Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer is here

The Father's Day package from Andrea finally arrived on Tuesday containing some gluten-free granola bars and a cute card.

We got a call on Monday evening from Priscilla, a member who comes now and then. She warned us that this will be a hot week and wondered if we had an air conditioner. It makes us feel good that members of the branch will contact us and not just wait for us to contact them. Summer is here so we better get used to it.
Boats on the canal - a sign of summer
We had a very spiritual district meeting on Tuesday about the atonement (Thanks Elder Pineira for planning it). It was the final meeting of this transfer, so next week we will likely have some new missionaries.

Our district
Rear: Elders Pineira, Phillips, Wheeler, Gwilliam, and Goodman
Front: Sisters Jungert, Beasley, Wheeler, Meng, and Hurst

Sister Beasley signing the flag with Sister Meng watching
We took the long way home after district meeting, riding through Prince Edward county. We then went past Stockdale where we found another mill. We drove all around trying to find a bridge across Trent River to get back into our area. We even had to stop for a police check on one of the small country roads. They were looking for drinking and seat belts. We finally made it back home.

Stockdale Mill
School bus along a country road
 We only had about 15 minutes in the apartment before we were off again, this time to a dinner appointment with Mary and Penny. Penny recently moved in with Mary from Bowmanville and was able to find a job in Campbellford. After dinner we helped Penny get her computer up on the network.
Penny at her computer

The district is trying to find out the actual boundaries of each branch. We got the church map from President Holt and tried to tell where the boundaries were on an Eastern Ontario map - it wasn't easy. Wednesday was a very hot day. After our morning walk, we decided to take advantage of the air conditioning in the car by driving way up north to the corner of the branch by Kasshabog Lake, where cottagers come for the summer.
Along our morning walk - I can't keep up with Sister Wheeler
Kisshabog Lake
A turtle we helped across the road and once it was across it turned
around and went right back where it started from
 We passed through Peterborough on the way back.

City park in Peterborough
 We got a call from President Holt requesting Elder Wheeler give a talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday. Didn't we just give talks on Mother's Day? It's a good thing the bottom of the barrel hasn't dried up yet. We were able to work on the talk and Sister Wheeler's genealogy (she discovered more lines with Canadian connections) on Thursday before we had dinner with the Holts on Thursday.
Swarming bees in Ferris Park
Watch out for tractors in the country
We called Lisa Weaver, a member we had met in Madoc, to see how she was doing with the summer heat. She and her mother (whom we learned was also a member of the church) lost their home to a fire and are living in a temporary house. Since we have two old air conditioners at the church that are not being used, we took one to them on Friday, giving us the opportunity to meet Lisa's mother.
Lisa with Sister Wheeler
The house destroyed by fire

On the way back to Campbellford we stopped by O'Hara Mill Pioneer Village in Madoc. We visited it during the winter, but it wasn't open. Actually it doesn't open until July, but we were able to walk around all by ourselves.
O'Hara Sawmill
The giant rock lifter
Is this where bottled water comes from?
Elder Wheeler's new girlfriend
 We spent several minutes sitting at a picnic table by the pond watching the geese. It was very relaxing.
O'Hara Pond

 Since we weren't pressed for time Saturday morning, Sister Wheeler decided she wanted to walk around the canal. One day we drove to the canal and walked around it, but she wanted to do it from our apartment (before breakfast, no less). So we walked, and walked, and walked. We measured it later - 4.3 miles (almost 7 km).
On the Rotary trail around the canal
We needed to share the trail with geese (and watch our step)

The Relief Society had a special activity Saturday afternoon. They invited the brethren also - since it included a pulled-pork dinner. We had a professional photographer come and give us the latest-and-greatest about photography. We will have to see if a new digital single-lens reflex is in our budget when we get home. Of course Elder Wheeler forgot his camera and had to take pictures with his low-resolution ITouch.

President Holt learning about photography
Elder Wheelers talk went very well. It only put half the congregation to sleep, jk. He was given his choice on subjects. When he asked, "What about the gospel of Jesus Christ?" President Holt thought that might be a bit too broad so they settled on the 4th Article of Faith. We had our monthly pot luck dinner after church using some of the food left over from the Saturday activity.
The lineup for pot luck
Tonight we had a family history fireside in Belleville. It lasted about 2 hours with several speakers and a demonstration of New Family Search. Joan, who works at our family history center put it together. We rode with Mary. It also gave us a chance to see the Belleville Sisters (Jungert and Beasley) before this week's transfer.
Mary getting out of her van
The Belleville sisters get refreshments

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day?

This week was a bit slower than last week. We did have a short walk along the Trans Canada Trail on Monday before we went to the church to make a list of possible things we could do there. President Holt was there doing some paperwork for the branch. We walked around the building, but most of the things that need to be done are handled by the PM group of the church.

Bird egg shell found along the TCT
Mowing time
The church birdhouse - where starlings live

 We got a letter from Honda about an important service update for our car. We thought we had taken care of it in Toronto, but Honda had no record it was done. We went to the dealership in Peterborough to determine if anything needed to be done. We ARE in a foreign country. Honda Canada doesn't talk to Honda America. The source of the problem came from Canadians going across the border to buy less expensive cars then bringing them back to Canada. Rules were set up to make it difficult (but not impossible) for American cars to be serviced in Canada.

Since we had zone conference scheduled for Friday, we took our p-day on Wednesday. We took another drive, this time to Roseneath to see the famous carousel (which was all covered up - it runs each Sunday afternoon, which is typical around here). We passed by a donkey preservation farm, hiked a little in Northumberland Forrest, drove all over trying to find Balls Mill, then drove through Coburg before returning home. These are actual driving tours presented by the Northumberland County tourist office.

The hind end of donkeys (open on Thursdays and Sundays)
The mill - now a private residence
The Coburg marina
Fancy house in Coburg

 On Thursday we helped again at the Family History Center. Sister Wheeler discovered another of her lines that came from Canada. The Lefler's were living in Canada in the late 1700's. They lived over by Brantford which is west of Toronto. They did not join the church here as far as we can tell. We needed to update the software for our iTouches which took some doing. Sister Wheeler worked on sorting out a big box of 8x10 pictures. She found a book that uses the picture sets for special lessons with stories, but was in an unusable condition. We got a call from Brother Rowan requesting we go home teaching with him in the evening. We were able to visit with with Meheffin who had been away visiting her granddaughter.
Sort those pictures!
We had a very nice zone conference on Friday. We had good instruction from President Scott and Brother Fuller (a former member of the 5th quorum of 70). Most of the instruction applied more to the younger missionaries rather than us, but we were able to meet for a bit with the Andersons (from Brockville) and the Bosches (from Smith Falls).
President Scott giving us instruction
Elder Germann (AP) role playing with the zone leaders
(on small chairs from the primary)
 Saturday we were able to have a long walk through Ferris Park. We are fortunate to be in a very beautiful area so whether we walk or ride, we see the beauty of God's creations, and man's improvement.
Grassy path through the park
Sunday was Father's Day. We had some good talks in Sacrament Meeting about fathers of some of the members. We enjoyed looking into the lives of our friends through their eyes. We even had the primary sing. This is not normal. The branch presidency has never heard the primary sing to the fathers in the branch. Even though there were only three children, they represented the personalities you typically find in primary children singing - the small girl ducking behind the wall, the shy boy, and the girl that says out loud, "I don't know that part." Another treat was during priesthood meeting when the Relief Society came in to sing to us and give us cookies (gluten-free).

The Relief Society serenades the priesthood
Another week has passed and June is half over. Summer is here, as we can tell by seeing the cruise boat on the river. We are doing well and enjoy the opportunity to serve our Father in Heaven.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A funeral and a baptism

We had a typical Monday morning with laundry and a walk, this time down by the river. The big controversy in Campbellford (at least to those on second street - no one else seems to care) is a proposed bridge across the river to reduce the traffic on bridge street. It is to be located close to where the railroad bridge used to be. A bigger controversy is the bridge in Hastings which is due to be closed for repair for several months and will cut the village in half.
Old railway crossing
Neighborhood sign
 We had another branch family home evening at the chapel on Monday evening. This time Sister Wheeler put on a demonstration on how to make gluten-free brownies. She had spent all day baking various items to share.

New handicapped parking - with no ramp to the building
Sister Wheeler makes gluten-free brownies
 Tuesday was district meeting in Belleville. We now have two sister companionships in the district so they can have exchanges (like the elders). We had dinner with Mary that evening.
Sister Beasley and Sister Meng on exchange
Wednesday was an interesting day. We went with Mary to the funeral of John Bolton in Peterborough. John was deaf and didn't want contact with the church, even after the branch sponsored classes in ASL to try to communicate with him better. We met him briefly when we finely found him home. As we visited with family members prior to the funeral they invited Elder Wheeler to say a few words at the funeral. He met with the Pastor Eyre, a Methodist minister (who had never met John) before the funeral to discuss the arrangements. Elder Wheeler had the opportunity to bear his testimony of the Savior and the resurrection to a group of nonmembers (we think there were about 50 people there). We were impressed with Pastor Eyre's sermon which we found to be doctrinally correct.
Pastor Eyre
Since we missed our morning walk we took a long walk through Ferris Park in the evening, in spite of the threat of thunder and rain. There is one hillside with a full forrest of poison ivy. It reminded me of Doug's back yard (my brother who lives in Virginia).
We stayed on the path past this poison ivy
We helped at the Family History Center on Thursday. This was followed by missionary lessons for Mark-James, preparing him for his Saturday baptism. The lesson included the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the commandments. We had a "chutes-and-ladders" type game we made to teach the commandments.
Sister Wheeler and Mark-James with the commandment game
We spent Friday preparing a DVD with some videos from the church website for time between the baptism and confirmation. It was a new experience pulling videos off the internet, putting them together with iMovie, and creating a DVD with iDVD. Using new software is always a challenge, but it came together very well. We were able to take a break and walk to the library in the afternoon and return in a rainstorm. We looked out the window and saw some excitement. A neighbor had been mowing the lawn and suddenly there were paramedics watching over him.
We hope he is OK
Saturday was the big day. Not only was it Mark-James' baptism, but the family decided to use it as an opportunity to invite many family members and friends to a birthday party prior to the baptism. We arrived at the church at  9:00 AM to help set up. It had been raining, but was clear enough to have the party outside. We were able to fill the baptismal font during the party. By noon we were able to get everyone into the chapel for the baptismal service. It was a nice service, with Sister Wheeler giving a talk on baptism (she was asked at 8:30 p.m. Friday) and Elder Wheeler giving a talk on the Holy Ghost. By the time it was over and we left the chapel (we were the first to arrive and the last to leave) we were tired. It was about 3 p.m. and Sister Wheeler still had to clean our apartment and organize the Relief Society lesson for the next day that she had been asked to give.

Kairi hitting the pinata in the gezebo
Mark-James (striped shirt) decorating cookies (with his mother)
 We had district visitors for sacrament meeting today. We always enjoy visitors. They commented on the beauty of the countryside as they traveled from the cities along the 401 freeway area to Trent Hills. We agree, it is definitely a beautiful place to serve on a mission. Sister Wheeler gave the Relief Society lesson today. We ended the day by having dinner with the Campbellford Holts.

It's June. It's summer. And we are enjoying ourselves.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer is here?

Canada has seen unusual weather this year. Everyone talks about the light winter (that's because we are in Canada). We had hot days this week (crank up the air conditioner), but when June finally arrived days have been cool and rainy.

This has been a slow week in Trent Hills.

Todd Moon once sent a quote from Einstein, "Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count. Everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." This is often the case with senior missionary work. We have been trying to increase the number of Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the branch, but ended up the week with a 17% reduction.

Monday started out with a walk through Kennedy Park. This was followed by a companionship discussion about the difficulty of measuring success on the mission. We were invited to dinner with President and Sister Holt in Havelock. We learned he was planning on driving to the hospital in Peterborough in the morning in spite of his bad knees. We offered to help.

Didn't they offer this exercise on TV?
Work on those quads!
It says we are in the "last days"
 We skipped our weekly district meeting on Tuesday to take the Holts to Peterborough for treatment at the hospital. We left a phone message for Elder Pineira (our district leader) informing him of our absence, but he didn't listen to it until the end of the week. As we passed the mysterious house in Norwood where Ben Lavoai was supposed to live we found two cars there. We had tried unsuccessfully to find him multiple times in the past. The cars belonged to house reconstruction workers who were trying to repair damage left by a fire.  No one lived in the house (or could live in the house) in its condition. This gave us one fewer Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the branch.

The hydraulic lift lock in Peterborough
In the evening we went to Hastings to find a Book of Mormon referral who lived on Water Street in Campbellford. Since there is a Water Street in Hastings (but none in Campbellford) we tried to find him there, without success (no house with that number). We then tried to contact two former investigators who lived in Hastings. John Li was not interested and the contact information for Lydia was wrong. We returned to Campbellford with little success for the day. We decided to put the Water Street address into the GPS and found it on the road toward Stirling. The referral was a 15-year-old boy who wanted to read the Book of Mormon so he could learn about the church. He didn't want to take lessons, but agreed to a followup phone call. Last week we talked to Caitlyn's step father who informed us she didn't want to learn about the church. Today we received a phone call from Sister Bevans serving in Bancroft, where Caitlyn's grandparents are members. It ends up that Caytlin will be going to girl's camp this summer with the Bancroft Branch. All is not lost.

Wednesday we needed to go to Brighton to make a deposit in the bank. We wanted to visit some members on the way back (Wayne, Eleonor, or Cindy) but none were available. We picked up some groceries.
Recycling bags waiting for pickup
Have you ever tried to teach an autistic 8-year-old boy with ADD the Plan of Salvation lesson? Added to this, was the fact that it was his birthday and he was fixated on recording our lesson on his new Nintendo toy he got for his birthday. We are trying to teach Mark-James the missionary lessons to help him prepare for his baptism on June 9th. We got through the lesson, but don't know if we got through to him. Before the lesson on Thursday we helped out at the Family History Center for an hour. A delivery came to the church of three bulletin boards which Elder Wheeler unpacked.

What do you think of Marmora?
Rainy days ahead
 June came on Friday as a cool, rainy day. We were informed that John Bolton (a do-not-contact Melchizedek Priesthood holder) died of cancer on Thursday. John is deaf. When we met him we were prepared with pencil and writing pad. To help John feel more comfortable at church and to help communicate with him, the whole branch took special classes in ASL (American Sign Language). Even with this effort, John decided he did not want to associate with the church. We took a drive to Warkworth and visited the library. We entered an art gallery and saw Kim, a soloist with the choir. She sat by Sister Wheeler during most of the practices and recognized us.
Rainy day in Warkworth

Saturday was another slow day with no one to visit. We tried to contact some to see if we could visit but no luck. We took a walk downtown in Campbellford and Elder Wheeler worked on his Sunday School lesson.

Side yard in Campbellford
Dream house in Campbellford
 One year ago (last Sunday in May) we bore our testimonies in Portuguese in the Christie Ward. We bore our testimonies today, but this time in English. It's hard to believe we have been in Canada a year. Some days and weeks seem to pass by slowly, but it seems like yesterday we arrived here.

We mentioned losing 17% of our Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the branch. Fortunately, this is not the full story.  With Mark Sedore moving into the branch we have a 17% increase in active Melchizedek Priesthood holders. Thanks, Mark.