Sunday, December 27, 2015

Celebrating Christmas London Style

It has been a wonderful December serving at the Hyde Park Visitors' Centre. We have had the privilege of being involved in the successful Christmas initiative "A Savior is Born" inviting guests to come unto Christ through a series of short videos, a live nativity outside of the chapel each evening, and a social media celebration. In addition, we have enjoyed wonderful ward parties, a stake Christmas Devotional and a Visitors' Centre Family Home Evening. It has been a wonderful way to remember the birth, life, and mission of Jesus Christ and share the Gospel message with so many people.

On Christmas Eve we enjoyed a luncheon with other senior couples at President and Sister Steven's flat followed by a wonderful concert at Royal Albert Hall, "Carols by Candlelight." The evening was spent at the Cardall's flat with the sister missionaries.

President Stevens sings at the luncheon

Visitors' Centre Family Home Evening

Each year the Visitor's Centre missionaries host a Family Home Evening for the England London Stake. This year we were asked to be in charge. It was so fun to get ready with the help of the willing and able Sister missionaries and Senior couples and to see stake members and visitors enjoy an evening of family togetherness.

Individuals and families pose for pictures in a manger scene.
Elder and Sister Baxter, Sister Burke, and Mike Vincent all helped the Visitors' Centre staff pull-off the event.

We had a late pizza lunch before the FHE
Testing the Christmas Lights
In addition to setting up for FHE, Linda, Elder Cardall, and the Ashbys cleaned the stage.


Pin the star over the stable

Sunday, December 20, 2015


We love meeting and interacting so many interesting people here in London and at the Hyde Park Chapel Visitors' Centre. Brother and Sister Krebs visited the VC recently. Formerly Elder Krebs and Sister Xu, they met while serving in the England London Mission. Sister Xu was one of the first VC missionaries after the remodel in 2012.
Brother and Sister Krebs pose with Sister Karjalainen and Sister Griffeth
We recently enjoyed a nice dinner at our flat with Sisters Lung and Wai. They brought two friends, Joon, who was baptized last April and Yu Xian, who will be baptized next week.
Yu Xian Yi, Sister Lung, Joon, and Sister Wai
Aleksander is ready for Christmas in his Santa hat
Sebastian in his Christmas jumper

Special Witnesses

 Late one afternoon when we came "on shift" we noticed that the "Special Witnesses" display was not working. The displays are controlled from SLC. Some of them can be rebooted locally but since this one was added later, the computer is built into the display so to get it working Pat needed to call the tech support line in Utah. After the display rebooted we were excited to see that it had been updated with the 3 new apostles, Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund! All of the Sisters "on shift" and many of the Elders who came in this evening watched the new info on the display.
Sisters and Elders watch the updated display
We are so grateful to be led by apostles and prophets. We testify each and every day to the reality and blessing of modern revelation through living prophets. We know that safety and peace come as we incorporate their teachings into our lives.
Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund now appear on our VC display
We love testifying of the reality of modern revelation through modern prophets

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas At Hyde Park Chapel

We have loved being here at the Hyde Park Chapel Visitors' Centre during the Christmas Season. We are so happy to be involved with the world-wide Church Christmas initiative, the decorations, the special activities and especially the live Nativity which is new this year.
The entrance railings are decorated with garland, lights, and baubles
The statue of Christ reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas
Visitors post their thoughts about the Savior's birth
The Chapel is a bright and colorful place on Exhibition Road
Close-up of the Nativity setup in the lobby

This night we had a real baby in the live Nativity
The Mission choir performs at the Christmas Devotional
Mark Oshida plays at the devotional accompanied by Linda
President Stevens (former MoTab member) sings at the Devotional
Mission choir performs

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Celebrating the Season

The Hyde Park Chapel Visitors' Centre is decorated for this special time of year. We had fun decorating the tree and putting lights and garland along the railings. There are fifty poinsettias scattered around the base of the Christus statue and through the VC. The big monitor which is viewed from the street has pictures from the new Church Christmas initiative titled "A Savior is Born". We show the new short cinemas (videos) in our theater. If you haven't seen both of the videos be sure to do so. They are beautifully done.
Front of the Hyde Park Chapel
 We are especially excited for the live Nativity outside the Hyde Park Chapel on Exhibition Road. We have people dressed as Mary and Joseph from 5 to 7 p.m. each night with missionaries out on the street talking to people as they go by and inviting them to come in a view the new videos.

The star over the manger has a story all it's own. It was prelit and when it arrived we discovered that the lights flashed in a very commercial way and they couldn't be turned to be on all the time. We had to cut off the old lights and string a new set to the star frame to get the look we wanted. It doesn't look quite this blue in real life.

Savannaha Stevenson who plays Glinda in the London performance of the musical Wicked is Mary in some of the Church Bible videos and is pictured on the poster next to the manger in the image above. She was a member of the Britannia Young Single Adult ward that meets here at the Hyde Park Chapel until she got married.
Sister Hannig is dressed as Mary and Elder Cook as Joseph
President Stevens has given permission for a Sister missionary and an Elder to portray Mary and Joseph while their companions are nearby on Exhibition Road greeting and talking to passerby's. Other shifts in the live Nativity are covered by members of the England London Stake. The costumes for the Nativity come from Salt Lake and are some of the ones used in the Church's productions of Bible videos. Those that have been in the Nativity have mentioned that it has been a very special privilege to be in these cloths and representing Mary and Joseph in this most important event.

Missionaries sing on the steps of the Hyde Park Chapel, Sister Ashby conducting
We are so grateful for this time of year when we can remember and celebrate the birth, life, and mission of our Savior, Jesus Christ! We feel privileged to be serving as missionaries, teaching the glorious message of the restored gospel to all who will listen.
Linda and Pat at Wicked
This week we had a chance to attend the London performance of Wicked starring Church member Savannah Stevenson as Glinda.

We are having an unusually mild winter in London. On the above screenshot from Pat's phone London was the warmest of any of the places our family lives including Las Vegas and San Mateo (granted we were mid-day and the other places were early morning).