Monday, April 30, 2012

England - Day 10 (Liverpool)

 We drove down to Liverpool today, to Albert Dock, where thousands of Latter-Day Saints (among millions of people) embarked on ships to travel to America and start new lives. 

 We visited the Merseyside Maritime Museum and learned about the nasty conditions those first emigrants had to endure to get to the new world.  We also learned about the sinking of the Titanic, the Lusitania, and the Empress of Ireland.  All three went down within a three year period (the Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat) and the Empress of Ireland, which ran into another ship, lost more passengers than the other two.  They call her the Forgotten Empress.
 And of course they've got all kinds of things about the Beatles.
 This is what they call the large speed-bump cross-walks here.
I really like that name. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

England - Day 9 (Day of rest!)

Went to church this morning.  No plans for the rest of the day, which is good because there's a nasty storm going on outside.

Lizzie, you wanted more video:

England - Day 8 (Preston)

 Dad and I did a session in the Preston temple this morning and then we set off to visit Church history sites.

 Special visitors to the temple.
 But without temple recommends they try to sneak in the back door.

 Typical England......small cars everywhere.
 We were blessed to link up with a small tour group of educators from BYU-Idaho.  Their guide is the man who wrote the mini guide from which I’m taking all of the summaries of the places we visited.  His name is Peter Fagg.

Wadham Road

In June 1933 Gordon B. Hinckley (as a young missionary) and his companion lived at 15 Wadham Road (see above photo).  It was from this house he wrote a discouraging letter home stating he felt like he was wasting his time and his father’s money.  His father wisely replied, “I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.”  That same day he read the scripture: “whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).  He knelt in prayer and recommitted himself to the work.  This event was a turning point in his life.

“That July day in 1933 was my day of decision.  A new light came into my life and a new joy into my heart.  The fog of England seemed to lift, and I saw the sunlight.  Everything good that has happened to me since then I can trace back to the decision I made that day in Preston.” – Gordon B. Hinckley
 Flag Market

On 22 July 1837 the first seven LDS missionaries to Britain arrived in Preston’s market square (namely: Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Willard Richards, Joseph Fielding, Isaac Russell, John Goodson, and John Snider).  The day they arrived the town was alive with election fever as politicians campaigned for their respective parties with flags and banners.  Heber C. Kimball recalled:

I never witnessed anything like it in my life.  Bands of music playing.  Flags flying in all directions.  Thousands of men, women, and children parading the streets, decked with ribbons characteristic of the politics of the several candidates.  Anyone accustomed to the peaceable and quiet manner in which the elections in America are conducted, can scarcely have any idea of an election as carried on in England. (Whitney p. 122)

Heber C. Kimball continued, One of the flags was unrolled before us, nearly over our heads, the moment the coach reached its destination, having on it the following motto: ‘Truth Will Prevail’ in large gilt letters…we cried aloud ‘Amen!  Thanks be to God, Truth Will Prevail.”

The Elders preached beneath this obelisk on a number of occasions where “both rich and poor…flocked from all parts to ‘hear what these dippers had to say.’” (The Elders were often referred to as ‘dippers’ due to baptism by immersion.)

In June 1933 Gordon B. Hinckley arrived in Britain as a young missionary.  The first area he was assigned to was Preston where his companion, Elder Kent S. Bramwell, announced they were going to hold a street meeting in this Market Square.  Elder Hinckley felt overwhelmed by such a prospect and declared “You’ve got the wrong man to go with you.”  Nonetheless, that evening the two of them were here singing, preaching and bearing testimony.  Elder Hinckley recalls: I was terrified.  I stepped up onto that little stand, looked at that crowd of people, and wondered what I was doing there.  They were dreadfully poor and looked to have absolutely no interest in religion.”

 Dad next to a real Mini.
 Missionary Lodgings
(I took this picture because this is where the front doors used to be.)

The missionaries first lodged in the white house on the corner of St. Wilfrid Street and Fox Street.  After being in Preston for just one week the Elders had nine people ready for baptism on Sunday 30 July 1837.  In the early hours of that Sabbath morning Elder Russell was tormented by evil spirits and asked Elders Kimball and Hyde to give him a blessing.  Suddenly, “…a vision was opened to our minds, and we could distinctly see the evil spirits, who foamed and gnashed their teeth at us.  We gazed upon them about an hour and a half…we saw the devils coming in legions…they came towards us like armies rushing to battle…and I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye.”

That same day Reverend James Fielding, who had previously been very helpful to the Elders, arrived here to forbid them to baptize the nine people.  Heber wisely responded, “They are of age, and can act for themselves; I shall baptize all who come unto me, asking no favors of any man.”

The prophet Joseph Smith later told Heber that when he heard of this attack “…it gave me great joy, for I then knew that the work of God had taken root in that land.  It was this that caused the devil to make a struggle to kill you.” (Whitney p. 132)

 Avenham Park

As you enter Avenham Park you will see the River Ribble (the baptism site) running through the bottom of the park, and, to your right, a fenced garden.  Within this enclosure are three LDS plaques.  The largest (1987) commemorates the first baptisms, next to that (1987) is the Missionary Oak & Plaque in honor of all those who have served missions in Britain, and around the corner is a tree & plaque (1999) erected in honor of the thousands of British converts who strengthened the church.

The traditional site for the first baptisms is on the opposite side of the River Ribble just upstream from the bridge.  Two of the first nine converts were so eager they had a foot race to the water’s edge to see who would be the first British baptism.  George D. Watt was the lucky winner.

“The circumstance of baptizing in the open air being somewhat novel, a concourse of between seven and nine thousand persons assembled on the banks of the river to witness the ceremony.” – Heber C. Kimball

Check out that last paragraph.  We're Christians! :)

Old Cock Yard (I didn't get a picture because there's nothing there.)

Old Cock Yard was the home to two early converts called Alexander and Ellen Neibaur [my relatives!].  Alexander was Jewish and Ellen was from Lancashire, and they were both baptized in the River Ribble on April 9, 1838.  They emigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois in February 1841 where Alexander tutored the Prophet Joseph Smith in German and Hebrew.  Alexander found his dentistry skills in great demand in Nauvoo and later on in Salt Lake.  He was dentist to Brigham Young’s family and many other well known church leaders.  He also holds the distinction of being the author of one of the few journal accounts of the First Vision.  The respected LDS scholar Hugh Nibley is a descendant of this couple.

England - Day 7 (Audenshaw, Stockport, Downham, Chatburn, and on to Chorley-Preston)

The view over Mottram as we were leaving the little village.
You know you're in a small town when you see signs like these:

The beautiful village of Downham

We walked all over the villages of Downham and Chatburn today.  From the book I cited in one of the last few posts (Men With A Mission):

Few experiences, however, surpassed those of Elder Kimball in March in the villages of Downham and Chatburn, some sixteen miles upriver from Preston.  When earlier he had expressed his desire to visit them, some of the brethren from nearby branches tried to dissuade him.  For thirty years, he was told, various ministers had attempted without success to establish churches in those towns, but they were wicked places and the people were hardened against the gospel.  Nevertheless, Kimball said, he wanted to go, for “it was my busines,” ‘to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’"

Accompanied by Joseph Fielding, Heber went first to Downham where, in a scene just the opposite of what he had been led to expect, he preached in a large barn and then baptized several people.  As he prepared to leave Downham for an evening appointment in Clitheroe, a very pressing invitation reached him from Chatburn [Dad and I ate some delicious homemade ice cream in Chatburn, and I had a fabulous homemade lamb, mint, and apple pot pie J].  So urgent was the plea that he finally sent Fielding to Clitheroe alone and walked to Chatburn.  Someone had already obtained a large barn for him to preach in and there, surrounded by villagers, he proceeded to speak about the condition of the world, the blessings of embracing the truth, and the resurrection.  “My remarks were accompanied by the spirit of the Lord and were received with joy,” he noted.  The so-called “obdurate” were “melted down into tenderness and love, and such a feeling was produced as I never saw before.”  As he concluded he felt someone pulling at his coat, and as he turned he heard Mrs. Elizabeth Partington earnestly asking, “ ‘Please, sir, will you baptize me,’ ‘And me,’ ‘And me,’ exclaimed more than a dozen voices.”  It took him until after midnight to baptize and confirm some twenty-five new converts.

“These towns seemed to be affected from one end to the other,” Kimball later recalled.  “Parents called their children together, spoke to them of the subjects which I had preached, and warned them against swearing and all other evil practices. . . .Such a scene I presume was never witnessed in this place before—the hearts of the people appeared to be broken.”  As Kimball and Fielding began to leave the two towns, doors were crowded and villagers lined the streets, weeping as they said their farewells.  The whole experience was an overwhelming spiritual highlight for the apostle from America, and it moved him to tears.  His feelings can best be described in his own words:

While contemplating this scene we were induced to take off our hats, for we felt as if the place was holy ground—the Spirit of the Lord rested down upon us, and I was constrained to bless that whole region of country, we were followed by a great number, a considerable distance from the villages who could hardly separate themselves from us.  My heart was like unto theirs, and I thought my head was a fountain of tears, for I wept for several miles after I bid them adieu.

Fielding, too, was moved.  “There is a wonderful Work in Downham and Chatburn,” he wrote.  “It appears as though the whole of the Inhabitants were turning to the Lord from 10 to 90 years old. . . .They are full of Love.”

With only a short time remaining before their return to America, word spread that the apostles would be leaving, and great numbers flocked to hear them.  They also went from house to house in Preston, calling upon people to repent and baptizing as many as twenty in a day.  The faith of the Saints was rewarded when the apostles were able to heal many of their sick.

On April 2 Elders Kimball and Fielding walked to Chatburn and Downham for a last farewell.  As soon as they were seen in Chatburn, the people left their work and flocked to the streets to greet them.  Children followed them from place to place, singing.  “Some of them said that if they could but touch us they seem better.  They evidently believe that there is Virtue in Brother Kimball’s Cloake,” wrote Fielding.  “Such gratitude, I never witnessed before,” concluded Heber.  Just before leaving England, he sent a warm letter to the Saints of these two remarkable villages, giving them tender pastoral advice and expressing his heartfelt gratitude for their many kindnesses.

Yes, my head is white. :)
Parish Church of St. Laurence in Chorley (where the Preston Temple is), England
Alexander (my great, great - I don't know how many greats - Grandpa) Neibaur and his wife, Ellen, were married here.

A few details about Alexander:

Graduated from University of Berlin as surgeon and dentist (by age 20!).

Encountered missionaries Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Orson Hyde, and
Joseph Fielding; read Book of Mormon in three days and requested baptism.

First male Jew baptized into the Church (1838 in Preston, England).

Taught Prophet Joseph Smith some German and Hebrew.

Wrote one of few firsthand journal accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

Set up dental practice in Brigham Young’s front room in Nauvoo.

Crossed plains in Brigham Young’s 1848 company.

First dentist in Utah (made set of false teeth for Brigham Young, who was 55).

Also phosphorus match maker, poet, hymn composer, linguist (spoke 7 languages).

We ate dinner tonight at a restaurant/pub just down the road from the Preston temple.  The sign when you walk in says, "Pick a table, choose from the menu, and order at the bar."  We picked one of the few empty tables and this is what we found hanging on the wall above our table.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

England - Day 6 (Dobcross, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Dukinfield, Stalybridge)

 Sorry Mom, I'm not exactly encouraging Dad to eat healthy food this trip.  But the fish & chips (and peas) were good!  Peas are healthy. :)
 Inside one of the churches we visited.  Love that scripture.
We sure are grateful for our "sat-nav" (that's what they call the GPS here - satellite navigation), but I agree with the poster.

A short story to illustrate how kind the people are here:  A little old man almost ran us over today.  He was waiting to pull out onto the street and we were crossing the street.  He was looking the other way and started to pull out.  He bumped Dad, which probably scared him more than it did us.  I gave him a mean look and told him to watch where he was going.  He rolled down his window and started saying things in an accent so thick I couldn’t understand anything.  I thought he was mad at us.  As we walked toward our car we noticed the little old man coming toward us in his little red car.  He started apologizing and asking if we were ok.  He said that has never happened to him before.  I instantly felt bad about my reaction.  I think we understood 75% of what he said.  I love the accents in these small towns (this particular incident happened in Mottram).  Instead of driving off in shame (or anger), he took the time to circle back around and apologize to us.  That’s just one small example of the kindness we’ve experienced during our travels throughout this country.

I’ve also been impressed with the driving here.  The drivers are courteous, they don’t hang out (read: drive slow) in the fast lane, they let me in when I’m trying to get onto the road in heavy traffic, etc.  I say “Cheers!” to the people of the British Isles.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

England - Day 5 (Herefordshire Beacon, Lullington, Coton in the Elms, Tatenhill, Leicester, Darly Dale, Youlgreave, Mottram in Longendale

From the book "MEN WITH A MISSION - THE QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES IN THE BRITISH ISLES," by James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, and David J. Whittaker (pages 148-149): Converts poured in, however, and Wilford Woodruff continued to be humbled by it. Given to introspection anyway, he frequently retreated to the hights of the Malvern Hills to meditate and pray. On May 9 he hiked to the top of one of them and was awed at the grand panorama below; Worcester on the north, the village of Gloucester on the south, Ledbury and other villages to the west, and "a fine beautiful cultivated vale upon evry hand." As he stood there exulting in the view, clouds rolled in below him, thunder rumbled, and lightning danced through the clouds beneath his feet. To him it was a wondrous and awe-inspiring scene that provided "a grand survey of the works of nature & the power of God." Two days later, on May 11, he decided to hike to the top of Herefordshire Beacon, one of the most prominent of the Malvern Hills, for a time of solitary contemplation.  After preparing his mind "for a lonely walk & meditation" by reading Parley P. Pratt's remarks on the "eternal duration of matter," he began his climb. On the way he noted several entrenchments, which he surmised were artifacts of Roman activities more than a thousand years before. Standing atop the hill with its magnificent view of the surrounding countryside, he could not help but reflect upon where he stood, in time as well as in space, and what it all meant for him. He also knelt in a private prayer of thanksgiving. He wrote later in his journal:

"But I soon drew my thoughts from the busy rabit, sheep, & asses to the solumn reflections which the ravages of time presented before me. O! Malvern thy lofty Hill bares up my feet while mine eyes take a survey of thy deep intrenchments. Thy mighty bulwarks, which have trembled by the roar of cannon, the clash of arms, & din of war has reeched around thy brow & died away in the vale beneath, while the blood of many a roman & Englishman to, have washed thy brow & soaked thy soil while they have fallen to rise no more. They sleep in death & time has earth'd them all & they are forgotten & blotted from the history & memory of man. Nothwithstanding O! Malvern thou hast been the Ark or refuge for thousands in the time of trouble or war. Yet Willford is the ownly solitary soul that treads thy soil this day & he alone bends his knee upon [thee] on the highth of thy summer in the midst of the Clouds to offer up the gratitude of his heart unto that God who will soon level all hills exhalt all valies & redeem the earth from the curse of sin & prepare it for the abode of the Saints of the MOST HIGH. I retired from the hill into the vale reflecting upon the rise, progress, decline, & fall of the empires of the earth, & the revolutions which must still transpire before the winding up scene & the comeing of Christ."

On May 20 Wilford took his colleagues to the top of Herefordshire Beacon for quiet meditation, prayer, and counsel. There they felt inspired that it was God's will that Brigham Young should leave immediately for Manchester to work on publishing the Book of Mormon and the new hymnbook. Already they had collected a substantial amount of money toward publication, including 100 pounds from Thomas and Hannah Kington and 250 pounds from John and Jane Benbow. As soon as they hiked down from the hill, Brigham was on his way, carrying the precious funds with him. It was the end of one of his most memorable months as a missionary. "I shall never forget my little mision in that contry with Brother Woodruff and with Br Richards," he wrote back to Willard.

Needless to say, there was no quiet meditation going on this morning.  I can't help but think that the pioneers were laughing at us as we suffered for 30 minutes in the cold, rain, wind, and hail......and then returned to the heated car.  I even asked the hotel manager to put our wet pants in her dryer for a few minutes when we got back.  :)

I want to include a few things from my great-great-great grandpa, George Goddard.  He, his wife (Elizabeth), and his mother were all born in Leicester.

Example of George Goddard’s humor (excerpt from “Review of an Active Life,” serialized article in the Church’s Juvenile Instructor from January to July, 1882): In the year 1839, at 24 years of age, he wrote:

“I very much needed a helpmeet.  Bachelor life was very inconvenient, and not being an expert in domestic economy, the rooms I ate and slept in soon represented a very untidy appearance. . . . she [Elizabeth, his wife-to-be] became an eyewitness to the wretched condition of my bachelor life, and we were both sensibly convinced that it was not good for man to be alone.” (p. 28).

Another excerpt from the above article poignantly summarizes their difficult life but the happiness they maintained through severe trials:

“Twenty years had now passed away since my wife and I were baptized into the Church; and had the rapid and momentous circumstances we experienced been shown us one day prior to our baptism, I fear we would both have shrunk from accepting the gospel on any such terms; but the future being so wisely and completely hidden from our eyes, we knew not what was coming until our faith became strong and confiding enough to meet it, and acknowledge the hand of the Lord therein.

“At the time of our baptism, I was doing a good, safe, ready-money business . . . but by publicly preaching in the market-place, my business rapidly collapsed, my financial hopes were blighted, my home was broken up, my furniture disposed of, and I left with a wife and seven small children on my hands and no means of supporting them.  Then followed the refusal of help from my father and the payment of fifty pounds by my brother to get rid of us, and afterwards my trip to Liverpool, a perfect stranger, to raise means for the purchase of supplies for our journey across the ocean, to a country where, to use the words of my father, it would be impossible for me to earn ‘salt for my porridge.’  A few weeks’ successful efforts, in Liverpool and Manchester, and then adieu to parents, relatives, and country, my wife leaving an only mother, and I both father and mother, all of whom were so passionately fond of our children, that to tear them away forever seemed like severing their very heart strings.  Then followed the trying experience of a birth and burial on the ocean; the sudden expectation of a watery grave by contact with a snag on the Mississippi; the death of another child at Memphis; arrival at St. Louis in midwinter, without means; the death of another child there; successful peddling through the streets of St. Louis . . . ; the death of two more children; the journey, mostly on foot, of one thousand miles across the plains, and the safe arrival in Salt Lake City of myself, wife, and three children.

“All this for the gospel’s sake!  If the kind hand of our Heavenly Father had not been with us, and also His Holy Spirit, to cheer and comfort and enlighten our minds, we never could have passed through such an ordeal” (p.92).

“One of the great lessons I learned while passing through this experience was, that the possession and enjoyment of the Spirit of God inspires cheerfulness and contentment irrespective of adverse circumstances” (p.75).

Can you imagine going through all that and keeping such a positive attitude?  Living the gospel really does bring happiness.

And here’s another example of why this particular relative is so impressive:

“In the summer of the year 1881, President Young was anxious to have a paper mill started.  In order to do so he wished to have the Saints instructed to save the fragments of cotton cloth to make paper with.  He sent for me, and gave me a mission to gather paper rags from house to house.  A more humiliating task could not be required of an Englishman.  But it was my duty as a servant of God to obey, and as such I undertook it, to assist in laying the foundation of an important home enterprise, which is now growing to mammoth proportions.  No person could have been more abundantly blessed of the Lord than I was during the three years I was thus engaged.  The Spirit of the Lord made me cheerful and happy, and the feeling of humiliation was removed.  The first lot of paper ever made at the paper mill was on the 24th and 25th of July, 1861.  It consisted of six hundred and eighty pounds of brown paper for boards and wrapping paper.  Brother Thomas Howard put the mill up, had sole charge of it, and made all the paper from July 24th, 1861, to January 16th, 1862; during this period there were twenty-eight thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven pounds manufactured.

“I traveled through the settlements as far north as Cache Valley and south as far as Sanpete, to gather rags.  I shall never forget the respect and consideration that were shown towards me by the leading authorities of every settlement.  I can truly say that the Lord inspired me with His Holy Spirit to deliver rag sermons, as much as if I was preaching upon the subject of baptism, or any other principle of the gospel.  I have devoted space to this subject on account of its involving a great gospel principle.  Jesus, our Elder Brother, descended below all things that He might be exalted above all things.  And he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  Therefore, let no one feel that by responding to the calls of the Priesthood, however humiliating the duty imposed may be to natural pride, the luster of their respectability will not be dimmed or their usefulness curtailed thereby.  Let us stoop to conquer.”

I love that last line!  Let us stoop to conquer.  That last story is so good for me because I was recently called to be the Stake Single Adult Representative and I had the same reaction as Grandpa Goddard - how humiliating!  I don't even want to BE a single adult, much less represent them!  But wow, after reading the above account, I am humbled.  There really is no insignificant or unimportant calling.  We can learn, serve, and grow through any calling we humbly magnify.

This is the church where George and Elizabeth were baptized when they were born.

And this is just an example of the places we have been driving through.  So pretty, even on rainy days like today.

Yep, we're having fun driving all over this place.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

England - Day 4 (Siston, Bristol, Caerphilly, Crumlin, Llanhilleth, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouth, Berrow, Eastnor, John Benbow Farm, Ledbury)

We headed out at 7:00 this morning and drove around visiting different places all over Wales and parts of England for the next 14 hours, so I'm not even going to attempt to explain everything. Here are some photos. I'm going to bed.

Oooookaaaaay. I'll explain a few things. :)

Caerphilly Castle. It's the largest in Wales and 2nd largest in Britain.

I have to mention that the Lord has blessed us with sunshine every time we stopped to wander around and take pictures, and it was raining most of the time we were inside the car driving today. It's a little miracle.

Sheep. They were fascinated with me, and I with them.

St. Illtyd's Parish. I have ancestors who were baptized, entered this world, or left this world in almost all of the places named in the title of this post, and we visited them all! Dad was having a blast turning his heart to his fathers......and I was having a blast spending time with Dad (hunting for dead people wasn't too bad either).

St. Faith's Parish - Berrow

I'll let Dad tell you about St. Faith's Parish

Eastnor Castle

Yes, it really is THAT pretty around here.

The left part of the above building is the place where Willford Woodruff preached (see story below). What a neat experience to be in the exact location where that amazing missionary work took place. We were lucky (or should I say blessed) to even find the place. Dad knew the general area where the farm was said to be, but we didn't have any precise directions. We stopped at a random house down a side road and knocked on the door. A lady came to the door and said, "I know what you're looking for." She then told us that American visitors knock on her door all the time, and most of the time she is rude to them (she's tired of people pestering her about the Benbow Farm). "You guys caught me on a good day." Ha! We thanked her for being kind to us and she pointed us in the right direction.

The Church owns the pond, but not the house or farm. We also knocked on the door of the house and the lady who owns the house showed us inside the barn, told us where the pond was located, and explained that she has been to BYU and other parts of Utah, she has met Elder Holland (a descendant of John Benbow), and she knows quite a bit about the significant events that took place in the area.

We're staying at the Royal Oak Hotel tonight, in Ledbury. They don't have Bibles in the rooms, but they do have Pride and Prejudice and Great Expectations. Of course! I'm in England. This hotel was established in 1520 and we're staying in the small room way up in the attic area. It's the only room with a view out over the town. Love it! For dinner I ate salad, cooked mushrooms, and a huge "jacket potato" filled with egg salad.

The bed is calling my name. I must go to it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

England - Part One (London Temple, Wicked, Eastbourne Cliffs, Isle of Wight, Stonehenge)

As I was boarding the 777 to fly to England I noticed three children going aboard with a different kind of luggage than you normally see when you travel - Harry Potter broomsticks. Fitting, I suppose.

They must have put special fuel in that plane because it only took 6 1/2 hours to go from Dulles to Heathrow. And the plane was packed! I think it seats over 350 people. I was pleasantly surprised when we landed 30-45 minutes before the scheduled arrival time. I went to Avis, rented a little Peugeot, and headed straight for the London temple.
This was my first view of the temple as I rounded the corner.
I stayed in the temple guest housing for two nights, for only about $15 per night. Great price considering the fact that I had two beds, a bathroom, and a small kitchen with a fridge, microwave, plates, bowls, silverware, etc.
I made the mistake of getting settled and NOT taking a nap before I went in for a session. I thought that hunger and cold would keep me awake. Not so! Hunger and cold were no match for exhaustion (remember, I didn't sleep Friday night on the plane). I'm sure God understands. I had to get a session in before they closed in the early afternoon. I devoured a yummy meal at the cafeteria after the session, took a nap back at the room, and then headed to the train station.
It doesn't seem right to have the word "Wicked" right after "London Temple" in the title. :) I took the train into London and really enjoyed the show. After 90 minutes (again, I was still exhausted from all that travel with only a short nap to keep me going) the curtains came down, people applauded, and everyone got leave, I thought. I went downstairs and asked an employee (with hope in my voice), "That's the end of the show, right? It's not intermission?" I had mixed feelings when he said, "Oh it's just a 20-minute intermission and then you get another 60 minutes of the show. You definitely get your money's worth." I honestly enjoyed the performance - great voices and a fun story - I was just looking forward to my bed. After the show, I grabbed Burger King at the station and hopped on the train for my hour-long ride back to the temple. What a day!
I got this shot at midnight, right before I flopped into bed. I can't resist a good view.
Sunday morning I attended the East Grinstead Sacrament Meeting, where I had the pleasure of listening to a Mum and her daughter speak about enduring to the end, followed by a soon-to-be-missionary (Mark Lippert) who is heading off to Romania. His entire family disowned him when he was baptized. They even demanded that he return his guitar, his car, and everything else his parents had purchased for him. He is now living with a family of members in the area and he's excited to serve the Lord. Once again, the trials and troubles of my own life are put into perspective.
After the 3-hour block of Church meetings with the good saints of East Grinstead, I drove an hour south to the coast. I spent a couple of hours walking all over and taking pictures. I just couldn't get enough of those amazing cliffs.

So you can see how high the cliffs are compared to your average adult.
A British Mum out looking for starfish and other little creatures with her son.

This morning I woke up early, dropped the key to my room in the little drop box, and left the temple grounds. I drove 90 minutes south to Portsmouth and bought a ticket to ride (hey, that's a Beatles song) that awesome machine you see in the video. What a neat experience! I couldn't believe how soft the ride was on the choppy waves. I have to give a little shout-out to Jarem here. If he hadn't mentioned the Isle of Wight I wouldn't even have known to go there. Thanks, Jarem!
I arrived pretty early (around 8:00AM), so I decided to walk around and find a place to enjoy a traditional English breakfast. One local woman directed me to the Wetherspoon Freehouse.
What could be better on a cold, rainy day?! Eggs benedict on ham and English muffin, with hollandaise sauce all over = happy tummy.
After breakfast I hopped on the bus and went to the Osborne House. This was Queen Victoria's summer house. I went in the very room where she died.
It's too bad they don't allow photography inside. The place is amazing!

After taking the fun hovercraft ride back to the mainland, I drove another hour to the less-than-impressive Stonehenge, where I stopped for five minutes to get a picture, and left. I didn't even pay to enter the place. I took the picture from outside the fence. They're just a bunch of rocks anyway, right? :)
On my way back to The Stanwell (where we're staying tonight) I stopped to fill up the little gas tank. I paid $66 for the equivalent of seven gallons of gas. You do the math. Is that $9 per gallon?! I believe so. $4.15 doesn't feel so bad anymore. Ha!

Now I'm off to pick Dad up at the airport. The adventures continue...