Friday, 5 December 2014

Rememberance Day

I can remember when I was a little girl and went shopping with my mom in the month of November, she would her give me a quarter to put in a bucket and I would receive a little red flower in return.  I didn't understand at the time what it was all about, but I remember liking the flower.  Then when I got older, I didn't remember seeing those buckets or the flowers any more.  But here in England, they still remember and every year sell "poppies" to earn money to help the people who have fought in the different wars that their country was involved in.  It is a big deal here, and I love it!  Our ward helped in the poppy collections and a wreath laying.  At every war monument (and there are a lot of them), wreaths are placed by different companies, organizations or individuals.  It is wonderful to see them all over town. 


The small paper poppies were given for any amount the people would like to donate.
We also sold lapel pins, wooden crosses, and wrist bands for set amounts.

Carol Facciano was one of the ladies that laid the wreath at the
war memorial monument for our ward.

As part of the 100 year celebration of Britain entering the first world war, ceramic poppies were placed (a few each day) in the moat at the Tower of London.  Each flower represented a soldier who lost his life in that war.  There were over 880,000 poppies in the moat by the time they finished.  We made our way over after it was mostly filled, but before the craziness of the final days.  It was incredibly sobering, especially to know that each flower represented a human life.  War is such a horrible thing!
The moat of the Tower of London, filled with over 880,000 ceramic poppies. 
 Each poppy representing a person who lost his life during that first world war.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Random traffic thoughts

1. Because we were at the mission office helping with the missionaries going home first part of this week, we didn't do our grocery shopping until today.  On our way to the store we saw lots of traffic and police cars, then we saw a couple of police trying to push the motorcycle out of the road.  It wasn't moving very well because of how mangled it was.  Thankfully I didn't see anyone covered with the dreaded blue cloth.  Hopefully they were already on their way to the hospital and will be fine, but it is hard for me to hope against the odds.  I cringe every time I see these motorcyclist weaving in and out of traffic and always at fast speeds.  They are time bombs waiting to go off.  I remember one Sunday, our bus  had to take a detour because of the motorcyclist who didn't make it.  I looked at the blue tarp and thought to myself, some mother and/or wife is going to receive horrible news in a little while.  I also wondered if the thought ever crossed the young mans mind as he got ready for the day, that this one would be his last.  I don't want to be all morbid, but death is a very real part of life.  Sometimes it is just our time to go, sometimes we are the casualties of someone else's decisions and sometimes we are our own worse enemies.  Someone tied flowers to the pole that the motorcyclist hit that Sunday. They are still hanging there; dried and faded.  I hope they will be a reminder to others when they see them, but I worry that our memories, like the flowers also fade.  I am so thankful that I know that there is a life after this one, and while I am not in any hurry to see the other side of that veil right now, I am glad that I know that when I do, I can return to my Father in Heaven and Jesus and loved ones who have already passed.  Help me to do my best, and then take advantage of the Grace Jesus offers.  And God bless that motorcyclist and his family.  I imagine there are hard days ahead. 

2. As I sit here I hear the sirens in the back ground. Pretty much 24/7 you hear sirens.  Police, ambulance and an occasional fire.  The police here do not handle traffic citations.  All that is done with cameras.  If you are driving too fast, turning incorrectly or in a bus lane, you will receive a letter in the mail with a picture of you proving your guilt with a hefty fine attached that will be reduced by 1/3 if you pay within two weeks.  The police here handle crime and traffic accidents. They still wear those cute bobby hats and they do not carry guns.  They also don't use whistles I noticed today when the policeman directing traffic had to yell to get the attention of the driver who was looking at the motorcycle instead of watching for his turn to move.  First time I realized how effective the whistle is in those situations 

3. The roads here are so narrow.  The other day, a motorcyclist was trying to pass our bus on the right, scraped the side of the bus and kept going.  No one but Terry and I even seemed to notice or care.  Not the motorcyclist or the bus driver.  All cars here have mirrors that fold in so when you are parked on the street you have a better chance of still having them (the mirrors) there when you get back into your car.  Pretty much all cars have scratches down the sides.  Several have dents and some are tied together with wire and duct tape.

4. On another semi related but much 'lighter' note, the traffic lights here go from green to yellow to red to yellow then green again.  I like it.  Traffic, begins rolling when the light turns yellow before the green.  You never see anyone blasting through the red lights here, let alone three cars (you Utah drivers take note).  When you see the light turn yellow you either stop or start going.  Clever.
Now let's everybody be safe out there!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Sweet Sabbath

AHHHH!  I just found this "draft" tucked in the bowels of my other posts.  I have no idea why it didn't get published  back when I wrote it, but I am glad that I at least saw it now.  (P.S.  I have since had jellaf rice, and when made not to spicy, it's very good).  Enjoy

I realize that I have not been very good at keeping up on my blog, and even worse in my journal, so I just wanted to share a few thoughts.  We enjoyed a testimony meeting at church today, and I realized that I love these people!  As the members stood to bear their testimonies, I felt an incredible amount of love for each one.  I know I shouldn't be surprised at that, and I'm not. I think I was just surprised at how much I love them, and maybe at how quickly.  We have been in this ward for one month now and because our numbers are few, I believe that I have had interactions with every member.  Each one loves the Lord and is striving to live as He would want them to.  We all have that in common. In our Stake here in the Wandsworth area of London, there are 62 languages spoken by the people.  For the most part, they all speak English, but it is still with a heavy accent from their native country.  Many dress differently, and eat different foods than I am used to.  But regardless of where you are from, we are all children of our Father in Heaven and He loves us all. I am so grateful to be here, to feel the love and support of my family and friends back home and also of my new family and friends here.  This is an amazing experience!

Speaking of different foods, I have an embarrassing yet pretty funny story to share.  Our first few days here in London, we attended a pot luck dinner for the missionary couple whose flat we took over.  They were returning home after serving here for 18 months and the members wanted to have a going away party.  There was so much food! Lots of rice dishes, things with fish heads in it, and an assortment of other unidentified foods.  Because there was so much food, I was able to fill my plate with relatively safe looking foods.  As I was going down the line, a sister said to me in her heavy Jamaican accent, "you did not take some of my Jellaf rice", but here is what I heard, "you did not take some of my Jell-O rice".  Of course I was very confused and asking for clarification, I asked "Jell-O rice?"  She laughed and laughed, thinking that it was so funny that I would think she said Jell-O instead of Jellaf.  Now remember, here in England they have a tenancy to drop off the last part of a word.  It didn't make sense to me that she would have put Jell-O in rice, but the fish heads didn't make much sense to me either, so who am I to question.  Either way, at that point I had to go back and take some.  Apparently Jellaf rice is an African dish and I am here to tell you that while it looks harmless, it is very spicy!  After the dinner, I went up to her and said, "you did not warn me that your rice was so hot".  Again she laughed and laughed.  She told all of her friends what I had said and insisted on having her picture taken with me.  That dumb American who thought Jellaf rice was Jell-O rice.  When I saw her at Stake Conference several weeks later, she gave me a big hug and told all her friends about me again.  I'm glad that I could make her day, but I have to admit, I hope I never have to eat Jellaf rice again!

Margaret got Baptized!

Margaret David got baptized on May 10th.  I can't believe I haven't posted it on here yet! She is so much fun and has such a great laugh.  She is originally from Nicaragua.  AND, she is definitely afraid of  water.  It actually took me some time to assure her that it was going to be ok, that she would only be under the water for a moment, and that Elder Wright would have a hold of her the whole time.  I also had to stress to Elder Wright to get it right the first time because I wasn't sure she would/could do it again.  This was Elder Wright's first baptism and he was nervous.  But it the end, it all went off without a hitch and she did great!  She is a great addition to our ward!

Margaret David, nervous about her baptism.

Elder Wright, nervous about her baptism.

Monday, 28 April 2014

New Assignment

Well, I suppose it's not really a new assignment, but more of an additional assignment.  We are still working in the Crystal Palace Ward, but we have also been asked help the office missionaries on the two days before missionaries are returning home, after completing their missions.  We took the train down to the mission office on a Monday morning and pretty much hit the ground running once we got there.  Meals needed to be prepared for that and the following day.  Sister Adams has done this for awhile now and knew what she was doing so we were pretty much laborers and gofers.  We put on a lovely meal on Monday night and after we got everything cleaned up, we started working on breakfast and the other meals for the next day.  We were able to slip into the testimony meeting and were so touched by the testimonies of these missionaries.  I cannot tell you how impressed I am with these young men and women, and I feel confident that the church will be in good hands knowing they will be heading back to their home wards and stakes to be the future leaders. The next day after breakfast, we attended the temple with them.  It too was a choice experience.  Then there was lunch and getting another dinner ready.  We loved seeing these missionaries, many of whom we had worked with.  I felt like a mom to them and I was sad to see them go. They were a little sad as well.  Not about leaving us, but about leaving their missions. They had grown to love the people and the work that they did here.  We finally left the mission office around ten o'clock on Tuesday night, exhausted, but with full hearts.
The Missionaries that were going home at the April transfers

We worked directly with these missionaries.  From left to right:
Elder Cangas, (in our district);  Elder Bailey (our "trainer" in Crystal Palace Ward);
 Elder Fowler (my companion); Elder Mafubelu  (our zone leader);
 Elder Pond (missionary in Crystal Palace Ward) Front row:
Sister Ylisaari (missionary at the visitors center) and
Sister Santos (in our district). 
 We love these missionaries!!!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Pam Gets Baptized!

Every missionary’s goal is to help others gain a testimony of the restored gospel and enter the waters of baptism.  Really, there is nothing like it!  And what makes this one even more special is that Pam Clarke is not just an investigator, she is my friend.  After 7 months of investigating the church, three sets of missionaries and a lot of prayers on her behalf, Pam got baptized on Saturday March 22, 2014.  She asked Terry to baptize her and me to give a talk on the Holy Ghost, which made it even more special for us.  She also invited SO MANY friends and family members.  There were about 40 people there and I would say about half were those that she invited.  The Spirit was strong and I hope that some of those people will want to know more too, but that would just be icing on the cake.  For now, my friend Pam is a member of the church!

It's hard to capture a picture of Pam smiling.
 I had to tickle her to get this to get this beautiful smile.

Right before Terry baptized Pam

With Elder Pond (left) and Elder Wright (on right)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Spring is in the air!

It was a cold, wet, windy winter.  Many people have said that it was windier than usual, but that the temperatures were more mild than usual.  Really?  I thought it was plenty cold, but it's true that we didn't get any snow.  Some areas had extreme rain and flooding, we weren't that bad here I guess, but still, it wasn't fun.  But it was probably because we were out it in a lot.  At home, when I wanted to go somewhere, I would walk out of my house into the garage, get in my car and drive to where I wanted to go.  Find a parking spot close to the door and run inside.  Coming home, same thing in reverse.  But here, I walk to the bus stop, wait, sometimes a long time, ride the bus for a bit, get off and walk to where I want to go.  The bus and train system is great here in London and usually they can get you with in 10-15 minutes of where you want to be.  But not always.  For us to get to the train station, it is a 20-25 minute walk.  We ride the train and then walk to where we want to go.  So what I am trying to say, I notice the weather a lot more because I am in it a lot more. 

BUT, I am seeing signs of hope!  Spring is in the air!  We have had some beautiful days with sunshine and as we walk around, I have noticed more and more flowers.  It is beautiful and does so much for my psyche.  Terry keeps trying to warn me that winter isn't really over yet, but I will enjoy this for as long as I can!  Spring is a beautiful time of year!

Not sure what kind of tree it is, but I think I am allergic to it.
It's ok though, it's beautiful all in bloom!

Daffodils are always a personal favorite.

Such a well manicured yard.
 Don't see many like this, but I was sure glad that I got see it!