Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tired and Homesick...

Do Senior Missionaries get homesick?  Definitely - especially when the pull to join with family in a time of grief is strong, as it has been this past week.  The Jensen/Orton families lost a good and talented man when Don Jensen (husband of Wayne's sister Rosala) passed away on Tuesday.  Our thoughts were sure with family and friends as they gathered yesterday to honor his life - such a great life of service and goodness.  He will be missed.  And we missed being there.

Do Senior Missionaries get tired?  Oh, yes.  We have had some long days recently, unexpected opportunities to serve, plans that changed at the last minute, and experiences to test patience and flexibility (not my strongest attributes, I'm the first to admit).

And in spite of being tired and homesick (or maybe because of it), this past week has been pretty special...

Monday we did household chores, watched the movie "The Saratov Approach" again, this time with the four Petersburg Elders, then made a quick trip to the Wal-Mart in Moorefield.  Tuesday we had District Meeting in Romney, about 40 miles away.  Wayne did car inspection for the Sister Missionaries we have in Romney (of course it was cold, windy, and snowy as they checked tire pressure, fluid levels, blinkers, brakes, and such).  I did apartment inspection with them.  They are much better housekeepers than the Elders, and needed a few miscellaneous supplies that we can furnish.  Our District Meeting was great, very helpful instruction and a great spirit.  These young people are so wise and obedient and dedicated.  We are learning so much from them all the time.  When we got back to Moorefield the Elders went their separate ways, and so did Wayne and I.  I dropped him off at Johnny Keplinger's and they did some visiting.  Then Johnny took him home to Petersburg in time to help with Bingo at the nursing home.  I headed to the furthest edge of our ward to do my visiting teaching -- my partner is ill, again, I had the appointments set up already, and the month is almost over, so I just went by myself.  Had a wonderful time, sometimes the one-on-one visits are pretty special.  One of the visits I made was to Woneda Kenney's apartment, but found out from her granddaughter that she had just been taken to the hospital in Petersburg.  Called Wayne and Johnny for them to check on her.  It was a long afternoon.  I got back to Petersburg just in time to pick Wayne up from the nursing home - good thing, because it was snowing.  We had a quick dinner, then Wayne went up to the hospital to pick up Woneda Kenney's son and give him a ride home to Moorefield.  Woneda will have to go back in to the nursing home in Baker,  her family just cannot give her the care she needs.  She sure did appreciate the pictures from Kyle, Cache, and Naomi. Anyone who wants to color, draw, or write a letter for her, just send them to me,  I'll deliver them to her and it will make her day,  she is lonely and discouraged.

Wednesday we taught another lesson to Traci Johnson, Robin Martin's friend.  Made a few other visits, worked on genealogy at the church and Wayne caught up our area book.  Thursday we did some planning and scheduling, then I worked on genealogy at the church - that's where I can get on for free and spread out stuff that I am working on.  Audrey Parks sent me a lot of information on her family that I needed to organize, research, and put on familysearch.  It's pretty fun.  Wayne worked at home on a talk he was preparing and also on the computer, trying to find correct addresses of people on our ward directory that we haven't been able to locate.  Is that a never-ending job?  Later in the day we visited Woneda in the hospital,  helped out at the nursing home again, then made an evening visit to a neat couple, the Haslackers, who have suffered multiple challenges in their lives lately recently and needed a little encouragement.

Audrey and John Parks at the temple visitors center
Friday - we had a plan, but it was changed at the last minute when Traci needed a ride to the hospital in Winchester for some blood tests and counselling for some health issues.  Oh, well.  It was fun to visit with her and get to know her better.  And she loved watching "Ephraim's Rescue" on our van TV.  Long drive. Saturday Wayne took the Elders and Johnny K. about an hour away to a member's home to split and stack wood for the morning.  They stopped at the Baker nursing home to visit Woneda on their way home.  I did chores, prepared ahead Sunday dinner for guests,  and worked more on Audrey's genealogy.  I was called at the last minute to help with an activity at the nursing home for an hour.  The rest of our Saturday was the most AWESOME part of our week.  First we sat in on a lesson the Elders had with our friend Sonja - and she accepted the baptism date of April 12th!  She was so ready and anxious to get on with it. She started coming to Relief Society activities with her friend Janet Keplinger in the fall, then started coming to church, then
Janet Keplinger, Audry Parks, Sister Orton, Sonja Morton
taking the lessons and reading the Book of Mormon.  It has been fun to get to know her and see her testimony grow and the changes she is making in her life.  She thought drinking coffee would be a stumbling block,  but she decided on her own recently to quit and is so proud of herself and feels so much better now. Her 14-year-old son Joseph and her 20-something daughter Kristie come to church with her some times too and seem to be interested.  We are very excited for her.

After Sonja's lesson we then had the baptism of our good friend Audrey Parks.  We have spent a lot of time with Audrey and her husband John. John was able to baptize Audrey,  Wayne has worked a lot with him to help him prepare.  Wayne gave a talk on baptism and at the last minute had to play the piano for the service.  He was not prepared for that, but did his best. Today Audrey
Elder Orton, Johnny Keplinger, John Parks

was confirmed in church and she and John both bore their testimonies. Very humble, sweet people. As has become our routine, after church they came to dinner at our apartment, then Audrey and I went back to the church to work on her genealogy while Wayne and John made a visit to a less active man.  So --  great couple of days.  At Audrey's baptism was also Lou Black, an neat lady we visited with Elder Bell and Elder Mordecai.  She has set a baptism date of April 29.  We had a great attendance of non-members and less-active members at church today, but not such a good attendance of regulars,  there was fog and snow in some of our ward areas and the members who live a ways from Petersburg in the bad weather areas couldn't make it in.  Crazy weather here in West
Elder Orton, John & Audrey Parks, Sister Orton - Mar 29
Virginia - snow today, forecast of 70 degrees for tomorrow!

(Someone gave me the book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" last week.  I am loving it.  I highly recommend it to everyone.)   

 Our love to all who are reading this blog  (and we still would like to know who that is??).  And even though we are tired and homesick occasionally, we are so happy to be here and to be busy and useful.  We feel the Spirit testify to us of the importance of the Work of Salvation and feel privileged to be missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ at this time in this place.  

Elder Farr (from Salem, Oregon), Audrey & John Parks, Elder Plumb (from Arizona)
I believe I said last week that Elder Farr was from Ogden, wrong - sorry.


  1. I read it faithfully! You two are so wonderful, and I love and continue to greatly admire you from afar! And, yes, it stinks to be far from family. We were also unable to join in the celebration of Uncle Don's life yesterday. :(
    Thank you for your beautiful descriptive letters. Keep them coming!

  2. Kyle said your letter made him feel happy because some people wanted to get baptized and someone could quit drinking coffee.