We went to visit Hever Castle on our first outing with the sister missionaries in our area. Sister Paulsen (in red) is from Copenhagen and goes home in a few weeks. She is a spitfire who is very organized and on the ball. Sister Ernenwein is from Boston and has been here about 2 months. She is a bit nervous about training a new companion in a few weeks. She will do fantastic!
Hever Castle was built in 1270 and in 1462 became the home the Boleyn family (think Anne Boleyn of Richard VIII fame). It passed through several other owners over the years, including the Astor family in 1903. The castle was purchased in 1983 to be a conference center and activity site. It is open to the public for a fee and has gorgeous gardens, 2 mazes (hedge and water), a large lake, a jousting show, and archery. We enjoyed touring the grounds and the castle, and it only rained a few times in between sunny patches. In fact there has been more sun in the 13 days we have been here than we expected in the full 2 years!
So there are many things we are loving about England. One surprise was lemon curd, which seemed odd at first until I tasted it — it takes like lemon meringue pie filling! It is scrumptious and I have made little lemon tarts with it. We have also discovered that boxed off-the-shelf milk is still great (think Guam milk), and much cheaper and easier to store. I have surprisingly enjoyed hand-washing dishes — when there is only 2 plates and 2 cups — otherwise it is difficult to clean large pots, pans and bowls in our little tiny sink. And laundry — because the machines are ultra-efficient, it takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours to wash one very small load (like 4 towels) and then they have to be hung up and line-dried. That has taken a lot more time than I ever imagined.
We have received a list of 317 young single adults in our region. We know about 50 of those, so we only have 260 more to get to know! Last night at Institute (a religion class every Wed night) we fed them with a pasta bar and Wendy’s famous brownies. It was a real chore to get two types of pasta baked and 2 batches of brownies done and frosted, but we were triumphant! They liked it, especially the brownies. They are always surprising me, though, several asked if there was milk for the brownies! The lesson included a story about hot coals, and featured North Padre Island beach bonfires. They really liked the pictures of our sandy beach, as most of the beaches here (such as Brighton) are rocky.
We are staying busy and happy. We have managed to go for a walk almost every morning, and are kept busy cooking meals every day. We are finally getting a bit of leftovers which should help with lunches and quick dinners. We pray for you all every day, and love and miss you. Please keep us in your prayers, that we may be up to the work that needs to be accomplished here.