Sunday, February 8, 2015

First week in February - 2015

Beautiful West Virginia Sunset
What a great day!  I think we had our largest attendance at church since we've been here - 103!  Several investigators, several non-members, six returning less-active members.  We had a great sacrament meeting, strong spirit, and our brand-new ward choir sang (small in number, but sounded good).  Best of all, Craig - who was baptized yesterday - was confirmed.  So it was a great morning, then our Bishop's wife Lucy invited us over for chicken & dumplings and baked ham & cheese sandwiches,  very good.  We enjoyed the meal and enjoyed visiting with them for quite a while after eating.

Our weather has been very up and down this week,  cold and windy, then nice, then cold again.  Today was beautiful with the temperature almost up to 70 degrees.  The recent storms have missed us,  we had a lot of rain one evening and a few snow flurries one day, but not bad.  Tuesday we drove up to Romney for our District Meeting.  We got to see our friend Woneda in the nursing home while we were there.  She is not doing well. Wayne read to her from the Book of Mormon.  When we got home we made a couple of visits. Wednesday we made a long drive (oops, I think out of our mission) to Morgantown to visit our friend Dave who was in the hospital there.  He was in pretty bad shape from the flu and lung problems a couple weeks ago, was put on a ventilator here in the Petersburg hospital, then transported by helicopter or ambulance 100 miles to a better hospital in Morgantown, associated with the university there.  Anyway, he is finally getting better and was anxious to get back home - he didn't realize how ill he was, he was sedated for quite a while. So we got to spend a little time with him.  He got to come back to Petersburg on Fridy and is at the nursing home here for physical therapy as he gets his strength back.  I think of him as an old man, but he is only one year older than I am,  quite a bit younger than Wayne.  He has had a rough life, we are glad he is doing better now.

Thursday we did service at the nursing home, then Wayne and friends practiced music while a friend and I worked on genealogy.  Friday was special,  Wanda came to the church, I got her registered with Family Search, and we started work on her genealogy (for several hours).  Wanda used to come to church but quit coming several years ago.  We had gotten to know her, several of her sisters, and her mother Helen in our visiting.  Helen passed away recently and we have encouraged Wanda to come back - this is a first step. I really like her, we worked well together, and had fun.  I have found more information since that she will be excited about,  I know I had divine assistance in figuring out a few problems we were having.  We are getting together again this week.  Our ward Family History Director, Ashley, and I are also meeting with Sheila again this week, she is a returning member who has been at church three or four Sundays in a row and is also very excited to work on her genealogy.  We are doing missionary work for the living and for the dead...
While I was working with Wanda on Friday, Wayne drove to Moorefield.  He picked up his dry cleaning, visited quite a while with George and Bonita at their store, drove our dirty van through the car wash, and picked up a few groceries at Wal-Mart.  He just barely got home in time to grab his karaoke machine and get up to the nursing home to sing for the residents for an hour.  They love him and he seems to enjoy singing for them as well.

So yesterday was the baptism of Craig.  His wife was inactive when the missionaries found them.  They and their two children have been coming regularly for a couple months.  He is so happy and excited.  Our Ward Mission Leader, Oscar  (from Puerto Rico, who was baptized just before we got here), baptized him yesterday, and confirmed him today.  There was good ward support at the baptism and Bishop gave him the responsibility to close the chapel doors during the sacrament time each Sunday,  he took it very seriously today.
Elder Aubrey, Oscar, Craig, Sallie, Elder Briggs

Craig & Sallie with Elder & Sister Orton (or Pap & Maw, as he calls us)
Craig & Sallie's daughter, Cassie

Craig with Oscar
After the wonderful baptismal service we drove to Moorefield to visit with Dwayne and Katja and their four cute kids again.  Dwayne is an inactive member, Katja and the kids don't know anything about the church. They came for the first time several weeks ago, then haven't been back.  We had a nice visit - and they all came to church today!  Katja is German, she invited us to come to dinner Friday night for schnitzel!   Our friend Vada (who gave me the beautiful Christmas cactus) was at church today, for the first time since we have been here and she brought her non-member son!  Exciting day.  Busy week next week as we travel to Berryville for a Zone Conference and prepare for the ward's 2nd Annual Hoedown on Saturday.  Last year's was a great success,  Wayne's blue grass band is a big hit, and an awesome ward member is fixing ham, beans, fried potatoes, and corn bread again.  It's going to be another great week.  Hope yours is good too.   I loved the Ezra Taft Benson lesson today on Freedom of Choice,  especially the part about lessons learned on the farm.  "He learned that the law of the harvest -- "whatsover a man soweth, that shall he also reap"  (Galatians 6:7) -- applies to spiritual pursuits as well as physical labor."  We talked a lot about how decisions determine our destiny...

To Wayne's siblings, thanks for the invitation but regrettably we won't be able to make it to the Orton Sibling Reunion in Ogden again this May.  Maybe next year...   And you may be interested to hear that our son Darin in Warden just let us know that Lola Roylance Cole recently passed away.  He said she was the matriarch of the ward and related to just about everyone there, she was in her 90's I think.  Wayne remembers the Roylance name.

Another little white country church 

Creepy old deserted house right by the road

Another view of the creepy old deserted house

Tiny country church

Wayne's favorite little valley, winter view

WV University football stadium in Morgantown,
right across the street from the huge hospital complex we visited
(and got lost in a couple times)

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