Sunday, March 29, 2015

Just another week...

Not too much to show or tell about this past week.  It was pretty quiet and normal.  We went to some meetings, visited some people and tried to finish up our home teaching and visiting teaching, worked at the nursing home a few times, watched a few basketball games on TV.  Wayne was invited to go fishing again and brought back a couple nice trout for our dinner.  He only caught one of them, Steve his fishing companion caught several - one was a golden trout that he let Wayne have.  We had them for dinner, I couldn't tell any difference in the taste.  Wayne helped with a service project one afternoon, loading a U-Haul trailer,  I worked on genealogy.  We had lunch with our Bishop and his wife one day,  Friday night we tried out "Mallow's Roadside Cafe" in Cabins to see if it would be a good place to take the Acor's next Saturday night when they are here.  The food was very good, so we may.  Tonight we have been invited to a ward family's home, their daughters are heading back to BYU-Idaho soon and wanted to have us over before they left.

The weather has been very Spring-like, changeable and unpredictable!  One day the temperature got up to 78, the next day the high was 48.  Yesterday it stayed around 29 all day and there were even a few flakes of snow.  We were hoping it would be green here when the Acors come to visit, but I don't think it will be.  We are sure looking forward to seeing them on Friday, and having them here for several days.  Can't wait!

I enjoyed the General Women's Broadcast last night.  I support Bonnie Oscarson's challenge that we should be Defenders of the Family, especially of marriage between a man and a woman, elevating the Divine roles of mothers and fathers, and in preserving the sanctity of the home.  She challenged us to be brave, immovable, and steadfast warriors. Yes!  What a good meeting.  Such a privilege to have General Conference sessions to guide and inspire us.  Next weekend will be awesome too.

Here is our bird lesson for today.  A very common sight around here is turkey buzzards or turkey vultures. They are big and ugly. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about them:  If you’ve gone looking for raptors on a clear day, your heart has probably leaped at the sight of a large, soaring bird in the distance– perhaps an eagle or osprey. But if it's soaring with its wings raised in a V and making wobbly circles, it's likely a Turkey Vulture. These birds ride thermals in the sky and use their keen sense of smell to find fresh carcasses. They are a consummate scavenger, cleaning up the countryside one bite of their sharply hooked bill at a time, and never mussing a feather on their bald heads.

One day we drove quite a ways out past Seneca Rocks to visit a ward family.  On the way back we passed a pasture with many ewes and lambs in it.  So cute, the picture doesn't do it justice.  Just what I needed for a Spring perk-up!  More sunshine would help too, I think...   Have a great week.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"The Story of Roger" and other News of our Week

Meet Our Dear Friend Roger:
On our ward list there was a lady that lived about 50 miles from Petersburg.  We tried to find her during the early part of our mission but couldn’t find the road she supposedly lived on.  Then we heard from other members of the ward that she was gone somewhere so we stopped looking.  Then, later we found the road and found her house and she was there.  She had not been well but she was glad to see us and we made several visits.  On one visit we had brought some brochures to give to her but she wasn’t at home.  Her son was there though so we gave them to him to give to her.  We just met him in passing as he was just leaving for work.
Several months later the young elders got a media referral for a man that had the same address as the lady 
but the last name was different.  We took the elders out there to take him the Book of Mormon he had requested and it was at the same house.  We went in and met Roger and he was really glad to get his own Book of Mormon.  The elders started teaching him, he was really interested.  He accepted the invitation to come to church and came with a girlfriend and her parents who were from Harrisonburg and are members.  He has taken all the lessons and will be baptized next week.
More of the story:  When we first met him, he had already been thinking about changing his life.  When we handed the pamphlets to him he wanted to ask us if we had any that he could have but didn’t want to put us out any.  He wanted to read the Book of Mormon.  His mom had one in the house but he didn’t want to ask her about it.  He was dating a lady that was just getting back into activity in the church.
He had gone to church as a kid but his parents had divorced and his mom had gone less active so he was never baptized or even knew much about the church.
He had made some wrong decisions in his early years.  He got involved in drugs and wrong crowds, and had to suffer consequences of some wrong decisions.  It has taken some time but has been trying to straighten up his life.  
He has been so fun to teach as he just smiles from ear to ear and is so happy about how the gospel makes him feel.  He reads the pamphlets that we leave several times and prays about the things he learns.  He makes up sayings as he learns things.  When asked if he understood the necessity of the Priesthood he says, “yah, it’s like the Lord deputizes someone”.  When asked about what it means to endure to the end he says, “Ya just gotta live the code”.  When explaining how he is feeling about his commitment he says, “It is just bone deep”.  When asked why we need to follow the prophet it’s like, “He’s the man”.  He told us that he is surprised that the people at work haven’t made him take a drug test because he just goes around smiling all the time now!
He works in a printing facility.  He had just had the lesson about the Book of Mormon and the gold plates and read about the brass plates and then at work they brought in this pallet of brass plates.  I think they use them in some printing process on some special books.  Anyway, he saw them and looked up and around and it was like someone was saying, “do you get it now?”  A couple weeks later they were publishing a book called “The Great Apostasy” by James Talmage.  He got that feeling again.
Roger brought his mom to church last week and when they got home she slipped on the ice and bumped her head.  He took her to the ER to get checked out.  When he found out she was OK he teased her that she fell because she just couldn’t believe that they had gone to church.
Our mission president came to Petersburg the other day for Roger’s baptismal interview.  We all had lunch and a lesson in our apartment.  President Richards was very impressed at how ready Roger is for baptism.  We love Roger and are looking forward to next week.
Roger with his Uncle Baxter, his mother Vada, and his Aunt Sandy
LATER:  Next week came and today Roger was baptized.  It was a special service.  Following the service he bore his testimony and the spirit was strong there. 
After the baptismal service, his friends from Harrisonburg took him to the Washington DC temple and visitors center with which he was very impressed.  They also went to the book store and got him his own set of scriptures with his name on them.  He was very pleased with them.

LATER:  Today he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  In Priesthood meeting he participated as he had been assigned to help with a part of the lesson.  Good for him.  He is getting his feet wet and still smiling from ear to ear.  He still says he is “bone deep” happy, we are too.
Elder & Sister Orton with Smilin' Roger
Janie:  That definitely was the highlight of the week and a treat for me that Wayne would tell the story in his own words.  I will tell a little bit about the rest of our week, it was a good week and went by very fast.
On Monday we did our shift at the food pantry.  Our new friends and recently returned missionaries, Steve and Linda helped us.  As we were leaving Steve invited Wayne to go fishing with him later in the afternoon. It was a beautiful warm day and seemed like the perfect thing to do.  They did a little missionary work in the process, gaining access to good fishing holes on the South Fork of the Potomac River through an inactive member's property and having a good visit with him (Petey).  The trip would have been successful even if they hadn't caught any fish because it was a nice day and a beautiful spot, but as an added bonus Wayne brought home a couple of nice trout and Steve caught six or seven.

While Wayne was fishing I was working on genealogy at the church with a new friend, Linda D., who is not a member of our church, but interested in family history and enjoying our research together.
Tuesday was Zone Meeting in Front Royal and service in the evening at the nursing home. Wednesday after working at the Food Pantry I spent the afternoon with my friend Wanda working on genealogy at the church. Wayne did a little home teaching with his companion Ron, and then also did quite a bit of ironing (Wayne, not Ron). Thursday we made a lot of visits and I invited several women to accompany me to our Relief Society evening meeting - our RS Birthday commemoration and service project.  Three inactive sisters agreed to come with me (if I would pick them up). They had a good time, it was a nice meeting.
Friday the Elders helped us at the Food Pantry, then we drove them to an appointment with Roger,  an hour's drive out past Mathias.  Remember how Wayne went fishing on Monday in a short-sleeved tee-shirt? Well Friday was a different story - snow!  But we made it fine, had a good lesson with Roger, and even stopped in to see Paul and Crystal on the way back, for a home teaching/visiting teaching visit. We dropped the Elders off where they had left their car in Moorefield and got Wayne back to Petersburg in time to sing at the nursing home while I made spaghetti.
Wayne told you about our awesome baptism Saturday morning.  I will include a few more pictures at the end of this post.  After the baptism we were invited out to Jack and Deb's for a family birthday party, for relatives who had had birthdays in the past few months.  The dinner had gotten snowed out a couple times so they had several to celebrate, including Elder Orton's.  We are honorary members of their family.  Even though most of their family are not members of our church, and even though Jack and Deb do not come to church, they all love the missionaries - old ones and young ones.  We feel very accepted and at home with them all.  Nice people.  And great food.  The crowd there included Jack and Deb, their son BJ, grandson Hunter,  four of Jack's sisters and two brothers-in-law, Deb's sister (who we all call Sis),  a niece and her boyfriend, two Elders, Wayne, and I.  We visited and ate, then Wayne played the guitar and sang a bit. Five-year-old Hunter loves Elder Orton and always begs him to bring and play his guitar.
Today we had a good attendance at church, seven less-actives including one lady that attended Relief Society with me on Thursday.  I taught RS, Wayne was a last-minute fill-in teaching in Primary and helped with the priesthood lesson. After church we drove 40 miles to Romney to visit our special friend Woneda who is in a nursing home there.  On the way there we took a little detour to see the Old Pine Church - we had seen the sign numerous times as we hurried to meetings in Romney or rushed home from Romney to appointments.  Today we had the time to enjoy the view and take a walk around the old cemetery.  Nice afternoon.  Nice week.  Whew!  We are tired.  Hope your week has gone well.  
Happy 20th Birthday in a few days to our awesome missionary grandson, Dallin Poyfair.  We love you and are so proud of your attitude and example.  Happy Birthday on Thursday to our amazing son Dylan.  We miss you.
Lots more pictures, in case you are interested....
Elder Aubrey, Hunter, Elder Sloan

Hunter and his pal Elder Orton

They all had birthdays in the past several months

Our wonderful hosts, Deb and Jack

Elder Orton entertaining Serenity and Hunter

The Old Pine Church, Purgettsville, West Virginia

More baptism pictures:
Roger with his mother Vada, his friend Philip, Philip's wife Betty 

Vada, Elder Sloan, Roger, Elder Aubrey

Roger with his mother Vada, Vada's brother Baxter, Baxter's wife Sandy

Roger with his girlfriend Gina and Gina's son David

Sunrise in Petersburg

Groundhog waiting to cross the road

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Where did the week go??

What a perfectly awesome week!  I can't believe it's Sunday again already.  Every day was busy and wonderful.  How can we be so fortunate?  The one thing I didn't like about the week was the time change!  I do like Daylight Savings Time, just don't adapt to change well.  So now when we leave the apartment for our morning walk it's still dark and the moon is still out.  We do get to enjoy some beautiful sunrises though and it's so nice to hear the birds again, and such a treat to catch sight of a bright red cardinal occasionally.
6:30 am, we begin our morning walks in the moonlight!

Eventually we are treated to a lovely sunrise!

More sunrise beauty!

A Cardinal watches us!

Monday we used half our Preparation Day for chores, then I met Wanda W. at the church and worked on genealogy for the afternoon.  Tuesday we drove to Woodstock for a District Meeting (and a quick trip to their nice Wal-Mart). On the way home we visited ward member Jane, then checked on our friend Dave in the hospital.  We did our volunteer work at the nursing home, then drove out to the home of recently returned missionary couple Steve and Linda for a nice get-acquainted visit.  Great people, will be good friends.   Wednesday was a good day to go to the Washington DC Temple.  We took two ladies with us, our Bishop took five others.  Wonderful session and fun meal together afterward.  Long day, though - left at 7 am, got home about 6 pm.

Thursday was a great day, too.  Our Mission President, Mark Richards, came to lunch at our humble little apartment, with our two Elders and our awesome investigator Roger.  It was fun.  After lunch we all gathered around the table for a lesson with Roger, then President Richards and Roger went upstairs to our study room for Roger's baptism interview.  He passed, and is scheduled for baptism next Saturday. Wayne is writing a recap of our experiences with Roger and we'll put it on our blog next Sunday with pictures of his baptism.  He is a pretty special young man (about our Darin's age) and it has been a neat experience to get to know him and see his progress in the Gospel.  We had dinner with Sandy and Baxter that evening, always a treat - and they gave us a big jar of apple butter, the very cinnamony kind that Baxter is famous for.
(Roger brought us cracklings and fresh pork sausage this week, Lyal gave us two packages of pork cutlets, Sandy gave us hamburger, Jack gave us a bag of frozen chicken - we are so spoiled.  And very appreciative!)

Meeting with our Ward Mission Leader Friday and lots of visits.  It was also a good day.  Saturday we took our Elders with us and helped at the big mobile food pantry here in Petersburg.  It was pretty well organized and efficient,  we put together and gave out 150 nice food boxes.  This coming week is our assigned week to work at our community food bank too, that only takes a couple hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Our ward is assigned every six or seven weeks.  We enjoy both opportunities, wonderful community service and we have met quite a few volunteers from other churches and organizations.

I did more genealogy research Saturday afternoon while Wayne made hospital visits and cooked up some beans with pork cracklin's for us.  And we are surprised that it's Sunday again already.  Time really does fly when you are busy and anxiously engaged...  Thanks to the Thueson kids for the great letters we received last week, they were so fun - we LOVE mail!  Thanks to Trudy, Norma Jean, Connie, Judy Asper, and Mildred for recent letters too.  So nice to be remembered and get news from home.  We surely do appreciate it.   Have a great week!!
Temporarily turning the Fire Station into a giant Food Bank

Elder Aubrey moving food boxes down the line

Elder Sloan begins the process by placing a frozen ham or two in each box

Meat, vegetables, fruit, frozen pizza, etc, go into each box, then they are topped
with bread and pastries.  Individuals and families in need who have qualified for
a voucher then pick up the boxes or are helped to get it to their vehicle.   Fun event

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring is just around the corner...

The sky is blue and the temperature here in our little corner of West Virginia got up to 54 degrees today, I think the huge snow piles are just about all melted away!  Can I hope that we have had our last snow storm, our last days of being grounded by icy roads, our last mornings not being able to go for our daily walk because the temperature is below 10 degrees with an icy wind blowing??  Yes, I can hope...

In spite of the weather, we have had an awesome week!  We are so blessed to be here having such wonderful experiences and seeing the Lord's hand in our lives and the lives of those around us.  Let me give you a brief recap of our week before I tell you why Elder Orton had blood on his pants and jacket yesterday, and was proud of it!

Monday after our chores we drove about 50 miles, way out past Mathias, to see Roger.  He told us to come hungry because he had fixed a wonderful pulled-pork dinner for us.  We enjoyed that, then we taught him his third discussion based on the pamphlet "The Gospel of Jesus Christ".  Roger is amazing, very eager and enthusiastic. He is reading the Book of Mormon and looking forward to his baptism scheduled for March 21st. It was a fun lesson, we really like Roger.  As we got ready to leave he discovered the bowl of pickled beets that his mother Vada had left for our dinner, he made us take the whole bowl home so she wouldn't know he forgot - we didn't mind, we love pickled beets.  Tuesday we had District Meeting in Woodstock, Virginia, then hurried back to Petersburg for my appointment at the church to work on genealogy with Wanda.  We are making good progress and having fun.  We found some interesting old pictures on of her relatives, she is sharing what she finds with her sisters,  soon they will all be coming back to church, I just know it!   On Wednesday we made numerous visits.  In all of these homes we talked about genealogy and I got information from several to begin working on their family history.  Hopefully they will catch the vision - I feel their ancestors encouraging and pushing for their work to be done, they want to be remembered and helped along in their progression. I am so blessed to be able to help...

We had great plans and appointments for Thursday and Friday, but a big snow storm changed those plans.  I think we got about 7 or 8 inches of snow, just as the ice was melting off the roads from the last storm.  The Elders were grounded and we decided that was a good idea for us too.  The people we had scheduled appointments and lessons with all called and said not to even try getting to their homes or up their lanes.  I am so glad we have internet in our apartment and I could spend the days productively with my charts, papers and notes spread around me, hooked up to FamilySearch,, Find My Past, Find A Grave, etc. - putting together families, verifying information, sending ordinance work in to the temple, and looking for ways to get families here excited and enthused about finding and getting to know about their ancestors.

By Saturday the roads were okay to travel on and Wayne had an adventure that he will tell about.  He spent the evening at the home of some ward members sharing pizza and doing karaoke with them.  They loved it. He assures me that this is missionary work too. I spent the evening making Brunswick Stew and rolls for dinner after church today, the Elders joined us even though the investigator canceled out at the last minute. (I may have stayed up too late watching the BYU basketball game too.) We had a lovely sacrament meeting with the couple who recently returned from a mission reporting, also our Stake President was visiting and spoke.  It felt so good to be back to our usual schedule after our ward meetings were cancelled due to snow for two Sundays, followed by Stake Conference Sunday.  We have never gone that long without taking the sacrament, what a joy and relief to have that privilege again today.  Quote on our Sunday bulletin today from the First Presidency message for this month:    “He who suffered so selflessly for us in the garden
and on the cross will not leave us comfortless.  He will strengthen, encourage, and bless us.  He will encircle us in His gentle arms.”   - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

(Thanks, Krista, for skyping us last night so we could see you in your white baptismal dress!  You are beautiful!  Happy 13th Birthday to our sweet and sassy granddaughter Cassidy!  We are so looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks...)

Elder Orton:  Saturday morning I arrived back up in the hills about half a mile from the Virginia border at
Roger's place in time to help get the water boiling in the big pots.  This day, he and some of his friends were "fixin" to butcher some hogs and I was invited to attend.  I missed the first few steps of the process as they took place in another location that I couldn't get to because my van is a wimp.  There were four pigs of a good size.  The part I missed was the "killin" (didn't miss that much), the gutting (didn't miss that much either), the scalding (that is where they lower the pig in to boiling water so they can remove all of the hair), then they slice the pig in two right down the middle.  Then they brought them up to
where we were, which was at a shed outside where we could cut up the meat.  There I got to help skin (remove the skin from the meat), bone (cut off the meat from the bone), and cut it up for the sausage grinder.
They use most every thing.  The skin is all boiled up, lard is salvaged and I don't even know what it is all used for. The gave us some "cracklings"  which are small pieces about an inch square that are harder than a rock.  I know it has rinds and seasoning stuff.  They said it was good when cooked with beans.  Supposedly it softens up and has good pork flavoring.
The heads were interesting too.  They use every thing they can from the head.  It was cool to watch them
clean off the heads and make use of it. I will not describe that.
I didn't get to stay around for the whole process but it was interesting.  The last time I saw a similar process was when I was a kid and watched JG Millward go to a farm in Warden, Washington and perform the art.
When we saw Roger at church today he said they finally had to quit about 10:00 PM and still had some more sausage to grind up.  He will be baptized on the 21st.  See, that is missionary work!