Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Six Months Plus

I can’t believe we have been out over six months already.  How can couples serve only six months?  We’re just getting started.  At least in our circumstance, we need another year to see what more we can do to serve the Wheeling Ward.  We are finally feeling like we belong and that this is home for now.  The people are wonderful and you love those you serve.  Hopefully we are serving them and they, for sure, are serving us. 

We so enjoy having visitors come see the area and meet the people.  Tearsa, Ben, Cole and Elise came to stay another night with us on their way back home to Iowa.  We were able to have a birthday party for Cole who is now 4 years old.

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                                 Cole liked eating spaghetti on his birthday cake.

I bought a Dottie Folmor apron at the YW spaghetti dinner auction a few weeks back and  Dottie finally got me the apron on Sunday.  I modeled it at dinner Sunday night.  Dottie and her daughter each make a new apron every month so her aprons are famous. 

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We were able to go to the Columbus Temple on Saturday for the ward temple day.  There was only one other couple who were going so we picked up the Holbrooks and they rode to Columbus with us.  It’s legitimate to leave the mission boundaries if we have a member with us.  Adam and Becky have three little girls they left with the Wrights while they went to the temple.  It took us almost eight hours for the total trip.  Of course, that included visiting and eating before and after.  It was wonderful to get back to the temple again.  We miss our weekly trips to the Bountiful Temple. 

It has been in the high 90’s all week and we are especially grateful for the new air conditioning unit that the mission purchased for us.  The humidity is so high that your glasses fog up when you go outside.  It’s most comfortable just riding in the air conditioned car which is what we did when we drove to Pittsburgh again this week with the elders and had interviews with President Topham.  He is a wonderful leader and the mission is in good hands with the Tophams.

The work is progressing and we see more and more less-actives coming to church. We have two young men who are coming back with their families and two young people who we hope to see baptized soon.  We have our disappointments, of course, but we see the Lord’s hand in the work and He is guiding us here in the mission field.  And we are having fun doing it.  The Church is true and His gospel is restored and we enjoy telling and reminding people of that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Wonderful Week

We started the week at transfer meeting at Greentree.  We said goodbye to the Brenchleys and to Elder Neerings.  The Brenchleys are going home to Centerville after they visit the New York, Rochester area where they served their first mission.  We have really enjoyed serving in the same mission and having good times together.  Elder Neerings is going to serve in the Warren area and says he is looking forward to new challenges there.  He is a good missionary and will be successful where ever he serves, but we will miss him here in Wheeling.

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Wes and Sara Walton also came to transfer meeting to see Elder Neerings off.  Wes and Sara were baptized in December and are a great addition to the Wheeling Ward. Wes is serving in the YM presidency and Sara is the RS music director.  They have a one year old daughter named Peyton.  Wes is known for his funny-feet shoes.

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Our new missionary and district leader is Elder Ames. He is from a small farming community near Bakersfield, California. He will serve with Elder Boam in Wheeling.  They drove with us to Wintersville on Wednesday for district meeting.  After the meeting we broke tradition and ate at Burger King which is Elder Ames favorite.  Elders van der Spek and Boughton enjoyed it too.

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We had a great week finding and teaching.  We were able to visit about 20 people this week.  Usually we can’t find that may people home. Most have no interest in coming back to church, but some did and that’s worth all the time and miles we spend finding them.  We were finally able to meet with the Birkhimers.  They have been on our radar since we got here and Sunny and Kamryn came to church Sunday.  Kamryn is 8 and we are hoping to see her get baptized. 

Tearsa, Ben, Coleson and Elise came late Friday night to stay for a few days.  We drove them around the area a bit on Saturday so they could see where we serve. 

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We spent some time down by the Ohio River, but Cole’s favorite was the fire engine.

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After we drove to St. Clairsville, OH and had some lunch we went home and got ready for the Wheeling Ward Pioneer Day Celebration.  The families loaded their hand carts and trekked across the plains.  Rod and I were in charge of the stick-pull station where the pioneers stopped and played.  We had some fierce competitions with the stick pull and the pie eating contests.

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There were over 100 people there for the party.  That’s more than we get out at sacrament meetings some times.  We finished off the day with a campfire and roasted wieners and marshmallows.  It was a great event for the ward.

Sunday we went to church where the kids got to meet all the friends they had made at the party.  After dinner we drove up to Oglebay Park.

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On Monday we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium and then to the Pirates game that evening.  What a fun day with the kids.

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                                       Cole enjoyed petting the sting rays the best.


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The game was rain delayed twice so we had plenty of time to enjoy the PNC Park. Ellie bug enjoyed eating fish off of Grandpa’s knee and Cole had fun wiping the rain off the seats for people.  He even got a $1 tip from one lady.  The Pirates beat the Reds 2-0.  The kids did great at the game.  It was Grandma who got tired.  The game didn’t get over until midnight.  It sure is hard having so much fun.  Thanks Tearsa, Ben, Cole and Elise for coming and spending some time with us on our mission.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trip to New York

The highlight of this week was our trip to Palmyra and the Hill Cumorah Pageant as chaperons for the Pittsburgh Stake Youth Conference.  We had four youth go from our ward and the Bishop asked us to go with them.  Since there wasn’t room on the buses for everyone, we offered to drive up ourselves.  It saved us an all-night trip on the bus which we felt was a good thing.  We met the buses at the Sacred Grove on Friday morning about 0700 and had breakfast.  There were about 120 people all together.

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We were then able to walk through the grove for about 90 minutes and take in the spirit of that beautiful place.  It was a wonderful time of the day to be there because there weren’t many people and there was plenty of opportunity to sit and read scriptures and feel.  We could literally hear the bees humming and the sweet birds singing.  It was a great way to start the day. 

Rod and I were asked to go to the pageant site and save seats for our group.  The security missionary in charge was very kind and let us save seats in a very good spot.  He even supplied the tape and paper for signs to secure the spot. 

We met up with the group at the Whitmer Farm and ate lunch.  We then drove to the Seneca Lake Girls Camp where we stayed Friday night.  It is patterned after the Heber Valley Girls Camp in Utah but on a much smaller scale.  There were two missionary couples there to run the camp.  We stayed in 8 of the cabins and had the central meeting hall, called Zion, for meals and group meetings.  The youth from Wheeling Ward were Christian and Emily Oliver, Elise Wright and Helen Barker.

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The cabins could sleep 16 people and were named after early women of the Church.  There were bathrooms and showers for every four cabins.

After we got settled in camp and rested for a while, Rod and I drove back to the pageant site to make sure the seats were secure.  The buses came later.  We had about three hours to visit the cast and staff of the pageant.

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The pageant was spectacular.  What a great opportunity for the youth to experience.


                                       This was the stage set up on Hill Cumorah.

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This was a picture of the whole cast on stage and a picture of Nephi and the Tree of Life in honor of Brendan who played Nephi when he was in the pageant.  After the pageant we all drove back to camp and had a very short night in the cabins.

Saturday morning we ate breakfast and then walked to the amphitheater for a testimony meeting.  It was a spiritual meeting in a beautiful setting.  After we packed up, the buses  drove to the Joseph Smith Farm and the Palmyra Temple.

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We all met for a group picture and then the buses started for home.  Rod and I stayed to see the things we had missed and met several friends from home who were serving as volunteers for the pageant.  The Browns from the Centerville Stake and the Johnsons who were previously from West Bountiful.  We met up with the buses in Erie at an all-you-can-eat buffet and had our last trip event.  We made it home to Wheeling about 10:30 that night. 

Another highlight of the week was meeting President and Sister Topham.  They are wonderful people and will lead this mission well. 


We have to admit, the best part of the week was seeing some new less-active members at church on Sunday.  That is what we have been working so hard to see happen in this area. The Lord is blessing the work here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Being a holiday doesn’t really make a difference when you are a missionary.  Since it’s on Monday this year it became our p-day.  The elders came over and used the washer and dryer and computer after I had used the washer and dryer and computer.  The difference being we didn’t have to serve at the hospital because it was a holiday for them.  We decided to take the elders out for lunch and for a ride to Bark Camp State Park in Ohio which they would never have gone to if we didn’t drive them.  We enjoyed spending time with them.  There will be fireworks tonight but the mission president has told all young missionaries to be in their apartments by 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Wheeling shoots their fireworks from the suspension bridge that crosses the Ohio River.  We walked down to the river this week and it was beautiful. We had just met with Wes and Sara Walton who live down town by the river.

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As you can see, Rod was on the phone with the Bishop while we were there.

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They were setting up for a concert they hold every Wednesday night by the river.

We drove to Wintersville this week again for district meeting.  Elder Neerings thinks it will be his last district meeting with us so we took pictures.


Elder Boam, Elder Neerings, Elder and Sister Green, Elder Boughton and Elder van der Spek.

We were out visiting members the other day and stopped at Carman’s to check on some things with them.  The kids said their mom was out in the field, so we went looking for her and this is how we found her.  She was so excited because she had just gotten her new toy: the front loader for the tractor.  She is definitely a multi-function woman who seems to do it all.  Did I mention she is our RS president?

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I love her to death and told her I was taking her picture for my blog.  She gave the lesson on Sunday about the temple and mentioned that we need to journal and blog--as she smiled at me--to keep records for our children to read.  She’s awesome.

We are so excited to have gotten the official go-ahead to start an institute class for this area.  It will include thee wards:  Wheeling WV, Washington PA, and Wintersville OH.  Brother Webb, the Institute Director for this area, will send us the material we need so we can get started.  Hopefully we can get the young adults in this area interested and coming.


I couldn’t find this picture for last weeks blog so I am including it this week.  These are our girls at Hershey Chocolate World.  We invite all of you to come out and see us anytime.  We are having fun while we serve and teach.  Knowing and loving the people is what makes it the best.