Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pruning the Vineyard

We thought this was a slow week, but as we review what we did, maybe it just seemed like a slow week. Monday was Family Day in Canada. This is a new holiday for working parents to be able to stay home and do something with their family. It's actually a good idea. We didn't know if we should visit anyone so as not to disturb their family time so we just walked around town. There were a few stores open, but not many.

Yard decorations in Campbellford
We were wondering how the Trent Hills area compares to other areas in our zone. It seems kind of small. The missionary areas follow the church ecclesiastical units so we are in the Trent Hills area (for the Trent Hills Branch) in the Kingston zone (for the Kingston District). Our missionary district (Trenton) is comprised of Trenton, Belleville, Napanee, and Trent Hills. The other district in the zone is the Kingston district which is comprised of Kingston, Brockville, and Smith Falls. There is also the Cataraqui Branch (a neighbor of Kingston) that doesn't have missionaries. The size of the cities or towns where the missionaries live are: Kingston (159,561), Belleville (48,821), Brockville (21,870), Trenton (19,374), Napanee (15,511), Smith Falls (8,978), and Campbellford (3,647). We are not the most remote town in the mission (Timmins is in the far north) and only the second the smallest (Bruce Mines has a population of 566), but we are small enough. The Trent Hills Branch is made up of the following villages: Stirling (4,906), Havelock (4,637), Norwood (4,247), Marmora (3,912), Campbellford (3,647), Warkworth (3,270), Madoc (2069), and Hastings (1208). Needless to say, Sister Wheeler feels at home. Her parents lived until recently in Connell, Washington (4,209). When we met, Sister Wheeler lived in Basin City, WAshington (968). Of course, Connell has a ward and Basin City has two wards (go figure).

Map of the Kingston District (if you can read it)
Tuesday was transfer day, NO! we didn't get transfered, but half of our district did. We made the long drive (about 2 1/2  hours) to Brampton to go to the temple with the outgoing missionaries. They like senior couples to attend so that they can have a prayer circle. Elder Robinson, our zone leader, and Elder King, from our district, were going home. We saw several of the missionaries we have known since the Brampton Stake Center is one of the transfer points. The senior missionaries had a pot-luck dinner after the temple session. It included some wild activities, restricted to seniors. In times past we had an institute class (they used to have the sessions on Thursday) so we couldn't stay. We have a new senior couple in the mission, the Higginsons. They have been assigned to the Stratford Branch. It ends up they had spent 18 months in the same branch about five years ago serving as missionaries. The ride back to Campbellford took about 3 hours because of the traffic through Toronto. When we worked in Toronto, visiting Brampton was a relief because of the slower pace. Now it seems to be rushed. Maybe we have changed.

Sister Hakaraia headed home to New Zealand
Dinner with the Dodges and President & Sister Norton (new temple president)
This is not how I remembered the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"
 Because of a funeral in Napanee our district meeting was changed from Wednesday to Thursday. We spent the day compiling all the information we had on members to prepare for branch council meeting in the evening. It was a good meeting about missionary work.

Four new missionaries at our district meeting on Thursday. It was a good meeting with the zone leaders visiting from Kingston.

Sister Jungart with Sister Yi (from China) in Belleville
Elder Tripp joined Elder Stubbs in Napanee (they were companions in the MTC)
Elder Cozzens was joined by Elder Davis as our zone leaders
Elder Leasuasu (Samoan) with Elder Anderson in Trenton
 Thursday we were in Marmora for dinner with Doris and Eileen. While we were there we met Doris' daughter Tammy who is being treated for cancer. The whole family is dealing with many trials, but is demonstrating good cheer.

We were invited to sing with the community choir at St. John's United church. The leader is Barbara Hobart. She leads from the organ. We practice to CDs. We are learning music from Broadway, including "Alexander's Ragtime Band", "Oliver", and a medley. It is an opportunity to mix with others in the community.

Barbara leading the choir
 Friday was another snow day. It came down all day. We were asked to give talks in sacrament meeting so we took the opportunity to prepare them. Sister Wheeler's talk was on the temple and Elder Wheeler's talk was on family history. He got online and found out he came from Viking kings. After the 8th generation he found some names to submit to the temple as long as it doesn't matter if one of the 41 children was born 150 years after the parents.

Saturday provided the opportunity to get out to find lost members. Since many people work, it is hard to find them home. Being a Saturday afternoon we located and talked to four members of the branch in the Campbellford area, none of whom really wanted to talk to us. We also passed by two homes of people who were not at home. We only encountered one who wanted her name removed from the church (according to her husband). We were also able to talk to a former investigator which did not seem opposed to talking to us. It is interesting that we can get a weeks worth of missionary work done in one day. The question is, "What do we do for the other days of the week?" We are running out of names of people to visit and are trying to work with the branch council to develop the mission process and develop a list of potentials. Yes, things move slowly here in Trent Hills, but maybe we just need to learn to be patient.
Saturday snowman - we gave the first lesson - jk.
Trent River store (the center of town)
Well, it's Sunday again and here is another blog of our mission. We gave our talks in sacrament meeting. President and Sister Scott decided they should visit the branch to make sure Elder Wheeler didn't teach any false doctrine. Sister Wheeler substituted playing the organ for Sacrament because the organist was not going to be able to be there for Sacrament meeting. It turned out that she was able to come but she told me to go ahead. She enjoyed sitting with her husband and singing. We had our fourth-Sunday pot luck after meetings. President Holt gave us some other tasks for helping the branch. We will make an inventory of the pictures hanging on the walls and clean out closets and filing cabinets to get rid of the obsolete manuals, etc. We are well practiced from our experience with the supply room in Toronto. 
Well, that's all the news from Trent Hills for this week, stay tuned for our upcoming adventures.

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