Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lessons learned in London

Sister Rueckert In front of Westminster Abbey, while a double decker bus went by with the banner I Love Mormon.  How fitting to summarize our wonderful few days in London

We just finished a wonderful few days in London, England with our Self-Reliance Managers and Full-time missionaries that are serving in the British Isles.  I want you to know that I have learned to be politically correct with my description above.  The following is how we appropriately describe the different geographic identities in the British Isles:

England is a Country
England plus Wales = Britain
Britain plus Scotland = Great Britain
Great Britain plus Northern Ireland = United Kingdom
United Kingdom plus Republic of Ireland = British Isles

I hope all that read this blog will know how to appropriately identify the different geographic identities in this part of the world.  It can keep you out of hot water in your conversations with those who really understand.  The people in our seminar were from all different parts of these geographies.

The occasion of our visit was to participate in a seminar put on by our SRS managers for all of the full-time missionary couples in the British Isles.  We arrived on Monday, the seminar was held on Tuesday and Wednesday and we came back home to Frankfurt, Germany, today, Thursday.

We stayed in a hotel about one mile from the Hyde Park Chapel, where the seminar was held.  We had the opportunity to walk back and forth each day through the streets of London., which included going through a district of amazing museums.   The following are some of our views during that walk each day:   
Elder and Sister Rueckert on the North End of the Museum of Natural History
Debbie in front of the Museum of Natural History
Across the street from the museum, with double decker buses and one of the many taxis.
Much of the walk was along Cromwell Road.  Very Royal!

In the evening we were privileged to see a full moon with the planet Venus in full view.  I have added the fun photo that we were able to get of this beautiful sight:

We spent two days with our mangers and missionaries.  We were able to learn from each other and most importantly to get to know each other better.  It is a great privilege to serve with such wonderful and inspiring missionaries.  Each have their own challenges and have met them with faith.  In just the past month that has included a death of a grandchild and for another the loss of sight in one eye (hopefully temporary).  However, they don't let any of that interfere with their missionary service.  Three of these couples have recently started their service, but already are moving forward with faith.  The following photo was taken outside of the Hyde Park Chapel in London during one of our lunch breaks:

Self-Reliance Missionary couples currently serving in London, Birmingham and Manchester, England  and in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.  Also included are Elder & Sister Rueckert and our two SRS managers.
In the evening of the last day of the seminar we were privileged to receive a tour inside the Palace of Westminster, which houses the Parliament of the United Kingdom.  This included going into the House of Commons, House of Lords, Westminster Hall and the Cathedral of St. Mary's.  We couldn't take pictures of much that we were able to see inside, but it was a wonderful experience and one that helped us to have much more respect for the great history and current roles of the British Parliament.   The following photos were taken outside and inside, where allowed:

One end of Westminster is the buildings above the House of the Lords
This portion is over the Westminster Hall, which connects the House of the Lords with the House of the Commons

Big Ben rises above the Hall of the Commons below
Underneath, in the Westminster Hall, first built in the 1100s.
Many Kings, Queens  and Prime Ministers have laid in state in the Westminster Hall
In front of the Westminster Palace and Big Ben with the  London Eye lit up in the colors of Belgium, due to the terrorist attack that occurred during our visit
The end of our seminar with the entire group under Big Ben, in the grounds of the Westminster Palace

Besides all of this wonderful experience, Sister Rueckert was also able to remain healthy, much different than our last trip to London last year.  In fact, her health has continued to be excellent since we began our official time as missionaries.

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