Week 20: We went to Preston, England

Another week! I’ve been busy in the office. The president along with the APs and STLTs (Assistants to the President and the Sister Trainer Leader Trainers) are working on a new project that will be presented to the missionary leaders such as Area Leaders and District Leaders so I’ve been doing the computer work for that.  We are creating some new pages for a binder as well as a new binder to put everything in.  Twice this week I was called back to the office later in the evening due to missionaries needing some extra attention.  I don’t mind running back to the office, in fact I love being there at night when it is quiet, working at my desk.  I can get a lot done in less time when it is just me there.

Monday I went with Sister Clark and Sister Coons to teach a man a lesson.  He wanted to see the church so we took him all around the church and then ended up in the family history library (which is literally a closet in the back of the Relief Society room that opens up to a desk with a couple computers. It fills the back wall of the Relief Society room. You sit out in the room and the desk is built along the back wall with some shelving above it.) We talked to him about where we come from. We stayed really basic due to his level of understanding but he was a nice man and we hope he comes to church today.  He doesn’t like crowds and feels uncomfortable going into places by himself so he may not get the courage to come but we will see.

Tuesday we went with the Winters into the city to try out a new restaurant that we heard about. It was called Cosmo and it was at the Odeon which is in a busy part of town near a really nice store that I’ve heard about.  We were a few blocks off of Prince’s street near the bus station.  These cute giraffe’s were outside the building we were going into.

I’ve been waiting for this week because we got permission from the Area Representative to let us go to the Preston Temple with our ward.  The temple is in England so it is out of our mission boundaries but the British Pageant was going on and the Cook’s that I met in the MTC from Chorley had told me to do what I could to see the pageant.  So we asked.  We were told as long as we were working with someone to fellowship them we could go.  So I talked to the bishop several weeks ago about this and he gave us a couple projects to work on concerning a few ladies in our ward.  The last month we have been doing everything we can to work with these ladies and the mission president agreed we should go to the temple.  The ward was going on a bus to the temple and then to see the pageant so we got to go with the ward.  We also had two ladies who were coming with us, one who can enter the temple and one who cannot but was excited and nervous to come with us.  She is a member and comes to church regularly but she has high anxiety and really hasn’t been many places even though she has lived here all her life. There were a few people going that were not going to go into the temple first so there were friends she could stay with while we went in the temple and i also sent her on an errand to the distribution center that is on the temple grounds.

I got asked to be proxy in a live sealing today. Gabriel is in our ward and is a very sweet man. It’s hard to tell how old he is.  But he is probably about my age. He was going to the temple today to be sealed to his wife. Getting to this point was so over-whelming for him. Our bishop has worked hard with him to help him be prepared to go to the temple for himself and now to be sealed to his wife. I was so honored to have that opportunity to spend my time in the temple with him and to experience this sacred ordinance with him. It was so touching to watch him and to see his understanding and his testimony. In preparation for the sealing we had another short ordinance to do and then we were able to sit in the celestial room for a few minutes and enjoy the beauty that is always found there.

The sealer was a sweet man who was so kind and spent some extra time with us talking to Gabriel about how he could now work to do the same thing for his parents and his grandparents.  The sealer recognized the need to be simple in his explanations and asked Gabriel if his parents were alive. Gabriel said no so the sealer gave him the booklet “My Family” and opened it and showed him how to put the information in it so he could bring it back to the temple and get his parents sealed. That got him excited until he thought he would have to go through all those interviews again. We assured him the interviews were just so he could come and be sealed to his own wife. He wouldn’t have any more interviews as long as he was keeping the covenants and commandments and he could come to the temple as often as he liked to work on his family names. I promised him I would help him with his booklet.

After the temple we headed over to the pageant. There is a really nice church that sits on the temple grounds and just past the church is a temporary structure that the pageant is held in so it was a simple walk over to the venue. There were security lines and people checking bags but because we had our missionary badges on they just had us walk through and we didn’t have to stand in line.  How nice was that? It had rained most of the way to the temple this morning and even though as we went to the pageant it was warm and sunny the skies were threatening rain again so it is good they set up a place to hold the pageant. 

The pageant was wonderful and touching. It told the story of the British Isles and the missionaries that came to find the people of these lands who were searching for the gospel.  The story centered around the Ashton family and the George Q. Cannon family. It was really well done and I enjoyed every minute of it.  The music was great, the actors were great (I kept thinking the accents were so good and then had to remind myself they weren’t acting – that was their own accent) and the spirit was strong.  While we were in queue to enter the building (we were first in line) a few of the actors were around.  One man started to go by us and he smiled and said hello.  I looked at his lanyard and saw his name was Brother Siswick.  We just got a missionary with that last name in our last group of missionaries so I told him that.  Turns out it is his son and his youngest son was in the core cast of the pageant as the youngest Ashton boy. So it was fun to have that little connection.  Also there are four main storytellers and one of them just received her call to Scotland Ireland last week.  She will be coming in December. I watched her open her call on Facebook last week and she was so excited to be coming to Scotland.  After watching the pageant and feeling the spirit of missionary work as the apostles were sent to preach in the British Isles and the Scottish thread that is the story as well as the Irish being represented too I can see why she would be excited to be coming here. She will be feeling a special connection to the work here.

The pageant ends with a final musical number and all the missionaries from the MTC who want to participate come over and join the cast on the stage and sing the final number. We have missionaries in the MTC right now so I have been commiting their names and faces to memory.  I was able to pick out several of them and was able to find a few of them afterwards and tell them we were anxiously awaiting their arrival in Scotland.  They were so amazed that we knew who they were and were so fun to talk to.

One thing that happened earlier in the day that I didn’t talk about yet was leaving our flat to go to the church to get on the bus.  It was pouring rain this morning as we ran out to our car.  We started the car up and backed out of our tight little parking spot and got to the gate and tried for close to five minutes to get the gate to open. Our little clicker thingy doesn’t do a very good job but this morning it was refusing to work. The rain was coming down so hard and we were now running behind schedule so we called the APs (at 7:30 in the morning) to see if they would come get us and take us to the church. Being the best guys they ran and were to our flat in less than five minutes to take us over to the church. They were in their exercise clothes but they saved us. I brought the clicker with us and when we stopped at a roadside area with fast food and mini grocery stores I went on the hunt for a new battery but it is a weird little squatty fat battery and no one had it. Once we got back to our church we walked home and I thought to myself it is 9:30 on a Saturday night, I need to try and get the car out of our parking lot so we can get to church tomorrow.  We have a dinner at the mission home tomorrow that we have things we are taking for it and then we are staying for a special fireside with a couple senior missionary couples and it will be late again tomorrow night when we need to go home so it would be nice to have our car. So even though Sister Gifford was half way ready for bed two minutes after we walked in our door I told her I felt like I had to get the car out of the parking lot.  And if I could get it out I wanted to run to the store and try to find a battery and we needed cream for our dessert as well.  I was very willing to go alone but she wanted to come with so she got dressed again and out we went.  This time we managed to get the gate open and as we were driving out the STLTs called.  They were supposed to be picking up a sister missionary at the bus stop and they couldn’t find her.  It is dark now and I was worried about this sweet sister who had been traveling all day by herself and all her luggage from Belfast to here. So I sent the STLTs to one bus place and I headed to another. We found her, sitting alone on a dark but busy street.  She was so relieved to see us.  I hopped out and got all her luggage loaded in my trunk, called the STLTs and told them we would take her to our flat and meet them there.  Then because I can’t have any adventure without some crazy thing I literally stopped a tram because I had pulled out on his track trying to figure out how to get back out on a crazy street filled with people, trams, buses and signs pointing every direction.  Oh well, I’m getting used to people shaking their fists at me!

Well now it is Sunday morning and I need to get ready for church.  It’s a big busy day as usual and then tomorrow we are going to the Tattoo.  I am very excited about that.  It is also my mom’s birthday tomorrow so Happy Birthday Mom.  I love you and miss you.  But I know you are happy that I am here doing something good for myself and others. Have a wonderful birthday.


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