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.
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.
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.
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!
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!