Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yesterday Is History

July is already half over and I still want to write about all the great things that happened in June -- so please bear with me while I pedal backwards through June. Time is moving a lot faster than I am!

1. Our dear friends (family?) from Switzerland, Rolf and Caroline Schaller, and their kids, came to visit during the last part of May. We loved spending a day with them in and around the temple grounds. It's so fun to live just 1 1/2 hours (by air) from them and the rest of their family right now.

2.  Early in June, we organized a train trip into London with our sister missionaries. We wanted to visit the newly dedicated Hyde Park Visitors' Centre and spend some time learning from the missionaries assigned to that center. We received permission from our mission president to take our sisters for the visit, even though Hyde Park is just outside our mission boundaries.  (As directors of the Visitors' Centre, we are allowed to travel anywhere in our vast temple district, but the sisters are expected to stay within mission boundaries.) It was a great outing! Here are a few snapshots of the trip.

Leaving from our own little Lingfield train station

Waiting for the train

Sisters Boman, Rodrigues, Cabrera, Jones, Maughan, and
Cardona heading into London on the Southern Railroad

Making good use of our time on the train...

Elder Carpenter with our terrific sister missionaries

First view of Hyde Park Chapel
from the  South Kensington Underground exit 
Inside the Hyde Park Centre

Checking out the exhibits

Elder Brooks instructing the sisters

Hyde Park and London Temple VC sisters

A view of Big Ben on our way back to Victoria Station.

Heading home

3.  Our first senior missionary couple, Elder and Sister Terry, arrived on Tuesday, June 19th. We're so glad to have them! They are serving in the Visitors' Centre with us and filling shifts with the sisters. The plan is that this will give us more time for administrative duties. Hooray! They are a friendly, wonderful addition to the VC.

The Terrys

4. Mark, Janine, Christopher and Lauren Romney, our favorite cousins from Sacramento, Ca., came to stay in East Grinstead, near the temple grounds, and visit over the weekend during June. Since we couldn't make it to Bear Lake this year, they came here....  Well, not really:  they were on their way to France, but we're so glad they stopped over in London for a few days. We spent a wonderful day with them touring the Roman ruins in Bath and seeing Stonehenge for the first time. We had lots of time to talk and catch up on things during the long drive. It was so good to see them.

The Romneys

5. Our long-time neighbors and buddies from Cottonwood Heights, Mike and Cindy Ellsworth, with their friends, Bill and Christina Christensen, dropped by to see us before setting sail on a cruise of the British Isles. (We love being on the way to everybody's European destinations!) We had time to go to a temple session with them and out for dinner. Good times!

The Christensens and the Ellsworths

5. Some other faces we love are the ones that belong to President and Sister Lowry, the temple president and matron. They are truly some of the nicest, most genuine people we have ever met. We were warned about that before we arrived! The Lowrys are from Ireland and our neighbors in Draper, Bob and Jane Hyte, have known them since Bob was on his mission in Ireland over 40 years ago. 

We see the Lowrys often on the grounds of the temple. They are living in the Manor House while they serve in their temple calling for three years. Most often, though, we see their smiling faces and get a warm hug and a greeting from them as we enter the front doors of the temple each week to do work there. It's something we always look forward to.

The Lowrys

5. We had to say good-bye to our dear mission president and wife, President and Sister Shamo, as they prepared to leave to return to the states at the end of June. Tough! We have grown to love them and their untiring effort to strengthen the England London South Mission and it's missionaries any way they can. They have been real champions of the Visitors' Centre, too, helping us to make much more progress than we could have on our own. We will really miss them.   

Sister Rodrigues, the Shamos, and Sister Cabrera

6. Meanwhile, President and Sister Millar, from St. George, were being prepared to take the Shamos place, and they did so without a hitch. Amazing to watch one man give up responsibility for 160 missionaries one day and another man take it up the next without a skipped step. President and Sister Millar are full of new energy and ready to tend to this flock. We have already had Zone Conferences with the Millars and a personal meeting with them concerning the needs of our Visitors' Centre. President Millar is a retired heart surgeon and from what we've seen of him in action here in England, I am sure he was an awesome doctor.

President and Sister Millar - ready for action.

These are some of the great things that happened around here during May and June. Of course, not every day is great. We have crazy days, we get sick sometimes (confounded kidney infection...), we work long hours and never finish, we deal with "technical difficulties" all the time. But, in spite of that, we are having an awesome experience here. Do I still miss my kids and grandkids every single day? YES! Would I trade this experience in and go home if I could (which I guess I could, if I wanted to)? NO! We feel so blessed to be here, to be doing something useful as "seniors," to have learned to love so many new friends and this beautiful country, and to see how the Lord blesses and watches over our family while we're gone. We are grateful.    

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