Sunday, July 29, 2012

While Sherri and Will were here, we went to Mammoth Caves on our p-day and toured a different part than before.  It was interesting and enjoyable but very hot on the day we went.  Inside the cave it was very cool but hiking into and out of the cave in the heat was exhausting.  The picture is below was taken just before we climbed up out of the entrance of the cave into the heat.
Will was a very good sport and went teaching with us and to some of our meetings.  I am not sure he really got the right idea though because he announced before he left that he had decided to go on a mission.  But he thought it would be best to go as a couple.  He thought it would be great to have his own cook and be able to eat what he liked.
On the way to the airport when they left, we made a stop at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.  Most of the corvettes on display were not even to be touched, but this one was a demo for sitting in.  Will really enjoyed the museum visit and pretending to drive his own corvette.

We had personal interviews this week with our Mission President.  They happen about every two months.  Usually he takes us individually and we get an interview similar to the the young elders and sisters.  This time he took us together and got right to the point.  He asked us how long we wanted to extend our mission, two months, four months, whatever and he had his pen in hand to start the process.  We weren't quite ready for that, expecting more to discuss our release date because it co-insides with our next transfer day.  It is tantalizing to think about staying a little longer because we have several things in process that we would like to finish and time is growing short.  We promised him we would seriously consider what to do and let him know.  We are fasting and praying today about what to do.

We felt bad about missing Joshua's farewell today.  We thought of him as we fed our Traveling Elders today.  We are grateful for facebook and the phone so we could hear about everything.  We are so grateful for all the support given by the family.  We are very excited that he is going and will be serving just 2 or 3 hours from where we are.
Elder and Sister Peterson (Papaw and Memaw - Grampa and Grandma southern style)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our current district missionaries starting from the left, Elder Robison, Elder Haslam, Elder and Sister Oakley,    Elder and Sister Peterson, Sister McCall and Sister Tauoa.  We are the most centrally located of the four areas so we are now hosting our Weekly district meetings at the Church.  Then we come to our home afterwards and have lunch.  The Oakleys and the Sisters are good about bringing food but Sister Peterson does quite a bit to get everything ready.  Elder Haslam is really tall - 6 ft. 6in.  He can do a pretty good job of putting the grub a way too.  The picture is in our front room.
Sherri and Will flew in yesterday and are staying for a few days and we enjoying their company.  They went to Church with us and also went to visit a family with us this afternoon.  Tomorrow on p-day we plan to go to Mammoth Caves and the Corvette Museum for Will.
Sister Peterson reading her scriptures?  Perhaps a little comfortable for pondering?  I give her a hard time but she really is diligent about reading every day.  I have been a little reluctant to share much about our actual missionary work on the blog because it is quite personal.  However we had what I call a mission miracle this week.  About two months ago a lady from a town near Nashville, called our branch mission leader and asked us to start fellowshipping her niece's son who lives in Morgantown.  He's a fourteen year old boy who lives in a very difficult home environment.  We have been fellowshipping him and he has been coming some, especially to MIA.  We have been trying to get him set up to be taught by our traveling elders but without much luck.  Sunday we took two investigators to Madison, Tennessee to a special musical fireside put on by the Mission.  Madison is a smaller town near Nashville.  After the fireside they always have a punch & cookies event so the missionaries can mingle and get referrals.  We were sitting at a table visiting with our investigators when this lady came by and sat down and started visiting with us.  She asked Sister Peterson and I where we were serving.  When we said Morgantown, she said excitedly, "I grew up there and have family there."  Then she proceeded to tell us about this boy she wanted taught the Gospel.  It turns out that she was the lady that had called our branch mission leader previously.  She was excited to talk to us and called her niece to break the ice for us.  Two days later we went to the home and picked the boy up and brought him to the Church.  The traveling Elders and us team taught him and committed him for baptism on Aug. 12th.  A chance meeting in a distant town helped so very much, perhaps our own little mission miracle?
Another picture of a memosa tree that still had some decent blossoms.  I guess we have run out of interesting road signs but we have found some other signs that are quite interesting.  Most of the protestant churches have marquee signs out front and seem to try to out do each other with catchy phrases and play on words.  Some interesting ones we have seen recently:
              "Eternity - smoking or non-smoking"
              "Our Sundays are better than Dairy Queens"
              "Moses was once a basket case"
              "Give Satan an inch and he will become your ruler"
              "Seven days without prayer makes one weak"
              "Don't pray about the Book of Mormon, that's how they get you."
The last one was seen on a Baptist marquee in Nashville and seems quite appropriate for what we are doing.
Elder and Sister Peterson (inviting people to pray about the Book of Mormon)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

We went to zone meeting this week in Clarksville, Tennessee, about a 1 1/2 hour trip from where we live.  Last time we came by this field, the plants were about the size of small cabbage plants and we didn't know what they were.  The trip before that, they were planting this field with a transplant machine.  This time we finally realized it was a tobacco field.  The plants have grown quite rapidly because the whole field is under drip irrigation and it has been very hot.  Few fields are irrigated but the  worth of the tobacco must justify it.

Our mission transfer day was last week.  Two new sister missionaries were transferred to a nearby town and included in our district.  We took them to zone meeting so they could save miles on their car.  Sister Tauoa is from Southern California.  Sister McCall is from Yreka in Northern California. My cousin Carole and her husband Gene Welling live there.  Sister McCall told me that Gene Welling was the patriarch that give her her patriarchal blessing.

It seems to be a small world we live in.  Two of the elders we have been working were transferred.  We have a brand new elder from Sandy, Utah, Elder Haslam that is our district leader's new companion.  He is 6 foot six and a big boy.  He played basketball for a Junior college in Washington.  It is going to be tough to fit him in our car.  Our new traveling elder is Elder Webb from Providence, Utah.  We have had fun talking about Providence, where we lived when I went to Utah State.  A large number of our missionaries are from the intermountain area and California.
This is the view off the front porch of a couple we have been teaching.  It is their own private little lake and about twice the size of what you can see in the picture.  Coal was strip mined here many years ago and the hole left from the mining filled and became this lake.  It is hard to tell the area was strip mined except for these little ponds and lakes that are quite prevalent. The foliage has all grown back so it looks quite normal.
Mother wanted me to send some pictures of the home we are staying in.  This is the formal dining area.
This is our living room.  There is a piano and a small organ at the back of the room.  My easy chair, an electric recliner is in the foreground with the white blanket on it.
Mom's kitchen is not large but adequate.
I converted this bedroom into my office.  There is still a hospital bed in this room.
Our bedroom, most of the blinds are old and were broken before we moved in so we have tied them up.  We have four window air conditioner units so we have been very comfortable during the heat wave.  As you can see, most of the floors are hardwood.  This was a pretty nice home when it was built but it is quite old.   It is quite nice and really roomy compared to our trailer.  We are really enjoying it and we have 3 extra beds for visitors.

A final note I consider very serious.  This morning I realized that Sister Peterson was actually reading from "Mormon Doctrine".  Surely the second coming can't be far behind!
Elder and Sister Peterson (Living high off the hog in Kentucky)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We are always fascinated by the different types of plants and trees they have here.  This is a Memosa tree.  I hope I spelled that right.  It has a delicate blossom of pink or coral color with tiny strands trailing out from the center.  We haven't seen many and didn't know what they were.  The blossoms in the picture aren't as showy and nice as usual.  It has turned very hot and dry here and even the trees are struggling for moisture.  By the time we took this picture the blossoms on all the memosa trees we could find were past their prime.
This is our front lawn.  A week ago when we moved in, it was lush and green and freshly mowed.  Most of the last week we have had temperatures over 100.  One day it was 108 degrees.  We haven't had rain for several weeks and it is very dry.   Normally we have a lot of humidity but lately it has been around 25% which is more like Idaho humidity.  The country side that has been so lush and green is drying up. All of the lawns are turning brown.  Even the trees in the heavily wooded areas are showing some moisture stress.  The locals tell us that temperatures this high are not normal this time of year.  The crops are slowly being damaged as the corn is really stressed for moisture and some of the soybeans are wilting.  Everyone is worried about fires over the July Fourth holiday because large fireworks are legal here.
This corn has not been moisture stressed because it was planted early and is in a low area of better moisture.  We are actually standing on the edge of the lawn where our other district senior couple stay.  I took it to show how far along the corn is here.  This is field corn but there is lots of sweet corn here and we have been eating fresh corn this week.  We also have fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash.  We enjoy buying fresh vegetables from the Amish people because they pick them fresh each day and sell them at little stands along the road.
Our interesting road sign of the week.  We were trying to find a road to a member's house that someone had taken us to after dark and ended up in this new area.  Notice how dry the lawn is in the background and the stunted corn in the field behind.
I hope you can read this and enjoy.  It was in an e-mail and I took a picture of it.  I guess I'm a bit technically challenged but didn't easily know another way to post it.  We are in hillbilly country and people enjoy reminding us of that.  We have a meal appointment this week and the good sister told me she planned to cook up a mess of possum.  She broke out giggling when she saw the look on my face.

We love working with the elders and enjoy taking care of them and feeding them.  Elder Sorenson is the shorter elder and told us this week he wrote home to his mother and said he had found another set of grandparents on his mission.  We just hope there are senior couples that will love our grandsons where they serve.
Elder and Sister Peterson  (Hillbilly grandparents to some fine young elders)