As promised in my previous post, I have some exciting news. Well, let's just clarify that, it is exciting news for me and I hope you can share in my rejoicing.
I will shortly be off and away from the hallowed County of Kent and go to reside in Surrey. I am taking two years out to serve in the London Temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For those that don't know may I suggest you take a little peep at this link lds.org/temples, which will show you more about temples and what we do there.
I am so excited that I am finally doing something to more fully serve the Lord. Way,way back when I was a fairly new convert, I asked to serve a mission and was told (for reasons that I don't need to explain) that it was not the right time. I abided by that decision until two years ago. My wonderful Bishop pulled me aside one Sunday and told me that he felt prompted to ask me to consider serving a mission. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that what he asked was right for me, but the timing couldn't have been more wrong. My father had just been diagnosed as terminally ill with only weeks to live and to compound things even further, I was joint executor of the estate. It took nearly a year for the estate to be finally settled (goodness knows how long it would have taken if the estate was actually worth anything more, and I have total empathy for those that just pass off all the hard work to solicitors) and then I knew that I could start plotting and planning for my mission.
That didn't quite work out exactly as planned either. Once the estate was finalised, I fasted and prayed to know that I was doing the right thing. Once I had established that, I needed a couple of chats with my Bishop to make sure I was on the right track and then I was all ready to complete all the paperwork and see what happened. My life has never, ever, been simple. I had often wondered if someone "up there" didn't like me. Once I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I had my answer. It has nothing at all to do with my Heavenly Father not liking me. In fact it is the complete opposite. I know that despite everything I get wrong, my Heavenly Father loves me unconditionally. Many of my trials and challenges that have beset my life have actually made me stronger - and I hope a better person. However, I was still struggling with seemingly little things that were determined to trip me up. Here is just one example. I had to have a medical (which because it had to be done privately cost me an arm and a leg) and that included a blood test. Did the doctor take the required blood? No, she didn't and I then had to make yet another appointment to go back and see the nurse. After getting the medical completed I still had to have a vaccination for Tuberculosis which meant that I not only had to make another appointment but it had to be done at the hospital. That took weeks when it should have taken days and even then they told me that I had never been given a BCG vaccination when I know that I had one. And here is an interesting piece of information that I didn't know about; your vaccination that many of you probably had when you were in your teens (well in the UK anyway - I have no idea about the rest of the world ) does not protect you for life, so of instead of having perhaps just a booster shot, I had to have the whole lot done again - which meant more time delays. Honestly if you had said that it sounded like I had someone determined to stop me, I would have totally agreed with you.
Fast forward a few months and I was still nowhere near ready to go anywhere and the frustration was beginning to show. I had two health scares that frightened me and had to be investigated (happily nothing too serious was found in either instance) and that set me back weeks too. And then, when I thought I was almost there - I knew where I was going, and it was just a question of waiting for an appointment with the Temple President (I am beginning to have a bit of a dislike for appointments), the temple actually had to close for ten weeks whist it had some major works carried out. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?
Finally, finally, after months or being patient (or trying to be) I have been interviewed, set apart (given a blessing to officially serve) and know that I can start in May. Sadly, as yet I have not been given a exact date (the person that was dealing with my accommodation had to go home because of a sudden bereavement and I was told that it would be dealt with on her return - and then the temple promptly shut for its twice yearly two week cleaning break). Honestly, I don't think I could have made any of this up. I have had nothing but delays and illness since I first started it all off, but I know that I should be there at the temple and I guess so does Satan, which is why I have had so much challenge. I can only assume that he thinks that I am going to be so wonderful that he needs to try and stop me before I can do any good. Sadly for him, he has failed and with the wind prevailing in the right direction I shall soon be gone to much more exciting pastures.
I do seem to be going on a little bit but I can't help it; although I am probably more frightened than excited, I am very excited to be able to serve in The House of the Lord for a while. All good things and all that, it does mean that I have to sell up completely and thus I have started the onerous task of sorting out my belongings. I have to confess that I haven't done that much but I am quite enjoying the really serious de-cluttering that I am doing. Basically I have four or five options for all my worldly good and chattels - in the bin, to the charity shop, sell to the very handy second hand shop just opposite me, give to anyone who wants or needs something or take it with me. I haven't seen the accommodation but I am told that it is not very big. If the person had ever seen my flat, they might well have changed their minds as I have two rooms that are less than twelve foot square and have two windows, four doors, a built in wardrobe (I use the term loosely) and a chimney breast to contend with, plus two radiators, all taking up valuable floor and wall space. Anything will probably feel like a castle in comparison! I do recognise that I can take very little with me but I don't need much as the accommodation is fully furnished and equipped. Of course one has to take essentials like my jigsaw puzzles (two newly bought in a sale to get me through the loss of a television), my Jane Austin and my writing paper and pens. I can probably live without much else. My scriptures will be constant companions too, just in case some wag makes mention of the fact that I did not consider them essential!
I have just heard the fantastic news that I shall be beginning my service on 3rd June! That gives me another four weeks at home (as I knew it would be either the beginning of May or the end) and it will be just after my birthday. What a lovely present. So now it really is all systems go as I contact the utilities et al and start the process. Must remember to tell the landlord too. I think I need a list and practise what I preach.
I must go as I have so much to do and so little time....
See you all soon.