Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zone Conference with Elder Duncan

It seems like we were busy this week, but didn't do anything. If that sounds contradictory, that's life on a mission.

Monday was our service day at the church. We had three goals: 1) update the message board in front of the church, 2) Shuffle pictures in the church to create a more meaningful theme, and 3) sort through the VHS tapes in the library. The message board has passed through the winter with a Christmas message still on it. We decided to announce the General Conference broadcast. We created a plan for pictures in the church so they could be used for a gospel lesson as tours are given. It ended up that we only switched two pictures due to special mounting to fit the exact size of the pictures on the walls. We did manage to prune down the VHS video collection in the library and eliminated more than we kept. Doesn't anyone use DVDs today?

Trent Hill Branch message board
Tuesday we had a special multi-zone conference with Elder Kevin R. Duncan (from Ogden, Utah) of the Seventy. It was held at the Pickering Ward Chapel in Ajax (about an hour drive). It was a foggy morning and the GPS got lost so it took us an extra half-hour to find it. It kept telling us we had arrived and we could not see a church or driveway. We finally saw a steeple through the fog. The entrance was on an intersecting street. When Sister Wheeler was asked if she loved her mission she was tongue-tied, analyzing all of the things we have done on our mission. We decided the answer can be simple - do we love the people? Since we love the people here, we love our mission. It has less to do with our daily activities and more with the people we encounter. In fact, the theme of the zone conference can be summarized by the fourth verse of Hymn 221 (Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd) - "Make us thy true under-shepherds; Give us a love that is deep. Send us out into the desert, Seeking thy wandering sheep." If we can really feel the love the Savior has for those we meet, they too can feel of that love through us which can lead them back to feeling the Savior's love for them.
Here we are with Elder and Sister Duncan
One of the great joys of the multi-zone conference was to visit with the Portuguese elders again. Even though we are currently assigned to an English-speaking branch, our hearts have a special place for the Portuguese work and the elders assigned there. We also met the sisters (Spanish-speaking) who are assigned to the Christie Ward.

Portuguese elders: Amorim, Crane, de Moura, and Seabra
Sister Varley and Carroll with Sister Wheeler
We had difficulty making appointments for Wednesday - everyone was gone - so we took a walk along the river (in addition to our normal morning walk).

Statue from our morning walk
Campbellford without snow
Bench along the river walk

We did have dinner with President and Sister Holt in the evening. After dinner we called Jim McComb (the first counselor in the branch) and found him home. He is a single software programmer who doesn't get a lot of visitors. He is a bit of a loner. We had a delightful visit where he showed us around his orchards and house. It was probably the most important thing we could have done that day.

Monument along the Trent River on the way to Havelock
Which bird is real?
Holt's home in Havelock (left hand side of the duplex)
 Summer came on Thursday. It got quite hot so we put the air conditioner (which we had in storage for the winter) in the window. We have a south-facing double glass door in the living room that lets in plenty of light. We decided to get some cheap curtains to keep it cool for the summer.

Our new curtains
Thursday evening we had a dinner appointment with Tim and Caroll Shearon in Sama Park (half way between Havalock and Marmora). Tim drives trucks and is gone for three weeks at a time, so we haven't seen him out to church. We were pleasantly surprised when he came this Sunday.

Caroll and Tim Shearon
Tin man in a field between Campbellford and Sama Park
Another tin man
 Just before we left for choir practice we got a call from the Campbellford Holts. They wanted us to tell Barbara (the choir director) they wouldn't be there. They got a call saying they were going to get some foster children (2 & 3-years old) and had to prepare a bedroom for them. This entailed removing a bunk bed, desk, etc. and pulling out two beds from the loft in the attic. We split up for the evening so Sister Wheeler went to choir practice to deliver the message and Elder Wheeler went to help the Holts. It was a good thing he did, since there wasn't anyone else available to help them.

The bedroom is ready for two small girls
We have not been able to get off for a drive for awhile (except for going to and from meetings) so on Friday we took a small road trip to western Northumberland County. We went down to Briton to deposit a check at the bank then took a drive along the "Apple Route" (route 2) to Colborne and Cobourg then on to Port Hope.

Mural in Colborne on Rt 2
It is still early in the season and a little rainy, but not as cold as last time we went to Cobourg. We walked down to the beach along Lake Ontario (no swimmers yet).

Beach in Cobourn
 In Port Hope we found a very interesting store called Primitive Designs. It had a lot of wood carvings from around the world. It is the type of place the tour guides stop by in Tanzania so you can buy souvenirs.
One small section of the store

 On the way back we stopped by the "Big Apple" a local tourist trap. They have space for many tour busses to get off and buy apple pies before they have a chance to taste them (the pies are OK but Sister Wheeler's pies are much better).

We are a long ways from anywhere according to the signs
The Big Apple
 We left early Saturday morning for our branch temple day. We used two vans to take 10 people. It was really busy at the temple so some of the branch members got in a later (Spanish) session. Mary Longmuir had a lot of names for sealings, so we had a sealing session after the endowment sessions. We sealed 17 couples, 9 daughters to parents, and 19 sons to parents. One of the sons had his other temple work completed in 1924 and it has taken this long to get him sealed to his parents. We didn't get back until later in the evening.

The temple group at Swiss Chalet after the sessions
Another Sunday, which turned out to be eventful. Sister Wheeler was sustained (and set apart) as the assistant organist for the branch (which means she will be playing every week as long as we are here). She also gave the Relief Society lesson today. We mentioned that Tim Shearon showed up at church and stayed for the whole block (at least he stayed to help Caroll prepare the pot luck dinner we had after church). Two former investigators, Barb Rogers and Walter Bland showed up at church. We knew about them from going through previous progress reports and teaching records. They were welcomed by the branch members and seemed to fit right in.

Barb Rogers and Walter Bland

 As we said, we had a busy week with multi-zone conference and a temple trip. We had two former investigators and a less-active member attend church, though we didn't do anything to cause it. If you ask do we love our mission we would have to say YES, because we do love the people we work with every day.

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