Saturday, December 14, 2013

Love Knows No Borders

Sally DeFord has become one of my favorite religious music composers of late. I've been lucky enough to sing several of her arrangements in one choir or another over the past several years. Her words and music inspire me!

Last weekend, "Enchanting," a wonderful little A Capella choir from Peterborough (and points beyond) came to perform three programs at our Visitors' Centre. Brogan Casbon is the director. Brogan and her husband, Tony, have become dear friends during the past two years. The performances were outstanding, start to finish. We loved having "Enchanting" fill our Visitors' Centre with the sweet sounds of Christmas.

"Enchanting" performed at the Visitors' Centre last weekend.
L to R:  Talulah, Brogan, Jess, Adan, Mel, Sharon and Jane

One of the group's musical numbers has been floating through my head all week -- the one by Sally DeFord. Part of the song goes like this:

     From lands of the sunrise
     From isles of the sea
     Though oceans divide us
     And miles lie between
     Come gather in spirit
     With shepherds of old
     'round Bethlehem's cradle
     Our Heavenly King to behold.
     For love knows no borders
     And love knows no bounds,
     Rejoice ye together
     For Jesus our Savior is born.

     His love knows no borders
     Nor color nor creed
     No rich and no poor,
     Neither bondsmen nor free
     And we who receive him
     Must love without end
     And carry his tidings
     Of peace and good will
     To all men.
     For love knows no borders
     And love knows no bounds,
     Rejoice ye together
     For Jesus our Savior is born.

What a message. At this time of year, the hearts of good Christians everywhere turn to Jesus Christ and his example, his life and his love. It's a tough ol' world out there, and it's hard to have love for everyone. Even in the best of situations, we struggle to get along with each other at times, but if we are really working at becoming like our Savior, we must be working at loving others.

To quote President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (April 2012), "Forgiving ourselves and others is not easy. In fact, for most of us it requires a major change in our attitude and way of thinking - even a change of heart. But there is good news. This "mighty change" of heart is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to bring into our lives. How is it done? Through the love of God.... The more we allow the love of God to govern our minds and emotions - the more we allow our love for our Heavenly Father to swell within our hearts - the easier it is to love others with the pure love of Christ."

When I think back on the past two years, one of the things that stands out most is what we have learned about love. We've learned it from getting to know the people who've come into the Visitors' Centre from all walks of life. We've learned it from our wonderful sister missionaries and senior couples. We've learned it from the temple workers, the full-time temple employees, and the Mission Office missionaries. And we've learned it from people we have met in the wards and stakes in Southern England. As we've connected with people and learned their stories, their joys, and their sorrows, we have gained so much from their examples and experiences, and we have truly learned to love them.

Two people who have taught us a lot about love are Grant and Emma Neale. We are fortunate that they live just down the road from the London Temple. They have been so amazing in the love they have shown all of us missionaries at the London Temple Visitors' Centre. They and their extended family actually have four missionaries living with them right now, as well as a young man in their ward who just received his mission call this week. We call their home the "West Park MTC." In addition, Emma is the one who created and decorated our V.C. Christmas tree both last year and this year, and she has generously taken me on several shopping trips to some great destinations when I needed to take a break from one stress or another. Such fun! And then there's her husband, Grant. We call him "Saint Grant" around here. When Don and I first arrived in England, he was already helping out by taking charge of the Visitors' Centre once a week during our training meetings. He helped us get our feet on the ground and gave us so many good insights into how things work here. He was one of the forces behind our successful quest for those "Brown Signs" that give directions to motorists trying to find the temple. As a former police officer, he has taken nearly every one of our Visitors' Centre missionaries out for countless driving practices and taught us all how to pass the driving test (not something that comes easily around here). He hasn't allowed any of us to pay him for his time yet, either. He has also helped identify fireside speakers and performers at the Visitors' Centre, and in addition to all of that, he has the funniest sense of dry British humor. He always makes us laugh! Now, that's love in action.

Emma and Grant

There are so many good people in Southern England -- and in the world! I am reminded of my very favorite Mormon Message on YouTube is called "The Civility Experiment." You can find it at
It's a true story that was filmed on the streets of New York. When we take the time to listen and truly get to know people, it is easy to find something to love in nearly everyone we meet.

"Love is the only force that can erase the differences between people...." (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley)

Don and I have a little framed message that used to hang in our home in Draper. We brought it with us to England and it will accompany us home when we leave. It reads:

The best use of time is love. 
The best time to love is now.


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