Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Missionaries, Messages from Home and Fun Things


Dear Family and Friends,


One of the very enjoyable things about working as a family history missionary is the associations we form and conversations we have with our patrons.


One gentleman was talking with me about the bombings of London during World War II. He was a child during that time and remembers the destruction caused by the bombs. He went on to say that his mother told him stories about the zeppelin bombings during World War I. I had never realized that the airships were used for that purpose. After our conversation he went and found a book, Zeppelins of World War I, held at The National Archives, to show me.  Apparently the Germans tried to demoralize the British by dropping bombs on the cities.



We certainly learn a lot from the wonderful people we work with at The National Archives.



Sunday we traveled without any interruptions or adventures out to the North London Ward. I was impressed by a talk given by one of the young missionaries. Elder Helske has been in our ward for 6 months which is unusually long for a young missionary to be in one place. I will never forget the first time he came up to the pulpit to introduce himself as a new missionary direct from the Preston MTC. It was very apparent from his words that he was thinking what on earth am I doing in a strange country as a missionary?? (He’s from Finland.) I remember thinking at the time- Oh my! In his talk Sunday he mentioned that first talk and how he was in a ‘woe is me” frame of mind and it was all about himself. He related the story of Nephi and how he described himself as “being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in statue and also having great desires to know the mysteries of God” to becoming “a man large in stature and also having received much strength from the Lord”. Elder Helske likened that to the changes that are happening to him as he serves on his mission. It is so apparent this change is occurring in this fine young Elder as it is in all the young people who serve on missions.

Messages From Home:

Because the tube to the East Fichley was not running the  Sunday before last, we decided to attend the Hyde Park Ward. They are meeting in the Baden Powell Building while the Hyde Park Chapel is being refurbished. We enjoyed the meeting- there were 2 very good talks and a sweet family with 3 little girls sang A Child’s Prayer. Of course that made me cry.

We got back to our flat at 11:30 instead of our usual 2:image30. I spent time during the afternoon going through our messages from home. These messages were written on small strips of paper, put in a wicker box and sent with us to London. There are messages to Ken and to me and we each read one every day. All of our family- even the small ones wrote messages. I’ve saved all the ones that we have read and compiled many of them on a document. It was a good experience to reread them and think about our family.

Some make us laugh:

Your good tomahawk scalped Drew pretty good.

Dad, the highest scoring word in scrabble is quartz at 164 points if you play against Mom.

I’m sorry I went to the U of U, Dad.

Mom, I only borrowed one shirt from your clothes closet.

Some bring back good memories:

I hiked to the “Y”. I remember doing it with you guys. It was fun.

Dad, thanks for being nice when I was your grumpy seminary student.

Dad, I enjoyed our talks when you’d drive me across town when I was your home teaching companion.

Mom, I remember a snowstorm we had in Indiana. We were outside sledding down our street and you were inside making fudge. I thought, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Some are uplifting:

Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars.

Elder Haight said, “Missionary couples are a great resource.”

Missionary work is not easy but according to Elder Ballard, it is definitely worth it.

“It is said that the sun never sets on the British Empire. That Empire is now diminished but it is true the sun never sets on this work of the Lord as it is touching the lives of people across the earth,” President Hinckley

Success is best manifest in doing, not dreaming.

The ones from the grandchildren are wonderful:

Never give up!

Can I see your missionary tag?

We have been memorizing semetary scriptures and it’s cool.

Have you developed a British accent yet?

Do you miss me?

You are so luky!

Thank you for serving a mission in London.

Have you ridden the Knight Bus yet?

I love you like old people love chicken.

You rock- good example.

Grandma, you are brave.

Chinese symbol for Grandpa 爷爷

Grandpa, it’s happening so fast! I am proud of you.

I’m thinking about you grandma.

I say my prayers day and night because it helps me to choose the right.

I wuv you, Grandpa.

Fun Things

P days are for cleaning, Ken has his chores and I have mine, shopping and fun things. The past few weeks we visited the London Aquarium, (along with about a million kids- I forgot it was half term), the National Army Museum, the Royal Mews and the Tate Britain. 

The aquarium was a kids paradise and we certainly liked it as well. We walked on a glass floor over tanks of sharks and through tunnels surrounded by fish.










The Nation Army Museum had an exhibition on World War I horses and that’s what attracted us there.


We liked the exhibition but found other parts of the museum equally interesting. One part, The Road to Waterloo, had a scale model of the battlefield…


and the skeleton of Napoleon’s horse, Marengo.



We loved the Royal Mews.It is a combination stable, carriage house and garage for the Royal family attached to Kensington Palace.


The Gold State Coach


The Rolls Royce Phantom VI that carried Kate Middleton to her marriage to Prince William

We saw the stable with the horses names over their stalls.

We were fortunate to be able to see what one of the guides called a “demonstration for some of Her Majesty’s guests”.



Coachmen, grooms, chauffeurs and their families live in flats above the carriage houses and stables. These are seen in the photo above. Some of these families have lived in the mews for several generations.


The Tate Britain contains British art from the 1500’s to the present. We have really enjoyed all of the art gallery's we have visited in London and keep going back. I loved these:  

The Lady of Shalott

John William Waterhouse

Ophelia                                                                                        John Everett Millais

We love London and our mission!

Our best to all of you,

Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)




Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cold Weather, Another Adventure and Back to School


Dear Family and Friends,

It has been cold in London this week! We are used to cold weather in winter but because we are outdoors so much it seems colder here. We had our first snow since we’ve been in London on Saturday night. Here are some pictures.

The street out in the front of our flat:





Our front entrance:


Our garden:



Leaving for church Sunday morning:

IMG_2614  IMG_2615

Thank goodness for scarves, hats and warm coats.


Another Adventure

We didn’t  realize when we set off for church this morning that when there’s snow in London things don’t  function normally. Our first clue was when we had to wait a very long time for the bus. Our tubes were on time but the bus delay made it pretty certain that we would be late for church. When we got to East Finchley Station we took off running to see if we could get the bus. It had just gone past our stop and as we ran down the sidewalk to try to get the driver to stop, Ken slipped. When he  grabbed a metal sign to stop his fall he made a pretty deep cut into one of his fingers. We stood there for a minute, not knowing quite what to do. We looked up and saw one of our ward members. Her family had been driving by, saw us miss our bus and stopped to give us a ride the rest of the way to church. The attendance was small, less than 30, and since traveling home was going to be a challenge, the Bishop announced that we would just have Sacrament Meeting. That worked for us as we knew Ken was going to need stitches. The same family who picked us up gave us a ride back to the tube station and on the way home Ken stopped at a hospital near our flat to get 3 stitches- the first he has ever had. The nurse at the hospital commented that he was very calm throughout. I guess the British saying really is becoming our mission motto.


Back to School

We were able to visit a school on Monday. A friend of ours in the North London Ward teaches science at a local school and invited us to visit.

In England the school system is organized into years which we call grades. Primary school begins at age 5 and has years 1-6. Secondary School begins at age 11 and has years 7-11. Next is a final, optional, 2 years of preparation called the sixth form. It is during this time that students prepare for their A-level exams. We often see student groups and their teachers who visit The National Archives. They are most often sixth form and unlike the primary and secondary students they don’t wear school uniforms.

State schools, which we in the US call public schools, are mostly funded and overseen by the government. They are free to all children ages 5-16. Approximately 93% of students attend these state schools. Public schools, which we call private in the US, are not funded by the government and have tuition fees.

The school we visited is a state secondary girl’s school. It is very diverse in ethnicity and 78% of the students speak a different language at home. The enrollment is about 900 students with class sizes of about 25. Our class sizes in Utah are larger.

The girls looked very nice in their school uniforms with gray pants or skirts and sweaters. We sat in on an integrated science class that our friend teaches for year 11. They were doing a review activity in preparation for an exam and the girls themselves were presenting information in power points. It was fun to observe because I taught many of the same things. The girls were very focused and we could tell that our friend is a great teacher. He is also the head of that year. We then visited the classroom of a teacher who was teaching Bengali to second and third generation Bangladeshi students. The school teaches several languages including Bengali, Italian, French, German and Turkish. Forty eight languages are spoken in the school. This reflects the diversity of London itself.

It felt good to be back in a school. I will always miss being a teacher- the students, faculty and just the educational environment- those were wonderful years!

Yet another exciting week of our mission passes by and again we love our mission and are still smiling.

Our best to all of you!

Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)