Sunday, September 28, 2014

This Week Was Just One Good Thing After Another

On Welton Mountain, overlooking the Petersburg, WV, valley 
This week just seemed to be one good thing (miracle, tender mercy) after another:
-Sunday evening email from Karli, updating us on the Poyfair week (thanks, Karli, for never missing a week)
-Monday email & pictures from Laura (thanks so much)
-email from our missionary grandson Dallin in Mozambique, Africa, whose letters entertain, amaze, inspire, and even scare us a little...
-facebook music video from the Thueson kids' kazoo band and singers performing "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" for Grandma and Grandpa.  Elder Orton used it for a special musical number at our District Meeting on Tuesday, too, and the Elders all loved it!
-pictures from Amie of our newest granddaughter Klarisse Thueson, at about 8 months old. (thanks, Amie)
-various generous Petersburg ward members sharing with us apples, tomatoes, peppers, jam, and cake, and inviting us to dinner, too!
-quite a few good visits with older single sisters in the ward and another long day of fun visiting and home teaching with great companions who we have come to love and appreciate.
-our good friend Becki at age 66 after 10 years in the Church getting her first temple recommend!  We will take her to Winchester to meet with the Stake President next week, then accompany her to the Washington DC Temple mid-October - we are so happy for her...
-Thursday getting a call from our Romney Elders that the wonderful couple we love up there has set a baptismal date  (more from Wayne on that subject to follow)
-a visit from my sister Judy, who drove all the way from northwest Arkansas to see us.  So good to see her and we had such fun in her short 2 1/2 day visit!
-a wonderful General Women's Broadcast that included my new favorite phrases:  "When daughters of God focus on the Temple, God is able to send blessings"  and  from President Uchtdorf  "Live the Gospel Joyfully"

It was an almost-perfect week.  Except that the water heater in our Meridian house gave out and poor Devin's family has been without hot water for several days. Good luck to Devin in replacing it.  And a few problems at church today, including low attendance  (but two less active women that we visited last week did show up! Yeah!).  And me remembering in the middle of sacrament meeting that I was supposed to pick up Traci - I hurriedly left, drove up to her apartment, and after apologizing, encouraged her to return with me for the rest of the meetings!  Fortunately she was a good sport about it and enjoyed Sunday School and Relief Society.

So here follows Elder Orton's doorbell story, then some pictures of my sister's visit.

Tender Mercies:
A couple we had met in July and helped the missionaries teach a few lessons to,  suddenly asked for no contact with any missionaries or members.  We were very surprised and disappointed as they were wonderful and loved the gospel and the Lord’s teachings.  We didn’t know what had happened but felt like they would be back and we all needed to be patient.
This all happened outside of our area.  One of the elders from here got transferred to that area and was hoping to be around when this couple wanted to see missionaries again.  One day recently they were out working this area and they just got the impression that they should stop by and just say hi.  They went up to the door.  One of them was about to knock on the door because he had learned that doorbells “don’t work around here”.  As he was about to knock, he just rang the doorbell instead.  They came to door, invited them in and they were able to start teaching them again.  In fact, this week they called the missionaries to let them know that they had set their baptismal date.
More to the story:
After this couple had asked for no contact and that they wanted some “space”,  they continued reading and praying about what they should do.  They felt like they just weren’t getting any answer.  One night as they were sleeping she thought she heard the doorbell ring.  She was so sure that she asked her husband to go down and check to see if anyone was there.  He hadn’t heard anything but checked anyway.  No one was there.
She pondered on this and decided that this may have been a guide to the answer they were looking for.  She decided that the answer would come through the doorbell.  Shortly thereafter came the doorbell ringing from the two young elders.
We love this couple and are really excited to attend their baptismal service soon. 

Sister Orton and her sister Judy in front of the beautiful B&B where she stayed

Beautiful interior of the Judy B&B

A picture-perfect view on the way to the fish hatchery

Judy and Wayne admire our West Virginia Golden Trout

Lovely picnic area by the fish hatchery where we had lunch

Buggy museum

Outside the Lost River Craft Shop and Museum


Interesting deserted house along our drive from Lost River

The Stump Cabin -oldest extant structure in West Virginia, built in the mid-1700's on land surveyed by
a young George Washington.  Recently restored and open for tours over the weekend. 

To get to the Stump Cabin we had to drive over this narrow cement bridge - I was a little anxious...

Beautiful old home in Moorefield we were able to tour also, but not allowed to take pictures inside.
Built in the early 1900's, lovingly maintained and furnished. 

We even went to a quilt show, this was my favorite.

My sister's favorite.

While Judy and I went to the quilt show, Wayne went to a car and tractor show.

The End!   Have a great week.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Life as a Missionary - by Elder Orton

Life as a missionary
We had been on our mission a short time when we came to know and love a couple who had recently moved into our area.  He was a member of the church and she was not.  He had become less active and they had moved to this area to get away from their past and start anew.
They came in contact with a member of the ward and were introduced to the missionaries.  They received the lessons and we were able to help the young elders and encourage this couple as they learned the gospel, made friends in the ward and accepted the things they were learning.  We were able to take them to the Washington DC temple during the Christmas season to see the lights and tour the visitors’ center.  They enjoyed it so very much.
She was baptized and seemed to enjoy studying all about the gospel and the church.  She loved the ward members and tried to help in any way she could.  They seldom missed any meeting or activity in the ward.
Then one day they announced that they would not be coming anymore to “our church” and that they were going back to their old church and friends.  She gave back all of the books, magazines and literature that she had accumulated about the church.
We were very disappointed and tried to talk to them but we couldn’t convince them.
We felt like we had failed. 
Then last Sunday as Sister Orton was studying the lesson from Joseph Fielding Smith about “Sealing power and Temple Blessings”, I heard her exclaim, “I got it”.  I wondered what she “got”.
Over the past six months or so of working with this couple, the sister had a strong desire to do family history.  They would come to our apartment after church, have dinner with us and then she and Sister Orton would work on her family history for hours.  This was almost a weekly thing.  We even took them to the temple so they could do baptisms for the names they had researched.
A total of 52 people were baptized and their work is being done for them now as a result of what was done.  That will be a total of 204 ordinances!
How can that be failure?
We know that some of these people were watching over her and guiding her to be able to get this work done.

We also know that there is a bigger picture to what we do other than what we see.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall is in the air

West Virginia fall yard decorations
It's so nice to have cooler days and chilly nights.  We haven't had to run the air conditioner all week.  Gives us a little more energy too.  We have had a nice week. A nice relaxing Preparation Day on Monday. Tuesday was our Zone Training in Woodstock, Virginia, about 60 miles away.  We took the five Petersburg Elders with us, that included our District Leader Elder Rodrigues, who had to be there at 9:30 am, but the rest of us didn't need to be there until 10:30.  Oh, well.  Wayne needed a new watch and found just what he needed at their Wal-Mart - which is much bigger, nicer, and newer than the Wal-Mart closest to us, in Moorefield, about 13 miles from Petersburg.  Our meeting was good, with instruction and encouragement. My favorite part is the miracle reporting.  Nice to hear good things that are happening all around our zone. We didn't get back to Petersburg until 4 pm,  then we made a visit to a less-active family that we just love, followed by service at the nursing home.  Whew - long day!

Wednesday was very productive but took a lot of miles to visit less active families and individuals who live quite a ways from Petersburg.  But good visits and promises to come to church tomorrow - we'll see.  We ended up in Moorefield at Sonja's for dinner.  She is amazing,  works full-time, has several of her adult daughters, a teen-age son, and a young grandson living with her.  She was baptized in April and is rock solid. She struggles to feed her own crew, but wanted to feed us and the Moorefield Elders.  We had a nice dinner and good lesson afterward.  Love her.
Wayne is just fascinated with rusty old trucks and equipment -
will someone explain this to me....
Thursday was frustrating when we drove about 15 miles out to Upper Tract to a previously arranged appointment and when we got there no one was home.  But that gave us time before our next appointment to head up a valley to find the Spring Run Fish Hatchery that we have been wanting to visit.  They raise West Virginia's famous Golden Trout there.  We arrived just at feeding time too and that was fun to watch.  We want to take my sister Judy out there when she comes for a visit next week.

Back to Petersburg in time to visit Robin and Traci, then to the nursing home again to help with Bingo. Friday we helped our neighbor Becky hang some curtains and her shower curtain.  Then we drove up to Romney to help with their branch activity.  Wayne sang for them and we also borrowed a corn hole set from a family here and took it up there - it was well used.  We must get a set to bring home with us, our kids and grandkids will enjoy it, I think.  The activity was fun and we got to see Elder Farr and Elder Mordecai, a couple of our favorite missionaries.  The people in that little branch love them too.  Today (Saturday) our bishop and his wife had all seven of us missionaries over to their house for lunch and a birthday party for their daughter Katrina.  So nice of them and very good spaghetti. We had to rush home though so Wayne could get ready to go to stake High Priest meeting in Winchester, stopping on the way to pick up his High Priest Group Leader.  They, of course, had a meeting before the meeting, so had to be there by 5 pm and won't get done until 8 pm, then an hour and a half drive home. Was it rude of me to watch the BYU-Virginia football game without him?  Yes. But I did anyway. Bad 1st half, good 2nd half.  Do you think he will stay up late to watch it when he gets home?  Maybe.  But we have Ward Council at 8 and a full day, taking Elders visiting in the afternoon.  Oh, well.   Anyway, we have had a good week.  Trying to be useful. Working with good people and loving them so much.  Feeling blessed.   Looking forward to my sister coming next Thursday.  Love to all.  Happy 4th Birthday to Gage Sunday.  What a cutie!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Typical Missionary Week

Not much to say this week.  It went by very fast and we kept very busy.  Pretty typical.  Monday - our day off - my friend Traci who doesn't have a car asked if I'd take her to do some errands.  Then the missionaries asked Wayne if he'd accompany them on an appointment in the evening.  Good things.  Tuesday was District Meeting in Romney.  I tried to get a few good pictures of Elder Bronson for his mom, but I guess I moved the camera and they were pretty fuzzy.  Sorry.  When we got back to Moorefield from Romney Wayne got the van serviced (again!) while I shopped at Wal-Mart.  In the evening we played Bingo with the residents at the nursing home.  Wednesday we didn't have to go to Columbia for transfers because none of our Elders got transferred,  unusual but nice.  But we did not stay home, our friend Woneda called and asked if we would take her to a doctor's appointment in Romney.  It's 41 miles to where she lives in the hills with her son (and 8 other people in a single-wide trailer), then about 25 miles from there to Romney.  Her doctor's appointment and hospital tests lasted over 2 hours, then a long wait at the pharmacy for medicine.  We enjoyed looking around in Romney,  going to an Amish market and a vegetable stand,  lunch at Burger King, taking pictures of a cute church, etc.  Finally got to take her home,  and visited another shut-in ward member on the way home.  I dropped Wayne off in Moorefield at the business of his home teaching partner so they could make some visits.  Thursday we made quite a few visits and while I went to Relief Society evening meeting, Wayne practiced music with Johnny.   Saturday we worked at the community Mobile Food Pantry all morning - that was fun, but hard work.  A great project.  In the evening Wayne and Johnny sang at the nursing home while Janet and I worked on her genealogy.  Great meetings today (Sunday) and I got to teach Relief Society.  After Church a neighbor Oscar and Wayne's home teaching companion Ron came over for dinner.  Now they are out visiting.  That's basically our typical week.  Oh, and watching a few football games, too  - Go, Cougars and Broncos!

Happy, Happy Birthday Tuesday to son-in-law Pat and lovely granddaughter Naomi (turning 6) on Tuesday, and to cute, cute grandson Jack (turning 5) on Friday.  We love you and miss you.

Relaxing at the end of the day with Icee Pops

Elder Bronson about to teach us in District Meeting
He did an excellent job.
Listening intently to Elder Bronson 

Another shot of "our" beautiful valley

Pretty Methodist Church in Romney

Patrick - this is for you - I found Ebenezer!

Six Thueson kids on a Farmall Tractor 

Our handsome son Darin with newly-baptized Molly and newly-ordained Nathan

Our oldest granddaughter, lovely Katelyn, with
her cute date for the Homecoming Dance

How did Naomi get this beautiful and grown-up so fast?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 2014!

Ready or not - September is here!  Labor Day one year ago we entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, to prepare for our mission. What a fun, exciting, growing, learning, frustrating, amazing, fulfilling year we have had.  You'll be happy to know that this past week was better than the week before...  Still grieving with my sister, but impressed with her strength and attitude.  I have visited with her often.  And it's been nice to receive numerous emails from cousins as they respond to Mike's passing and reconnect.  Also had wonderful chats with our newly-turned-16-year-old grandson Dakota and our awesome son Dylan (congratulations on your selection to the Idaho Bar Association Leadership Academy - and I probably got that title wrong, but you can correct everyone in your family email, whatever it's called, it's an honor and we are proud of you...). Also enjoyed a long late night chat with forever friend, Linda Wilde. We love phone calls, emails, and letters from family and friends - they really help encourage us and keep us going.

Van Horns, Ortons, Lewises - MTC Buddies
So the week passed pleasantly.  We had dinner Monday evening with our good friends Johnny and Janet, recent convert, Sonja, plus Elders Hall, Lyon, and Moore.  We had great squirrel gravy and biscuits, and home grown tomatoes.  Then the guys all played horse shoes outside until dark while Janet, Sonja, and I talked.  Tuesday we had District Meeting in the morning and lots of visits in the afternoon, then service at the nursing home.  Wednesday was a long day as we left at 7 am and drove to Frederick, Maryland, for a Senior Couples Conference with our mission president, Mark Richards, and his wife.  Fun to see the other couple missionaries in our mission,  they are awesome and our good friends.  They have diverse assignments and it's nice to share experiences and also receive instruction and
Elder & Sister Van Horn - heading home
encouragement from our mission president.  We went through the MTC with the Van Horns and the Lewis's.  The Van Horns were filling a 1 year mission copying records at the State Archives for FamilySearch.  They are done now and will be heading home to Bountiful next week.  We will miss seeing them.

Maryland Baltimore Mission - President & Sister Richards with Senior Couples,  3 Sep 2014
After the Conference we made a brief stop at the Frederick Costco - what a treat!  Could stock up on a few necessities that are difficult to find or too expensive around here.  We made a slight detour on the drive home to visit our friend Woneda, who used to live in Moorefield, then in the Baker Nursing Home, and now is living back in the hills with her son.  She was so glad to see us,  I took her some of her favorite pretzels, a loaf of banana bread, a note from one of her favorite Elders, and a Church News issue that had an update on the Philadelphia Temple - she is interested in the progress of that temple.  We got back into Petersburg just in time for Wayne to drop me off at the church Family History Room - I go there every Wednesday night to be available to ward members needing genealogy help or to index.  Anyway, made it home about 8:00. Tired.

Janet & Johnny
Thursday and Friday we made more visits, did apartment and car inspections for the Elders (because transfers are coming up again, next week), helped clean the church, and Wayne sang at the nursing home. Our big day was Saturday. Such a great day - another trip to the Washington, DC, Temple. It was a lovely day.   There were 18 members of the Petersburg Ward in the temple together for a sealing, then an endowment session.  The Elders and the non-member 14-year-old son of the couple that were being sealed were in the Visitors Center next door to the temple, along with another ward member and his granddaughter.  We took Janet & Johnny, and Sandy & Baxter with us, none but
Baxter & Sandy
Janet had been to the temple in a long time.  Our testimony meeting today was mostly about the wonderful experience of being in the temple and the blessings of the temple.  Even Johnny bore his testimony - maybe for the first time, that was unexpected and special.

Next week already looks very busy. We are waiting to hear if any of our current Elders are being transferred - if they are we will be making the 3-hour drive to Comumbia, Maryland with Elders, luggage, and bikes...

Our love.

A favorite little valley we admire on our drive between Moorefield and
Wardensville.  We are going to try and take pictures of it in the four seasons.