Sunday, March 11, 2012

Catalytic Converters

We all drive cars with catalytic converters which convert polluting gasses into none polluting gasses. They use a catalyst which helps accelerate a chemical reaction but is not one of the reactants nor products of the reaction. A example is platinum (the catalyst in the catalytic converter) which reduces NO and NO2 (smog producing gasses from the engine)  into O2 (oxygen) and N2 (nitrogen) which are normal gasses in the air we breathe.

So you may wonder what this has to do with missionary work. As senior couples we often act as catalytic converters. We may be part of the conversion process without playing an active role in the process. Here are a few examples: 1) On our last blog we mentioned that briefly meeting Jordon resulted in him having a conversation with his father about the church . 2) Last Sunday when Brenda (our most recent member of the branch) was asked what she wanted to get out of Relief Society she responded, "I want to learn how to read and write". Sister Wheeler remembered a literacy program developed by the Relief Society. We found the materials in the meetinghouse library and reviewed them, excited about having a worthwhile project to fill in some time. When Sister Wheeler talked to Sister Holt, the Relief Society president, everything fell into place. She suggested that Sister Tait (Brenda's neighbor) teach the literacy lessons to Brenda. They have been trying to find a calling for Sister Tait since she joined the church a year and a half ago, but her health makes it difficult to be regular in her attendance. It was a perfect fit and she was excited when we took the materials to her house on Thursday. 3) We noticed on the mission report that Evandro Pereira was baptized last Sunday. Before our transfer we had visited the Pereiras (a less-active family) a few times and talked about the importance of Evandro being baptized. We left it to the Portuguese elders and they brought it to pass. Our role as senior missionaries at times is a side role to assist the Lord in blessing the lives of others.

Evandro (striped shirt) with his mother and sister
 We had a special Family Home Evening at the church on Monday. Brother Holt (Campbellford) is an art teacher at the high school and gave a presentation on the art of Egypt. The nonmembers who were invited didn't come, but there was a good turnout of branch members. It piqued Elder Wheeler's curiosity about Egyptian art.

Oops, the projector lightbulb burned out - so much for modern technology
Mummy of the child king - King Tut
We bought some green bananas last week expecting them to be ripe by this week. They didn't seem to want to ripen up. Even by Tuesday they were too green to eat. They reminded Elder Wheeler of green bananas in Uganda from which they made matoke, their national dish. That's one way to loose weight.

Our green bananas
Cutting up green bananas in Uganda
Welcome to matoke
We did some more cleaning out of the church this week. On the way to the church we pass a kennel with many big dog houses. It doesn't look like dogs are living there however. There are also many silos around, some with fancy designs on top.

The big dog houses (actually calf houses)
Neighborhood silos
 We had district meeting again on Wednesday in Belleville. After the meeting Elder Stubbs said he was tired of Wendy's and wanted to know if we could go to the food court at the mall. We decided to try to see if Elder Wheeler could find anything he could eat there. He checked at New York Fries where they have Poutine, a Canadian dish of french fries with cheese curds and gravy. It ended up they use gluten-free gravy so Elder Wheeler found a nice lunch.
New York Fries
Sister Yi, Sister Jungart, and Elder Stubbs
 Thursday we went to the family history center at the church so Mary could show Sister Wheeler how to operate everything. It ended up that Mary's car wouldn't start so we were there on our own. President Holt stopped by with the keys and we managed (in spite of very slow computers for Family Search).

Are we in Utah?
We love the local library with old books from our childhood
 Elder and Sister Dodge contacted us about the Maple Syrup Festival in Warkworth this weekend. We invited them to join us for the activity. They end their mission in about a week so this is the last chance they had to see this part of Canada (which is very different from Toronto where they have been serving). There was a queen bed in storage at the church that Russ Dishington helped us move into our apartment on Monday. On Friday we had a long walk through Ferris Park on the Trans Canada Trail then scouted out Campbellford for restaurants.  We made a list of 13 places from the phonebook then walked through town to see what they offered. We got caught in a snowstorm as we were crossing the bridge to the west side of town. We found a good place called Capers where we ate with the Dodges on Friday evening.

Saturday was the Maple Festival. We drove to Warkworth (10 miles away), parked the cars, then took a school bus to the maple forest where they make maple syrup. It included a pancake and sausage breakfast.

Sister Wheeler and Sister Dodge getting on the bus
We saw how they produce maple syrup. It starts with the sap from the majestic maple tree. When the weather turns 5-6 degrees (C) during the daytime and freezes at night the sap flows. Taps in the trees collect the sap.

Filling a bucket - old method
Sap lines running from tree to tree - new method
The sap is only about 10% sugar so they need to boil off some of the water to concentrate the maple syrup.

Syrup making - old method
Syrup making - new method
 The activity included several old-time activities around the camp and a wagon ride through the maple forest. It was a cold, but clear day. We then returned to Warkworth where they had art and antique exhibits in various of the buildings around the village.

Horse-drawn wagon ride through the maple forest
The Dodges - do they look cold?
 Today was our regular Sunday meeting, except they seemed to start an hour earlier than normal. We had visitors from the district to give the talks in Sacrament meeting and a lesson on teacher improvement during a joint Priesthood/Relief Society meeting. We found out that they merged the Cataraqui Branch into the Kingston branch this week. Missionaries were taken out of Cataraqui at the same time they were taken out of Campbellford.
Wayne waiting for his ride home from church
Relief Society planning their March activity

 Well, another week has gone by and we are still doing well in the Trent Hills branch. Today was a spring-like day so we took a little walk in the extra-long evening to watch the birds in the neighborhood. Don't get the idea spring is here to stay, but at least for a day we enjoyed it.

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