Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ministering Angels

We have met so many people on our mission who have taught us what love is by their example - by the way they live their lives. It's always such a privilege to be in their presence and to feel their love. One of those people is Sister Morris.

Sister Morris is from New Zealand, though she has lived in the U.K. for a very long time. She and Brother Morris serve faithfully in the temple - as they have for many years. They are some of the most friendly, non-judgmental, unassuming, loving people we know. They practice the golden rule. It seems that they know just about everyone who comes to the temple. They live in the Lodge, just down the hall from us.

This past year, Sister Morris has fought and recently won a battle with cancer. You can see from the photo that her hair is growing back and she doesn't wear a wig anymore! She is the picture of health. She is loving life now -- but she never stopped loving life while she was sick, either. Even when she was struggling through treatment, she always had a smile and a kind word for everyone she met. And she never stopped looking for ways to help others, though she could have used some TLC* herself. At the place where she received her chemotherapy, she organized the "Happy Society of Chemo Friends." She is amazing!

Today, I was the recipient of some of Sister Morris' TLC. I got stung by a wasp...  again. Having been stung once already - a couple of months ago - I knew just what to do:  call Sister Morris. Last time I got stung, I happened to run into Sister Morris in the parking lot as we were walking home at the same time. She shared her Essential Oils with me and the sting calmed down quickly. This time I went looking for her! She came with a big smile, a hug, and a concoction of several oils. Not only did she know what to do to help me, she made me feel loved. Bless you, Sister Morris! You are an angel to me.

Sister Morris and me

In 2008, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke about ministering angels in General Conference and said, "I have spoken... of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with - here, now, every day.  ...Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind."

Someday, I want to be just like the ministering angels I've been blessed to know.         ~Pat~

*TLC = Tender Loving Care

Monday, August 26, 2013


What a month August has turned out to be - and it's not over yet! We have been busy, busy, busy at the London Temple Visitors' Centre -- and blessed. We've enjoyed every minute!

In addition to what we've already mentioned in earlier blogs this month, here's what's been going on:

We had two great firesides....

President Martin Lock and his wife, Jan, spoke at our
"Why I Believe" Fireside on August 4th.

Elder Gary and Sister Rosemary Bradford were the guest speakers
at our England London South Mission fireside on August 18th.
On the second Sunday of each month, our sister missionaries teach a Missionary Preparation Training meeting. They always make it exciting and fun!

Sisters Cardona, Ylisaari and Watt teaching
prospective missionaries about good nutrition.

A fun learning activity for prospective missionaries.

Elders Wehrman, Coe and Sparks - our great Mission Office elders.
They do so much to help us!
We also have weekly Visitors' Centre training meetings. 

Meeting in the Visitors' Centre theatre.

During August, we were happy to have Brother Mark Lusvardi, director of all public programs in the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stop by to see us. His responsibility includes all visitors' centers, historic sites, pageants and programs of the Church throughout the world. We are always delighted to meet with him and receive his counsel and direction.

Brother Mark Lusvardi, Don, me, Sister Pam Brooks,
and Elder Arthur Brooks, director of the Hyde Park Visitors' Centre.

All our our Visitors' Centre staff with Brother and Sister Lusvardi.
Brother Lusvardi gathered all of our Visitors' Centre missionaries together for a training session. He talked about the history of the London Temple Visitors' Centre during the past 20 years or so. Although there were some displays and a place to congregate in this building for many years, the official Visitors' Centre, as we now know it, has only been open since 2008, and the first director was not appointed until we were called and arrived in January 2012. Now this Visitors' Centre has taken it's place among the 16 official visitors' centers in the Church. There are plans to add several new centers throughout the world in the next few years.

Brother Lusvardi talked about the re-awakening of missionary work that is taking place in the British Isles at the current time as part of the "Hastening of the Work of Salvation" (Mission Presidents Seminar, June 2013). He talked about what a remarkable time it is to be here on a mission - a sentiment that we echo! Our missionaries are now teaching people throughout the world who are searching for truth and for a better, happier way of life. They are finding the Church in ever increasing numbers through online programs like,, Facebook, Skype and blogs. He taught us the importance of living worthily as well as being prepared and spiritually in tune to receive the help of the Holy Ghost in all our teaching.

The day after Brother Lusvardi's visit, we welcomed Elder David F. Evans, who is a Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department for the Church. He was the one who set us apart for this mission and gave both of us beautiful blessings when we entered the MTC the second time, in January 2012. It was wonderful to see him again and show him and his wife around our visitors' centre.

All our Visitors' Centre missionaries with Pres. and Sister Millar and Elder and Sister Evans.

President and Sister Millar, Elder and Sister Evans, and us.

August 2013

 It's been a good month on the grounds of the London Temple. And to add to our enthusiasm, the weather has continued to be fabulous!  Even the British are talking about what an amazing summer this has been. Everywhere you look, it is beautiful. We're so glad we've been here to enjoy it!                          ~Pat~

Monday, August 19, 2013

This I Believe.

Shortly after I retired from the Board of Regents Office in 2005, I took a few days and drafted a statement of my personal beliefs. Since serving these missions, I have thought more about my beliefs and modified them somewhat. At the Visitors' Centre, we have sponsored a series of Sunday night "Why I Believe" firesides, featuring members of the Church in this area.  These firesides have prompted me to share my revised statement of beliefs on our family blog.

Each of us is largely the product of his or her beliefs  Our behavior is largely governed by these. They become our standards of conduct.                --  President Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley

I have pondered this statement of President Hinckley and believe it to be true.  I have therefore decided to put into writing my own heartfelt beliefs.  I hope that my children, posterity, and friends will know my beliefs by the way I live. By writing them down, I won't leave it to chance and can at least let them know how I feel, what I believe, and how I have tried to conduct my life. I do not claim to be perfect in living these beliefs, but my resolve to do so has increased with time and experience. The beliefs that follow are indeed my standards of conduct. They have guided and enriched my life. They are not necessarily set in order of importance.

Pat and I at the beginning of our mission.

1.  I Believe in God as our Father and in his Son as my Savior 
     and the Savior of the World
       I believe in the sacred writings of past prophets that testify of God 
            and Jesus Christ and contain divinely given teachings, principles, 
            and commandments to guide our lives and bring lasting happiness. 
        I have faith in living prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of 
            Latter-day Saints, and I endeavor to follow their teachings 
            and counsel.
        I worship the living Christ and have faith in the power of his 
        I believe that the best way to know Jesus Christ is to serve Him.  
        My faith is not blind; it is bound by sacred covenants and 
            personal experience.

2.  I Believe in Seeking for Truth and Wisdom, and I Enjoy 
     Reading Good Books
        I seek truth through study, faith, prayer, and the application of true 
        I believe there is a heirarchy of knowledge -- that knowledge is not 
            mere information, and that some truths are more important to 
            learn and master than others. 
        I seek for understanding and wisdom -- the application of 
            knowledge that leads toward development of Christ-like behavior 
            and character.

3.  I Believe in the Power of Prayer
       I try to maintain a close relationship with God through regular 
            communication with Him.
        I feel God's love and know He has answered my prayers in my best 
        I love God, listen to his counsel, and try to follow his promptings.
        I have come to trust God's timing and believe He knows me and 
            my needs better than I do.

4.  I Believe in Obedience -- in Living What I Know
       I strive to show my love for the Savior by keeping his 
        My creed is the 10 Commandments and the Articles of Faith, not the 
             Nicene Creed.
        I try to honor my covenants, pay a full tithe, and sustain the law of 
            the land.
        I know that obedience always strengthens faith and disobedience 
            weakens it.
        I also know that knowledge without faith and obedience is 
            insufficient and can be empty.

5.  I Believe in Repentance -- I Must Repent of My Mistakes, 
     Forgive Myself, and Others
       I know that Christ's atonement is real and that it works for me and 
            for everyone else. 
        Jesus Christ is our Savior -- we need his atonement and grace 
            because we all make mistakes.
        I allow myself to make mistakes, but I try to repent and learn from 
        I forgive others easily and allow room for second chances.
        I know that true repentance always leads to greater faith and 

6.  I  Believe that Honesty is Always the Best Policy
      I seek to cultivate integrity and honor in my life.
        I believe honesty produces a clear conscience, inner peace, 
            self-respect, and makes prayer more powerful in our lives.  Like 
            Huck Finn discovered, I believe "you cannot pray a lie."     
        I know that honesty is essential for good family and interpersonal 

7.  I Believe in the Strength of Family
       I believe the family is central to God's plan for his children and that 
            marriage between a man and a woman fulfills his purposes.
        I believe the greatest joys of life are found in happy family 
            relationships, based on teachings of the Savior and principles of 
            love, trust, forgiveness and respect.  
        I seek to show consistent love, respect, and support for my wife, 
            children, grandchildren, and extended family.  

8.  I Believe in the Healing Power of Music, Laughter, 
     Good Humor, Healthy Recreation, and Sports  
        I enjoy a variety of good music -- it soothes my spirit and warms 
            my soul.
       I like a good joke and believe that good humor enriches life. 
         I believe healthy recreation is essential, and I enjoy the excitement
            of competitive sports.
       I have a passion for life and try to keep a positive outlook and 
         I seek to make others smile, be comfortable, find joy, and be happy.

9.  I Believe in Being Grateful 
       I deeply appreciate the many positive things in my life, including life 
        I am thankful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and its impact 
             on my life.
        I appreciate my heritage and the example and teachings of goodly
        I am grateful for a beautiful and faithful wife, and view my decision 
            to marry her as pure inspiration, good fortune, and the best 
            decision I ever made.
        I am grateful for five terrific daughters, and I feel honored to be their 
        I also appreciate five awesome sons-in-law, and each one of my 
        I am very thankful for the influence of wonderful friends, family, 
            and associates.
        I appreciate my good health, opportunities, freedoms, blessings, and 

10.  I Believe that People from all Nations, Races, and Faiths are 
       Basically Good 
         I look for the best in people, I can learn from them, and I love to 
            serve them.
         I concentrate on the good traits of others and appreciate their 
            unique qualities.
       I think people will soon forget what we say or do but they may not 
             forget how we make them feel, especially if they feel our love. 
        I have concluded that God will assess my life not by possessions 
             acquired, or by the level of prominence achieved in career, 
             community, or church; rather, by the way I respect, honor, and 
             treat the people I meet.    

                                                      ~Don A. Carpenter~


Monday, August 12, 2013

Every Nation, Kindred, Tongue and People

Last year in Relief Society we studied the life of George Albert Smith, who was the prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1945 to 1951. President Smith was a forward thinking prophet. "He was a strong proponent of the aviation industry and saw it as a way to fulfill his travel assignments as a General Authority more efficiently. He also supported the Church's use of radio and television to take the word of the Lord to a broader audience. He said, 'We ought to regard these [inventions] as blessings from the Lord.'"

One Sunday morning, several months ago, the Relief Society teacher in the ward we were visiting read a quote that astonished me. She quoted a General Conference address in 1946, where President Smith prophesied: "It will not be long until, from this pulpit and other places that will be provided, the servants of the Lord will be able to deliver messages to isolated groups who are so far away they cannot be reached. In that way and other ways, the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord, the only power of God unto salvation in preparation for the celestial kingdom, will be heard in all parts of the world, and many of you who are here will live to see that day." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 15: Advancing the Work of the Lord)

My astonishment was that I have lived to see the literal fulfillment of that prophecy! I have heard since I was a child that the gospel would spread to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. I have always wondered how that would happen. President Smith had already seen this day and spoke of it over 65 years ago, before I was born. Many who heard President Smith that day are still alive to see it's fulfillment. Through the miracle of technology, the gospel is now being taught in nearly every corner of the world. That's amazing!

During our mission here in England, we have watched this miracle unfold. On June 23rd, this year, a worldwide missionary fireside was broadcast from the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. It was held in conjunction with the Mission Presidents' Training at the MTC. Most English speaking members of the church throughout the world have had a chance to view the fireside online, either at home or during regularly scheduled Sunday church meetings.  Elder L. Tom Parry. an apostle, announced that missionaries will now be using computers and IPads to teach lessons and gospel principles using, Facebook, blogs, email and text messages. Our sister missionaries have already been doing that!

For many months, our mission had already been part of a pilot program where the visitors' centre sisters (as part of the ELSM media zone) were encouraged to develop missionary Facebook pages and blogs, along with the Chat and email teaching they were already doing. They have also been teaching the gospel by Skype to people in many different parts of the world. The results have been exciting! This year, our missionaries have seen about fifteen of the people that they are teaching online join the Church in various parts of the world. Three more have made the decision to be baptized later this month. It is privilege and a joy to see how peoples' lives change for the better as they come to know their Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sister Cardona, Sister Stewart teaching online
with Elder Carpenter in the background in our makeshift office.
Because of all the time that our sisters are now spending teaching online, we have completely outgrown the small work area in our visitors' centre. We have been needing a more efficient place to work for several months. It seemed like there were laptops and teaching materials strewn everywhere during the week - not a very welcoming sight to those who came to visit. When we recently received approval to purchase a new reception desk, we immediately went to work and ordered one. It took about a month - a very long month - for the desk to be delivered to us. All of us visitors' centre missionaries were counting the days. It finally arrived just last Friday. We were all so excited!

Elder Carpenter got the first look at the new desk.

The first piece is wheeled into the visitors' centre.

Unwrapping the pieces.

Assembling the new reception desk.

Our temple engineers came to help.

Mic, Wayne, Neal, and Neal's cute wife Nora
are always available to help us with anything we need.
Do you remember "Motel" in Fiddler On The Roof when he received his new sewing machine and the whole village came to admire it?  That's how we feel!  So proud of our new acquisition - and so grateful for the new work space that will keep us more organized and able to teach the gospel.

Sister Cardona and Sister Stewart are the first to check it out.

Sister Berati and Sister Walmsley

Sisters Ylisaari, Watt, Berati and Walmsley checking out the new space.

Ready to go to work.
The Church is growing. The work is progressing. The gospel is being taken to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Prophecies are being fulfilled. It is such a blessing to be able to be a part of this great work!          ~Pat~

Friday, August 9, 2013


August is holiday month in Great Britain. School is finally out and people take off for at least part of the month to enjoy some R&R. Our kids at home have been doing the same. One daughter has been volunteering with her kids at This Is The Place Heritage Park. Another daughter and her family have headed across the country on a Church History tour. A daughter and her husband will soon travel to the Czech Republic, and the twins sent us these snapshots from Florida. They were on their way to an international dance festival in Haiti with Clog America.

Well, we haven't done anything quite that spectacular lately. The word "holiday" (or the U.S. equivalent "vacation") is not a term that we encounter as missionaries. While some senior couple  temple missionaries have a two-week break when temples close bi-annually for cleaning, other missionaries generally serve 365 days a year for the duration of their mission. We've been away from home for over two years now and have yet to take a holiday (vacation) during that time. NOT complaining, though! We take a Preparation Day once a week, when we can get away - and if that doesn't work, we get away for a few hours, here and there. In the MTC, we were commanded to take a break every week - and not to use it to go grocery shopping! We can definitely see the wisdom in making sure we have some downtime. When we haven't followed that counsel, impatience and exhaustion start to creep in. Not a good place to go....

As you can see from past blogs, we have definitely had some time off here and there, and we have been able to do and see some amazing things while we've been in England -- far more than we expected. It's been such a blessing to actually live here for a few years and to get to know the people, the land and the culture. We love England! It's a lot different experience than our previous tourist travels, mainly because we are full-time missionaries involved in service.

So, though we haven't take a real vacation/holiday for a few years, we are loving the breaks we get. Here are a couple things we've done recently.

London is one of the most amazing cities anywhere in the world when it comes to live theatre. We love to go into London to attend a West End musical or a classical music concert once in awhile, but we also love to go to some of the many local community theatres. They put on some great performances! This week, we went with a group of temple workers to the Chequermeade theatre in East Grinstead, the closest town to the temple. We saw a great little local cast perform "The King and I." When was the last time you heard, "Shall We Dance" or "Getting To Know You"? Such a fun evening!

Chequer Meade Community Centre

A few weeks ago, our dear friends, Elder Arthur Brooks and Sister Pam Brooks invited us to dinner in London. They are the directors of the Church's Hyde Park Visitors' Centre on Exhibition Road in the heart of London. We met them at the Provo MTC and came to our respective Visitors' Centre assignments at the same time. We love to get together with them, even though we might not see them for months at a time.  After dinner, we attended the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. It was spectacular! The Ceremony of the Keys is a 700-year-old tradition that takes place every night. With reservations, a small group is allowed to escort the warden to observe the formal locking of the gates at the Tower of London - which houses the Crown Jewels. Literally, they never miss a night and the ceremony has been going on since the 1300's (a couple of hundred years before Columbus even sailed to America).

Here's a link that shows part of the ceremony. (You might have to copy and paste.)

The Tower of London at dusk.
Tower of London entrance with the Tower Bridge in the distance.
The Carpenters with the Brooks

My brother Ken and sister-in-law Karen were here during July. We haven't seen them in a couple of years and were so glad they decided to stop in and see us! We spent an afternoon with them at Hever Castle. If you've read our blog much, you know it's one of our favorite places. We hadn't managed to get there when the roses were in bloom before. What a treat.

Ken and Karen with us in the rose gardens.
Hever Castle - childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
Inside courtyard of Hever Castle.
Castle grounds
Entrance to the formal gardens

The Astor family (think Astoria hotels) added a beautiful man-made lake in the early 1900's.

Thought for the week came when we were in a Gelato parlour in London with Ken. Love it! More chocolate, please :)                                 - Pat -