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.