Sunday, October 27, 2013

What a Great Week !!

My favorite week so far!   Monday, our day off, we drove up to Spruce Knob - the highest point in West Virginia.  Had hoped for a great view, but it was disappointing, lots of the leaves already fallen and pretty drab.  Oh, well.  Drove back down the road to Spruce Knob Lake (more like a pond, I thought) and had a nice walk around the entire "lake".  As we completed our walk we stopped to visit with a lady who was fishing,  she asked us if we had seen any bears on our walk because there are a lot of bears around there.  Then she said that she quit making that walk because of all the snakes...  I guess we were fortunate to make it out alive.  On our drive back home

we stopped in Seneca Rocks to enjoy the view, check out the old stores there, and make a scheduled visit with our one ward family that lives there, the Teters.  They are a great, active family, making the 25-mile trip for Sunday meetings and youth activities.  Fun to get to know them better and they fed us a nice dinner.

Tuesday we had a district meeting in Petersburg, getting to know the new Elders who serve in Romney (about 40 miles away).  A kind ward member dropped off lasagna, bread, salad, and chocolate cake at the church for our lunch.  Then Wayne drove to Moorefield  to get the van serviced, pick up cleaning, and order our bicycle hitch.  When he got home we went up to the Nursing Home to help with Bingo, then made a couple visits.

Wednesday was a great day,  I picked up some flowers then we visited three single women in Moorefield and beyond.  All have health problems that prevent them from coming to church, all of them we had visited before, and they welcomed us back with open arms.  We brought  flowers, a message, and loving fellowship that they greatly appreciated.  We made arrangements to go back Sunday with the Elders to take them the sacrament.  Worked at the Family History Center in the evening and helped a recent convert get started in genealogy.  Found census and military records for him that he was thrilled with,  it was very exciting. 

Cute chicken coop at the Burr's home

Thursday was another great day as we revisited a couple new friends who are pretty isolated and lonely.  They, too, were glad to see us and appreciated our message and friendship.  Irene gave me an African Violet plant, so sweet.  We had lunch with  Darlene Self, her daughter Bonita, and Bonita's husband George and son Josh.  George was baptized in July,  Josh is 13 and not a member (yet).  After lunch we taught George a new member lesson on the priesthood.  Love their home, way out in the woods.  Took a picture of their cute chicken house for Julie.  Bingo again in the evening.

Friday, more visits, and had some training at the Food Pantry,  we will help there next week when it is our ward's turn to give out food.  Went to a shabby little diner on main street, had the best crab soup ever  (well, we've never actually had crab soup before, but it really was good).  Feeling a little sad as we watched the BYU/Boise State football game that night, knowing that some of our family was down there attending the game.  Julie & family and Devin & family were staying with Karli & family for the weekend.  Sounds like they had a fun time, even though Matt & Cache's favorite team the BSU Broncos got beat quite soundly.  More homesickness when we got Cache's cute baptism invitation in the mail,  he will be baptized on Saturday, November 2nd (his birthday).  We are sure proud of him and will be thinking of him on his special day. 

Down the lane to Jane Halterman's home

Yesterday I got to help another new member, Rebecca, a 17-year-old, get started in Family History.  She was very eager to learn and  quick at picking things up.  She said her grandmother and an aunt are willing to help her and give her family records.  Hope to get some names ready for her to take to the temple for baptisms soon.  Very exciting.

Today we went with Elders Ashby and Williamson after church to take the sacrament to a couple of women.  Very special experience.  And very appreciated. The Elders came to our apartment for dinner afterward,  what a treat for us to have them around.

Petersburg Meetinghouse
Miscellaneous thoughts - I forgot to mention that last Sunday was our ward Primary program.  It was great.  Only twelve kids, but they did their 3 parts each very well and they all sang so enthusiastically.  One day last week as we picked up a few groceries we had to get Snickers candy bars in Dallin's honor.  We thought of you as we ate them all, Dallin.  You are awesome.  Today the Petersburg Ward actually had Sacrament Meeting programs, with announcements and a leadership roster on it.  Wayne had taken a nice picture of the meetinghouse for the cover.  So fun to make and such great comments about it.  Trying to build ward unity and spirit.  This past week I really felt like a missionary, like I was touching lives and making a difference in a small way.  We are so happy to be here.  Our love to all.

Please join us in fasting next weekend for Patrick (Karli's husband) in his job search. 

For Elder Ashby's parents
He is such a great missionary

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall is Here

The leaves are turning in this beautiful corner of West Virginia.  We hope to take a long drive on our P-Day
tomorrow.  I have a few pictures to add today, but they don't do justice to the lovely hillsides around here. 

Fun story today.  Last Sunday afternoon when we visited a lady quite a ways out,  she told us the story of her conversion.  A senior couple that was out trying to find a lost member knocked on her door by mistake, but took the opportunity to tell her a little about the church and invited her to learn more.  She took the missionary discussions and was baptized.  We recognized the name of the senior couple because we have been benefitting from directions to ward member homes that they had left in a nice binder.  Well, we remembered a couple by the same name that lived in our previous ward,  La Grande 3rd Ward, for a couple years.  Nice couple,  he taught band at the high school, I think.  They lived across the street from Wayne's cousin, Stan Wilde.  I emailed my good friend Linda Wilde to see if she had their email address.  She gave it to me and said she thought they had served a mission but didn't know where.  I emailed Gaylord Durland and he responded quickly, saying that yes, it was a small world,  they were that couple, and he shared a few of their experiences and thoughts.  Nice to reconnect with them,  we appreciate their efforts in making the way a bit easier for us, and will give their regards to several ward members who remember them.
Kind of a quiet week.  The four Elders here came to our apartment and played Monopoly all afternoon Monday,  then two of them stayed to eat dinner - crock pot venison stew and biscuits.  Tuesday we drove our Elders to Woodstock for Zone Meeting.  Very good meeting, how knowledgeable, dedicated, and well-prepared our zone leaders are.  Wayne and I did some of the training.  It was good to visit with another senior couple, the Kunz' from Front Royal.  All 20 of us went to Wendy's for lunch afterward and it was about 4 pm when we finally got home.  That night we volunteered at the nearby nursing home,  helping with their Bingo night.  We will be helping there most Tuesdays and Thursdays from now on.  Wednesday I made cookies in the morning,  took a plate of them to our morning District coordination meeting.  Made a few visits, then helped Bonita at the church set up for a scout dinner and Court of Honor.  The Scoutmaster and a few parents are trying real hard to get the Scout program up and running here.  They had 8 young men in uniform and receiving advancements that night and were quite proud.  Got rid of another plate of cookies very easily.  Thursday visited, finally found a missing family that we had been searching for and got a tour of the old house they are trying to make livable.  Made arrangements to take the Elders over Saturday for a service project.  That evening Wayne went to the nursing home and helped a blind gentleman play Bingo!  I went to Relief Society. Nice meeting with myself and 7 other sisters.  Good feeling as I visited with them to realize that I knew their each of their names, how they were related to one another, had been to each of their homes, and had special feelings of love and friendship for each one.  Those feelings come so quickly now,  a gift of missionary service for me.
Friday was a great day,  spent mostly in the car.  Forty miles to Wardensville.  One family wasn't home, but

had a great visit with the other family.  The dad is a great big black man,  recently played football for the Baltimore Ravens.  His mom, Sheila, lives with Will and his wife Jennifer, and helps with the kids Roman and Clarissa.  Sheila joined the church about 20 years ago,  Will and Jennifer just recently.  We had fun playing with the kids and had to take a couple pictures of them, they are so cute. Roman was fascinated with Wayne's missionary badge, so I came home and ordered a child's "Future Missionary" badge for him.  Had hoped they would come to church today,  Grandma Sheila came, but not the rest.  The kids are so smart, I know they would love Primary.  After that visit we drove back about 10 miles then off towards the town of Baker.  Turned off and went to Lost City.  We had seen the signs for Lost City State Park and wanted to drive around there,  it was nice.  Went up a road a ways to take pictures,  then back through Mathias,  almost to the Virginia border, where our High Priest Group Leader lives.  Beautiful little valley (hollow).  They don't get many visitors and were quite pleased that we had come to see them.  When we made the appointment they invited us to dinner, too,  very nice.  Had a good evening eating and getting to know them.  Nice drive home with a huge full moon. 

 On our morning walk Saturday we saw people setting up a large BBQ, had to go back and get delicious grilled chicken for lunch.  Then went to our service project with the Elders.  In the evening we had dinner at an historic old restaurant "The Hermitage" built in the early 1840s. Good food and interesting place.  (Note to my sister Judy:  The Hermitage is across the street from the Bed and Breakfast "Judy's Place",  perfect place for you to stay when you come visit us!).
This afternoon I have been working on a template for a ward bulletin. 

They haven't had one here in the Petersburg Ward, and I think they need one.  Lots of announcements for the next few months, too, that I can help clarify by having them printed in the bulletin.  We'll see how this goes over.  This next week we are going to begin teaching new member lessons to a man who was baptized last summer, and temple prep lessons to a couple preparing to go to the temple for the first time.  Tomorrow after our fall leave drive we will end up in Seneca Rocks to visit a family there and have supper with them.  We are keeping busy and getting to know and love the people here.  Our love to family and friends,  thanks for your prayers and support.         

Service project with the Elders

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Transfer Day,  Columbia Maryland - Oct 9, 2013

Elder Hibberd leaves our Districk

20 Gallons of Apple Butter

Making Apple Butter with the Hinkles - Ashley's turn to stir

Assembly Line to Fill the Jars

Great Week despite the Drizzle

So, we were a bit discouraged last week, but being sufficiently humbled and having a great dose of inspiring General Conference over the weekend,  we went to work trying to improve our scheduling, appointment making, detective work, and time management.  Had a great week, not everything worked out the way we planned it, but had many good experiences. 
The K's are a family we will be working with.  Inactive Dad,  Mom hasn't been a member for very long, is going to nursing school.  Three children:  10,  5,  3. They have marital and  financial troubles, aren't coming to church.  We had a brief visit with Mom and the kids a couple weeks ago.  I "happened" to run in to her in the grocery story on Friday the 4th, had a good visit and she invited us to come over on Monday and meet her husband.  When we got there as we were getting out of the car, Wayne found a soggy five dollar bill on the ground.  He took it inside and gave it to the mom.  She was pretty excited, said she had lost $47 out of her pocket that morning and it was her gas money for going to college for the week.  She and Dad went outside to search where he had found it, and even though it had been raining and windy all day, Dad found every bit of the money - she was so amazed and grateful.  She said,  "You guys must have been sent by God to me tonight!".  We said Yes we were...  Anyway,  I had prepared a Family Home Evening lesson and the kids were so good and attentive.  (the mom was amazed at that also)  Gave them pictures to color, had prayer with them, then as their reward gave them chocolate chip cookies.  The Dad never came home, but we left him cookies and hope to meet him next time.  Good visit.  Then we went to another house where we have been trying and trying to find a family at home.  Yeah!  They were home and we had a good visit.  The ward had lost track of them,  we went to two wrong addresses before we finally found the correct one and this was our fourth try to find someone home.  But it was worth it, we had a very good visit.
Tuesday we drove around the Arthur and Lahmandsville area trying to track down addresses.  Found one lady home that was not interested.  Found another lady at home who was very happy to see us and we enjoyed getting to know her.  She wants us to come back and see her again, and I think when her work schedule allows it she will come back to church.  In the evening we had a real adventure visiting Sandra, quite a ways out, and up a steep, bad mountain lane to an older trailer home near the top of the mountain.  Nice lady with lots of family problems.  Has a son in a detention home right now, Wayne has written to him,  she appreciated our interest and support.
Wednesday morning we picked up Elder Hibberd and drove him to Columbia, near Ellicott City, Maryland, about three hours away, for transfers.  We will miss him,  he was a very smart and dedicated missionary.  He was part of a temporary threesome, so will not be replaced.  Our Romney Elders were both replaced, so new faces in our District.  The Romney Elders wanted us to take them too, but we couldn't take their bikes so they got to drive their mission car there.  We are going to get a bike rack installed on our van because every six weeks are transfers and it will be a big help if we can transport missionaries and their bikes.  Our Elder Williamson will be going home at the next transfers.  Because we didn't have to bring anyone back to Petersburg we were able to have a little free time and went out to lunch at IHOP in Frederick, also to Costco.  Got back home in time to work at the Family History Center from 6 - 9 pm,  did a lot of indexing.
Thursday we went to the Baptist Church to the Red Cross Blood Drive.  We had been donating blood back in LaGrande regularly so decided to see if they would accept our blood here - they did.  Checked our blood pressure,  it was good.  Headed to Moorefield about 4pm to visit our friend Woneda who is new to the area, wheel-chair bound, and lonely.  She was so glad to see us and made us promise to come back regularly (we had already intended to, but it was nice to be appreciated!).  Then we made a couple more fun visits, way out in the woods, in the rain and the dark.  We had made appointments and found interesting people who shared good life stories with us and were very welcoming.  The last visit was to a kind of remote place called "Lost City",  we want to go back in the daytime to explore the interesting history and scenery of the area (if we can find it....).    At that home the amazing couple shared stories of conversion, faith, and trials with us,  were very open and trusting.  We feel very close to them and admire their strength and dedication. 
More visits Friday then tried to have dinner at the Stray Cat Mexican Restaurant in Moorefield, but they were so slow that we had to have it boxed up and ate it after our evening appointment.  That visit was the most fun of the week.  Wayne "bonded" with an inactive man as they played guitars and sang for an hour,  the wife and I had a good visit.  They said they really enjoyed us coming and insisted we come back (we will).  Gave us a jar of bottled venison too.  Finally ate our soggy Mexican dinner at about 10 pm, but it was worth it. 
Saturday Wayne went on a ward wood cutting activity,  getting wood in for a family with health problems. I had several hours of needed "alone time" to make applesauce, clean, get groceries, watch a Hallmark movie.   In the afternoon we helped the Hinkles make apple butter.  Very fun.  Fireside in the evening.  After early meeting this morning, then regular church service,  then a long drive to visit a young lady who is not active because of health challenges - Wayne is finally taking a well-earned nap.  Our speaker in church today was Jason Wright,  very good. 
So that is probably way more than you wanted to know,  but we did have a great week in spite of the almost constant drizzle.  We are making special friends, being inspired by amazing stories of faith and adversity,  learning lessons we needed to learn, and working hard.  Our prayers are with Angie as she recovers from knee surgery,  Patrick as he searches for employment,  Elder Dallin as he serves enthusiastically in Mozambique,  and all the rest of our family and friends as you face your daily challenges so far from us.   Good luck.   

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ups and Downs

We have had our ups and downs this week.  Sure nice to end the week on an up with General Conference.  There sure were a lot of talks about missionary work, weren't there?  Or did I just hear it that way because that's where our focus is right now??   Anyway,  the week in review:
Thanks to our family for all the email updates last week,  it means so much to us to be connected to you.  Thanks for taking the time to write and fill us in on your lives.  Thanks to Kyle and Kendra for the notes.  And thanks, Amie, for sending on our mail.  It should taper off now, I hope.  Good luck, Angie, with the knee surgery, wish I could be there to help out. 
We are enjoying the apple butter that we watched being made last weekend.  It is so good,  way more cinnamony than we are used to but we like it.  The jar is going fast.  Last Sunday after church we went to dinner at the Shreve's.  We took Elders Ashby and Williamson.  It's a long way out in the country.  Had a nice dinner of Hawaiian Haystacks and Applesauce Cake.  And a nice visit.  Relaxed on Monday. 
The rest of the week was spent in meetings, searching for people,  service projects of cutting and stacking wood (Wayne and the elders), and apartment inspections (two here in Petersburg,  one in Romney, about 40 miles away).  Then we went to Walmart and picked up things the apartments were lacking,  like replacing a broken mop, fixing a toilet seat, replacing light bulbs,  getting cutting boards, drinking glasses, mixing bowls, etc.  The elders are so adaptable, they do without rather than complain, so it was nice to question them and get a few things that they needed.  Note to Elder Ashby's parents, if you are reading this:  Your son and his companion have a very neat and tidy apartment,  so clean and well-organized.  You trained him well.  And the other elders tease him about how well he manages his money.  He is awesome.

As we searched for people we had trouble finding addresses at times and spent a lot of time wandering around.  Had one guy sneak off his porch and go in to his house and lock the door as we approached.  Found the right houses several times, but no one home.  Frustrating.  But did have several good visits with lonely people who want us to come back and visit, so we will, gladly.  We also try to find and visit the active members to get to know them and encourage them. I enjoyed a quote by President Monson in this month's First Presidency Message:  "May we reach out to rescue the lost who surround us, the aged, the widowed, the sick, those with disabilities, the less active, and those who are not keeping the commandments.  May we extend to them the hand that helps and the heart that knows compassion.  By doing so, we will bring joy into their hearts, and we will experience the rich satisfaction that comes to us when we help another along the pathway to eternal life."  I need to work on not being discouraged and just focus on reaching out in love. 
When we drove to Romney to inspect the Elders' home there we made a couple side trips.  One to a
cemetery, made around an Indian mound.  Wayne is interested in Indian mounds so that was pretty cool.  This also honored Confederate soldiers, something else we find interesting.  It is just pretty driving around too, the weather is lovely and the trees beautiful.

One the way home we also went to an apple orchard.  I had seen their ad in the newspaper and also signs along the road.  I didn't realize it was miles up a little road to the top of a mountain.  But the view was worth it and the apples were good.  Shared some with our Elders.

Kind of strange to have General Conference at noon and 4 pm here.  But it was so so good.  After the afternoon session the missionaries came here for dinner.  I guess Wayne and I had gotten used to how small our apartment is,  but having five 20-year-olds here reminded us.  But it was fun.  Interesting to prepare a large meal with limited bowls and utensils,  but it worked.  We had taco soup, chips and salsa, jello, carrots and apples, garlic bread,  and chocolate sundaes and chocolate chip cookies.  Forget about leftovers - they can put it away!  Afterward they had a blast playing our Harley-Davidson Monopoly game until time to walk over to the church for Priesthood Meeting.  They are such nice young men,  we have sure come to love and appreciate each one of them.  We are hoping none of them get transferred next week on transfer day.