I guess I’ll just start where I left off last week. In the middle of transfers. This was a big transfer. It was stake conference this Sunday so we had a two-hour meeting Saturday night and then again on Sunday morning. The meeting was actually really good and I enjoyed all the talks but as soon as it was over it was straight to the mission home to get back to work.
It takes a lot of hours and work to make a transfer happen but I love every minute of it and Sister Gifford and I are always rewarded a wonderful Sunday dinner with the departing missionaries for our efforts. This is a special group. I can say I know every single one of these missionaries and some I have become very close to. Elder Gibb of course who I think is totally top notch. I didn’t get a picture alone with him this weekend. But here he is with Elder Wright, Elder Donovan and Elder Grant.
We had 13 going home this time and of those two were going to different countries other than the US. One went to Brazil and the other to Tahiti. The five heading into Salt Lake City ended up getting stuck in Paris for a night due to a connection not being met on the fault of the airline. I’ll have to find out how their adventure in Paris went.
Of course as I start to check the missionaries in for their flights with a big group like this and everyone heading different directions there are always a few issues and due to the volume of suitcases and missionaries it was decided that I would go to the airport with them Monday morning to help drive luggage, people and pay for bags that didn’t get covered on tickets and to make sure everything goes smoothly. I don’t mind doing that at all. In fact, I really like it and I was prepared enough with the moves that were happening on Monday that I was able to go and not be worried about something else not working out while I was away from my desk.
Tuesday we had 9 new missionaries come in. And then on Wednesday we had Leadership Meeting with 8 or 9 new District Leaders. That’s a big change in District Leaders. They are all going to be great and they had a great day of meetings. Thursday was MLC which is the day all the zone leaders and the Sister Training Leaders come in. This was a busy week and it is mostly a blur to me now. I know I slept here and there during the nights and never left my desk much during the days. But they are fulfilling days and I enjoy them. I made numerous trips to the train station as well.
Wednesday was another baptism. Two more great people entering the waters of baptism. Sister Gifford and I had to miss it this time due to a few things. Khrys came to us as a 7th Day Adventist and has been attending church for a while now. She is great.
The other is Jaymus who I didn’t know but I met him Friday when he came to the Ward Talent Show and participated with a beautiful musical number on the piano. (I’ll add a picture as soon as I get it.)
Friday was our long anticipated Ward Talent Show. I have been practicing with Heather Spence for several months after church for her debut violin solo. We played the first two lines and the last two lines of Onward Christian Soldiers. She did very well and enjoyed herself and the thunderous applause she got from the audience. But the highlight of the night was Sister Wahlquist playing a jig on her violin and Elder Crowley and Elder Wright dancing the Highland Fling!! I am hoping to get a better picture – I pulled this one off of Facebook. I was busy filming the whole thing so I don’t have a picture.
Saturday Sister Gifford and I had company on our P-Day. We were so excited when the Miller’s asked to join us for an adventure. So we planned out a great day of travel and off we went. The sky was blue and the air a bit chilly but we had a good time. First stop was The Falkirk Wheel.
The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift. In the pre-railway era the Central Belt of Scotland had two main canals. The Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal. Both canals were a means for shipping and they were linked together by a staircase of 11 locks which took nearly a day to transit. These were dismantled in 1933 and the two canals were no longer connected. One being a lower canal and moving in one direction and the other being above and going in a perpendicular direction. Later it was wished that the two canals could be connected again but by this time there were things in the way. So the wheel was envisioned and built. There is nothing else like this anywhere in the world. It really is a wonder to watch. A boat comes into the enclosure area and sails onto the lift. Then the wheel turns and puts the boat up at the elevated position and it sails off the wheel and onto the other canal.
Then we headed over to the Antonine Wall. This is a wall constructed by the Romans after conquering what is now southern Scotland, in about AD 142. The wall is not made of rock but instead used physical features of the land and built up using the earth itself. The wall is about 37 miles long but we just stopped at one spot near the Falkirk Wheel called Rough Castle. In this area you can see the deep trenches and defining rows and trails that make up the wall. It was a beautiful place to walk around and we enjoyed ourselves. I’m including an actual picture of a wall because I love the rock walls – this was at this spot but it is not “the wall”. There is no rock wall on this particular Roman Wall. The middle picture below is the only one from the wall side.
I did see a short poem written on a sign at this spot.
Roman, remember that you shall rule the nations by your authority, for this is to be your skill, to make peace the custom, to spare the conquered and to wage war until the haughty are brought low. – Roman poet Virgil
Next we headed back to Culross to pick up our photos that we had bought last week. The Miller’s hadn’t been to Culross and I discovered there was an abbey there. When we told the Miller’s where we would like to go today they were excited because they actually have ancestors from this part of Scotland and one of them was married in Culross. The abbey was a really neat place. I was feeling adventurous though and was climbing all over everything like I was a kid. On a steep embankment that led to no where so why I thought I needed to go up it – I don’t know, I slipped in the slimy mud beneath my feet and went down hard flat on my face. I was covered in mud on my hands, hoodie and jeans. Oh well, I wasn’t hurt at all but now that I’m sitting here a few hours later I am feeling the effects of hitting the ground. My ribs are sore, my wrist is sore and my shoulder is sore. That’s what I get I guess. Here are some pictures of the abbey.
Next stop was lunch. We had Indian food at a place in Dunfermline. It was very good. Then we headed over to Dunfermline Abbey. Here we found some graves with the names of the ancestors the Miller’s were looking for. That was rewarding. Now they will have to go and figure out if any of these are actually relatives. This abbey is where the body of King Robert the Bruce is buried. As I’ve said before in my blog his heart is buried at Melrose Abbey but his body is here somewhere. If you look carefully at the top of this abbey you can see where it says KING on one side and ROBERT on the other. As you circle the building you see THE and BRUCE on the other two sides.
After the abbey we walked down into the Pittencrieff Gardens which were purchased by Andrew Carnegie who was born and raised in Dunfermline. He always wanted to play in the gardens as a boy but was not allowed. When he made his money he bought the entire garden/park area and gave it to the people of Dunfermline.
The whole day was lovely and it didn’t rain at all. We made it home safely and refreshed for another week.
I hope things are well at home. I miss you and love you all. Have a great week.