Sunday, May 25, 2014

Busy, busy, busy...

We old folks have really tired ourselves out this week.  Been very busy, every day.  But it's been good busy therefore it's been a good week.  I won't bore you with all the details, and I do have some good pictures, so just the highlights.

Monday Wayne got up early and went fishing,  I walked downtown to the dentist.  Now this was really not fair -- Wayne likes to go fishing and I hate to go to the dentist!  I just went in for a cleaning, but the dentist is our bishop and he somehow coerced me into x-rays and a check-up as well.  I know it was a good thing, because I do have bad teeth.  Nice to know all is well.  In the afternoon we worked at the local food pantry. Our ward takes a turn for a week every seven weeks and the week we are assigned we work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons.  It's a good service opportunity.  Monday we worked with three people from another church, Wed. with another couple from our ward, and Friday with our four Elders.  As an added bonus, on one day we met an inactive member of our ward who was happy to give us her current address and phone number  -- we had been searching for her since we got here and couldn't find her.  So we have already been to her house and met her husband and since she works at Subway we just happened to pick up sandwiches there Friday and had another good visit.  How did our paths just "happen" to cross?

Tuesday we got up early, picked the Elders up at 6:30 am, and drove to Berryville (1 1/2 hours) for Zone Conference.  It was great, but long, 8 am to 4 pm.  Good instruction from the Mission President, our Stake President, the Stake Family History Director, and the AP's.  We left right when it was over to drive home in time for our service commitment at the nursing home.

Wednesday we had Zone Meeting in the morning, worked at the Food Pantry, and taught two lessons in the afternoon - one with Traci, one with the Parks.  Then I went to the church to do indexing and give genealogy help while Wayne made a visit with a couple of the Elders.

Thursday was an awesome day.  We picked up our friends Johnny and Janet K. about noon and they helped us with visiting teaching and home teaching all afternoon.  We drove clear to Wardensville to visit Deb F., back to Mathias to see the Lists (furthest out home in the ward), on the way back to Baker we stopped in at Kelly K's (our Elders Quorum President) to check on him as he has been having back problems (it's his week to clean the church and we told him not to worry about it, that the missionaries would take care of it). Then we visited Woneda at the nursing home, and drove up in the hills to see Carol L. (so hard to pin her down to an appointment time,  we were very happy to make connections there).  Carol is not in the best of health and was concerned about getting a mountain of mulch spread around in her flower beds so we asked if we could bring the Elders out on Saturday to help her.  She was very appreciative of the offer and agreed. Whew!  We delivered Janet and Johnny back home, they had a fun day with us.  We drove back to Petersburg, had a quick dinner, then made one more visit, delivering a large print Bible & Book of Mormon to a less-active member who is having vision problems and had requested them.  Another long day.  But very productive.

Friday morning we cleaned the church with the Elders, worked at the Food Pantry, made a couple of visits, then prepared for the First Annual Petersburg Ward Campout!  We picked up a couple of Subway sandwiches, picked up a couple of passengers, then drove out past the community of Arthur to some beautiful property our bishop owns, for a lovely evening.  We enjoyed visiting, playing Corn Hole, tossing a football, eating, roasting marshmallows, hiking, listening to live music, and having a spiritual thought and ward prayer around the campfire.  We didn't stay the night, but we did go back up Saturday morning for breakfast before taking the Elders to their service project.  We had a good time helping Carol with her yard work. The Elders enjoyed getting dirty and working hard.  Her home and yard are beautiful, we love it there.  She prepared a nice lunch for us too and was so appreciative of the help and the company.  (and she came to church today!!)  We were tired afterward, came home and rested, then picked up a few groceries and prepared for Sunday dinner with friends (who ended up not coming).  Wonderful church today, we taught the temple prep class and Wayne taught the High Priests.  In the afternoon we took the Elders out to the nursing home in Baker to visit Woneda, then to check up on some people that didn't come to church.  Now we are relaxing and looking forward to our day off tomorrow - but we are going to some friends' home for a barbecue with several ward families (I think there was talk of paint balling there too, the Elders are pretty excited about that...)  Wayne is hoping for a little fishing time,  I am hoping to get a little housework done and then just doing nothing for a little while...

Pictures to follow.  It's been a fun, busy week.  We like keeping busy and have felt useful and productive. We've put a lot of miles on our poor van.  Our little garden is growing.  And so is our love for the wonderful people here and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What an awesome experience we are having.   Much love to our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren - we miss you so much.
Jacob teaching me how to play Corn Hole

Campfire, hot dogs, and marshmallows!

Ward Campout
Wayne's good friend Johnny   (he loves to fish!)
Hike to a nearby pond
Music in the woods
The Elders join in
My two good friends, Katrina and Kassie,
our Bishop's daughters, both have Angelman Syndrome
They are so loved in the ward
Dancing for their breakfast
Bishop cooking breakfast
On our way to Carol's house, a tiny graveyard in a field
Little country church

Saturday morning service project

Relaxing and watching the Elders work

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ups and Downs

Lots of rain this past week,  the rivers and creeks around here are running high and muddy.  But when the sun does come out everything looks so sparkling clean and beautiful.  Our little patio garden and tiny front flower beds are looking good, too.   It's been a little rough since I (Janie) have not been feeling well all week. I've had a bad cough, congestion, weepy eyes,  and tiredness. We're thinking it may be allergies - pollen level is unusually high in this area this year.  I've never had allergies before, but it's a new environment with lots to get used to so maybe that's it.  I am trying an OTC allergy medicine and am feeling much better today. We'll see.   Anyway didn't do as much as we should have last week, but we still had a few miracles.

I did drive my neighbor JeriLee to several appointments last week.  Her little baby Corinna is so cute. On Monday we made a trip to Wal-Mart and "happened" to run in to a less-active ward member who said we could come visit her the next day, we were happy about that.  On Tuesday we made the drive to her home and had a good visit.  As a bonus, after we had been there a while her 18-year-old son and older daughter arrived - we had been trying to get in to see them also, so it was great to get to chat with all of them.  We also helped at the nursing home a couple nights and Wayne sang there Friday night.  We taught a lesson on Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching to John and Audrey, they are excited to get going (and asked when they would get name badges like we have....).  Today we started teaching a temple prep class too.

On Tuesday night I was making phone calls to set up appointments.  I called Cathy S, a lady we first met a couple weeks ago as we searched the ward list to find the lost and forgotten.  Wayne had finally found an accurate address for her so we stopped by.  Anyway, when I called this time she invited us to visit on Friday.  When we arrived she was so glad to see us and told us how much our last visit had meant to her. She said that she had told her mother, who lives in a different area, that we had come to see her.  Her mother is an active member and she then revealed to her daughter that she had been praying for her and praying that someone from the church would visit her. She encouraged Cathy to keep meeting with us and Cathy said that she intended to.  Cathy said that even my call on Tuesday to set up an appointment had brightened a difficult day she was having and that she sure was happy we had come to see her.  Wayne and I pray daily that we will be instruments in the Lord's hand and that we will be where He needs us to be - it's nice to hear that we can be the answer to a mother's prayer and find someone that really needed us to come...

Happy Birthday tomorrow to Angie!!  We love you and miss you.  We think you are amazing to balance so much in your life!

Now I'll turn the writing over to Elder Orton:
Thanks.  I think she does so much better.
This week-end I missed a fun event.  My sibling reunion at Mark and Annettes' in Ogden.  I would have loved to be there with you but am glad to be here also.
We would have missed another great event.  We had a 3 mission meeting in the stake center next to the DC temple.  Presided over by Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve.  Elder Clayton of the Seventy was there also along with a new member of the Seventy,  Elder Wong.  There were about 700 missionaries there and it was an inspirational meeting.  What do you think Elder Ballard was sent here to tell us way out here?  He told us we needed to talk to more people, be bold, strengthen the wards and baptize more of God's children.
Sometimes it is not what is said that you remember but how you felt and what you "heard".  He told us that the Lord is definitely hastening His work.  Also Satan is hastening his work!  So I heard this:  Where does that leave us if we just continue to do what we did last year or the year before?  If we don't do differently we will be left behind in the hastening.  We need to evaluate what we have been doing and then formulate what we need to do next so that we can be a help.  We need to talk to more people about the gospel, we need to live the gospel better and be better at keeping our covenants.  We can do it.  All of us!
We did get a lot of comfort from Elder Ballard's apostolic blessing as he closed.  It was that our families would be blessed for our being here in the service of the Lord.  If we can do something that will bring joy to our families, that is what we want to do.  Especially if it will help you walk in truth.  As John said in 3rd John 4:  "I (we) have no greater joy than to hear that my (our) children walk in truth."
Farewell for now, we love you all!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Tree at our church, saying Happy Mother's Day!
I was blessed with such a wonderful mother, Marge, and two special grandmothers, Georgia and Ethel. What a blessing in my youth.  When I married into the Orton family I gained another mother, Clora,  and she was very special too and a great example to me.  We are so so fortunate in our family to see the amazing mothers that our daughters have become and grateful that our sons chose wonderful wives that are amazing mothers as well.  As we work with so many dysfunctional families we appreciate more and more the blessing of good, strong, faithful, dedicated mothers.  Happy Mother's Day to each of you.  I know the Poyfairs had a special experience, talking for over an hour with their son Dallin in Mozambique, Africa, for Mother's Day. Isn't technology wonderful?!  We enjoyed Skyping with them earlier today too and could almost smell the wonderful Minestrone Soup that the family was making for Karli!

We have spent too much time in the car this week - but that just happens some weeks.  We made a trip to Columbia, on the outskirts of Baltimore, on Wednesday for transfers.  We traded our Elder Mordecai for our new missionary, Elder Rodrigues, who comes from a small town near Yosemite Park in California.  We will come to love him as we have all the missionaries we have been privileged to serve with.  A bonus of our going to the transfer meeting was to see a couple of  missionaries who had served in our area - Elder Salazar and Elder Goodell give their final testimonies as they prepared to go home after serving an honorable mission.  What fine young men.

We spent a lot of the day yesterday in the car too as we took John and Audrey P, and Sonja M to the temple. Audrey and Sonja were just baptized a few months ago and I have been doing genealogy work with them.  Yesterday they did baptisms in the temple for over 40 family names!  It was an awesome experience for them and for us.  Sonja said it was her Mother's Day present to her mother who died several years ago, she was so excited.  We love them so much and it will be so neat to be with them over the next year as they progress and take more steps in their eternal progression...

I was able to work more on genealogy, picture albums (for a member), and indexing while Wayne took the
New steps for Sonja,  Priesthood in action
van to be serviced Tuesday afternoon, then back to be checked because it was losing transmission fluid on Thursday (yes, it was their fault).  And more housework and indexing Friday when Wayne went to a service project, then fishing with Johnny.  Sometimes it's difficult just having one car - other times, I kind of enjoy being "grounded".   Today we have been delivering Mother's Day flowers to women we missed at church today, it's a beautiful day to be out, so pretty around here and the temperature is in the 80's.

Again, Happy Mother's Day.  We continue to love it here and love what we are doing.  Especially we love our Savior and are very aware of everyday miracles and tender mercies.
After the service project...

Boot Hill Church

Sara - This picture is for your Dad, we met this couple, the Barnham's, at the
Temple Visitor's Center yesterday.  When we said we were from LaGrande, they asked
if we knew their friend Tony Blake - Yes we replied, our son married his daughter!  Small World.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Birthday in the Mission Field

The beautiful Thueson family sending Grandma birthday love
Lovely cake made by the Elders!
Someone knows I love flowers

Cards, flowers, cakes, phone calls, Skypes - what a nice birthday for Sister Orton, I feel very loved and spoiled!  But more on that later...

Devin's amazing wife Amie made us a picture calendar for Christmas,  it's a treat to flip over each new month and see the cute pictures and inspirational thoughts on the next page.  On May's page there are darling pictures of Naomi and Krista playing with our miniature horses (Krista is in her pink princess dress, Naomi has bright galoshes on her feet) - so cute -  and the quote of the month is by Hans Christian Anderson:
 "The whole world is a series of miracles but we're so used to seeing them that we call them ordinary things."
Believe it.  We are trying to recognize the miracles in our daily lives, and there are many.  We have had a lot of rain lately, and it contributes to the natural beauty of West Virginia.  We are loving the tree-covered hillsides as the different shades of green appear, with the occasional red bud and dogwood blossoms for contrast.

Red buds line the road as we approach Wardensville
Dogwoods in the forest
Prettiest little valley, near Baker (West Virginia)
Small section of freeway, called Corridor H (we thought for the longest time that people
were saying Quarter H?), we travel this road between Moorefield & Wardensville
often, nice change from the narrow, curvy roads we usually are on.
About our week - it was busy.  We had District Meeting on Tuesday, then went visiting. My visiting teaching partner was out of town again, this time Wayne was a good sport and filled in.  We visited Jane, Woneda at the Baker nursing home, and finally way out to Carol L.'s beautiful home on a hill in the woods.  From her huge front window we watched the birds and squirrels play, it's such a lovely setting.  Then we drove to Wardensville to check in on Sheila H and finally managed to catch another family at their home and had a nice chat getting to know them.  Larry is not a member, but he is a car restorer and racer, so he and Wayne had a good visit.  Wednesday I took my neighbor girl to the hospital,  taught another lesson to our friend Traci (she is a regular at church on Sundays now, loved her first Relief Society night meeting a couple weeks ago, and even brought a friend to church with her yesterday), then worked with neighbor Becky H. on genealogy at the church in the evening.  JerriLee, who recently moved into the apartment next to us, had her baby about midnight,  darling little girl - Corinna Skye.  Thursday morning we got a call from Sheila H. needing a ride from Wardensville (about 45 miles away) to Moorefield. We spent most of the afternoon driving her around, but she was very entertaining and really appreciated our help.  We did get done in time to help with Bingo at the nursing home. Friday we had another lesson with John & Audrey out past Moorefield,  then drove south of Petersburg on the 220 to see Dave & Elaine V. and  Dave gave me a few strawberry plants for my little patio garden.  Wayne sang at the nursing home in the evening.

That brings us to SATURDAY!  My (Janie's) birthday.  So nice to be remembered with cards, flowers, chocolate, pictures, and good wishes - thanks so much.  After our regular 9 am meeting with the Elders and our Ward Mission Leader, Wayne and I drove to Moorefield (12 miles) and explored a cemetery that we had been curious about.  It was a beautiful place for a walk, interesting to read about the Civil War battle that took place there, see the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers plus a section for slaves and their descendants.  Then we went to a nearby plant nursery where I picked out cheery pansies, petunias, and snap dragons to replace the weeds in the tiny flowerbeds on either side of our front door.  We came home, had a special lunch (shrimp, yum!), then the doorbell rang - two of our Elders (young missionaries) with a cake
they had made for me!  The other two came later with a cute picture of the four of them (and to share cake). Nice notes from each of them also, sweet.  I then went to a baby shower for a young woman in our ward and spent the rest of my birthday reading and talking to my kids and grandkids. Lovely day.

Sunday - very long day.  We don't have early meetings on Fast Sundays, but Wayne's friend Johnny K. said he wasn't coming to church because he didn't have the gas to drive to Petersburg from Moorefield, so Wayne left at 7:45 am to pick him up and bring him to church.  We had great meetings, then afterward had a ward potluck. After the potluck we picked up two of the Elders, took Johnny home, then drove to Jane H.'s for a sweet visit and the Elders blessed and shared the sacrament with her.  She struggles with health challenges and is pretty isolated so she very much appreciates our visits.  We then drove on down the road to the Baker nursing home to see Woneda and share the sacrament with her also.  She is very lonely and so loves her missionary visits.  Another half hour of driving past the little town of Mathias for a nice visit with Connie S. and up a mountain to meet Vada D., someone on the directory list that we have been trying to find. She is another lonely older lady with health problems, happy to have someone interested in her.  And we were happy to finally find her.  Her brother Baxter, whom she rarely sees, is a good friend of ours, we are having dinner with Baxter and his wife Sandy tomorrow night, so will convey her love to him (Wayne managed to take a picture of her with his IPad to show Baxter too).  An hour's drive from Vada's back to our home. Got home tired about 8 pm,  but had fun Skype visits with Acors and Thuesons to end the day.   Today I am running my neighbor and her new baby around to doctor appointments, WIC meeting, and grocery shopping and hope to get my flowers planted....    What fun.   Look for the miracles.  We are doing great and just wonder where the time is going? Our love to you all.  


This is Wayne now:  We were talking with each other the other day about how the Lord's tender mercies weave themselves into so many of the things we do or are called upon to do.  When we were driving across the U.S on our way to the Maryland, Baltimore Mission, we could see in our mind's eye tall buildings, lots of pavement, many busy people going to and fro, bright lights and so forth.  Then we received the call not to go to Baltimore but straight to Petersburg, West Virginia.  Totally different than what we had imagined.  And totally much better! 
What a tender mercy to come here.  It hasn't stopped there but continues and we are continually grateful.
We look back on the experiences we have had in our life, the things we have learned, the skills we have developed and can see how helpful they are now in "hastening the work".  Our skills and talents are really quite limited but we have experiences so often where we can use them.  We have helped with gardening, fixed a lawnmower, made house repairs, helped with family history, played music, helped with budgeting and many other things that have helped us appreciate experiences we have had in the past.  We are so grateful to do anything we can to invite someone to come closer the Christ.  It is just important to learn all that you can because it will be useful.  You may not think that it is important for you but it will be important to someone else later.