Monday, July 18, 2016

Open Door Policy

The print of the painting by Carl Bloch is framed in the the doors of the Visitors' Centre as we walk in each day. We see the statue of Jesus from a distance, walking through the parking lot at Imperial College. We hope that each person who comes here will know that we believe in Jesus Christ and that He loves each one.
Summertime brings even more visitors to Exhibition Road. We have met people from Poland, Bulgaria, France, Turkey, China, and Germany in the last couple of days. Monday, Elder Neeley visited with a young woman from China who wanted to learn all about Jesus. She has been searching for a church and wanted to know everything about our faith. Others come in with heavy hearts seeking hope. Some ask if they can pray in the chapel. Visitors often say how peaceful it feels. Members often come in and say it feels like home. Sometimes people just want the free copy of the Book of Mormon and that's all. We have people who ask directions, who need water, who are homeless, who need to use the toilet. Some who were married here or baptised here or met their spouse here. Others just want to know about "the Mormons" because they see it on the buses.

On July 3, the woman whose parents and grandmother were killed on this location when it was bombed in 1944 during World War II came with her daughter and two grandchildren to bring flowers and remember her loved ones.

A Precious New Arrival

What a joy to welcome Jack James Cannon to the world on 1 July 2016! His due date was 11 July. We talked to Maria on Thursday, 30 June and she showed us their refrigerator and pantry all stocked with food as well as the freezer with meals ready to go. She was hoping that the baby would come that weekend or the next week when Rich was off work for a week. We woke up Friday morning to see a text that she was at the hospital in labor. While we were on shift that morning we received the happy news: He’s here! What joy to know that he arrived safely and is healthy and happy and thriving. We are so very grateful for this wonderful blessing in our family!

Saturday Singing on Exhibition Road

Preparing the balloons for the sisters to give out during our Saturday singing on Exhibition Road. Most Saturdays, just before shift change, at 3 p.m., everyone gathers on the steps to sing. The last few weeks have been sunny and pleasant with lots of people going by. Often, they look up at the name of the church, smile and walk on. One time, a family went by in a horse drawn carriage. We were singing an English song from the Children’s Songbook, “All things Bright and Beautiful.” The beautifully dressed woman in the carriage leaned towards us singing the words along with us. Brilliant!
It is so nice to have free wifi in the building. It can be very helpful. We have dear friends who come to use the wifi. After shifts in the evening, the sisters are often busily typing away, connecting with their contacts and making appointments before they head home to their flats.

Celebrating with the Sisters

This year, we celebrated Linda's birthday with ice cream from our favorite ice cream truck. The Osborne’s of London began in 1909 and now John (who has been working in the business for 48 years) and Elaine and their son take turns each day serving the passers by on Exhibition Road. We all went in shifts, across the street to enjoy our ice cream.
Last July, Linda turned 60 one week after our arrival in London. This was especially convenient because she was eligible for the 60+ Oyster card with London Transport. We both have been able to use the card all year with the initial fee of 20 pounds, we are able to ride anywhere in zones 1 through 6 for free. We wish this were available to the young missionaries, transportation is a big cost for each of them.
Sister Mullen made the yummy cake
Birthday greetings from our precious family and friends, cards, emails, texts, facetime and skype all combined to make it a special time. We had dinner and ice cream with J. Paul and Alessandra the Wednesday before. Birthday singing from President and Sister Stevens as well as a jolly song from the Gales and Williams in the office added lots of cheer. We feel so much love and support from our dear Visitors’ Centre sisters and the Hulets and Mullens.
A special visitor on Sunday, 17 July to the Hyde Park Chapel was Sister Neill F. Marriott of the General Young Women’s Presidency. She shared her love and testimony in our Sacrament meeting and in an inspiring fireside that night. She and Sister Stevens sat next to each other in General Conference when Sister Stevens served in the General Primary.