Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy people on the Tube

Today we didn't ride the tube to Lea Valley Ward - we had Stake Conference at Hyde Park. The Chapel, Cultural Hall and Stage were packed with people. A new Stake President was sustained and it was a very special meeting. Two General Authorities of the Seventy were with us. Elder Lopez from Spain and Elder Kopischke from Germany. We loved their talks - they were inspiring. We sang in the choir, a beautiful song about the Savior.

Before the meeting started, a lady came up to us and said that she always looks for missionaries so she can shake their hands because 22 years ago two missionaries knocked on her door with a message about the Savior that changed her life. She told us that she loves the Gospel and doesn't know where she would be without it. These are beautiful people that surround us.

Where we spend our days.

It has been a busy and good week at the London Family History Centre. Monday morning a gentleman came up to me and said he was so excited because he had put a note on a file on one of his ancestors and he heard from a cousin that he had never met. He didn't care that I couldn't help with his search, but he sure loved that I would listen to his family story. He said, "this has made my week and it is only Monday." People that love family history, really love it and spend hours in their search.

Another patron learned from a microfilm of notes that her ancestor had been murdered in Ireland. Many interesting and very nice people come in every day.
We are going to the National Archives tomorrow. It is our p-day and our leader Sharon Hintze thought this would be a good way for us to enjoy it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Caitlin!!!

One of the hard things about being in London is missing important birthdays like Caitlin's 18th.

We love you, Caitlin.

This has been a good week at the FHC! Lots of patrons .... about 1,200+ per month and most are non-members. We have perhaps the 'best-there-is' set of Caribbean records (and Jamaica in particular) as well Irish records that people from Dublin come to see. We have 25 computers, 25 microfilm readers and 3 microfiche viewrs. Patrons are from all over. We've had visitors from the US, Australia, New Zealand, India, and... lots of course from England, which is our specialty. I'm still trying to learn something new every day.

One of our missionaries, Elder Snow had to go to the emergency room and is still in the hospital and may need surgery. We are all praying for his recovery. They are scheduled to go home in December and we hope he will be able to return to work for the last few weeks of their mission.

We spoke in church today and I think it went OK. We also were given church callings. I am going to teach Gospel Doctrine. I know - don't faint. I almost did. Jim will be working with the Young Men which is the job he loves. They combine all the YM because there are so few. We travel to church in one hour and 15 minutes on two different tube lines and 1 bus ride. At every tube stop the 'voice' says "mind the gap!" (see picture) Our ward is the Lea Valley Ward, and I know we will learn to love these people. They have been very warm in their welcome to us.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

London - an amazing place

We are enjoying our work at the London Family History Center. The people we serve with are saints and we are learning to love them. They are our family away from home and the family we love and miss. We have family home evening together twice a month and we are planning some fun things for the holidays so we don't get too home sick. I don't think it will work entirely, but it will help.
Many of our patrons come every week and don't need help except for me to get them a film or scan them a copy. When someone asks me something I don't know (every day) I find someone to help them and try to learn.
We are exploring London every chance we get and finding some amazing places to enjoy. Yesterday, we went to the Guildhall, a fascinating and beautiful place which houses a library and an art museum. It was built over an old Roman coliseum and some of the old walls are preserved. We saw women dressed in Elizabethian dress of the 1570's, Walked the London Bridge, Tower Bridge, visited the financial district where 350,000 people work, and only 5,000 live. Places like Lloyds of London, bank of London etc. etc. View the link of pictures if you would like.
We went to our new ward today after traveling 1 hour and 15 minutes by bus, tube and walking. We will have to work hard to learn the names of these faithful saints from many parts of the world. There are very few white members and we are looking forward to getting to know and love them.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

London - Three weeks in

Hi to everyone! It took awhile to arrange for an internet connection, so we've been 'off the grid' in matrix speak. We are enjoying London! We live in a small flat that is about 1.5 mi. from the Family History Centre. We ride the busses (a lot) and also walk (a lot - average about 4-5 miles per day). We are both family-history-challenged , but the senior missionaries that we work with are truly Saints and helping us to contribute more each day. The London Family History Centre is a very popular place and we meet new people [member and non-member] every day - both in the centre and travelling to and fro on the bus. London is truly a melting pot of cultures. I've met a lady at our bus stop (twice now) from India whose religion is Zoroastriansm. We've not had much time, as yet, to explore London, but the phone booth picture at the left was on a P-day, otherwise I'm dressed in one of my 'many' outfits - dark suit and a wide choice of ties. The weather has been beautiful - mostly sunny and cool. We finally had a day or two of rain when an umbrella became essential. This is a brief start for news from London. We'll add more later. Elder Watts