and dresses and skirts (women). Nothing sloppy about that. Everyone showed great respect and reverence. It was a wonderful experience, though our Internet access was a little temperamental. We never lost the sound, but the picture faded in and out every twenty minutes or so. Just enough to annoy us :)

Joining with the Conference Center to sing a hymn
halfway through the Saturday morning session
 The Visitors' Centre closes at 9 p.m., so Don and I went home and watched the afternoon sessions between 9 and 11 p.m. on a laptop in our own flat.

Watching Conference in the living room of our flat in "The Lodge"
After looking forward to the coming of Conference for several weeks, it's always sad when it's finally over. So much to contemplate and put to use in my life. Isn't it great that it's already available on the Internet???    It is a privilege and a blessing to be taught by prophets and apostles who hold all the keys of the Priesthood and who are special witnesses of Jesus Christ in our day.   I have plans to reread several talks that I felt had messages just for me. Only a few years ago I would have had to wait at least a month for the printed copies to come out in The Ensign. What a joy it is that General Conference is now available no matter where we are - any time, day or night!                                             ~Pat~