Sunday, May 26, 2013

Monday we have an all mission conference in Franklin, Tennessee, near Nashville where the Temple is located.  Monday is our usual p-day so we took some time Saturday to travel to Bowling Green and get medications and groceries.  Sister Peterson even went shopping and bought a skirt at TJ Max, so we really let our hair down.  This pawn shop is on one of the main roads we use near a hospital where we have visited some of our members.  We have always loved the name and wanted a picture and I had my camera along.  It seems quite an appropriate name for a pawn shop.
Bowling Green is about 40 miles from where we live in Hartford.  We travel the Natcher Parkway (Freeway) to get there.  Thick woods line the Parkway almost all the way and only break for a farm here and there.  With all the rain this year the trees and all the foliage is very lush and green.  It is so thick that you can't see anything except woods as you travel and it makes for a very beautiful drive.  (However it certainly pales in comparison to that beautiful drive between Sweetzer and Declo????)
Everywhere you travel in this area is so beautiful and green that we often comment how beautiful it truly is.  Actually everywhere we go to visit people is a beautiful drive.  This is an oiled road that we drive to a member's home.  It took it just to show how lush and green and how dense the woods really are here.
This is a farming area where they mostly raise grass hay.  We are on the highest point looking out over a large area.  Although there are many hills and hollers, the area overall is quite flat.  There are no larger hills or (mountains) to break the skyline.  There are no reference points to get your bearings and none of the roads are straight.  They just follow the ridges or hollows so it is very hard to keep your bearings.
Some more of the same area.  Notice how tall and lush the grass is.  The farmers are just starting to cut and bale these type of fields.  I wanted a picture of this area before it was cut.  All the hay is put up in large round bales and fed locally in the winter.  They pasture the cattle on smaller rougher fields and save fields like this for harvesting.
Everywhere we go we see large beautiful homes on very large acreages that are all mowed.  They may mow up to four or five acres around their homes.  There is enough rainfall that they never water their lawns so the only real maintenance is the mowing.  Big zero turn lawnmowers are the rage here and if I was in business here, I would want the lawn mower dealership.
A large, lovely old home with its large yard and grounds near where we live.  There are quite a few of these lovely old homes in certain areas of the city.
Sister Peterson preparing her talk for Sacrament meeting Sunday.  She worked so hard on it way into the night Saturday then when we got to Church, found out there was a conflict and she didn't have to speak.  But she will get her chance in a couple of weeks.  Our Hartford branch is so small that they only have a two-hour block of meetings.  Each meeting is shortened and only one speaker is needed for Sacrament meeting.  If two speakers were needed, the active members would get to speak every couple of months.
Meditation and park area that are across the street from our duplex and part of the complex.  Right in the middle is a garden area for the people in the apartments.  I could garden here if I wanted to!  However I feel we are busy enough trying to grow people spiritually.  Besides we can buy all the fresh produce we want from the Amish farmers.  Sister Peterson has already bought strawberries and made freezer jam.  It was a hit at District meeting and the Elders really snarfed it up.

Elder and Sister Peterson - enjoying a beautiful green part of God's creations!  (Remember we are actually not too far from where the Garden of Eden was)

Friday, May 17, 2013

We have been receiving a lot of rain the last several weeks, sometimes as much 2 or 3 inches in a storm.  This is the Green River from the bridge near Morgantown.  It is up about 10 ft above normal but still just below flood stage.  As you can see from the picture it is way up on the trees along the banks.
This is a picture off the other side of the same bridge of land bordering the river.  You can see the flood waters that have backed up on some of the land.  It is also a good view of what the Kentucky landscape looks like.
Another view of some flooded low lying farm land.  Most of the land that is farmed is the rich bottom land in the valley areas.  All of this flat will be planted to corn when it finally dries out.   Unfortunately it has been so wet that very little corn has been planted to date.  Farmers around here believe that their yields go down every day that corn is planted after May 1st.  So  they normally try to have all their corn planted by that date.  This year the spring has been cold and wet, so there will be plenty of moisture and the drought is over, but the season is late for getting good yields.
Our current district missionaries:  Sister Toone from Colorado next to Sister Peterson, next Sister Harmer from Idaho Falls, Elder Earl from Sandy, Utah, and Elder Olson from Gilbert, Arizona next to me.  Sister Harmer was in band with Kaiti Ackerman at BYU-I.  Elder Earl is a visa-waiter called to serve in Copenhagen, Denmark.  As soon as he gets his visa cleared he will be headed to Denmark.  Elder Olson bears a great resemblance of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  When President McKee sent me to find him at transfers, he said to look for the Prophet Joseph.  The resemblance is strong enough that I easily found him in a crowd of missionaries.  Elder Olson is our District Elder and does a great job.  All are very good missionaries.
Sister Peterson is standing by a beautiful azalea bush.  The blossoms are very large and an unusual off-pink almost orange color.  Azaleas are very common here and come in many beautiful colors.  All the rain this year has made the flowers appear outstanding.
Sister Bratcher, one of our dear Hartford sisters that we visit quite often.  She's had some severe health challenges and can't come out much.  She has had heart problems, a stroke and suffers from quite severe diabetes.  She lost her leg from diabetes complications.  Despite her health challenges, she has a great attitude and a sweet testimony.  We love to visit her and always come away feeling blessed.
Just a picture that shows the beautiful woods that are everywhere here unless there is a yard or farmland.  There are many hills and hollers but the hills aren't very high.  If you get up 300 ft, you can see forever.  This week we saw a Baptist billboard with the following saying:  "Forbidden fruit creates many jams".

Elder and Sister Peterson - Enjoying the beautiful Kentucky landscape

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saturday we took sister Dorothy Moore to the Louisville Kentucky Temple shown above.  It is nearly a carbon copy of the Nashville Tennessee Temple that is in our mission.  President McKee had to get First Presidency approval for us to to to this Temple because it is out of our mission.  The Nashville Temple is closed right now for cleaning so Sister Moore and the other young couple that went for sealings, chose to go to Louisville.  Ironically they are both about equal distance from Morgantown.
We worked with Sister Moore all last year and thought she was about ready to go when we left.  Unfortunately she didn't really progress much while we were gone.  As soon as we got here, she got excited to go again and we have helped her do everything to prepare.  She told us today after we started home that she probably wouldn't have gone without our return.
Sister Peterson served as her escort and while they were doing the preliminaries, I was able to help with some sealings as they were quite short of patrons.  It was a very rainy day and the day of the biggest event in Kentucky, the Kentucky Derby.
The Temple had some beautiful gardens on each end.  We were especially taken by this tree with its beautiful white blossoms.  This has been a special week with the special blessing of helping this sweet sister go through the Temple.  She comes from a family of 15 children.  Her parents and most of the children joined the Church some time ago but none have remained active until we got Dorothy going.  She is the first to go through the Temple and she is anxious to do the work for her family members that have passed on.
We have also had some other interesting adventures this week.  We visited a fellow that has a wolf for a pet.  We were a little nervous about visiting there the first time because of the wolf.  It was a beautiful animal and very intelligent.  The member had him very well trained and the wolf came and offered his paw to shake.  He had beautiful eyes and you were almost a little nervous to look right into them.  Sister Peterson also had a goat try to jump into her lap.  While I was saying the prayer at the same place, their big German Shepherd jumped up in the chair I had stood up from and began licking my hands and rubbing on my back.  Bandit, the dog's name, is quite playful and hard to keep off us.

Elder and Sister Peterson - Having some wonderful adventures in Kentucky!

This is the old Baptist Church our Hartford Branch meets in.  Notice the stain glass windows and cross on the door.  It is a fairly decent building with a nice chapel and full basement with meeting rooms and bishop's office.  It is air conditioned and has ceiling fans so it has been quite comfortable, at least so far.  Most Baptists believe in baptism by immersion so there is a font on the main floor right behind the stand and it has been used for Mormon baptisms.  It is located near the center of town and near several other Protestant Churches.

This is another nice Baptist Church in an area where we have several members.  Sister Peterson has always loved this one because of its copper dome.  We drive by it often and it always looks well kept.
This is a picture of a dogwood tree in full bloom.  Right now the dogwoods are in full bloom everywhere and they are especially pretty when scattered among the green trees in the woods.  The redbud trees were in bloom earlier and have a beautiful rose-colored blossom but we waited to long to take a good picture.
We love this sign at the entrance to the town of Hartford.  The sun was bright and in my eyes so it looks like I might be one of the few soreheads.  Hartford is not very big but it is separated from another town, Beaver Dam, that is about the same size so together they make up city of about 6-7000 people.  Our branch takes in the whole county which has about 20,000 people including several smaller town scattered throughout the county.  Our members are scattered throughout the county so we are racking up quite a few miles on our car but enjoying traveling through the beautiful green countryside.  We have been getting lots of rain so everything is very beautiful and green.
This old Church is interesting in that it has a goat on top instead of cross.  We always get a kick out of the goat church when we drive past so I took a picture.  The church is no longer in use and there is fairly new building for the same congregation across the road.  But as is typical, few old building are torn down here and are just allowed to grow old and deteriorate.  
A picture of our current Hopkinsville zone at a recent Zone conference.  Note how many sisters there are!  The little sister sitting next to Sister Peterson is from Samoa.  She is very quiet and shy but really perked up when we spoke of our Tongan families.
Elder and Sister Bishop from Meridian, Idaho.  They are the only senior couple serving in our zone right now.  They serve in Clarksville, Tennessee on Fort Campbell as military liason.  I thought you might enjoy these pictures of the area and of our Zone.
Elder and Sister Peterson - enjoying the great elders and sisters in our zone