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


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