Sunday, April 29, 2012


Just as we finished the blog last Sunday, the Firmages arrived from Smith Falls. They completed their mission, drove home to Maine, then returned for a visit on their way to Utah. The week they were home was so busy they don't yet know what it's like not to be missionaries. They left Monday morning on a cold Canadian day.

Here is Elder Wheeler with his birthday tie from his daughter Andrea
Where we did so much traveling last week we stayed closer to home this week. Going to Bellville on Tuesday was as far as we wandered. We had some new faces at our district meeting; Elder Phillips as a zone leader and Elder Gwilliam who came into the mission mid-cycle. We headed straight home after the meeting in stead of having lunch in Belleville. It was cold and windy. We were invited to dinner at the Campbellford Holts. It was fun playing with their two foster daughters.

Zone leaders: Elder Goodman and Elder Phillips

Elder Gwilliam (C) joined Elder Pineira (L) and Elder Leasuasu (R) in Trenton
We used Wednesday as a planning day and a day to attempt phone contacts with most of the less-active members, trying to set up appointments for visits. There are only seven less-active families who have told us they would welcome contacts (either phone or visits), five families we have met, but are avoiding us, and five more whom we have not yet met, even after many attempts. Then there are the "lost" and "do not contact" members we don't even attempt to contact.

We were able to take a break on Wednesday to walk around the Trent Canal in Campbellford. It was a long walk, but needed for sanity. 

Sister Wheeler touching the top of the giant toonie
Is this a sign of spring or will it snow tomorrow?
The fire hydrants are ready for spring
We had branch council meeting on Wednesday night. We were given two more assignments to help the branch: 1) get water bottles filled for the church and 2) pick up a plaque from the city offices for the branch. The mayor gave out special service awards and this year gave the award to all of the churches in Trent Hills. We completed the assignments on Thursday.

Award for service to the community

 Elder Wheeler was asked to teach the gospel doctrine class Sunday for Bro. Rowan who had a triple bypass on Thursday, so he worked on the lesson Thursday morning. We then went to Cordova Mines to visit Leila, our Finnish friend. She likes to show us the flowers in her yard. The Trilliums (Ontario provincial flower) are starting to come out. She doesn't let us in her house (too crowded), but gave us some apple juice to drink and gave Sister Wheeler some daffodils from her garden. We then had dinner with Doris and Linda in Marmora.

First trillium of the spring
Daffodils in the apple juice container

Friday morning we got a call from Elder and Sister Bevins who are serving in Bancroft. They needed to get away and asked if we would mind a visit. They had a slow week because of the weather. We always like visits and understand the need to get away. We had a nice visit with them then showed them around Campbellford. After dinner we showed them through our chapel and they headed back to Bancroft.

Visiting the chocolate outlet store
Visiting the giant toonie
 Saturday we had a nice branch activity; a pancake breakfast and swap meet. Elder Wheeler was in charge of the gluten-free pancakes, which were about eight inches (oops - 20 cm) in diameter. Everyone brought "good stuff" they didn't need and let all of the members select the items they could use. We gave away some books and a cookie sheet that did not fit our oven. We were so busy cooking, etc. that we forgot to take pictures. It's too bad you can't see those perfectly cooked gluten-free pancakes.

Following a rest we decided to take an extended (6 Km) daily walk. This time it was in the Goodrich Loomis Conservation area. There are trails that go through grassy meadows, along a creek (the size of Utah rivers), through mud, and across oak moraines (hills caused by glaciers, like hill Cumorah). It was a cool, but clear day, just right for a walk.

We love the conservation areas
Grassy meadows
Fisherman on Cold Creek
Through the woods
Uprooted trees
A "less maintained" trail
One of several mud holes
A colored trillium
Sunday was a nice day. Sister Wheeler played the organ (if that's what you call the small Hammond instrument) and Elder Wheeler gave the Sunday School lesson. It seems that the members survived the lesson without running away. We had dinner with Gail in Hoard's Corner, a little way out of town Sunday evening. Overall it has been a slower (less travel) week, but that's OK.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Portuguese missionaries for the day

Last week we got a call from Marzia (the Brazilian lady we helped teach in Toronto) requesting a visit, so on Monday we became Portuguese missionaries again for a day. After a long drive we met the Portuguese elders (Elder DeMoura, Elder Amorim, and Elder Crane) for lunch. We then visited Marzia and her son Mateus, who is now seven years old. It gave us a chance to speak Portuguese again as well as letting Marzia practice her English. It was fun to return to our old stomping grounds, but we are happy to be in Campbellford.

The Toronto moose we often passed while driving in Toronto
On Tuesday we went to Belleville for our district meeting. We must have been tired from the travel on Monday because we went through town and were about to turn on the road toward the 401 freeway when we remembered we were on the wrong road to go to Belleville. We turned around and were only a few minutes late. Isn't repentance wonderful? It was an extra spiritual meeting, reflecting on the love Christ has for us and the gift of charity we have for those with whom we work.

Sister Beasley and Sister Jungart prepared cake for the district meeting
We had a day without traveling in the car on Wednesday.  We walked all over Campbellford, visiting the Grattons. Buotts and attempting to visit others. As we were walking along we passed by Meheffin's house and noticed she had returned from a lengthy visit with her granddaughter so we stopped by to visit her. She has a nonmember friend named Debbie whom she would like us to meet on Friday.

One of the local Campbellford citizens
 Thursday was our day to help Mary at the Family History Center. Mary and Joan usually manage the center when it is open each Thursday, but we help out when one (or both) of them can't make it.

We got up early Friday and headed East to Kingston to have interviews with President Scott. It meant another day of driving. The GPS showed we would arrive early so we stopped by at Loyalist to visit Babcock Mill on the way.

Sign for Babcock Mill
Babcock Mill
We were able to meet Elder and Sister Bosch who are replacing the Firmages in Smith Falls. They are from the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and have lived "off the grid" (that means using solar power) for the past 28 years. It was good to get to know them. We also enjoyed our interviews with President Scott. I guess we are doing what we need to be doing in Trent Hills.

Elder and Sister Bosch
 The Judds, ancestors of Sister Wheeler, lived in Leeds County, Upper Canada (Ontario) from about 1797 (when they moved from Connecticut) to about 1836 when they heard the gospel from John E. Page and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. As long as we were in the neighborhood we decided to wander through their territory. We were able to find some Judd headstones (probably not related) and also Knapp headstone (probably not related). Most of all we were able to get a feel for the area and imagine an apostle roaming the countryside to find her ancestors.

Delta Mill
Passage between Large and Small Beverly lakes
Countryside in Leeds County
Could this have been their home - no!
Judd headstones
 We returned to Campbellford in time to visit Meheffin and her two friends, Debbie and Chuck. We were able to give them a short lesson. Chuck attended church with us on Sunday.

Meheffin (sitting) with Debbie and Chuck
 On Saturday we were on the road again, this time to Brampton for an all-day Public Affairs training meeting. President Holt was not feeling well and asked us to substitute for him. It was a very informative meeting, but resulted in not celebrating Elder Wheeler's birthday. That's OK, though. Who needs a birthday as a missionary?

Sunday was a nice day since we didn't have to travel (except for the 9 miles to church). The Firmages completed their mission last week, returned home to Maine, and stayed with us Sunday night on their way to visit family in the west.

We have been doing a lot of distance travel this week. We are tired and ready for some rest.

The small sign says "out of gas"
This station is often out of gas because the owner doesn't order enough.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Going to the Birds

Don't get the idea that our mission is going to the birds. We do see a lot of them, however. It has been fun to walk around and find many different birds. It's still too early for some of them, such as the loon. Yes, these are pictures that we took.
Canada Geese in flight
Red-winged Blackbird
Turkey Vulture
Osprey with fish
Mourning Dove
Wild Turkey
American Robin
Now for our week - Elder Pineira, our new district leader, decided we should have district meetings on Tuesdays rather than on Wednesdays, however since Monday was a holiday (Easter) they shifted their preparation day to Tuesday so we had our district meeting on Monday this week. Is that confusing enough? It is for us. We mentioned in our last blog that we would have pictures of the new companionships, so, here they are:
Elder Pineira and Elder Leasuasu
Sister Beasley and Sister Jungert
Elder Davis and Elder Goodman (Zone Leaders)
 We had lunch at Boston Pizza in Belleville who offers a gluten-free pizza. It was almost as good as Sister Wheeler makes, but not quite. We visited Sister Tait in Marmora in the evening. She felt the church was true when she was fighting with an elder over her garbage can (he was trying to help her and she was trying to do it herself). She had a feeling come over her that let her know that the elders brought the truth.

Tuesday was a travel day. We went to visit the Bevans, another senior couple, in Bancroft (way up north from us). They are more isolated than we are. They don't even go to district meetings because they are too far to travel to. The people in the town (including some members) don't like white shirts and ties so they wear normal clothes (except on Sunday, of course). We went on a "meals on wheels" run with them into the countryside. Their apartment is in the same building as the church, which is on the main street in Bancroft. We were able to get contact information about Caitlyn, a lost member in our branch.
Chapel in Bancroft
Elder and Sister Bevans with Sister Wheeler - in the small chapel

On Wednesday we did some planning and tried to call members to set up appointments. We weren't very successful for appointments, but Elder Wheeler was able to talk to two members on the phone, getting more information than we have had in the past. Dyanne was in a rush when we visited last time. She has been sick and not able to attend church often. She said she would try to schedule a time we could go to their house for dinner. Her husband, Joel, raises horses for jumping. Elder Wheeler also had a fruitful conversation with Julia, married to a nonmember who thinks we are a cult. She has not been to church since she was a youth and attends his church with him. She has not had any contact with the branch, but the phone conversation allowed the opportunity to answer some questions and bear a testimony. We had dinner with Mary. She always prepares nice gluten-free meals for us.

We rearranged our daily schedule a little. We would get up in the morning, read the Book of Mormon in Portuguese, take a walk, have breakfast, shower and get ready for the day, then have our individual study time. The problem was "the pill" Elder Wheeler takes for reflux. He needs to wait for half an hour (during which we would walk) after he takes the pill to have breakfast. We found ourselves rushing to get back from our walk so he could eat. We decided to eat before we walk so we wouldn't have to worry about the clock while we were walking. On Thursday we took a nice long walk in the countryside on the Trans-Canada trail (in the opposite direction from Ferris Park. It was delightful, with a lot of birds to watch (some of the pictures are above). We went to the church to change the sign and for Sister Wheeler to look up information on her Canadian ancestors at the Family History Center. Since we had district meeting on Monday it shifted our schedule to Thursday for the church. We had to pick up a few items from some stores and met the Davids (members from Sama Park) who happened to be shopping at the Canadian Tire in Campbellford and Dani (a nonmember who lives across the street from the church and attended meeting for Easter) in No Frills. We had our choir practice in the evening, preparing for our "Broadway" concert in May.

On Friday we took a drive along Rice Lake, a beautiful resort area within Northumberland County.  We stopped in Warkworth to walk along the Millennial Trail that follows Mill Stream. Elder Wheeler stubbed his toe on the doorstop Thursday night, but was still game for a slow walk. [It reminded him of when he broke two toes in Arches Nation Park while carrying Kohler on his shoulders. Kohler  survived landing face-down in the dirt.] It was a beautiful drive. There are many resorts here that fill up in the summer.
Mill Creek in Warkworth
War monument in Alderville - First Nation land
The Three Bears - Goldilocks is taking the picture
Are we in South Dakota?
Rice Lake
Rice Lake

 On Saturday we took another loop drive. We were able to find Lisa in Madoc. She was friendlier as we talked on her doorstep. We then went to Eldorado to find Caitlyn, a 16-year-old girl who was blessed, but never baptized. She has been on our "lost" list for a long time. We finally were able to get contact information (with the help of the Bevens) and met her on Saturday. We still tried to find Ben, who supposedly lives in Norwood, but no one (even his neighbors) know anything about the mysterious man they sometimes see at a house that looks vacant. It looked especially so this time, with windows boarded up, a big dumpster and a potable outhouse in back. We found out from a neighbor that there was a fire at the house on Monday. There was a realtor box on the door so we still don't know if he lives there or if the remodeling is the result of the fire.

Today was branch conference. We had a lot of leaders from the district attend our meeting, which boosted attendance to 36. We had an interview during priesthood and relief society with President Prete, first counselor in the district, but also just called as a counselor in the mission presidency (so he was presiding at our meetings, even though President Davis, our district president was there).  We had a pot luck dinner afterward with a lot of gluten-free food (especially Sister Wheeler's lemon tarts). We were able to talk to President Davis during the pot luck. He may find something more for us to do.

Preparations for the pot luck dinner