Sunday, April 26, 2015

Another week flew by...

Not much to tell about the past week.  It came and went very quickly.  We had packed up our winter clothes in boxes to send home, but have been pulling some back out of the boxes as the weather turned cold and rainy again.  The trees, bushes, and flowers are still beautiful though.  We are enjoying them so much.

We did our usual chores, shopping, and laundry on Monday, then picked up a couple of single women in our ward and took them out to the home of the couple that host our family home evening group.  We watched the DVD "Meet the Mormons" and all enjoyed it.  Tomorrow night we have been invited to our friends Johnny and Janet's home for dinner, and afterward will show the movie to a several families:  Janet's inactive daughter and her family, recent convert Sonja, and investigator Katja and her family.  Should be fun. I have also lent a copy to another ward member who is going to invite a less active neighbor and a new convert to her home to view it.  Copies of this DVD are cheap through Deseret Book and what a great missionary tool! Use it...

Tuesday my companion, Elder Orton, and I separated for most of the day.  That doesn't happen very often! I left about 8:30 am, picked up my VT companion in Moorefield (13 miles away), then drove out past Mathias (another 30 miles) to visit Crystal and her daughter Ariann.  Beautiful drive and fun visit.  Then we came back down the road a ways and off in another direction to see Carol L.  Another sweet, fun visit.  By the time I took Janet home and drove back to Petersburg I just had time for a quick sandwich then met Wanda at the church for 3 hours of genealogy work.  Miracles occurred while we pieced a family together, starting out with only two children that she knew of, but we eventually found all 11 of them, with source verification of births, marriages, and deaths.  The last piece was the cemetery record of one of the younger daughters with an obituary attached that said she had been preceded in death by her five brothers and five sisters!  That
By the river where Wayne fished
More scenic river shots....
matched perfectly with the information we had found.  Wanda and I both find this work exciting and fun. (And she came to church again today!)   While I was having such fun, Wayne was having his own fun - fishing with a friend in the morning and having the van serviced, yet again, in the afternoon.  We started out our mission with about 42,000 miles on our trusty gray van,  I think we'll be over 100,000 by the time we travel home!  (And very few of those miles are on straight roads!  It's a good thing we don't get carsick because the only roads around here are very curvy...)   In the evening we continued on in our separate ways, I did volunteer work at the nursing home, he went visiting with his priesthood leader, they found three missing members.

Wednesday was District Meeting in Front Royal and interviews there with our awesome Mission President.  In the evening we and the Elders had dinner with our friend Sonja and her teenage son Joseph.  We did a little Family Home Evening with her followed by a rousing game of Spoons.

Thursday we made some visits, gave blood at our local Blood Drive, and volunteered at the nursing home again. Friday after a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader we visited an older widow, Irene, then made the beautiful drive to Romney to visit our friend Woneda in the nursing home there and, by assignment, take a Book of Mormon to the regional jail.
On the way back through Moorefield we stopped by our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.  Saturday
Deb & Hunter with their beautiful cake
was awesome - we were invited out to Jack and Deb's for dinner.  Two of Jack's sisters, Dot and Jean, and Deb's sister Barb helped them fix a lovely meal for us, Elder Saunders, and Elder Sloan.  What great people. Wish we could get them to come to church .... but they love the missionaries and treat us well. After our visit with them we stopped in on several people to invite them to church.  One of the three came.  We had a regional broadcast today and it was so good.  Elder Kacher, Sister Reeves, Elder Anderson, and Elder Hales spoke.  Wonderful.
Now Wayne is off helping a friend make some home teaching visits.  I think I will work on some genealogy - this latest family for Wanda is not coming together so easily as the last.

Today we are hoping for some comments on our blog from anyone who is enjoying it,  or suggestions on how we can improve.  Also looking for some pictures from the Acors of Kelsie's princess party, and an update from Dylan & Sara on last week's trip to San Diego.  Any news from family or friends would be appreciated, maybe we are a little homesick....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

How do you define missionary work?

Elder Sloan and Elder Saunders
(thought their moms might be checking in on our blog
and want to see their handsome sons, hard at work)

Coordinating meeting, most mornings at 10:45 am
Sometimes we don't get in as many visits as we think we should in a week, we get too busy doing other things.  So we have to step back and remind ourselves that our missionary work involves lots of things besides personal visits...  It's been one of those weeks.

A couple in our ward has started a Family Home Evening group for singles and empty-nesters.  We are helping them get it going.  We pick up a couple of ladies and bring them along.  Last week we provided refreshments.  This week are showing the movie  "Meet the Mormons".  We bought several copies of the DVD and are passing them around  the ward, encouraging ward members to invite friends into their homes to view it with them.

Tuesday we drove our Elders an hour and a half to Woodstock, Virginia, for District Meeting.  It took most of the day.  In the evening we went to a volunteer appreciation meeting at the local nursing home.  We volunteer there a couple nights a week, and Wayne sings there a couple times each month.  It was a nice dinner with a cute program and awards.  We got nice gifts too.  I think they do appreciate us, I know they love Wayne's singing.  This month, besides his two Friday night programs, he was asked to sing at their April birthday party.  They had a beach theme and asked him to do Beach Boy songs.  He had fun preparing and
performing songs like:  Little Deuce Coupe, Surfin' USA, Sloop John B, Surfer Girl, FUN,FUN, FUN, Little Old Lady from Pasadena,  etc.  They loved it and asked him to come do the same songs again for a nurse appreciation event in May!  The staff from the kitchen which was next to the room where he was singing came in and danced and clapped with the residents.  Pretty wild - don't know how some of them slept right through the whole thing....

Wayne also spent a morning with ward members and our Elders on a service project, cutting down small trees and clearing stickery brush around a member's property.  I spent an afternoon working on genealogy at the church with my friend Wanda.  We did manage to make a few visits, found a man we hadn't met before from the ward directory, and had fun visits with friends, encouraged a few who are going through trials at this time. Typed the ward bulletin, prepared a lesson for Relief Society.  Wayne did some "fellowshipping while fishing".  Saturday we drove an hour to our friends in Wardensville, then went with them another hour and a half to the Shenandoah Speedway, located near New Market, Virginia.  Larry (who is not a member) wanted Wayne to go to one of his races,  Wayne wanted that too.  Larry's wife, Deb (who is inactive), wanted me to go too, I was not so enthusiastic, but it turned out to be a fun experience.  It was a beautiful afternoon and evening, a beautiful setting, the races were interesting and exciting (and very noisy).  There was a variety of types of cars, I'd never seen the little "mini-cups"  and Legends. We had a picnic, enjoyed the beautiful field of Goldenrod beside the track and in the evening listened to the "Peep frogs".  Amazing. We didn't get home until about midnight though.

Today has been very nice.  We had a great attendance at church, about 100.  I think there were a dozen less-active members and six or seven nonmembers.  The talks and lessons were good.  It has been a spiritual and refreshing day.  I spent a couple hours back at the church this afternoon working on genealogy for a member, had great success.  It's been a good week, we've kept very busy.

Happy 6th Birthday to Kelsie tomorrow.  Thanks, Karli, for the surprise package with the lovely graduation picture of Katelyn, the turtle from Mexico, and the freeze-dried corn.  Dad loves the corn and has ordered more from the company!!  To Friends and Family -- Stay in the Boat, Wear your Life Jackets, and Hold on Tight! (my Relief Society lesson today....)  

I think these are called Mini-Cups,  so cute.  The drivers slide in through the top.


Shenandoah Speedway - Here comes Larry in #9.

Our friends and hosts for the day - Larry and Deb F.

Beautiful field beside the race track, someone told us it is Goldenrod 

Had to stop and take a picture of the goats and their play set!

Interesting old tree

Wayne's friend Johnny, catching one of the trout we ate for Sunday dinner

Beautiful Redbuds along the road

Our granddaughter Katelyn & date, Prom Night in Lehi, Utah

I love this picture of our daughter Karli & her husband Pat
on a recent trip to Mexico

I hadn't seen this picture of the Alva & Clora Orton tribe before,  amazing...
Can you pick out Wayne?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

It's Finally Spring!!

Our last few hours with the Acors, in Hershey, Pennsylvania
We were sad to send the Acors back to their home in Montana.  We did enjoy their visit so much.  And
we incorporated missionary work in too - at the temple Dakota, Kadyn, and Cass did baptisms for names provided by our ward members.  At the Easter Egg hunt they met Katja and her family, invited them into their cabin, and even fed the kids lunch.  Katja is taking the missionary lessons and will be baptized in a couple weeks. Good fellowshipping...   Sunday Acors helped us entertain and feed the full-time Elders and our ward mission leader, so see, we didn't completely slack off. Monday we drove with them to Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Enjoyed the ride, free chocolate, and shopping.  We ate sandwiches in the parking lot, then sadly had to part ways.  We had lots of rain next day, then the sun came out and the flowers and trees have exploded.  I kept telling Angie it would be so much prettier around here very soon,  now we are seeing it.  So many forsythia bushes and daffodils.  Beautiful trees in bloom.  Green, green grass.  So refreshing after a long, drab winter.
Angie, these trees burst into bloom a few days after you left.

We had another sad good-by Wednesday, as one of our favorite missionaries, Elder Aubrey, was
Elder Aubrey with our neighbor (and Ward Mission Leader) Oscar
transferred.  We took Elder Sloan and Elder Aubrey (and all Aubrey's stuff and his bike) to Columbia, which is on the outskirts of Baltimore, about 3 hours away, for transfer meeting .  It was an emotional meeting as 12 incoming and 12 returning home missionaries each got to briefly speak.  Our new missionary is Elder Saunders from Kaysville, Utah.  He seems very nice, just has a few months left of his mission.  Soon he will be one of our favorites too.

I made some great chili last week.  I got the recipe from a ward member after she made it for a Relief Society dinner and I thought it was so good.  Now I know why - I just didn't know you put butter and sugar in chili!  Fun West Virginia recipe.  And I have learned that the best spaghetti sauce has brown sugar in it!

We made lots of visits last week.  I worked with Wanda W. one afternoon on her genealogy and was so excited to see her come in to church today - it's been years since she's been to church!  And I picked up another returning member for church today,  JoAnn, cute lady.

Yesterday (Saturday) was a perfectly awesome day, as we traveled to the Washington DC Temple and were able to do initiatory work, endowments, and sealings for some of the people whose names Dakota, Kadyn, and Cassidy did baptisms for last week!  Another couple from our ward, Steve and Linda, were there too.  It was very busy at the temple and the freeways were pretty clogged at times on our drive there and back, but it was surely worth the drive and the time. And we saw deer, groundhogs, and lots of flowers along the way.  We had a nice dinner at Cracker Barrel on the way home too.  Our good friend Sonja who was baptized exactly one year ago said that she had a special dream last week about her deceased father, she felt like he was letting her know that he was pleased and content to have his baptism done last week (thanks, Dakota!).  We anticipate getting to go to the temple with Sonja for the first time next month, and what a special experience it will be for her to be sealed to her parents.

Wonderful week, wonderful experiences.  It's awesome to serve a mission.  And Spring has arrived. Happy Birthday to our wonderful oldest daughter, Karli.  We love you and appreciate you so much.  Glad you had a fun cruise.  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Sweet picture of Kelsie at the Washington DC Temple Visitors Center
Happy Easter!  We couldn't have had a better day!  Watching General Conference and hearing uplifting, inspiring talks from prophets and leaders of our church and getting together with family and friends.  It's been a great day.  And a good week. We started the week out with a shopping trip.  I hate to shop, but really needed some Spring clothes and we needed to go to Costco for supplies for the Acors and for our Easter dinner.   So we went to Winchester, Virginia - to the Apple Blossom Mall.  We had a nice day, found some bargains, stocked up on food, and even had a nice dinner at Olive Garden.  On the way home we made three visits in Moorefield to check up on members and an investigator, inviting them all to our ward Easter Egg Hunt.  Tuesday instead of going to our District Meeting in Woodstock we made a lot of good, much-needed visits including seeing Dave V. who was back in the hospital again.  We definitely had something to write in our missionary journal about too,  we were attacked by a big dog (half Saint Bernard, half German shepherd).  No serious injuries though, but scary.  Wayne has a pretty good scratch on his leg and a bite bruise somewhere else that we won't mention.  The owner was very apologetic and we had a good visit after the dog was caught and restrained....

Wednesday we inspected the Elders' apartment, saw our new friend JoAnn, and drove up into the Smoke Hole Mountains to the cute, rustic cabin of Burlin, Belinda, and Pam. We had a nice visit and they said we could take a picture of their Easter Egg tree in front of the cabin.  In the evening we had a great ward activity - hunting Easter Eggs and making ice cream sundaes.  Good attendance, our investigator and her family came, our recent convert Sonja brought her daughters and grandchildren.  It was a nice evening.

Thursday was a busy day, instead of going for a walk we took our turn at cleaning the church, then we drove to Moorefield for a quick trip to Wal-Mart, then visited Patricia R. at the Misty Terrace Trailer Park, also met an older couple that the Elders are working with. We rushed back to Petersburg in time for me to meet Wanda W. at the church to work on her genealogy.  Wayne met Jimmy H. and they drove to Winchester (over an hour away) to meet with our Stake President.  When I was finished at the church I walked up to the nursing home to help with Bingo.  Whew!    We finally made it to the day we had been waiting so long for - Friday!  The day we met the Acors at the Washington DC Temple and they came to Petersburg for a visit. We have been having a great time these past few days.   We had a lovely day at the temple Friday, followed by dinner at Golden Corral. They are staying at a cute cabin in a beautiful place just a few miles from our apartment.  There was a big Easter event right where they are staying yesterday, with hay rides, egg coloring, egg hunt, etc.  Then we went through the Smoke Hole caverns and also a little hiking at Seneca Rocks.  Last night while the guys went to priesthood meeting, Kadyn & Cassidy did laundry here in our apartment complex laundry and we played Racko while waiting for the wash and dry cycles.  Fun.  Today we watched General Conference and between seasons we had a nice Easter dinner here in our little apartment with us, seven Acors, two young missionaries, and a neighbor, Oscar.  (I'm thankful for Costco spiral ham, rolls, and apple pie - delicious!)  After Conference we went up to their cabin, took a nice walk, looked at the fish and beautiful scenery, and played more Racko.  We don't want them to leave. It's been so good to see them, the kids have grown so much, and are as sweet and good as can be. We are driving up to the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania with them tomorrow, then maybe through some Amish country.  Then they will head to their motel by the airport that they fly out of on Tuesday morning.  What a treat this has been for us.  Now we will head in to our last few months, refreshed by their visit and by General Conference.  We can do this.  

Thanks to Devin's wife Amie for checking in early this week.  And good luck to the Poyfairs as they set out on an adventure - a cruise to sunny Mexico.  Have fun.  Happy Easter.

Kelsie & Corinne at the Visitors Center

Fun activities at the Visitors Center while they hung out with Grandma

Rainy day at the Temple

Kadyn, Dakota, Cassidy after doing temple baptisms with Grandpa Orton

Kelsie & Corinne explore Smoke Hole Resort
Admiring West Virginia's famous  Golden Trout

The Easter Egg hunt was fun, but ...

Finding a frog was even more fun!

Deep in the Smoke Hole Caverns

The Caverns were used by Indians to smoke their meat,
by Confederate soldiers to protect their wounded,
and more recently as a place to make moonshine!
Sifting for gems

The hikers, with Seneca Rocks in the background

After a short hike they made it to the observation deck,
and were rewarded with a beautiful view 

Dakota, King of the Mountain

Easter Morning - we were egged!  Don't know by whom, but it was sweet!

Cameron and Angie

Elder & Sister Orton - Easter 2015