Friday, November 7, 2008

Church History Trip - South Wales

On Monday, 3 November we headed out of London for our last "overnighter" trip besides Paris . . . how sad! This time we were headed to South Wales for a Church history trip. I call it "south" Wales because it was very different from our trip to the North, marked by wild landscapes. Our first stop was called the "Big Pit," a coal mine.
Here is the outside of the "Big Pit." It looks very Industrial Revolution don't you think?

Emilee sharing her knowledge of Welsh, which she learned on our trip to the North.

The big attraction at the "Big Pit" was the fact that you could actually go down 300+ feet into the coal mine! I was pretty excited. After waiting for a while our group got to go down. The photo above is of Dr. Wimmer and Jacob Benfell with their hardhats on. Good thing Dr. Wimmer had his hat on too because Emilee and I were behind him down in the mine and it saved his head multiple (5 times) . . . oops, I wasn't supposed to say anything!

Kaitlyn getting suited up by our guide. It was a really cool tour and I would show you pictures but we couldn't take our cameras down because there are no batteries allowed down there, they didn't want any explosions. Everything went well until the end when Hailee, Emilee, Anna, and I got lost. Let me tell you what happened. You see, this is what happened, the group had stopped so the guide could explain something and as the group started moving again we heard singing. The four of us were in the back of the group and Hailee decided to investigate down the side tunnel. Emilee followed her part of the way down and I waited at the mouth . . . poor Anna's light had broken so she couldn't go anywhere without us. Well, Hailee crept to the end of the tunnel until she could see who was singing and she knew she wasn't supposed to be there so she turned around and told us to run. We started running the way the group had gone and we turned the corner and . . . the tunnel forked. Now what? Well, we looked both ways and couldn't see any lights or hear the group so we turned right and started running. After we had gotten to the top of the hill we stopped and looked around. "Which way did they go?" we asked in a panic. "Maybe the other way" we decided. So we turned the other way and ran down the hill and around another corner. Anna said, "Maybe we should pray" but just then we heard Dr. Wimmer and our guide calling from down the tunnel. "We're coming!" we yelled and then we turned a few more corners and TaDa! We were back to the elevator shaft! It got our adrenaline pumping a little, and we had a great laugh so that was good!
After we left the "Big Pit" we headed to St. Fagans National History Museum, which is unlike any natural history museum that I have ever heard of. It was this outdoor recreation of many different time periods of Welsh life. One of my favorite exhibits was the Celtic village.

These were the early Celtic village dwellings . . . and they were even better inside because . . .

They had a fire . . . and I'm a pushover for campfires. Me, Bethany, Danielle, Dasily, and Kaitlyn (who is laying on our laps), enjoying the fire.
I have been sick, so when we got to the hostel I ate some dinner and then my roommates convinced me to take some Benadryl so I could get some real sleep. I knew that these kinds of medicines stay in my system for a long time but I was desperate. I was out all night long.
The next morning we headed to the famous Tintern Abbey. Many Romantic poets wrote about this abbey, and I can see why. It's set back in the hills and then you come across it . . . open to the elements from the dissolution of the monasteries. It is fantastic.
Inside the abbey. A perfect frame for the scene outside.

Me and the frog legs of the abbey. Actually, I have no idea what these were supposed to be but that's all my imagination could see.

A view of the abbey. It was a cold, misty day. Not good for the sickness, but great for the atmosphere and mood of the place.

A view of the surrounding area. Ok, so question for anyone out there who knows trees. See the trees changing color in the background? They are some sort of pine, well not pine because they are turning yellow. I couldn't get a close-up picture because the closest I got was on the bus and we were moving fast, but I'm pretty sure they were needles. Has anyone heard of something of the sort?
After the abbey, we met up with our tour guide from Preston who took us on a Church history tour of the Benbow farm and the surrounding areas. The picture above is the Benbow farm house, unfortunately, the owner wasn't home to show us inside but at least we got to see the outside. I was more excited than I thought I would be to see the Benbow farm. After we had been talking about the importance of this area to the early Church, to actually be there was amazing.

This is the pond at Benbow farm . . . what a sacred spot, where so many were baptized. But I can't even imagine how they were dunked ALL the way under the water because it was like a foot deep. While we were at the pond, Peter, our guide, showed us a map and told us the numbers of people baptized in the area. I can't even imagine that number of people being baptized within a short period of time, in such a rural area! What a huge blessing to the Church!
Because I had taken Benadryl the night before I was drugged all day. Seriously, everyone was laughing at me because I would get off the bus, wander around and see all the sights, then get back on the bus and was out within minutes, with my mouth hanging open. I was kind of a zombie.

At one point we hiked Malvern Hill, which was a hike. I was low on energy and stuffed up so I wheezed all the way up the hill. It was a beautiful sight. Three prophets, before they were prophets, have been on the top of the hill to talk about the work in the area.

Me, looking a little worse for ware, on top of the hill.
Our last stop on the tour was Gadfield Elm Chapel, the first LDS owned meeting house in Britain. The only way you could get in was by answering the 7 questions below on the door key pad.
Would you be able to get into the chapel?

Gadfield Elm Chapel. It has been restored since the time of Wilford Woodruff and it is amazing. While Peter was telling us stories of Wilford preaching in the chapel with mobs standing outside I felt such gratitude to the missionaries who do all they can to teach the Gospel, especially the early missionaries! How amazing would it be to sit at the feet of the Apostles and listen to the words of truth? And yet, we get to every month.
The outside of Gadfield Elm Chapel. I really enjoyed this trip through part of our history. The Spirit was strong and it will be something I remember my whole life.

1 comment:

Anna Jay said...

I just rediscovered your blog. I love that coal mine story. I can't believe we got lost! ..even IF it was only for a few minutes!