Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day

IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT IT HAS BEEN TWO WEEKS SINCE WE WROTE IN THE BLOG. This is Boxing Day, which is a big holiday in England. The significance of the name is a little in question.  Val says it is the day after Christmas when the nobles boxed up the left over food and gifts from the feast of Christmas and delivered them to the poor.  In more modern times some say it is the day when people box up the unwanted gifts and return them to the stores for a refund.  Who knows? They both seem plausible. It is a slow day for proselyting.
     Last week was very busy.  We brought one third of the mission in to the temple for a session,  fed then a nice big ham dinner, had a short program, destributed their packages from home and then sent them back to their areas. To cover the whole mission we did this three days in a row, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It was a lot of work but so much joy to have all the missionaries together, and watch them interact. It wA VERY SPIRITUAL TO HAVE 70 MISSIONARIES IN ONE SESSION IN THE TEMPLE. That was the high light for most of them, many of them spending their first Christmas away from family.

     On Sunday we went to sacrament meeting in Kingston Ward and then drove half way to Bristol to meet the Zone leaders with belated packages. Monday we drove to Poole, where we met the Zone leaders from Plymouth and Poole with presents. We then drove over to Southampton to deliver gifts to the Portsmouth Zone. That was about a 250 mile trip.  On Sunday night they had a fireside at the Visitor's Center at the London Temple.  The speaker was Savannah Stevenson.  She is  a British Actress that played the part of Mary in the Bible videos that many of you have seen on  If you haven't seen them, just log on to and click on the Bible video site.  There are many short videos on the life of Christ and many of the stories told in the New Testament.  These were filmed on a permanent "Jerusalem Set" that the church built down in Goshen.  It is Southwest of Provo.  It was very special at Christmas time to hear her feelings of what it was like to portray the mother of the Savior. I'll include a picture of us with her.
     We did not have a white Christmas, but we did have a very soggy one.  It has rained so much.  The ground is so saturated that water just stands on the lawns and out in the fields.  Many  rivers are flooded and it is supposedly one of the wettest years on record. Christmas day was very quiet for us. Talked to most of the family by phone, Skype, or FaceTime . It was so good to hear your voices. Val especially loved the pictures of her Cats.   We are bracing ourselves for a big year in 2013.  We hope we will be equal to the tasks placed before us.  Thank you for all the support you give us.  President and Sister Milllar.

Susannah Stevenson

Flooding in Cobham near Old Mill  Dec 2012
Narrow road in Cornwall Dec 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mid December time flies

Dear family and friends,
     IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT IT WAS TWO WEELS AGO THAT I wrote our blog.  Here is a brief update: Last Saturday we drove to Southampton for a missionary fireside.  It was fairly well attended  with a good spirit of missionary work. On Sunday we attended Sacrament meeting in the Kingston ward then drove 4 and a half hours to St Austell which is in Cornwall. There we had a special Sacrament meeting at a town hall in North Hills adjacent to a town called Launceston.  We had about 30 people present with a few in actives, 2 nonmembers and 2 new members that just moved into the area. We didn't have a piano, so we sang several Christmas hymns accapello.  We had enough people singing parts that it sounded great and the spirit was very strong.  They will have a new branch there some day.  As we get more missionaries will put another set of missionaries on that end of the ward. We stayed overnight at a bed and breakfast then drove home Monday.
     The four missionaries going home came into the mission office on Sunday and the office couple took them into London for a walking tour of central London.  We joined them in the afternoon and spent the evening with them.  Tuesday they go to the temple.  We usually go with them but I went into London with one of our Elders that had a Doctor's appointment because of headaches.  In the afternoon, I interviewed them all and then we ate dinner and finished with a testimony meeting.  These are so special to hear them summarise their experiences as a missionary. Wednesday morning the departing missionaries had to be at the airport at 3:30 AM. It was a short night for the office Elders that drove them.  Wednesday we had one sister arrive from SLC at 6:30 AM and the other 4 missionaries  arrived at 9:20 AM from Manchester.  We fed them, interviewed them, oriented them and sent them out to their areas.  We had two Elders one from Fiji, and one from Romania.  The three sisters were from Armenia, England and Finland. STill maintaining our international flavour .
    We had thursday to get ready for Zone Leaders Council.  We hold it at the Mission home.  We feed them a light breakfast, have meetings all morning, feed them lunch then finish off about mid afternoon . Our purpose was to establish goals for baptisms for the year 2013. The year 2012 has had the lowest number of baptisms in 9 years.  We will have about 250 for the year.  The goal they set by prayerfully meeting with their local wards and branches was 731. It is quite generous but reachable.  We have our work cut out for us.
     On a high note: we are having a very good month for December for baptisms.  After an all time low of 11 baptisms for  October we then had 12 for November.  The first two weeks of December we had 14 with another 10-12 should have been performed yesterday.  The final report will come in tonight at accounting calls by the assistants to the President. We also have about 15 more dates for the last two weeks. Last night we attended a baptism for a family of 4 in our home ward of Kingston.  Today we spoke in church and are now trying to wind down from the week.
     Some have asked for our address :  10 Beechwood Drive, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 2DX  UK.
     The Mission Office address is: England London South Mission, The London Temple, West Park Road, Newchapel, Surrey. RH7 6NB, UK.
     Merry Christmas to everyone.  We will miss you but we have lots of company.  We are bringing all the missionaries to the Temple, Feeding them and sending them home  after a short program.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

short cold days

The days are getting noticeably shorter.  It's beginning to get dark now at 4 pm.  The sun comes up in the southeast, rises up to what looks like 9:30 or 10;00. THEN GOES EAST TO WEST setting in the southwest.  Today was our coldest day so far.  It was -2 degrees C. With the dampness, it seems that we never quite get warm.  The cold starts on the inside.  The heating systems here are hot water radiators, but they cycle on and off throughout the day and go off at bedtime.  `it gets cold by morning  and takes a little time to warm back up in the morning. You can see why the English wear sweaters.  I have one on now. (Proper English Gentleman)
     We attended the Crawley Stake conference yesterday and today.  Sister Millar and I had the opportunity to speak three times each. There was a visiting area 70,  Elder Craig Wright, presiding . It was a very good conference.
     This past Tuesday we received Elder Patrick Kearon of our area presidency who came to tour the mission. We went to Poole that night and then held a Zone Conference with the 4 western zones on Wednesday.  We have had so much flooding that it took some on the missionaries  up to 12 hours of travel to get there.   The next day, Thursday,  we met with the 5 eastern zones in Crawley.  These went from 10;00 AM to about 4:30 PM.  It was intense and a little nerve racking to have the first mission inspection.  They did not fire me yet. We did receive some useful suggestions.  Like I always say: I'm in the process of BECOMING. We always have a few problems to deal with: flu, sickness, depression, a dying mother of one of the Elders, family problems at home, the death of an Uncle , etc.
 London Temple at night  winter
 lighting the Nativity scene APs Elders Albrechtsen & Crystal, ZL Peltier and Sutcliff,Crawley
Visitors center on left        Nativity Scene
 Squirrel inside bird feeder
     We are going over to the Temple tonight for the lighting ceremony for the Nativity scene on the temple grounds. I'll try to take a picture and attach it when we come home. It is hard to believe that in three weeks the days will start to lengthen  out again.  We haven't had any snow yet but we have had rain almost every day this week.  There have been flooding problems in the Western part of the mission. Down in Cornwall and Exeter area.