It may be April and time for showers, but we had a bit of a drought here with no rain for three weeks. It was a bit worrisome for the farmers, but our April showers are sure here now. We really miss the sunshine! We have also been having problems with the laptop lately, we hope it will limp along for 5 more weeks. It is almost 6 years old, so what is the problem? We almost have the three missionary flats cleared, just waiting for a trip to the tip (dump) with the mission van.
Our mission is receiving iPads for each junior missionary this month. We had a 6-hour training session with President Patrick Kearon (Europe Area presidency) and Elder Brent H Neilson (of the Seventy). Elder Nielson will be stepping up to head the missionary department in August, under the direction of Elders Nelson and Bednar. The training session was unprecedented in two ways — the first time the entire mission was together, and the first time two General Authorities were present for a mission meeting. The training was entitled “Disciples in the Digital Age” and was very inspiring. Rather than training them on the iPads (since they all know how to do that) it was helping them think about how the digital “tool” can be used to complete the missionary purpose of teaching the gospel and inviting others to learn of Christ. A secondary focus was on safety — staying away from the “dark side” of the Internet and personal safety by not flashing the technology around in public. The most memorable part for us was the statement by the Lord’s chosen: “We won’t let Satan control the Internet”.
Last week we drove to Brighton and visited the sea front and the Royal Pavilion. It was built by John Nash for George IV in 1815. It looks Indian on the outside and Chinese on the inside. It has been mostly restored to its original splendour (we think it rivals places in St Petersburg for grandour). From 1914 to 1916 it was used for Indian soldiers who had been wounded on the battlefields of the Western Front. From 1916 to 1920 it was used as a hospital for British troops who had lost arms or legs in the war.
The most impressive room was the dining room with the theme of dragons. The central chandelier was suspended from a gigantic dragon.
The sister missionaries hosted a ward talent show. We sang with another senior couple. But the very best part was a swimming demonstration by the sisters and two of our young adult men. We were all curious how they were going to swim in the chapel, especially since missionaries can’t swim while on their missions! It turned out they did a synchronized swim routine to classical musical behind a blue blanket (the pool). It was hilarious as they dove in, wiggled their feet, pirouetted in circles, etc. They did such a great job and it was hilarious!
The best news of all is that we have a replacement coming! The McDonalds will be here 6 weeks after we leave. We are so excited to have them coming and so relieved we won’t have to close OUR flat! We have been emailing and skyping with them.