So, after reading through this again, basically it sounds like a missionary email. Even though I haven’t served a full time mission- isn’t it neat that we can have mini mission experiences wherever we are? The Church here is just so cool!
Church was amazing. It’s a 5.5 hour ordeal (we left at 8:45, church was 10-1, we got home at 2:15, and we take the tube and then the bus), and it’s TINY. Well, it’s actually huge (there’s about 600 members in the boundaries but only about 100 come) it has 3 sets of senior missionaries, 2 sets of elders and a set of sisters. They baptize a ton but don’t have a lot of retention. The bishop is so nice and friendly, and he’s American! He’s from Mesa, but he moved here 12 years ago and is married to a British woman. It was pretty funny actually, all the missionaries who came up and introduced themselves to us were American, the bishop was conducting the meeting and he’s American, and the first speaker was also American, so it wasn’t until the second speaker that we actually heard a British accent.
Five minutes after I walked in to the building, they found out I play piano, which very quickly secured my calling in the ward. They put me in the primary as pianist, which is run by a senior couple and two older sisters who have no idea how to handle children, bless their hearts. They do split up for sharing time, so there’s about 5 kids in each hour for primary, and they’re all the kids of African immigrants, and they have so much energy and so many opinions it’s insane. And awesome. I might even end up as ward pianist because right now it’s a senior sister who knows a few hymns and the bishop who knows ten other hymns. I’m really happy though- no lesson planning and I get to play piano. It took 15 years of playing before I actually started hoping my callings were music related, but it’s become my favorite way to serve in my wards! Music brings the spirit so fast, I love it. (Wow, is this sounding like a missionary email or what?)
The Hyde Park chapel is the coolest thing ever also. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already heard a little bit about it, but I’m going to tell it again because seriously it was so cool. On Thursday we were walking back from the Victoria and Albert Museum and we saw two red banners hanging off this white building with the Church’s #lighttheworld Christmas campaign hashtag on them. Seeing as we’re all a bunch of Mormon BYU kids, we got excited and started running for the building, without even caring what it was. We got inside and the first thing we saw was the statue of Christ with his hands outstretched, followed immediately by grinning sister missionaries. And as I realized we were inside a church building, the first thought I had was, “the Church is true.” These sweet sister missionaries gave us a tour of the chapel, which is also a visitor’s center, the only one in the world! And we went in the chapel and the organ has over 2,000 pipes, and there’s a baptismal font right there in the hallway so you can walk in off the street right in to a baptism. And we found out a fun fact about why we call all the gyms in church buildings cultural halls! So apparently, when they were building the Hyde Park chapel, there’s a law saying there can’t be any gyms on that street. We don’t know why, it’s just not allowed. So in trying to justify having a gym, someone asked the church leader in charge what it would be used for, and the church leader said that people of lots of different cultures would come and gather, so the guys asked if it was like a cultural center. And that, my friends, is the fun fact of why all the gyms in LDS church buildings are called cultural halls.
The Church is so true. I love this gospel. And I can’t wait to love it even more with the members of the Lea Valley ward!