Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Our senior mission is so very enjoyable and fulfilling.  We always have lots of things to do, and we love them all.  Whether it be visiting or helping members, supporting our local leaders, helping the younger missionaries, or participating in the community, there is never really a "slow day."  We have become very attached to the members of the ward, and welcome every opportunity to be with them in one capacity or another.

The South Coast of England off Dorset

In our spare time we have been able to do some Familysearch indexing as well as reviewing our own family tree.  We learned that Benjamin Frederick and Harriet Hollis Blake, Elder Adams' great-great grandparents, joined the church in the Salisbury area, later emigrating to the United States and settling in St. George.  Benjamin was a furniture maker and replicated his business in St. George, building a successful factory that made much needed furniture for the early southern Utah settlers. The Salisbury plain is not far away; its most famous landmark is Stonehenge.  We took an overnight trip to visit the little villages where they lived, and also to tour the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral (repository of an original Magna Carta), Old Sarum (one of the oldest populated sites in England, and site of an older Cathedral used prior to construction of Salisbury Cathedral), Avebury (city built in an ancient stone circle, not far  from Stonehenge), and other nearby sites such as Durdle Door (a natural bridge on the south coast).  They would have been familiar with all these areas. Despite the impressive magnificence of the cathedral, a successful business, and an all around beautiful place to live, they forsook it all because of their testimonies of the Gospel and went to Zion.  We are so indebted to these faithful progenitors.

A few views of Salisbury

Old Sarum fort in the middle with 2 dry moats around it

Inside Salisbury Cathedral

The Magna Carta is 799 years old.  How exciting to view the original document. (Sister Adams could actually read some of the Latin after her many years of Old English and Latin extraction and indexing.)

The younger missionaries meet weekly in District meetings and every month or 6 weeks in Zone Meetings.  Senior missionaries enjoy preparing and serving a Pancake Breakfast for them all, then attending the meetings and presentations.  The missionaries love to use role play and demonstration to show how to approach and teach people.  They know they need to be obedient and dedicated in order to find people and make opportunities to teach them the gospel.

General Conference was a special time here.  Although many members now watch conference in their homes over the internet, the meetings are still shown in the chapels.  Many members come, and bring a lunch to eat between sessions.  They love gathering together at the Stake Centre and renewing their friendships.  Our leaders are always encouraging the members to bring friends to the meetings, where they are very likely to have a very significant spiritual experience.

We have two of our young people making application for full time missionary work.  It has been sometime since our ward has had a missionary, and now two at once!  One sister has been a long time member of the ward.  She was weighing her choice to serve a mission, but after a particularly moving musical spiritual fireside by Paul Cardall at Hyde Park Chapel, she knew she would go.  Another young man moved in with his family after a year away at school.  He has been a member less than one year, but his testimony is so strong, he wants to serve the Lord.  We have been helping them both with their applications.

Our beautiful little BMW bit the dust!  (We actually killed it!)  We felt it died at just the 'right' moment, however, as we had been taking departing sister missionaries to the Mission home and bringing new ones back earlier in the day, and it had been running "like a top."  We also had been out earlier in the evening for a home teaching/visiting teaching visit.  The coolant light had been coming on and off, but the temperature never changed, and the coolant level was always up.  We thought we would take it in for a check later, to see if the sensor was faulty.  Then suddenly, just a few hundred yards from home, in very busy London traffic, late in the evening, it heated up and shut down the engine.  We managed to pull it to the center of the street.  It was a miracle that there was a little island where we could sit without having to move the car.  The narrow roads in London rarely have spots like this, but that is exactly where we broke down.  We sat and talked for about 2 1/2 hours, calling and calling to get a tow truck. Buses and cars whizzed by, and even the police came, but they said they couldn't call tow trucks due to possible allegations of taking bribes.  We finally did what we should have done earlier and prayed.  Finally a fellow named Brush came with a very old tow truck, and got our car to a nearby garage for the night.  The next day, after being informed of the extensive damage to the engine, we decided to just sell the car for salvage rather than have a very expensive repair, and sold the salvaged car to Brush.  When he was pulling out of the auto mechanic shop, our beautiful car fell off his tow bar, hit a pole and was wrecked.  He hadn't paid us yet, but he did anyway, and restored our faith in mankind.  We were blessed to find another car within just a few days, and are back on the road.  Elder Adams passed the very difficult English driving test earlier with flying colors, so we knew we needed to have something to drive!

Our beautiful BMW wrecked

Our new BMW.  We love this one too

We took the train just outside London to Staines to attend the tri-zone conference.  Our mission is so large, there are 9 zones.  Logistics require that three tri-zone meetings are held periodically, rather than an "all mission" conference.  This time we had Elder Adler from Germany, an area authority Seventy preside.  He and his wife, as well as our mission President and his wife gave amazing talks to inspire the missionaries.  Afterward Elder Adler wanted to shake hands with every person in the meeting.  We came down first; Sister Adams told him we were from St. George, and he told us he had visited there and loved it.  It seemed to un-cap his trove of stories about St. George and the early settlers there.  We were fascinated, but then realized there was quite a line behind us, so we thought we had better cut the conversation short.

Having a car helps us to be able to take members to the Temple from time to time.  We recently took a trip with two members, only to find the route we selected was completely blocked in the direction we wanted.  We took the diversion route, and thought we were really making progress, when we realized we had been looped right back to where we started.  Even though we were just 15 minutes from the temple, it took an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get there.  We missed the session we had planned to attend with the ward, but were able to see some new countryside and get to know the members better.  We attended a later session.

In front of Westminster Abbey with Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye behind us

A selfie in the Westminster Abbey Cloisters (no photography inside)

One of the many side benefits of serving here in central London is the opportunity to be so close to so many cultural and historical places.  London is full of outstanding architecture, churches, castles, museums, and parks.  There are many green spaces, and despite the millions of people that live here and throng the streets, we see squirrels, foxes, and birds.  Each month, senior missionaries gather for an outing and have lunch together.  This month we enjoyed a visit to Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was opened in 1090 as the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, and became a Cathedral in the mid 1500’s.  It was built mainly in the Gothic architectural style. It is a fully functioning Cathedral of the Church of England, located in Westminster, London.  Henry the VIII broke ties with the Catholics and destroyed many of the abbeys in England.  This one was spared, and eventually through later construction became a significant cathedral in the Church of England.  Many famous people are buried there, and it has been a site for a number of royal weddings, funerals and burials.

Who is guarding the Palace?

We always thrill when someone makes the choice to enter the waters of baptism.  This month a young man in a part-member family was taught and was baptised.  It was a very spiritual time.  He and his mother brought some of his non-member friends to see the ordinance, and it was clear these children were moved by what they felt.  One wanted to be baptized too!  They were very rapt as they heard brief talks on Baptism and the Holy Ghost.  We gave them copies of the Book of Mormon and asked them to share them with their parents.

Another thrill was to obtain a high security pass and tour the Houses of Parliament, and view from the galleries the House of Commons and the House of Lords in session

Each year church members in London join the greater community in participating in the Poppy Appeal, similar to the American Legion Poppies in the U.S.  People donate to workers on the street and display a little paper poppy ontheir lapels as an emblem of their donation.  We enjoyed a stint on the street, participating in this worthy endeavor which benefits disabled veterans, helps with gravesite maintenance, and many other good uses.  We spoke with several people who thanked us for spending our time helping out.

A big thank-you to the Vets

The greatest benefit of a mission is the 24 hour contact we have with each other.  What a great experience we have had as missionary companions, sharing and treasuring each moment and strengthening our love for each other.  The Lord has truly blessed us beyond any expectations we may have had.  We feel His loving arms around us as we are busily engaged in His Latter-Day work.

So very, very grateful.

Lots of love, Elder and Sister Adams