Monday, December 8, 2014

The Players...

As we end the blog relating to our mission I wanted to post a few pictures of the "players"We developed fond relationships with some wonderful missionaries who were serving the Lord with all their might, mind, and strength.  We hope to maintain these friendships and the great memories of serving together.

 Elders Brown and Windhausen were the Zone Leaders in Belfast.  We had met Elder Windausen earlier in our mission as we did flat inspections.  He is from Germany and almost sounds like an German accent at all.  Both were wonderful young men.


Elders Rogers and Pienarr worked in the Edinburgh Ward.  Elder Rogers was from Austrailia and Elder Pienaar was from South Africa.  We introduced them to root beer floats and to our surprise, neither liked them.  They thought the root beer tasted like medicine.
 This was the Morningside District Missionaries in the Edinburgh Ward.  Elder Star was the District Leader and Elder Welsh was his companion.  Sisters Crawley and Hobbs added some beauty to the District.  Sister Hobbs is from England and Sister Crawley is from Gilbert, AZ

 Elders McKhann and Moser were Chinese speaking missionaires in Edinburgh.  Makin is one of their investigators.  Makin was baptized and we helped her find a part-time job to gain some work experience

Sister Hobbs learning to knit

Elders Moser and Norsford brought Shirley (Xiaoli HU) to dinner at our flat and after dinner we taught her to play Uno.

Sisters Firth and Caswell

Sisters Crawley and Jackson

Sisters Jackson & Crawley with Florina.  Flo is a special young woman who we love dearly.  We have had wonderful times with her helping her to find employment.

Sisters Hobbs and Adams celebrating Sister Hobbs birthday at our flat

Sister Hobbs 20th birthday dinner at our flat

Sisters Lowry & Cardon

Elder Oman and Brother Gibb from Falkirk

Elders Jackman & Leaver

 The Chinese Elders would ususally bring investigators to dinner with them.  Here is Elders McKhann and Norsford with Makin and Zining

Root Beer floats were a big hit with most of the missionaries.  We stocked up on A&W Root Beer when we visited Steve (our son) in England at Christmas.  Elders Star and Utley enjoyed the treat

Zining had never tasted root beer or had a root beer float.  It was a treat for Elders Wells and Shubin

Sister missionaries were wonderful to work with and brought a special spirit with them.  Sisters Birch and Clegg

The All Scotland Mission Conference with President Teixeira of the Europe Area Presidency

The All Ireland Mission Conference with President Teixeira of the Europe Area Presidency.

We didn't get a picture of many of the missionaries with whom we worked.   They are special young people who were dedicated to serving the Lord and testify of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

An end of an adventure, but now a new beginning...

So much has happened since I last posted on the blog.  I will add some additional items now to catch up on our activities for “the record” just in case anyone is still reading.  At least I will have a record for the ending of our mission activities.

The last weekend we were in Scotland we received permission to travel to England to visit with our son Steve and his family.  Steve is stationed at the US Air Force Base at Lakenheath, England, which is near Cambridge.  We went with his family to cheer on James, our grandson, as he participated in the high school cross-country meet.  This took place at a high school near London and there were three other schools participating.  It was fun to see James run and he managed to record a "personal best time" in this competition.

On the way home we stopped at the Audley End House and Gardens.  The house is an early 17th-century country house outside Saffron Walden, Essex, England.  It was renowned as one of the finest Jacobean houses in England.  Audley End is now one-third of its original size, but is still large, with much to enjoy in its architectural features and varied collections.

 These old homes are fun to tour and each gives a "window into the past" of what life might have been like.  As with many others of these home, we were unable to take pictures on the inside so these just show a wee bit of the gardens.

We returned to Edinburgh to meet the couple who would be replacing us – Elder & Sister Leavitt – and prepare for the trip home.  It is with mixed emotions that we worked through this week. 

 We took one last trip down to the heart of Edinburgh.  I have grown to love this city and its beauty.  Above is the St. Giles Cathedral.  It is a beautiful building and I love to go in and see its grandeur and the beautiful stained glass windows.  The Mission will be presenting another concert here at Christmas, performed by a group of young missionaries.  The acoustics in this building are quite something to hear...

Below is the house of John Knox, the Scottish reformer who played a major role in changing Scotland from a Catholic country to a Protestant country.  It is located along the "Royal Mile" which I love to walk to see the history and the interesting sites.

There was much to do the final few days to ensure our files were complete and everything was ready to turn over the work to the Leavitts.  We are anxious to return home to see friends and family but sad to leave Scotland and the many people whom we have grown to love.  This has been a wonderful experience and in many ways we don’t want it to end…but we know that there is “life after a mission” waiting for us in Arizona.

We left Edinburgh on Saturday, October 18th and flew to Washington DC.  We stayed with our son John and his family for the weekend.  It was great to see them.  On Monday we flew to Orange County and were met by some family and friends.  On Tuesday I stopped into the office of Rutan & Tucker to see many friends.  It was a great reunion.  That evening the Flemings hosted an open house to welcome us home and again we were able to get reacquainted with many friends.  Wednesday morning we went with Carolyn's brother and his wife down to the beach to eat breakfast.  I must admit, as I sat eating breakfast and looked out over this view, I wondered why I decided to leave California...

After breakfast we left California and headed to our new home in PebbleCreek in Goodyear, Arizona.  We were greeted by "welcome home" signs prepared by our grandchildren.  I then remember the main reason we moved - to be closer to family, especially some of our grandchildren.

 Thursday morning I woke up early as I was still adjusting to Arizona time.  I sat on our patio and watched the sun come up and a new day begin...

A new chapter of our life will now begin as we get settled into retirement.  So far, the time here has been very busy getting settled in and continuing to unbox items that have been stored in the garage from our move from California prior to our mission.  In many ways it feels we have now gone full circle to return to Arizona with a wonderful 18 months in Scotland and Ireland as part of the circle.

I really enjoy PebbleCreek and am excited to get involved with many of the activities offered in the community.  

This is the main entrance to our community...yes, it is a beautiful place to live.  It may not have the ocean, but it will be our home for now...

One of the things we had looked forward to in coming home was to participate in the Open House of the new Phoenix Temple.  This will be "our temple" now as is only about 30 minutes from our home.  We wish all our friends could have been here with us to enjoy the beauty of this building while it was open to the public.  One can go to the Church website and find pictures of the interior.   I will post a few pictures here.

 Temples are special buildings of worship to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They provide a special place for worship and a place to perform sacred ordinances...such as baptism for those who did not have the opportunity to be baptized while in this life.

 There is an unparalleled peace and beauty inside the walls of a temple

I invite all to listen to the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have a wonderful message to add to your current faith in God and is son Jesus Christ.  Let us add to the good that you have in your life.

Will there be additional posts to this blog?  Yes there will be!!  I am not sure what form it will take, but I intend to continue to post some activities as we begin our next phase of life.  We will be going back to California to give our report of our mission to our Ward.  We will be speaking in the Sacrament Meeting on November 23rd.  You are invited to attend.  The meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. and will be held in the LDS Church building near the corner of Los Alisos and Muirlands, in Mission Viejo.  We have also been asked to participate in a Stake Fireside that evening to talk about our mission experiences and hopefully motivate other seniors to consider serving a full-time mission.

This has been a wonderful journey and I am excited to see what life will now bring was we begin the "life of retirement".  Thanks to all who have read my blog...I hope you have enjoyed reading about our travels as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Until the next post...Cheers!!!


Monday, October 13, 2014

One last trip...

My heart is full as we prepare to board the plane Saturday to come home from our mission.  We arrive in Orange County on Monday the 20th and will then drive to our new home in Goodyear, AZ on Wednesday to start the next phase in life.  I am anxious to see what retirement life is all about.  

We have loved our assignment in the Scotland/Ireland Mission and have met so many wonderful people.  Our assignment has been to operate the Edinburgh Employment Resource Centre and assist people prepare for the job market and also train Church leaders.  We have felt the Lord’s blessings as we have taught the principle of self-reliance and helped a number of people find work.  The essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to reach out to serve one another.  We are grateful for the opportunity we have had to share our testimonies of the restored gospel and for the knowledge that there is a living prophet leading and guiding us today.

We have been fortunate to travel throughout both Scotland and Ireland and have seen some incredibly beautiful areas.  I love the words from the chorus of a favourite song – Hail Caledonia!
But give me the land of the heather and the kilt,
The mountain and the river,
For the blood leaps in my veins
When I hear the bagpipe's strains
Scotland, dear old Scotland forever!

We will always have special memories of our time in Scotland and Ireland and the people we have met.  I have enjoyed learning more of the Scottish history…and believe me, there is plenty of it.  

Last weekend we took our last trip to see the Scotland countryside.  We went to the village of Falkland and toured the Falkland Palace. 

 The Palace sits right on the main road into town unlike other palaces that are surrounded by gardens.  The gardens for this palace are in the back.

 The main street of Falkland

Falkland is a place where kings and queens paused and reflected on life.  It has been referred to as the “Balmoral Castle” of its time…the 15th and 16th century.  (Balmoral Castle today is the Scottish retreat for the Queen.  It is located in the highlands and the queen spends most of August at Balmoral and then attends the Balmoral gathering the first Saturday in September)  Falkland was a hunting retreat for many of the Kings of Scotland. 

Golf is not the only sport that was played in Scotland hundreds of years ago.  Mary Queen of Scots played tennis on the royal tennis court in the 16th century.

 This is the Royal tennis court, inside this structure.  See the court below

  This is the court.

After our visit to Falkland we went to St Andrews and then to Anstruther for fish & chips...the best fish & chips in all of Scotland.

The fishing village of Anstruther.