Tuesday, November 4, 2014


We had a training meeting in Birmingham, England under the direction of Martin Gardiner, our PEF supervisor.  Birmingham is out of our mission, but because we were bringing PEF missionaries from Scotland, Leeds, London and Birmingham together we gained permission to attend.

Driving was a new experience.  In order to drive, the mission rules state that we have to take 3 hours on drivers education before we are approved to venture out, so I took advantage of the help and training. With my instructor, I emerged from the HP Centre parking garage right into the heart of London traffic and only once or twice making a right hand turn did I come face-to-face with four headlights - that is, two cars coming straight at me - or I was going straight at them.  I quickly pulled to the left and made it on my way. You learn quickly when you narrowly miss a head-on.  The real troubles came when heavy traffic caused me have to react quickly.  I was always grabbing for the gear shift with my right hand (muscle memory) and the darn thing was in the wrong place - left side near the middle of the car.  

All of this driving experience (training) was to prepare me to drive to Birmingham.  We traveled with Elder and Sister Phillips, the London YSA couple.  The Phillips hold Family home evening (with treats), teach institute on Tuesday night (with a light dinner), prepare for Temple Prep class and a full hot dinner on Thursday night and weekends usually have one or more activities that they help facilitate.  They do a lot of cooking as they work with about 250 YSA and are an awesome couple. They love their work and are seeing many youth come into the church through baptism.

Gadfield Elm Chapel
On our way home from Birmingham, Martin took all of us to visit the oldest piece of real estate owned by the church, the Gadfield Elm Chapel just outside of Pendock, UK.  This is a beautiful little rustic chapel where, in 1837,  Parley Pratt and Orson Hyde had great success preaching the Gospel. This building was build and used by the United Brethren congregation.  That is until Pratt and Hyde started baptizing them.  Nearly all of the 600 members of the Congregation joined the LDS Church.  The U.B. then donated the building and property to our church and this was the first real estate owned by the Mormons. The next picture is a shot of the inside of the Chapel.
Inside Gadfield Elm Chapel

Below is a posed picture of Steve doing his preaching as if in days of old. There was a copy of the B of M on the pulpit printed as the original with no divisions into chapters and verses.  This building is not really close to a population center so our group was the only one there at the time.  It is interesting, to get in. There are instructions posted on the widow. See if you can respond to this blog and send Afton and me the combination to open the door of the building.

Preaching as in days of old

Entrance Instructions
HALLOWEEN is not over-done here.  We did see a few costumes but one really unique thing was a couple who dressed up in all black and the shoulders of their shirt and blouse actually extended up over their heads.  It made them appear as if they were headless.  They were dressed all in black and held skeleton umbrellas.  That is, with the umbrella open, there was a black ribbon around the outside edge and ribs of black from the outer edge to the center of the handle.  Sorry, I did not get a picture.

At the Hyde Park Center we celebrated Halloween by viewing the 1925 classic, Lon Cheny's Phantom of the Opera.  This was shown just as it would have been done in 1925. It was a silent flick with word cards projected to keep the story moving and with the live organ accompaniment.  We have Elder Michael Ohman, Professor of Organ Music from the BYU as one of our senior missionaries.  He played non-stop for nearly two hours accompanying the film.

Elder Ohman, Chapel & Screen
 Here is Elder Ohman. Notice that there was a closed circuit TV behind him that was projecting him as he was playing. We got to see him creating his magic.  To his right (your left) is the large screen for the movie.   .

Our Own Elder Ohm
 Charisse wrote us to tell us about an art display being created here in London.  It was actually the creation of over 880,000 ceramic poppies.  Each poppy was to represent a fallen soldier from England from World War I.  The flowers are displayed in a poppy field around the base of the Tower of London.  Each of the poppies were individually placed by a team of hundreds of volunteers and each flower has now been sold to raise money to help care for the war victims.

Artist preparing Poppies
Our picture of the Poppies
inspecting the poppies
Poppies around the Tower of London
                Working at the Hyde Park Building, we see a lot of Chinese students.  Imperial College is just across the street and the school is rated in the top 4-5 in math and science in the world. They are right up there with MIT.  Many Chinese come and visit us because they are curious about our building.  They are being taught the gospel by some of our Chinese missionaries.  President Jordan sat in on many of  the discussions and we asked if it was difficult to teach the Chinese people  He said it was really quite wonderful because they were not all confused with misled Christian isms.  They were like a clean slate that could more easily be built upon and taught.  Well to do Chinese families send their teenagers here to attend the university, and they find the Church, are baptized and then return home to spread the Gospel in their home lands.

               One of our missionaries has an interesting story.  His parents, before they had children, went away to an eastern US school.  They were introduced to the Church, converted, and were baptized.  They returned to China but were fearful to make it known that they were LDS because of the communist rule.  As two children came along, they did not even let their children know they were baptized members.  When the children were old enough to go off to school, each went to a different school in the United States.  Elder Hou was introduced to the Church at BYU and was baptized but did not know how to tell his sister.  When he did, he found that she also had found the Church and had been baptized.  Now they had a real dilemma.  How to tell their parents in China that their only two children had joined the Mormon Church?  They made the phone call and found the parents over-joyed as they explained that the parents had been members all of their life but were fearful to make it public. They were over-joyed when they found that everyone in the family had all found the gospel independently.  Elder Hou has been an excellent missionary in London.

We love doing the work here and should be training our replacements starting at the end of this week.
Soon after that we will be back to the work we were called to do.  We are very happy and doing well. We hope you enjoy the highlights that we are sharing in our blog.  


  1. I love your blog! I especially love the story of Elder Hou. May I share it in my Relief Society lesson on Sunday?

  2. I commented, and clicked on "publish" but I don't see the comment. RATS. I love all your blogs.

  3. That's pretty funny about the combination. I hope that phone number for "help" rings a pair of missionaries? :+)

  4. Hi grandma, this is Chase, the combination is c1830y ;-) I really liked your blog!