Thursday, February 18, 2016

Our Final British Installment

Our Final British Installment

Here it is a new year and all of the celebrations have been wrapped up and it should be quiet for a while.  Let’s take a look.  New Year’s Day was a lot of fun. We got to watch the Cotton Bowl (thank you ESPN) and set up for a farewell party for the Cardalls (our Visitor Center Directors).  We billed the event as a Senior Couple Social Activity – however we pulled a little sneaky one.  We wanted to get to know everyone better so we handed out a slip of paper requesting each couple to give a spiritual experience.  On all of the papers, except the one given to the Cardall’s, we asked for a reminder of a spiritual memory relating to the Cardall’s.  On the one slip given to the Cardall’s it only stated “share a mission moment”.   It was a great send off for this amazing Visitor Center Director couple. 

Royal Albert Hall / Now with Ice
Nutcracker on Ice
 Sister Baxter and I decided to go to see the Nutcracker.  It was not ballet, but it was the Nutcracker story on Ice.  This was a large and special presentation in the Royal Albert Hall, converted to a movie theatre and ice rink.  It was Spectacular!

Things were really quiet for the first few days of January.  We decided to trek out to Greenwich for the tour that we missed the first time we were there.  It was a very pleasant trip.  We were able to take the train to Canary Warf and then we walked through the tunnel under the Thames River. 
Portraying John Willis Owner of Cutty Sark

We spent a few hours exploring the Cutty Sark, a memorialized sailing ship noted for its speed records in delivering tea from China and British goods around the globe.  We walked briefly through the Maritime Museum and then climbed to the Observatory at the top of the Greenwich peninsula.  At the Observatory there were a number of interesting things to do and see such as the Time Meridian Line. We have a picture of Afton standing in two different time zones. 

Afton, Stetched across The Prime Meridian
Greenwich Opservator

On the top of the observatory, there is a ball that each day is raised to the top of the tower at 12:55 pm and precisely at 1:00pm it is dropped.  This was a means of ships sailing the Thames River into and out of London to get a precise setting of time for their shipping navigation. We toured the clock rooms, the instrument rooms, and saw some of the very early clocks and timepieces designed for use at sea with special ways designed into them to overcome the ships movements and magnetic effects of the earth.  Early telescopes were used with the goal of setting better ways to measure time and location.

One afternoon, our London Hyde Park Stake SR Specialist dropped in to our Model Resource Centre.  He never just drops in, but on Jan 22nd, Daniil did.  Turns out that working with lasers and very cutting edge technology is not keeping him busy enough so he was applying for a weekend job at the National Science Museum across from the HP Centre.  He had had one interview and was waiting for the result and possibly for a second interview the same day.  It was good to have him drop in, but we have found these things never happen just by chance.  As Daniil was there visiting with us, three new clients came and they all needed help.  They were looking for jobs and support in preparing their C.V.’s (equivalent to a resume’).  The Lord always knows when we need help and he sends it just in time to keep the work moving forward.  We were each able to help one of the three and give them direction on finding employment.

During January, we were able too visit one of London's unique wonders. This is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – Hindu Temple.  It is properly known as the Neasden Temple.
Neasden (Hindu) Temple
In just 2½ years, 5,000 tons of Italian marble and the finest Brazilian limestone were hand-carved and then shipped to London to assemble this Hindu Temple.  It is all stacked together like Legos to fit perfectly (no mortar) and it was assembled on site in London.  It is a regular place of worship for Hindu followers and we were allowed to visit the interior and the shrines.  (No pictures allowed inside).  The intricate carved arch ways and the formation of the shrines and walls was really very amazing and beautiful. 

We had another powerful event in January.  We had a most amazing couple that came to our Self-Reliance Centre in April–June of 2015.  Alan Carter and his wife Rosalind, traveled from Croydon and offered their British experience and expertise to our clients in the SR Center.

Alan & Rosalind Carter
In July Alan was having severe back pain and was diagnosed with lung cancer, probably caused by his years as an engineer and messing with asbestos insulation.  In any case, Alan was a great teacher and he loved fishing.  On one occasion he even gave me a fly-fishing lesson in the cultural hall.  We never got our actual fishing trip that we had planned.  During his time in the hospital, he kept up his cheerful spirit teasing the nurses and talking about eternal families and the gospel. On one occasion in his very clean hospital room, he took a magic marker and drew a picture of a mouse hole with a mouse peeking out and had his wife put it down on the baseboard of his room.  It caused quite a commotion.  On another occasion he created life-like spiders and put them on the "Call Button" the nurses would hit to clear the call when I patient summonded them. Then he would summon a nurse and watch her face as she tried to clear the call light. But most of all, he would give Church literature to all of his doctors and he made real friends with all of the nurses learning about their families and children.  On Christmas Day, Alan was called home and a funeral was held on Jan 26th.  He was a true saint and follower of Jesus Christ. He will be greatly missed.

As we were out of London for the funeral, we also visited the Crawley Stake SR Specialist.  Jules invited us to dinner and for the first time, we had a local speciality ‘Toads in a Hole’.  This was a unique dinner with two sausages cooked inside of a Yorkshire pudding.  She also served Trifle which was beautiful and delicious. 
Toad In A Hole + Dinner
 Finally, we must describe one of our days last week in the Self Reliance Center.  Feb 12 was a particularly Crazy Day.  We have had a few calm days so we were overdue for a hum-dinger. 
  • ·        Because it had been calm, I agreed to leave the Centre to help Cezary.  We had worked with him and he was now employed, but the Home Office (British Government) wanted him to report in.  He was summoned to be “detained” and this, as you might well imagine, caused he and I great anxiety.  We had no idea what was happening.  So, I agreed to travel with him to Croydon to the Home Office. 
  • ·        As I was preparing for the day’s work (including the trip to Croydon), a Greek client came in. No English, just Greek speaking.  I spent about an hour with him trying to help him prepare a CV.  My time was up and I had to leave to help Cezary so I turned him over to Sister Baxter. 
  • ·        Then a lady from Spain came in needing a CV – right, no English at all. 
  • ·        We have a sweet lady that comes in unexpectedly from time to time and she dropped in to meet with four deaf people that she interprets for.  She needed assistance in building CV’s for these four deaf people.
  • ·        Peter, unemployed and looking for work, came in needing computer help for his job search.
  • ·        Brian, a recent Korean convert, came in to have Afton help him practice English. 
  • ·        While I was still on my travels, the missionaries brought in a new investigator.  He had no CV, no job, had spent the last 12 years in prison, and was now turning his life around and needed assistance.
  • ·        Finally, two ladies – one from Iran and one from Spain, both well-educated but without jobs, came in for help.    
Fridays are the day we only have the Centre open from Noon until 4:30pm and most of this happened while I was off with Cezary traveling to and from Croydon.  Afton is a miracle worker and she was still breathing and standing when I returned to lend a hand.  By 8:00pm we had given service to all and they were on their way.  We went home, and dropped on the couch.  

Missionary service is great work.  It is hard, demanding, and challenging.  It is rewarding and brings joy as you see people getting help and assistance that moves them forward.  You work with the best people, missionaries – juniors and seniors.  The many tender mercies help build testimonies and enhance the great joy that comes from service.  May you all get the opportunity to serve in your own particular way as you progress.

Our last suggestion for some personal study comes from My Foundation, Chapter 11 & 12.  We sincerely hope that you have been reading and practicing the principles we have shared from MY FOUNDATION, PRINCIPLES, SKILLS, HABITS (SRS.LDS.ORG. Manuals and videos). This is a manual that will be coming to a lesson near you in the the near future.  Grab it now and grow from the simple beautiful lessons taught.  In this installment we share with you the importance of “learning”, The Glory of God is Intelligence, and from lesson 12, Doing What Matters Most.  Use the following videos in your own study and in your Family Home Evenings.

We love you all and hope to see you on Sunday, March 27th.  Our Pinehurst Ward meets at 9:00 am.

         Elder Steven and Sister Afton Baxter

We have been collecting what we thought were interesting names of Pubs:
               The Walrus
               Old Red Lion
               The Black Horse
               The Albert
               The Bears Head
               The Falcon         
               Jacks Palace
               Duke of Cambridge
               The Draft House
               The Beaufort House
               The Cadogan Arms
               The Cave of Plunder
               The Lexington
               The Three Johns
               The Three Compasses
               The York
               The Bull
               The Hen & Chicken
               The Hare & Hounds
               Slim Jims
               The Goat & Owl
               The Royal Swan
               The Brown Cow
               The Golden Swan
               The Golden Lion
               The Temperance
               Spotted Horse
               Young’s Dog & Fox
               Young’s Rose & Crown   
               The Alexandre
               Surrey Arms
               Gloucester Arms
               The Famous Cock
     Just a few of the varied and interesting names.