Monday, September 30, 2013

Fort Mulligan

Today is P-Day so we decided to take a longer walk this morning.  Behind our apartments and church there is a hill where the county hospital is located.  We were told there was a Civil War Memorial Park behind the hospital so we trudged up the hill to see what we could find.  We found the Fort Mulligan Memorial Park.  It's in a strategic position atop the hill and was important to this area during the Civil War.  Interesting to see the mounds and cannons, and read numerous explanatory plaques.  They even had excerpts from the diary of a soldier who had spent time here.  Here are some great pictures Elder Orton took.

Saw this deer by the road as we drove to our dinner appointment Sunday.
From the top of the hill, looking East over the town of Petersburg.
In the center of the picture is our church steeple,  our apartments to the left of church.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Busy Week

It's been a busy but productive week.  After a nice relaxing P-Day Monday we were back in the car on Tuesday, taking our Petersburg missionaries to a District Meeting in Romney, about 47 miles away.  It took about an hour and a half to get there because the roads are narrow with lots of curves and also lots of deer.  But it was a good meeting.  In the afternoon we visited several more members and in the evening we went with the missionaries on a visit, to an inactive widow.  I felt like I really connected with her, answered a few of her questions and concerns,  she committed to come back to church.  I came away feeling like maybe there will be people that I can touch in my own special way.  It was a good realization for me. 

Wednesday was awesome.  We drove about 3 hours to the Washington, DC, Temple,  met our bishop and his wife and another couple from our ward there.  The Hedricks had been married in the temple long ago, and hadn't been back for a long time.  We had visited them, they gave us tomatoes and apples, and Jim showed Wayne several "cool" cars he collects.  They said they would be happy to have us along when they went to the temple.  It was nice to be there with them.  Then Wayne and I drove about an hour north to Ellicot City, Maryland,  to the mission home.  Yeah,  we finally went to Maryland!  We had a lovely dinner with the mission president and his wife (wonderful people) and the other 10 or 12 senior couples in our mission.  There is a couple that works with young single adults in Baltimore,  a couple that is copying records in the state archives for genealogy work,  two couples that work in the mission office, a couple that works with the Naval Academy in Annapolis,  the rest are MLS(member, leader support) like we are.  One of the couples, the Lewis' from Florida, that we went through the MTC (missionary training center) in Provo with are assigned to a ghetto-like area in Baltimore.  They wanted to trade with us, but we wouldn't.  We love our little corner of West Virginia.  They did give us another assignment of inspecting missionary apartments in the area.  Our elders probably won't appreciate that.  The senior couples will get together every two or three months.  I think they are planning a trip to Gettysburg some time.

Thursday we took our five Petersburg missionaries to Winchester, Virginia, for interviews with the mission president.  They were pretty excited about that, they love and respect him.  We met up with our Romney elders there and after the interviews we took the seven of them to lunch at a nearby Golden Corral buffet.  They were so excited and fun to be with.  It's the end of the month so they are short of funds and short of allotted miles on their cars.  We were glad to help out.  When we got back to Petersburg Wayne and I made more visits.

Friday we took our Hardy County elders (Ashby and Williamson) visiting to Wardensville, about 40 miles away.  We had wanted to go meet people there and they needed to get up there as well. It was a fun day.  We met several interesting people and they were grateful for the contact.  On the drive home we left the highway and went way back in the woods to visit Joy and Forest Whetzel, took pictures of the narrow country road and the cute roadsign to their lane.  Stopped in Moorefield for a hamburger - treated our broke elders too.  Then had a couple of evening appointments before

heading home to Petersburg.  Wayne and I were exhausted,  for the elders it was just a typical day.


In one of our visits earlier in the week I was invited to a fun activity Saturday morning with some sweet people.  They were making apple butter in a huge copper kettle that used to be used to make moonshine, over an open fire, stirred with a long wooden paddle.  They said the kettle holds about 16 gallons.  They cooked and stirred it about four hours, then added about 70 pounds of sugar, cooked it another hour,  added cinnamon,  cooked it another half hour,  then were going to pour it into quart jars (72, they estimated),  we had to leave before it was finished but it sure was interesting.  They let

us stir a little,  under strict supervision.  They said they would bring us some apple butter on Sunday.  While it was cooking we roasted hot dogs and ate delicious applesauce pie.  So fun.  Thanks to the Borrers and the Whetzels for including us. 

In the afternoon we attended a baptism.  A neat 17-year-old girl, a friend of one of our ward youth.  This family wanted to invite the missionaries to dinner, but their rules are that they have to have dinner before 6 pm unless there is an investigator there.  The family needed to have dinner later than 5 because of work schedules so one of their daughters, Briana, texted her friends to see if someone could come over so the missionaries would be allowed to eat later.  Rebecca responded that she would be happy to, then actually listened to their message and wanted to take all the discussions and be baptized.  Her parents and sister came to the baptism and she bore a lovely testimony to them.  It was pretty awesome.


Other fun things,  when we went to Winchester for interviews Wayne and I were looking around in the lovely new building while we were waiting and found their nursery room with its own little bathroom with a little child-size toilet and sink in it.  Never seen that before in a nursery room, what a great idea. 
Also learned something new when the Elders showed us how to plug in addresses into the "Favorites" in our GPS in our car.  Didn't know we could do that, how handy.  We can now find our way back to some of these backwoods homes. 
Happy Birthday today (Saturday) to Amie.  We sure love you. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Today is P-Day, our day off.  Wayne asked what I wanted to do and I said, "I don't want to wear a dress and I don't want to get in the car!"   Well, I haven't put on a dress yet, but we did drive a little bit - to a hair salon and the grocery store.  I'm just very tired of spending lots of time in the car,  traveling back country roads trying to find people, and going to meetings.  So my idea of fun today was to take a long walk,  clean the apartment real well,  get groceries, do a couple loads of laundry, get a haircut, work on the computer,  and maybe cross-stitch and watch a movie.  Wayne thinks we are going to a nearby Chinese restaurant for dinner,  I think it's close enough to walk to...

So welcome to Petersburg, West Virginia.  Home of the Golden Trout.  I looked up Golden Trout and
 found that it is a color mutation of the regular rainbow trout and was developed using selective breeding at the Petersburg fish hatchery.  Apparently they are quite proud of it.

I also researched the North/South question in regards to the Civil War.  Evidently it's complicated.  Here are a few things I found out.  "West Virginia is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania and also on the north and northeast by Maryland.  It is separated from Pennsylvania by the well-known Mason and Dixon Line.  ...   The Mason and Dixon Line has become famous in American history as symbolizing the division between the Northern and the Southern states during the American Civil War.  Since West Virginia is south of this line, West Virginia can be thought of as a Southern state, but because West Virginia was created as a Union state during the Civil War, it is hard to classify as either Southern or Northern."   There were an estimated 32,000 West Virginians who served in the Union army, but also about 9,000 who served in the Conferate army,  many from the Eastern Panhandle which is where we live.  Many of the farmers along the Potomac River had slaves and were pro-Confederacy,  the coal miners and mountain families were pro-Union.  Like I said, it's complicated and we have seen monuments and plaques honoring both sides as we drive around.  I found this interesting.

Also saw a herd of very large long-horn cattle in a pasture back in the hills yesterday.  And a bit further,

along a little stretch of freeway we noticed a hillside of grazing goats.  We are becoming a little more familiar with the roads, towns, directions, and family relationships.  Still nice to use the opener of "We're new here" and I think we will feel that way for a long time.  When we went to church Sunday it was comforting to recognize most of the people there and we even could attach names to many.  They are very patient with us. 

This past weekend was our stake conference.  We are part of the Winchester Virginia Stake.  The evening adult meeting was in Winchester, about 70 miles away.  We took with us a recent convert from Puerto Rico,  Oscar Torres.  A neat young adult,  it was nice to get to know him better.  The meeting was great and we found out that the 2nd Counselor in our stake presidency is Jason F. Wright,  a motivational speaker and author.  I have read and enjoyed several of his books:  "The Christmas Jars",  "The Wednesday Letter",  "The 17 Second Miracle".  He is a great speaker and story teller,  gave a memorable talk in the meeting,  all the talks and music were good.  Sunday they broadcast the general session to our little meetinghouse in Petersburg,  but didn't have very good reception and it even went completely out for about half an hour (just when Pres. Wright gave his talk!  but when he heard about our problems he said he would come to our building and give it again to us some Sunday). 

So this week we are taking our Elders to a District meeting in the town of Romney tomorrow.  Then Wednesday we are going with our bishop and his wife, and a recently reactivated couple to the Washington DC Temple, then we are going on to Maryland (Ellicot City) for a get-together with the other senior missionary couples in our mission.  Thursday we are taking a pair of missionaries to Wardensville to meet the members there,  some of whom don't come to church very often because they can't afford gas.  Another busy week.  Missing our family but know we are where we are supposed to be.  Enjoying the wonderful weather and the great blessing of good health and happiness. 

Lovely West Virginian Cabin

PS.  Found a sign on the bulletin board in our laundry room last week that a baby copperhead was found in the grass near our apartment.  What's a copperhead?  I asked Wayne.  A very poisonous, stealthy snake, he replied.  I watch very carefully now on our walks through the grass to the church.  And I don't leave our apartment door open ...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pictures of our trip and of our new home

Denver Colorado Temple

Kansas Missouri Temple

St. Louis Missouri Temple

Louisville Kentucky Temple

Petersburg Ward Cemetery Clean-up Project

Cemetery after clean-up
Elder Ashby - The Poyfair's next door neighbor. 

More West Virginia countryside

Our District, minus one who is taking the picture

Our home in Petersburg

From our apartment to our church!

This is Wayne

While we were in the MTC, with about 127 old people like us, a couple came up to us and said, "You sure look familiar, where are you from?"  I didn't recognize him and he didn't recognize where we were from but he didn't drop it.  He continued, "Where have you been in the last 5 or 10 years?"  My answers didn't ring any bells so I asked him where he'd been.  When he said Hawaii things started to click.  They served a mission the same time as Verlin and Barbara.  Why he thought I looked like Verlin I will never know.  He went on to tell us that he really appreciated Verlin.  This man worked in systems or something and needed some help.  He said that Verlin was told that he shouldn't help him but he did anyway after his other stuff was done or after hours.  These were the Powells.  Verlin and Barbara, do you remember them?  Small world.
I was excited when we found out we were assigned to Petersburg, West Virginia.  This is a most beautiful area of the country.  When I was on my mission, 50 years ago I served in Elkins.  Petersburg was part of my area.  I loved this area then and now even more.  We only got over to Petersburg a couple of times so I don't remember anyone here.  A lady here in the ward (Teresa Hinkle) is from Elkins and after I told her that I had served in Elkins she called her mom to check on me.  Her mom said that she did remember an Elder Orton.  We are going to go to Elkins one of these weeks (it is in another mission) and look her up.  Also our friends that we knew 27 years ago in Yucaipa who came out with us and are serving in Elkins.  Elder Bednar says that there are no coincidences, just divine rendezvous.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hooray - we are connected !!

Today we finally got connected to the internet here in our little apartment so I will try to fill you in on our past week and a half.  Sorry it's taken so long, and don't worry if you can't make it to the end of this post,  I'll understand.
Saturday,  Sept. 7th we left Lehi early in the morning and drove about 500 miles to Denver, Colorado.  Interesting scenery, rocks and cliffs in Utah,  ski areas in Colorado.  We arrived too late to do a temple session in Denver, but did drive around the temple and Wayne took some beautiful pictures that we will try to put on this blog when he has time.  Watched a great BYU football game in our motel room. 
Sunday,  Sept. 8th - Went to the ward meetinghouse where we thought we would attend church but no one was there.  We hurried back to our motel where we could connect to the internet and found where the stake center was,  rushed up there and fortunately were in time for their Stake Conference.  It was great.  Good talks and an impressive youth choir.  It was in a lovely new building - a stake center where 3 wards also meet and right beside it was another new building where 3 more wards meet,  they were just built recently & both at the same time (Highland Ranch area).  Sunday afternoon we drove another 300 miles to Hays, Kansas.  Boring scenery,  hot and windy too.
Monday,  Sept. 9th - We drove another 500 miles from Hays to St. Louis, Missouri.  We stopped to see the Kansas City Temple and took more pictures,  it's closed on Mondays.  We hit St. Louis about rush hour,  not a good idea.  We saw the arch and the area where Devin and Amie used to live.  We called to see if we could do an early morning session at the St. Louis Temple, but found that they had just closed for a couple weeks of maintenance work.  Took pictures.
Monday we got a call from our new mission president.  He told us that we are being sent to Petersburg, West Virginia, a small town on the far western edge of the Maryland Baltimore Mission.  One of the young missionaries assigned there already is a neighbor of the Poyfairs, a friend of Dallin & Katelyn!  We are very excited.  A lady from the ward there called us a couple of times to see when we would be arriving and what we need.  The Relief Society is setting up the apartment for us, even plan to have a meal in the crockpot waiting.  Our friends from Yucaipa, California, the Harrisons, will be just over the Allegheny Mountains in Elkins, West Virginia.  They will be in the West Virginia Mission,  I think the mountains form the boundary of our mission rather than state lines.
Tuesday, Sept. 10th - St. Louis to Morehead, Kentucky, another 500 miles.  Kentucky was so beautiful and green.  As we neared Louisville, we called the temple there to see if we could do a session there.  The only sessions they had on Tuesdays were at 6 & 7:45 pm and we were passing through in the early afternoon.  That didn't work either.  We did drive to it though,  it's the smallest temple I have ever seen.  But beautiful, of course.  That evening in Morehead, we ate at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant.  I had chicken and dumplings,  delicious  - the first time Wayne had ever eaten at a Cracker Barrel.  Dad had taken amazingly beautiful pictures of the four temples we saw,  we'll put them on soon.
Wednesday,  Sept. 11th - Our last 300 miles,  Morehead, Kentucky to Petersburg, West Virginia. 
Yeah,  we entered West Virginia this morning.  Beautiful green rolling hills.  Curvy, winding roads - had to stop doing crossword puzzles and cross-stitch.  Had lunch in Elkins, then a gorgeous drive through the mountains to Petersburg.  Stopped to walk around a bit at Smoke Hole Caverns,  will go back there some time and take the tour.  Seneca Rocks is another interesting-looking place we want to go back and explore.  We feel so fortunate to be assigned to this small rural area - it's beautiful and the people are friendly and helpful.  When we pulled up to our apartment Wednesday about 4 pm, three young elders and the Relief Society president were there waiting to welcome us and help us unload our van.  We are assigned to the Petersburg Ward, which covers a large area with numerous little towns and many small confusing country roads.  Big in area but low in activity and participation.  There are also five young men missionaries assigned here and they had been praying that their new senior couple would come with a van to help with transportation...  Our apartment is in a complex right behind our church and the elders live in this complex also, just not in our building.  There are eight town-house like apartments in our building and we are right across the parking lot from the laundry room - handy.  Our apartment is nice, very clean, and quite small.  The tiniest bathroom I have ever seen - but with nice hot water and a sink that drains -- after Wayne worked on it.  I think of our grandson Dallin in Mozambique, Africa, with no hot water and sometimes no water at all, and I'll try to be grateful for what we have.  On the main floor is a small living room and kitchen, up some steep stairs is the bathroom, bedroom, and a small office.  It will do nicely.  After our first dinner, we drove to the nearby (12 miles) town of Moorefied, whre there is a Wal-Mart.  The list the mission secretary sent us of what the apartment would and would not have was not very accurate.  So I had brought things we don't need and didn't bring things that we thought would be here but aren't.  We needed to purchase a micro-wave, dishes, glasses, pots and pans, cutting board, colander, and so on.  Also food and other household items.  We were pretty exhausted when we were finally able to go to bed. 
Thursday,  Sept. 12 - We stopped by the Chamber of Commerce to get some maps of the area, then met our Bishop at his dental clinic.  Grabbed a quick sandwich, then loaded up "our" five young elders (our district) and drove them a couple hours northeast to Winchester, Virginia, to a zone conference.  Got to meet our mission President,  Mark Richards from Spokane, Washington.  He is awesome.  Had great training from our area physicians on stress management.  Dr. Dunn said that about 90% of the medical problems of missionaries can be treaced back to stress and anxiety.  He and his wife talked about how the proper handling of stress can lead to developing resiliency if we can learn to cope and grow.  They encouraged using relaxing music, exercise, love & caring, service, and humor to handle stress.  (They encouraged us to laugh more and said to have our families send us jokes.  So to all my grandchildren, please send jokes ...)   The mission president made a few adjustments to rules and schedules to encourage the young elders and sisters to really enjoy their P-days (preparation days) and relax.  He said that the Maryland Baltimore Mission has really had an increase in missionaries recently, bringing their numbers up to 250, and 75% of them have been out less than 6 months.  He told us to focus on reactivation and whatever our bishop and missionaries need us to do.  Our boys are:  Elder Hartweg from Glendora, CA;  Elder Williamson from Ripon, CA;  Elder Ashby from Lehi, UT;  Elder Salazar from Reno, NV;  and Elder Hibberd, from Indiana & Switzerland.  They are great, hard-working, polite, and fun.  They laughed a lot on our trip to Winchester as they watched church DVDs and went through our "I Spy a Nephite" book.   And they talked us into going to Chik-Filet after our meetings.
Friday, Sep 13 - Wayne is back on the road again, taking Elder Salizar, our district leader, to training meetings in Frederick, VA, about three hours away.  I took a nice walk along the Upper Potomac River that runs through our town.  I stopped by the newspaper office to subscribe to their weekly paper and the dollar store to get some hand soap and quarters so I could do a couple loads of laundry.  I needed a peaceful morning...
Saturday we took our boys and drove out into the country to meet other ward members for a service project.  We cleaned up a couple of small cemeteries out in the woods.  It was fun and really made a difference.  So interesting to see some of the old headstones too.  Sunday we had early meetings then went to the regular service and met the core group of active members.  Good people and so warm and welcoming.  Gave us a ward list with suggestions of those we should visit.  Also made some hospital visits and have some women in a nearby nursing home to stop in on too.  We had a few fun visits, getting to know people and places. 
Monday was our P-Day.  We drove around on some back roads trying to get our bearings and also to enjoy the beautiful countryside.  We stopped at Seneca Rocks and did a little hiking,  felt so good to stretch out.  Way up on the trail we just happened to run in to another senior missionary couple out for a sight-seeing trip.  They were from the West Virginia Mission, living in a small town called Phillipi.  When they saw our name tags, the lady said that here grandmother was an Orton, from the Parowan Ortons!  Small world.  They were the Kleins from Las Vegas.  We had a great day. 
Tuesday,  Sept. 16th - Back in the car again, taking our missionaries to a training meeting in the small town of Woodstock, Virginia.  Fun to see the countryside and spend time with these great young men.  The elders who led the meeting were outstanding - very well-prepared and organized.  I'm so impressed and we are learning so much from these youngsters.
Today,  Wednesday, we hung around waiting to get our internet connected.  But it was worth it.  This afternoon we drove out in the hills to visit some shy mountain folks,  had a fun visit and they even said we could come back.  Visited another lady in the nursing home and went to a funeral in Moorefield.  This is taxing our poor old brains to try to remember names and directions to homes and relationships (so many are related to each other).  But we are trying and having fun.  We are going to the local senior center to see if we can help out there and will be helping at our ward family history center also.  Had to go to the public library today to check out some history books to learn about our new home state.  We see Civil War monuments honoring both the North and the South and are trying to figure this out.  What an adventure we are having...
Pray for us (and send jokes). 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Well,  here we are - beginning our mission blog, probably with more detail than anyone wants or needs.  But for us it's our journal too, so bear with us.  We were set apart as missionaries by our La Grande Stake President,  George Chadwick, on Wednesday, August 28th, when we went to La Grande to sign the final papers on our house sale there.  The following day we signed the final papers on our home purchase in Meridian, Idaho.  Fortunately the former owners of the Meridian house had permitted us to move in a few days before the closing,  our furniture and stuff in part of the garage, the shop, and a spare bedroom.   Devin & Amie moving into the main part of the house.  We stayed very comfortably in the guest bedroom,  attended Kyle Thueson's baptism on Saturday,  August 31st, then drove to Lehi, Utah, to stay with our oldest daughter Karli's family for a week.  Monday morning bright and early we reported to the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) for our week of training.  It was great and we really enjoyed it and benefited from it.  It was also fun to see all the young men and young ladies there preparing for their service around the world.  Such energy and enthusiasm. 
There were 127 people in our senior MTC group for training, one of their largest  groups ever.  Here is our assigned District of six couples that we spent most of our time with.  Had our classes together and did role playing and other activities with them.  The couple on the end next to us are Wayne and Terrie Harrison,  friends from Yucaipa, California, that we knew 25 years ago.  What a surprise to reconnect with them here, we had such fun with them.  Next in our group were the Allens, from Colorado Springs,  going on an office mission in Tacoma.  Then the Schmidts from Yuma, Arizona,  going to Jacksonville, Florida.  Then the Austins from Utah going to England,  the Adams from Layton, Utah, going to Ottawa, Canada,  and our cute little teacher,  Sister Tholl.  We got to know each other pretty well -  good people.   We also met two other couples going to the Maryland Baltimore Mission,  the Lewis' and the Van Horns.  We had lunch with them a couple times and look forward to seeing a few familiar faces when we get to Maryland....

Thanks to Ferrin we were able to get together with Orton family Thursday night.  We met at a nice restaurant in Springville with Ferrin & Peggy,  Mark & Annette,  Joel & Carmen, Wanda, and Marcel & Susan.  Had a great meal and sat around visiting for several hours.  Fortunately they didn't kick us out, it was so nice. 

 Made a frozen yogurt run with the Poyfairs one night to Maui Chill.  Sure enjoyed their family and spending time together before we leave for two long years. 

Tomorrow (Saturday) we leave to drive across the country in our heavily loaded van.  Looking forward to a little sight-seeing,  visiting a temple or two along the way,  and finding our way to our new home.  We begin this new adventure with excitement and trepidation,  a desire to be of service in any way we can,  but a little sadness to be leaving behind our wonderful family and friends.  Wish us luck....