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!



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