Sunday, November 24, 2013

Freezing in West Virginia

We sure had a lot of beautiful warm Fall days here in West Virginia,  but the weather has definitely
Joy and Forrest Whetzel
changed.  It's been cold and windy,  with a few snow flurries.  Right now it's 20 degrees outside. But our apartment is warm and cozy,  the heater in the van works well, and the homes we have been visiting are warm and inviting too (for the most part).  Monday (P Day) was relaxing as we just stayed home, did chores, read, and watched a movie.  At 4 pm we picked up Elders Williamsen and Ashby and drove about 45 minutes to the home of Joy and Forrest Whetzel for dinner.  She is a faithful member, he is not a member and in ailing health.  I took a picture of them for nephew Nathan Jensen - he knew them when he spent a little time here on his mission.  Nathan was in the Washington, DC,
 Mission, which included this area back then.  We had a nice dinner and visit with them, and their daughter
Janie.  Then we visited the Keplingers.  Johnny K. wanted us to stop in and sample some deer bologna that he had just made.  Elder W  wanted to say good-bye to them.  We love the Keplingers, Wayne and Johnny have a lot in common, and so do Janet and I - she is my visiting teaching companion, too.  Johnny was inactive when we got here,  it's been nice to see him at church for three Sundays recently. 

We did spend a couple days travelling to and attending meetings last week.  Zone Training in Woodstock on Tuesday and Transfer Day in Columbia (near Baltimore) on Wednesday.  We took Elders Ashby and

Elder Williamsen's last day
Williamsen to Transfers because Elder W had come to the end of his mission (honorably) and Elder A was getting a new companion.  So now we have a new missionary/son here in Petersburg - Elder Goodell from Sheridan, Wyoming.  He seems nice and enthusiastic.  He has served for a year and a half already.  Transfer days are fun, we get to see the new missionaries and hear testimonies from the ones going home.  Our new bike rack worked well also.  We got home Wednesday in time for me to help Becky Hovatter with her genealogy at the church and Wayne helped with the Scouts - amazing them with his knot-tying skills.  They are learning, here in Petersburg, that Wayne is a man of many talents...

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were mostly discouraging as we are still trying to make it through the ward list and find the lost.  We found several homes, but people weren't there.  Each day however we managed to have at least one good visit, with people who were glad to see us, shared their stories with us, and indicated they maybe might come back to church some day. 
We will keep encouraging.  Things will slow down around here for the next week - it's deer hunting season here and school is out all next week.  We have several dinner appointments though and have been invited with the elders to join with the Burr family for Thanksgiving dinner.  Bonita Burrs is a wonderful cook and they are great people, so we are all looking forward to that.  We will miss our family and hope to hear about all your fun plans. 

Other highlights of the week included talking to grandson Noah on his 8th birthday and to granddaughter Kadyn on her 13th birthday.  Getting a fat packet of letters and beautiful pictures from the Acor family - thank you so much.  Hearing about Dylan's play date with his youngest son Jack.  Getting email updates from our family.  Getting a new calling to teach Relief Society once a month.  Getting names ready for temple work.  Having numerous reminders that we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing.   


Wayne with missionary companion Leon Johnson - 50 years ago!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's a Small World

I will let Wayne tell about our Preparation Day last week, so on to the rest of the busy week.  On Tuesday we had District Meeting in Romney (45 miles away).  We took our 4 Petersburg Elders and met the 2 Elders from Romney at the church in Romney for reporting and training.  Then we dropped our Elders at Burger King and went to the Romney boys apartment for the dreaded "inspection".  They had worked hard to have everything neat and tidy,  so cute.  Wayne did car inspections too.  It would have been fun except for the cold wind blowing.  We came back to Petersburg for apartment and car inspections here.  Wayne replaced a light bulb and cleaned out a clogged drain.  In the evening we helped with Bingo at the nursing home, followed by a couple of visits.

Elder & Sister Orton with Mission President & Sister Richards
 Wednesday we drove 2 1/2 hours to Frederick, Maryland, for a Senior Couples Conference.  That was great,  good training from our Mission President and really nice to see our friends - the other senior couples in the mission.  We all went to Golden Corral for lunch afterward.  Wayne and I drove back to Petersburg, stopping on the way at our Bishop's home for tacos with Bishop and his wife, and the 4 Elders.  We got home just in time for me to pick up Becky Hovatter, a single lady in our ward, and take her to the church to work on genealogy for the evening.  She is trying to get ready to go to the temple for the first time and we are getting some family names ready for temple work,  hopefully some incentive to keep her working on her goal.  We also got to Skype our cute granddaughter Klora on her 12th birthday - she is
Near Harper's Ferry where the Shenendoah River meets the Potomac
such a neat young lady, growing up so fast.  Oh, we miss our grandchildren....

Thursday Wayne sang at the nursing home,  he enjoys that and they enjoy him.  In the afternoon we had fun finding more people who are on the ward list but have not been seen for years.  Good success on several visits.  In the evening Wayne helped with Bingo again and I went to our Relief Society night meeting.  We had soup and bread, and watched the recent RS General Meeting broadcast.  They had a very good attendance - and many pots of delicious soup. 

Friday was a big day for me.  I haven't driven much since we got here because Wayne always drives when we are together and we are always together now with only one car.  But this day, I drove without him to do my visiting teaching.  To Moorefield, then down a narrow road to a rutted dirt lane to pick up my partner, Janet Kiplinger.  Then to some nearby apartments to visit a handicapped shut-in wonderful new member, our friend Woneda.  Wayne and I have visited Woneda several times and she is so happy to have visitors from the church.  She and Janet hit it off well too.  Then we drove way to the far reaches of our ward to Crystal List.  It was a beautiful day and a fun drive,  we had a good visit together, and with Crystal.  After taking Janet back to her house I drove back to our apartment and found I had put 105 miles on the van.  Wayne spent the day ironing white shirts, preparing his lesson for Sunday, paperwork and household accounting, etc.  But we still had more driving to do.  We picked up 2 of the Elders and drove 14 miles to the home of Sandy and Baxter Borrer who had invited us to dinner.  Sandy had fixed us a wonderful meal, way too much, and of course we had to be polite, so we were stuffed.  Had a nice visit with them,  they are great people.   Saturday,  more paper work, then more visiting.  The weather the past few days has been wonderful,  but there is a wind advisery for tonight and tomorrow.  Today is Sunday and it was great,  good attendance at church and afterward we took a couple of the Elders out visiting to take the sacrament to a couple sisters with health problems who can't get to church.  That's one of my favorite experiences, the Spirit is so strong when those young missionaries reverently bless and pass the sacrament in the homes of those ladies who appreciate it so so much.  Good week.  And time to relax tomorrow.  Happy Birthday Monday to Noah and Wednesday to Kadyn. 

(Wayne's turn)  Now I get to add a little bit.  You remember I mentioned about being on my mission a long
Elders Orton & Muhlestein - Missionaries together 50 yrs ago
  time ago and having Petersburg assigned as part of my area?  Well, a few weeks ago we took a ride up to Spruce Knob which is the highest point in West Virginia (4862 elev).  There is a big rock that juts out a bit over this look out point.  It brought back a memory of me and my companion driving our little Rambler out onto the rock so we could take a picture.  I still have that picture somewhere.  Anyway, I had to think about who my companion was at the time we did that.  Then I remembered that it was Elder Muhlestein.  I began to wonder about him and what ever happened to him.  I started doing searches on my ipad for that name.  My search took me to a Lynn Muhlestein with an address in Elkins, West Virginia.  Could it be the same one?  I was unable to locate a phone number so a couple weeks went by without knowing.  I finally got hold of the Harrisons that were assigned as missionaries there.  We were in the MTC together.  They got me the phone number and I called the Muhlsteins and it was fun to talk to my old missionary companion.  He had come back near the area in the service and just kept visiting this particular family and married Linda Phillips from Elkins and in later years has made Elkins their home.  So this last Monday we went over to Elkins (only about 60 miles) and had a little reunion.  It was really fun to get together.  I wondered who that old man was now that used to be my missionary companion but it was great to know that he and his family are still faithful.  It is just another of those tender mercies that we appreciate.  Is all this chance?

Today at church, one of our speakers was a visitor from across the mountain the other way.  It was Laird Walker, a cousin of Aunt Annette who was originally from Nampa.  In talking with him we discovered that we were in this same mission at the same time but our paths never crossed.  It was fun to talk with him and his wife.  He said to be sure to say hi to Mark and Annette.  Sooo Hi.

These little things help us quite a bit when we are missing everyone from home so much.  Another tender mercy that we are greatful for.  We certainly have much to be greatful for and are loving this area so much.  We have so many friends here and are mostly busy.

Elders Ashby & Williamson with Woneda Kenney

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekly Update

We had a great mission conference in Frederick on Monday.  Beautiful drive over there, but we had to get up very early to be there by 8 am.  We drove past Harper's Ferry and hope to go there sometime to explore, looks very interesting.  At the mission conference Elder and Sister Carlson and Mission President and Sister Richards did a great job of instructing and inspiring.  We enjoyed a very nice dinner after, with the other senior couples in the mission and the Carlson's and Richard's.  My "Sun Dried Tomato Orzo with Basil" actually turned out very good, the entire meal was lovely.  The small meeting/fireside after was nice as well.  Elder Carlson is over the Middle East and North Africa area, so had some interesting information and good stories for us.  When the meetings were concluded we stayed the night in a nearby Hampton Inn.  It had been a long day and it was nice not to have to drive clear home Monday evening.  Since we were in meetings Monday,  Tuesday was designated as our Preparation Day for the week, so Wayne and I actually got to go shopping.  We went to a large Walmart,  to the nice Costco in Frederick, and to the Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick.  Found a Golden Corral for a late lunch, then drove home. 

Wednesday we had a little training at the Food Pantry,  then District Meeting (with our Zone Leaders there visiting).  After we did some visiting.  Found a new member of our ward and also visited a couple others.  That evening while I worked at the Family History Center Wayne sang at the Nursing Home for the first time.  They loved him, of course, and invited him back again. 

Thursday we had quite a drive visiting our friend Woneda in Moorefield,  then out to see Joy and Forrest Whetzel.  Our GPS took us the back way - bad idea!  Very bad road,  we'll know not to go that way again.  Joy wasn't even home, but we had a good visit with her nonmember ailing husband, Forrest.   He had a good chuckle at our misadventure getting there ("I tol ya not to go on that there back road!").  And when I told him I missed seeing his wife at church last Sunday, he replied,  "I reckon you did, 'cuz she weren't there."  We really like him.  When I saw his wife at church this morning she invited us to come back for dinner in a couple weeks. 

Friday we drove to the community of Dorcas, to get our bearings there.  We need to track down several families in that area.  We worked on our directory pages for a couple hours, then we picked up a nearby single sister,  Becky Hovatter, and took her with us to Winchester, Virginia, for our Stake High Priest Dinner/Social.  It was so nice.  Good meal,  good program.  Part of the program was several songs played on the harp by our Stake President's wife,  and on one song he sang with her.  He has a wonderful voice.  Becky so enjoyed the evening, so did we.  But it was pretty late when we got home. We are her home/visiting teachers now. 

On Saturday Wayne left about 9 am for a service project.  He, our four Elders, a man from our ward, and several men from a local service organization were bulding a wheelchair ramp and porch for a disabled man in our ward.  They worked on it for about 6 hours (with a pizza break).  Good project.  I had a peaceful morning working on my sacrament meeting talk and the lesson I was teaching in Relief Society.  Also did some household chores, exercised, showered, read, etc.  In the afternoon we working on our directory pages some more and watched the BYU football game.  Today, Sunday,  I survived speaking in church (had to be the week the Stake President chose to visit our ward!).  Also had a fun time teaching RS.  Wayne was called to be the 1st assistant to our High Priest Group Leader.  He is needed there, to keep the peace and to help improve their attitude towards home teaching.  Had a good day today, and received several dinner invitations for the coming weeks.  Good, generous, humble people. 

We want to hear about Cameron and Angie's trip to Florida and the Piano Guys concert!  Happy Birthday on Wednesday to granddaughter Klora!  Darin agreed to email today, with pictures, we look forward to that.  Molly recently broke her finger and has a splint on it - did you know that? 

Have a great week.  OYM

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Service with a Smile and Care Package Surprises

This week we had a break from so much driving and visiting.  It was the Petersburg Ward's turn to staff the
community interfaith Food Pantry, so we were trained then helped out there on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, as did our four Elders.  It took a while to learn how to do the paperwork and pack the boxes properly but by Friday we were competent enough to do it by ourselves.  Monday and Wednesday being the end of the month it was very busy,  fortunately not so much on Friday.  On Saturday we helped at a huge Mobile Food Pantry event, where truckloads of food were brought to the local fire station and volunteers unloaded it, set it out on tables and packed over 200 boxes for needy individuals and families in the area.  We had lots of frozen meat, fruit,

vegetables, eggs, milk, yogurt, sacks of potatoes, bread, rolls, and pastries,  frozen pizzas, and bottled water.  They get to do that twice a year through some government grant.  It was very well organized and lots of people worked hard all morning to make it work.  Good project to interact with the community and other church leaders.  We also helped with Bingo at the Nursing Home a couple times and helped with our ward Trunk or Treat on Wednesday night.  We took our Elders to Romney (40 miles northwest) for a District Meeting (followed by Chinese food),  took a sweet older lady visiting teaching to the shy mountain lady and her daughter that we have visited before.  This time instead of sitting in camp chairs in their front yard they actually invited us in to their humble cabin, that's a big step.  Enjoyed our visit very much.
Made a couple other visits to families we have been trying to catch up with.  Wayne took the van to
Downtown Petersburg diner where we had great crab soup last week!
Moorefield to a shop where they installed a small hitch so we can put on a bike rack and help with the missionary transfers that occur every six weeks or so.  The next transfers are November 20th and our Elder Williamson will be going home then, so obviously we will see some changes.
Our other big project for the week (and on-going) is making our own directory pages.  We are taking the ward roster and combining it with directions to many of the homes in the ward compiled by former senior missionaries and a Relief Society roster of women and how they are related to one another,  also other notes from previous missionaries, and any other relevant information we

Roadside Chicken BBQ - $4 for half a chicken - So good!
can find - then making a binder with a page for each individual, family, or couple with all that information and lines that we can use to record each visit we make to them, and what message or lesson we taught, etc.  It's kind of a big project but will be very helpful when we get it completed and useful for anyone coming after us. 
Tomorrow we are making the three hour trip to Frederick, Virginia, to attend meetings and training with Elder Bruce Carlson of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.  Half of the missionaries in our mission will meet Monday in Frederick,  the other half Tuesday in Columbia.  After the meetings tomorrow the senior missionaries will have a dinner and fireside with him.  Should be a wonderful day.  Tonight I have to make a side dish to take to the dinner.  I was sent the recipe to use:  Sun Dried Tomato Orzo with Fresh Basil.  I found out last night that there is no fresh basil in Petersburg so we had to make a run to Moorefield, finally found some limp, moldy basil leaves in a Food Lion store.  Now I have to look on the internet to see how to "chiffonade" them.  One more thing I am learning on my mission...
Had a great Sunday with very good attendance at Sacrament Meeting.  The family we have been helping clean up a big old house all came to church, 13-year old Josh (son of a recent convert) came,  Brandi and one of her children who we held Home Evening with a couple weeks ago came.  Wayne taught the High Priest's group.  Next week I get to speak in sacrament meeting and teach Relief Society.  Also got a couple of visiting teaching routes today.  We will keep busy.  The weather is still nice enough for us to walk to church, though supposed to get down in the 20's tonight.

Wayne modelling apron Rosala made
from old shirt
 A BIG highlight of this week (our 2-month mission milestone!) was TWO lovely thoughtful care packagesthat we received.  We feel so special.  My sister Judy sent a box with Wayne's favorite Arkansas peanut brittle,  my favorite honey roasted cashews,  calendars, herb-cheese biscuit mix, and more.  What a fun treat!  Then yesterday we received a big heavy box from Wayne's sister Rosala with a waffle iron, a quart of wonderful La Grande honey, a new game, dish towels, a fun apron made from a men's shirt, and more.   Thanks to the Eddingtons and the Jensen family for the great surprises, and also for the sweet notes, and love and support you expressed.  How did you know we would be feeling a little homesick again this weekend as our grandson Cache was baptized and some of the family gathered at his/our home to celebrate. 
Have a good week and remember us in your prayers.  OYM  (Open Your Mouth and tell others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ)