Sunday, October 26, 2014

Transfers, Temple, and a BEAR!

Washington DC Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
This week went by so fast!  We were pretty busy.  And put many miles on our trusty van.  It was a pretty good week, and it's almost time for a nap...

Monday we took it kind of easy, doing chores and errands.  About 5 pm we headed to an appointment in
Moorefield - dinner with our friends, Janet and Johnny, followed by Family Home Evening with their less-active daughter Jenny and her family. Dinner was good and included venison, and home-grown green beans and potatoes.  Home Evening went well, with the Elders teaching Jenny's daughter a pre-baptism lesson. We provided refreshments - Mini-Eclairs (and yes, I defrosted them all by myself!).  

On the way to Moorefield we had to make a quick stop at Jack K.'s to drop off a picture Wayne had taken of an old rusty truck of Jack's. It was in a lovely setting and Wayne thought it looked pretty cool. So he took the picture, enlarged and framed it for Jack.  Jack liked it.  I still don't get it...

Tuesday we took our five Elders to Woodstock for
Sister Shepherd from Meridian and her companion
Zone Training.  But before the meeting we got to watch the new movie "Meet the Mormons"  We loved it!  It's great, if you get the chance to see it - do it!  It's very well done, not preachy, beautiful, fun, and very touching in some places.  After we got home we visited a ward member in the hospital
Sister Shepherd meets Elder Orton
Lunch on the way home from transfers at Spelunkers in Front Royal.
Clockwise from lower left:  Elders Bronson, Moore, Lyon, and Briggs

and did our volunteer work at the nursing home. Wednesday was another long day - we picked up our Elders at 6 am and drove them to Columbia.  It was raining and the traffic was bad in places.  We were loaded up with luggage and bikes for Elder Hall (finishing his mission and heading home to Idaho) and Elder Rodriguess (transferred to another area).  We brought home to Petersburg a new (to us) missionary - Elder Briggs, from Wyoming.  He will be companion to Elder Bronson, they cover Petersburg, and we will be back to two Elders in the other apartment who cover Moorefield and surrounding areas. Having four instead of five is a little easier when travelling long distances in our van...  While at the transfer meeting we met a brand-new sister missionary from Meridian - our son Devin actually was her Sunday School teacher!  She is cute and happy to be here, but was a little over-whelmed from lack of sleep, first airplane ride, and all the adjustments coming at her.  I think she is going to the Westminster area, where our Elder Rodrigues was going.  At the meeting our mission president challenged us all to read the Book of Mormon before Christmas.  That's only 8 or 9 pages a day.  We can do it - can you?

Becki at the temple, 25 Oct 2014

More visits, visiting teaching, genealogy,
etc. the rest of the week.  Then to the highlight of the week - our trip to the Washington DC Temple with Becki H. on Saturday.  We had to be there pretty early, it was her first time.  We took Janet and Johnny with us.  It was a beautiful day and a joy to be there.  About a dozen ward members joined us for her endowment session.  Then we were able to assist her in being sealed to deceased parents and a sister who died earlier too.  Pretty special day.  We brought two more passengers home with us, bringing our van total to the max - seven adults.  Fun. Becki was called up to bear her testimony in sacrament meeting this morning and she did a beautiful job, she is so happy - and she wants to go again soon.

On the way home, just before we got to Moorefield  we saw our first West Virginia bear!  It was a medium-sized black bear and we got a good look at it as it was fairly close to the road.  We turned around at the first opportunity and came back, it had moved a ways from the road but we still watched him for a while.  I tried to take pictures but it was windy and he was too far away by then to get any good pictures.  Exciting though.

So our week was busy, exciting, inspiring, tiring, fun, and rewarding.  A pretty good missionary week.  We even got a thoughtful Halloween care package from my sister Judy!  What a nice surprise.  We loved the facebook pictures of our Boise kids getting together at the Bronco/Cougar football game.  Looked like fun as they cheered, and made friends with the BYU mascot and the BYU cheerleaders (Go, Kendra!). Can't wait to get home and join the fun!  But it will be a while, we are supposed to be here and we do love it! Happy 9th Birthday next Sunday to our grandson, Cache!
Fuzzy picture of bear in the woods by the highway,  it was a lot closer when we first saw it!

Not a good picture, but we really did see a bear!

This picture was in the local newspaper, the Grant County Press
Taken at a volunteer appreciation luncheon for food pantry workers

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Learning to be FLEXIBLE...

Plans change.  Learn to live with it! Flexibility goes along with patience as two virtues I struggle with. Continually. This was a week where plans kept changing.  Oh, well.  It did have some bright spots.

On Tuesday we took our Petersburg Elders to Romney for District Meeting. Wayne and I plus the five Petersburg Elders (Rodrigues, Bronson, Hall, Moore, Lyon) joined the two Romney Elders (Farr and Mordecai).  After the meeting we tried to take some district pictures, since transfers are coming this Wednesday and Elder Hall is going home.  We think there may be more changes too, so wanted to get a picture.  We were trying to use the timer on the camera and didn't do too well. After the meeting and pictures, we all had lunch at Burger King then drove about 5 miles to the house that the Romney Elders live in.  Wayne and I did house inspection and car inspection.  (They passed).  Then we drove home.  It got very quiet in the van - unusual with five Elders in the back.  I had to take a picture of nap-time.  So cute.

When we got home from Romney, Wayne and I made a couple visits, then did service at the nursing home. Wednesday  Wayne's High Priest Group Leader asked him to go visiting with him, so they spent most of the day visiting (and taking beautiful Fall pictures).  I stayed home and did house work, indexing, genealogy, worked on a lesson, etc.  In the evening I went to the church to help Becki with her genealogy.  Thursday we went to a nice Volunteer Appreciation Lunch at the Presbyterian Church for people who help with the local Food Pantry.  We had an appointment with Kathy scheduled for the afternoon, but she cancelled (she was called in to work at the school cafeteria).  We did get to see Robin and Traci before we had to pick up Becki and drive her an hour-and-a-half to the Winchester Virginia Stake Center to meet with the Stake President and get her very first temple recommend signed.  She is pretty excited about that.  We had hoped to take her to the Washington DC Temple on the 18th, but they were too crowded that day.  We did get an appointment for the 25th and hope that all works out for her.

Friday we did apartment and car inspections for the two missionary apartments here in Petersburg.  Wayne sang at the nursing home in the evening.  Saturday we had planned to go to the temple, but didn't.  So we made a couple of spur of the moment visits.  Stopped by a couple that we had been trying to schedule an appointment with for a long time - Mary and George D.,  caught them both at home, left some fresh home-made rolls and a message.  She promised to find a time soon when we can come for a longer visit.  Then we stopped by Irene's.  She is an older lady, almost blind, lonely, no other contact with the church.  She looks forward to and enjoys our visits.  She was glad to see us, I taught her the Visiting Teaching message and gave her some rolls, too (Jesus Christ - the Bread of Life).  When we asked if there was anything we could do for her, she hesitantly said yes - that she had been craving some cheese, but was out of it.  Would we mind going back down the road a few miles to the little store in Maysville and getting her a pound of sliced Longhorn cheese?  Of course we were happy to.  When I got back and took it in to her, she confided that she had asked both her daughter and her son who live nearby, but neither were able to go get cheese for her. And then she had thought to herself that if the missionaries would just come by, maybe they would get her some!  She was pretty tickled we had showed up - I told her she must have prayed us there...
After seeing Irene, and making the cheese run, we drove to Moorefield, picked up a few things at Wal-Mart, ran the car through the car wash, and had dinner at a little Mexican restaurant.

Nice Sabbath day, Wayne and I both had lessons to teach.  One woman that the Elders have been visiting who hasn't been to church in a long time showed up with her nonmember husband and kids.  Also our friend Connie who has only been once since she became inactive 20 years ago.  We have been visiting her monthly and she is truly awesome.  Wants to come regularly now, even though she lives about an hour from our church. Wayne just returned from making a visit with a ward member,  and we are scheduled for a lesson with the Elders in Moorefield with a sweet elderly lady that they are teaching.  She is pretty special, we are happy to get to see her again.
We will be in the van a lot this coming week.  Zone Meeting in Woodstock on Tuesday (where we also get to see the movie "Meet the Mormons"!),  transfers in Columbia Wednesday (that's about a 3 hour trip),  and temple on Saturday.  When we keep busy the time just flies by.  Our love to each of you.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More Apple Butter, Stake Conference, and, best of all, BAPTISMS

Elder and Sister Orton,  October 2014 

In Romney with our friends Julie & Jim on their baptism day - 12 Oct 2014
This has been a BUSY week and we are worn out, but happy.  Just got back from Romney (about 40 miles from Petersburg).  We watched our Winchester Stake Conference broadcast with the little Romney Branch, then had the privilege of participating in the baptismal service of Jim and Julie.  They are the couple Wayne wrote about last week, they are awesome, and we are so happy for them.  We took three of the Petersburg Elders up there with us. Wayne and I both spoke at the baptism, and Elder Farr and Elder Mordecai did the baptizing.  Our mission president came all the way from Baltimore and he did the confirming.  It was very nice.
Elder Farr, Julie, President Richards, Jim, Elder Mordecai

Yes, I have my eyes closed in both pictures, but it's not about me...
Our week started out with a busy preparation day.  I worked very hard at scrubbing the kitchen floor but it doesn't look much better, also cleaned the bathroom and did laundry. We took a little drive to a town called Keyser,  I think it's a little out of our area, but they have a nice Wal-mart, a department store called Peebles, and a Denny's.  We had an excellent steak dinner at Denny's and also made friends with a cute waitress who is a less active member of our church and was very happy to see us.  Monday evening we did a lot of planning and calendaring,  set good goals, and committed to calling and setting up more appointments than usual.  So Tuesday after a morning of District Meeting, we set off on a long visiting route.  We saw our friend Jane (new infection in her foot, very discouraging),  Woneda (bad living conditions and health problems), Joy and Forest - way back in the woods, but so fun to see, and then way out to Connie's - she is doing so well, watched some of Conference and is enjoying the BYU channel on TV since we found it for her on our last visit!  I know it doesn't sound like much, but it took us 7 hours and put 120 miles on the car!

Wednesday morning we helped core and slice apples at the nursing home for their annual apple butter fund raiser. They had a good crew to help, then they steamed the apples, ran them through a strainer, and had them ready for Thursday morning when they cooked them in four big kettles, then bottled the apple butter to sell.  We only helped core for 3 hours Wednesday morning and helped stir the kettles for 3 hours on Thursday morning.  It was fun.  Wednesday afternoon we made more visits, then I worked on genealogy with Becki in the evening. Thursday we went from stirring apple butter at the nursing home in the morning to the Red Cross Blood drive at noon.  After giving blood we rested for an hour, then had our RS president meet us at Kathy S.'s home where we taught a pamphlet lesson and made three more visits.
Friday morning we met with our Ward Mission Leader and the other missionaries here in Petersburg.  Then we drove quite a ways to visit Wayne's friend Al, who has had so many health problems.  His home is really in bad condition, but his ex-wife has come to help out and things seem to be going better.  We tried to make a few more visits but found no one home for those.  We had dinner at Sonja's home in Moorefield with Elder Bronson and Elder Moore.  Sonja is great and lots of fun.  She was just baptized in the spring and is really solid in the Gospel. After dinner and a Mormon Message there, I went to a baby shower.  Saturday we drove to Winchester, Virginia, (about 70 miles) picking up Paul L. in Baker on the way.  The men had priesthood leadership meeting,  I sat in the car and indexed on our laptop, worked on my talk for the baptism, studied for a Relief Society lesson for next week, and just enjoyed the peace and quiet.  At 7 pm we all went to the Adult Meeting for Stake Conference.  It was great.  But we got home pretty late.  Again. Busy week, but very productive, I think.  And a wonderful baptism service today.  We keep stopping in our travels to take pictures because it is so beautiful around here just now.  But we (and our van) need a rest tomorrow. I think Wayne has a few football games recorded to catch up on too.  We will pause to catch our breath, then look forward to another great week.  

"The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gettysburg, Fall Leaves, and Apple Butter

It must be Fall - the days and nights are getting colder, the leaves are turning, it's apple butter making season, and time for General Conference!  Also time for our regular debate about when to turn the furnace on....  I (Janie) think we can hold out 'til November by just putting on sweaters and a few extra blankets on the bed. Wayne has his own opinions about comfort and health...

The past week has been a little different for us - not as many personal visits as we'd like, but lots of trips and service opportunities. I'll begin with Monday, which was our Senior Couples trip to Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. Another senior couple who live in Cumberland and do records preservation for FamilySearch called us on Sunday and said if we would drive to their house (1 1/2 hours north of Petersburg) that we could ride with them the rest of the way (another 1 1/2 hours) to Gettysburg.  It was fun to get to know them better and fun for Wayne to enjoy the scenery and not have to drive the entire way.  One of the pamphlets about Gettysburg says that it includes nearly 6,000 acres, with 26 miles of park roads, and over 1,400 monuments and memorials.  So of course we couldn't see it all, but we did see a lot and learned a lot.  They
had a wonderful museum.  My favorite part was the giant cyclorama painting of Pickett's Charge. Visitors seem to be right in the middle of the battle and it's amazing.  We ate lunch at the Dobbin House, which was built in 1776, and has been used as a private home, a station of the underground railroad (complete with a slave hideaway), field hospital during the Civil War, and now a restaurant and tavern.  After lunch we took a bus tour with a very knowledgable guide pointing out where various battles took place, telling stories about leaders, and explaining strategy.  So interesting.  What an opportunity to be in this area and see all these places!  We enjoyed our time with about 20 other senior missionaries.

On Tuesday we drove a friend, Janet, to Harrisonburg, Virginia, for a doctor's appointment.   It was nice to see some new country and to spend time with Janet.  She showed us a house where relatives of Abraham Lincoln had lived and where he had spent summers as a child.  She directed us to a crafter's mall, a Costco, and a real mall (with a Bath & Body Works and a Christopher/Banks store - I've missed them so much...). We took a back mountain road home to Petersburg to enjoy the Fall foliage and even made it back in time to help out at the nursing home.  Wednesday we did make some visits and were especially happy to spend some time with Audrey and John, our friends who have fallen away from the church.  Nice to see them.  I worked on genealogy at the church in the evening and Wayne practiced his singing.  Thursday we again left Petersburg early and took all our Elders to Woodstock for interviews with our Mission President, Mark Richards
followed by our District Meeting.  We made it home in time for a couple of appointments and more service at the nursing home.  Friday was a service day.  Wayne went out to a farm, to help a less-active member and also got to meet a couple of his children.  I finished up work on some genealogy for Becki and submitted a lot of names for temple work, then went to a meeting with the Elders and the Ward Mission Leader.   In the afternoon we helped Kevin and Sherrie peel bushels of apples for their apple butter activity on Saturday.  In the evening Wayne sang at the nursing home.  Yesterday was the apple butter making and General Conference sessions.   What a great day.  We thoroughly enjoyed both.  We ended the day with jars of apple butter and leftover food for the coming week (including root beer pulled pork that is delicious), plus being spiritually fed by our prophets and leaders.  One of my favorite quotes from Conference so far was from Sister Carol McConkie: "The Lord's house is a house of order and we need never be deceived about where to look for answers to our questions, or uncertain about which voice to follow.  When we choose to live according to the words of the prophets, we are on the covenant path that leads to eternal perfection."  How fortunate we are.

Nice to hear that Matt and Kyle were able to make the trip to Salt Lake for some of the sessions of Conference live.  What a great Dad!   Sad to hear that a friend from La Grande has been seriously injured in a car/bicycle accident, was flown to Boise for treatment, and is in serious condition.  We are joining with the stake in a fast on his behalf today and await news of his recovery.  So that's probably more than sufficient to recap our week.  But I just can't resist adding many more pictures.  Let me know if you find them tiresome or if your computer objects to showing them....  Have a great week.  We love you.

A small part of the giant cyclorama of Pickett's Charge

More cyclorama

Dobbin's House, built in 1776.  Where we had lunch 

Slave hide-away under Dobbin's House, part of the Underground Railroad

With our friend, Abraham Lincoln

Gettysburg Battlefield

More Battlefield

Our excellent guide for the bus tour

Our excellent bus

Old house on the way to Harrisonburg, VA,  where Abraham Lincoln played with his cousins.

On the road home to Petersburg from Harrisonburg

Roscoe started the apple butter at 4 am,  it had to be stirred constantly while it slowly simmered
for 12 hours.  Sugar and cinnamon was then added and the jars were filled at about 6 pm.

Filling jars with hot apple butter

Searching for the pennies that are in the bottom of the kettle to help prevent scorching.

The wooden paddle used to stir.

Cleaning out the kettle with fresh homemade rolls.

Probably about 18 gallons of delicious apple butter.