Week 60: Busy week, Beautiful Drummond Castle Gardens

Sunday was Mother’s Day in the US but not here.  We went to church as usual and I knew this year that there would be no mention of Mother’s Day.  That threw me off last year.  However we had a wonderful sacrament meeting.  Hamish, who I’ve talked about some spoke for his first time ever.  He was baptized in January and I have worked with him a bit before and after his baptism.  He is a great guy.  He was a history teacher in Dubai for awhile and came back to Scotland and found the gospel.  He had always gone to church as a child and his grandfather was a preacher in the Protestant Church.  His talk was very touching.  He was well prepared and what impressed me was he referred to other talks that have been given in our sacrament meetings and who gave the talks.  Not talks from this day but from weeks ago.  It made me realize how important sacrament meeting talks are.  But he ended his talk saying he has always heard the words in church, “We believe in…” or “We teach of…” but until he came to our church he had never heard members of the congregation or even the preacher get up and use the words – “I know…”.  Now he can say I know as well.  His testimony is real and it is so rewarding when you see new converts really grasp hold and understand what they have found.

Then we heard from a girl who is putting her papers in to go on a mission.  This is the third girl since I have been here who is leaving from here to go on a mission.  It’s exciting.

Then last we heard from Stefano who has been in our ward about a year now.  He is from Sicily and served a mission in Spain I think.  He is a gymnast and works in a gym here as well as going to school I believe.  He has spoken a few times in the ward and he is such a great speaker.  I always learn from him.  He knows how to express what he is thinking and he speaks in ways that I can just visualize what he is talking about.  And his Italian accent just adds to the talk.  I enjoy listening to him.

After church Sister Gifford and I had dinner and then we drove up to a lake on Arthur’s Seat and just sat and watched the ducks and swans on a lake for about an hour.  As we were driving home I noticed all the pink blossoms were beginning to fall off as the wind was picking up so I pulled over to take a quick picture. We have so many pink trees I love to look at them.


On Tuesday we had zone conference here in Edinburgh.  Our mission has three zone conferences each transfer.  One in Dublin for All-Ireland; one in Aberdeen for Aberdeen and Dundee zones; and one here for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley zones.  Elder Spendlove brought us each a picture from the Paisley Zone for Mother’s Day.  I got him to send me the file so I could add it here.  Here is Elder Kilgour, Elder Keim, Elder Heggie, Elder Mueller, Elder Sanders, Elder Bang, Elder McLeish, Sister Wayne, Elder Showgren, Elder Myers, Elder DeMille, Sister Tucker, Elder Spendlove, Sister Naef, Sister Cheatham, Sister Gibson, Sister Edholm, Sister Killian, Sister Kearns and Elder Fehoko wishing us a Happy Mother’s Day with the scripture found in Alma 56:47-48.

Wednesday morning I met with Frank Downie, one of our new members, to help him find a name to take to the temple this Saturday so he can do his baptism work, which we did find!  Frank is quite the character.  He is Scottish and loves to sing and play his ukulele.  He wanted to know if he could dictate his life story to me and I could type it up for him.  I laughed.  I only understand about one in five words that comes out of his mouth.  That would be an impossible feat I think.  But I’m glad to know Frank and I love to watch him pass the sacrament every Sunday.  He is doing so well with his new life.

John from Shanghai
Robert from India

Wednesday night was three baptisms in our ward.  It was nice to go to a baptism.  We haven’t had any for a few weeks with school getting out.  Besides the two pictured here we had one more Chinese baptism.  It was a guy our zone leaders met on the street.  They gave him a few lessons and he came to church but his finals were happening the next week and then he was going back to China.  They knew they wouldn’t be able to get him baptised so they met with him one more time to just give him some advice on how to follow the spirit and to give encouragement.  But as they got done speaking with him he said – but what about my baptism?  So in spite of having several finals he made it to church again the next Sunday and they were able to finish up his lessons and his interview.  So now we just have to hope that once he is back in China (this week) that he will be able to find members and join a branch.  We have two return missionaries there right now so if we can get him introduced to one of them that will help.  The problem is they are not allowed to email or chat about religion.  If they are found doing that the message is erased quickly and so it’s not a good idea to even try.  We also want to abide by governments rules so we don’t encourage anything like that.

Thursday I met with Sister Allred and Sister Osmond as we did another follow-up lesson with Macauley.  He was baptized last winter and has been actively coming to church every Sunday.  We have had him play his classical guitar a few times in church and he has been very well received by ward members.  He informed us yesterday that this past Sunday was his last time coming to church.  That was a total surprise to me but the sisters already knew this was coming.  We had a warm, wonderful lesson with him about listening for answers to prayers and left him expressing our love for him.  It’s so sad to see people turn away when they have finally found their way back to something they left when they came to Earth.  He has continued to attend another church every Sunday as well, which I didn’t know and he attends a Bible study during the week with some other friends.  He just doesn’t see the need for more scripture, even though he will agree if the Savior had something else to say we would all want to hear what it was.  All we can do is continue to love him and pray for him.  After getting back to the office, Elder Allen was looking for something to do while his companions were busy being District

Leaders so I got a few things accomplished through him and Sister Allred and Sister Osmond hung out for a while which is always a good thing.

Thursday evening we took Elder Gedlaman (from Calgary) and Elder Butler (from Sandy) to dinner.  They were so much fun to catch up with.  Very talkative and they kept us very entertained with stories.


  Oh, and I keep forgetting to let you all know that I am now the proud holder of a UK driver’s license.  It’s good for ten years so when I decide to go on a mission again that will be a benefit for coming back to Europe.  

Friday I once again went with the Sister missionaries to teach a lesson.  This time it was Sister Osmond and Sister Lopez who was here with Sister Barnhurst for exchanges.  The lesson went well and afterwards Sister Osmond and Sister Lopez were trying to decide what to do about dinner.  The other half of them (Sister Allred and Sister Barnhurst) had a dinner appointment.  I overheard them and thought – why not.  So Sister Gifford and I took them to dinner at Jashans.  We hadn’t been there in a while and it was so good.  That rounded out Friday very nicely and we even went to bed pretty early.

Saturday the ward was heading to the temple and the Miller’s were going with them so we decided to head back up to Bruar’s Falls to do some shopping.  So we headed up there and dug through their cashmere sweater sale racks.  They were pretty low so we didn’t get what we were hoping for.  Afterwards we were ready for lunch but we didn’t want to eat there again.  It wasn’t that great the last time.  It was fine but we weren’t really in the mood so we explored on our GPS to see what was around.  We found a castle that was 10 miles away that said it had a cafe so we plugged that into the system and off we went. Well, it turns out it was 10 miles away by “crow” because 25 miles later we finally pulled off the dusty narrow country road we had been driving on for 40 minutes and found Castle Menzie.  We went into the main door and into the shop where I bought a deck of cards (I always buy cards if they have the castle on them) and asked about their cafe.  It’s only open June, July and August.  She gave us a few ideas of where to find somewhere to eat and after snapping a few pictures we headed off down the road.  Next stop was a hotel that had a restaurant in it.  We parked and walked over to it.  We walked into the hotel and around to where the restaurant was and there was a man standing at a bar.  He was alone so I asked if they were open.  He said it depended on what we wanted.  I said, Lunch!  Well, no they weren’t open because he

didn’t have a chef at the moment.  He had bags of crisps!!  So we went back to the car and drove a little farther.  This time we came to a great little town and stopped at Habitat Cafe and had a great lunch.  One of the best burger’s I’ve had here in Scotland.  Actually probably the best.  And the family sitting behind us had a chocolate lab which was so fun to watch.  Dogs are always welcome in places to eat.  The waitress brings a dog bowl with water for the dog when they first sit down and then the dogs usually just lay down and go to sleep.

Then we got back on the road with Drummond Castle Gardens on our schedule next.  We again drove about 25 miles down a small country road that didn’t usually fit two cars wide so we had to stop often to let a car pass or we would pass another car who pulled over for us.  Drummond Castle Gardens didn’t disappoint.  It was a perfect place to go on the day of the Royal Wedding happening just south of us.But first I had to throw this picture in.  As we were driving this was the type of scenery we were driving through.  At this point I had to pull over and snap a quick picture.  You can’t tell but there are six pheasants sitting in that field and swans out on that lake.  You could hear cows mooing in the background but it was so peaceful and calm.  I could have just sat right down there and stayed.  Not all of Scotland is rugged.  Some of it is lush and beautiful.

Drummond Castle’s gardens were beautiful.  It reminded me of Thanksgiving Point but of course, Thanksgiving Point is so much more than this.  But it was as big and pretty as we have seen here in Scotland.  It was nice to walk around.

Well, that sums up my week.  We are getting busier and busier as we make way for a new mission president to take over.  It’s crazy to think we only have just over a month longer with President Donaldson.  He has been so great to work with and I have enjoyed every minute with him and Sister Donaldson.

I hope everyone has a great week.  School is probably wrapping up soon.  Enjoy your summer and do lots of fun things.  Enjoy the sun!!  We do when we see it here.

I love you all.

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