Sunday last week was a day for me to catch up on my personal Book of Mormon studies. I have gone to Highland South Stake’s Women’s Gospel Studies for two years and knew that I would keep up with the class since they always record it for those who can’t attend. I did really well for a while keeping up but I got about 4 weeks behind a while ago and haven’t taken the time to get caught back up. But this week the new year started and I knew I had to finish up the Book of Mormon course so I didn’t get behind in this year’s classes. I plan on going back and attending just as soon as I get home and I want to be right where I’m supposed to be. This year they are studying Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel which will be a great year. So anyway, I read and listened to three weeks worth of classes on Sunday which was actually a great way to spend my Sunday.
We still had missionaries moving around Sunday and Monday and I actually did go into the office twice on Sunday to fix a couple ticket issues but other than that it was a wonderful day. And actually if I’m helping the missionaries I am totally happy so that last sentence wasn’t worded they way I really feel.
Monday Sister Gifford and I took some time away from the office to drive to Galashiels (again) to check out the one and only flat she could find, with the hopes that it would work for the girls. We were so delighted when we saw the cute little house on the corner with a park right across the street and only a block or two away from shopping. And when we entered the street level flat we were overcome with the realization that this was the place for our new sisters heading to Galashiels. I don’t need to remind you of the crazy few trips and hard work we just experienced the last month closing up an apartment in Galashiels so to find this perfect place was a blessing. Sister Gifford and I could agree that we would have been thrilled to live there as well.
Tuesday night the senior missionaries got together at the mission home for Taco Soup and good company. The Pohlman’s go home on Monday so this was our last dinner with them. They actually came out on their mission 4 weeks after I got here so it is weird to be sending them off but the plan always was for them to go home after 17 months so here they are. That’s the nice thing for Senior missionaries. The church needs you and whatever it takes to get you here, they will work around it.
Wednesday we took the sisters out to dinner. Sister Irving and Sister Curtis, our Sister Training Leader Trainers also had guests because of all the Ireland moves so we were so happy to have Sister Westbroek and Sister Curtis join us. We love it when our dinners can extend to other missionaries we don’t usually get to treat. Poor Sister Gifford had had five new flats to find in Scotland with the Ireland moves and amazingly she has done it in less than two weeks. These girls are going back to Galashiels (I say back because we just closed that area a transfer ago, and are now reopening it) but Galashiels is new to them. Sister Clark (from Sacramento area) just got here from the Preston MTC and Sister Westbroek (from Syracuse area) is her trainer. Two very sweet girls.
Friday was a baptism in Galashiels for Vivian, who we had taken to witness a baptism a few weeks ago. This was also her birthday so that made it extra special for her. We were asked to attend her baptism which we were happy to do. The Galashiels flat was ready for the girls as well so we hauled their luggage to the flat and they met us there with Sister Irving and Sister Curtis and we got their luggage in. Being a new place there was, of course, no food and so we decided to take them shopping before the baptism. And as well as that, the kitchen was bare. No plates, pots, utensils etc. We also make sure they have a broom, mop, vacuum, microwave, toaster, garbage bins, etc. So we split the shopping list in two and ran through ASDA as quickly as we could getting everything for their new place. I didn’t think there was anyway we were going to get it all in our little car with four people as well but we made it. We weren’t able to keep the rule of companions within sight and sound of each other. There was no seeing Sister Westbroek who was completely covered with things. But we had a blast. Something those girls will never forget.
The baptism for Vivian was very sweet. Her parent’s attended and brought her flowers so it was so nice to witness their acceptance of her decision. She will be loved and taken care of in Galashiels.
After the baptism Sister Gifford and I headed off to England. We are finally on our way to the temple after putting it off for a week and then wondering all week if we would actually be able to pull it off this weekend. I knew if we didn’t do it this weekend we wouldn’t have the time. We decided to drive as far as the Lake District on Friday night to get us a little closer to the temple. I’m glad we did because Saturday turned out to be a very wet and rainy day. It was not easy to drive when you can barely see the road signs. The roads we drove on Friday night were narrow and windy. I really wish we could have seen where we were, I bet it was beautiful but we were safe and we had a great place to stay in Windmere right on a lake. It was a beautiful sight to wake up to. We walked outside Saturday morning and just took in the beauty around us for about ten minutes and then ate a quick breakfast and headed to Chorley.
The drive to Chorley was beautiful and a few times I took a little detour to follow a sign, never knowing what we were going to see. The scenery was beautiful and I had to pull over a couple times to take pictures. This really neat house was a delight to stumble on. I would have loved to learn the story behind this area but of course we weren’t able to spend the time to figure out anything.Maybe my next mission will have to be in England so I can do more exploring over here.
We got to the temple in a torrential rain storm and rain in quickly. What a wonderful feeling to walk into the house of the Lord. Escaping the real world is so easy when you enter the calming atmosphere of the temple. We really enjoyed the session and I realized how sweet it is to listen to the words of the endowment. For a few years I heard those words every week as I worked in the Mt Timpanogos Temple, but then to be here and go almost 18 months without attending a session at the temple, I realized just how much I love to be there and listen to those words.
After the temple we headed back out to the car. It was still raining quite hard so we didn’t take many pictures. But here is the one I took.
Next stop was the River Ribble. This is where the first England baptisms took place. Somewhere along the banks of the River is a small plaque that tells of this but with the rain we decided not to hike down to the river. We think we are in about the right place here and this picture will just have to do.
As we headed off towards Alnwick Castle it was clear to me that we were not going to get their in time to actually go in the castle so I just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. We followed a sign for Kendal Castle that was only a mile away but when we got there it was just to a trail head to hike to the castle and we couldn’t do that since we were only given permission to go to the temple and then to follow a certain road home so we could see Alnwick Castle. So we didn’t get to see the first castle but it’s funny how sometimes we are rewarded for our obedience. We got back in the car and just a few minutes later came across this place. Langley Castle. So I’m counting it, even though we just snapped a picture from the driveway.
We could have stopped about every 3 to 5 minutes to take another picture, the scenery was so beautiful but we didn’t. The rain did put a bit of a damper on my excitement to see what we could – legally in England. But here is one last picture that I took on the way to Alnwick.
We finally made it to Alnwick and the castle did not disappoint. It was magnificent. I would have loved to have explored it but the picture was going to have to do. It’s what I wanted and I got it. Now I really have a desire to explore the castles of England.
By the time we got done at Alnwick Castle we were starving. So we went into town at Alnwick and tried to find somewhere to eat dinner. We walked up and down a couple streets going into little cafe’s and nicer restaurants but we were turned away at every place. They were all full. No room for two little missionaries. So we filled up our car with gas and bought a bag of crisps and headed back to our beloved Scotland. I actually felt like I had returned home when I saw the Welcome to Scotland sign.
As we drove into familiar territory we took the road that leads to Dalkeith and stopped at our favorite restaurant there and had an amazing meal. Probably because it was 7:30 PM at this point and we hadn’t really eaten since about 7:00 AM we thought we had died and gone to heaven. But the food is always good there and we felt great.
Today we enjoyed The Singing Children of Africa for 30 minutes before church. They are a darling group of children from Africa who come to Scotland every year and sing. Their little voices singing praises of God was the perfect ending to our week. I didn’t take a picture since we were in the chapel but here is one I found online of the same group.
Well, I am actually going to head into the office for a few hours to get things ready for the Pohlman’s to leave tomorrow and to get ready for a Mission Tour that is happening soon with the President and a member of the Area Presidency, Elder De Feo.
Happy Birthday Everett. I hope you love that bunny. I am so glad I got to see you open it and your reaction was priceless.
Have a great week everyone!!