Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Week in Pictures

24 June 2015 - Final Transfer Day with President & Sister Richards
A trip to the Temple with Pres & Sis Richards plus the missionaries returning home this transfer.
Group picture of the current missionaries in the Maryland Baltimore Mission
Two of our former Petersburg Elders, heading home after an honorable mission,
Elder Aubrey and Elder Bronson

Elder Moore, also heading home

Senior couples and good friends, the Bringhursts and the Marlows

Senior couple, the Cranes

Beautiful plants at the temple
Old Car in the Woods - Art?

Priesthood in Action - trimming Sonja's bushes

Two of our favorite people - sisters Annie & Doris
They invited us to a family picnic at the park on Saturday
Good food & great contact with several less-active ward members...

Elder Saunders with worn-out new missionary, Elder Nicholes

Elder Orton having a party with Sarah

Erik wants to be just like Elder Saunders,
I gave him a future missionary badge today, he was so excited.
He is Katja's son, has only been coming to church a few months
We did make quite a few visits last week.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the lady peeking out the screen door when we drove up and quickly slamming the regular door.  Surprise - there was no answer when we knocked!  I'm glad I didn't get a picture one of the ladies I was helping with Bingo at the nursing home Thursday night. I summoned the activity director over twice because I was worried about the blood running down her chin that she kept wiping off with her tee-shirt.  It took me a while to understand the staff member as she explained that it was just Skoal (?).  Guess I'm not used to seeing a sweet little old lady with tobacco juice oozing out of her mouth.  Finally they brought a cup over for her to spit into.  Gross.

Our good friend Sonja who was baptized a year ago was recently called as a ward missionary.  Today after church she and I taught the first discussion to 12-year-old Lisa, daughter of a recent convert mom and recently re-activated dad.  Fun.  Sonja was a great companion, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic.  Lisa is eager to learn and be baptized.  We will teach the second lesson on Thursday.  

I made a Kool-Aid pie for dinner today.  So easy with a pre-made graham cracker crust.  Just Cool Whip and sweetened condensed milk stirred up, then add one package of Kool-aid.  We tried Black Cherry flavor a couple weeks ago, today was orange.  Both very good.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister last Wednesday, so good to talk to her.  And I think the whole country is getting ready to set off fireworks to celebrate our granddaughter Kendra's twelfth birthday this Saturday.  We love to get Kendra's sweet letters of  news and encouragement, she is very thoughtful.

We had a good discussion about family values in Relief Society today. I love Sister Oscarson's talk "Defenders of the Family Proclamation".
 "We need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places—even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting, or no longer relevant."
Have a great week.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hot and Humid, a slow week

We are homesick today - all of our children and grandchildren are together in Utah for our oldest grandson Dallin's mission homecoming!  On Tuesday we watched the cutest little video of Dallin coming down the escalator at the Salt Lake Airport as he returned from 2 years in Mozambique, Africa, and hugging his mother.  Last night we received 8 or 9 pictures of the whole family having a picnic and soccer game at a park near Poyfairs in Lehi, Utah. So neat to see our children and grandchildren having fun together. Wish we were there joining in the excitement.  We are looking forward to more pictures and written accounts of the weekend.

It's been a slow week here for us.  The weather has been hot and humid, with occasional rain storms. Wayne did get to go fishing a couple times - Monday morning with his friend Johnny, Wednesday afternoon with his friend Ron in Ron's little trolling boat.  Not too much luck but they did have fun and Wayne said it was peaceful and beautiful.  Wayne also got a bit of singing and guitar playing in.  He and Johnny practiced Thursday night, then played at the nursing home Friday night.  I was able to go visiting teaching Monday, then Tuesday we took the Elders to Zone Meeting in Front Royal, Virginia. We did manage to get a few visits in during the week,  had a very nice chat with a couple the Elders are teaching. Relief Society night meeting was great Thursday evening,  a picnic and Visiting Teaching Conference.  There were about 20 women there,  good for our little ward.   Saturday I think we went six different places with no luck at all, it was pretty discouraging, and raining.  But today was awesome, great attendance at church, good speakers and lessons, a few new faces at church, etc.  And the opportunity to worship and take the sacrament.  Later this afternoon we are having dinner at the Bishop's home, that's always fun.

Next week we will go to our last Transfer Meeting and after that we will go to the temple with our mission president and his wife and about 40 returning home missionaries.  I think it will be a very emotional meeting, as our mission president is completing his assignment and going home on June 30th.  We will sure miss him and his wife.  Good people.   We won't be far behind President and Sister Richards -- only six weeks left of our mission.  So much to do, too,  I think the time will fly by.  We try to stay focused....

"There is a power in the Book of Mormon which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance."  - Ezra Taft Benson


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Katja's Baptism

This is Katja.  Soon after we arrived on our mission, as we were trying to find people whose names were on our church records but they didn't come to church, we came across the name of Dwayne B.  Wayne asked some relatives of his, but they didn't know where he was.  Wayne put his name in an internet address finding program and found several addresses out of the state and wondered, perhaps, if he was in the military.  We gave up on finding him.  Several months ago when we were working at the community food pantry, Wayne was carrying a box of food out to a lady's car when she noticed his missionary name tag and said that she was a member of that church too.  He talked to her a bit, then noticed a memorial sign in her car window for a man with the same last name as Dwayne.  He mentioned that and found out that she was Dwayne's sister and yes, he had been in the service but had just gotten out and moved to Moorefield (a town in our ward). Wayne got the address, we found the home, got to know Dwayne, his wife Katja, and their four cute kids.  Dwayne hadn't been to church in a long, long time - his wife and kids didn't know anything about the LDS Church.  We visited them a few times, then took the Elders who began teaching Katja.  She learned quickly, and eventually accepted the gospel.  She asked Wayne to baptize her.  We love this family.  So do the Elders.  They are teaching Dwayne and Katja's daughter Lisa now.  Seven-year-old Erik can hardly wait until he is old enough to be baptized.  Katja's mother Barbara is visiting from Germany and has been very supportive.  She enjoyed her trip to the temple, has come to our church once, and did attend the baptism yesterday.  What a "coincidence" that another good friend of ours, Sonja, who joined the church a year ago and is now preparing to go to the temple is also from Germany!  Sonja, Katja, and Barbara chatter away in German when they are together and are so fun to listen to.  Anyway - it was a great day yesterday. Everything went very well.  At the baptismal service I (Janie) gave a talk on baptism,  Wayne did the baptizing, and Sonja gave a talk on the Holy Ghost (she was very nervous but did a great job).   Wayne also did the confirming this morning.  Katja really likes and respects him.  Her husband Dwayne does too. Dwayne is progressing so well, he is coming to church diligently, recently received the Aaronic Priesthood, and a calling in the ward.  It is amazing to see them both grow in the gospel and to know that the Lord allowed us to be instruments in His hands in finding this sweet family...
Katja & Elder Orton,  Baptism Day 13 Jun 2015

Dwayne & Katja's cute daughter Sarah

Another daughter, Lisa, hopefully will be baptized soon
(their two sons, Mark and Erick, were never still enough to get a picture)

Katja's mother Barbara with Sonja

Elder Orton with Katja and Katja's mother Barbara

Elder Saunders, Katja, Elder Gorman

Nothing else in the week compared with our Saturday Baptism.  But we did have a good week.  Our little Family Home Evening group had  potluck Monday evening, it was well attended and the food was good.  I made Chicken Enchiladas, they were well-liked and disappeared quickly.  Tuesday we took the Elders to District Meeting in Woodstock.  We got back to Petersburg in time for me to go to the nursing home and Wayne to go to a priesthood presidency meeting.  Wednesday we got the van serviced yet again, made some visits, and in the evening taught a temple preparation lesson to Mariah and Sonja.  More visits, details to take care of concerning the baptism, service, hospital visit, etc, the rest of the week.  Busy.  Wayne got together with a couple of different friends to play guitar and sing.  No fishing this past week, but I think something is in the works for 5 am tomorrow morning...

We are very excited about our oldest grandson Dallin's return from his mission in Mozambique!  His family is anxiously anticipating his homecoming Tuesday and he will speak in their ward next Sunday.  We will miss gathering with most of our children and their families as they welcome him home and hear him tell of his adventures and the miracles he has witnessed.  He is amazing.  Such a good example for his younger siblings and nieces and nephews.  And for us as well.  Mission Accomplished!
Elder Poyfair and friends in the Mozambique Maputo Mission
Yesterday afternoon, after the baptism, we drove over to Elkins, West Virginia.  We stopped on the way near Seneca Rocks to visit a ward family that lives about 25 miles from the church.  Then on another 35 miles (out of the ward, stake, and even our mission) to Elkins to visit a former missionary companion of Wayne's and his family.  We attended a dinner theatre with them, the Gandy Dancer (  It was fun to see his friends again before we go home, and we enjoyed the food and program at the theatre.  We drove home late however, there was fog here and there, and we saw quite a few deer by the road.  Glad none of them jumped out into the road.  We also saw fireflies along the way - magical.  I love fireflies!

I also love the Ezra Taft Benson lesson for today about the Book of Mormon.  I got a call from the lady who was supposed to teach it on Friday asking if I would sub for her and I was excited to do so.  What a great lesson.  Read it, if you haven't already.  It's powerful.  (Taivan is reading the Book of Mormon in the next 60 days,  way to go!  Hope I can too.)  Have a great week.
"The Prophet Joseph Smith … said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”  … Is there not something deep in our hearts that longs to draw nearer to God, to be more like Him in our daily walk, to feel His presence with us constantly? If so, then the Book of Mormon will help us do so more than any other book. …"
As we left Johnny & Janet's Friday night the chickens were
finding their nighttime roosts.  So cute.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Visit to Amish country, the Mission Home, and the Temple

The First Week of June - 2015

We used our P-Day for an adventure this week.  We drove up to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to learn more about the Amish or "Plain Folks".  It was such an interesting trip.  We have great respect for these people who are very devout in their faith.  They believe in a literal interpretation and application of the Bible, try to keep separate from things of the world and modern technology.  They have no electricity or phones in their homes.  They use propane and batteries though and many do have telephone huts on their property, just not in their homes.  They have small one-room schools, only educating their children through 8th grade.  They are very devoted to their families and communities, and have a very strong work ethic.  We were very impressed with their tidy yards and farms.  Being an animal lover, I enjoyed seeing the many dairy cows, buggy horses, farming mules, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, goats, and alpaca.  We even saw camels on one farm, being raised for their milk, and another farmer was raising deer, for venison.  Very interesting. Every farm had a large garden - well tended, very few weeds.  I also found their crafts and quilts very beautiful.  Near one of the little craft stores was a pretzel stand - the fresh, warm pretzels were delicious.  We had one Monday afternoon, then had to find the shop again Tuesday for more.   

We arrived in the early afternoon Monday and took a tour of an Amish house and farm, the guide was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot.  He then took us on a bus tour of the Amish area around Lancaster, stopping at a craft (and pretzel) store and a dairy farm where there also was a quilt shop.  A funeral was just getting over so our little tour bus shared the road with many buggies of families returning to their homes.  After that we went to an Amish buffet restaurant before checking in to our motel.  Tuesday morning we drove around a lot, such beautiful farms and countryside.  We stopped at a little Amish-run farm store where there were propane lights inside and several buggies tied to the hitching rack in the parking lot.  Later we took a buggy ride.  Our driver was an Amish woman who patiently answered our questions and even let us take her picture.  Yes, we took many, many pictures.  I am putting some at the end of this blog.  It was such an interesting trip.  

Tuesday afternoon we traveled from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to the Mission Home in Ellicott City, Maryland (near Baltimore).  We just happened to pass by York, PA, where Wayne had noticed that there was a Harley/Davidson factory!  What a contrast to our experiences in the Amish country!  Wayne was able to take a factory tour and buy a tee-shirt, so he was HAPPY.  

President & Sister Richards with Senior Couples
in the Maryland Baltimore Mission
We had a lovely time at the Mission Home.  We met a new Senior Couple, the MacCabe's from Logan, Utah, who will work with military relations at Annapolis Naval Academy.  Our Mission President and his wife will be leaving the end of the month, so we had a little testimony time with them and gave them a lovely afghan with a picture of the mission home on it.  

Wednesday it was back to our usual missionary life with meetings, visits, genealogy work, teaching a temple preparation class, etc. Thursday we took our Elders on a long trip out to the edges of our ward to make a few visits and teach a new member lesson to our good friend Roger.  Roger and his mother Vada fixed us a nice fried-chicken dinner too.  Very thoughtful of them, and delicious.  More visits Friday and Wayne sang at the nursing home in the evening.

Silly Wayne got up at 5 am Friday to go fishing with a friend.
 That is her take on it.  I had an early morning meeting with my High Priest Group Leader.  Yes, it did start at 5 am.  And yes, we did take our fishing poles.  We went down on the South Fork (Potomac) River. As we discussed home teaching from a low bridge, we put our lines out in the rapids. Right away I hooked one and started reeling him in. I had to lift him out of the water about 4 feet to get him up on the bridge.  Just as I got him to the edge, he got off and my line flipped up wrapping around my pole in an awful mess.  I tried to un-tangle it but to no avail.  Finally after my fishing partner had caught a couple fish I just cut line and started over.  These were nice trout about 12-16 inches and I was missing the fun.  Now I was behind.  By 6:30 he had caught his limit (6) and I was still 4 behind.  Another ward member had joined us and he had caught his limit.  (This was a less active man we were inviting back)  Anyway they said that it was legal to use 2 poles so they got another one ready for me.  As soon as I landed one they would take over and just hand me another pole that was ready while they took the fish off and re-baited the hook.  I would catch one and the process would go on again.  It didn't take long and by 7:30 I had 6 nice trout.  In the mean time we had a presidency meeting and met with a less active and his non-member nephew.  Now tell me that isn't missionary work!
Steve then taught me how to filet them and Sister Orton cooked some nice boneless fillets for dinner. Thanks for the good dinner.

 Saturday we were blessed to make another trip to the beautiful Washington, DC, Temple! We took Wayne's friend Johnny K., Katja (who will be baptized next Saturday), and Katja's mother, Barbara, who is visiting from Germany.  Another ward member, Ron H., took the Elders, who escorted Katja and Barbara through the Visitor's Center.  There were two other cars with seven more ward members who went too.  A good day for the Petersburg Ward.  It all went very well. I'm grateful for Wayne's driving skills to get us there and back safely, looking forward to a 10-minute drive to get to the temple in
Katja and Barbara
Boise, but we will miss this beautiful Washington DC Temple.

It's been a wonderful week, can't believe it sped by so quickly.  Church was wonderful this morning too, with nearly a hundred people there, which is a lot for us. The building was sparkling clean only because when I went over last evening to print the ward bulletin I noticed that it hadn't been cleaned for the week, or last week either, I think.  So Wayne and I spent a couple hours cleaning, straightening, vacuuming, dusting, etc.  It felt good since we don't get enough physical exercise here, plus we were happy to be useful and help create a good atmosphere for worship.
We serve wherever we can...   

Pictures and more pictures of our trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania:
Amish house - girls' clothes

Amish house - boys' room & clothes

Blacksmith Shop

Huge bellows in blacksmith shop

Outdoor oven

Beautiful Amish farmhouse - note clotheslines on the porch

Dairy - yes, they use milking machines, generator-powered

No bicycles, but scooters are allowed

Behind the Target store parking lot in Lancaster, a buggy barn

The church wagon that brings the church benches to your home for services

Hitching rail at an Amish  farm store

Buggy version of a pick-up for hauling more stuff

Wayne and I taking a buggy ride over a covered bridge

"We're being followed..."

Our Amish friend Barbara who drove the buggy for our ride