Sunday, 22 December 2013

Our First Baptisms

Every missionary loves baptisms, and even though proselyting isn't our main responsibility, we do get to accompany the young Elders often as they teach the gospel to people who are investigating the church.  We have grown to love these people, and love to see their lives changing as they embrace the gospel.  Saturday we attended the baptism of Selam and Yassmin Istifanus.  A mother and her 10 year old daughter. They asked Elder Fowler to baptize them and it was a wonderful experience.  We are so happy for them, and for the members of the Crystal Palace Ward.  They will be a great addition to the ward.  With Yassmin and the two younger daughters, they almost double the size of our Primary!


Selam, Yassmin, Rebekka & Serina Istifanus 
along with Elder Hanks and Elder Bailey & us.

Us with this sweet family.  We loved being able to help teach them the gospel!

Elder Fowler got to baptize Selam and Yassmin


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Crystal Palace Activities

One of our first assignments when we came to the Crystal Palace Ward was to be in charge of the road show.  I can't remember the last time we had a road show in the States, but here they do them every year.  Unfortunately, the kids weren't very excited about it and since we have such a small ward we needed to come up with something that we could pull off regardless of how many people showed up the night of the performance.  To make matters worse, the theme was a scripture: The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, Light and Truth.  Terry had the brilliant idea to tell the Restoration of the Gospel, early missionaries to England and latter day missionaries sharing light and truth using shadows and music.  It mostly just needed a large white screen and a spotlight and then our cast of 10.  It actually turned out pretty good and I think we all had a good time!

"Shadows" telling the first vision.

Cast and crew of our road show
 (minus Elder Fowler who had to take the picture).

The Priesthood of the ward decided they needed to have an activity, so they went bowling.  

A great group! To the left of Terry is our Bishop, left of him is Terrance who
 will be baptized soon.  Two youth, one newly baptized member, one less-active,
 the missionaries, the ward mission leader and ward clerk.  They all had a great time! 



Ward members watching fireworks on Guy Fawkes day.
Our ward Christmas Party was a great success.  We had plenty of food, singing, and nice program and even a visit from the jolly man himself!

A good turn out.  Lots of members, less actives and nonmembers alike.

Relief Society, WORKS the same in every ward.  We love these ladies!

Elder Bailey made a pretty sad Santa, but the kids didn't mind at all!

 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Crystal Palace Young Adults

One of the cool things we get to do on our mission is work with the young adults in our ward.  There are several and they are really strong in the Gospel!  We get to hang out with them every Monday night for a Home Evening.  Their lessons are inspiring and their activity's and refreshments are really good too.  Once they planned a Thanksgiving dinner for the Americans and the Canadians.  It was a lot of fun.  It was my first time having Yorkshire Pudding, which isn't a pudding at all, it's more like gravy poured into Dutch Baby cup.  My kids know what Dutch Babies are: its a mixture of eggs, flour, milk and butter that puffs up around the edges when you bake it. These young adults baked them in cupcake tins and so you have these individual bowls for the gravy.  They are not what I expected (who knows what I expected) but they are pretty good.

The Missionaries and some of the Young Adults of the Crystal Palace Ward.
We have a great missionary story that in my opinion is EPIC!  Deirdre, one of our young adults, was on a bus (everyone is one a bus, train or walking), when a young man also on the bus, named Terrance says to her, "thank you for dressing so modestly".  She is a little taken back because lets be honest, that just doesn't happen often enough.  She thanks him and they start talking.  He eventually asks her for her phone number and while she said she NEVER gives her number out she felt like she should, so she wrote it down on a pass-along card and told him to go to the website on it to see why she was the way she was, and IF he did, THEN he could call her and they would talk about it.  Well, he DID go look at Mormon.org, he called Deirdre and they talked about what was on that website.  He came to church and has been taking the missionary lessons and now has a baptism date set!  We are so excited.  He is a most humble sincere man and we are thrilled for him!

Terrance and Deirdre. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Yum or YIKES?

So we stopped at Lidl's the other day.  It is a German store in our borough that sells food and miscellaneous items.  This week they were advertising fleece lined tights.  All I could think of was "SCORE!" How yummy is that!  Women clamored around the bin digging through to find their size.  They are in European sizing, so I don't have a clue what size I need, but I took a guess and hoped for the best. I bought two pairs thinking how nice it was going to be to wear these tights on the cold windy, wet days.  Then as we walked home, the thought crossed my mine, it probably doesn't bode well for me that they sell these out here.  I suspect that it will be a long cold winter. Sigh.

Beautiful (wet) Oxford

Once a month the Senior Missionaries get together and take a field trip (of sorts).  This month we went to the city of Oxford, where the famous colleges are. There are 38 total.  It was a beautiful, modern city surrounding the ancient and historic campuses.  This is where John Wycliffe (the reformer) studied and where William Tyndale translated the Bible from Latin into English.  But most importantly, at least to our grandchildren, this is where Harry Potter ate in the Hogwarts dining hall!  It rained so hard, but we still had a great time!


The Dining Hall at Christ Church University
aka Hogwart's Dining Hall
 
Us sitting at the head table enjoying afternoon tea (hot chocolate).
The picture behind us looks like it belongs in the haunted mansion at Disneyland.
It's just the reflections of the lights from the tables.

 
Terry took this shot from inside the upper library at Christ Church College. 
They have several libraries, but this is the original one and houses all of their oldest books.
I believe it was in this library, that King James commissioned the writing if the
King James version of the Bible in 1611.


Not sure which College this is.  Just thought it was a cool building,
showing the early architecture.
Unfortunately, Oxford IS a college town.  This sign leads to the
Turf Tavern, where Bill Clinton "smoked, but did not inhale" marijuana.
It says, "An Education In Intoxication".
 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

New Callings

We had a wonderful Sabbath today.  We are serving in the Crystal Palace Ward of the Wandsworth Stake. We meet in a small Catholic School.  There are about 200 members in our ward and we get about 45-50 people out each week.  They have land to build a new chapel on, but we need at least 80 people to come out regularly.  We are going to do our best to make that happen.  Today, I was called to be Young Women's President.  I have 4 potential YW and 1 Laurel comes.  Terry was called to serve as 2nd Councilor in the Bishopric.  The Bishop and his Councilors are also the Young Men's Presidency. There are 8 potential YM with 3 coming out.  We have also been asked to be in charge of the Ward's Roadshow. We have a fun idea that could be done with only a few people, but we are hoping on getting more out.  After Church today, we had dinner with the Bishop and his sweet wife and then went out on visits, trying to get more of the youth to be involved.  We perform on November 23rd.  We work best under pressure :-)

The members of the Ward have been fantastic.  Everyone is SO NICE and seems genuinely happy to have us there.  We are grateful for the chance to work with them and serve in anyway that we can.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

English Traditions

So we are learning new things during our time here is London, the first one I love, the second not so much.  First is the Poppy Appeal

The use of the poppy was inspired by the World War I poem "In Flanders Fields". Its opening lines refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers' graves in Flanders, a region of Europe that overlies parts of Belgium and France. The poem was written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on 3 May 1915 after witnessing the death of his friend, a fellow soldier, the day before. The poem was first published on 8 December 1915 in the London-based magazine Punch. (thanks Wikipedia)
    

I Love Being a Missionary

So we had a really cool experience on our first day in London.  The couple whose flat we took over was showing us around town a bit, things like where the grocery store was and most importantly where and how to catch our buses. While we stood at a bus stop, a woman approached us and looked at Terry's badge and asked if he was from the Church of Jesus Christ.  He said he was, and she said, "the Mormons, right?"  He assured her that that was another name for our church.  She told him she wanted to learn more about us, (the Church).  Her name is Millie and she is from Ghana.  Her brother joined the church a few months ago and told her she should look into it.  Well she is.  We were able to go with the young Elders and teach her the first discussion about the Restored Gospel.  It was amazing. She is a spiritual woman and very familiar with the Bible. Any questions she had were easily resolved either by our showing her scriptures or by her remembering things that she had read.  It was amazing!  We are meeting with her again next week. 

We have lots of opportunities to answer peoples questions on the buses and hand out Pass Along Cards.  I love being a missionary!

We take busses everywhere, and spend a lot of time at bus stops.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Our New Flat

Here are a few pictures of our new flat.  Every day I love it!  It is so spacious (except for the kitchen).  At first I thought it was just in comparison to the place we lived in while we were at the London Temple Visitors Centre, but as I visit with other people in their homes, I realize it's just plan big.  It makes me feel guilty sometimes since it is just Terry & me and we aren't even home all that much, but it is appreciated everyday.  It is in a nice neighborhood and we feel safe regardless of the time we are coming back home at night.  It is close to the bus lines (about a 5-10 minute walk) and fairly close to the train station (a 25 minute walk).  A nice grocery store is about a 15 minute walk and for the most part, we can get any kind of shopping within a 15-30 minute walk.  Maybe you have picked up on the word "walk" several times.  We don't have a car, and truth is, I would not WANT to drive here in London, so we pretty much walk everywhere.  I'm hoping that I will be a size 4 when I get home, but I'd be happy to even drop a size or two.  P.S. I did buy some mole skin for blisters on heels today.  That is helping :-)


This is the front of our flat.  Built in 1896.  Ours is the second floor flat.
  The bay windows are our living room and window to the right is our kitchen.

 
Our bedroom.  It has a little sitting area also. I  love the fireplace but it's
 just for looks .  For those who come to visit, your bedroom is almost as big!
 

Our living room with a small dining area at bottom left corner.  There is a bookcase in the
far right corner (which you can't see) and another couch opposite the one shown.
 
Our tiny kitchen. Very modern and functional.  I only have one drawer and that is below the stove/oven.   
 I do have a washer and dryer though (to the right of dish washer)  which makes me very happy! 
 I have a new found appreciation for IKEA (or at least I understand it a little better now)

Did I mention I love my flat?!!!!!


Thursday, 31 October 2013

New Assignment

Well, they finally found what could be our permanent assignment.  Either way, we have moved into London--south London in the Wandsworth area.  We have a wonderful flat.  It is so large compared to our last one!  We have two bedrooms, so we are ready for company :-) or at least we will be as soon as we figure out all the bus, train and tube routes.  So far we have only gotten lost once.  I think that is pretty good for as much as we are out on the street.  Thankfully, people in London are very nice and helpful to us poor Americans! Our assignment isn't with the Young Adults like we thought it would be but instead we are working in an intercity ward called Crystal Palace.  We went to church there last Sunday and the Bishop didn't know we were coming but was thrilled to see us!  Already I have been called as the Young Women's President and Terry is working with the Young Men.  I have a potential of eight YW with only one girl who comes and Terry has three YM out of eight who come.  We have also been put in charge of the Road Show that is coming up the 23rd of November.  So as you can see, we have been busy getting settled in the flat, learning our way around and jumping into our callings.  Not much time for blogging but we will try to get some pictures and I will write more soon.  Just wanted you all to know that we are doing great here!  We hope you are as well!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Serving The Lord in London: 22 Weeks of General Conference

“I encourage you to read the talks...and to ponder the messages contained therein. I have found in my own life that I gain even more from these inspired sermons when I study them in greater depth.”
{President Thomas S. Monson; Oct. 2012}
How can we do this effectively?!
Well, Little LDS Ideas has come up with a brilliant way to do this!
 Click on the link to get yours!
It starts the first week of November so you better hurry!
 


 Thanks Little Lds Ideas!

 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Sweet Sisters

We are so lucky to work with these amazing sister missionaries at the Visitors' Centre.  They are so talented, each one in their own way, but all in sharing their testimonies of the Savior. We learn much from them every day.
Sister McLaws (Park City, UT) Sister Wamsley (New Zealand) Sister Stewart
(Snowflake, AZ) Sister Maddocks ( SLC, UT) and Sister Ylisaari (Finland

This is a missionary parody that Sister Wamsley and Sister McLaws sang together.  So cute!



 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Sabbath in Eastbourne

Last Sunday we attended church at the Eastbourne Ward.  It was a beautiful old building that used to be a school for an Episcopalian church.  The people were delightful and the Spirit was strong.  I especially liked Relief Society where the sisters you could tell, were all very good friends.  Because the ward covers a large area, they decided to meet once a month for what they call "Choc n Chat".  They just meet at the church for hot chocolate and a chance to just visit with each other.  Don't we all need a little more chocolate and connecting with friends?

Outside of chapel in Eastbourne. A former Episcopalian school.

Inside the chapel.  We loved the beautiful high ceilings.
(The Bishop said it was ok to take the pictures) 
 Afterwards we took a lovely afternoon drive down to the English Channel.  It was SO WINDY! And cloudy and gray and rainy, but at least we could say we saw it.  We stopped at the "Seven Sisters" (www.sevensisters.org.uk).  They were beautiful as well.  I guess they have used them in the making of several movies.  I find myself using the word beautiful a lot, but there really is no other way to describe these things.
 
Seven Sister in East Sussex, England
Then the rain really started coming down, so we just drove through Brighton. Brighton is kind of known as a "party town", but they have a very strong young adult program there.  Below is a drive by picture of the Brighton pier.
 
The pier in Brighton.
 Finally on our way home, we made our way to the most precious little town called Alfriston.  It is like stepping into a Thomas Kinkade painting.  The roads were so narrow, the shops so quaint, and the roofs to the homes were actually thatch.  I wish we would have had time to wonder around.  Maybe another time. . .
 
Beautiful home with thatched roof.
 
Loved this little town! One and a half cars fit on this road.


 


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Our First Flat


These are pictures of our flat.  It's "quite lovely really" (that's my British accent). We are staying at the Accommodation Centre on the temple grounds.  It is typically for patrons coming to the temple from far away places, where they can stay for a few days "whilst" they attend the temple, but since the temple is closed right now, there is room for us.  It really is pretty nice.  Very small but nice.  About the size of a dorm or small motel room, but we have a nice kitchen which includes a freezer I'm happy to report.  All who know me, knows, "it's all about the ice". I brought my own ice cube trays because I know that Europe isn't big on ice.  There is a reading room where we can connect to internet and so we have everything we really need.



The front entrance to the Accommodation Centre.  Our room is back and to the left.

Standing in the kitchen looking at our bedroom/living room

Standing in the bedroom, looking at kitchen and front door.
 Should have cleaned before we took the picture  :-)
 


Friday, 18 October 2013

The London Temple Grounds

The London Temple was dedicated in 1958. It sits on 31 acres with lots of grass (Terry dreams of mowing it), beautiful oak trees and a pond with ducks. It also has nice walking paths that meander through the grounds.  It is a beautiful place to stroll and ponder.





 


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

First assignment is the London Temple Visitors Centre

Well, we've made it to England.  We are exhausted but thrilled to be here.  We tried to do everything that Lee Monson (a world traveler and dear friend) told us to do to avoid jet lag, but it didn't work.  I know it didn't help that we got little sleep the night before we left, and I can't understand how anyone can sleep on a plane.  We arrived around 9:30am London time and did great until 3:30pm when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  Just an hour nap I thought, that should do it.  Wrong.  It has actually taken us more like 5 days to acclimate, but I think we are good now.

Since there isn't a young single adult program available for us to serve at, they have put us at the London Temple Visitors Centre (yes that is how it is spelled) until they know what to do with us. The Temple is closed right now for repairs so it is pretty slow, but the grounds are beautiful and we've enjoyed going for walks around the area.

In front of the London Temple Visitors Centre

Monday, 14 October 2013

Our time at the MTC


In front of the infamous world map.  Pointing to England.





















Our district at the MTC with our teacher Brother Herman.



















Half of the senior group that came to the MTC with us.
These are working with Young Single Adult Programs, CES or Military.














Wednesday, 2 October 2013

We've survived the first two days!

The Spirit at the MTC is amazing and it is so great being part of such a great army!  We stand in awe of these young missionaries! 

We had a choice experience today in one of our large group meetings.  The returned missionary who was conducting the meeting told a story about his girlfriend in high school who was taking the missionary discussions and the missionaries that were teaching her wanted to challenge her to baptism.  He was not sure about that and tried to convince them that she wasn't ready, that they should wait, as he was worried it would ruin everything.  But the missionaries, being led by the Spirit challenged her at the end of the lesson.  She said "no".  He thought to himself, "See I told you so" and thought the chances of his girlfriend ever joining the church were over!  Then to emphasize to the senior missionaries the need to follow through to find out concerns, the missionaries asked what was holding her back, what her concerns were.  She told them that she wanted to be baptized but she wanted to do it with her whole family!  Terry and I started to put two and two together.  This young man said that he was from the San Diego area; that his girlfriend’s name was Brie; that her whole family joined the Church and that one year after their baptism they were sealed in the Temple!  We knew that he spoke of the family that our son Ryan taught and baptized while on his mission.  Terry raised his hand and when called upon, asked this returned missionary if his girlfriend's maiden name was Fran├žois to which he replied "yes" with a puzzled looked on his face.  Terry said "That was our son, Elder Ryan Fowler, who taught her."  He told him that three months after Ryan's mission, we went back with Ryan to his mission and were invited to this family's sealing in the temple.  It was a choice experience to see this story come full circle.  Jordon (the young man conducting the meeting) was so grateful to these missionaries for their heeding the promptings of the Spirit that set in motion the wheels that changed his life.  Jordon returned from his mission and married Brie.  They are here in Provo and get together with Ryan from time to time.  It's a classic case of leaving your family for a little while so someone else can be with theirs forever.  Good Job Ryan!  We want to do the same!

On a personal note; I spent my 36th wedding anniversary here at the MTC with my eternal companion.  It's an awesome thing knowing that!

Monday, 30 September 2013

And, We're Off!

Well, here we go!  We are now officially set apart as missionaries.  Representatives of our Savior Jesus Christ.  We report to the MTC in Provo tomorrow at 10:00AM  Let the fun begin!