Dear Family and Friends,
As I look around the streets of London I never cease to be amazed. I’ve always been a people watcher and London is people watching heaven. There is so much diversity- different languages, dress and all kinds of behavior- both good and not so good. Not too long ago we were on a bus and started to get off but changed our minds. A European lady across the aisle asked where we wanted to go. I said we had just changed our minds. She responded, “ Well. just sit still and quit being a nuisance”. I was really surprised. A man behind her smiled at me and made the crazy sign. I felt much better.
A couple of days ago we had a day off from the Archives. We made arrangements to meet up with the young missionaries from our ward. We took Elder Baker and Elder Lawrence to lunch and then went with them to visit one of our members in the hospital. The Elders enjoyed the meal and we enjoyed their company and enthusiasm.
Our trip home from church today turned out to be another ‘adventure’. There have been closures on the Northern tube line the past few weekends so we had to catch a different bus and get the tube at Camden Town. It was pouring rain after the meetings and we had a fairly long walk to the bus stop. When we got there we saw that the bus stop was closed. We walked to the next stop and caught the bus for the 45 minute ride to the tube station. When we got off the bus at Camden Town there was a sign that said they closed the tube station due to overcrowding. We had to walk to the next tube station- it was still pouring rain. We were finally able to get on the Northern line. The train was packed with wet people- us included. We transferred to the Piccadilly line and eventually got bus C3 to take us back to our flat. I was not smiling.
In my last blog I mentioned the messages from home and how much they mean to us. I have a couple new ones that we recently opened.
“Generations pass like leaves fall from our family tree. Each season new life blooms and grows benefitting from the strength and experience of those who went before”.
Another message quoted Alex Haley,
“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we came from”.
How very true. As we search out our own ancestry and help others do the same, there is a such a feeling of enrichment and satisfaction that comes with knowing those who went before.
This was so apparent as we observed people at Who Do You Think You Are? Live, a family history event that was held at Olympia Exhibition Hall this past weekend. It is billed as the largest family history event in the world and is based on the television show, Who Do You Think You Are? The three-day expo at Olympia usually attracts about 15,000 attendees every year. This is the second year we have attended and it is a wonderful experience. We helped out at the FamilySearch booth located right inside the front doors of the exhibition hall. FamilySearch exhibitors were easily identified by their blue FamilySearch shirts. We helped visitors to the event learn to use the FamilySearch website and find their ancestors on the various web sites that we use. It is very similar to the work we are doing as we help people out at The National Archives. It is interesting that in the year since we have been in London we have become acquainted with so many people who are involved in family history work- our patrons, professional genealogists, employees of The National Archives. We saw many of these people at Olympia.
Geoff Mawlam, Elders Ken Fugal and Larry Sprouse
Elders John Robertson and Larry Sprouse
Sister Barbara Robertson
Family Search employee and Sister Joyce Sprouse
Elder Ken and Sister Cheryl Fugal
The FamilySearch team from the UK and US, London Family History Centre staff and some of the family history missionaries. We and the Robertsons are not in this photo.
The expressions of gratitude for our help and the help our Church provides with the FamilySearch resources, was overwhelming. It’s been a wonderful to realize the respect that people not of our faith have for the work our Church has done in preserving so many of the records in the UK and making them available free of charge.
Ken had these observations:
The thing that struck me at WDYTYA was the magnitude of interest in the products for searching one’s ancestry and heritage. We are all interested to some degree in our ancestors. We know, as a Church, we will continue to move this work forward. Having improved tools to do so, is of great importance.To me, watching new technological developments is a further indication of the Lord's Spirit being manifest. Improving search capabilities provides incentive for more people to want to be involved. The talks by Elders Bednar and Holland at the last General Conference, were very insightful in these regards.
We have 2 special birthdays coming up!
Happy 14th, Kayleigh!
Happy 11th Matthew!
Our best to all of you from London,
Love, Elder and Sister Fugal (aka Cheryl and Ken, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa)