Thursday, June 30, 2011

Eight-year-old trip

Kamryn and Tiana, our 8 year olds this year, flew out with their moms and baby Edyn to spend a few days doing an eight-year-old trip with Grandpa and GG.  That has been a tradition we do to celebrate that important time of their life.  We were able to show them some notable and fun spots in our mission. 

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They arrived Tuesday night and drove to Wheeling from Pittsburgh Airport in the dark without getting lost (maybe just once). The girls were literally bouncing off the walls when they arrived at the house.  We had filled a gift sack with goodies for them for the trip and made them share everything in it.  They did a great job. 


I’m not sure Edyn was as glad to see us as we were to see her but the last time we saw her she was one day old.  We left for our mission the day after she was born.

Maryn and Natalie had rented a brand new Chrysler Town and Country van so we drove in style.  We drove the girls around our area just a bit and took them out to the Wheeling Ward Chapel before we took off for Gettysburg on Wednesday.  We arrived there in time to eat a bite and then Grandpa took them swimming.  That seems to always be a highlight of our trips.

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We spent the night at a hotel in Gettysburg.  Kamryn and Tiana stayed with Grandpa and GG and Maryn, Edyn and Natalie had an adjoining room. 

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The next day we spent some time at the Gettysburg Visitors Center learning about the Battle of Gettysburg and visiting the Soldiers’ National Cemetery where Union soldiers were buried and where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.

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From there we drove on to Hershey Pennsylvania and took a tour of the Hershey Chocolate World and visited the Hershey Museum.  

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We then drove on to Somerset PA for the night.  The next morning we drove over to visit with Elder and Sister Brenchley who are serving in Somerset for three more weeks.  Kamryn and Tiana entertained themselves by standing by the busy street and getting trucks to honk at them.  The Brenchleys said they have never been so popular.  We drove on to the Flight 93 Memorial which is just a few miles out of Somerset.  It is always a very sobering experience.

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The plan was to spend the rest of the day at Storybook Forest in Ligonier PA but we got there late and it wasn’t what we expected so we drove on towards Pittsburgh and found a fun center where the girls drove go carts and played miniature golf.  They were good sports and just enjoyed whatever we were doing. 

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We drove on to Pittsburgh and saw the highlights of down town and Greentree where all of our missionary meetings are held, then back to Wheeling for the night.  Saturday we drove to Columbus to the temple and Rod and I witnessed the sealing of Dave and Renee Barker to each other and then Helen, their daughter, was sealed to them.  It was an awesome experience and the girls got a chance to meet some of the ward members.

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Dave, Renee and Helen Barker. Mike Carman, Ashley Groetzinger, Allison Carman, Natalie, Mike Orum, Irene Murphy-Gonzales, Maryn, Edyn, Kamryn, Mike, Tom and Dottie Folmar.  Some of our favorite Wheeling Ward members visiting with our family at the temple.

We drove back to Wheeling via the Amish Country.  We hit McDonalds for the third time on the trip and gave the girls a break.  They were such good sports with all the traveling. 

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Back in Wheeling we went to church and the girls met the rest of the ward.  We had several less-actives there which was very exciting for us.  The last day Rod and I did our service at the hospital and the girls went to Wheeling Park for a fun day where we joined them later.  They hit the pool and waterslide, the paddle boats and the miniature golf.

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Edyn didn’t have so much fun sometimes.  When we weren’t traveling and playing the girls had fun at the house watching birds, blowing bubbles and catching tadpoles and fireflies which they got very good at.

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Nat was trying to salvage my hanging plant.

We had a wonderful time with the girls and hated to see them go.  We really appreciate their moms coming with them and their dads for letting them. We didn’t do as much missionary work as usual but family is what this work is all about, right?

Monday, June 20, 2011

P-day in Pittsburgh and Goodbyes

After serving at the hospital last Monday, we drove to Pittsburgh to Elder and Sister Marshall’s place in Oakland.  From there we drove to the PNC Park to watch the Pirates play the Mets.  Pirates won 3-1.  Elder Marshall is as big a sports enthusiast as Rod.  We ate at the stadium and had a good time together.  We stayed with the Marshalls so we could be at Greentree the next morning at 0830 for song practice with the elders.  President Summerhays requested that they sing “Praise To The Man” again for training meeting.  Training meeting started at 1000 with about 80 elders, sisters and couple missionaries.  It was the last meeting we will have with the Summerhays.  We were spiritually fed and physically fed. 

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    Our ward was in charge of the lunch for the meeting.  They served us a delicious taco bar.  Sister Carman, Patty Johnson and Jill Chamberlain were there along with Carmen’s 4 youngest kids.  I did my part by bringing cookies and getting Emily to sleep.  Hard job. Adam, the 4 year old came in to the training meeting and sat with us.  Good training for a future missionary.


It was fun having the ward members meet all the missionaries with whom we serve.  After the lunches all the missionaries sing “Called to Serve” to the sisters who prepare and and serve the lunch.  They also sang happy birthday to those of us with birthdays this month; thus, the birthday treat I was holding. 

We will really miss the Summerhays.  Every time we see them, President Summerhays gives Rod a big hug and says, “love ya’ companion”.  He mentioned their relationship to the elders several times as an example of loving their companions and the future joy they can have as companionships.

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We had a good week of meeting and teaching several new less-active families and helped an active family move in with another active family moving in this week.  They will be such a strength to the ward.  The husbands are both starting ER residencies at OVMC.  We had three non-members at church and two of them are committed to hear the lessons.  The work goes forward and we appreciate all the faith and prayers extended in behalf of the work out here in the Wheeling Ward.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Member and Leader Support?

The work progresses and we are finding more and more less-active people of the Wheeling Ward. I doubt if we will find all 400 of them before we leave but we will give it a good try. We are still trying to figure out what “Member and Leader Support” really means. President Summerhays continues to tell us what a difference we are making here, but I guess we are too close to it to see any big steps. But we are getting to know and love the people of Wheeling.

We took our Wheeling elders to Wintersville for district meeting because the Wintersville elders still don’t have a car. After meetings in Wintersville we usually go out to eat at Taco Bell. It’s a favorite of the elders because they can get the $5 buck box with lots of food in it.

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These are our cute elders. From left to right they are Elder Boam, Elder van der Spek, Elder Boughton and Elder Neerings. After we ate we dropped the Wintersville elders off just down the street so they could visit with an investigator and then they walked the four miles home. They will be very glad to get their car out of the shop, but we learned today that it will be another couple of weeks. Elder van der Spek is having some extensive dental work done and he is proud of his new smile. He really is looking great already.

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We got to take a trip to Morgantown, WV this week. It’s out of our mission but a ward member needed a ride for her and her son to a doctor’s appointment at the University Medical Center. We toured campus and the city while they were in their appointment. Rod found the WVU stadium and I found the hospital. It’s about a one and half hour drive from Wheeling so it took most of the day but it was a fun drive and we had a good visit with a less-active member. I guess that’s part of what member support means.

Map picture

The map is for Maryn and Natalie’s and any one else’s benefit who are coming to Wheeling to see us. They are coming next week with Tiana, Kamryn and Edyn. This is from Pittsburgh. From the airport head south and west on I-79 towards Washington PA and then west on I-70 to Wheeling. Take the Triadelphia-Elm Grove exit. It’s about an hour drive. We are so excited to have them come. It’s Kamryn’s and Tiana’s eight-year-old trip with Grandpa and GG. We’ll have more about that later.

We know the gospel is true and we are having fun sharing it with the people of West Virginia and Ohio. We will be getting our new mission president at the end of the month and are looking forward to serving with him for our remaining year.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Four month already

I can’t believe we have been here four months already.  Time flies when you are having fun.  We really did have fun this week at the Young Women Spaghetti Dinner and Auction.  It was their once-a-year fundraiser.  The spaghetti sauce was made by Jim Oliver at the Oliver Pie Shop.  It was delicious; almost as good as his pies.  Tom Folmar is a professional auctioneer and was the auctioneer for the evening.  The girls gave services and members of the ward donated all sorts of things to auction off.  We laughed so hard at him and everyone bidding against each other for dance lessons, crazy hats, aprons, nursing bibs, pies, bread and jam, cup cakes, quilts, dish cloths, wall sconces, baby sitting, lawn mowing, etc., etc., etc..

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One of the young women told Rod she just love watching him at the auction.  He really got into it.  Patty Phillips is in the blue apron at the front. She is the YW President. Tom is in the green shirt doing the auctioning.  Elise Wright and Helen Barker are standing by Ashley Groetzinger who is in the YW Presidency.  On the right, Jim Oliver is modeling a hat he bought.  Katie Oliver Zane and her husband Tom are sitting and Kelly sitting and Michelle standing at the end.  Michelle is also in the YW Presidency.  The girls made over $1100 from the night and it was a fun time for the ward.  It proves that service helps unite a ward.

We had transfer meeting at Greentree and we got a new elder.  Elder Jeromchek went to York and Elder Boam from Layton, UT came to Wheeling.  We said goodbye to Elder Florence also.  He was our Zone Leader and is going home to Kaysville, UT.  We will miss him and Elder Jeromchek. 

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Elder Rasmussen was transferred from Wintersville and is going to McKeesport Branch in PA.  He is a great elder and we will miss him too.  He forgot to put the guard on the clippers when he was giving himself a haircut so he ended up with a not-so-missionary hair cut.  President Summerhays gave him a hard time about it, but I thought he looked cute.

We had another funeral this week.  That makes four in four months for this ward.  Dora Burkey was home-bound and we had visited with her often.  She was a sweet heart and I am glad we had a chance to get to know her before she died.  None of her family are active so we have some work to do with them. 

We are having fun getting to know the people here in West Virginia and the young elders who serve with us.  Rod is helping the bishopric as he serves as executive secretary and we have just been asked to go with the youth of the ward as chaperones to the Pittsburgh Stake Youth Conference to be held in Palmyra in July.  We are looking forward to that trip and spending time with the youth of the ward and stake. 

The gospel is true and we are having fun as we share it with the people of Wheeling.