Friday, January 3, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Sisters Allred and Gorniak gave us these advent calendars.

Our Christmas Picture taken outside of the Church.

YSA Christmas dinner at Harris.  Don, Beth, Becky, Marion and Mike.

Christmas dinner at Harris'.  Oliver, Diva, Montana and Naomi.

Sister Gorniak, Julie and Sister Allred at Julie's Baptism.

Julie's Baptism December 7, 2013.

Bishop Pemberton baptized Julie.

Ward Christmas Party Church Cultural Hall.

Ward Christmas party buffet.

Miki the Clown at Ward Christmas Party.

Sister Sill and Sister Pemberton provided entertainment.

Sunset as viewed from our balcony.

YSA fireside refreshments.

YSA fireside.

Play "the Sleepy Shepherd" at Wingham grammar school.  Alfred was the Sleepy Shepherd.

Our Christmas Shopping to Costco.  Dartford Crossing, Essex.

Last Institute before Christmas break.  Left to right, Eliza, Becky, Sister Allred, Sister Gorniak, Samantha, Montana.
Back row Diva and Oliver.

Sister Sill Christmas Cookies.

Santa's Shop Closed to  public viewing. Private meeting only.

Outlet Mall Ashford, Kent.

Nativity presented by the Primary during Sunday School.

Christine Thappa 2 years old.

Presents under our Christmas Tree.

Our Book Case.

Ironing Shirts in our Hallway.

Love the Christmas Cards from home and Ward Members.

Clothes Dryer.

Nativity Scene Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury Cathedral.

Stour River close to flooding.  Boats could easily go under the bridge last summer.

Several Trees have blown down due to gale force winds.

More down trees.

Flooding of Stour River.

Stour River close to our flat.

Holly tree in Canterbury.

Elder Histov from Bulgaria with George from Dover who was Baptized by
Elder Smith from Canada one year ago.  A reunion at our Zone Conference.

Relief Society Christmas Party.

Our District singing at the Mission Christmas Party at Hyde Park.

Ashford District singing Feliz Navidad at Mission Christmas Party.

Senior Couples playing the First Noel with bells with President Jordan.
Johnson's on the left from Boise Idaho, Lovell's from Sacramento California,
Garner's from Provo Utah.

White Elephant exchange at Mission Christmas Party.

Singing Call to Serve to Sister and Elder Allred who go home January 4, 2014.

View from Bus 10 of Oxford Street London.

Regents Street London.

Hamley's Toy Store London since 1760.

Hamley's Toy Store London.

Allred's Oxford Street London.

Regents Street London.

Statue in London.

Book of Mormon Musical. Leicester Square London.

M&M Store Leicester Square London.

High Speed Train to Canterbury.

Platform at St Pancreas London.
Driving into London over Westminster Bridge.

Office staff Mission Home Hyde Park.

Covent Garden Market London.

Covent Garden Market London.

Covent Garden Market London.

Rudolph Covent Garden Market London.

Window display Harrods London.

Window display Harrods London.  Theme was a Christmas Train.  Scenes
were flashing by as though on a train.

Harrods Christmas Express.

Harrods Christmas Express.

Harrods window display.

Harrods Christmas Express.

Harrods covers an entire block.

Residential area close to Harrods.

Residence close to Mission Home.

Christmas Eve Dinner at President and Sister Jordan's residence.

President and Sister Jordan's residence.

President and Sister Jordan's residence.

Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve, Ainsworth's, Larson's and President Jordan.

Sister Larson, Sister Ainsworth and Sister Jordan.

Royal Albert Hall London Christmas Eve for Carols by Candlelight.

Royal Albert Hall London.

River Stour as seen from our balcony.

River Stour as seen from our balcony.

Mike Harris gave us this Root Beer Float kit.
T Shirts given to us from our kids.  I am Mormon.

Boxing Day dinner.  Left to right Prianka, Diva, Elder Miller, Sister Allred, Sister Gorniak and Elder Davis.

Zone Training Meeting Canterbury Chapel.

Sister Gundestrup Riverton Utah.  Newest member of the District.

Elder Choi from Hong Kong our new District Leader.

New Years Eve at the Johnson's home in Watford, playing games.  Elder
Johnson with the oven mits and the Larson's sitting.

Elder and Sister Lovell and Sister Johnson in the background.

New Year's Day at the Holden's.  Our new District.

We watched the celebration of the New Year on the Internet.  Each time Big Ben struck different fireworks would go off.

We started December off by receiving advent calendars from our sweet sister missionaries, Sister Allred from Hunington, Utah and Sister Gorniak from Tasmania Australia.  We also received an electronic advent calendar from Elder and Sister Allred our mission treasurer and secretary.  Each day it was fun to experience an Edwardian Christmas.  We also sent this to our family and they enjoyed it as well. 

We had a lot of meetings and parties during December.  We started off with the YSA Christmas dinner at Mike and Marion Harris' home in Minister on December 6.  Lovely gammon dinner and pudding.  We had fun singing Karaoke on the play station.

Julie Nicholls was baptized on December 7 by Bishop Pemberton.  The Sisters taught her and she is very fun to be around.

December 7 was the Ward Christmas Party.  Lots of food and fun.  Miki the Clown came and entertained us, along with Santa Claus and Sister Sill and Sister Pemberton sang as the Christmas Ferries, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

December 8 was the Stake YSA Fireside with President Hunt our Stake President.  We had a good turn out and the refreshments were great.  Christmas sweets in England are very good.

December 10 we had a special meeting with Elder Dcykes of the Second Quorum of the Seventy in Hyde Park with all of the missionaries.

December 12 we went to see Alfred Holden perform as the Sleepy Shepherd in his grammar school play.  It helped us since we miss all of our grandchildren's performances.

December 13 was the Relief Society Christmas Party.  Sister Sill is in the Relief Society Presidency so it was a memorable night for all the sisters of our Ward.

December 15 our Ward did a Evensong Carol program.  Sister Collis our Ward Music Leader put together a great program.  We had a narration of the Luke 2 with the choir and congregation singing.  And after we had more food.

December 17 was our Mission Christmas party in Hyde Park.  Each District provided entertainment.  The Sisters in our District wrote a fun song to the tune Up on the House Top.  It was lots of fun.  We then exchanged White Elephant gifts which was fun.  That evening we went with the Allreds on Bus #10 and saw the Christmas lights on Oxford Street and Regents Street.  We walked around Leicester Square and ate at Five Guys.  We miss American Hamburgers.  It was just like being at home.  We came home on the High Speed Train which really moves.  On the High Speed we can get into London in 45 minutes.  By car 2 hours.  A lot of people commute from Canterbury on the High Speed Train.

December 18 was our last Institute Class for our Christmas Break.  We start the next semester on January 22.  All of our students went home for Christmas except Diva and his sister Prianca, so it was nice to have them here for Christmas.

December 22 our Primary put on the nativity during our Sunday School time.  They had their parts memorized.  Their beautiful voices made this a special Christmas.  I like the way they do Christmas cards.  There is a table set up in the foyer and the members bring their cards and gifts and leave them on the table for others to pick up.  Everyone gets a card and special message.

Christmas Eve we drove into London.  Traffic was very light since everyone was on vacation preparing for Christmas Dinner.  They go all out for Christmas Dinner, it is like our Thanksgiving Dinner.  They serve turkey and all the trimmings.  We had dinner with the missionary couples at President and Sister Jordan's flat in London.  Very nice meal.  Before dinner, we went to Covent Garden Market and saw the Christmas shops and sights there.  We then went to Harrods and saw the window displays which were elaborate.  Each window was a display of inside a railcar during the twenties.  Scenes of the country side and cities were going by to make it look like you were on the train.  After dinner we went with the couples to Royal Albert Hall and saw the Carols by Candlelight.  The performers were all dressed in 1800 attire.  We sang carols with the choir.  We heard the Christmas Carol recited.  We heard opera singers.  The organ, choir and orchestra were fabulous.  What a beautiful hall.

Christmas day we talked to our family on face time and Skype and enjoyed the day. 

The next day was Boxing Day which is a holiday.  The history of Boxing Day is the wealthy would box up Christmas presents and food and deliver them to their servants and vendors in the villages since they had to work for their employers on Christmas Day.  It now is a banking holiday and big shopping day.  We had all the missionaries and Diva and his sister Prianka over for an American dinner of Ham, funeral potatoes, salads and desserts.

We celebrated New Year's eve with the Johnson's in Watford.  We picked up the Lovell's in Gravesend and drove to Watford.  A two hour drive for us.  They are serving the YSA in the Watford Stake and live in a nice big house.  The Larson's and Garner's also joined us and we played all of these YSA games which were fun and we will use for our YSA activities.  We enjoyed the food and traveled back home to celebrate the New Year, watching the celebration on the internet of London.  It was awesome.  Fireworks like we have never seen before for fourteen minutes.

Transfers were on Boxing Day and we have Elder Choi from Hong Kong.  He has been out eight months.  He loves basketball.  Went to the University of Utah.  Sister Gundestrup is from Riverton Utah and went to Utah State before her mission.  She has been out 5 months.  We are excited for the new year.

We had a Zone Training meeting in Canterbury on December 30 and it was exciting to meet the new missionaries.

New Years Day we had dinner with Aimee Holden.  Aimee's Husband Phil and son Paddy were out of town performing in a play in Stoke on the Trent so it was nice to celebrate with her and Alfred. 

The month of December weather wise has been on a roller coaster.  The entire month we have had gale force winds, tidal surges, heavy rain.  Lots of flooding and wind damages.  The wind has been like the east winds we experience in Utah.  We will have a good day sun shining and then the winds and rain.  Like I said it has been a roller coaster.  Somehow we were able to squeeze in our Christmas Celebration.

We miss our friends and family.  We love you and look forward to when we will be together.  It was special to be here serving the Savior and working with the YSA.  We have had many inspirational and spiritual experiences that we will cherish forever.  We know that our Savior lives and loves us all which is the glad tidings the angels gave to the Shepherds many years ago.