Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dinner for 8

Dear Family,
This has been an interesting week.  Tuesday morning we were invited to go over to Montgomery for lunch at the Montgomery Cattle Yard Grill.   This is at the actual cattle yard, where they bring in cattle for auction.  The restaurant is at the front of the stock yard building.  They have the BEST Prime Rib and it is only served on Tuesday.  You have to be there by 11:00 am to get a table and get the prime rib before they run out.  Our High Councilor, Vaughn Memory, is a very successful attorney in Montgomery.  He is actually from Springville, Utah.  He came out here to serve his mission and  met Glenda., who would become his wife.  He completed his mission and then came back for Glenda, she said I will follow you long as it it is in Alabama!  He is a most educated man and can almost quote you Jesus the Christ.  He says he only has two and studying the scriptures.

Today, Pres. Memory was our speaker for sacrament meeting, he brought with him two sister missionaries.  Sister Davies just returned from the Guatemala mission, the one just above Derek’s. The other Sister is leaving in 4 weeks for England.  Inasmuch as Montgomery is 90 minutes from Camden and they had to be here at 8:00, so on Tuesday, I invited them for dinner.  To my surprise Pres. Memory said yes and so we had eight at our dinner table today.  The lunch was delicious (everyone said) and we had a fun time listening to  missionary experiences and the Memories’ experiences in Israel.
Our young Sister Houston completes her mission on August 6th.  She expressed a liking for meatloaf and that she had not had any since coming on her we had meatloaf today.   Also Orange Jello and Cheesy Potatoes, fresh sliced tomatoes from Miss Ruby’s garden and fresh green beans.  Bet you wish you had been here!

On Friday, the Sisters were going over to Selma for team-ups with the Elders. We took them over ( The young missionaries are very restricted in the number of miles they get a transfer (6 weeks), so we are the drivers).  The District Leader asked if we would go with them to see a lady who used to live here in Camden.  Her name was on the Selma Branch records, but no one had been able to find her.  A few weeks before, the Elders were coming back from an appointment and it was about 8:30.  They were tired and wanted to just get home, but Elder Kirby said, let’s just try to see if we can find anyone who knows her.  So they stopped a guy working in his yard and he did know her and pointed to where she lived.  They went over and knocked on the door, she opened it and said.....”How did you find me?”  They explained and had a brief lesson and asked if they could come back.  They have now taught her and her 4 grandchildren three lessons.  She was so excited for us to come visit with her.  We were able to bring her up to date on all the people she knew from Camden and for us to hear about her family.  We told her we would come back in a few weeks.  It means so much to converts that someone cares enough to come visit and keep them connected to the gospel.  Out here, the members live far distances from each other, with small cars, and expensive gas; therefore they do not tend to help these new contacts get to church.  We were in Selma from 10:00 am to 8:00 p.m.  Needless to say we were TIRED!

 Again, thanks for the pictures, texts, messages and phone calls.  It really keeps us going.  We love you dearly. Love Grandma and Grandpa   

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pioneer Day!

As you all get ready for the Big July 24th Celebration, I wanted to tell you about our “Pioneer Trek” here in Camden, Alabama.
We had 12 primary children attend which was wonderful, we only thought we would have 7.  We met at Bridgeport Park, just about 3 miles up the road from where we live.  It is on the banks of the Alabama River, a beautiful spot with lots of trees and vegetation.  It is not at all what the pioneers found on the plains or in Utah.
We had the children come down to the edge of the water, take off their shoes and go into the river up to their ankles.  ( Some of them had pretty high ankles)   We had them look across the river at “Nauvoo” and say good bye.  We talked of what they could put in their wagon....;what favorite toy they might be able to bring. Then we started for Sugar Creek...singing Pioneer Children Sang as the Walked and Walked...AT that stop we made little bracelets to mark their family, so that they wouldn’t get lost.  We had given each of the children a name tag with the name of a pioneer child.  At each stop, we had the child come up and we heard about their story. We went on to Winter Quarters, where we told them how the pioneers had to tell time by the shadows of the sun.  We drew their shadows on the pavement.  Later in the afternoon, they were surprised at how much taller their shadow was then when we drew it.  Another stop was Chimney Rock and then on to the Salt Lake Valley.  Here they ran in the crickets!  We had a fun game of throwing the black crickets into the pail.  Then we had pioneer games of Joseph Smith’s pole game, sack races and a few others.
Between each stop we sang as we walked and walked and walked!! We had a wonderful time.  Today, I taught Sharing Time.  We made pioneer covered wagons.  Graham cracker for the base, two big white marshmallows for the cover, two pretzels for the  axles and 4 white life savers for the wheels.  They turned out so cute and the kids had a wonderful time assembling them with the aid of thick frosting. 
Friday night our land lady and dear neighbor, Miss Ruby, took us to dinner at Gaines Ridge.  It is a beautiful old southern mansion that Miss Gaines, who grew up in the house, has turned into a lovely restaurant.   Very good food, decorated with beautiful old antiques and a most elegant atmosphere.  A place that Aunt Bebe would have loved!!!  We thought it was a great place to celebrate Grandpa’s Birthday.   He was so happy to get all your calls, texts and face book messages.  Thank you for making his day. 
We miss y’ all very much and thank you for your love and support.  It means so much to us.  The work with the less actives is going very slowly, but the active members are so grateful to have us here to give them support and encouragement.  They really are STRONG!  Our Sacrament Meetings and Fast Meetings are filled with wonderful talks and testimonies.   We love each of you.  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pot Luck Supper!!

Sunday night and all is well and quiet.  We had our Branch Conference today.  We had as many Stake Visitors as we had members attending.  N We have a wonderful Stake President Quinn Millington.  He is originally from Idaho, but came to Alabama to attend College and stayed on for his Physical Therapy career.  He owns several business and the one  he told us about today is called The Iron Man Store, everything for swimming, biking and running.  He used his experiences in participating in an Iron Man Competition
For his talk.  First he swam in the Gulf of Mexico, out one mile across ¼ mile and back one mile to the beach, then  jumping on a bike and riding for 56 miles, and then running a Half Marathon.  He related that at about the 6th mile of the half marathon, you just want to quit.  You aren’t sure if you can make your body keep going.  Then he referred to Galations 6:9.  And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.   He then talked about each of  us in our lives sometimes just want to just stop and rest.... but we must continue in well doing,  press onward and in  “due season” we shall be rewarded.  We must not faint and give up. 

  After our Conference concluded, we had a wonderful Pot Luck Supper.  This is what the Branch does when the Stake people come down here as it is at least an hour and a half drive to get here. The first meeting is at 7:30 and we ended at 11:30 so everyone who came down is hungry and still has a long drive home. When our Branch President announced the Pot Luck he asked every one to bring two covered dishes...with some thing in the dishes.  WE had a banquet for a King!    And food for twice as many people as we had in attendance.
Southerners really know how to put on a spread.  We had two long tables with main courses, salads and breads., and another long table of just desserts.  So much good food.  Everyone here has BIG beautiful gardens and it is harvesting time for much of it, so we are enjoying tomatoes, corn, snap beans and okra.   WE love our little Branch and our wonderful members.  It truly is a Branch Family.  We are blessed to be serving here with these wonderful faithful saints.  AND we are truly blessed to have such a wonderful supportive family who we love more than life itself.   We are so glad that you are all having such wonderful summer fun times and are sharing them with us in pictures.  We love  you so much.  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Iron Rod Activity

Sorry this is late, but we had a very busy day yesterday.  With the Sister Missionaries living with us and they not having received many miles for this month, we took them to see the residences of all the less active families who live way out in the country.  The Loop took us about 50 miles.  We stopped and visited with two families and the others were not at home.  It is working out very well having them live with us, but I am sure that they are excited to get into their own place and settle into their missionary schedule.  The young missionaries have a much tighter schedule for their time and the Senior ....well we just have a few rules.  Of course I am “mothering” ....that’s what the Mission President said I was to do while they were here with us, so I have been doing my part.  We hear them as they sing their opening songs, say their prayers, and do their companion study.  They really are dedicated to Serving the Lord.  It makes us so proud of Shayla, Cody and Derek, for we now see how hard they worked to serve faithfully. 
Thanks for the music ideas you sent.  I ordered a cd from DB. We had our “Precious Above All” Activity last Saturday night.  Kay Dunnam, our Relief Society Counselor was the chairman and I tell you, she is really organized and thinks of everything to make her idea come to reality.  First, we covered all the windows and doors in the church, so that the inside of the building was almost totally dark.  Kay, Dad and I and the Sisters built the Iron Rod out of PVC pipe. It started at the front door and wound down the hall to the Primary Room. In that room, we had the Great and Spacious Building, which Kay’s grandchildren had painted... it even had the people starring out the windows.  Margaret presented the Dream and the interpretation for Our day.  Then they took hold of the Rod again and wound out into the hall and down to the Priesthood room, past the dirty river and then down to the Chapel where the only light was the Tree of Life.  Kay had cut down a tree, removed all the leaves and painted it white, then wrapped it in clear Christmas lights.  At each place setting we placed a shiny green apple with leaves that said “Precious Above All.  Dad gave the talk  at the tree, going over the importance of the Iron Rod being the Word of God and how we must hold Tight to the Rod.   We finished the evening with a Spaghetti Dinner and all kinds of fresh fruit for dessert.  We had set us for 32 adults and 8 children and we only had two children’s chairs vacant.  It was a wonderful success.   
We had a food 4th of July, but it was nothing like at home.  The Sister were to do their regular Missionary day and they did.  We cooked hamburgers on our George Forman grill at 6:00.  Had a 4th of July dinner, Burgers, P. Salad, Baked Beans, and watermelon for dessert. One of the members from the Magnolia Branch, Brother Stockman, came over to spend the afternoon and evening with us.  His wife is in the hospital and he is having a hard time of it.  He told us, he wanted to do something, so he thought,  “I’ll go over and see the Camden Missionaries.”  (Magnolia is 35 miles from us.)  So that’s what he did.  The five of us had a very pleasant evening.    The Sisters wanted to go to the “fireworks” so we took them over to the Alabama River to Miller’s Ferry.  They did have a show, but it only lasted about 10 minutes .....the finale was good.  There probably wasn’t 75 people there to watch, although they may have been watching from boats and other properties along the river.  
We thought of all the things that our family does to Celebrate the Birth of our Country and were so glad for the traditions that our parents have left for us.
The longer we are here, the more we see the importance of our family and the love and support we give and receive from each other.  Stay close, love each other and make wise choices.  We love each of you and pray for you at least twice a day.  Love, grandma and grandpa