Sunday, September 28, 2014

Some firsts...

We have made a complete exploration of the temple grounds now -- all 32 acres of it. It's far bigger than we first imagined. We found this "Tree of Life" in a small clearing.
After an amazing walk around the grounds, we talked about a lot of "firsts" we have had in the past week or so.  We were invited to our first DA (dinner appointment), when some younger sister missionaries were unable to go to dinner at the home of the Visitor Centre Directors.  She invited us to come instead.  We had our first days on our own after sending the Adams home on Thursday. Elder Cannon had his first chance to go teaching with the office Elders while Sister Cannon went on our first ward temple night.  They schedule a separate session, just for the ward that is officiated by members of the ward.  We had our first time getting lost while trying to find the grocery store.  Elder Cannon had the first time rescuing the office elders when they had a dead battery.  Then as they were going to get the new battery, they had a flat tire and Elder Cannon got to change a tire - all in his white shirt and tie.  Sister Cannon played the piano for primary and Relief Society two weeks in a row.
This is a picture of the Adams "passing the torch" before they left for home! 
We had our first time driving and forgetting to look to the right as all traffic both ways stopped for us - thank goodness! First time buzzing Elder Cannon's hair since haircuts are expensive. And we attended our first "Hi and Bye" meeting put on by the temple presidency and workers where they honor those coming or leaving and have them speak to everyone. We are looking forward to watching general conference at the visitors centre at odd times (7-9 p.m. for Saturday morning session) Sunday morning to watch Saturday afternoon session, etc.  We love and appreciate the support of everyone and look forward to one day getting our first comment on this blog!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Second Week

We are beginning to feel more comfortable with our surroundings and assignments. Elder Cannon can pretty much take care of invoices from vendors, council tax bills, reimbursements for missionary travel, scheduling blocked rent payments, journal entries, checks, deposits, missionary funding cards, cell phone configurations, lost credit cards, lost phones, utilities, departing missionary travel orders, and petty cash disbursements. Whew! Still to come are transfer days (called "moves"), missionary arrivals, and all the brush fires that occur every 8 minutes.

Driving is still scary, but nobody has been killed or injured. The Elder who goes with Elder Cannon when he drives has developed a tick and seems a little jumpy. Driving on the "proper" side of the road isn't all that hard as long as you don't drop concentration for even a second. There are few stop lights -- most intersections are variations on the round-about. Nobody even slows down. The lorries are wide and the lanes are narrow. In our area, roads are tree-lined or have thick hedgerows so you don't see much of the countryside. The roads are paved cart paths that wind here and there so every turn is blind.

The above was from Elder Cannon.  Now this is Sister Cannon.  I just want to share some of the tender mercies we have experiences since we left Logan.  On our trip to Orlando, we were able to come out to the main terminal and meet with Rick, Julie and Robert who brought us some lunch as well as some of the wonderful taffy Rick makes.  It was gone in a wink when we brought it into the office here.  Then on the flight from Orlando to England, we enjoyed an extra seat on our row so we could spread out and relax a little bit more. I did get a chance to talk about the church for a few minutes in the waiting area before the flight. The couple we are replacing, Elder and Sister Adams, were there waiting for us as we ended up taking much longer to come out than expected.  They were so loving and welcoming!  Sister Adams reminds me so much of Aunt Virginia in her mannerisms, her laugh, and even in her looks.  Sister Adams is 20 years younger, but just having her to talk to made it feel like home!  We had three tender mercies our first week that brought us closer to home,  While doing laundry down in the basement of accomodations, I walked in and a couple greeted me asking if I had met the new office couple.  I told them I was half of them and they chuckled.  They are from Cache Valley and were visiting his sister who is serving at the visitor's center.  They are Kevon and Brent Miller and Scott worked with Brent at USU and in one of the USU stakes.  Then we met the mission president and his wife, the Millars.  They both knew many of the same people Scott had worked with at LDS hospital back when he was doing his PhD.  I needed to Skype with the president's counselor, President Martin to get some passports verified.  He ended up being the missionary who baptized Seja Puikkonen (from our home ward).  She had told him about us and we had a nice chat. Last Saturday I thought I was supposed to help clean in the office at 8:00 but when I got there, I was a half hour early.  I didn't want to wake up Scott who is still not well, so I took my first walk around the London Temple grounds!  It is absolutely beautiful!  It covers a huge area and I just walked around in the morning mist, through lovely English garden flowers on pathways over streams and ponds for a half hour.  It was so peaceful, it really calmed me down and filled me with joy.  Monday was a very discouraging day and we were both totally overwhelmed, wondering if we were even going to be able to fulfill our responsibilities. We came down to the reading room, opened our iPads and found many wonderful messages from family members, encouraging us and sending love. Thank you everyone that sent something!  We needed it! We were blessed with 10 days of warm weather, and no rain.  It has been beautiful! We have had the Adams show us how to get to several of the chapels we will need to use with conferences and transfer days and yesterday we went to Staines which is in west London.  The couple, the Boothes, who serve in the YSA there, have been serving missions for 14 years!  He was President at the MTC, and several other places but they know Craig and Renee Jessop and had a son living in Laie.  We were able to eat with them at an amazing restaurant called Tony Carver. Delicious!  We also had our first D.A - dinner appointment with the couple who run the Visitor's Centre.  Finally, we attended a session at the London Temple today and loved it!  It is very beautiful and peaceful.  It was a wonderful morning, then met the Fowlers.  They are another couple who will come and help us with "moves".  We know the Lord is watching over us and we can feel His constant care!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

First Week in Mission

We've been here a week and are perhaps more overwhelmed than when we first arrived. There are significantly more responsibilities than we had imagined. This will definitely be a full-time job for both of us. We're still trying to figure out reliable Internet, so excuse the lack of Skype calls -- it will come I'm sure. we are living/working on the Temple grounds and they are fabulous!  The Temple is constructed on a large estate with wonderful paths, pools, gardens, benches, picnic tables. Buildings are the Manor House (where the temple presidency lives), The Lodge (where temple and Visitor's Center workers live), the Gate House (empty), and the
Accomodations Building (where temple visitors may stay. We live and work in the latter.

We attended church  today in the East Grinstead ward which is comfortable large and friendly. Lots of children, families, and missionaries. They don't need us there. It seems everyone has been to Utah and many to Logan. The couple we are replacing have been very good to us and are patient as they try to train us.  We will be moving into their flat (bigger than our current one) when they leave.  They are leaving several helpful things behind for us.  We love you and are thrilled for the chance to serve our Lord.  We love the beautiful, peaceful surroundings here although we do hear large jets and airplanes fly over us every few minutes all day and night.  Thanks for your love and prayers!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Croydon "Intermission"

We took part of Sunday, August 31 and drove up to Croydon, Utah to Join in the DeLaMare family reunion.  We were able to participate in their church service where we were able to hear insights and special experiences from those participating in stake or ward "Treks".  We heard from Lisa, Jon, Whitney, Amy, Karen and Kimball. Emmeline sat on my lap and slept for over an hour - that was a special Grandma time!  We ate a yummy lunch and shared some family time.  It was fun to surprise everyone with our visit and a time to share hugs and goodbyes. We stopped at Emily's house on the way home for Scott and Ben to give her a blessing.  She is going through some difficult procedures right now. " Elder Cannon" gave her a beautiful blessing.  We came back to the MTC in time for our evening devotional which was by Elder and Sister Holtzapfel of the seventy.  He was very enthusiastic and encouraged us to use a study journal in the MTC as well as in the mission field.  As we record the times the Lord speaks to us, we will recognize more of His guidance.  We will then be given more and more direction and knowledge.

Monday morning, September 1st, we began our 2nd week of training.  This time it was office training.  We had a group of five couples... Elder and Sister Butler who are going to Manchester England; Elder and Sister Mikelson, going to Brisbane, Australia; Elder and Sister Tolman, going to Sydney, Australia; and Elder and Sister Peel, going to Rancho Cucamunga (sp?). We have started trying to record our tender mercies each day and this training is a tender mercy in itself.  We are able to look at a computer program called iMOS which is the system used throughout the church in mission offices.  When we signed in, we could see our own mission and begin training using their names and information.  We learned our mission is big and we have over 315 missionaries.  A couple came and spoke to us about things they had done while serving as office couple on their mission.  She really stressed being sure the office is a place of spiritual safety for the missionaries. This couple encouraged us to record tender mercies and help the young ones also do so. They had a lot of suggestions of ways for us to be more involved in the missionary work. All week we learned how to create templates and do mail/merge for letters; how to work on a transfer board, how to do newsletters, how to record baptisms and confirmations/ how to send out referrals, etc.  Elder Cannon learned more about the financial programs, housing and cars. 
Tuesday night was another Devotional and this time we heard from Elder and Sister Don R. Clark.  He advised us to take off our missionary badge each night and look at it for a minute.  Notice the name Jesus Christ on it, then kneel down and report to him. We should each take the responsibility for all aspects of  the work of Salvation 1) Member Missionary work 2) Convert Retention 3) Activate Less Actives 4) Be involved in Temple and Family History Work 5) Teach the Gospel
We finished up our office training on Thursday afternoon and after packing drove to Paul and Vee's house to say our goodbyes to them.  They took us out to dinner and we enjoyed a couple of hours with them. We came back to Logan for a couple of days to see more family and finish packing for 18 months in England. Alex, Kimi, Rachel, Jeff, Teancum, and Gideon were all at our house and we enjoyed time with them. 

MTC first week

This was week one in the Missionary Training Center. We have been so impressed with the whole experience. This is such an amazing organized center! We had a great group of senior missionary couples preparing to go all over the world. We had instruction on Preach My Gospel all week. We were divided up into districts of four couples in each group. Our district had a couple going to  San Jose, California to work with Samoans, a couple going to 4 corners area to work on an Indian reservation and one couple going to Africa. We learned a lot about teaching the gospel through role playing, teaching volunteer investigators, presenting lessons to less-actives, using technology, studying various methods of teaching, etc. We had young, returned missionaries working as our trainers. They were so enthusiastic, yet very helpful. They gave great instructions and assignments, but also encouragement and positive feedback. It was fun, scary, overwhelming, but so needed. This is a picture of all the senior missionaries this week. I guess this is actually a small group!

Setting Apart and Family Dinner

We had a nice day today.  It was our Stake Conference and the first one conducted by our new stake presidency.  Good talks were given about checking up on ourselves and our family to see how we are really doing.  The choir was a Primary group of children ages 8-12.  Following Stake Conference, our Stake President, President Al Burns and our Bishop Mel Bohn came to our home for our setting apart.  Because President Burns had to leave town this evening, he needed to come at 2:00 in the afternoon.  Most of our children could not come at that time because of responsibilities in their home wards.  We did have Kimi, Scott Jr., Paul, Vee and their children Sefa, Nia, and Maile.  Scott and I were each given wonderful blessings as we were set apart.  There was a beautiful spirit attending us as we were given promises and encouragement. He blessed us with extra power to accomplish what would be needed.  After a pleasant afternoon, more family came for a dinner together.  We had Scott, Ivy, and their boys; Paul & Vee's family, Rachel and Jeff and their boys, Kimi and Alex, Missy and Sammy and their girls.  We feel very blessed with our family.  We are now full time missionaries!  We enter the MTC tomorrow! Here we go! It is so hard to leave our family but we have been given so much, it is our turn to serve the Lord full time!