Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rough Week

We had a rough week. The Petersburg Ward lost three members in one week!  We knew them all pretty well.  Two deaths were anticipated and in a way - a blessing.  Thelma (84) and Al (70) were both in declining health and somewhat ready to move on from their difficult situations... We attended Thelma's funeral Wednesday. Wayne has written such a beautiful account of the ward joining efforts to take care of Al's arrangements (his post and pictures follow this blog entry).  On Thursday we were surprised by the tragic news that our friend Connie had been killed in a traffic accident on her way to work. So sad. We met her last December, with a couple of the Elders, as a media referral.  She had requested contact, told us that she had joined the LDS Church 20 years ago, very much enjoyed it for a while, then fell into inactivity while going through a divorce and other personal trials, for some reasons her records weren't in our ward. She felt like she was ready to come back, but lived about an hour from our church and just didn't have the money for gas or the energy after working often six days a week.  But she did love our visits. We saw her monthly, sometimes with the Elders, sometimes not. There was a special spirit in her home, she was independent, fun, and very welcoming to us.  She loved to learn, was reading the scriptures, and recently we showed her where to find the BYU-TV station on her television and she loved it! She had come to church a couple of times with some members who lived several miles from her.  I had talked to her just last Friday and she was determined to begin coming to church regularly.  Connie was only 54 years old, the mother of four children, I believe, with several grandchildren. Her family must be devastated, it was such a horrible accident. We hope to go to the funeral next week.  We were blessed to know her, and to help her change her life and be more prepared to meet her Savior.

Those were the big things.  We did make quite a few visits also, and found a few lost members as we continue to work through the ward directory with the other Elders and the Ward Council.  Janet and I had a nice VT visit out in the country with Carol,  driving home through snow flurries.  I was very excited and pleased to have a successful breakthrough with Robin's genealogy, finally finding her great-grandparents who came from Germany (now I know that Heinrich became Henry, and Ferdinand became Fred!!).  I found census records verifying the discoveries, and pictures of several family gravestones on Find-a-Grave.  She was delighted with the new information and is eager to share it with her mother.  More names sent to the temple, as well.

We had a successful ward activity Friday night - a Chili Cook-off!  Had about 10 different pots of chili, lots

of desserts too.  Our judges were from the community, very good sports.  We liked the chili that we tasted, didn't try all of them.  A couple people shared their left-overs with us, so today we had baked potatoes topped with chili for dinner.  Too cold to go for our morning walk yesterday - when I woke at 6:30 am it was 16 degrees outside! It's warmer today, but has started to rain...  Our ward's Primary program was today - it was great!  Only about a dozen kids, but they were well-prepared, their talks and songs were well done.  Even had two non-members participating.  And a good attendance, 90!

We had a nice conversation with some grandkids on Monday and Klora on her 13th birthday Thursday. Happy 9th Birthday to Noah on Tuesday and Happy 14th Birthday to Kadyn on Wednesday!  Hope we get to talk to you.  Didn't get much news from home last week, but thanks Karli for your faithfulness. Hoping to hear from all my kids today, we miss you so much.  And thanks to special friend Linda for checking in and updating us on your life, we really appreciate hearing from you.  Good luck.

Have found a couple bits of needed information by looking back in my mission journal recently.  I have not been a consistent journal keeper in my life, but am determined to write daily while we are serving our mission and can already see the benefits.  A quote I have taped to my journal binder reads:  "The faintest ink is better than the fondest memory."   That's my thought for the day,  it's difficult but worth it.  We are sad and weary at times, even homesick occasionally, but feel fortunate to be here and especially to be of service and comfort to our West Virginia friends.  Hope next week is better than the last....  (Read on for Wayne's post)

Elder Briggs, Elder Bronson, Elder Moore, and Elder Lyon
Modeling their cammo ties, made for them by a kind & talented  ward member

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