Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Deer, Temple, Cookies, oh my!

First off...Last weekend our three daughters were here to visit and see where and how we live in Alabama.  We have talked and talked about how many deer we see...HOWEVER>>>not last weekend-Not a one!!!  Until Monday evening when we were coming  home from a less active members ....there---- two blocks from our house...4  Big Deer walked right in front of our car.  Almost strutting in front of us.  We just had to laugh.  No one to see it but us.   

We did have a wonderful visit and the Branch members so enjoyed meeting you and hearing your testimonies.  Roy said, “I knew the minute I walked in who they belong to.”  Thanks for coming and thanks to all you who let them come and all you who would loved to have come.

Wednesday was Transfer Meeting and Our Sister Missionary from Price, Sister Williams completed her mission and went home.  We have had three Sisters finish their mission here in Camden and it was hard to see them leave, but what a great blessing for this Branch that they came to serve.  Our new Sister is brand new to the Mission.  Sister Trotter is from Eagle Mountain, Utah and we have a little connection.  Her uncle lives in Centerville and served on the High Council with Elder Hepworth.  Sometimes this is a very small world.

One of the greatest blessings of our mission has been working with members to go to the Temple.  Saturday our dear friend Theresa went to the Temple for the first time.  It was a rainy day when we left for Birmingham and when we arrived, but when we came out of the Temple, the sun was shinning brightly....just like our spirits. So joyful!!!   She was baptized the month before we got here and we have been teaching her and helping her learn all that she would need to know in order to be prepared for yesterday.    
Tonight, we went over to Betty and Roy’s to visit.  The last several times we have been over, their teenage daughter would not even come out of her room, or even talk through the door. 
I know that she loves chocolate chip cookies, so I made a batch before we went over tonight.  She was in the kitchen with her little niece, when we arrived.  She smiled when she saw the cookies.  The family had just dished up their plates for dinner, so we told them we would come back in half an hour.  We returned and I noticed the cookies were almost gone.  The BEST part of the evening “Ro” stayed out in the front room and talked with us.  I told her about our daughters visit and wished that she could have met them and she asked if I had any pictures.  I told her I did and she asked me to bring them and come over so she could see them.  A little later in our visit, she said, she was cleaning out her back pack and found the writing book we had given her last year for Christmas and that we had written in it.  She said, “I didn’t know you have been here for over a year....it doesn’t seem like it has been that long”.   I told her we would only be here until April, so we had to do a lot of visiting in the next few months.  She hugged us both as we left.  We came home ecstatic.

Oh the simple joys of a mission.  We are so very glad that we chose to come out on a mission.  It has been one of the best experiences of our life.  Thank you for supporting us and keeping the family going.  We love each of you.  Love, Grandma and Grandpa

Friday, January 23, 2015

Vistitors in Camden

Monday we received a call from Sister Newman of the Mission Office.  We chatted a little and then she said...” The purpose for my call is to let you know that you have 13 weeks left in your mission.  You will be receiving a letter in the next week giving your further information”.  I said...that can’t be right.   She counted it up again and said, yes, that is right.  Boy, that has sure gotten here quick.  There is still so much we want to do.  We will have to get busy!!!
Tuesday we had our interview with our Mission President.  He is such a spiritual giant and gives us such encouragement and direction.  Wednesday we had our District Meeting.  We have 4 sets of Missionaries in our District ( 6 elders and 2 sisters)  On Transfer meeting we are loosing 1 sister and 4 elders, and Transfers are hard.  You come to love each of the missionaries and want to stay with them, but the growth comes from making the change.  This is the first area for Elder Hills and although he is excited and ready for the transfer, he is also very nervous.  He asked Elder Hepworth if he could received a blessing.  It was such a special experience to see all those young Elders participating in the blessing.  We have such GREAT young people serving missions.
The Highlight of our week has been having Sue, Michelle and Alyson come to visit us.  We met up with them on Friday morning in Selma.  We did all the tour highlights of Selma, then on to Magnolia to tour the 100 year old LDS Church there.  That little building has such a spirit and such a history.  Ten of us went to dinner at Gains Ridge.  This is an antebellum home which has been converted to a lovely dinner restaurant.   This home was built in 1820.  (Think of what was happening to Joseph Smith in 1820.)  Jarrett ordered the appetizers which consisted of Fried Dill Pickles, Onion Rings, Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Catfish.  OH SO GOOD!  The main course was pretty normal and dessert was Black Bottom Pie.  The food, the atmosphere and the company were so special.  A real Southern Evening.
Saturday we toured all the highlights of Camden.  The trapper’s,  various members homes,  downtown Camden,  Black Belt Treasures, and the Alabama River.  Dinner Saturday was a Pot Luck at the Church.  We had a wonderful time meeting and visiting with more of the members and several investigators.
Today, Sue, Michelle and Alyson were asked to speak and bear their testimony.  They will tell you that in the short few days that they were here, they too had grown to love the people here in Camden, the members of the Branch and people in the community.  Then today at 3:30, the wonderful visit was over and the girls headed back to Birmingham for their flight out tomorrow morning.   We hope that as you talk with them in the weeks ahead, they can share with you their feelings about life here in Camden Alabama. 
We love each of you and are so very grateful to have the family that we have and all the wonderful friends we have in our life. 
WE love you, Grandma and Grandpa 

Monday, January 12, 2015

It is COLD!!

Our little house just loves to give us adventures.  As you may have heard, we are having a very cold spell in Central Alabama. Thursday morning we woke up to a very cold morning and a very cold house again.  If you recall, last year they had to install a new furnace/air conditioner and it has been working wonderfully well until a week ago.  We called our furnace man, Turkey Jones, he said that there had been some problems with the new furnace blowers and that he would come over an re-set it or replace it.  Done!  We had heat again....Then Thursday...cold again. 
This time Turkey’s son came over.  The furnace was running just fine, but it was still cold, so he said he would crawl under the house to make sure none of the duct work had come loose. OH WOW WHAT HE FOUND!  The cold air duct return had rusted out and there was a 4 foot long hole.  He went off to the shop to get “some things”.  They worked under the house about 3 hours and when we looked out on the grass we could see the duct work from under the house.  All of it had big rust holes in it.  It’s a wonder that we ever got any heat. They will be back tomorrow to replace some additional duct work.  I bet our heating bills drop 50%. 
This weekend is the big Deer Hunt Fund Raiser for the Wilcox Academy.  ( The White school)  The last figure I hear was that they had killed 165 deer on the 3 day hunt.  Last year they made $100,00.00 on the hunt.  People come from all over the south for the hunt. The property owners open their lands to the hunters and it is hunt, hunt and more hunt. Wilcox county has more deer per square mile than any county in Alabama.  The deer are much smaller than in Utah.  A big one will weigh about 195 lbs.  They also count all the points on both sides, so when it’s a 8 point, it would be a 4 point in Utah.  Every one in town seems to be wearing camo.  Not the Missionaries!
On the spiritual side, we had a youth baptism at the Temple yesterday.  We only have 3 youth, but it was still a disappointment that we only got one to attend.  He had a wonderful opportunity to perform the baptism for his uncle who died in 2013.   His grandmother, who is not a member, asked that the work be performed for her son.  It meant so much to her to have it done and to be done by her grandson.  We also assisted Theresa in getting her First Temple Recommend by going over to Montgomery today to meet with the Stake President.  She is so excited to have her recommend and to be able to go to the temple on the 24th.   We are feeling the urgency to accomplish all that we have hoped to do. 
We have been so very blessed to be able to serve our mission here in Camden: Dear Members, Dear Less-Actives and Dear community members.    Thanks to each of your for your love and support.  We love you all.  Love Grandma and Grandpa