England Bristol Mission

Sister Dorothy Noorlander

Pictured: Sis. Noorlander's mission assignment/change board photo (located in the mission home), which appeared with the other missionary photos.

For a son, reading these documents, most of them for the first time, I have come to appreciate my mother in a new and wonderful way. She left on her mission less than two months after my father died—on her birthday—October 3, 1990. She was 68 years old. She was alone. She was scarred. She left friends and family behind, including many grandchildren. She did not go alone, however. She did it, as she would say, “with help from heaven above.”

Valient is a word that hardly begins to describe her service, her sacrifice, or her life. What a great soul she is! My life is greatly blessed because she is my mother.

Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. July 1991. Zone conference day. Elder Matheison (from Ireland), Sister Noorlander, Sister Olson. “The Church started here in Wales. We are standing in front of the home where President David O. McKay’s mother was born and raised.”

The Dick Heckman Family. They presented Sis. Noorlander with her missionary journal.

Sister Noorlander was interviewed for her mission by Bishop Kenneth Duncan, and then by President Bruce Olson on July 31, 1990. She received her mission call and assignment to England on August 10. She was set apart as a missionary 2½ months later by President Olson on November 27.

Sis. Noorlander entered the MTC on November 28, and was there until December 17, 1990, when she left for the England Bristol Mission.

Complete Journal of MTC Experience

Sis. Noorlander in the MTC with her companion Sis. Olsen. They were also companions in England, and shared many stories together.

Raenee Haymond, Sis. Noorlander’s long-time friend going back to her Fresno, California days. Raenee was the receptionist at the MTC, and there to greet Sis. Noorlander the day she arrived.

Sis. Noorlander’s MTC district, called the Paducah District. She is in the back row, third person from the right.

Sis. Lowe. MTC teacher.

Elder Warren. MTC teacher.

Sis. Butikofer. MTC teacher.

Work In Progress

This section contains dozens of handwritten pages, some on very small pieces of paper (see 3½ in. x 6½ in. sample below). The decision to transcribe them is still under evaluation.

Greetings from beautiful England. This is the first chance I have had to write. My schedule here has been as busy as it was in the MTC, and we have been so exhauted that we fall to sleep when we get home from the office. However, each day has been a little better than the day before as far as getting used to the differences in shopping for groceries, even crossing the street and remembering that the cars are going on a different side than we have been used to. Both Sister Olson and I have almost been hit. Last Saturday I stepped out in front of a car and if a man hadn't yelled at me to get back I probably wouldn't be here to write this letter. I jumped up on the curb just as the car passed me. Scary!

First Impressions

Our Mission President is so fantastic, and so spiritual. He is an Englishman and goes home next July, which already makes me sad. You feel the same love for each other here in the English Bristol Mission (EBM) as you did in the MTC.

Our office staff includes four Elders, two couples, Sister Olson and me. The President has his office here too. They have all been so super, and even though we are so busy the whole day is one spiritual experience after another.

Mission Home

We left Salt Lake on the morning of Dec. 17th, and after a 3 hour layover in New York, we flew all night, arriving in London at 7:30 am the next day. We then took a bus to Bristol which took one and one-half hours. On the same bus were 3 Elders going to our mission from the MTC in Surrey. My good friends the Sorensen’s, who are serving there, told them to give me a hug when they got to EBM. So when we got on and they saw my name tag, it felt like I was meeting old friends hearing all about President and Sister Sorensen.

It was a beautiful ride through the English countryside. We arrived in Bristol, called the mission office, and in about 10 minutes the APs arrived. They loaded all the luggage for seven missionaries into one small bus. Piled on top it looked like a mountain, so we witnessed our first miracle when we all fit.

The next miracle came when we arrived at the President’s home safely after driving the whole way on the wrong side of the road. I felt like we were going to get hit head on all the way. I have learned since that you don’t say, “the wrong side of the road.” You say, “a different side.” However you say it, it feels weird.

Testimony Meeting

We had lunch with the President and his wife, then the Elders took us to our flat for a few hours sleep. We were picked up at 6 pm and went back to President Jones’ house for dinner, orientation, and a testimony meeting. President Jones called on me to start the testimonies. When we knelt to have prayer after the testimonie were over, he asked me to offer the prayer. I was grateful for the experiencea I had in the MTC doing both, and felt comfortable doing it.

I've never felt closer to my Heavenly Father than I did that evening. What a wonderful way to start my service to Him. I am here to serve His children in England and Wales.

The Work Begins

The next day the office Elders picked us up at 7:30 am and we started our 10 hour days. They have been shorthanded here in the office since two Sisters went home in October. We have this month to help get everything caught up, which includes setting up new books for the new year. Afer that we will start doing “splits” with the members of our ward, visiting the less-active members at night. That will be exciting.

We have been to our ward twice. The first time the Bishop introduced us in Sacrament meeting, and called on the three of us to talk. I felt comfortable speaking! I can’t believe I am really me, but I came on my mission knowing that the Lord knew my limitations and that He would help me to be equal to anything that I was called on to do. I have been putting to the test all the things that I told Jason and Charlie in my letters these last two years about faith. It works.

Office Duties

I absolutely love being in the office. I can’t believe the things that I’m ask to do and that I’m doing. I work with Elder Barrus. He retired from being an office manager for 33 years, and he is really whipping everything into shape. He and his wife arrived here in October. There are so many areas to work in. We are taking care of all the missionary flats (about 70 of them), and all the mission cars (32 in all). I can’t believe all the accidents and repairs.

The missionaries have to pay a poll tax at a rate assessed by each county. I type up and post the checks for all these places, write letters and call utility companies. I also keep books, which means that I have to do fractions. I told Elder Barrus during the first couple of days that he would probably fire me, but he said, “No one gets fired or quits on this job. You endure to the end.” Wales is in our mission and the other day I had to call an electric co. there, and we both had a little hard time understanding each other. We laughed, and finally got it straightened out. Before we hung up he said, “You have a very nice accent.” I guess I was the one that had the accent to him, which is something I hadn’t thought about. I was thinking only about his.

First Christmas

Sister Olson and I spent Christmas day with Elder and Sister Beck. We had a lovely traditional Christmas dinner and a peaceful and restful day. It was so nice. We had been invited to go to the Bishop’s in the evening. They had a bad storm where he lives and no electricity so we didn’t go.

The day after Christmas is a sacred day for all of England, and no one goes to work. A neat young couple in our ward invited us to dinner and to play games along with four Elders. We played some really fun games. When we arrived they were playing Rummikub (believe it or not Eyvonne and Gladys—my old Rummikub partners). Lisa their little daughter received it for Christmas. I played with Lisa and two Elders, and guess who won? Of course I had plenty of practice before I left.

New Years Day

After working a long day on New Years Day, we left to have dinner at a member’s home in the evening. During the day, as we were working, we talked about all of you in the States sitting around watching football all day. Is that right?

Office Schedule

We walk to the office each day. We are up at 5:30 then leave at 7:30 for the half-mile mile up-hill walk. This is winter and it is cold. Sister Olson always tells me, "Can you believe that we are doing this at our age? It really isn’t too bad with a muffler around your neck, an unbrella over your head, and the very warm gloves that my Noorlander grandchildren gave me for my birthday. Thanks kids!

Driving in England

I have the keys to a little blue car in my desk, but we are afraid to drive. President Jones wants us to get a British license first, but we will have to have at least a couple of lessons and a lot of practice to take the test.

You don’t take a written test, just a driving test. The roundabouts scare me to death. If the weather gets any cooler we might get braver very fast. It costs 20 English pounds per lesson, and Elder Barrus took five. All the fees and lessons add up to at least £100 and can be £200 if you don’t pass the test the first time.

Counting Blessings

We don’t appreciate what we have in the United States. Here, we freeze in church. The Bishop doesn’t turn on the heat in the chapel until he arrives (ten minutes before the rest of us). It never gets warm. We have to wear our boots to keep our legs warm and our coats the whole time. I took my coat off when I had to speak, just before I went to the stand, and I was almost blue. Tim [nephew who served in Bristol], if you read this you can relate to what I wear to bed: ankle length thermal garments over my regular ones, a sweat suit, two pair of socks and furrie slippers, two blankets, and a comforter. The first night I froze with all that on, but I must be getting acclimatized because I’m warmer now.


They told us in the MTC to be sure and think in dollars and not pounds when we buy something. Otherwise, we’ll be paying twice what we think we’re paying. When the mission had us open our bank accounts, it boggled my mind when I put in an amount that would have lasted for the month in dollars, but was only half the amount in pounds and still had to last the month. Our Flat is £400 or $800 and is going up £50, so we are looking for a cheaper one. I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than where I am. I wouldn’t trade the powerful spiritual experiences I’ve had since Nov. 28th for anything. I’m grateful for my good health so I can serve. I know that happiness is a by-product of service, and that is what I am here to do. In my personal interview with Pres. Jones, he told me that he needed to tell me that I was in the England Bristol Mission for a special reason. I pray that I can be worthy to know what it is by working hard and being obedient. I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that President Benson is indeed a living Prophet. I treasure my testimony. No one can take it away from me because no one gave it to me. I earned it through study, service, and hard work.

Thank you all for your support and please keep the letters coming. We all watch that stack of mail come into the mission office every morning and wait until it gets sorted to see if we are one of the lucky ones. I do love and appreciate each of you for the strength I receive from you—my family and friends.

Much love, Dorothy

Greetings from the still beautiful but very cold England. I thought I was going to escape the cold and snowy weather of Utah, but it followed me here. I have found out that ice and snow is slippery whereever you go. To all of you that have written about broken pipes and flooded basements, I hope you are dried out and warm and cozy by your fires. If you’ve reached that point, think of me here in a flat that doesn’t have central heat. Because of the high cost of electricity we put a heater on only in the room where we are. Needless to say we dash pretty fast from one room to another. It is very rare to have snow stay on the ground here in the Southern part of England, so they aren’t prepared to take care of it. The Elders love to throw snowballs at our car, but they are very good at missing us when they catch us out of it. They have even brought home a little closer by making “slurpees” out of the snow and pop.

Drivers License

President still wants us to get a UK license. I have taken two lessons, and you would have thought the steering wheel was going to get away from me I held it so tight. I am much more comfortable driving now and my companion was sick last week for two days and I drove alone to and from the office. Last Sunday we were invited to dinner after church and I told Sister Reynolds that we were just learning to drive. She said that wouldn’t be a problem, because it wasn’t very far and I could just follow her. Her “not very far” involved going on the Motorways, taking several roundabouts, and driving way out in the country. After just driving to the office and to church, it was like throwing someone who was just learning to swim into the deep end of a pool: You sink or swim. In my case I drove, and it really gave me a lot of confidence, which I needed. Sister Olson drove home so it did a lot for both of us. I’ve enclosed an article by Erma Brombeck—she really tells it like it is.

Gulf War

The war seems very close to us here. Yesterday we were listening to the radio before we left for the office. While listening to the news, we heard the roar of the B-52s taking off with their bombs headed for the Gulf from Gloucester. I hope they can get it settled soon. Each new day finds me still grateful for this mission call.

English Members

I love these English people and it is so neat to be accepted by them. At first they were a little bit distant, but now it is so much fun to go each Sunday and be greeted with hugs and a warm welcome. As you all know I’m not exactly shy when it comes to meeting new people, and I'm sure they feel my love. They have certainly returned it. We are invited to their homes and when the weather warms up Sister Olson and I will be going on ‘splits’ to less-active members.

It is hard to tell you what your letters mean to me, so I'll just say keep them coming. Missionaries read their letters over and over. Love and support from home keep us going. I’m so grateful to my Heavenly Father for all He has blessed me with. I love this Gospel and I love sharing it.

Much love, Dorothy

In one more week I will have been here three months. My American brain is still half American, but slowly becoming British. My responsibilities include making many calls a day to English and Welsh utility companies, and flat landlords.

English Language

It took me a while to learn that when all the lines were “engaged” I was put in a “queue”, which isn’t a "box"; it is a line. You stand in a queue at the postoffice, the bank, and are queued in traffic.

Speaking the same language it is hard to believe how many words we spell differently or things that have different names. If someone offers to put something in your “boot” he doesn’t mean your “shoe,” he means your car trunk. If you are told to unlatch your “bonnet” so the oil can be checked, don’t take off your hat; release your “hood.” Never ask anyone to use their bathroom, because they will wonder why you want to take a bath. Instead, you say “toilet.” We have found our way all over Bristol by turning at the “Toiletry” signs. When we go to church we have one, when we go to the shopping center, etc.


Westbury-On-Trym is just a village, so we have to go to a place called Clifton Downs to shop. It is a very busy place with a lot of heavy traffic. The main street is called Whiteladys Road, and it goes up a hill to Blackboy Hill. It got it’s name because the white wealthy ladies walked to the top to chose their servants from among the black slaves held there. It is a very historical area and beautiful.


Today I made a little history myself and tonight I feel very good about it. Getting to Clifton Downs you have to go through two big roundabouts in heavy traffic. Sister Olson braved it last Saturday, so I had a little talk with myself. No, I had a big talk with myself, and also a fresh prayer as I got behind the wheel. Four hours later, with groceries packed in the “boot,” a trip to the doctor for Sister Olson in another area, and a trip to the village. I pulled in front of our flat and didn’t even scrape the hub caps on our car. It was quite a day!

Gulf War

I think we are all more relaxed now and very grateful that a ceasefire was called in the Gulf and that "Sodom Insane" as he is called here has bass been defeated. We were proud when we heard President Bush's speech on radio. Let's hope and pray now that this will bring peace to all the Middle East countries, that positive guide lines will be accepted.

New Missionaries

In our Stake we don’t have one couple or senior sister from England serving a mission. Two weeks ago we older missionaries were asked to present a fireside. We started in the chapel and then divided into groups of four where we each had about 25 minutes to talk before they moved on to another one. At the end we came back to the chapel for questions and answers. It was so exciting to watch their enthusiasm as they became informed about what it takes to prepare for a mission in their retirement years. Hopefully we will have some called before too long.

Eleven new missionaries arrived this month. Four from the United States and the rest from Scandinavian and African countries. All except ones from the States go through the MTC in Surry, England, where my good friends, Bob and Lily Sorensen are serving. As soon as they arrive in the office, I get showered with hugs sent to me by Lily. They all think that President and Sister Sorensen are great and they loved all the hugs they got from Lily each day.

Elder Ballard

We are going to have a mission conference on Tuesday where Apostle M. Russell Ballard will speak to us for 2½ hours, and again at a Fireside that evening where non-members are invited. It should be a spiritual experience.

Thoughts of the Savior

As Easter approachs, my thoughts turn to the Savior. I’ve been contemplating his life, the great Plan of Salvation, and how we can make his Atonement effective in our lives. He has done so much for us, and all he requires of us is to keep His commandments, have faith , be obedient, love one another, repent, forgive, serve and endure to the end.

We prove ourselves through adversity and these last three years have found me struggling to do just that. I found strength beyond my own in the relationship I’ve had with my Father in Heaven as we went through my trials together. I’ve experienced joy through adversity, and I know well that giving service brings peace.

Mothers Day

Today, March 10th, is Mothers Day or what the English call Mothering Sunday. In place of Sunday School we had a Mothers Day program by the children. Thus tonight I’m feeling a little homesick for my children and grandchildren, and I know that I will go through it again in May when Mothers Day will be celebrated in the United Staes.

I have so much love for my Savior. I have so much love for each one of you, my dear friends and family. Your letters of love and support make my long and sometimes hard days lighter. Thank you for remembering how much news from home means. You are always in my heart and prayers.

Much love, Dorothy

I have been so busy that I just realized yesterday that April is about gone and I hadn’t written my monthly letter—so please don’t give-up on me. Just know that I'm loving my service here, but free moments are not always so easy to find.

Sister Ann’s Invitation

To have someone to love and be loved is so basic to all of us. Today after church we had a very special afternoon, and a very humbling experience. Our sweet Sister Ann, who plays the piano like an angel, asked Sister Olson and me if we would come home with her after Church. She said that she didn’t know what she would feed us but she would find something. We didn’t need food, we were so spiritually fed by this very special lady, whose whole life has been one big trial.

We arrived at the cold damp flat where she was born and raised. She was born almost blind, never married, cared for her father until he died at 91, was a member of the Church of England when she was little, then joined the Catholic Church and was a member for 37 years. After her father died she was completely alone and said that she had been crying for 18 months when the missionaries knocked at her door. You know the rest of the story. A whole new world was opened to her. She still lives in the same cold flat, is still very poor, but is rich with blessings that the gospel has brought into her life. After three hours we had to leave, and we watched her stand in her doorway and wave to us until we turned the corner. Never have I been so cold for so long, but the warmth I felt inside of me by having been there is hard to express.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

What a wonderful conference we had with Elder M. Russell Ballard. He told us that the war which began in heaven is still raging and that we are the defenders of the kingdom in that battle. He said that moral agency and freedom to choose was one of the crucial issues central to our Heavenly Father’s plan in heaven, and that we must defend it here on earth: “He is trying to deny you and me of our agency and freedom. Agency is so precious, God was willing to let His people be exposed to Lucifer’s dynamic personality.” Then Elder Ballard really stressed obedience in the context of agency as the first law of heaven. He ended by saying, “I invoke an apostolic blessing of health upon you and your companions, and bless you that you may look heavenward and that you will call down the blessings of heaven and the spirit will bless you as you do your work.”

We Moved!

We moved into a cheaper flat last week. We moved into our first flat four months ago with two large suitcases and one small one each. We moved out with those plus so many boxes that it filled the mission van. It took four Elders to carry the luggage up four flights of stairs to the top flat, which we like to refer to as the “Celestial Kingdom.” We are at the very top of an old Victorian Mansion that was built in the eighteen hundreds. I’ve been busy plugging the holes around the pipes with steel wool in case any mice are brave enough to use the pipes to climb all the way up here. If they do they will find it pretty scary sliding back down.

Sister Olson and I had decided that the first thing we were going to buy was a rope ladder to hang out the window in case of fire, but after looking all way way down to the street we decided it would be safer to stay put, and let the firemen climb up to us if need be. We discovered a fire alarm in the apartment, so now all we need to worry about is taking a walk in our sleep.

Seriously, we are very cozy up here, way way UP here. We are the fourth set of missionaries to live here, and each one left behind everything they coule so we inherited many towels, sheets, electric blankets (no freezing to death next winter and even now). The Becks, who just left, bought a washer/dryer combination (all one machine) and left it for the mission. It will be a real blessing to us.

Still Preparing to Drive

We are much farther away from the office and church and have two big roundabouts to go through, but we are even getting used to those. As soon as we have time to study the driving manual and take a couple more lessons we will try to pass the test. I've been asking if there isn’t some place where we could go where the testing isn’t so stringent. We found out that it was much easier in Ireland, and is still a UK license, but Ireland is out of our mission boundry.

If we don’t pass our test the first time, and no one has, and we want to drive for very long before taking it again, they paste a big and I mean big, “L” (for learner) on both sides of the back-end. There is also a sign in the window that says, “please have patience with me, I'm just learning.” I think that might be kind of neat. Maybe everyone will stay far enough away, we’ll have to get back on the left side of the road when we start on the right.

Gratitude for America

I’m so grateful for being born in America, and for having so many opportunities to be guided and directed by strong Church leadership first-hand. I love England and its people so very much. I'm so grateful to be in the Lord’s service on a full-time basis, to see the change in people’s lives as they embrace the gospel and live by it’s principles.

I have to give a talk in Sacrament meeting next Sunday, so must go and put some time in on preparing for it. Just want all of you to know of my love and appreciation for your letters of support and encouragement—something every missionary needs all the time.

I love you!

I just survived another "moves day" and 12 new missionaries. The second week of each month is when the new missionaries arrive and missionaries are moved to new areas. It is always a hectic time of the month for us in the office. We are excited to meet new ones and sad when four or five go home. Today was hard for me as one of our English APs went home today. He has been here since the day I arrived and not one day has gone by that I didn’t feel His love and support. Also, which was kind of unusual, there were five going home and five sets of parents came to collect them. One set came from Utah and one from California and the other three were from England. For about two hours this morning we couldn’t get much work done. We just enjoyed the great reunions and tried not to trip over the mountain of luggage. What a happy time.

Last month we enjoyed one week of summer, but now we are back to winter. The flowers are gorgeous and the big full flowering trees handle the wind and rain without even losing their blossoms.

Zone Conferences

We have zone conferences once a month in three different areas. Last month we got to go to Wales with the Elders for zone conference and last week we went to Plymouth. Wales is a beautiful country and when we have time to spend a whole day we will get to see more of it. Cardiff and all of Southern Wales is in our mission. Plymouth is down on the sea, so we saw some beautiful different parts of England on our three hour drive there. Zone conferences are always about six hours. The morning is taken up with work shops, then the Relief Society serves us lunch.

The afternoon is reserved for our President and then testimony meeting. I will never stop being excited and proud to be with these Elders and Sisters. What an example they are for me. When we meet together it is always a spiritual experience and I learn something new.

Sight Seeing

The days are light at 5 o'clock in the morning (I know because that is when I get up) and it is still light at 10 o'clock. When we left the chapel at 5 o'clock it was still like the middle of the day. President and Sister Jones decided we had plenty of time to go to Plymouth Sound where the Mayflower left port in 1620. We walked along the wharf and the cobble streets and saw buildings still there from that period.

We stood in front of the Mayflower stone monument which has the British Flag on one side and the American Flag on the other. They call the place it sailed from the Plymouth Hoe like we call the place they landed in New England, Plymouth Rock. Plymouth city itself was flattened during the war, and now there stands beautiful modern buildings where there once had been rock and stone homes. Plymouth was bombed heavily by the Nazi German Luftwaffe because this is where the royal dockyards were located.

A Baptism!

The hours in the office are still long most days, but we often get a break by going on a “teach” with the Elders when they can’t teach a young women alone. I’ve had some wonderful experiences this last two weeks, even to the point where I’ve had the feeling I would like to go another proselyting mission after I get home. I got an appointment with a 21 year old girl that one of the Elders had talked to on the street. After several conversations with her Mother on the phone answering questions about the church, I finally got Shannon herself and she let me make a time. The Elders asked me to be there with them.

It was my first time to be part of teaching the first discussion and the spirit was so strong. It was wonderful to see her feel it, and then be able to help her identify what she was feeling. THE CHURCH IS SO TRUE!

This week another I had another great experience teaching the fourth discussion to Hillary with the Elders. Again I know the Lord will put words in your mouth when He has something He wants you to say. She is going to be baptized on June 23!

Terrible Accident

Now on the not so serious side. Last month I had a terrible fall.

I was walking up a hill with a bag of groceries in each hand and I tripped on one of England’s famous uneven sidewalks. I remember seeing a pile of “dog pooh” as I stumbled and slid right for it. I must have turned my head to the side thinking I could keep my face from landing in it. So that side of my face really took a good beating. I’ve managed for almost 69 years to not get a black eye, but I really made up for it. You know what a prize fighter looks like after a fight? Well, that is what I looked like. Before I even got up my cheek bone was so swollen that my eye was almost shut. We were almost to our flat, and when we got there I was almost afraid to look in the mirror. I was a real mess. As I cleaned my face ever so gently, I said to Sister Olson, “The whole end of my nose is skinned I'll look like a clown as well as a fighter.” So I started to gently clean it off and to my surprise it washed off—you guessed it—dog pooh! Yuk. I guess I should thank that dog for such a nice soft spot for my nose to land in or I might have even suffered more with a broken nose.

I wouldn’t let my comp, call the President because I knew I didn’t have any broken bones. We put ice on my face to keep down the swelling, and I finally went to bed about 10 o'clock. I went right to sleep, but woke up a 3 o'clock with every muscle in my body screaming. It didn't help to stay in bed, so I got up and made spaghetti sauce because we were having 10 Elders (our whole district) to a spaghetti dinner that night. Sis. Olson and I had it all planned out what we would tell the Elders when they saw me—like we had had a “companion inventory” or maybe I had been mugged on the street—but when they got here and I turned that side of my face, all the happy smiling faces turned to almost horror. I couldn't believe the tenderness and hurt looks on their faces. We forgot about making a joke out of it. After dinner they made me go lay down and Elder Matheison from Iceland, came and sat down by me and talked. Everyone else crowded into our little kitchen, cleaned up and did all the dishes. Before they would leave they insisted on giving me a blessing. They stood in a circle with a couple of hands so gently on my head, and Elder Llewellyn promised me a miraculous recovery, and I did.

The next day was Sunday and I got the same reaction from the ward members. On Monday when the President saw me, he rushed me right off to the doctor, who gave me pills for swelling and muscle pain. It was over a week before I could let anyone shake my hand, but I was almost cleared up in two weeks, which no one thought would be possible. I had to look to Pollyanna again to “find the good” in that fall, but it was there. I didn’t break any bones and I had all my front teeth.

Driving Test

We still play “chicken” every time we get behind the wheel to drive. We had our last lessons this week and the instructor said I was ready to go for the test, so I'm just waiting now to get the appointment. It can take a month from the time my application went in, which was two days ago. I sent in the fee of £21.50 with my paper. Each lesson costs £11 or $22 for us, so by the time we get our license we will have paid over $200. We also have to pay for the test which I understand is about £20.

Many Thanks

Please correct my mistakes. I’d never get this off if I had to do it over. I love you all and I am grateful for your love and support.

It is great to hear what is going on back home. Time is just flying by and it is hard to believe that I have been here over six months.

I'm so grateful to be serving my Heavenly Father here in this part of His vineyard. I'm grateful for the closeness I have come to feel with my Savior. Keep well and happy!

Love, Dorothy

Today is the 19th of August. It is the first day in nine months that I have been able to have a day to be home by myself. I can catch up on all the things that a missionary has little time to do. Elder Barrus, who takes charge of the office for the President, told Sister Olson and I that he thought we each ought to have a day home by ourselves once in awhile (a privilege that you have to be 69 years old to get), so I took him at his word after busy 9 to 15 hour days last week. Out of habit I woke up at my usual 5 o'clock, but treated myself to another hour, then got ready for the day. I did my studying and here I am at my typewriter. There are not enough hours in a day to write to each one of you, so I really appreciate all your letters of encouragement. They keep me going.

Zone Conferences

Last week President asked me to go with them to all three zone conferences and talk to the missionaries about flat care and damage. On Monday we went to Wales. The next day we stayed here in Bristol, and on Thursday we went down to Plymouth. My main responsibility is working with agents on opening and closing flats and dealing with utility companies. I was asked to compile what we have payed for rent and utilities the first six months of 1991. It has been a real eye opener. I felt a great responsibility to help the missionaries realize that the money to support them in this mission was “sacred money,” coming not only from their parents, but from tithing, missionary funds, friends, and relatives, and should be treated as such. I got my share of laughs when I quoted from some of their “conditions of flat appraisals” they send to me, and of some of my talks with Elders. By then I was feeling comfortable and felt they were with me and ready to hear about their awesome responsibility as called and set apart personal representatives of Jesus Christ and the Church, to be an example to every person they came in contact with, and in every area of their work here. Then I told them we had paid out in rent 104,938.61 pounds, for electricity 11,821.09 pounds, and gas 6,847.47 pounds. In dollars those amounts are almost double. These figures are for only three housing costs, so you can imagine what it takes to support a mission, especially since we are one of the most expensive. We have had a lot of good and positive responses from the missionaries, which has been rewarding. I got “thumbs-up” from the Assistants as I sat down.

New Mission President

We have a wonderful new President and family. They come from Salt Lake, and their name is Pugsley. They brought two sons—11 and 15. From the day they walked into the office everyone in the mission fell in love with them. Each one of them go on discussions with the missionaries and talk to people on the streets. Edward, 11 years old, gave the Joseph Smith story from the 5th discussion. They have been here two months and they are leading by example and hard work, and we already have picked up in baptisms. It is so exciting to have them here. The first Sunday they were here they invited us to a “good old roast beef American dinner” They were lonesome for the four children they left at home, and it was great to get better acquainted.

Teaching Moment

I thought that I could get this finished and copied tomorrow, but I just got a call to be ready in an hour to go on a 6th discussion teach. These are always an exciting time for me, and no matter how tired I am, it seems like my adrenalin just keeps me pumped up when we teach these investigators and feel the spirit working with them. We have had baptisms the last two Sundays, and hopefully we will get a commitment tonight. After a great day to do just what I wanted to do, going will remind me of the real reason I am here, which is to “be about My Fathers business.”

Drivers Test

I flunked my drivers test! The week before I took it, Sister Vis a missionary from South Africa, and who was a driving instructor there, told me to pray that I wouldn’t get a “Chief Examiner” because they were toughest. Guess who I got? You guess it, the “Chief.” When he called my name, I flunked right then. He told me to pull out when I was ready, so I signaled to leave the curb and I turned on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal. Unfortunately he didn’t have the same sense of humor that Erma Brombeck has. I knew that it was all over, but I “carried on,” like they say here. Next I did my emergency stop okay, reversed around the corner okay, even did my three point turn on a very narrow street without hitting the curb on either side, and answered all the oral questions right. Next he took me around four big round-abouts and one double roundabout (unheard of). By now I'm a wreck and so is he. When we got back he gave me my sheet, where he marked all my mistakes: I didn't look over my shoulder when I left the curb once. I approached the roundabouts too fast (I wanted to get it over with). And, my pull aways weren’t smooth enough.

My instructor went with me, and the “Chief” told him that I was capable and experienced, but I was one nervous lady. Before I take it again Mr. Moore suggested that I go to the doctor and get a “tonic” like many do before they take it, and our Zone Leader told me that he had his companions give him a blessing before his test. If I even take it again I might try the second suggestion. Anyway, I am not about to take it very soon, because I can still drive on my U.S. license until Christmas. I drive all over every day, and I’m not nervous doing it, just when I have the “Chief” as a passenger.

Trip to Bath

Sister Olson and I took a bus to Bath on our P-day last month. It is a gorgeous old Victorian city which the Romans built, and where the famous Roman baths are. It has wonderful museums and it is hard to imagine that people have been coming here for over 2000 years. We saw the whole city from the top of a double decker bus with a guide. England is such a beautiful country and has so much wonderful history with so many places to see.

Loving My Mission

I'm so grateful to be serving here in England. It is my offering to my Heavenly Father, to show Him how much I love Him and His son and how much I need the strength that I receive daily at His hands. Many of our young missionaries are a real inspiration because of the spiritual strength and determination they have to serve in spite of terrible opposition at home. It is humbling to serve alongside them. It is really true that physical strength is measured by what one can carry, and spiritual strength by what one can bear.

I pray that you are all well and happy. I thank you for your love and encouragement and support. Remember that in a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing.

Love, Dorothy

It has been three months since I last wrote, and with time passing by so quickly, I decided to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas together. Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, I will think of you gathered as families while we here in England will go about our service as usual, working in the office to keep the Mission running smoothly. Missionaries will be out in their areas harvesting souls, and President Pugsley will be traveling to Wales for monthly interviews. However, we are going to the mission home to have a traditional dinner with the President and his family after we leave the office on Wednesday.

Happy Driver!

I’m pleased to report that I am now the holder of a British Drivers License (BDL). I’m so excited about it that I have to keep reminding myself to be humble. I passed the test after living on this earth 25,216 days, which is 69 years and 14 days. So if anyone wants to come collect me when it is my time to go home, I would be glad to chauffeur you around beautiful England for a few days.

Marvin J. Ashton

Elder Ashton and is wife were here last month to speak at a Tri-Stake Conference. The hall where the service was held could accomodate only 2,000 people, so you had to have a ticket from your ward to get in. Sister Olson and I offered to babysit and give our tickets to two young couples, where one was staying home with the babies while the other partner went.

We ended up with three babies and one two year old. Our practice as grandmothers ourselves helped us to keep the situation in hand. We had fun doing it.

The next day Elder and Sister Ashton came to the mission home for dinner and Family Home Evening. President Pugsley invited us and Elder and Sister Barrus to join them. Sixteen year old Steven P. prepared and gave the lesson and we all participated as we were called on to do so. It was a wonderful experience and priviledge to kneel in the closing prayer with an Apostle of the Lord, one of only fifteen on the earth today.

Sister Ann

Our sweet little Sister Ann and piano player, had a stroke three weeks ago. I have told you about her and how she plays the piano like an angel. Her life is the piano, and the missionaries and our ward members are her family. Her left side was paralized, but with Priesthood blessings and her strong determination she is gaining back the use of her hand. When the Social Services wanted to send someone around to check on her each day she said no, “my church will take care of me.” It has been great to see the members reach out to her with love and compassion.

We pop in every chance we get. Every time she wants us to hear her, and each time she hits fewer wrong notes. She had quite an experience at death’s door and can hardly wait to bear testimony about it in church when she is strong again.

Still Healthy

Winter is here and it is so cold and damp. It has rained steady for the last two weeks. Many missionaries have been sick with flu and colds. I didn’t know what to expect here with my weak lungs, but so far no problems even though my companion was really ill for three weeks and just came back to the office.

Missionary Mail

Thank you for your birthday cards and remembrances. My day was great from the start with flowers from the President, surprise lunch at Hillary’s, dinner at a less-active member, and a 10:25 sereande over the phone by a group of Elders.

My experiences are so varied and continue to bring so much joy and peace to my life. I love the doctrine of restoration spoken of in Alma 41. I know that I will be required to give an accounting of how I have spent my time here and for all my life as well.

I know that we will be rewarded according to that which we have done and with the same judgement that we judge, we will be judged. We will be treated the same way we treat other people. These truths, applied in our lives, bring us joy, and also help us influence for good everyone we come in contact with.

Please remember the missionaries in your Wards with a Christmas card. We had one Elder last year who didn’t get one card or note. Many are out serving without family blessings and need the support from their wards. Satans most effective tool is discouragement, and mail especially around the holidays can help them get through a difficult time.

Thank you for all your letters, and for the love and encouragement you send my way.

Keep well - keep happy - keep the commandments!

I love each of you.

This has been a busy week. We received 17 new missionaries and 11 finished their missions and returned home. Elder and Sister Judd from Utah will replace Elder and Sister Barrus in the office. They go home in March. They have been so great to work with. It will be hard to see them go. We already love the Judds so look forward to working with them.

With extra help in the office it was a good time to stay home and get caught up on a few things, such as writing my last “epistle” before going home six weeks after the Barruses leave. So, I’sm all alone in this big Victorian house made into four flats, and with everyone away working it is so quiet that it feels a little erie.

Family History

Along with all the spiritual experiences of serving a mission that occur daily, these last few months have also given me the opportunity on Saturdays to visit the areas where my ancestors came from in Wales. For years my sisters have been active in doing genealogy by searching out and connecting families. I’ve been the recipient of their years of research. Now I have the opportunity to visit these places and get maps and pictures of all the counties to further the research. I am so excited about it. Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Brecon and Monmouth are all places in our mission where we have missionaries.

Two weeks ago, Elder and Sister Barrus took me to Wales to find some of the places my ancestors left from in 1849 when they migrated to America. We went to Merthyr to find 14 Castle Street. Instead of the old homes we found a big hotel. Elder Barrus double parked and went into the hotel to see if there was another Castle Street. He motioned for me to come in and there on the wall in the lobby were three very large pictures of the homes they had torn down to build the hotel. The girl at the desk said this was the only Castle Street. I explained about my family history and ask4r if I could photograph the houses on the wall. She was happy to let me. The houses were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. We won’t know which one they actually lived in, but it was exciting to know that it was one of them. Merthyr is the town where the Church started in Wales. President David 0. McKay’s mother’s home is there and has a plaque on the front of it. We visited it during a zone conference break.

Our next stop was to Brecon and St. David’s Church where in 1888 an ancestor was buried in the church yard. Even though we searched for her grave and didn’t find it, it seemed like everyone else buried there had our family names, so I snapped pictures like crazy. The Vicar was also a Thomas, so I have written to him to see if they kept records as to where they were buried. Some or most of the headstones dated back to the 13 hundreds and were chipped and leaning against the fence. We had lunch with another missionary couple, the Archibalds, who live close by in Crickhowell. They invited my companion and me back to spend a couple of days with them. Elder Archibald said he would take me any place I wanted to go.

Permission to Travel

When our office replacements feel comfortable to be left alone, President Pugsley told us that we could take a train to London for a couple of days where both Sister Olson and I have ancestors.

We took another P-day and visited the Benbow farm. This was the area where Elder Wilford Woodruff began his ministry in 1840 which resulted in 1800 people being baptized, many of them in the pond on the John Benbow farm. There is a fence around the pond and a plaque giving a little of the history of a great missionary. Brigham Young also came to visit Elder Woodruff here and worked with him for a few weeks. It was a beautiful sunny day, and even though it was cold, we all had the feeling that we were standing on “hallowed” ground.

Christmas 1991

Christmas was like the one I spent in Guatemala 18 years ago. Because of my involvement with the people in our mission, I had the opportunity to reflect more about the mission of the Savior and much less on the commercial side. To keep from missing my family too much, I kept the the words in my heart and mind from my favorite hymn, “Because I Have Been Given Much, I too must give,” and I received all the comfort I needed.

Christmas Eve found us traveling to Southmead Hospital to visit and sing carols. A ward member is a nurse and she arranged for us to come sing to her patients. The hospitals are made up of large wards, with very few single rooms.

As we practiced in the van we didn’t exactly sound like professionals, but in the hospital we must have sounded like “angels” because the phones were ringing off the hooks from other floors begging for the carolers to come to their wards.

We cut our singing down to three songs per ward, and even then spent over three hours. It was a teary time to watch very sick people make the effort to sing with us. We talked to each patient and held their hands, and I was so proud of our young Elders to see how tender they were with each patient. Even the man the nurses called “grumpy” smiled and sang with us. They said they had seen a miracle! Trish told us that two of her patients died about one hour after we left. Their families told her to thank us, because the ladies died with smiles on their faces. They felt that they had heard the singing.

On Christmas day we all had dinner invitations with members, but in the afternoon we met and visited a rest home where one of our little convert ladies lives. This time we told them the Christmas story and sang their requests. Most of them were in better condition than those in the hospital so they sang along with much gusto.

England Dedicated

England was rededicated for missionary work about two years ago. There has been a lot of opposition. Elder M. Russell Ballard and our Area Presidency asked the members of the Church in the British Isles to join together for a special fast January 5th. We have felt it in our mission.

President Pugsley told us that we are individually and collectively undergoing a remarkable amount of opposition, that Satan seems clearly bent on stopping us or at least slowing us down. We are seeing it in higher levels of illness, discouragement, and adversity. He also told us that often periods of darkness precede great spiritual happenings, and he believes strongly that this mission is on the verge of a significant breakthrough. With our collective faith and determination we will be able to achieve great things in the months ahead. Satan’s forces are at work everywhere, so let’s remember that opposition does not justify failure to act. Opposition is the very reason we must act!


I’m so grateful for the blessing of being able to serve here. I'm so grateful for the testimony that I have. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I am so grateful to live on the earth today when the fullness of the Gospel has been restored. Thank you for your love and support.

Love, Dorothy

January 1991

I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that President Benson is indeed a living Prophet. I treasure my testimony. No one can take it away from me because no one gave it to me. I earned it through study, service, and hard work.

March 1991

As Easter approachs, my thoughts turn to the Savior. I’ve been contemplating his life, the great Plan of Salvation, and how we can make his Atonement effective in our lives. He has done so much for us, and all he requires of us is to keep His commandments, have faith , be obedient, love one another, repent, forgive, serve and endure to the end.

We prove ourselves through adversity and these last three years have found me struggling to do just that. I found strength beyond my own in the relationship I’ve had with my Father in Heaven as we went through my trials together. I’ve experienced joy through adversity, and I know well that giving service brings peace.

April 1991

I’m so grateful for being born in America, and for having so many opportunities to be guided and directed by strong Church leadership first-hand. I love England and its people so very much. I'm so grateful to be in the Lord’s service on a full-time basis, to see the change in people’s lives as they embrace the gospel and live by it’s principles.

June 1991

I'm so grateful to be serving my Heavenly Father here in this part of His vineyard. I'm grateful for the closeness I have come to feel with my Savior.

August 1991

I just got a call to be ready in an hour to go on a 6th discussion teach. These are always an exciting time for me, and no matter how tired I am, it seems like my adrenalin just keeps me pumped up when we teach these investigators and feel the spirit working with them. We have had baptisms the last two Sundays, and hopefully we will get a commitment tonight. After a great day to do just what I wanted to do, going will remind me of the real reason I am here, which is to “be about My Fathers business.”

I'm so grateful to be serving here in England. It is my offering to my Heavenly Father, to show Him how much I love Him and His son and how much I need the strength that I receive daily at His hands.

November 1991

My experiences are so varied and continue to bring so much joy and peace to my life. I love the doctrine of restoration spoken of in Alma 41. I know that I will be required to give an accounting of how I have spent my time here and for all my life as well.

I know that we will be rewarded according to that which we have done and with the same judgement that we judge, we will be judged. We will be treated the same way we treat other people. These truths, applied in our lives, bring us joy, and also help us influence for good everyone we come in contact with.

February 1992

I’m so grateful for the blessing of being able to serve here. I'm so grateful for the testimony that I have. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I am so grateful to live on the earth today when the fullness of the Gospel has been restored.


Sis. Noorlander’s MTC Missionary Journal

Nov. 28 – Dec. 17, 1990

I drove myself to the MTC because I am keeping my car here until I leave for England. My good friend Gladys Powell followed me in hers, and came with me into the MTC. I had to be here by 11:30 am. I received all my packets, room assignment, meal ticket, flight schedule, and everything to get me started. Raenee Haymond, a long-time friend from Fresno, California, was the receptionist and the first one to greet me. Another friend, Billie Stevens came to tell me good-bye and we all visited until my son Dan came. He unloaded my suitcases into my room. My companion arrived and after all our introductions, Gladys and Billie left to go home, and Dan went with me to my orientation meeting.

President and Sister Klein welcomed us. Elder … and Sister Mary Ellen Edmonds showed us a video on missionary work, and gave us a run-down on our schedules as senior missionaries. Both the Elder and Mary Ellen Edmonds kept us laughing as they told us of our special treatment while we were there: head of the line at meals, leave class if we felt tired, naps, etc. It made us feel like kings and queens, but also reminded us of our age. It was fun.

It was neat to see grandchildren and children having the special experience of seeing their grandpas and grandmas going off to serve their Heavenly Father. Dan and I said good-bye, and I'm off on my great adventure to serve in Bristol England for 18 months.

Note: A number of journal pages contained posted notes next to the date, with a brief description of the day’s activities. It is obvious that, except for a very busy missionary schedule and very long days, Sis. Noorlander intended to go back and fill out the pages using these notes.

November 29

November 30

December 1

Our p-day.

First Sunday in MTC. Fast and testimony meeting. At 8 o’clock we met for a mission conference. A choir of missionaries sang like angels from Heaven. Probably there were about 200 to 250 young voices.

December 3

December 4

December 5

December 6

December 7

December 8

This is Sunday. At 10:00 am we had our sisters meeting. Mary Ellen Edmunds, Relief Society General Board member, taught us. Sister Edmunds has a wonderful sense of humor and she taught us with that spirit much of the time. She talked to us about why we were out here to serve at this time in our lives. She said in asking many sistes why they were here, that she often got the answer, “I don’t know.” You are where God wants you to be now. You are being obedient and that requires sacrifice. She said sacrifice is giving up something good for something better to serve our God! The gospel has the power to help us make sacrifices. God will make it up to you. No good thing will be withheld from us if we are faithful and obedient. God knows how we are and where we are — we will never be left alone.

Sister Edmunds is a great speaker and motivator! She closed by telling us that she had a telegram from Santa. It read, “Deck your halls and not your companion.”

At 11:45 am we had sacrament meeting with the French speaking branch. It is so great being here with young missionaries. They talk to us, open doors for us, let us talk about our families, let us first in line to eat — they are all so special.

Lunch at 12:30 pm. We read in our room. Took at 15 minute nap, then back to a gospel study class for 45 minutes.

At 5:15 pm we had our “last Sunday evening in the MTC departure meeting” with President Klein.

At 6:45 — MTC fireside. All missionaries, around 2000 in all. President Klein continued telling stories about the prophet Joseph Smith, which he introduced last Sunday. He bears a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith like I have never heard. He continues to challenge us to go out as witnesses of Christ — with love, understanding, patience, and hard work. He is a great and inspiring man.

Sister Moss of our district gave the opening prayer and I gave the closing — scary!

Received letters and popcorn from the Noorlanders!

We had study and classes until noon, then we had lunch with Sister Klein in the room where they have guests like the General Authorities to lunch. We each introduced ourselves and she asked me to say the blessing on the food. After lunch she talked to us about the importance of the work we were going out to do. She told us to be sure and tell the Lord how we feel and what we need in our prayers. She told us to read Alma 29:8-10 often:

Alma 29:8-10

8 For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true. 9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. 10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.

Letter from Debbie Slade.

Today we had to give the first discussion to a teacher. Sister Olson and I were the missionaries and she was the investigator. It went well — couldn’t believe I was so calm.

Regular classes all day. Elder Russell M. Nelson was our devotional speaker. The missionaries all stand when an apostle enters, and while he came in we sang “Called to Serve.” What an experience. While he talked about the life of the Savior, he showed beautiful slides and told us to go out and teach and testify of the Savior, and that this Christmas we would all be giving more and receiving less. He also told us, “Whom the Lord calls — He qualifies.”

Letter from Susan.

December 13-16

December 17

December 17