Dummy or Stopper?

So ready for another Britism? (British words or things that are interesting). Many babies here have the traditional “plug” in their mouth, but they call them dummies or stoppers. I explained to some young moms that “dummy” is taboo in America and we would never say that to a child. It doesn’t mean “idiot” here, and they don’t use it as a bad word commenting on someone’s ability to do something. I thought maybe they called them dummies because they make the child dumb as in no voice. But parents had not thought of it that way. As for stoppers, I can only imagine that it stops them from making noise? It is a mystery.

We have had an eventful week. Saturday was Sister Young’s birthday, as well as three other adults in the ward. One of them was being baptized (with her son) on her birthday and we were able to share some of that. We took the train into London to see Lion King on the stage. It was amazing, the costumes and especially the body language to make you see the animals instead of the humans was brilliant (that is a common word here to mean fantabulous). Our favorite was the lady that was the panther, she put so much grace and power into walking the body puppet across the stage. In between parts of the story there was dancing and singing with colorful silk costumes and African musical language. Rafikki, the monkey/narrator, sang incredible songs in Shosa (we asked some sisters in the ward about the language) from South Africa, incorporating many clicks of the tongue. As we came out of the theatre, it started hailing hard for just one minute. The children were trying to catch the hail, it isn’t very common here. It has been very cold this last weekend as an artic cold front moved through. We should warm back up to the 60-70’s again at the end of this week. We had dinner at Byron’s Proper Hamburgers, which was not as expensive as many of the downtown London eateries in the area. They do know how to make fantastic french fries here, some say that the lard they fry them in adds a better flavor than the oil in America. All we know is we can eat them forever.

Lion King Tour

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Sunday was our ward conference and just happened to be the day they also put in a new bishop. It was very well attended, probably for the bishop question rather than the conference part. We had a “munch and mingle” afterwards to welcome the new bishop, the two newly baptized members, and say goodbye to the old bishop and he family who are moving to New York (he works for American Express). As we left after the mingle, we saw our first hedgehog (yes, a wild one!) on the back lawn (garden) near the parking lot.

hedgehog

Sunday night we invited two young marrieds who “graduated” from YSA this year over for dinner (ham, sweet potatoes and mixed veggies) and afterwards we played a mean game of Carcassonne. They really enjoyed it and took pictures of the box with their iPhones so they could tell their families about it. One of the husbands won the game.

game night

The last thing this time is a plea for more senior couples to serve missions. We are losing 5 couples in the next 6 weeks and only have one couple coming. Our mission president wants us to spread the word: ” I would ask all of you to inquire through your contacts, ward, and friends if there are any couple that would like to serve in England London South Mission. If they are interested, have them email or call me: rogerclive.millar@ldschurch.org1-435-767 0203. In talking with the missionary department in SLC, the number of applicants is drastically down at this time and they are not filling all the requests that are presented to them. They will help direct couples to us if they put in a preference and we also request them.  Thanks for your help and attention to this matter of great urgency.”

We encourage you to consider serving if you are at a place in your lives to give one or two years to the Lord. We are so enjoying our mission, and would love to see you join us here in London if you are interested. We are serving a YSA mission but there is also a need for MLS, temple, Visitor’s Centre, and office positions. Come and see London!

 

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Drinking fountains and Mexican food

We hosted the senior missionary outing for February with a visit to their choice of the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, or Victoria and Albert Museum. All three are on the same street as the Hyde Park Chapel and Visitors Centre. Personally we chose to return to the science museum since we had only been able to visit one floor last time. But perhaps the most amazing thing was the water fountain. Yes, a plain old water fountain for guests — why is this so remarkable? Because the British don’t offer or use water fountains. In fact many are disgusted when the Americans use one. Even at the London Temple they have little paper cones to put the water in because they won’t drink out of the fountain directly. When the Church puts a water fountain in a chapel, the local members take it out. They say it just gives the children something to play in. So we were astonished to see a functioning water fountain at the museum. 

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Ward conferences have started and we will be attending each of them. We have had another elderly member of the ward pass, he turned 90 the week we started our mission. And our bishop has accepted a job in New York (they are American) and will be leaving the end of the month. We had another baptism and perhaps more scheduled this month. With only one baptism all of last year, it looks like we will meet the ward goal of 8 baptisms this spring. One of the sister missionaries had to have a day surgery — her third one for the same problem — but this time they sent her to a private surgeon instead of NHS and we hope that a better job done will result in no more problems.

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She is recovering well and last night we took the elders, sisters, and zoneleaders out to dinner at the only Mexican restaurant near us after they had gone bowling. We celebrated a successful surgery, a birthday, and a farewell of an elder who has been serving with us for 7 of the 8 months we have been here. The two local missionaries weren’t sure what to order, having never eaten Mexican before. I was a bit leery of what to expect from Mexican cooking in London. But my Mayan chicken with pineapple was excellent.

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Elder Young said the “spicy” beef wasn’t hot at all, and the elders and sisters were challenging each other to eat the hot sauce (which wasn’t very hot) and the jalapenos, while on video. The restaurant was empty except for us and they let everyone dress up. They had fun with the hats, serapes and guitars, and wished they all had their mustaches back!

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We also have started a separate Institute class in Hastings, which is an hour south of us. It was costing ten pounds to drive the YSA from there up to Institute each week, so they have called a local teacher. We will miss seeing them but they will be able to participate each week instead of only a few times a term. The London Temple is closed for two weeks, but we are keeping very busy with family history work. We have discovered that you can make hot links in Family Search directly to the sources (censuses, christening records, etc). Sister Young is working on the Parsons line first because they lived in the Hastings area, and we visit there monthly to inspect the sisters’ flat. We hope to have time one day to drive around and see what we can find at the little villages the Parsons family lived in. Sister Young has also located a sewing machine, gotten it fixed up, and has sewed curtains for six windows in the Hastings sisters’ flat. They have a huge beautiful flat on the third floor with a little balcony that faces the Channel. But they only had curtains on the front and bedroom windows, and they have lots of little square windows and slanted skylight windows. We are driving down there today to install curtains, inspect the flat, and then over to see the new Institute teacher with her supplies. AND we have had several days in the sixties, so the weather is getting nicer!