Sunday, January 29, 2012

More rain, ice and snow

The Trans Canada Trail is around the block from our apartment
The title tells you what we dealt with this week. It started with rain on Monday. We decided to venture out anyway. We tried to find a couple of members on the outskirts (long skirts) of Campbellford. We then went on to Marmora, Madoc, and Eldorado. We found some of the homes, but no members. Returning through Madoc we came across O'Hara sawmill. It was a nice park that is open to walking year round, but the buildings are only open in the summer.

Bridge in O'Hara Mill Park
O'Hara Sawmill in Madoc
 On the way back to Campbellford we passed by the church. We saw the manger scene they set up for Christmas. The branch tried to get a time to take it down, but couldn't decide when would be best. We decided for them and took it apart and stored it in the attic of the church. [Note: the reason there is no snow in the manger scene picture is because it was taken in December before we moved to Campbellford].

Manger scene in front of the church
On Tuesday we went to Hastings to find more members. We had just left one house when they drove into their driveway - we turned around and met them. "Why do you people keep coming by?" was the question. "Because you are members of our church," was the answer. The branch president had heard about this family, but had never met them. It ended up the wife (of record) died about 48 years ago. The current wife practices the Ba'hai faith and the husband joined the Ba'hais about 17 years ago.  We had a cordial visit, but left with a note requesting he no longer be a member of the church. We thought we were sent to Trent Hills to build the branch. Already we have two fewer members than when we started, one by death (a long time ago), the other by choice.

None of our dinner appointments fell through this week. We had dinner with President and Debbie Holt on Tuesday. She is also gluten-intolerant so the meal was easy (and delicious).

President and Sister Holt
On Wednesday we went to Norwood hunting down members. We found one house and parked just off the road. As Elder Wheeler was getting out of the car, the car started sliding down the driveway into the road. Superstar (Sister) Wheeler was able to get her left leg across the gearshift island (try that in a long skirt) and hold down the break to stop the car. We decided to park along the road where it was flat. As we were going up the driveway Elder Wheeler started to slip. Sister Wheeler tried to catch him and slipped herself. No broken bones :-) No, no one was home.

The slick driveway with skid marks where the car slid
Other side of the driveway where we slid trying to walk up it- our car parked on the road
 We were able to visit with the Carmichaels. He raises jumping horses. They live at the end of a long snowy road, but it had been sanded so we got there OK. In the evening we had branch council (like ward council, but smaller). We were impressed with their organization and enthusiasm for helping their neighbors learn about the church.

We needed to catch up on several things on Thursday. In the evening we had dinner with the Campbellford Holts - Tim, Debbie, Timma, and Debbie's mother Madeleine. They are the musical family in the branch. Debbie plays the piano and organ, Tim teaches art at the high school, and they all sing. Sister Wheeler had the opportunity to play their piano as we waited for dinner.

The Campbellford Holt family
After dinner, Elder Wheeler went home teaching with Brother Rowan (his companion was not available).  We visited Cindy and Nicole Buott. We then stopped by to give a blessing to Sister Morgan followed by a visit to the Grattons (Cindy's parents). We then went half way to Stirling to visit Sister Shannon. It was good to meet some of the members of the branch.

Nicole and Cindy
Friday was the scary day. We had freezing rain all night Thursday and zone skills and interviews with President Scott at 9:00 AM Friday in Kingston (two hours away) . Elder Wheeler decided to take up ice sculpturing.  After working on his masterpiece for half an hour Friday morning, low and behold, he found our car (the trees were encased in ice, sorry we didn't get any pictures). The roads out of Campbellford were a sheet of ice. Schools were closed. By the time we got to Stirling the roads had been sanded. By the time we hit the freeway the roads were clear. The weather changes from one village to another here in Eastern Ontario. We had an enjoyable visit with President and Sister Scott and meeting with other missionaries in our zone. We don't see other missionaries very often, unlike in Toronto where we met with them almost every day. President Scott reaffirmed to us that he feels very good about us being here in the Trent Hills branch. He was very excited.

It started snowing before we left Kingston, but was clearer as we headed west. We had a dinner appointment with Sister Shearon in Sama Park (located between Havelock and Marmora). It was a nice visit with good food.

Sister Wheeler with Sister Shearon
 Saturday was the annual Polar Plunge in Campbellford as well as several snow festivals in surrounding towns. It was also a snow day. We finally found where they were having the Polar Plunge, but it was too late to see the volunteers (for the hospital fund raiser) jump into the freezing river. We did see some polar bears, however.

Polar bears at the Polar Plunge
Sister Wheeler at the Polar Plunge - she didn't plunge, however
 We enjoyed our Sunday meetings with the branch today. The sunday school lesson was on Nephi so Brother Rowan, our teacher, requested that a group of us sing "Nephi's Courage" as a special musical number in sacrament meeting. It went fairly well with no rehearsal. In the evening was the district priesthood meeting in Kingston. Our branch was asked to provide the musical number for the meeting. It was a sunny, but cold, day. The forecast was for more freezing rain in the afternoon and evening. The weather held out and six of us loaded in a van and went to Kingston. The musical number (accompanied by Tim Holt on the guitar) went fairly well - with little practice.

On the way to district priesthood meeting
January has been a long month. It always is. Now that it is almost over, we are glad we have been able to meet a lot of wonderful members here in the Trent Hills branch. We still have fond memories of our friends in the Christie ward and the missionaries we left behind. We have visited a lot of houses with no one home. At our zone activity on Friday we met with two other senior couples, the Andersens (Brockville branch) and the Firmages (Smith Falls branch). They gave us some ideas that may work in smaller branches like ours. We are happy to be serving the Lord on a mission and may some day learn what we are doing.

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