Monday, October 28, 2013

Arrivals and Departures

With the Terry's early departure for home, we've been covering some extra shifts at the Visitors' Centre the past few weeks. That's been fun, but busy! Since our office is in our flat, we find ourselves wandering back and forth between the Visitors' Centre and our flat many times a day. No complaints, though. It's like walking through a beautiful park every time we step outside (well, except when it's pouring rain).

Two weeks ago, we had  an unexpected blessing arrive. Elder Terry and Sister Barbara Fowler arrived in the England London South Mission with some time on their hands. Evidently, they were wanted for more than one assignment, so while that was being sorted out, they stayed on the temple grounds and helped us in the Visitors' Centre - and we are so grateful! Besides covering a shift (usually 6 hours) for us on weekdays, Elder Fowler has been helping our sister missionaries with some of the difficult questions they field on our Chat lines and sharing some gospel study sessions with them, too. He taught and administered in the Institute program for 35 years and has been a great resource to us. We have greatly appreciated getting to know Elder and Sister Fowler and the time they've spent with us. We're sorry to see them go! Last Saturday they were assigned to serve the Crystal Palace Ward in Wandsworth Stake and they have now moved closer into London. We know the people there will learn to love them as much as we have!

We'll miss you, Elder and Sister Fowler!

With two senior couples coming and going during October, we're so glad Elder and Sister Horsley are still here holding down the place! They have been awesome missionaries at the London Temple Visitors' Centre: always responsible, always smiling, always cheerful and kind, always ready to teach the gospel to anyone who comes in search of answers, and always willing to do whatever is needed. We love the Horsleys!

Dinner at the Peacock - our senior missionary hangout -
before the Fowlers were transferred to Crystal Palace.
L-R: Elder Horsley, us, Sister Horsley, Sister & Elder Adams,
Sister & Elder Fowler, Sister Cates, Sister Qumsiyeh (standing).

This weekend, we also said good-bye to our beloved temple presidency and their wives as they completed three years of service at the London Temple. President Raymond Lowry will be succeeded by President Kenneth Johnson when the temple re-opens on November 12th.  We loved and appreciated the outgoing presidency so much and look forward to working with the new presidency soon! What a privilege to rub shoulders with such outstanding men and women!

President & Sister Cook, President & Sister Lowry,
President & Sister Lock - the outgoing temple presidency.

President & Sister Irwin, President & Sister Johnson,
President & Sister Crossland - the incoming temple presidency.

On Saturday, October 19th, the Visitors' Centre hosted a fun activity for the senior missionaries in our mission. Because we are so spread out geographically, it's hard to get everyone together very often. Although we don't see them often, we draw great strength from their examples and association. Many wonderful couples have come and gone in the past two years.

Elder and Sister Hom made all the arrangements for the conference and provided the food for everyone. What a treat!  We met at 11 a.m. and had an hour with our mission president, President Millar, then had a delicious lunch together at noon. In the afternoon, there were workshops on how senior couples can use the Visitors' Centre to better advantage, how to use the internet more effectively, using family history in missionary work, and how to have a successful YSA program.

Most of the current senior missionaries in the England London South Mission.
Not pictured:  President & Sister Millar, Elder & Sister Carpenter,
Elder & Sister Horsley, Elder & Sister Boone.
Also during October, we also got to spend a few hours one day with Marian North, her daughter Whitney, and Marian's brother and sister. They were in England on a family history trip and took the time to come visit the temple - and us! - even though the temple was closed. We loved showing them around and going out to dinner. It was great to see our dear friend and past neighbor from Cottonwood Heights!

Friday, October 11th at the Visitors' Centre

If you've read our blog much in the past two years, you know that as senior missionaries, we are allowed to have short visits from children while we are serving a mission - depending on our responsibilities and living conditions. Our mission president reiterated that policy again in the senior missionary conference on Saturday. What a blessing that can be to families - and to senior missionaries! A little time spent with beloved children can really lift your spirits and renew your energy.

Last week we got to see two of our daughters! Kristen and Amy both came for a couple of days before taking off to explore Scotland together. We were able to spend a few short days with Kristen last weekend and we'll have some time with Amy now that they have returned from their trip. Our kids have all been great at respecting our missionary schedule. Sometimes we can join them on their outings, sometimes we can't.

Kristen caught her dad hard at work
(no, he's not sleeping, he's writing!)...

... and me in my usual spot at the desk.

We took an afternoon off to see Leeds Castle again -
one of the most beautiful castles in England.

A daddy-daughter moment.

I love  black swans.

...and white ones.

And I love this guy.
Thanks, Kristen, for a great photo of your dad.

Another of Kristen's close-ups.

Inside the fabulous library inside Leeds Castle.

Enjoying some time off together.

A windy afternoon at the white cliffs of Dover

We found a thatched roof "cottage" in Alfriston
on our way home from church in Eastbourne last Sunday.

Nope, not Dover:  the Seven Sisters near Eastbourne.

It was so windy that we just about got blown off the look-out point.
At least the rain had stopped :)

Windsor Castle in the fall.

Standing guard.

The Queen's Guard. Queen Elizabeth was in residence that day,
but the guard is on duty whether she is there or not.

In our  family, a trip to Windsor Castle isn't complete
without a trip to The Carpenter Arms.

We finally found Winnie the Pooh's 100 Aker Wood!
It's only about 20 minutes from the London Temple.  We had so much fun
checking out this little store that we almost missed seeing the woods.

And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down -
but we still found this monument to A.A.Milne near Heffalump Hollow.

At the temple.

Kristen checking something off her bucket list: learning how to drive
on the left (not wrong) side of the road.

Her reluctant passenger.  ...Just kidding!

When Amy arrived on Saturday, we went to "tea" in Lingfield.

Amy and Kristen at Hever Castle

The only hard part about having your kids or grandkids visit is that it's ALWAYS so hard to say good-bye! Kristen left for home yesterday. I can certainly see why the young elders and sisters cannot have visits from family members. The hellos are great, but the good-byes are tough! But then, I guess that's an experience every missionary has, no matter where they serve. With missionary transfers every six weeks, even the young elders and sisters are always saying hello or good-bye to somebody. So are we. One thing's for sure about being on a mission - there are plenty of arrivals and departures.                    ~Pat~

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