Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome to Campbellford

This week was spent in packing, cleaning, and moving. We packed up the car with as many things as we could on Monday then drove to Campbellford on Tuesday to check the apartment and unload the first carload of items. The apartment manager had repainted the apartment, but had not really cleaned it. We did have time on Wednesday for our district meeting followed by lunch at an El Salvadorian restaurant specializing in "pupusa"a cornmeal cake filled with beans, cheese, meat, or a combination of all these. 

Painting of women making pupusa
Toronto elders: Raikes and Bruce with Sister Wheeler
Thursday was a packing day as well as running errands to the bank and to verify our truck reservation. It is a good thing we did because we were informed we had to pick up the truck at a different location than where we reserved it. It was not easy to find and would have really delayed our loading the truck on Friday. We had a lesson with Mucio and Jayanna on Thursday evening. We have enjoyed giving lessons with the Portuguese elders.

Friday was moving day. The Portuguese elders, Toronto elders, and Elder & Sister Dodge helped us load the truck in Toronto. We then headed off to Campbellford, 180 km away which takes 2 1/2 hours. Elder Wheeler drove the truck (a new experience for him) followed by Sister Wheeler in the car (who had vowed not to drive in Canada) who was followed by Elder and Sister Dodge (giving us much needed security). We started to unload the truck and called President Holt (branch predident) to let him know we had arrived. He sent President Holt (Elder's Quorum president - no relation) and Russell Dishington who got there in time to unload the big stuff (desk, couch, etc.) Overall the move went very smoothly. We really appreciate the extra mile (or 180 km each way) the Dodges gave us. We would not have been able to do it without them.

The truck ready to be unloaded
Our helpers: Bro. Dishington & Holt with Elder Dodge

Campbellford is the main village in the municipality of Trent Hills (population 12,500) which spreads out over many miles and includes the villages of Hastings and Warkworth. The Trent Hills branch includes the towns of Norwood, Havelock, Marmora, and Madoc along highway 7 north of Trent Hills. We live in the same apartment the elders lived in before the area was closed down. Needless to say, it needed a little sprucing up (painting, cleaning, etc) before we could live in it. We also brought our furniture from Toronto (all of the elder's furniture had been removed). 

Our apartment building in Campbellford
Our apartment is deadly quiet (maybe that is because of the cemetery behind the building - work for the dead anyone?). We suggested recording the sirens and streetcar noise of the city so we could sleep at night, but didn't have time. We will miss our view from our apartment in Toronto, especially the night lights and seeing the sun rise over the city, but our new apartment is cozy.

Our neighbors
We took our morning walk on Saturday morning and came across a deer crossing sign. We found a path into the woods (sounds like a nice title for a musical) and wandered through Ferris Provincial park, just a couple of blocks from our apartment. Something tells us "we ain't in Toronto anymore".

Dear crossing

As we walked around town we found a chocolate factory with an outlet store next door. So much for loosing weight on our mission.

Chocolate outlet store
We had the best Sunday of our mission this week. On the way to church (about 15 minutes away) we remembered Elder Wheeler's sacrament bread and had to return to the apartment to get it. We arrived about five minutes before our meetings started. As we talked to Pres. Holt about the sacrament he said not to worry about it, they have several members who can't eat wheat so they break a rice cake as part of the sacrament. The Trent Hills branch is an older branch with the median age of 55. There is no primary (no one that young) and no youth program (only a couple of inactive youth). There is a total of 69 members of the branch, spread across several small towns. We were welcomed and given the opportunity to bear our testimonies (in English). It was comforting to be able to understand the other testimonies and feel of their spirit. The Trent Hills chapel is very interesting. It used to be a reception hall (a cheese factory before that) and has many nice features. For example, the ladies washroom has a large wallpapered area and about 7 stalls. There is a nice bridge and gazebo in the park (owned by the church) in back. 

The Trent Hills chapel with its own canopy
After church we went back to Toronto for the baptism of Mucio and Jayanna. Since we were part of teaching three of the four lesson we decided to claim them as our baptisms as well as the Portuguese elders. It was so nice to have a family come into the church. They were really prepared from the beginning. As we walked into the Ossington building we were greeted by Marzia.  We did not have time to visit her the week before moving and were glad she was able to make it to church in spite of being a long distance for her. She told us she found a Christie ward member who lived close to her that had a car. This will really help. Sister Wheeler got a lot of hugs and kisses. She could feel how much she was loved in the Christie ward.

Marzia and Sister Wheeler
Our other granddaughters, Kelly and Kimberly
 The baptismal service was extra special with most of the proceedings being in Portuguese rather than Spanish. Elder Wheeler was asked at the last minute to give a talk on the Holy Ghost. Sister Wheeler was asked to give the closing prayer which she did in Portuguese (without reading notes).

The five Portuguese missionaries with Jayanna and Mucio
Jayanna with Sister Ferreira (the bishop's wife)  and Sister Wheeler - she looks happy :-)

We are now starting a new mission and have mixed feelings but we are excited also. It will be a relief not to struggle with the Spanish, but we already miss the members of the Christie ward (both Portuguese and Spanish). It seems that everything we have been doing in Toronto we will not be doing in Trent Hills: teaching institute, working with the missionaries (there are none here), helping with the mission office, riding busses and streetcars around the city, and dealing with a lot of somber people. It will be a lot slower for us. The people in town seem to be happy and friendly (we got a dinner invitation from a nonmember stranger we met in the grocery store on Saturday). We put a lot more miles on the car (like Dave & Faye). We know this is where we should be at this time, so all will go well.

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