Friday, July 29, 2016

Amazing Grace in London

*This was from two weeks ago, but I'm just now getting a chance to put it up...DREAM COME TRUE!!!

Today I went into London on our 12 hour layover with four friends! They knew how much I wanted to see Wilberforce's grave in Westminster Abbey, so that was our first stop. We walked to the Abbey only to find out that it costs 20 pounds to go inside! I asked the lady standing at the door if she knew where William Wilberforce was and she looked very confused until I rephrased and said, "I mean, do you know where he's buried here?" She didn't know who I meant but she went off to find out. My friends meanwhile told me they would all chip in to pay for me to get to go see his marker, which was so sweet, but I said no! The woman came back and says that Wilberforce was buried just inside the entrance, just about 20 feet from where we stood outside! She could tell how much I wanted to go in and asked if perhaps we were students because there's a discount and I said, "no but I'm a teacher! Are there teacher discounts?" And my friends chimed in, "we're missionaries! Are there missionary discounts?" We were just sorta joking and working any angle we could to try to get in. Another worker came over and said he heard us saying we're missionaries and that technically all clergy get in free so if there's a way to prove it, we could go up to the inside counter and try getting in for free that way! We got so excited and all went up to the counter just inside the Abbey and explained and showed our letters that say we're working for mercy ships that we need to present in South Africa. The woman called her manager and we explained it all over again. She called someone and then told us that since we weren't priests we didn't count as clergy. I was so bummed! I think she must have heard us talking about seeing Wilberforce because right after saying "no," she said, "It's just William Wilberforce's grave that you want to see?" and she was met with a resounding "YES!" from the five of us. And then she personally walked us into where Wilberforce's grave is and showed us the statue of him and by this time I was crying because we had gone through so much to try to get in there and I was so excited that a way had been made just for us! Then...the cherry on top of this whole saga is that she asked if I wanted to get a picture with the marker even though there are signs posted that say no photography! And that is how I ended up getting into Westminster Abbey for free with four lovely friends by my side and getting my picture taken (while still crying unfortunately) William Wilberforce's marker and walking around London the rest of the day with puffy eyes, but a heart overflowing!

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