Monday, September 2, 2013

Today Is A Gift...

...that's why it's called the "present."

With the arrival of September, the temple has now closed for ten weeks and we expect that it will be a little quieter on the temple grounds than it has been during the past month.  The London Temple presidency and their wives, all of whom we have loved so much, will soon be finishing their three year callings and leaving to return home. We will really miss them!

President Raymond and Sister Irene Lowry
Our new temple president will be Elder Kenneth Johnson, a wonderful man and an emeritus Seventy. He and his good wife and the new temple presidency will begin their service in November when the temple reopens.

Many of the temple missionaries (senior couples and sisters) who arrived about the same time we did completed their 18 - 24 months missions last week and left over the weekend to return to their homes. Gratefully, most of the temple missionaries who are American will be staying on through the break, taking on clerical and other responsibilities until the temple reopens. Though we don't get to see the temple missionaries as often as we'd like because of our different schedules and assignments, we have grown to love and appreciate every one of them, and we miss them when they go home! It has been a joy to serve on the temple grounds with such dedicated, loving, faithful men and women. We feel privileged to rub shoulders with them and we have learned much from their example. We are better for having known them!

Barbeque for departing temple missionaries.
The Strongs, Andersons, Kiddles, Morrises, and President Cook.

The Masseys, Sister Pilgrim, and the Rouses

Talented Sister Callis
The Kiddles, Strongs, Sister Murdock, the Grays, Sister Cook and the Andersons.

The Christensens, Brother Wade, Sister Fujita (visiting), and Sister Lock.

Sister Morgan, Sister King, and me.
Today, we are left to look back on all the comings and goings that have taken place during the past month at the Visitors' Centre, too. It has been a hard time for our hearts!

  • Three more of our fabulous sister missionaries (Sisters Cardona, Paulsen and Boman) finished their missions and returned home in August. Sister Cardona served her entire 18 month mission in our Visitors' Centre - the only sister to do so since we've been here. She was invaluable to us! 
  • Two of our current sister missionaries (Sister Berati and Sister Watt) have just been transferred out into other areas of the mission. 
  • Three new Visitors' Centre sister missionaries (Sisters Jacob, McLaws and Maddocks) arrived last Wednesday to begin their missions in our Centre. 
  • Two more new sisters are scheduled to arrive in the next month or two. 

So many changes!

Sisters Paulsen, Boman and Cardona were released in August. We miss them
so much but we know they have many new and exciting times ahead.

Our dear friend and mentor, Grant Neale, with all our sisters in front of the
Christus. (Left to right) Sisters Walmsley, Paulsen, Watt, Boman, Cardona,
Ylisaari, Berati, and Stewart.

Our three new sisters meeting their companions for the first time.

Sister Maddocks, Sister McLaws and Sister Jacob's first day in England!

Sisters Watt, Stewart, Maddocks, McLaws, Jacob, Ylisaari and Walmsley.
We also had a great visit with Sister Barber and Sister Maughan last week when they came to the temple grounds with a Young Single Adult Conference. What a joy! Sister Barber was only at our Visitors' Centre for two months early last year while she waited for her visa to travel to the USA. She's been gone for nearly a year and a half, but it just seemed so comfortable to have her with us again. Sister Maughan was just released here two months ago, but it was wonderful  to see her too and get caught up on what she's been doing since she was released. It was great to see them again!  Wish we could see every single one of the sisters who have served at the London Temple Visitors' Centre since we've been here! Each of them has a special place in our hearts!

Sister Barber (left) and Sister Maughan came to visit!!

During August, two of our daughters and their husbands dropped in for a few days, too. We were lucky to be able to spend a little time with them between responsibilities. Oh, how grateful we were to see them! And oh, how hard it was to see them go!

On the morning we picked Josh and Emily up at Heathrow airport, we headed
straight to Highclere Castle, where we had managed to obtain hard-to-get tickets
for a tour. We were all so excited to see where Downton Abbey is filmed!

Emily and Josh on the beach in Brighton.

Brighton Pier is one of my favorite places to go when it's warm.
Reminds me so much of the Santa Monica Pier where I grew up.

Jenn, Emily and Josh on the huge ferris wheel on Brighton Beach.

Jenn and Iain at the Wiremill Inn restaurant, a hidden treasure
just across the street from the London Temple on the A22.

With so many comings and goings at this time of our mission, it has given us pause to reflect on how fleeting time is and how quickly things can change. It is so easy (for me, at least) to get caught up in the responsibility and challenges that we have in our lives and forget to enjoy the sweet and simple moments that we share with those we love. I hope I'm getting better at treasuring the moments as the years go by. We just can't afford to take today - or any day - for granted. Each day is a gift, and so are the people who share those days with us.                                        ~Pat~

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