Sunday, July 6, 2014

45 Days in London: Day 13

Oh, how we reveled in this day of rest! 

After walking over 46 miles this week, a day of rest was quite literal and felt even more necessary than usual.  Church again was a rich experience. We were assigned to a different congregation this week (Hyde Park 2). There were more Americans in this ward, which gave it less of an international feel. Among the Brits, we met a very gracious actor/artist named Martin (reminded me a little of my brother Ben) who invited me to do Pintar Rápido—a huge plein-air painting competition taking place here in South Ken/Chelsea. So exciting!

Another treat was hearing the scriptures (from 2 Daniel and Psalms) read by a retired British actor, Michael Danvers-Walker, in Sunday School. (Turns out he's friends with Sir Laurence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave. Whoa.) He has this amazing voice, the perfect accent, and great expression when he reads. After class I thanked him, and unabashedly told him I wish he would record the entire Standard Works for me! He was so humble, just sort of laughed and shrugged it off, then asked all about us. Very kind, gracious, faithful man.

(We later heard Michael bless the sacrament, causing us to listen extra intently and feel the power of those blessings in new ways.)

I noticed no one had signed up to feed the missionaries today, and (remembering a few Sundays as a missionary when we went home and had instant oatmeal for dinner) I added our name to the calendar. Of course, it hadn't occurred to me that we only had seating for four in our apartment, and very little food. We ended up borrowing a kitchen table and an extra chair from across the hall (not kidding). And cooked lots of pasta. But we had a great time pulling the house together and cooking and preparing.

Having the missionaries in our home—even in a tiny student apartment in London—was delightful! Elder Zhao and Elder Fullmer were great conversationalists, very comfortable to be around. I was especially impressed at how well they engaged our 15-year-old. After dinner they delivered a sweet message about weakness, from Ether 12, Alma 34, and the pauline epistles. It was just a few minutes long, but genuine and spirit-filled, and directly answered something I'd been praying about. If you ever have an opportunity to have Mormon missionaries in your home, don't pass it up!

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