Saturday, September 27, 2014

Correcting mistakes, Ops.

Dear family and friends,
 The trouble with writing on the run, when your husband is stating we have to leave in 5 minutes so hurry up, is that typos are made and you don't get time to correct them, So here goes,
        First of all the Chapel we do exit interviews in is Eastgrinstead, NOT Eastbourne. I also forgot to mention we also have a Testimony meeting with all the departing missionaries after dinner, before we have to say goodbye to them all, and I must say that this is probably the hardest part of the whole missionary experience, These young and sometimes Senior missionaries become so dear to us, they really become like family, It's a very emotional and hard day, especially for me, as my husband says, "Leaky Eyeballs".  Many will go back to their homelands and very hard living conditions, and we will probably never get to see them again, especially at our age.
  We counted up the other day and we have had over 60 countries represented by our missionaries. what an experience for them and what a blessing for us, The world is certainly coming to us here in England as well as we going to them.
 Also those white cliffs really are between Eastbourne and Brighton, just west from Dover, the White cliffs are not as long there, These are the ones you see in war movies. What a welcoming sight they must have been.
 England has been doing an awful lot of celebrations this year, as it's 100 years since the outbreak of WWI. England entered the war on August 4th 1914, America didn't join the war until 2 years later with the bombing of the ship The Lucitania off the coast of Ireland.
    I also forgot to mention that 2 weeks ago after my husbands eye appointment in London, we had the opportunity to meet up with Bonnie and Jim Parkin at the Marble Arch Marriott. They were there visiting for a few days before sailing from Southampton on a cruise and visiting the beaches at Normandy. We were able to go to the Imperial War Museum, and apart from everything else there is to see about ALL warfare, planes, tanks etc, they have a special exhibit about WWI, It was very well worth visiting, and we had a wonderful time with them,
    Jim and Bonnie were Mission President and Wife here in the England London South Mission from 1997 to 2000, and we actually had dinner with them in the mission home were we are now living when we visited them in 1998. We came over for the Preston Temple Dedication, (which is in Chorley, just up the road from the home I was born and raised in). The Preston MTC is there on the grounds along with the Stake House and Distribution Center.

Outside the Imperial War Museum with Jim and Bonnie

Outside the museum, These are HUGE guns
Below a couple of iconic views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben with the London Eye in the background,(Ferris Wheel)
Love to all and God Bless, Roger and Val.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall is coming

Dearest family and friends,
        Sorry it's been so long since we wrote, We can't believe how time is flying. Everyone told us the last year would fly by, and we thought the first two years had gone quickly, but we hardly get a breath and it's another week gone,  October is going to be even crazier, with approx. 314 missionaries, (thats including the senior couples), we don't seem to have a minute to breathe, but somehow the Lord provides, We go to bed exhausted and wake up around 5:30 - 6:00 am. refreshed and ready to go again.
       The week after General Conference we start Monday with dinner with our departing missionaries and a fireside that night, Usually we show a move, Ephraim's Rescue or 17 Miracles, at the Eastbourne Chapel. Then Tuesday we meet with the departing missionaries in the Temple for a session, have lunch in the Temple cafeteria, then go to the Eastbourne Chapel, where we have exit interviews by President Millar, and also a presentation which the Church is trying out, called Live my Gospel,
       This program is to reorient the missionaries and make it easier for them to adjust to "normal" life after their mission. They have been so focused on Preach my Gospel for two years, or 18 months for the sisters. that we hope this will help them get back into school and daily living with a smoother transition.
  The next day is transfer day with the new missionaries coming from the MTC. (Missionary Training Center) in my hometown, Chorley, to join with us in the London England South Mission, We do most of the transfers at the Staines Chapel because it is across the road from a Railway Station and makes it easier for those with luggage to get to their new areas.  Thats an all day job, that includes training the new trainers and orienting the new missionaries.
       The week after that we have a mission tour by a General Authority from Germany, He will be here with his wife and staying at the Mission home with us for 4 days, We will be having our Multi-Zone Conferences in three consecutive days, so there will be a lot of travel involved, Crawley one day, then Poole the next, then Staines for the final one. These will finish on Friday, and Saturday we will be starting our 9 Stake Conferences, and we usually have to stay overnight to get to all the meetings, The first one is in Portsmouth.
   The next week on Tuesday, we leave to go to Portugal to the Mission Presidents Training Seminar. and we will be there for 3 nights and 4 days, arriving home Friday evening in time to re-pack for the Plymouth Stake conference the next day.
     Never a dull moment.!!!!
   We did manage to grab some pictures of the Seven Sisters Cliffs on our way home from Eastbourne a few weeks ago. They extend from Eastbourne all down the coast to Brighton and are incredible. I'm sure you've all seem pictures of them in WW1 movies, They are the White Cliffs you see that pilots used as landmarks as they approached the English coast.
    This is just a small section of them


A kind Japanese tourist offered to take this for us

This is part of the old Manor House on the Temple Grounds.
Below an Inn next to the B&B we stay at just outside of Exeter

Well love to love all WE DO THINK OF YOU ALL OFTEN.We are so grateful for your patience and understanding, God Bless, we appreciate all your prayers and can't wait to see you all again, Love always, Valerie and Roger, aka President and Sister Millar.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer in England

Summer in this beautiful and fertile land,
What a whirlwind, it's almost unreal to think we have less than one year left, by this time next year  we will be home, although we will try and spend a little time with my brother and his family in Chorley before we head back. I hope we will be able to return in time for our Grandson George's Homecoming when he gets home from Bolivia.
       Another time for transfers this next week, It's hard to believe 6 weeks has gone by, This is a very hard and emotional week for us, Elders and Sisters leaving to go home, They become as dear and as loved as our own Grandchildren, to hear them bear there Testimonies the night before they leave is wonderful and heart wrenching, To see how much they have grown and matured, and knowing that there are many we might never have the opportunity to see again, Needless to say--- (those who know me well)--- that I'm a basket case and can hardly speak for crying.
    We managed to keep up with all the Zone trainings, Stake Correlation Meetings and Stake Conferences, as well as all the other routines and not so routine things we had to do.
      We had a new garage door put on the Mission Home garage, as we weren't able to use it as it was too small and the car wouldn't fit in it, It had 3 small doors and the car wouldn't fit though any of them. Anyway the church facility people finally got around to doing it. (It was supposed to have been done the week after we got here).  They have left one of the small doors and made two of them into one long one, now the car will JUST fit inside.
      A few weeks ago, we actually had one day when nothing was too pressing, so Roger said, "I've got an idea, lets take a "P" Day and go to Windsor Castle" After recovering from the shock we set off, It's not very far from here as the crow flies, in fact it's right on the flight path to Heathrow Airport, (Heathrow is by the Motorway on the East side of the M25 and Windsor is directly opposite by the Motorway on the West of the M25). Anyway we drove to the Staines Chapel, which has a railway station across the road, parked the car there, and caught the train to Windsor and Eton on Thames, a short 3 stops. (You can never find parking anywhere.)  We had a very pleasant day, The sun was shining and it felt quite hot.
    We got there in time to see the changing of the guard,(Hope the video works) and spent a few hours walking around St Georges chapel and the other parts of the castle, This Castle dates back to William the Conquerer, 1066 and is the oldest castle that is still used as a residence for the Royal Family, The Queen spends her Weekends there.
    In the last 2 weeks, July 2nd we have had to go to Hastings, to meet with missionaries, and district meetings, The next day to Poole for Stake Correlation,  Friday to Oxford to meet with some missionaries, Saturday we met a new Senior couple at Gatwick and took them to the Office, then that afternoon we drove the 2hrs back to Poole for a special celebration of 50 yrs since the chapel was built. They had a wonderful program, very special food, they actually roasted a pig, and then they showed a video of the chapel being built, and quite a few of the members were there who had been part of that. Then we had a great fireworks show, as it was 11pm by the time it finished we stayed over in Bournemouth and went to the Bournemouth Chapel for Sunday meetings before driving back.
      It brought back some fond memories for me as I helped with the Manchester Stake House, which was dedicated 50 yrs ago, I used to go there when I was off duty as a head nurse, and plaster up holes in the walls and help put up ceiling tiles, I even sanded the wood for behind the pulpit, before they shellacked it, and the 9th July was exactly 50 yrs ago since I emigrated to SLC.  The next Monday we drove to Portsmouth for their Stake Correlation Meeting, then Tuesday to Maidstone for their Correlation Meeting, Thursday to the Office in Newchapel on the Temple Grounds, got a haircut and we had an exit interview with a Senior couple who had finished their mission, then on Friday to Guildford  to meet with some missionaries,
   On our trip to Hastings on July 2nd, as we were leaving the town we saw the signs for Battle, a small town adjacent to Hastings which was the original site of the Battle of Hastings, which was fought in 1066, and changed forever the fate and culture of England to what it is today. So we decided to stop and see and walk around the site.


St Georges Chapel from inside the grounds, Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle as we were walking up from the train station
Inside the Castle grounds
Changing of the guard at Windsor Castle (Sorry the Movie wouldn't work)
The entrance gate and Castle at Battle the site if the Battle of Hastings 1066
These are the fields were thousands of soldiers died in 1066 The Castle and ruins are behind us.
Our garage before.
Our garage after. What a difference when the sun shines.

We had better close it's getting late, Our love to everyone, you are always in our prayers and we thank you for your prayers for us, we can certainly feel the comforting presence of the Holy Ghost, God bless to all, especially our family, We love you and hope all is well, A very Happy Birthday to all Birthday people since we wrote last, Keep safe. Love always Doc and Val. aka President and Sister Millar.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

CORRECTION--- Sorrry It's Downton Abbey and the Village of Downton, and NOT Downham, as I wrote in the Blog. Sorry again.(brain freeze!)

This England, This Green and Pleasant Land,

We can't believe how time is flying, probably because we are so busy each and every day, but the Lord is sustaining us so far, and we are hanging in there.
      When I last wrote the Blog, we had just returned from 4 days and 3 nights away in the Plymouth Zone and Cornwall, so it was with surprise that the next day we received a phone call from Helson, the farthest place away from the mission home, in Cornwall, from a missionary, to say he needed to talk with President Millar "in person" as soon as possible. After a number of phone calls and arrangements, we determine we could probably make it that week, Thursday and Friday, ( Good Friday). It being the week before transfers, and if any week were quieter and less hectic, and possibly the LEAST busy week, this would be it.
      So Thusday morning early we headed out, for the 5 hour drive to Helston, which is right at the tip of Cornwall near Lands End. and of course once you drive about 2 hours you leave all major roads behind and are travelling through winding, hilly, beautiful farm country and lovely villages.
      We spent the night  just a few miles away in a little fishing village called Porthleven, at a lovely B&B on the waterfront. then because we were so near to Lands End and only about 20 minutes away we decided to drive there and at least say we had seen it before the 5 hour drive home.
        It was a beautiful clear day with the sun shining, so we drove along the coast, past St Micheals Mount, and Penzance, and on to Lands End, We decided we would just walk to the cliffs to take some pictures, but found a parking lot and visitors center, The funny thing was when we pulled up to the parking entrance, the man in the booth must have seen our badges with the Church name on, and he said, "with us being "Ministers" and it being Good Friday, go ahead in and you can park for free", So that is what we did, although we were only there about 15 minutes, but it was a wonderful Easter Treat.

Porthleven Harbor at sunset where we stayed the night, 


The Harbour Inn where we stayed, which looks out at the above scene.
This is St Micheal's Mount just farther down the coast.
This is Land's End and the back of Roger's head.

The next day Saturday we drove up to Watford, Northwest of London to see the Production "The Lamb of God" we went with the office senior missionaries, and it was absolutely wonderful, It is a religious musical about the last days of Christ's life, and was very powerful and well done. 
The next day we spoke at the Epsom Ward in their Sacrament Meeting. Monday was chaotic because we had the departing missionaries farewell dinner, Testimony Meeting for them a day early because we had to have transfer day a day early because we were leaving Tuesday night. We spend the night at an Airport hotel as we were flying out early Wednesday Morning to go to a Mission Presidents Seminar in Frankfurt, Germany. We were there till Friday when we returned home, just in time to repack for an overnight  stay in Portsmouth for their Stake Conference that weekend.
Monday found us doing our regular food run at Costco for the breakfast and lunch for the Mission Leaders Conference, on Tuesday at the Staines Stakehouse. Then the next day we started all over with interviews in each Zone, and the round of travel that goes with it. Eye appointments in London, Three different Multi Zone Conferences, in Crawley, Poole and Staines, on the 6th, 13th and 16th respectfully.
We are also doing Stake Conferences as well, so most weekends we are tied up with those.

May 13th we were traveling from Salisbury to Bournemouth for interviews and the road took us through Downham,----- for those of you who are Downham Abbey fans, (TV show) Downham is in our mission, though we hadn't a clue where, until we happened upon it, It is just a small village, if you blink you will miss it. Here is one of the lovely thatched cottages that dot the south of England, this was in Downham.


              May 8th was a special day for us and two of our missionaries who had both received their Duke of Edinburgh, Gold awards before they started their mission, Elders Joshua Pulman and Joshua Davies.(This is like a combination of Duty to God award and Eagle Scout combined and requires years of community service and work). They were going to be presented to the Duke of Edinburgh at St James Palace to receive their certificates, and guess who got to accompany them? you got it, The President and I. They were only allowed one person to accompany them, and seeing as they were on a mission it was felt best if we went with them. Both of these young men are from Merthyr Tydfil, in Southern Wales, one is serving in the Bristol Zone and the other in the Reading Zone.
We had a Senior Couple bring them that morning to the mission home, then the four of us went by train to Waterloo Station and then by taxi to St James Palace.
It was a rainy blustery day, -- Hey! this is England,-- but we had a wonderful experience, There were many young people there getting the award, and so they divided us into groups from different geographical areas, we of course were with the Welsh, and the State rooms open up in a line one after the other, We just happened to be in the middle room, (they are all about the same size and are rectangular), the very room where Prince William and Catherine announced their engagement, The room next door was the Throne room where the Queen gave her very first speech from. It was all very grand and impressive. 
The visitors sat on one side of the room and the award recipients the other, the rows were 3 deep, and we just happened to be on the front row by the fireplace where Catherine and William had their picture taken when they announced their engagement. The walls are covered with crimson patterned silk and there is gold leafing everywhere.
    The Duke of Edinburgh came into each room and spoke first to the visitors and then shook the recipients hands. He stood right in front of me and actually spoke to me, He was very charming and pleasant and looked very well for his age, (almost 93) but I must admit he was much shorter than I thought he would be, about 5'9" or 5'10", I thought he would be over 6'
Of course we were not allowed to take a camera inside so we only got pictures from outside.

Our 2 Elders in the courtyard of St James Palace, and later after the ceremony  
 Outside the main gate of St James Palace, (we thanked the sentry for putting up with bothersome tourists , and he winked at us.)

Well I guess thats all I can think of right now. I'm exhausted just writing it, Good luck reading it, and God Bless to all. Have a wonderful birthday everyone, We love you and think of you all often, Give our love to everyone at home.   Always Forever Faithfull,    Roger and Valerie,                                   aka President and Sister Millar.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring has Sprung 2014

Dear friends and family,
      Spring has officially arrived, a lot sooner and lusher than last year after the wettest Winter on record, and last years coldest winter on record, We seem to be catching a lot of weather records since we came to England. what with the Hottest Summer last year. but it is always an adventure and wonderful.
       A lot has happened, and a lot of miles have been put on our car since we wrote last, and just looking at when that was made us both cringe, We had no idea,---- time is running away from us, we will be home before you know it.
       When we last wrote we just had one multi-zone conference left in Crawley, Then we started the next day with interviews, which the President has to do every 3 months, We started off in Reading Zone, (pronounced "Redding" spelling it phonetically). Driving to Basingstoke, then to Bracknell, then to Reading then on to Oxford, we finished about 8:30pm then drove to Swinton, and stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn there, just off the Motorway. Swinton isn't actually in our mission, the Birmingham Mission dips down through the M4 for a few miles there so every time we go to Bristol we have to drive through it, Anyway then it was on to Bristol and interviews there, Western Super Mare and Taunton. we then drove to Exeter and stayed the night at a B&B just off the Motorway going to Plymouth, We then drove to St Austell, then Plymouth and then Newton Abbott  and stayed at the same B&B near Exeter, Next day we drove into Exeter and finished off the interviews there. then in the afternoon we drove home, Each Zone has about 28 missionaries, and at about 15 minutes per missionary it takes time. We now have between 250 and 260 young Sisters and Elders so it takes time. We try to go to the nearest Chapel to as many missionaries as possible in that area, to save them travelling very far,
    We keep saying, One of these days it will be nice to see if there is a Town attached to these Chapels, as we seem to go from Motorway to Chapel without seeing anything else. We have now driven over 54,000 miles
   The next week we did interviews in the Poole Zone and had just enough time for a bite, before going to the Stake Missionary Correlation Meeting with the Stake President and High Council that evening, after the meeting we had the 2 hour drive back home, so it was a late night for us.
         The next Friday Jodi and Paul and their family arrived, it was wonderful to see them and see how much the children had grown, They were able to stay at the mission home for a few days even though we were not able to be there most of the time, Infact that weekend we had to go back to Poole for their Stake Conference, and had to speak at both Saturday night and Sunday Meetings, we got back home late Sunday, in time to welcome Jodi's family, as they had spent the weekend going to the Roman baths at Bath and visiting the Goodrich Castle in Glouchester.
      Tuesday we were able to go with the kids to Sonehenge, it was a beautiful day, dispite a biting wind that blew across the Salisbury Plains. We then separated ways, they drove to the Mission home and we continued on to Southampton for their Stake Missionary Correlation Meeting, getting home at 10:30 pm. Wednesday they left to go to their lodgeings in London, and that night we met them at the Theater to see the Lion King, another late night for us, We then drove to Bristol the next day for their Stake Correlation Meeting, Another late night, Then Friday was President Millars eye appointment in London, that he has every 6 weeks, after that we met up with the kids at Westminster and went to the Churchill, Underground War Rooms, It was very interesting, then after getting dinner we made our way back to the mission home, tired but sad as we had to say goodbye to them all, until we get home.
        A couple of highlights of their trip, were visiting an owlrey that a member has in his back garden, he has over 20 owls, of every shape and size, we all loved it and he let the kids hold some of them, the other was after meeting the Assistants to the President who were at our home on Monday, they invited Kaden who is 17, to go on a teach with them, He loved it, we were so proud of him.
     Since then we have had Missionaries going home and transfers, which are always very busy times, then Mission Leadership training, and the beginning of each Zones Zone Training which we divided up with the AP's they took 5 and we took 5 Zones.
         This last weekend we were at the Plymouth Stake Conference, we left here Thursday, interviewed a missionary in Portsmouth, then another in Hedge End, near Southampton, then drove on to our little B&B near Exeter, Drove the next day to Plymouth, for their Zone Training, stayed in Plymouth that night, at a hotel near the Hoe, where the Mayflower sailed from, attended Stake Conference and Stake Correlation Meeting Saturday, Attended Sunday Conference, and we had to speak at both meetings, Left at 1pm and drove back to the Mission Home for a quick bite and then on to Crawley for a Fireside that evening, The Mayor of Crawley was there with his wife and a counsel man and also Lord and Lady something, At the reception later they thought they knew me from somewhere,----------- we laughed because quite a few people have asked if I was Judy Dench, (M from the James Bond Movies). although I didn't say that to them.
With Dezzie near the houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The President after his eye appointment, he has to wear his dark glasses. and YES it's true, that is BLUE SKY.
This is what the roadsides look like right now that the daffodils have gone, These are primroses and     bluebells
Bluebells growing by the back gate
Driving home from Plymouth. the yellow fields are Rape seed that they make rapeseed oil out of. I think it is the same as Safflower in the US
Just around the corner from the Mission Home
Most but not all of our wonderful Missionaries from the Plymouth Zone, practicing to sing at Stake Conference in Plymouth
    Next weekend is Easter and we are speacking in the Epsom Ward, but Saturday we get a treat and we are going to Watford, to hear and see a performance of "The Lamb of God" The Sister conducting in above picture, is one of our Senior Missionaries, who plays the cello back home in the symphony, and she has been asked to play in this National production of The Lamb of God.
     Well I bet your as exhausted as me after reading that,------- Must close, Love you all and miss you.
                 God Bless and keep you safe.
                          President and Sister Millar   aka Doc and Val.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Senior Missionaries Needed,

Dear friends and family, I KNOW! I KNOW, It;s only been a short while since our last blog, but we need to send out a very special request, a plea if you like, for any Senior Couples that are thinking of serving a mission in the near future, We have 6 senior couples going home in the next 5 months and only one couple assigned to replace them. HELP!!!!  They wound be needed to work with the YSA ( young single adults) in some of our Stakes. Also we need senior couples for membership and leadership support to some of our wards and branches. If anyone has any interest please contact us by e-mail.   If you are interested please let the missionary department know you would like to serve in the England London South Mission, and we can put a word in also from this end.
     Things continue to be hectic for us, 2 weeks ago we left home at 9am to go and interview missionaries in the Wandsworth Stake, that took most of the day, them we got a quick bit to eat, (We usually take sack lunches for day long interviews), them from 7pm onwards we had Stake Missionary Correlation Meeting with the Wandsworth Stake Presidency, and Stake Mission Leaders, also the Zone Leaders, and of course us. We finally got home around 10pm.
  The next day was interviews for the digital zone at the Crawley Stake Center (a new and successful area of missionary work), them intreviews the day after at Crawley Stake Center  for the Crawley Zone. which led us to Friday and interviews for the Staines Zone with us Travelling from the Kingston ward to Staines and then to Slough.
 Weekends we are usually chasing around going to baptisms, and the office, and the Visiters Center on the Temple grounds, catching up with things at the mission home, and going to the store.
      Last Tuesday was the start of our Multi Zone Conferences, Three Zones (Stakes) met at the Poole Stake Center. (Plymouth, Bristol and Poole) we then stayed overnight in Portsmouth so we could do interviews all the next day,----- We even managed to have dinner at our favorite Fish and Chip Shop,  Chez Fred's in Westbourne, which is between Poole and Bournemouth ------ Staying in Portsmouth  saved us a 2 hour drive home and back, We finished off at Hamble River, and it was quite a pleasant day…… the sun actually came out for a while…….
   Thursday was a catchup day, and Friday, another Multi Zone Conference at Staines (Staines, Reading and Portsmouth Stakes)
  Spring seems to be approaching much more rapidly than last year, even though this has been the wettest year on record for England, Water is still everywhere,
These beautiful little daffodils are in the front garden by our back door, and their heads are less than 1 inch across

These 2 pictures were taken from the ferry going across to the Isle of Wight, We had to speak at a Fireside there. These are just leaving the dock at Portsmouth.
This is the Isle of Wight taken from the ferry not long before we landed.
Another busy week next week. Tuesday will see us at the Crawley Stake House, This isn't far from Gatwick Airport, and we will be having our last Multi Zone Conference The Digital Zone,( this includes the Visiting Center Sisters as well as Office Elders and Proselyting Elders) The Crawley Zone, the Maidstone Zone and the Wandsworth Zone.
 This is the roundabout near our home where we get on the A3
This is a sign on the Southamptom Chapel door,  
Must close, Love you all, and appreciate all your support and prayers,
God Bless,
 Roger and Valerie, aka President and Sister Millar.