Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fun, Full Week with a few surprises...

Time is drawing short - guess we'd better think about packing.  We have tried not to think about it and just planned to leave this next week open to sort, pack, clean, and tend to so many details and so much paper-work.  Well, I can see already that plan is not working - dinner invitations, meetings, other commitments are creeping in on every day - guess we will just cut out sleep...  One of those things popping up is that we need to get the van serviced again!  We started out our mission with 42,000 miles on our trusty vehicle, last week we turned over 100,000!  Fingers crossed it continues to plug along for us.

We had a lovely dinner Sunday night with the Shreve's, quite a ways out of town.  We watched deer amble
past their road and enjoyed getting to visit with their two Utah children plus their daughter-in-law, Ashley and her four bright, active children who live next door.
Monday my Preparation Day was mostly spent Visiting Teaching and introducing my VT partner to some good people that I am hoping she will take it upon herself to visit after we leave.  Tuesday we took our Elders to Zone Meeting in Front Royal, had a good visit with the senior couple assigned there and helped them with lunch for the 20 or so Elders and Sisters in our Zone.  Wednesday was funny - the activity director at the nursing home where we volunteer had asked us to come up and help with a special session of Bingo Wednesday afternoon, so we did.  Only they 
tricked us - it wasn't for Bingo it was a going-away party for us!  Big beautiful cake with ice cream, and the residents that we have worked with were so pleased to be in on the surprise.  A little awkward, but sweet.
Wayne's special friends at the nursing home

Thursday we visited the Shirks, a family who live in a humble little cabin up in the mountains (Smoke Holes). They are shy and it took a while for them to warm up to us, but now we are good friends.  At Christmas
when we made our visits with a message and a song, they really liked Wayne's singing.  We have invited them to ward activities since then when he has been singing, but they don't like crowds so haven't come. He has been telling them that he would come up to their home and give them a private concert, so Thursday he did. He set up his karaoke machine and amp on their porch, they sat in the yard and he serenaded them.  They loved it!  They invited us to stay for lunch with them - which is a very big deal for them, we really appreciated it and it was delicious. Sweet people.

Friday and Saturday were awesome days.  We drove to the Washington DC Temple, spent 3 hours watching Chloe, an 8-year-old whose grandparents  (who she lives with) and aunt were in the temple.  She is a character and we had fun walking around the temple, spending time in the Visitor's Center, and watching a movie in our van.  When her grandpa came out of the temple we were able to go in and did a sealing session, with names provided by ward members.  We ate at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant then stayed at a nice Marriott Hotel in Bethesda.   Saturday we attending the temple marriage of Mariah (a BYU-Idaho student, we taught her the temple prep class this summer, Chloe's aunt) and Evan (also a BYU-I student, from Oregon).  They are such a cute couple, we love Mariah and her family, it was nice to be included in their special day.  We drove back to Winchester, VA, for a little shopping then the wedding reception, then hurried back to Petersburg where our friend Traci had a going-away dinner for us - she is so sad we are leaving, we have loved her back into the church, she calls us "mom" and "dad".  THEN we went to the church for the very best part of an awesome weekend - a BAPTISM.  Our girl Lisa whom Sonja and I got to teach was baptized by Wayne.  It was a nice service, I spoke on baptism,  Sonja spoke on the Holy Ghost.  So excited for Lisa and her family,  Dad has been reactivated, Mom was baptized last month, and now Lisa.  They are loving activity in the church and their new faith and new ward family.  They are very well accepted in the ward. After the service we had refreshments of leftover food from the wedding reception and donuts that we had picked up in Winchester from Dunkin' Donuts, quite a novelty for around here.  We could tell we have been in Petersburg too long when we were impressed by such things as a donut shop, a mall, chain restaurants, an actual bookstore (where we purchased a couple books on CD for our long drive next week), and my personal favorite - a USA Today newspaper!  

To pass the driving time one of the things we did was list all fifty states and look for license plates to match. Actually we could only name 49, had to check when we got home - Minnesota was our missing one!  In just two days we saw plates from 20 different states.  That's excitement for us!  

In the next week we have dinner appointments every night, we are so blessed by the good people here.  And a big ward going-away party for us Friday night.  Saturday we get to take Sonja through the temple for her first time - what a perfect way to end our mission.  Sunday after church we begin our drive west, with a day stop in Arkansas to see my sister and a day stop in Lehi, Utah to see Karli and family.  Hope to visit Darin & family at their new home in Logan on the way home and maybe catch up with Angie and family too.  On to our new home in Boise, with our children Dylan, Devin, and Julie and their families close!  We will get to spend two precious weeks with the Thuesons (Julie's family) before they head to China for a year - what an adventure for them.  So that's our funny, hectic, amazing, miracle-filled mission life!  Maybe we had better get packing....


Mariah and Evan

Picturesque farm we saw on the drive to Winchester, VA

Okay, we'll take this one...

Mariah and Evan at their reception

Happy Birthday Robin!

Traci doesn't have much, but she generously made us dinner and cake

Elder Orton with Lisa on her baptism day - 25 July 2015

Sonja, Lisa, Sister Orton

Elder Saunders, Erik, Lisa, Mark, Katja, Sarah, Dwayne, Elder Nicholes

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