Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chinese New Year

It didn't seem like we did anything this week until we looked back to make our blog. Monday evening we hosted a family home evening in our apartment. Elder Wheeler showed some of his Uganda slides (we had a captive audience with little entertainment available during the winter months). We felt bad that Mary couldn't come, but she is in a wheel chair that couldn't fit through the narrow doors in our hallway. That was solved later in the week (not soon enough, however) when the apartment manager had to move furniture from one apartment (outside the doors) to another (inside the doors). He cut out the middle bar to open up the whole width of the hallway. The bar can be reinserted with slide hooks.

Pres & Sister Holt, Sister David and Timma Holt (daughter of the other Holt family)
Bro David, Sis Anderson, Sister & Brother Holt, & Sister Wheeler
 We worked on developing a branch mission plan this week. We had to get out on Tuesday. It was a sunny day so we went to Brighton to deposit money in the bank. We drove along the shore of Lake Ontario. When we returned we got a call from Tim Holt to help give his mother-in-law a blessing before going in for a knee replacement on Wednesday. We had a good visit with the Holts.

Lake Ontario Marina area in Brighton
Swan Lake
The biggest "Toonie" in the world (Campbellford)
 Wednesday was our big day. It started early in the morning with our 3-hour ride to Brockville. It actually only took 2 1/2 hours so we had time to pass by a couple of mills in Brockville before our 10:30 AM district meeting with the Kingston District.

Island City Mill - Brockville
Passageway to the mill
Shepherd Mill "restaurant" - Brockville
 We really enjoyed the district meeting. The senior couples outnumbered the younger missionaries. This is the farthest east district in the mission. After the meeting Elder Andersen treated us to lunch at Burger King.

Elder & Sister Firmage, Elder & Sister Wheeler, Sister & Elder  Andersen
Elders Eatchel, Little, Decker, and Wooding
 In the afternoon the senior couples went to see the China Carnival Spring Gala (the reason we were in Brockville). It was a wonderful performance which brought a little culture to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It included dancing, traditional music, and acrobats.

Chinese acrobats
Chinese dancers
Chinese music
More dancers
Dancers from Xin Jiang (home of our friend Rehan)
 Thursday was a slow day so we went "iceshoeing" in Ferris park. In Logan we have gone snowshoeing during the winter, but here it is more ice on the trails than snow.  My brother Richard sent each of us a pair of ice tires (like snow tires for the feet) so we wouldn't slip and break our backs and have to go home from our mission early. He is enjoying his peace and quite with us tucked away in a foriegn country. Anyway, they really helped in negotiating the trails. We were invited to dinner with Tim and Caroll Shearon. He is a long-distance trucker and we finally were able to meet him while he was home for a break.

Sister Wheeler showing off her iceshoes
Elder Wheeler found accommodations for a nap
Trent River along the trail
 Friday was another slow day. We worked on the branch mission plan, and walked to the library. Our dinner appointment with some nonmembers was cancelled so we will have to wait until next week to meet them.

As we worked on the branch mission plan we learned a little more about the branch demographics. There are 67 members of record. Forty of them have been assigned home teachers which leaves 27 not being contacted. There are 10 Melchizedek Priesthood holders (out of 22 men), but only six are active. There eight sisters married to members, six married to nonmembers (all inactive), 21 single sisters. The branch council needs a second branch councilor,  and executive secretary, and a branch mission leader. The reason for mentioning all this it to explain our Saturday.

We decided to make another "around the branch" trip on Saturday to see if we per chance could find some people home (which is very difficult during the week). We contacted 16 homes of people we were trying to meet. We started in Campbellford and went to Warkworth, Hastings, Norwood, Havelock, Marmora, Madoc, Stirling, and back to Campbellford (115 miles).

Map of the Trent Hills Branch area
 The road trip resulted in: 1) meeting six families (a phone introduction to a seventh), 2) meeting family members of three other members, 3) learning that four had moved with no forwarding address, and 4) two with no one home. The responses included: "Hi, I guess"; "I go to my husband's church, don't try to reactivate me"; "My husband hates the church, watch out", " My grandmother died, I'm not into God right now"; "Come back when I feel better"; "She's gone to Texas and won't be back until May"; and "We have two children that should be baptized, could you help teach them?" Needless to say, we like the last response the best.

Sunday has been a good day. We had the mayor of Trent Hills and his wife attend sacrament meeting today. He made a goal to visit all of the churches in Trent Hills and this week was our turn. We had district speakers today (like high council Sunday). They do it differently here. Brother Koerber, from the Trenton Branch, was the visitor. He had his wife, daughter, and son speak as well. We enjoy getting visitors. The Belleville sisters had invited us to attend a missionary fireside this week. We hadn't really planned on it, but decided we would take them up on their offer, so we drove down to Belleville. It was a nice fireside and we were able to help with the music. Their branch is a lot bigger than Trent Hills, but the turnout was modest. We were able to meet the other President Scott (the Belleville branch president).

Refreshments following the Belleville fireside
The fireside was very nice and there was a good spirit there. There were some testimonies of some new converts which we enjoyed hearing. It is amazing sometimes to realize that almost all of the people here did not grow up in the church. They joined the church later in their life. This is a good learning experience.

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