Summertime

  • We love summer in England. It’s like winter back home in Az, but the clear sunny days are broken up with spells of rain and lots of huge puffy white clouds.
    Kew Palm house

    Kew Palm house

    One of my favorite things in London are the plants, particularly the flowers. Flowers bloom all year round, kind of like Arizona. Even in the winter some scrubs produce beautiful flowers like this Ranunculaceae from our garden.

    Ranunculaceae

    Ranunculaceae

    Early in the spring the daffodils and crocus bloom in random places in otherwise dormant lawns.

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    Daffodils

    Crocus

    Crocus

    Then the bluebells and 100’s of other floral varieties start popping out.

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    Bluebells

    They have some very beautiful gardens here, some next to palaces, some in public parks.

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    Canterbury

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    Hampton Court

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    Buckingham Palace

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    Hyde Park

    But my favorite place is Kew Gardens, the largest botanical garden in the world. On the Places page I include some pictures of Kew and other wonderful floral locations. Also on this page are some pictures of our visit to Leeds Castle, the “Loveliest Castle in the world.” On the stories page you can see pictures from the last visit from our kids.  The Visitors Center is very busy this time of year. There are lots of tourists and lots of people interested to chat and learn more about our church. And, we’ve had some very distinguished visitors recently, like Elder Holland, several other general authorities, and even the Piano Guys etc. Your can read about our missionary experiences on the Inspiration page.

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    Canterbury

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    Hampton Court

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Springtime

Spring has come to London. We heard lots of stories before coming to London about long, dark, cold England winters.IMG_9396
There was some dark and some cold days, but they were interspersed with sunny, rather pleasant days. The weather isn’t really that bad here and it doesn’t rain that much, and when it does it’s usually just a drizzle. It has been wonderful to see the rebirth of nature this spring and the variedIMG_9423 and unusual plants that flower at different times. There are several rather plain bushes in our little garden, behind our flat. IMG_7844

IMG_9698At first we quite frankly wondered why someone planted them there. But they have all bloomed at different times with different colored flowers, some even in the dead of winter. We are certainly happy someone planted them, and we’ve even planted a few of our own. We’ve visited a few new places, even rented a car and drove out in the country. You can see some pictures of Hampton Court and the small towns of East Anglia on the places page. For you scouters, you can see some pictures of Gilwell, the very first organized scout camp, on the stories page; and I share some missionary insights on the inspiration page. We are loving the mission and the people.

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Our window box

Ranunculaceae

Back Yard bush

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Churches

Hello everyone. Greetings from London. Things continue to go well here at the visitors center.IMG_1906 We are here to introduce and teach about our church and we do a lot of that. But I find if very helpful and quite enlightening to learn as much as I can about other religions, and even visit their services when we can. It helps us understand where people are coming from when they come in and ask questions. I mentioned in an earlier post that Holly and I joined a volunteer choir at a downtown Anglican church. We just participated in our 4th evensong with them. It’s a great experience and we are making some good friends there.IMG_8992 I also enjoy photographing the buildings, as they are so different than what we are used to.

See the Places page to read about and see pictures of our visit to Windsor Castle and Stables Market; the Stories page to Read about Irish set dancing and the Inspiration page for stories about a recent convert.

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Winter in London

Greetings to everyone! The holidays are over, it’s a new year and we look forward with excitement and anticipation. It has been cold here, but we have yet to experience any snow. We read about snow on our daughter in New York, see pictures of snowmen and igloos our kids are making in Utah and even Arizona, but snow is rare in London. When I was growing up in Northern Utah it was cold, but it was a ‘dry’ cold.

Autumn at the Victoria & Albert museum

Autumn at the Victoria & Albert museum

When we moved to Arizona it was hot, but it was a ‘dry’ heat. And now we are in London. It is cold, and it is a ‘wet’ cold. It seems to penetrate you to the bones. I’ve learned the real value of a scarf and layers, many layers to keep warm. Fortunately we don’t spent a lot of time out in the elements. The visitors center is nice and warm, in many ways. We enjoy the winter. The trees are all void of their beautiful green leaves, but they still have a unique, bare beauty that we love.

Autumn at the Victoria & Albert Museum

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I’ve posted some of our experiences on the other pages: a visit to the Tower of London on the Places page, A story about a special belt on the Stories page, and some thoughts and missionary stories on the Inspiration page. Hope you enjoy.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our dear friends and family. We have been in London now for 6 months. We have loved every part of the experience.  We love the  dedicated missionaries we are able to work, the wonder members and especially all those who come and visit us at the center, feel the spirit and have a desire to learn more. We talk to many who are interested to learn, to change, to improve and to all those who do we see the happiness and peace the teachingsIMG_8308-001 of Christ bring to their lives. One such individual is from China. She is in England studying at the university. I was with the missionaries when they taught her she should not smoke, or drink coffee or tea. She said “smoking I can understand, but there’s no way I’m giving up coffee and tea…that’s part of my culture. That’s part of who I am. I can’t do it!” We continued working with her. She accepted the challenge to pray and see if God really wanted her to do this. She did stop drinking coffee and tea and she joined the church. She has been responsible for several others becoming interested in Christ’s teachings. She’s now a leader in her singles ward and teaches the Chinese Sunday School class. She left yesterday to visit her home land of China for the holidays. Every time we see her she is so exuberant, jumps up and down and tells us how happy she is.  You can imagine how that makes us feel.

We likewise are so happy to be members of Christ’s true church and to be spreading his message at this time in our lives. We are happy we have so many who encourage us and support us and pray for us; most especially our wonderful friends and families. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year. We love you all.

To read a little more about our experiences here and see some pictures, feel free to visit the other pages of this blog: Places- sites, Stories- Experiences, Inspiration.IMG_8401-001

Winter almost here

The weather is changing. It gets dark at about 4:30pm now and the sun never gets to high during the day, that is when we can see it. It’s getting quit cold and rainy, but we still love it. They say the real winter is still to come.  Since the British don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving, they get into the Christmas spirit quit early. Most of the stores are already decorated and colored, sparkling lights are up all over London.IMG_8215

Surprisingly, we still have many visitors coming into the centre. Some are very interested, some are just interesting. I tell about some of them on the Stories page. And, we continue to have interesting and thought provoking conversations with all kinds of wonderful people (see Inspiration page).  In our spare time we love taking pictures of London. On the places page I put pictures of our favorite train station, and some of the really nice cars we see on the streets of London.IMG_8219

We love sharing the gospel. Holly is always involved in some sort of musical presentation with the missionaries or with ward members, or playing piano at the hospital. We are often asked to teach gospel principles class, and we are now teaching the temple preparation class.  The gospel changes people. It changes them for good, and brings happiness, peace and purpose to their lives. I will end with this quote:

“The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.” President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)

Lincoln Inn Fields library

Lincoln Inn Fields library

 

Learning & Change

The last few weeks have been ones of learning, applying and change. We have had a Zone conferences, a General conference, a Mission conference with an area authority, a Visitors Center training from headquarters and a Stake conference with Elder Moreira of the seventy. Each presented ideas and techniques on how to be more effective at living and spreading the gospel of Christ.

London Shard

London Shard

Many have joined our church lately as well. I mentioned a Chinese gal in one of my earlier Blogs who was having a hard time living some of the commandments. She has since changed her life and was baptized a couple weeks back. She just exudes with happiness and excitement every time we see her. An older Egyptian man sent an email to our center several weeks back saying he thought it was time he found religion in his life. He was taught and joined the church last Saturday. He too is so happy to understand his purpose and feel the blessings of God in his life. There are days when things are slow and there are those who are unwilling to commit or change.

The Gherkin (pickle)

The Gherkin (pickle)

Everyone has their agency. But, those who are willing to improve and accept the challenge of progression also experience the wonderful blessings associated with living as God would have them live. It’s a wonderful thing to see and experience.

We had our first family visitors from the states. We took them to Cambridge. See Places & sites page. I also added a couple things I’ve learned on the Inspiration page.

From Liverpool street train station

From Liverpool street train station