Monday, July 25, 2011

Benbow Farm, Gadfield Elm Chapel, Tintern Abbey, and Double Rainbows :)

I was really sad to leave Stratford-Upon-Avon. I didn't want to leave the Hollies! But there were many more amazing adventures to be had. :) For the next two nights we were to spend the night in Bath, which  I was super excited for. It's one of the main places in my favorite Jane Austen novel, Persuasion, so I was really looking forward to it! But we made some pretty great stops along the way. The first of which was Benbow farm in Herefordshire.  

It was a really amazing place. Here, Wilford Woodruff preached to hundreds of people. The pond above is where he baptized over 300 of them. On top of that, he and other missionaries helped to convert over 1200 other people in the area. There was a really special spirit there. This is one of the original  homes of the gospel in Europe! I loved being there.

The farm is privately owned and working farm, and the people who live there aren't members of the church, but they let us see the barn where Wilford Woodruff and his fellow servants of the Lord preached to the people. It was really nice of them to welcome us into their home! They even let some of my fellow pilgrims use their bathroom.
After we left Hill Farm, we headed to Gadfield Elm Chapel. It was equally cool. The chapel was originally built and owned by a group of Methodists called the United Brethren. In 1840 Wilford Woodruff came along and met with some of its members. A few months later almost all 600 members of the United Brethren were baptized. So they gave it to the church to use as a meetinghouse. Later the church sold it to pay for the members' emigration to America. I think it was also the first LDS meetinghouse in England. I'm glad that we made a few stops at church sites. I learned some really cool church history that I didn't know, and I learned that Wilford Woodruff was really amazing. One of the girls on the tour with me was his direct descendant, and she didn't know about any of this stuff either. It was really cool to see her connect to her grandpa even further.

The little tree on the right of this picture was planted by Gordon B. Hinckley in 2004 when he rededicated the chapel. It's so cute!
 After going to the two amazing church history sites, we dipped back into Wales for a couple of hours to see Tintern Abbey, one of the churches that Henry VIII had destroyed.

It's pretty impressive right? I don't know what it is about me and old ruins. For some reason I really really like seeing these places. Tintern Abbey was no exception. There is just something magical about it. Seeing the old gothic architecture against the sky with grass growing in the middle- it's blends the creations of God and the creations of man. The result is just... gah. Places like this are truly awesome to me.

There are those funny illustrations again.

How could anyone not be in love with this place?!
 We had the coolest experience ever at Tintern Abbey. There was this room, called the warming room, that had a curved ceiling. It was the only place there that still had a roof. The acoustics were crazy! So, being the little Mormons that we are, we went into the warming room and started singing hymns. In all my years singing and being in choir, I don't think any of my amazing experiences in choir could live up to this moment. Not only did we sound amazing together without countless hours of rehearsal, but the acoustics were so amazing that you could evidently hear it everywhere in the Abbey. Other tourists who were there came and filmed us singing, and some even said it was like bringing the Abbey back to life again. Others said it sounded like a heavenly chorus descending down on it. It was the best. It's moments like that that makes me love music so much.

Before leaving Wales for the very last time, we made one final stop in Cheddar Gorge. It was a really impressive canyon complete with mountain goats. Unfortunately I was half asleep on the coach when we stopped there, and I didn't think to take any pictures. But I pulled a picture off the internet so you could get the idea of how amazing it is:

And thus ended my adventures in Wales. I hope to go back someday, but I feel really grateful for the very little time I had there. Besides, it was time to go to Bath! Yay! When we got there we checked right into the Bath YMCA, aaaaaand no, it is NOT fun to stay at the YMCA. But, that being said we did have a rather incredible view from our room! A lot of people went out to see the city a little that night, but a few girls and I opted to stay in and catch up in our journal writing. We were really glad we did! It had been raining a little on and off all day, but when it stopped for good, I saw the most beautiful rainbow of my entire life. There were little breaks in the cloud, so there were sun rays coming down on the steeple of a church and not one, but two full rainbows lighting up the sky. 

The brighter rainbow had way more layers than the typical ROY G. BIV, which, hopefully, you can see in this picture. It was seriously the best rainbow ever. Anyway, I guess a lot of people who went out totally missed it. I felt really blessed to see it. It made me happy. :)


Tiffany said...

Holy shmoly i am glad you updated! Yay! That abby is amazing you are right. I would have loved to hear the singing.
I love to say Bath in a nice accent in my head. Bath. Bath. Soo cool.
Cant wait to see you in 4 days!

Taralyn said...

Awesome rainbow! I too love old ruins and happy hymn moments. :) Love your updates! Now only 3 days...but who's counting?

The Clarks said...

oh my gosh that abbey looks incredible!! i want to go so bad!! the third picture of it is just amazing. how cool! and i love the story of you all singing. i bet that was such a neat experience! and i really liked seeing pictures from the benbow farm and that chapel because i have been there!! pictures just don't do places like that justice. so pretty. and, that rainbow looks amazing. i'm glad you got to see it, too. =)

Stuart Clark said...

I crave more - update!!!


Tiffany said...

I also crave more! You have to do it before next week or it will NEVER happen. Come on!!!