Monday, June 16, 2014

What A Great Week!

Well, we finally did it!   We took the three-day trip down south to find out what an old mission flat looks like....45 years later.    With the help of our children at home doing some digging through old envelopes, Elder Meese had compiled a list of his 'old digs', and we headed down the road.

Three days of beautiful weather - blue skies, temperate...and a good classical radio station that worked all the way!   Can't ask much more.   Oh, and we took a few 'snacks' just in case.

Actually, this was our breakfast one of the days, as we wanted to get on the road early.   But the rest of the time we ate really, really.

So did we find his former mission flats?   Yes!   Although...he found that many years in between can make the memory a bit fuzzy. But I think he was still glad to see how things looked.   He was also bold enough to knock at a couple of doors, where a lady answered each time.

Ironically enough, the flat in Eton is now owned (and completely remodelled quite poshly) by a couple trying to start an Anglican congregation there.   Right now they have meetings in their beautiful living room.

The flat in Crawley is owned by a single lady who is a Jehovah's Witness!   What are chances??   We visited at her door about 20 minutes, then Elder Meese offered her a card...which she declined.   But she did say it was very pleasant talking with someone else who is religious.   How sad that we seem to be a vanishing breed.   

We also visited Elder Meese's old chapel in Crawley, where we were lucky enough to find some Elders doing computer work.   So we got to go in and look around.

Let me just say, being in this chapel was another evidence to me that all units in England are not alike!   This was mammoth compared to our little 'phase one' chapel in Preston.   It even has a Family History Center with six computers and two microfiche readers.

Well, in between flats, we also saw some great sights!   Any guesses as to where this young man was headed?   True....Eton College.   It was quite surreal to see all the students walking between classes in their cutaway tuxes or black robes.   Unbelievable that this is everyday attire in the classroom.   

Eaton was a beautiful city.   As was Stratford-On-Avon, where we stopped over to see a play at Royal Shakespeare Theatre!   We watched a really fabulous production of Henry IV, Part I.   An historical play - sounds like a sleeper, I know, but we stayed right with the plot, and they had a brilliant Falstaff that added just enough comedy to it.   

We wondered if listening to these accents for sixteen months has made even Shakespeare more understandable!   Hmmmm.   

Oh, and we found that his grave is just three minutes from the theatre, inside this old chapel. Serendipity!

His tomb is right behind the barrier on the left of the photo above.   And here is the reprint of the inscription on the marker.    After going down to Cedar City all these years for the Festival, I can't believe we were actually in front of Mr. Shakespeare's grave!   

Well, we had several more adventures, but I'll just show you one other highlight of the trip:   the London Temple. 

A selfie with the tall metal spire in the background.   It's the only temple I've ever seen with that green patina'd spire. We stayed in the temple accommodations and were lucky enough to do three sessions while we were there. It's really quite beautiful. 

Well, the trip couldn't have been any better...unless it had been longer!   But...we came back to one of the best Stake Conferences we've attended.   Our General Authority was Elder Reina (center), from Spain.   And he was such a dynamic speaker and carried such a spirit with him!   Here are some of our YSA with he and Pres. Parkin.   

And the other highlight of the conference?   "We present the name of Sitikon Charoenkajonkul to be ordained to the office of an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood." Siti was ordained an Elder!!   

What a great event.   Okay, here's a side note that makes you glad your husband is living worthily.   When they gathered in a room after conference for the ordination, they asked Siti if he had decided who he'd like to ordain him.   "I think I would like Elder Meese."   He then went forward and sat in the chair, giving Elder Meese no time to contemplate what he would say.   But we love Siti, and I knew the right words would be given to my companion, as they always seem to be. We were just so glad to be part of Siti's big day.   

Well, that's a pretty sketchy outline of a very full week, but it will give an idea of the happenings!   We're just glad to be on this mission and grateful for the blessing of sharing it together.   

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