Sunday, February 17, 2013

Firesides and Activities

It's Sunday afternoon. We've come home from church and had a great dinner. Sitting at my computer, I have a beautiful view of a clear blue sky and the sun glistening on the white walls of the temple. Since the temple is closed on Sundays it is peaceful and serene all around the temple grounds today, quite a contrast to the cars and busses (coaches) full of people who arrived all day long yesterday. We love the bustle of Saturdays and we also love the peace and tranquility of Sundays!

This afternoon I have a free hour or two before our Visitors' Centre fireside tonight with Elder (James) and Sister (Lynette) Wood. They're a senior missionary couple from Idaho serving in the Staines Stake as YSA leaders. They're also bringing their YSA Choir to perform. It'll be a good evening.

Elder and Sister Wood
 We've had some great firesides and Monday night programs over the past few months. We already have several more scheduled for March, April, and May. It's a series that we began when we first arrived and it has been very successful. We try to schedule two firesides and two Monday night activities each month. We always look forward to them.

Besides the many Christmas programs we had in December, one Sunday fireside before Christmas brought a large crowd. Savannah Stevenson, who is the actress who portrays Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the new L.D.S. Bible videos was a guest speaker with President Julian Jones, counselor in the England London South Mission. Savannah is a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and was kind enough to share her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ along with some of her experiences portraying Mary and in her acting career in London. Judging from all the photos taken afterward, I think the elders enjoyed the fireside the most!

Savannah  Stevenson (in the middle in green dress)
with missionaries from the England London South Mission
In January, one of our firesides was a presentation by Brother (Roger) and Sister (Sue) Matthews who are currently serving a temple workers here at the London Temple. They told us about their missionary experiences in Nigeria several years ago and had us sitting on the edge of our seats.

The other fireside we had scheduled in January was with President Roger Millar, our mission president. His topic was "Medicine, Miracles, and Prophets." President Millar is a recently retired heart surgeon. Unfortunately, a major snowstorm preempted our fireside and it's been rescheduled for Sunday, April 21st. We hope the weather will cooperate.

In March, our speaker on the first Sunday will be Sister Sahar Qumsiyeh who recently arrived in our mission and serves in the Mission Office. She took the place of Sister Karen Kae who finished her mission and went home to Arizona last week. Sister Qumsiyeh is a wonderful young woman, born in Jerusalem and raised as a Christian in Palestine. She joined the Church while getting an advanced degree from B.Y.U. in Utah. She also earned a Ph.D. in Ankara, Turkey.

Sister Qumsiyeh
On Sunday, March 24th, President Brian Martin, the other counselor in the England London South Mission, will give his pre-Easter presentation, "An 8 Day Walk With Christ." He gave the presentation last year and we've had many requests to have him return again this year. Personally, I'm very excited to hear him again.

The Visitors' Centre was a little quieter than usual during January with the cold weather and snow, but when you add all the firesides, Monday night activities, and our Sunday speaking assignments to the calendar, along with the regular day-to-day 9 a.m.-9 p.m. schedule of the Visitors' Centre, things are still pretty busy around here. We are tremendously grateful for our two senior couples, the Terrys and the Horsleys, and our sister missionary companionships who work so hard to keep everything running smoothly. They all do an outstanding job.

Since the beginning of February things have been getting busier again each week. We know from our experience last year that attendance will be increasing again right away and continue to increase throughout the spring and summer. In fact, this coming week is "half term" holiday while British schools are out, so we expect a lot more visitors each day. The following week will be French week and a huge coach will come once again with members from the Lille, France stake. We love to see them come. They are devoted saints and all come three or four times a year together, staying to do temple work from Tuesday to Friday.

We're looking forward to the coming months and we're ready!       ~Pat~

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