We flew from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, had a 4-hour layover, then flew directly to Gatwick Airport in London. That 10-hour flight wasn’t too bad, we slept most of the way. We arrived at 9:30 in the morning London-time (3:00 AM our time) and were picked up by Elder Adams from the Mission Home. This is a picture of the gatehouse to the Mission Home and London Temple. We spent the night in the patron quarters, like a little hotel room. Patrons attending the temple come and stay for very little money. The next morning Elder Adams, Sister Adams, Sister Qumsiyeh, and Sister Cates took us to our flat. They dropped us off and left us one car and took the second car to go see the sights near Orpington. This was their first holiday in several months, as working in the office take most of their days.
Our flat is one of seven in the building, we are in the “elbow” of the L-shaped building. Downstairs we have a kitchen and living room. Upstairs is our bedroom and bath. Their is a second bedroom which might hold a crib, it is very small. We probably will make it into an office. The weather has been unseasonably warm for London, with highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s. There are no AC units in the houses, so we rely on open windows (no screens). Of course when we leave the flat we have to close all the windows in the lower level.
After unpacking and trying to find a place to put everything, we spent our first night. The sister missionaries, Sister Paulsen and Sister Ernenwein, met with us to show us around town. We also went with them to the church to teach a lesson to an investigator from Ghana. We went to Tescos, the local grocery/homegoods store to get food. The store took a long time to go through since everything was very different. We never did find some things, and had to read a lot of labels to figure out what things were, like squash drinks and piri piri chicken. We bought enough food for the weekend and to try out some new things. On Sunday we met with the ward missionary council; they are choosing new art work for the entire chapel that will be useful for chapel tours that teach the first discussion. Services were wonderful as we met so many new people. There are many multi-generational families in our ward. Several of the young single adults are getting married this summer; I am sure we will be involved in those. After church they had a “munch and mingle” which this month celebrated the 90th birthday of Brother Hugh. His family came to celebrate with us and had a good chat with one of his friends that ended up in a referral for the missionaries. We got home late and exhausted — how much was still jet lag and how much was being in a high stress new situation, I don’t know.
This morning we went for a walk in the neighborhood, finding the post office, dry cleaners, barber shop and a dentist. Those will come in handy. This afternoon we are going shopping for both food and things we need around the house, like batteries, toilet paper, clothes baskets, etc. We are also learning to use the appliances. It took me 20 minutes to figure out the oven, but only 5 minutes for the washer. At least we have a book with all the appliance manuals in it. Will post more later, including pictures as Larry gets them off the camera and into the computer.