Wednesday, May 6, 2015

April in London

April is a good month.  We have had people come in from many different countries.  We have helped out and worked with people from Romania, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Brazil.  For many reasons, they believe that they will be better off leaving their home-lands, family, and friends to come to London.  They have been told that there are jobs and opportunities and a brighter future in London.  Life is just as hard here as it is in their home lands.  But now they don’t have family or friends to help them and they are in a country that they often can’t speak English.  They come with no job, no money, and no plan. Often they end up sleeping on the street, or the basement of the Methodist homeless shelter.  They come to us having been told that we can help them find jobs, and we can give them all that they need.  Wrong.  We offer hope, we give them training, rewrite C.V.’s, and point them to a computer in our Centre.

It is with great anticipation that the London members of the Church and missionaries look forward to General conference.  We do get conference here in London, but our schedule is a lot different from what we are accustomed to at home.  On Saturday evening, at 5:00 pm, we got to watch the Saturday Morning Session live.  Sunday, the schedule goes like this: 
·                  9:00-11:00  Priesthood  session
·                  1:00-3:00  Saturday Afternoon Session
·                  5:00-7:00  Sunday Morning Session live.
·      Sunday afternoon session was on our own to try and find.
Conference was awesome.  We look forward to reading, studying, and making them part of our lives.

We did pick up the story about Savanah Stevenson.  She is currently “Glinda” in WICKED here in London and she has been in the YSA ward in the H.P Building.  She did get married last week to a fellow from the US.  They were married in the chapel at HP (Government rule requiring marriage in a public building) and then they were off to the London Temple in the afternoon for the sealing.  Hope you all saw her story between conference sessions. 

King's College Chapel
Here is a fun thing we got to do on a P-Day.  We took a train and traveled to Cambridge.  This was a lot different than I expected.  We found that there is not one Cambridge University, but a series of at least 20 separate colleges. Unlike our schools where you get up in the morning, leave home, go to school, attend class and then return at the end of the day, here the students eat sleep and attend class almost exclusively in the same building. More like Harry Potter ville.  On and around the campus there are over 100 libraries and a church for each of the colleges.  Originally the schools were started by the Churches and this was the start of their education system. Some of these schools date back to the 1200’s. 

                                                            The quality of the education is tops and there are so many 
Stories of Old & New Testament
notable people who have graduated from the various schools in Cambridge. We got to visit one of the St. Mary’s church which was one of the first chapels established. From the bell tower, we could see all of the other colleges spread around the campus.  King’s College chapel was open for us to visit.  It was built by King Henry VI in 1446 – 1537.  It is the epitome of the English late Gothic Style, with its vast painted glass windows, filigreed stone frame and gravity-defying fan vaulting.  Each fan shaped ceiling panel weighs over 1.5 tones.
King's College Chapel - Ceiling & Organ
Here we are Punting on the River Cam

April also had its ups and downs.  Two special friends, Mike and Shari Ohman, had gone for a walk in Hyde Park.  Elder Ohman wanted to sit and rest for a moment and his wife stepped away to take a picture of Spring blossoms.  When she returned, Mike was laying on the grass feeling sick and two patrolmen came over to see if he was OK.  Shari said he would be fine and they turned and walked away.  Then Mike reported the pain was getting worse and his left arm was going numb.  Shari called to the two officers and one came and assisted and the other immediately called for an ambulance.  This was a miracle as we never see police in the park.  With help close at hand, Mike was on his way to the hospital and receiving treatment even before arrival there.  He was having a massive heart attack.  Had the help not been so readily available, we would have surely lost him.  He was touch and go for quite a long time in the hospital.

From the time Mike was admitted to the hospital, systems in his body started to shut down.  The doctors were able to stabilize him yet treatments did not work as they were expected.  Body functions all rebelled and started turned themselves off and soon Mike looked like a chemistry experiment with tubes and gadgets coming from all points on his body.  For about 14 days, treatment continued on everything except his heart.  Daily there was very slow progress.  Just yesterday, Mike was moved out of the critical care unit and is now in a cardiac unit.  He has finally started eating and most all of his bodily functions have come back on line.  Now the doctors have to decide how to treat the heart.  There are three arteries that are restricted and at this point, we have not heard what the doctors plan on doing.  Today is a Bank Holiday so we probably won’t hear more until after we send this blog installment.  Please keep Elder Ohman and all of the missionaries in your prayers.

Trinadad Island Design in Claire's restaurant

One fun news bite is:  We have a volunteer that comes into the Self Reliance Centre and helps us every week.  She has been doing the volunteer work for a couple of years so she really knows what she is doing when helping clients who come in.  Claire’s dream has been to have her own Jamaican Café.  We have been involved in helping her get it ready and here are some pictures.
Clair's kitchen under construction

One of the Visitor Center sister missionaries is ready to be released.  Under the direction of the Mission President, we were assigned to arrange for her further opportunities for higher education.  (We have tried the D.R. Congo, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom and would you believe, she got accepted to LDS Business College.)  For some of you, we are repeating her story.

“Currently, I am a full-time missionary.  In my country (DR Congo), I completed the best university education I could.  I started to work at the only hospital in town.  After working for 6 months, I received so little payment I felt ashamed.  Since my baptism 4 years ago, I have always had the desire to serve a mission and soon I was called to England.  I am the only member of the Church in my family and I am the first person from my country to be called to England.  Nine months into my mission, I found out that my parents split up. As far as I know, since August 2014, none of my siblings have been living with either of my parents.  My situation is difficult as I have no home to go back to at the end of my mission.  I hope to build a bright future for myself so I can help support my (6) younger sisters.  I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for my mission.  I have learned how to love others and developed many Christ-like attributes which helps me to become a better person and overcome trials.  Thank you for this opportunity to go to a school of higher education.”

Elise Tshimanga
Sister Tshimanga needs a home from May to September.  She will be taking an advanced English course in downtown SLC and will be in class approx. 20 hours per week for eight weeks. We are looking for three families to help out.  We have one volunteer so far.  Our suggested breakdown (it’s flexible) could be:

   May 24—June 24              (She could be working part time)
   June 24—July 28               (She could be working part time)
   July 28—Sept 10               (She could be working part time)

She needs a bed, food, people to speak English with, and help getting to TRAX and/or Bus transportation.  In September she will begin LDS Business College and with the Baxter’s help will get student housing near the campus. Her long range goal is to get a nursing degree from BYU-I.  Please let us know if you might be able to help us with any of the above listed time commitments by May 12th

Sister Pagofile & Sister Tshimanga between You Know Who

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