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

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