We worked at the local food pantry Monday and Wednesday, and helped at the nursing home Tuesday night. We also managed to make several visits, including Robin & Traci, Goldie George, and Woneda. To understand the rest of our week, I need to mention a phone call I got a couple weeks ago. In our mission we have two senior couples who work in the Mission Office. One of them called me and suggested that since there was an activity for Senior Couples to visit the Naval Academy at Annapolis on the 4th, why didn't Elder Orton and I come to Baltimore a couple days early to see the some of the sights and we could stay at a vacant but furnished mission apartment in the area. They thought that since we live way over in West Virginia, but were coming to the activity anyway, why not spend a little extra time in the area. Sounded good to us, so after we worked at the food pantry Wednesday afternoon we drove to the mission office (3 hours) to pick up the apartment key and arrived at the apartment in the evening. We spent Thursday seeing some awesome sights in Baltimore, mostly in the Inner Harbor area, and Friday at the senior couple activity ending with dinner at the mission home with our mission president and the other eleven senior couples in the mission - we were welcoming a new couple, the Bringhursts from Delta, Utah, who will be living in Cumberland, Virginia, and copying archive records for FamilySearch. It was very interesting and a fun break.
|We began with a 1 1/2 hour trolley tour of Baltimore|
|Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and funny, and wore different hats along the way|
|After the trolley tour we had lunch at Bubba Gumps' - delicious crab soup!|
|Next we went in this building, the World Trade Center, to the Top of the World observation area on the 27th floor.|
|Melted steel girders from 9/11, on display in front of the Baltimore World Trade Center|
|View from the top, our van is in the parking lot at the bottom left, near the yellow truck!|
|Another view from the top, looking onto the harbor & the USS Constellation|
|Final picture from the Top of the World, the Phillips Restaurant in the|
center of the picture is where we ate dinner, delicious seafood - Wayne even had swordfish!
|Dragon paddleboats for rent in the harbor|
Next we rode the free city bus out to Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner during the War of 1812. There was an interesting visitor's center and we could also walk around the Fort. We loved it and learned so much, picked up cool pamphlets to send to some of our grandsons, if they are interested...
|The actual Fort McHenry, strategic position to defend Baltimore, on the tip of the inner harbor of the Chesapeake Bay|
Back to the Inner Harbor, some interesting ships, a submarine, and Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse that was in operation for a hundred years, then recently taken out of use and moved to the pier, another interesting tour.
Friday we joined the other senior couples in our mission for a tour of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, where one of our senior couples is assigned. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of being there. The historic old buildings (pictures cannot do it justice), the midshipmen (4500) scurrying from place to place, the history, patriotism, honor, and dedication the academy stands for and portrays in so many ways. I've never seen anything like it. It was AWESOME.
|Tomb of naval hero, John Paul Jones|
|Torpedo on display in the hall of classroom building.|
I think Wayne took a dozen pictures of torpedoes, jet engines, and such. He was fascinated
|This picture is for Darin - here is what their labs look like!|
|Our tour guide for part of the day, Sgt. John Kadz, an LDS Naval Academy graduate|
who is an instructor there now. Great young man. Served a mission in Korea midway
through his academy education.
|Academy marina where the mids get experience in different types of sailing & rowing|
One of the highlights of the day was our visit with Rabbi Josh Sherman, who is one of the naval chaplains assigned to the Annapolis Naval Academy. One of his responsibilities is to oversee the smaller faith-based groups, of which the LDS group is one, so he works closely with our senior couple, the Hilliards, and they have become friends. He agreed to show us the Jewish chapel (synagogue) which was built in 2005. He explained what different features are, how they worship, opened their sacred ark and actually unrolled one of their Torahs for us to see and answered questions about his role and beliefs. It was fascinating. He also demonstrated some of his chants. He was so gracious and fun. What an experience.
After this great tour, we drove to the mission home, had a fun dinner with the Mission President and his wife and the other senior couples, then we drove home (making a brief stop at Costco in Frederick, Maryland). We enjoyed the trip, enjoyed Conference, and are ready now to get back to work. We have another baptism coming up next week that we are very excited about, Wayne has a lot of month-end reports to get to, and I have a Relief Society lesson to prepare. Hope to make many visits, teach another lesson to Traci, District Meeting in Romney, etc, etc. We count our blessings and they are many. Love to family and friends - we miss you.