Sunday, August 31, 2014

Not a good week...

Janie:  I was thinking about my mother and my brother, Mike, this past week.  Mom's birthday was Wednesday (she died in Feb. 1988),  my brother's birthday was Saturday (he died Christmas Day, 1995). Well, the week got much sadder when my sister, Judy, called Friday afternoon to let us know that she had come home from work and found her husband, Mike, had passed away while she was gone.  What a shock! Still can't believe it.  She is strong and is doing well, their three sons came right away and have been such a support. She is still hoping to come from Arkansas here to West Virginia to see us the end of September. We look forward to that.

Other frustrations this week:  the second 2-hour meeting with a nice couple who are trying their hardest to "save" us - the husband, Scotty, has gotten a lot of anti-Mormon info off the internet and as he throws each item at us, we patiently explain the whole context or the real truth or what we really believe.  We thought they would eventually listen to our message, but I guess not.  We asked them to pray about what we are saying and to check out,, or even the fairmormon site that goes point by point with the anti site he has been visiting.  But it seems he is not interested.  Sad, because they are really nice "god-fearing" people and seem sincere.  Don't know if we will go back there again.

Also were dropped by one referral, and had good friends turn back to their Pentecostal roots after seeming so strong in our faith.  Discouraging.

And Wayne worked all week on a great talk for sacrament meeting about the armor of God, only to have two speakers ahead of him and the Stake President visiting our ward today. Wayne was told at the last minute to leave time for him to speak, so Wayne only took about 5 minutes instead of the 25 or so that he had prepared.  But he has been on the other side of that one and totally understood...

We did get to work at the Food Pantry on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  That is always fun.  We helped out at the nursing home a couple evenings.  We had good zone training in Woodstock.  We made some nice visits, even took the Relief Society president out with us one afternoon to meet some ladies she didn't know.  I did indexing one night and helped Janet with genealogy after church today.  We were probably the only missionaries in the Maryland Baltimore Mission that didn't travel to Baltimore on Friday night for Mormon Night at the Baltimore Orioles baseball game.  Too far and we really don't like baseball. A ward member took our Elders and because of the long game, the difficulty of getting out of the parking area, the bad traffic and just the distance away from here, they didn't get home until after 2 am.  We just watched the BYU/UConn game in our comfortable living room.  Didn't feel guilty at all.  We also were adopted in to yet another family and invited to their annual family Pig Roast last evening in a large barn on the family farm outside of Moorefield.  They had wonderful pulled pork,  lots of other good food, and live music from family bands all evening.  It was great.

Please pray for my dear sister in her time of loss.  And tell your family members that you love them.  We sure love our wonderful family, each one of them. What a huge treat to get first day of school pictures of all our grandchildren that are in school!  So cute. Really helped our hearts.  Thank you, thank you. Happy 16th birthday to Dakota on Thursday.

Cute little old jailhouse right on the main street of Wardensville

Big barn, site of the pig roast put on by Johnny's family

Janie with Janet's granddaughter, KK (Kadence), my friend

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Busy Week with a Temple visit in the middle

What a great week!  Some of the highlights - visiting with our oldest son Darin on his birthday last Sunday and with Darin's daughter Molly on her 8th birthday Friday!  Taking five missionaries to the temple.  A very successful ward indexing workshop Saturday morning and a ward lawn party yesterday afternoon.  It seems like each day was full and busy,  that's the way we like it - but we do need a little rest now and then.  We were going to take a Sunday afternoon nap, but Wayne got a phone call to go with the Elders to take the sacrament to a ward member who is in the hospital, so up he jumped...

Anyway,  just a few short stories and a lot of pictures.  Tuesday was district meeting in Romney again. We loaded up our van with the five Petersburg Elders and drove an hour up to Romney. A nice surprise when we got there - the Romney Elders had baked Wayne and I a giant snickerdoodle cookie, to thank us for our love, support, and help recently. Cute.  In the meeting Wayne and I had been assigned to do the instruction portion of the meeting and the topic given to us was from the Preach My Gospel book,  "Go About Doing Good".  We talked about planned and unplanned service opportunities and the blessings that come from helping others.  A couple of the significant phrases from this lesson:  "As you seek to do good, you will be led to people who are being prepared for the restored gospel" and  "Believe that people who are being prepared to receive the message of the Restoration will be placed in your path.  God will also
place you where your good acts and words will prepare people to receive missionaries and Church members." We had a good discussion and commitments were made to look for more opportunities to give service. Interestingly, on the way home, after dropping three Elders in Moorefield where they had left their car, as we were coming around a sharp curve close to Petersburg we passed a van by the side of the road with a flat tire. What a teaching moment as Wayne turned our van around, went back and found a safe place to park across the road, and he and the two Elders went to the rescue of an 87-year-old woman whose tire was shredded and flat.  She was so relieved and grateful. And it turned out that she is the grandmother of one of our ward members.  One other car stopped after ours to help out - an inactive member of our ward, who just happened to have the tool needed to accomplish the job.  It was so good for him to be of service and interact with our Elders.  What timing!  

Here are pictures we took after our session at the Washington DC Temple.  What a beautiful day.  And we thought missionary families might enjoy seeing their sons,  what great young men.

Yesterday (Saturday) our ward Family History Director and I put on an indexing workshop in the morning. We were pleased to have 15 people attend.  Some were brand new to indexing, Ashley helped them understand what indexing is, and get registered and started.  I took six who had computer experience and/or had done a little indexing into our computer room and they indexed with my help and supervision.  Very successful event. In the late afternoon we had a "lawn party" at the church.  So fun.  We grilled hot dogs and had games, music, and visiting.  Great turnout of about 70 people,  some visitors, some less active.  It was nice.

This is Elder Orton
In the June issue of the Ensign there was an article that taught us about the path to happiness.  One thing the author suggested was to "become who you are".  As I thought about it I was reminded of a story told by Elder Featherstone:
Many years ago I heard the story of the son of King Louis XVI of France. King Louis had been taken from his throne and imprisoned. His young son, the prince, was taken by those who dethroned the king. They thought that inasmuch as the king’s son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally, he would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon him.
They took him to a community far away, and there they exposed the lad to every filthy and vile thing that life could offer. They exposed him to foods the richness of which would quickly make him a slave to appetite. They used vile language around him constantly. They exposed him to lewd and lusting women. They exposed him to dishonor and distrust. He was surrounded 24 hours a day by everything that could drag the soul of a man as low as one could slip. For over six months he had this treatment—but not once did the young lad buckle under pressure. Finally, after intensive temptation, they questioned him. Why had he not submitted himself to these things—why had he not partaken? These things would provide pleasure, satisfy his lusts, and were desirable; they were all his. The boy said, “I cannot do what you ask for I was born to be a king.”
This is just a story but it illustrates a point so well.  We are all born to be kings and queens.  We are all children of our Father in Heaven.  I hope that each of us is living such a life as to be who we are.
Our love to all of you from Petersburg
Elder and Sister Orton

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mid-way Point...

Did you know that Senior Couple 2-year missions are really for 23 months?  Something about how if you stay in one place for 2 years you have to declare residency, and 23 months avoids that.  Anyway,  half of 23 months is 11 1/2 months - which is how long we have been out now! How fast it has gone by - adjustments, challenges, joys, miracles, disappointments, growth, fun, new experiences, humbling experiences, weaknesses exposed, etc.  Such a neat experience to share, we are so blessed.  Thanks for your encouragement, love, and support.  We carry on....

We just got back from dinner and visit with one of the neatest families in our ward.  They are taking their two
Kevin, Ashley, Calli, Briana, Sherrie
oldest daughters to BYU-Idaho in a couple weeks and we wanted to spend a little time with them, tell them how much we appreciate them, and give a little message on the Armor of God - with advice for this new adventure in Ashley & Briana's lives. Too few families like this one around here, with both parents in the home,  good jobs, emphasis on the gospel and education.  Nice evening.

Our week was pretty busy, of course. We try to keep our Mondays free for chores and fun,  but that doesn't seem to be working very well.  Last Monday was the day designated by a lady I visit teach and Wayne home teaches as the "only day all month" that we could come see her.  So mid-afternoon we picked up our friends Johnny and Janet, and drove way out in the country to Carol's beautiful home for a special visit.  We had a beautiful drive, a good visit and lesson(s) with her,  fun with Johnny and Janet, and saw lots of deer in the countryside.

Tuesday we drove our two Petersburg and three Moorefield Elders up to Romney, to meet with the two Elders there for our District Meeting.  After a quick lunch at Burger King we came back to Petersburg (dropping the Moorefield Elders off in Moorefield where they had left their car).  Wayne and I took a brief rest, then picked up Elder Lyon and Elder Bronson and traveled half an hour out to our dinner appointment. Delicious meal, visiting, and message there, then we visited three other member homes in the area.  At one home, just the husband was home but he had his corn hole game set up in the back yard, so he and Elder Orton challenged the two Elders to a game. It was a pleasant evening.  Just as we were finishing our visits it started pouring down rain, really needed for this area.  Nice day, but loooong.

Visits, indexing, genealogy, and music practice Wednesday.  Thursday we had Bingo at the nursing home in the afternoon.  Then John and Audrey came here and went to a lesson with Traci with us.  Then we all went to the church:  ladies to Relief Society night meeting,  men to practice music for a couple of upcoming engagements.  Thursday John and Audrey came here for their Book of Mormon study time and had dinner with us,  then Johnny & Janet came.  Janet and I worked on genealogy while Wayne, John, Audrey, and Johnny went up to the nursing home and entertained the residents for an hour. Fun evening for all of us and a treat for the residents at the nursing home.

Saturday morning we found out how out of shape we were in spite of our morning walks!  We had been bothered by the lack of care of our church grounds.  The lawn gets mowed every week but no other attention.  So we borrowed some tools and spent the morning cleaning, weeding, and trimming around the church.  Looks so much better now, but sore muscles for us..  In the afternoon we went to our favorite walking place, a small Civil War park, Fort Mulligan, on the top of the hill above our apartment complex. There is a nice walking path around it, and Saturday they had an old time band, buggy displays, a Civil War encampment,  and mock battle.  Interesting.  Today we had, of course, the special blessing and privilege of taking the sacrament,  great meetings, great attendance, friends (Johnny, Janet, and Oscar) over for dinner, worked on genealogy with Janet while Wayne went visiting with Johnny.  Then supper and visit with Kevin, Sherrie, Ashley, Briana, and Calli (and new kitten Maisy).  We are tired and ready for a rest.  But Wayne is building fence tomorrow with a neat member/farmer who doesn't come to church yet, but is such a nice man. Wayne is looking forward getting out of his white shirt and tie to do a little farm work in jeans and work shirt.
So begins the second half of our mission.  Our week to come will include taking five missionaries to the DC Temple - what could be better than that??

Look closely at this "instrument"

God changes caterpillars into butterflies,
Sand into pearls, and coal into diamonds
He's working on YOU too.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Good week with occasional frustrations...

Too much time in the car last week, and too many frustrating visits finding no one at home,  but all in all it was a good week.

Tuesday we took the five Petersburg Elders to Berryville for Zone Conference.  It was a great meeting, lots of good instruction and inspiring presentations.  But long.  An hour-and-a-half drive, then meetings from 8 am to 4 pm.  We had to wait around afterward for Elder Yardley, one of our zone leaders, who was exchanging with our Elder Bronson for a few days and had some interviews after the other meetings.  So it was close to 5 pm when we got out of there.  Fortunately there is a Golden Corral buffet restaurant nearby (Elder Orton's favorite) and he invited our five passengers plus the two Elders from Romney to eat there.  None of them minded the invitation and they definitely got their (our) money's worth!  

Wednesday we met with our good friends Traci and Robin, and helped them with some assignments for a
class they are taking.  Wayne had to run to Moorefield to pick up a prescription for a ward member and take it to him, then we met a couple at the church for their final temple prep classs - the follow-up lesson after they attend the temple for the first time.  That was fun.  Then I stayed at the church and did some indexing (and visiting).  We had a good lesson with Kathy S. on Thursday and her cute grandkids were excited to show us their new puppies.  Also visited with Dave and Elaine V. and played Bingo at the nursing home.  Friday was a very frustrating day and we did a lot of driving around, trying to see people that didn't happen to be home.  Even a few more of those Saturday afternoon, but then we got to party!  One of the most popular people in our ward is Oscar, a young man from Puerto Rico who joined the church here in Petersburg a little over a year ago.  He is now the ward executive secretary and just as faithful as can be. Everyone loves him.  He turned 30 yesterday and threw a picnic/party to celebrate.  Lots of food, games, corn hole, and a pinata (Minion). It was great.
Oscar's 30th Birthday Picnic

Hanging the Pinata

Elder Bronson watches as Elder Hall and Elder Orton face off in Corn Hole

More Corn Hole (we will be bringing a set home to Idaho!)

Never too old for playground fun
Today was a lovely day.  Beautiful Sabbath.  I taught Relief Society and it went very well.  After Church we took Elder Hall, Elder Moore, and Elder Lyon with us for some visits (the kind we have to drive a long ways for).  We visited Jane H.  - she is actually doing very well and hoping that the MERSA infection is finally gone.  The Elders did a little sacrament service for her, very nice.  Then we drove out to see Woneda K. who has moved from the nursing home to her son's home,  very poor conditions and she is unhappy there. She was so glad to see us.  Next way out past Mathias for a short visit with Connie S.  Then had to get the Elders back to Moorefield for a couple appointments they had.  We came on home and enjoyed leftovers from the picnic yesterday - BBQ chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and cupcakes.  Also some corn that Wayne bought at a local vegetable stand on Friday - he is so happy that he has found a couple places with excellent corn.

A few miscellaneous items:
- Elder Moore spoke in church today.  I want to remember one of his quotes:  Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles.
-  Gas is very expensive here in West Virginia and we sure use a lot.  For a time it was close to $4 a gallon, fortunately it has been coming down.  It is usually about 30 cents a gallon cheaper in Virginia, so we get it there when we can.  Last week when we were in Berryville for meetings we found it at Costco for $3.16 - yippee!  Right now in Petersburg it is $3.56.
-  I have been fascinated by a flower showing up around here.  A kind of lily that pops up without foliage, just looks like a pretty pink flower on a stake.  I found out that it is called a Resurrection Lily,  there is nice foliage in the spring that dies away, then the stem and lily appear in late summer.   So pretty and unusual,  I had to take a few pictures.
-  Happy Birthday to our handsome grandson Nathan tomorrow.  He will be turning 12!  Such a great young man.  We miss you Nathan,  "Happy Birthday!"

(Dad) In closing I have something for you to think about.
What is God's work? We are told in Moses 1:39, "For behold, this is my work and my glory -- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man".  His whole purpose is to bring eternal life and happiness to his children.  Look at all he has done to prove that.  How serious is he about it?
How serious are we about our work?  What is our work?  We are given that answer in D & C 11:20.
"Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength."  Shouldn't this then be our whole purpose and shouldn't we be serious about it?  What are we doing to prove our seriousness?
We love you all and are so grateful for your lives and examples to us.
Later . . . . .