Friday, September 27, 2013

Our last District Meeting.  Elder Bringhurst had left and Elder Wright, another Visa waiter had replaced him.  Elder Wright (second from left) is from Idaho Falls and he is waiting to go to Brazil.  It was a melancholy day as we said our goodbyes to these special missionaries we have grown so close to.
Our Hartford branch had a special FHE/going away part for us.  These two special cakes were part of the menu.  It was a great evening held pool side at Butch and Diane Canty's.
We have become close to these two as we have often visited with them as they attended FHE at our apartment.  Betty Lindsey and Barbara Behrend have become special friends in the process.
We have really enjoyed Tom and Barbara Pulvino.  Tom is a wonderful singer and Sister Peterson was practicing with him and was planning to accompany him while he sang the Lord's Prayer.  Unfortunately we left before it could happen.  Babara is a good Baptist but we really enjoyed her.
Kristen Velasquez and her children.  They are the bulk of the primary and one of the few young families in the branch.
Brother and Sister Ralph were not at the party but they were some of the people that we really grew to enjoy. She loved to visit and would call if we didn't come often.  They lived way out in the country and couldn't get out much so they dearly loved our visits.  He has trouble walking and is pretty much confined to a wheel chair.  We never saw him with his shirt on.  They are in their eighties and she is his caregiver.  She is getting tired and struggling a bit with her own health.  They were two that we really hated to leave behind.
Danny and Lorei Deweese in front of their home in Morgantown.  They are some special friends in that branch. They often invited us for Sunday dinner when we were serving there.  Lorei and sister Peterson were like sisters in that they laughed alike and talked the same and enjoyed the same things.  When they got together it sounded just like Sister Peterson does when she is with her sisters.  They really enjoyed being together and Danny and I got along well too.  They were some of the last we wanted to see when we left town.  Danny is not a member but comes regularly to Sacrament Meeting.  We called him a dry Mormon and he just laughed.
A great picture of two good friends.
Elder Shiner and Elder McCray were our last visitors as we were loading our car and getting ready to leave. They came up with a car problem that brought them to our town one last time.  We truly wondered about how it just seemed to happen as we were leaving.  We were just getting ready to have dinner so we fed them one more time.  We had to get a picture and they hurried and posed in their hats.  Elder McCray has only recently been transferred to the area so we haven't got to know him as well.  But Elder Shiner has been serving in the nearest branch for most of our mission.  We have gotten very close to him and he to us.  It was very hard to say goodbye to him.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You can't go to Florida without going to the beach.  It was a nice day for the beach because it was a cloudy and not too hot and we didn't worry about sunburn.  But it sure didn't take long for the sand to be in everything.  We had forgotten how intrusive the beach sand is.  It was soon in everything and not easy to wash off.
Geni and the girls had a great time at the beach.  Geni really enjoyed the water and went way out in the waves which were great because there was a little wind.
McCoy and Bentley are little fish when it comes to the water.  They go often enough that they really enjoy the beach and the waves.
The baby tenders while the rest were swimming and I was taking pictures.
While you are in Florida you have to go to Miami Beach.  One of the fun things we did while there was take the duck boat.  It is a truck that can travel and land and water.  The duck tour took us around the bay and the islands enjoying the sights and the expensive homes of the rich and famous.  Monday morning we left early for Kentucky and drove for 15 hours to get there.  The next morning we were back in missionary groove.

Elder and Sister Peterson - having fun in Florida

On September 6th we went AWOL from our mission.  Fortunately we had permission to travel to Florida for McCoy's baptism.  We left Thursday after Zone meeting and traveled to Chattanooga where we met with Doug and Jenny Peoples, the people we brought into the Church when we were overseas in Georgia.
After a nice dinner and a couple hours with them we traveled on to about the halfway point in Macon, Georgia and stopped for the night.  We arrived at Glade and Amber's about 4 the next afternoon.
The baptism was Saturday and well worth the trip to be with and enjoy everyone.  McCoy was excited and full of nonsense and having a good time.
It was great to be with so much family again.  We are grateful Sherri and Geni and the girls could come for moral support.  It was a long drive for us to get there but worth it to enjoy time together.
Bexton was very good, always a happy little boy.  He took right to all of us but especially to Tayler.  By the time we left, I think Glade and Amber were wondering how they could hire her as a nanny.
Grandma had a great time with the kids too.  Princess Bentley hadn't forgot Grampa.  She made a special attempt to be like Grampa when she held the finger on her hand like Grampa's bad finger.  Then said, "See I'm like Grampa.

Elder and Sister Peterson - enjoying a little Florida R&R

Monday, September 2, 2013

Our new district missionaries after district meeting last week.  From the left: Sister Peterson from Burley, Idaho, Sister Tenney from Tucson, Arizona, Sister Vercillo from Centerville, Utah, Elder Shiner from Fresno, California, Elder Miller from Gooding, Idaho, Elder McCray from Modesto, California, and Elder Bringhurst from someplace in Michigan.  Elder Bringhurst is another visa-waiter that is eventually headed to Brazil.  Elder Miller is our new District leader and we love him because he is a good Idaho farm boy.  Elder McCray is the only African American in the mission but he is great and handles it very well.  He is very secure in his race and is a great young elder.  Elder Shiner is a very special young man but struggles because he stutters.  He does not let it bother him and he is determined to serve faithfully.
This is the sisters car after they hit a deer.  They were able to get nearly stopped so not much damage.  We were checking it out after district meeting.  We have had some close calls with deer too.  One evening we saw a doe and a fawn out in a field.  They looked like they would run farther out in the field but I slowed way down anyway.  Just as we got close, the fawn bolted toward the road and crossed in from of us.  I skidded to a stop and missed him but if I hadn't slowed down, we would have had road kill.
This is the soybean field behind our apartment.  With all the rain we have received, it is lush and beautiful.  It is just starting to set beans.  The fuzzy little pods in the lower picture have tiny beans in them that are just starting to form.  I have been fascinated with the soybean fields this year.  Last year it was so dry that they didn't do much.  This year it looks like they will have a bumper crop.
We had a surprise tonight - September 2.  Some good friends in the branch invited us to dinner and after dinner we thought we were going with them to the nursing home to hold a Family Home Evening with one of the residents.  Our host couple stalled a little after dinner and then said they needed to stop by the Church for a minute.  They invited us in to wait inside while they made some copies.  When we started down the stairs to the basement, the lights came on and every one yelled surprise.  Many of the branch were there and the branch Family Home Evening was a surprise party to honor our 54th wedding anniversary  We were completely surprised and enjoyed the evening.  Just before posting this blog, I received an e-mail form President Andersen notifying us that we were cleared to travel to Florida for McCoy's baptism.  So it really has been a wonderful day of celebration.

Elder & Sister Peterson - 54 years, just a day in "Eternity".

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Transfers were this Tuesday so at our last district meeting we took pictures because some changes were expected.  In the picture front row left to right:  Elder Thayne, Elder Shiner, Sister Vercillo, Sister Toone, Elder Burton; back row Elder Miller and Elder and Sister Peterson.  At transfers Elder Thayne and Sister Toone were transferred.  Elder Burton was waiting for a visa to Brazil and it came and he flew out.  So all three of our companionships changed and we got three new missionaries.  Elder Miller is our new district leader.  I will have a n picture of our new district next week.
A lush field of soybeans near a home that we visit.  We have had lots of rain, far more than normal.  So everything is still very green and beautiful even though it is the middle of August.  These soybeans are nearly waist high and very thick and lush.  They are just beginning to flower and set beans.

Jordan Bryant our Hartford Branch missionary at the dinner after his farewell Sunday.  He is headed for the MTC this week and will serve in the Washington Everett Mission near Seattle.  Jordan is a wonderful young man that is as ready to go as anyone I have ever seen.  I am sure he will serve a wonderful mission.  He is so well thought of  and loved by his family, who are mostly non-members that we had 98 people in attendance at the branch for his farewell.  We usually have about half that.
We took our Leitchfield elders to transfers and met us with some departing missionaries we had served with.  Elder Webb is from Providence, Utah.  He was one of our traveling elders we served with last year and he was one of zone leaders for awhile this year.  We really enjoyed Elder Webb and he was a great missionary.  He had 6 baptisms in the last two months of his mission.  He has a girl at home and they are planning to be married in October!
Sister Nordstrum was also going home.  She was prominent in our zone last year and a very good musician.  She headed up the facebook effort in our mission this year.  All of the elders and sisters on facebook were under her charge.  She did a great job and has served a very good mission.
Some exotic lilies at the home of Sister Weber.  We have watched with interest how they have grown.  They were very slow to start but have really jumped in the last month.  They are quite unique and we have seen few like them.
Sister Vickie Weber with her dog Tiny and her mom, Janell.  Sister Weber was born with brittle bone disease and then she had polio and was in an iron lung when she was a young child.  She has to be very careful because any sudden movement or bump can break one of her bones.  Even in the ambulance, they have to cross bumps like railroad tracks very carefully or bone damage can occur.  She spent most of her life in a wheel chair but worked hard and earned a college degree. As she has grown older her health has deteriorated until for more than 2 years she has been bedridden and never leaves her mother's home except for special treatments or exams.  The bed is very special with a bladder in it that circulates sand so as to manipulate her skin so she doesn't get bedsores.  They still come and she has other problems that would be very hard for a normal person to endure.  She is a wonderful lady though and always very positive.  We always go away uplifted by our visits.  We visit here every other week and have done so for both our missions.  We have truly grown to love her and her mom and her sister who helps with her care.  Sister Weber is truly a gallant lady.

Recent signs seen on Church marquees:   "Stop, drop, and roll doesn't work in Hell!"
     "The bread of life doesn't get stale."
Elder and Sister Peterson - enjoyin' missionary work in ol' Kentucky!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sister Vercillo and Sister Toone are part of our district and serve in Russellville.  Recently they have been walking a lot.  Last month they went 300 miles over their monthly allowed miles and that is a no-no.  These are sister Vercillo"s shoes.  Notice the big holes in them from walking so much.  Today we went to the mall as part of our p-day activities and she bought a new pair of shoes.
We got up early this morning and traveled to Mammoth Caves Again for a p-day outing.  There are 4 pairs of missionaries in our district including us.  All went and our Zone leaders wanted to go too so all ten of us went on a different tour than we went before.  Starting on the left: Elder Oliver from Canada, Elder Freeze from Provo, Utah and they are our zone leaders; then Elder Thayne from Bountiful, Utah, Elder Miller from Gooding Idaho, Elder Burton from North Carolina, Elder Shiner from Fresno California, Sister Vercillo from Centerville, Utah and Sister Toone from Colorado.
This picture was taken in an area of the cave where there are lots of different formations and this particular area is called the drapery room.  Your have to go down 50 stairs to get to this small area and Sister Peterson stayed up at the top because you have to go back up those 50 stairs to get out.
Elder Thayne had a very bad experience in a cave when he was a Boy Scout and struggles with claustrophobia.  He got out of the drapery room before we could get his picture with the others.  He went on ahead and I had to hurry to catch him as he wanted out of there as soon as he could.  But he was a good sport and participated and accompanied Sister Peterson as they went on ahead while we were in the drapery room.
The cave tour we went on took 2 hours, covered about a mile and included 500 steps up and down.  At one point we were about 350 feet underground.  Some of the passages were quite small, especially the entrance where we came down 250 steps through some very narrow areas and low hanging areas.  I enjoyed the experience though and my claustrophobia didn't bother me.  I think I have been there enough to get used to the whole idea.
We were doing most of the picture taking with the Elders and Sisters cameras so we didn't get in the group picture.  Then I carried the camera on the tour so I wasn't in any of the pictures in the cave for evidence that I did go?  But I did indeed go and had an enjoyable time.  It is always a good day when you can spend time with these special young people.  The caves are only a few miles from Bowling Green so after we had lunch, we went to the mall.  The Elders bought ties and the Sisters bought shoes!  Sister Peterson satisfied some of her need for shopping and fortunately didn't buy anything, even though she went in Bath and Body and Lane Bryants!  On the way through Bowling Green we saw this on a church marquee:  "You are on God's wanted list, Turn yourself in!

Elder and Sister Peterson - enjoyin' a great p-day with our surrogate missionary grandchildren

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Recently we went on splits with Brother and Sister Pieper.  Bro. Pieper and I visited Brother Wayne Crowe pictured above.  Only the priesthood go there because Brother Crowe, a single man, has 3 big dogs.  He got two out the door but couldn't get this big feller out.  The dog was not mean but just very hyper and hard to control.  He was big enough that he about knocked you down when he jumped up on you.  We had a great visit and then he had to get one of the mean dogs back in the house before we could leave for the car.  Just another exciting visit in rural Kentucky!
This is Sister Merlyn Francis, on of our very special shut-in friends that we try to visit every week.  She is 90 years old and has fibramyalgia.  She also had colon cancer and had most of her colon removed.  She can't be out much but loves to have us come visit.  We visited her last year in Morgantown and grew to dearly love and appreciate her.  After we left last year she had to go to a nursing home.  She was recently moved to a small nursing home nearby where we live in Hartford.  She has no family left but a sister-in-law and no friends yet in Hartford.  So we have been visiting her several times a week and taking members of the branch to meet her so she can form new friendships.  It has been a special privilege to be her surrogate family.
Saturday the branch had a service project of yard work for the lady between us, Sister Wilma Embry.  She is diabetic and has breathing problems from smoking many years in the past.  She tries very hard and does the best she can but needed a little help doing some cleanup on her property.  It was a great activity but we found out just how out of shape we are.  It was quite hot and not being used to working in the heat, we both got a little over-heated.  That night it was hard to sleep due to aching muscles.
Sister Embry wanted some overgrown bushes and small trees removed  and Brother Bryant in the red shirt, pulled them out with his four-wheel drive pickup.  The young man in the blue shirt is his son, Jordan Bryant, our branch missionary that is due to leave in two weeks to serve in the Washington Everett Mission.  He is a very special young man and will make a great missionary.
Brother and Sister Studd are a great young couple in our branch.  They lead the YM & YW in our branch.  Brother Studd is also the ward clerk.  He served his mission in the Idaho Boise Mission.  Sister Studd grew up on a dairy in a nearby area but hates cows.  The young man in the background is Dalton Chinn, currently the only young man in our branch.
Sisters Amber Chinn and Kelly Bryant, two of those who helped with the project.  Sister Chinn is the primary president and Sister Bryant is in the YW.  The Bryants lived in Morgantown last year but moved to Hartford after we left.  So we have enjoyed their friendship for both of our missions.  Kelly filled a mission to Texas and has been very supportive of our mission.  Often going out with us to find and meet new people.
The boss ladies, a dirty job but somebody's got to do it.  It was a fun project and we got a lot done.  I took more pictures of most everybody that participated but felt these were enough to represent what went on.  It was kind of fun to get a little dirty and sweaty for a change.

Elder and Sister Peterson - Laboring in a totally different way for a change