Sunday, January 25, 2015

Keeping busy...

Elder Briggs & Elder Aubrey helping James & Audrey at the Food Pantry
Our week began with a funeral, instead of a Preparation Day.  Well, we did have half a prep day, so we got
our cleaning and laundry done.  Helen's funeral was in the afternoon.  Wayne and I both participated in the service, then we went with the family to the cemetery and Wayne dedicated the grave.  It was nice and we hope that it motivates some of the family members to come back to church. I (Janie) started feeling a cold coming on that evening and by Tuesday morning was not feeling well at all - so I stayed home from our Zone Meeting.  Wayne took Elder Briggs and Elder Aubrey to the meeting in Front Royal.  It lasted most of the day (with 1 1/2 hour travel time each way).  When he got home I was feeling well enough to go up to the nursing home for our service hour (Bingo!).

Wednesday was our day to work at the community Food Pantry.  We enjoy that a lot,  it's a great service to
be involved in.  I greet clients and help them get their paper work in order, Wayne and the other missionaries (and sometimes ward members) do the real work of filling the food boxes based on number of people in the family and helping them get the boxes to their cars - or strapped onto an old stroller, as one couple did, since they didn't have a car...  After our shift there we visited Goldie, who is 90 years old,  then stopped in to see Charlie and Ann, and their daughter, Marie.  We have been visiting them for over a year, they really want to get back into the church  - but just can't seem to get up and ready by 9 am on Sundays; they really want to quit smoking, too, but it's just so difficult.   Anyway, we love them. And have recently been working on genealogy with Ann's sister, that has gotten them excited about it too. Maybe that will be the key.  Ann and her sister have not been on speaking terms for quite a while, but last week they got together to talk about their family history - so at least that was a success.  And Ann's sister Sheila has come back to church, she's been three weeks in a row, another success!!

Thursday was our big monthly home teaching/visiting teaching loop, out to the furthest edge of the ward.  My VT companion Janet went with us, for a change.  And Wayne's HT companion met us at one of the homes, then they went off in another direction for more visits.  After I dropped Janet off, I stopped at four more places on my way home, to check up on ward members, then ended up at the church to work on genealogy and have the Family History room open for an hour or more. Theresa came in and indexed.  Another high mileage day for the trusty van.

We met with our ward mission leader Friday morning, then worked at the Food Pantry again, made a visit to John and Audrey's, and did a few errands.  Saturday we had planned to go to the DC Temple,  but snow and ice was forecast,  and our passengers backed out because of weather and illness,  so the trip was cancelled.  We spent the day working on talks and lessons,  making phone calls, catching up on book work and journal, etc.  Possibly a nap, too...   For dinner we went to the local Chinese Buffet - it's very small and not all that great, but when we talked to Matt and Kaleb on their joint birthday Wednesday that's where they were in Boise and I'd been hungry for Chinese food ever since!

Today - you know, the Sabbath, our day of Worship and Rest!  We began with Ward Council at 8 am, then our 3-hour church block.  Late last week a member of our Bishopric asked us if we would be back-up speakers for Sacrament Meeting today.  The assigned speakers had just let him know that they would be at a wrestling match for one of their kids on Saturday and didn't know if they would be able to get back Saturday evening.  So we prepared, not knowing if we would be needed.  But we did get to speak today, and it was good for us.  Then I helped with the family history Sunday school class, then taught Relief Society. Wayne taught the High Priest' class too.  You'd think the ward members would be tired of us speaking and teaching so much, but they are just so happy not to have to do it themselves all the time that they put up with us, and even encourage and compliment us!  After church I helped Sonja get started on her genealogy (interesting, she is from Germany), while Wayne went to choir practice.  After a nice dinner he left to go home teaching with his friend Johnny who can't get his companion to go.  Johnny's wife was sick today and he came to church on his own this morning (about a 15-mile drive for him), that's huge for him,  we are very proud of his efforts.  It's been a good Sunday,  a good week.  Not too interesting for you to read about, I'm sure.  But we feel useful, and very involved in the lives of the members here in Petersburg.  We feel the Spirit's guidance in our planning and preparing, and I especially feel His influence as I help with genealogy and we prepare names for the temple, helping those on the other side to progress.  It's good to tire ourselves out in service to the Lord.

Congratulations to our beautiful granddaughter Katelyn on her acceptance to the college of her choice, BYU-Idaho - yes, I know, it's hard to believe that she is a senior this year!   Happy Birthday tomorrow to our youngest granddaughter, Klarese - she turns one on January 26th, we look forward to meeting her in six months....   And Happy Birthday to lovely Sara this Saturday.  We love you.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Elder Orton!

Happy Birthday today to Elder Orton!  A Spiritual Giant,
spending his birthday home teaching and serving!
Ready for car inspections
Kind of a strange week - too much drama and not enough sleep for us old folks.  But we made it through, now on to a new week.... Last Sunday evening, our four Petersburg Elders told us the news for the upcoming transfer day: Elder Lyon will be moving to a new assignment and a brand-new Elder will be coming to our area with Elder Barzee as his trainer.  I'm excited - we've not had a new Elder in our area yet. Monday morning the Elders brought their cars over for Wayne to do inspections.  Different plan - the new Elder was ill and had to go home from the MTC,  Elder Lyon is still leaving, Elder Barzee will move in with the other two Elders and the second apartment will be closed. Well, I don't
like threesomes (too much rowdiness and silliness) but not my call, so okay.  Later in the day they were told that another Elder had to go home, Elder Barzee will be moving to another area to take his place and we will be down to just the one missionary apartment with two Elders in it.  Elder Barzee and Elder Lyon had to work very hard to get the apartment cleaned plus getting packed to leave by Wednesday morning.

Tuesday we had District Meeting here in Petersburg.  The two Romney Elders came,  one of them, Elder Farr who
Elder Farr, Aubrey, Vanderveur, Barzee, Lyon, & Briggs
served in Petersburg before going to Romney, is being sent to another area also. So, sadly, from our area three Elders are moving on, we had to have a party right? Actually I skipped the District Meeting because I was helping someone with genealogy, then went home to fix lunch.  After the meeting, Wayne and the six Elders came over to our apartment for lunch.  Also our ward mission leader who lives nearby stopped in too.  It was fun. 

So we got up very early Wednesday morning, loaded Elder Barzee's stuff in our van and picked up Elder Aubrey and Elder Briggs.  Elder Lyon and Elder Barzee drove the mission car with Elder Lyon's stuff and the two bikes.  Three hour drive to the Columbia Stake Center.  It was a great transfer meeting and the usual chaos when the meeting was over as luggage, bikes, and missionaries were transferred.  We drove home to Petersburg, dropped off our passengers then went to the Bishop's home for dinner.  Bishop and his wife Lucy are wonderful, their home is lovely, their two handicapped daughters are pretty fun too.  Wayne stayed there after dinner to help with a youth activity while I went to the church to work on genealogy.  I try to be there every Wednesday night, to either index or work with ward members.  Finally Wayne got back and we went home together, pretty tired from a long day.  We went to bed about 11 but after midnight the phone rang.  It was from the hospital where a ward member had just passed away and the family had asked for us to come up. So of course we did, we knew the woman who passed away quite well, she was 80 years old and had recently been in the nursing home for rehab from a broken arm. We also knew several of her daughters (inactive), it was sweet that they wanted us to be with them in their time of grief.  We talked to them for quite a while, prayed with them, talked on the phone with another sister that couldn't be there, and they gave us the phone number of an estranged sister and asked us to contact her with the news.  It was after 2 am when we got back home.  But a special time we shared with them.  We are going to Helen's viewing tonight and her funeral tomorrow.  
David, on his birthday/baptism day - 17 Jan 2015

Charles, Ashley & David
The rest of the week has been busy as well.  Good visits and service opportunities.  Another cute 8-year-old from the ward was baptized yesterday. Last night a family in the ward invited us, the two Elders, and the Ward Mission Leader to dinner.  They turned their house into a diner (Momma's Place), the kids were waiters and bus boys, they had printed menus, and other fun effects.  We enjoyed it and so did they.  The ward members are so good to us here - how could we be so lucky as to be sent to this lovely place with such good people?  We see little miracles daily and are over-whelmed at His tender mercies. 

 Loved the poem from our RS lesson today:
    I know not by what methods rare, But this I know, God answers prayer.
    I know that He has given His Word, Which tells me prayer is always heard,
    And will be answered, soon or late.  And so I pray and calmly wait.
    I know not if the blessing sought  Will come in just the way I thought;
    But leave my prayers with Him alone, Whose will is wiser than my own,
    Assured that He will grant my quest, Or send some answer far more blest. 


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Br-r-r-r-r-r !

My winter garden, Paper Whites (Narcissus), blooming already - so fun!
So cold all week.  Windy and snowy some days too.  Our District Meeting scheduled for Tuesday was postponed due to weather, the mission cars were grounded for part of the day and the Elders got their exercise shoveling snow. Wayne was not feeling well most of the week too, so we got off to a slow start.  He wasn't feeling the greatest by Wednesday either and the weather
President & Sister Richards with granddaughter, Lucy,
who is visiting with her family
was cold (about 10 degrees and windy) but he wanted to go to the scheduled senior couple get-together at the Mission Home in Ellicott City, near Baltimore (about 3 hours away), so - over my objections - we went. It was very nice, but sad, as we bid farewell to three great couples who are going home:  the Larsens, from Astoria, Oregon, who have been serving in the office; the Dittmans from Alaska, who were MLS (Member Leader Support) in a small ward like us; and the Mills from Sandy, Utah, who worked with the Young Single Adults in the Baltimore area.  Our

Mission President's wife fixed a lovely dinner for us and we had a nice
evening.  We met two new couples to the mission, the Smiths from Utah who will be working in the mission office and the Howards, who are local and will be working for FamilySearch in records preservation.  It is interesting to hear what other couples are doing and learn about the variety of ways available to serve.  President Richards also told us about the newly called Mission President who will be replacing him July 1st. Long drive home, but safe.  

Senior couples who are coming to the end of their missions:
the Mills, Larsens, and Dittmans
Had to get up early the next morning (Thursday) to take our four Petersburg Elders to Romney for interviews with President Richards followed by our District Meeting.  After the meeting we inspected the living quarters and car of the Romney Elders, then I went to the local nursing home to visit our friend Woneda. She is doing okay and sent me on an errand to the store to get her some raisins.  I wouldn't let Wayne go in the nursing home, he was still a little sickly.  When we got home to Petersburg we had an hour for a little rest, then took Elder Briggs and Elder Aubrey south of town about 15 miles, to the Upper Tract area, for dinner with members and great friends, Sandy and Baxter. Sandy fixed us a wonderful meal and even gave us leftovers for the other Elders. Wayne and Baxter entertained us with guitar and banjo pickin' before our message and prayer.  Fun day.

It was Friday already and time to get back to actual missionary work.  I left Wayne at home and went up to our nursing home to visit Helen - she thinks she may get to go home soon after rehab for a broken arm.  I also checked in on Robin and Traci.  Picked up Wayne and we tried unsuccessfully to see a few people, then drove to Moorefield for a nice, long visit with our new family, Dwayne, Katja, and kids.  Good to see them, they talked for a long time about their recent trials.  Hope they all get healthy soon and continue with the missionary lessons.  They are awesome.

Weren't we lucky to find this treasure on our way up to visit Jack & Debby?
Saturday we made several good visits.  Encouraging folks to come to church, checking up on struggling members, and just being friends.  It was a very good day and we made a few return appointments for next week. Nice Sabbath Day today and now Wayne is off to Stake Priesthood Meeting in Winchester with a full van load of four missionaries and two other ward members. Glad he is feeling better.  Have a great week, we plan to. 

Winter shot of Wayne's favorite little valley
(By the way,  guess who is turning 72 next Sunday?)

Our real treasures - these pictures keep us going....

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy Anniversary and Happy New Year - 2015!!

Monday, December 29th, was our 44th Wedding Anniversary!  How blessed we are to have had 44 years together, to have six wonderful children who each married an amazing spouse in the temple and gave us 24 amazing grandchildren, and now to share this adventure in West Virginia!  After 16 months here (together 24/7) we still enjoy each other's company, work well together, and laugh a lot.  To celebrate we -- went to Wal-Mart...   And we went out to dinner, but found that the restaurants in Petersburg  (that would be 3) are closed on Mondays, so we ended up at a little pizza & pasta hole-in-the-wall place, but it was okay.  We know how to party....

Tuesday we had District Meeting, made a few visits, and helped out at the nursing home.  Wednesday and Thursday  missionaries were not supposed to go out proselyting.  Wayne practiced music and I worked on genealogy.  I also made a big bowl of applesauce and my first ever attempt at Brunswick Stew - so good.
The Elders were told to be in their apartments by 8 pm Wednesday night.  We did get to have a little more fun than they did, we went to a party at our Bishop's home.  It was great - good food, games, visiting, etc. (However I will not play "Curses" again - what a silly game!)  We got to see a few fireworks that the city sets off too.

Thursday - the first day of 2015.  It's going to be a great year, isn't it?!  It was a little chilly here, but we went for a hike.  Drove several miles out of town, then a couple miles up Smoke Hole Road, to the trail head of the Landis Trail.  Supposedly a great view at the top of the mountain, but all we saw was lots of trees that blocked any view.  The trail was rocky, slick with leaves in some places, and while not steep it was a good climb.  Very good exercise for us, and there were a few sore muscles the next few days.  We enjoyed relaxing and watching football and basketball on TV the rest of the day.

Friday we had our weekly meeting with our ward mission leader, then had some very good visits.  In the evening Wayne sang at the nursing home.  Saturday we had freezing rain in the night.  When we went out for our walk at 6:30 am the van was coated with a layer of ice.  The sidewalk was slick too, but the pavement was okay, so we ventured on.  When we got up the hill to the park we realized that we were foolish to be out,  and slid back down the hill to our cozy apartment.  Fortunately it warmed up by noon and we were able to set out on our planned visits to the far reaches of the ward - to visit Vada D., out past Mathias; Larry and Deb F. and Dan C. in Wardensville;  Jane H. on the way back to Moorefield,  and our new family in Moorefield.  The new family we are working with and like so well have been having challenges this past week.  The father Dwayne is in the hospital with divirticulitis,  the mom and kids are worried about him. We were able to console, calm, and encourage them and after we had prayer with them, the 11-year-old Lisa asked us why she felt like crying during the prayer.  Sweet opportunity to explain the Spirit. Our Elders arranged for a blessing to be given to Dwayne in the VA hospital in Martinsburg,  we hear that he appreciated that a lot.   All the visits went well and we can see how being here for so long has allowed us to build special relationships with these people some of whom have no other contact with the church.  They all said they enjoy our visits and for us to come back soon.  We feel like crying from the influence of the Spirit sometimes too.

Wonderful Fast & Testimony Meeting this morning.  Hope yours was good.   I get to do White Handbook Training this week in our District Meeting, and since we are doing apartment inspections this week too I think I will use Doctrine & Covenants 90:18:  "Set in order your houses; keep slothfulness and uncleanness far from you" and the section on Housing.  Can't help being a mother!  Thanks for the box of goodies and the bulbs, Judy.  Thanks for the wonderful, encouraging letter, Ferrin!  We love to hear from family and friends, it keeps us going.   Happy New Year!

Now that the leaves are off the trees, we spot many dreys like this.
What is a DREY?  Look it up.

We are trying to capture some of the beautiful sunrises we enjoy on our early morning walks.
We will keep trying.

New Year's Day hike.

Yes, my wife insisted we wear our bright yellow vests,
too many crazy deer, bear, and squirrel hunters in the woods around here...

Bulbs that my sister Judy sent me, growing a couple inches a day,
so fun to watch.