Sunday, November 29, 2015

Happy Days

Patrick, Sister Neeley, Wei Wei
Happy Thanksgiving! We have many blessings to be thankful for, especially our wonderful family and friends and the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Today Sister Neeley played organ and violin for the baptism of Ma Wei Wei. He and his friend came into the Visitors’ Centre on General Conference weekend. It was quiet in the foyer since most of the people were watching the broadcast of General Conference in English in the chapel and in Chinese downstairs.

Wei Wei had just come to London to begin his PhD work in Immunology and Virology at Imperial College across the street. He came in and asked about this church. Sister Neeley met him and showed him the paintings of the Savior and his apostles, Joseph Smith’s vision of Heavenly Father and Jesus, Peter, James and John restoring the priesthood to Joseph and Oliver Cowdery, and the Savior’s visit to the people of the Book of Mormon after his resurrection. Wei Wei said he had never heard of this church and just really liked everything he heard. Sister Neeley told him about General Conference and took him downstairs to find the Chinese speakers and meet the missionaries. There he met Sister Lung, from Hong Kong, and Sister Dabrowska from Poland who invited him to hear more. Seven weeks later, he bore his testimony at his baptism and thanked everyone for their kindness and help in starting him on this gospel journey.

Wei Wei was baptized by Patrick Barnhill, (baptized November 8) who helped to teach with the missionaries, and has been ordained a priest. It is thrilling to witness the miracle of conversion changing lives one by one! Wei Wei and Patrick both have great knowledge and faith to follow the Saviour and keep the commandments.

The 16 elders and sister missionaries from the area gave the “musical item” with Sister Griffeths at the piano and Sister Neeley playing violin, “I Know that my Saviour Loves Me.”
Maria's friend brings us a hug from Las Vegas
This is a joyful time. Linda first got teary when a friend of Maria’s came to give us a hug from Maria:) That was a tender moment. Today we had some more tender mercies. As Linda walked from Relief Society to Sunday School, she was able to meet Moj, a lovely woman who had come in to the VC yesterday thinking the meetings were on Saturday. Elder Neeley visited with her for some time and invited her to visit the Sunday meeting and talk with the elders. Then later on, another tender mercy where the Lord was watching over Hugo, a young hearing impaired boy who wandered off out of his first visit to Primary and on to Exhibition Road. The sister missionaries, Sister Ashby and Sister Neeley were all able to assist in bringing him safely back.
Dishing up turkey sandwitches on Thanksgiving at the VC
Thanksgiving lunch with the VC staff
Sister Lung decorating the VC Christmas tree

Sister Wai helps with the tree
Sister Moody adds some bobbles
Sister Hannig adds a little Christmas cheer
Sister Apiyo gets decorated
Sister Dabrowska matches the Nativity tablecloth

Aleksander is one of our favorite VC visitors
Saturday night we had a multicultural night at the Hyde Park Chapel to celebrate the diversity of the London Stake where there are more than 110 nationalities represented in the membership. Members from around the world brought displays, food, music, and dance for a wonderful stake activity.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Most Correct Book

We love teaching others about the Book of Mormon here in London. Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. The Book of Mormon, Another Witness of Jesus Christ, is our most powerful tool to help us do this.
We always carry a copy of the Book of Mormon as we greet guests
We love these quotes from October General Conference about the Book of Mormon:

"The simple message is that God is our loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is His Son. The gospel is restored in these latter days through living prophets, and the evidence is the Book of Mormon."  - Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer

"Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! It’s the key to spiritual survival and avoiding deception. Without it, we are spiritually lost." 
 - Elder Kevin W. Pearson

Prince of Wales theater where the Book of Mormon musical is playing
The musical "The Book of Mormon" is playing here in London and is heavily advertised. We see advertisements on buses, bus stops, and tube stations. They seem to be everywhere. Rather than keeping people away, this musical is creating even more interest in finding out the truth about what the Book of Mormon really is.
It is fun to see "I Love Mormon" on the buses
Not infrequently people come into the Vistors' Centre having seen the musical and wanting to find out the truth about the book. Even more often people come in and have never heard of the Book of Mormon. They are excited to receive a copy and read it, especially when English is their second language and they can get a copy in their native tongue.
The Book of Mormon is available in 40 different languages at the VC
In our supply closet we keep a record of how many Book of Mormons we give out so we can keep the closet stocked. In just the first 15 days of November it appears that 75 books were given out in 14 different languages!

If you read anything from this post, read the following statement:

"If you are struggling, confused, or spiritually lost, I urge you to do the one thing I know will get you back on track. Begin again to prayerfully study the Book of Mormon and live its teachings every day, every day, every day! I testify of the profound power in the Book of Mormon that will change your life and strengthen your resolve to follow Christ. The Holy Ghost will change your heart and help you see “things as they really are.” He will show you what you need to do next." 
 - Elder Kevin W. Pearson

We are so grateful for the power of the Book of Mormon and for the impact it has had in our own lives. We are thankful to be able to daily testify of its truthfulness and to see the positive influence on people who will read it and ask God themselves if it is true. To the sincere and earnest, He will answer that the book really is true. This is the promise of the Book of Mormon.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Count your many Blessings... them one by one.

Having the opportunity to attend the London Temple again!

Autumn view of the London Temple
Watching Lydia’s violin recital while Elizabeth filmed from the front row with her mom’s phone. Getting a look Zac and Simon’s trucks and Timothy's happy smiles. Facetime with Jess and Cedar and seeing pictures of Nick preparing for the Baja 1000. Facetime with Mia and Rich and Parker and Hazel.
J.Paul, Alessandra, Linda, and Pat after an impromptu dinner
8 year-old Mozart lived near Pimlico Road for a year or so
Lunch with J. Paul and Alessandra and her parents, Hugh and Suzy, at The Orange Public House on Pimlico road. The successful rescue mission of Matthew and Stacie to fix “tetoncam” in Driggs, Idaho. Seeing their updates. Skyping with Mother and Daddy and facetime with Betty and Jimmie. Google hangouts with the Dan and all the Hyde Park, Utah Neeleys. Calls and texts from all the family and dear friends. Instagram and facebook pictures of loved ones.

Tower Bridge in fall
Air Tram over the Thames
Grand Gallery at the Wallace Collection
Linda at the Natural History Museum ice-skating rink
Carousel next to the ice-skating rink
Stacks of dates at Harrods
Visiting Tower of London, Wallace Collection, Oxford Street, Emirates Air Sky ride and O2 center.

Seeing the Rafael “Cartoon” tapestry sketches at the Victoria & Albert Museum, a favorite is of Jesus giving charge to the apostles to “Feed my sheep.” Tasting a pistachio filled date and getting sandwiches at Harrod’s food court. Watching the Christmas decorations go up, including the Ice Rink and Carousel at the Museum of Natural History.

Seeing Patrick confirmed a member of the church today. Playing the pipe organ for Sacrament meeting. Accompanying the primary children for their program next Sunday. Meeting lovely, diverse people who come into the Visitors’ Centre and ask questions. Inviting people to pray, read the Book of Mormon, come to church, and learn more. Teaching three children to play piano and a group of women to lead the music.

VC Sister Missionaries with their matching winter attire
Working our shifts with the faithful, fun and unique sisters. Learning from the Cardalls and Ashbys and the other lovely senior couples in the mission.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Gate is Baptism

Note in Sister Neeley’s planner:

Sunday, 18 October 2015
End of shift---
Patrick came in - wants to be baptized! Loves everything about church. Reading Book of Mormon from Marriott Hotel. Chatting on line with sisters :) Awesome!

From Linda's journal same day:
Stake conference…so inspiring! Great shift— member tours. Patrick Barnhill came in —wants to be baptized. Has been studying the Book of Mormon, loves modern revelation, everything makes sense! I just welcomed him to the Visitors’ Centre and asked “What brings you here today?”

Sister Neeley and Patrick
 Now it is 8 November 2015, Linda played piano and accompanied the Hyde Park Zone elders and sisters singing “Come Unto Christ” at Patrick’s baptism! It is a joyful time, a spiritual feast. His father and sister were there to support him and learn more about his new religion.

During the program, he shared his testimony and his journey. He had been searching for several years with questions about the nature of God and why isn’t there revelation any more. He came across Joseph Smith and felt empathy as he was young and searching as well. The more he read and researched, the more he knew that Joseph was indeed a prophet. Last October, Patrick’s mother saw a Book of Mormon in a Marriott Hotel. A note inside said "take if you like". She took it and gave it to Patrick to read.

As he read, he says he knew that Joseph was a prophet and that this was a true book of scripture. He started chatting online with some sister missionaries on He had moved to London to begin school. The online sisters encouraged him to find the church and talk with someone. He came to the Visitors’ Centre… Sister Neeley gave him a tour which was like no other she has given yet:) He had studied so much and was very prepared. Sisters Lung and Dabrowska taught him the lessons and the Brittania YSA Ward reached out in love and friendship.

Next Sunday, he will be confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We are basking in the joy of this wonderful experience and know that for Patrick it is just the beginning. May we all have joy in the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and strive to follow Him!
Sister Lung, Bee Erickson, Patrick Barnhill, and Sister Dabrowska

Patrick with his sister and father

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Shipshape and Bristol Fashion

Lynmouth harbor at low tide
The high tidal range of the western coast of England (43 ft. at Bristol and 2nd highest in the world) is evident on this image from Lynmouth harbor just south of Bristol. Elder Cook talked about the extra strain that is put on ships as the tide goes up and down so much and compared it to life in the world today...

" is not easy, nor was it meant to be. It is a time of testing and trial. Like the old ships in Bristol Harbor, there will be times when the tide goes out and it seems as if everything in this world keeping us afloat disappears. We may hit the bottom and even be tipped over on our sides. Amid such trials, I promise you that living and maintaining temple-worthy lives will hold together all that really matters. The sweet blessings of peace, happiness, and joy, along with the blessings of eternal life and celestial glory with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, will be realized."
-Elder Quinton Cook Oct. 2015
Lynmouth harbor south of Bristol on the Devon coast at low tide
I hope we will remember the great blessing of being spiritually prepared by living the commandments and following the living Prophet.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Note to grandchildren: try these soon, don’t wait until you are 60 :-)

We are experiencing new taste sensations in London! J. Paul brought over some figs and papaya for us to enjoy. Delicious! He and Alessandra invited us to try ice cream at Udderlicious, that is next on our to do list:)

A Memorable Visitor

Sister Burton and her husband greet a member after conference
Sister Linda K. Burton, General President of the Relief Society, visited our stake conference October 17 and 18. She was so gracious and kind. She just radiated love for all, especially the sisters. She gave lots of hugs and smiles to so many. Sister Kerr and Sister Griffeths showed her around the VC and she taught them about prophets and modern day revelation.
Sister Burton talks with Sister Cardall and some of the VC sisters
Sisters Griffith and Kerr give Sister Burton a tour of the chapel
Sister Burton poses with Sisters Apiyo and Hannig
As President of the Relief Society, the largest women’s organization in the world, she has stewardship for over 7 million women in the church. She spoke about the Sabbath Day and making it a delight. She bore a fervent testimony of living prophets on the earth today. Her husband shared a few brief remarks and told of Sister Burton’s call from the prophet to serve in this important calling. She and Sister Oscarson were continuing their travels to other places in Europe. We are very grateful for their humble, yet powerful examples of Christ-like love and service.
Brother and Sister Burton, President Phillips, and Elder Kearon
Pat was asked to take official pictures for Public Affairs to use in Church publications. This was a fun assignment for him.
Sister Burton answers questions in the leadership meeting
Sister Burton and Elder Kearon answer questions
Elder Kearon greets a member while Sister Kearon looks on
Sister Burton speaks at the Sunday conference session
Sister Burton greets Sister Baxter a self-reliance senior missionary