Saturday, September 2, 2017

Two Weeks and Counting!

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.

We got here to England two weeks ago yesterday.  We started out in a temporary flat that we stayed in for ten days until the missionary couple that we replaced, the Goodsells, went home.  They spent those ten days training us and showing us around.  We love them and are sorry that we didn't get to actually serve with them for longer than ten days.  They are much loved by the missionaries and the ward and YSA members and will be missed.

We are now in our permanent flat and expect to be here our entire mission.  It's in a lovely spot in south west London.
Looking out of our kitchen window, we see a lovely grassy area and across the street from that is a humongous park.  I will be doing some walking around that park to get some exercise.
Living in a temporary flat in Sydenham was fun.  It used to be an Elders apartment so Sister Goodsell and some of the sister missionaries came and gave it a good scrub before we got there.  It was pretty big and roomy.

Learning to drive in the craziness of London, on the left side of the road and down extremely narrow streets has been hair raising and a bit of a strain on our nerves.  Today both Elder Pearce and I took turns driving home from a weekend zone conference and felt like we did a much better job of driving and not reacting to each other's driving.  We work as a team to navigate the roads.  We couldn't possibly get around with our our Satnav or maps.  Tonight we couldn't even find the Tesco (grocery store) that we were looking for even WITH our satnav.  We might just figure it out about the time we go home in 18 months.

In response to my sister-in-law, Caroldean, posting about someone honking behind her, I thought about all the times I've been honked at these past two weeks.  The honking is getting less frequent but most of the time it's well deserved.


We've had a LOT of honking at us in London this past week.
Dear person honking behind me, I'm not challenging the double decker bus.
Dear person honking behind me, I'm not entering the round about when I don't know where that ambulance is going.
Dear person honking behind me, I can't go forward until the car coming in the opposite direction on a two way street that is barely wide enough with all the parked cars on both sides for one car to get through without breaking off mirrors, gets through.
Dear person honking behind me, sorry. I totally screwed that one up, sorry!
Dear double decker busses, please don't run over me!
Dear pedestrian dressed in black at night crossing outside the crosswalk with no street lamps, please wait for your light!
Dear motorcyclists! Please don't assume I see you coming up so fast cutting the lanes!
Dear person behind me honking, why do so many lanes merge in the middle of an intersection?
Dear person behind me honking, I have absolutely no idea why you just honked at me.
Dear person behind me honking, if I go faster I'll get nailed by the traffic camera.
Dear person honking behind me, if I go any faster over all these speed bumps it will wreck my car!
Dear person behind me honking, Oh, it wasn't me you were honking at....I think....
Dear fellow Londoners, thank you for your patience while Elder Pearce and I learn to drive here!

Our maiden voyage the very first day we were here ended up with us destroying the tire on our car.  Running into curbs isn't so good for them.

We have really enjoyed getting to know the people in our area, both the missionaries, YSA's and ward members.  We are in a very ethnic ward with people from Africa, Jamaica, South American, Spain, England and who knows where else.  It's awesome having so much diversity.  I look forward to learning more about everyone cultures.
The YSA council comes over every other Sunday evening to make plans for the coming weeks.  They are a fine group of young adults.

We came at just the right time of the year.  Everyone seems to be getting a last outing in before the end of the summer.  Riding for about 2 hours in a tour bus, we went with the Crystal Palace ward to Bournemouth Beach.

We spent the last few days at a senior zone conference in Exeter and touring around a bit in Southern England.  The first night we introduced ourselves and heard a few words from our mission president, President Gubler, and his wife.  They work so hard!  What a job to be responsible for so many missionaries.  We will do our best to not be a burden to him but to lighten his load.

It's late so I'm just going to share about a very special experience that Elder Pearce and I had on the very first leg of our flight from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas.

We got to the airport plenty early and were sitting in the waiting area with Elder and Sister Hatch who were with us in the MTC and are in this mission as well.

The time came to board and Dad and I got on as quickly as we could.  The window seat was not occupied yet and since it was a pretty full flight we knew that someone would be coming in.
Before too long, a woman apologized for needing to get into the seat and Dad and I got up happily to let her in.  Well, maybe not so happily because as I backed into the isle I stomped on Dad’s toes.  He had already taken his shoes off.  Owie!
Anyway, we all got settled and underway. 
My first inclination was to start knitting but I decided instead to be friendly with the woman sitting next to me.  I asked her if Las Vegas was going home for her or if it was just a connection to somewhere else.  She said it was home and then suddenly  blurted out that it was no coincidence that she was sitting next to us on  the plane.  She said that she was having a really really hard day and that she was on her way home from spending time with her mom who had just died.  I asked her if she needed a hug.  She immediately said yes and just grabbed me and allowed herself to be hugged for a couple of minutes as she cried.
Her name is Kristy.  She then proceeded to tell us that we were an answer to her prayers.  When she had been feeling so badly on the first flight from Seattle, she was praying to find someone to give her a hug.  She had seen us in the waiting area and felt like she needed to ask us to help her and hug her but she didn’t because she didn’t know how we would react and that we might think she was weird.  Then she got on the plane and found that she was sitting right next to us.  She had seen our badges with “Jesus Christ” on it and felt safe with us.
The amazing thing was, as an afterthought when we checked in, Dad asked if we could change seats so that he could have and isle seat.  No big deal.
All these wonderful things came together for us and her.  We talked the whole flight and asked her questions about her mom, her family and just let her talk.
We also talked to her a lot about the grieving process and how Heavenly Father can and was helping and comforting her.  She exclaimed over and over again how she knew that we were sent to her.
Mostly she just needed to talk and to know that what she was going through was normal even though it was so painful and that someone cared.  I also suggested to her that a wonderful place to go to feel peace and comfort was the grounds of the Las Vegas temple.  It’s such a beautiful place and you can really feel the Spirit there.
Earlier that morning as Tony and I were saying our prayers I asked that we would be able to be the answer to someone’s prayers. 
It was a wonderful testament to us that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.  That he is aware of our sorrow and pain and will use each of us to help bare the sorrow of another if we are listening and are willing to be guided.  I’m so thankful that we were able to help her.  We found each other on Facebook and have chatted a bit back and forth.  

We miss home and family but are so grateful for this opportunity to serve.  We know that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.  We need to open our hearts and allow those answers to change us, comfort us and help us.  We need humility.

I brought these peg dolls and this piece of agate from home.  They represent my daughters, grand daughters, sisters and mom. They make my heart happy.  Now I need to find something to represent the men in our family. 

It's really quite wonderful to be able to see Eric and family on occasion.  We spent a few hours here at a beautiful park in west London called Richmond Park.  These Red Deer or Kings Deer roam freely and have no concern whatsoever about people being close by.

One of the really special things about being here in this part of England is that I get to schmooze with my England grandbabies.  Hugo and I were working as a team to take a selfie.

Mission life has been wonderful so far!  It's time to buckle down though and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bring souls unto Him.

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