Monday, June 24, 2013

Last Friday we met in a special senior couples conference.  It will be the last time we will meet with Pres. and Sister McKee.  They will be going home next week and we will be getting a new Mission President.  It was a great meeting and training.  There are 13 senior couples in our mission, which is the most there have ever been in the mission.  We met at the Mission Home and it is in the background.
One last picture with President and Sister McKee.  They are being released one year early because of Sister McKee's health issues.  She is much better but still weak and struggles with her heart working properly.  Recently she fainted and hit her head and had to have a pacemaker put in so she could keep going.  She is a wonderful lady and is truly a miracle in that she has progressed to be this well.
This week we took our district missionaries to Mammoth Caves for a district outing.  We had a great time and all of them enjoyed it even though 2 of them are challenged by claustraphobia like I am.  We went on a different tour that included the Fat Man's nightmare, where you have to squeeze side-ways through a narrow opening and an area where you have to bend way over to not hit your head.  We all made it, including Sister Peterson, even though it was a 2 hour tour and we had to climb 300 stairs!
Sister Peterson in one of the passages that was going to get low.  (Notice the look of anxiety on her face!)
Our group on one of the stair landings on the climb out.  Our tour took us down over 400 feet in some of the large rooms in the cave but the descent was fairly gradual.  Then we had to climb back out by way of all of those stairs through a narrow vertical shaft.  But you can tell by the smiles that we made it even though Sister Peterson and I had to take our time and many passed us as we stopped for breathers.
Proof that I was actually there.  The picture was taken in one of the larger areas where we had stopped to listen to information from our guide.  At one point during the tour, The guide shut all the lights off to show us what complete absence of light means.  You couldn't even see your hand held right in front of your eyes.  Then he had us all remain perfectly quiet so we could understand what perfect silence was.  He said that the complete absence of sound would get to us quicker than the blackness if we were left alone in the cave.  After that he lit a small bic lighter and it surprisingly lit up a the cave in big way in the perfect absence of other light.
Elder and Sister Peterson - Enjoying P-day in the largest cave in the world - over 400 miles long!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Elder and Sister Oakley from Dallas Texas came to visit for several days.  They served in Hartford last year while we were serving in Morgantown.  We became great friends and did many things together.  They wanted to return to their mission to visit us and see how the those they worked with were progressing.  We had a great visit and took them around to visit everyone.  I think it brought some closure to their mission and some satisfaction of the good they did.  Although Sister Oakley's health isn't the best, they are trying to decide whether to serve another mission.
The beautiful Mimosa trees are in full bloom now so we had to have a picture.  This one is in the yard of a family we visit every two weeks.  A single sister is the only member and she lives with her children and sometimes her grandchildren and also two aunts and now an uncle.  She is a wonderful lady with many challenges, but we love her and want to keep her coming to Church.
This is her uncle Larry, cleaned up and ready for a picture.  We love this family and enjoy visiting them.   They seem to enjoy giving us a hard time.  One of the first times we visited, they told us the canvas behind Larry covered their "moonshine still".  We've never dared look underneath to find out!  They tease us by saying their hillbillys and always say as we leave, "y'all come back now y'hear."
Our district now has 4 sets of missionaries including us.  This picture was taken in our Morgantown chapel this week after district meeting.  Starting from the left with the Elders in front:  Elder Thayne is from Bouniful, Utah.  He has been out 18 months and is our new District Leader.  Elder Shiner is from Fresno, California.  He has been out 5 months and is a very spiritual young elder.  Elder Miller is a real Idaho farm boy from Gooding, Idaho.  He does not like Declo because they always beat Gooding in football and he loves football.  He has been out 18 or 19 months and has been Elder Burton's trainer.  Elder Burton is from various places because his parents are in the service but he was called in North Carolina.  He has only been out a couple of months.  His call was to Brazil and he is serving here while waiting for his visa.  Sister Vercillo in back on the left, is from Centerville, Utah.  She has been out 5 months and went through the MTC with Elder Shiner.  Sister Toone is from Colorado and she has been out 3 or 4 months.  They are all great young people and we love serving with them and learning from them.

Elder and Sister Peterson - Happily serving and growing younger by the day around these wonderful young missionaries.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

We are losing our prophet.  Elder Olsen on the left (who bears some resemblance to the Prophet Joseph Smith) has been our district leader, is being transferred.  Elder Earl on the left has been a Danish visa waiter and he finally received his visa and is headed for Denmark.  We have a new district leader with a new companion and we have a new area added to our district.  I forgot to get pictures but will include next post.
About 10 miles from where we live in Hartford is the little town of Rosine (about the size of Declo).  It is the birthplace of Bill Monroe who was the father of Bluegrass country music.  Nearly every Friday in this old barn, a country jamboree takes place with local musicians in his honor.
The Oakleys, senior missionaries we served with last year, came to town for a visit for several days.  We have been taking them around visiting everyone in the branch.  For an activity Friday night, we decided to have a picnic with some of the branch out to Rosine and take in the affair.
Because it was the anniversary of Bill Monroe's birthday, the Bluegrass jamboree was held in the city park so more could attend than could fit in the old barn.  We enjoyed some could old pickin' and singin' Kentucky style in the park.
Some of our group sitting on the grass and enjoying a pleasant evening.
Sister Oakley and sister Peterson with Betty Lindsey, a wonderful older stalwart of our branch.  We have been working with sister Lindsey and helping her with her genealogy.  She often comes to our apartment for Family Home Evening.
Brother and Sister Pieper, a very strong couple in the branch, he serves as a counselor in the Branch Presidency and as the ward mission leader.  We have breakfast in their home on Saturday morning before our correlation meeting.  They have been very good to us and we love them.  They were the hosts for the evenings activities.  Brother Pieper grew up in Rigby, Idaho.
There were probably 2 or 3 hundred in the park that evening, including these men.  I couldn't resist taking a picture of these two and they were willing to let me.  Shades of Duck Dynasty in Kentucky!

Elder and Sister Peterson - enjoyin' some real Bluegrass country music in Rosine, Kentucky

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Recently we visited a part-member couple on the west side of Morgantown Branch.  The quickest way to our apartment from their place was to take the ferry across the Green River because it saved us about 15 miles.  So we decided to use the ferry even though Sister Peterson was a little nervous because the River is quite high and the ferry wasn't even working for several weeks because of the high water.  Here it is coming back across the river to pick us up.  Although the river isn't very wide, it is quite deep here.
On the ferry as we cross the river, the picture is taken through the windshield of our car.
Approaching the other side and exit off the ferry.  It was very quick and easy.  There are still three ferrys over the Green River in this county.  They are maintained by the county and free of charge.
I am sitting by Pete Smith, the stalwart of our Morgantown branch.  It is his 90th birthday party.  He is the oldest priesthood holder in the branch and has been one of the mainstays of the Church in this area, serving as branch president and bishop several times.  His family had a potluck party for him Sunday after Church.  Pete is a wonderful man and really does well for his age, but he is very, very hard of hearing.  We have to sit and yell at each other to converse but I really enjoy visiting with him.
Pete with his brother-in-law Joe Forsythe.  At 94, Joe is older than Pete but Joe is not a member.  Joe's wife Eva was a member and served many years in the Relief Society when the area was a district in the mission.  Joe is a good man though and for many years took the young elders where every they needed to go.  They are some of the great senior citizens of the area.
It was an enjoyable social and I had an enjoyable time taking pictures of some of the members of our branch.  Something I don't usually do when we are out visiting people.
On my left are Tim Phelps, Bob Estever and Bob Coots.  Bob Coots and is wife are former members of the branch that live in Bowling Green and often come to the area.  The other two are my choir singing buddies and I really enjoy them.   For some reason I didn't take a picture of our wives, probably distracted by the good deserts we were given.
Sayings on church marquees we have recently seen:
       Son Screen prevents Sin Burn
       Prayer is the best wireless connection

Elder and Sister Peterson - enjoying a Sunday afternoon social