Sunday, August 26, 2012

Snakes and Shotguns

Summer is winding down. We have had some cool days (except for this weekend which was hot enough. On Monday we worked in the church library again - fine tuning. We then went to Marmora for dinner with Doris and Eileen. On the way back to Campbellford we passed by the street where Rob Michel lives. We have been trying to meet him for eight months. As we arrived a young boy (Hunter) came out to greet us, telling us they were in the back yard. Hunter is Robs 12-year-old son who was visiting. We met Rob's father, Robert, who had several questions about religion. The elders had taught him in the past (as had the Jehovah Witnesses). Soon Rob came along holding a shotgun. He had been hunting a fox that was steeling chickens. Hunter had a baby garter snake he had caught. He kept Sister Wheeler entertained for some time. We were glad to finally meet them.
Hunter, Rob, and Robert
We spent most of Tuesday preparing our Pearl of Great Price lesson for Thursday.

On Wednesday we had district meeting in Kingston again. It's a long drive - 1 1/2 hour each way. It is good to meet with the elders and sisters from time to time. Elder Wheeler had a role play with Sister Jungert. She always has a smile on her face no matter how hard the work is. Sister Wheeler had a role play with Elder Decker. Every missionary meeting includes role plays. We had branch council in the evening. It was different attending as the Elder's Quorum president rather than visitors.

A couple of red-breasted nuthatches stopped by for a visit
So did a goldfinch

Thursday ended up being a long day. We went to help Mary at the family history center. Elder Wheeler spent his time reformatting old floppy disks so they could be thrown away. Sister Wheeler was able to find a nice website about Benjamin Thomas Mitchell, who was a stone mason for the Nauvoo and Salt Lake temples. As Mary was leaving to go home the door stuck on her specially-retrofitted van (to handle her wheelchair) so we followed Mary home and then went with Penny (who lives with Mary) to the dealership in Campbellford to get it fixed. It took them to closing time, but they were able to fix it. Because of the late time, Penny joined us for dinner before we all rushed off to the Pearl of Great Price class.

Friday walk along the canal

On Thursday night, Bro. David (the sunday school president) told us that Linda (a sunday school teacher) was moving to Toronto and couldn't give the lesson for Sunday. Elder Wheeler spent much of the day Friday and the morning Saturday working on the lesson. He finally found out there was a misunderstanding and Linda was just visiting her sister and had the lesson prepared. As sister Camejo would say, "Blessed are the flexible for they will not be bent out of shape."

On Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive, since we had not had a preparation day, not knowing beforehand where we were going. We ended up at Callaghan Falls Conservation Area. It is a section of the Crowe River that has some nice, shallow wading areas, small falls, and deeper pools. A perfect place for the grandchildren. Elder Wheeler was able to talk to a man from Peru about the gospel. It was a nice break from the indoor work we have been doing this week.
Crowe River
Canals cut into the walk
Local beauty
Train bridge across the river
One of the falls
A closer look
On a rock by the falls
 We need to rush to make an 8:00 AM PEC meeting Sunday mornings. Elder Wheeler and President Holt are the only ones there on time. Several don't come at all. Elder Wheeler has just updated the home-teaching assignments. There are only five districts (there were four before). Of the 11 elders, 7 can go home teaching. With three prospective elders we have five companionships. He has not yet been set apart and counselors haven't been called, but Elder Wheeler is trying to organize things anyway. The purpose is to train future leaders. Maybe by the time we leave there will be a presidency to work with. We had district visitors today so Sister Wheeler was busy in the primary, there were 9 primary age children. We also had a pot luck following the meetings. Sister Wheeler fixed a gluten-free lasagna and a cookie pizza for desert. The lasagna ended up being the only main dish and was quickly devoured. One of the visiting teenaged boys came by afterward and said how much he LOVED the strawberry cookie pizza. Maybe that's what member and leader support is all about.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

War Time

Not a lot happened this week, except the car next to ours in the parking lot got bombed. It was just parked there for months without being used - except by wasps. They built nests in the mirror, trunk, and door. One day we got word that the owner died and had no heirs, so we cautiously got in our car every day. One day this week the nests were gone, wasps were dead, and spots of a dark residue stained the parking lot.

Wasp and nest in the car mirror
We had a normal Monday which included a walk in the morning and going to the church to organize the library at the church.
Tractor-pull sculpture found along our walk
Sister Wheeler in the church library
 On Tuesday we worked on preparing our PofGP class and working on the district maps. We were invited for dinner by Mary and Penny.

Wednesday was a long drive to Kingston for our zone meeting. When we got there we caught the sisters remodeling the Trenton elder's truck. Obviously the missionaries have a few light moments.
Who put this "just married" sign on the elder's truck?
You've got to be kidding!
 We had lunch at the Swiss Chalet then traveled back to Marmora for dinner with the Sedore family. We were a few minutes early so we had a little walk around a village park.
Among the black-eyed susans
As we were returning to Campbellford we heard music as we passed the waterfront. They have musical programs every Wednesday night, but in the past we have had other meetings. We were able to join the community for the entertainment. We saw some of our apartment neighbors and Priscilla, from the branch, was there so we joined her.
Music at the park
A time for dancing
Sister Wheeler with Priscilla

 Elder Wheeler met with Tim Holt (the former elder's quorum president) on Thursday morning to go over home teaching and other business of the quorum. We had our Pearl of Great Price class in the evening. It takes a long time to prepare, but it's a lot of fun. We have a core group of 10 members attending.

Friday was a slow day. It was the 40th anniversary of our first date. We worked on projects in the morning then we walked to the library and Elder Wheeler checked out some books to read.

There was a special arts festival at Buckhorn that Mary attends every year. We were anticipating going there, but she decided not to go this year. It's about an hour drive each way so we decided to do something closer. We went to the Hastings waterfront festival. It wasn't large, but was very enjoyable. There was a reenactment of the war of 1812 (200th anniversary). This is known as the American war during which America invaded Canada and were sent packing back to their own home. There were cheers whenever an American got shot and a standing ovation when the Canadians defeated the Americans. One lady sitting on a rock said, "I hope there aren't any American tourists here." No, not tourists, but American missionaries. We did notice that more than half of the Canadian soldiers were female. This must have been a battle of liberation:)
The redcoats
The Americans
Return in victory (with the lady sitting on the rock)
 There were some nice booths of art, old rifle carving, and Alpaca products. We especially enjoyed a few moments on a park bench looking over the Trent River.
Sister Wheeler feeding the Alpaca
Since we didn't get a walk in the morning we decided to have an evening walk through Ferris Park. It was very pleasant, few mosquitos and not too hot.
Sun through the forest, it reminds us of the Sacred Grove
We started Sunday with an 8:00 AM meeting at the church. Since many of the leaders are irregular in attending meetings, it was a meeting with Elder Wheeler and President Holt. They were able to review changes in home teaching assignments. Sister Shannon was gone today so Elder Wheeler led the music for sacrament meeting. We had a special combined priesthood/relief society meeting during which we watched a recording of President Monson's 85th birthday celebration. It was very nice, but when Will Francis (our friend and neighbor from Logan) played his horn solo, many golden memories of our home ward flooded in. Maybe they have forgotten us by now, but we will always cherish our friends in the Foothill 1st Ward. Thanks Will.

We had a new visitor today. A goldfinch feeding at our apartment for the first time. This is either a breeding female or a juvenile. The birds have really been going through the food lately. Maybe they are getting ready for winter.
The hungry goldfinch

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stirring the pot

We put a lot of miles on the car again this week. Besides a trip to Brampton we made two trips to Kingston.  Monday was our swimming party at the Campbellford Holts for the branch family home evening. They have been working to get enough of the deck completed to be able to access their new pool.
Holt's pool with just enough deck
We had a nice barbeque along with other food (including a gluten-free bun). Everyone loved Sister Wheeler's gluten-free chocolate chip cookies as well as her quinoa salad.
Yummy food
Gail with her son, Sam
Tim and Russ
We didn't go swimming, but had a chance to sit around and talk. It was a relaxing afternoon and evening. As it ended up, no one went swimming.
Relaxing in the yard
We had a game of ladder-golf which consists of wrapping a rope connecting two golf balls around a metal frame. The Wheelers ended up being the champions for the evening.
The ladder-golf champion
 Tuesday was transfer day so we went to the temple in Brampton. Since more missionaries are returning home than arriving several areas were closed, including Smith Falls (the Bosches are still there as a senior couple) and Napanee in our zone. We will have more missionaries coming in next transfer.
Sister Klein and Sister Braithwaite going home
Senior couples dinner after the temple session
The temple grounds is a beautiful place and a favorite spot for the Seiks from India (who are common in Brampton). Elder Wheeler stopped and talked to several of them. One had a question about why they can't enter the temple. Elder Wheeler talked about it being the House of God and the need to be worthy to worship God in a personal way. It seemed to satisfy him. He said he had asked several people before, but had never had an answer he could understand.

Seiks at the temple
We decided to go home the back way, but noticed by the sun we were headed Northwest instead of Southeast. We finally took out the GPS, which let us know where we were since the road we were on was not on our map. The GPS said we would arrive home at 10:15 PM so we went our own way instead of following its directions and got back to Campbellford at 10:00 PM. Soon after we got home we got a call informing us that we would have district meeting in Kingston rather than in Belleville since there is now only one district in the zone.

Wednesday brought a long drive (1.5 hr) to Kingston for district meeting. Each of the areas in the zone were affected by the transfer. We were able to get back to meet with President Holt at the church to clean out some more files in the clerk's office.

Elder Olsen and Elder Decker replaced the Belleville sisters
Elder Ashton was joined by Elder Nash as our zone leaders
Sister Jungert and Sister Sutton went to Brockville
Elder Svienson (DL) joined Elder Koceja in Trenton

 Thursday we took a long walk along the canal and through Ferris Park. We have only had short walks this week because of the traveling. We had our Pearl of Great Price class in the evening. The lesson was on the use of agency as exemplified by Adam and Eve (good examples) and Cain (bad example).

Crossing the suspension bridge in Ferris Park
A great blue heron in the Trent River

Friday was a different preparation day. As we were driving this week the maintenance light came on in the car so we took it to the Honda dealership in Peterborough. Since we had a 8:00 AM appointment and it is a 45 minute drive we had to leave before our walk. It was to take about 3 hours so we went across the street to Burnham Provincial Park for a walk. It had been raining, but it wasn't too muddy for the walk. Last time we were here it was too icy to walk.
Trail in Burnham Provincial Park
Once the car was finished we went to the Peterborough zoo. We took a lazy stroll around the zoo and along the river. We were tired so we decided to go back to Campbellford, stopping for needed groceries on the way back.
Fountain in the zoo

 Saturday was the Campbellford Fair. We decided it would be good for us to go and be among the people. It gave us the opportunity to talk to several people we would have not been able to meet otherwise. Trent Hills is closed to proselytizing, but we try to make a good impression for the church as often as circumstances will permit.
Vegetables at the fair
Their first place ribbons are red and second place are blue
New friends at the fair
And you thought your bugs were big!
 One of the events was a 4x4 challenge. It included climbing across a rock pile, over a culvert, and through mud pits. Richard should have been here with his 4-runner.
Not enough mud for the pit
The rock climb
Up and over

 The 4-H also had calfs for judging.
Young girl with her calf
We also saw a tractor pull which used a load of heavy rocks that progressed along a skid adding to the load the farther they went.
Tractor pull
As we mentioned earlier, we love the countryside here. A lady at the dairy display told us about the advantages of raising children on a farm (Would that work for grandchildren as well?). Maybe we should buy a small farm when we return and have a little room to move around. Many homes have large lawns and use riding mowers. Of course they don't water their lawns like we need to in Utah. They have some cute old tractors here. Of course we would need a red tractor - real tractors are red. (When Elder Wheeler was starting school he had a picture of a tractor and instructions "color the tractor red").
A "real" red tractor
In the afternoon there was gospel music in the park with a series of singers performing. We stopped by and listened a little then walked around Campbellford.

Gospel singer in the park
We didn't go to Trent Hills branch for meetings today. President Davis, the district president asked us to go to Kingston for sacrament meeting so we could meet with him afterwards about the district maps. He wanted us also to give him an assessment of how things were going with the Trent Hills branch. He then dropped a bombshell and called Elder Wheeler to be the elder's quorum president. We have been here for seven months without a calling and got one with only three months left. The idea is to prepare some of the new members to take over. We figured it would take time before it was all in place, but when we got home we learned that he was sustained in Trent Hills before he was called in Kingston. They had a linger-longer after meetings so we were able to get a bite to eat before heading back home.
At the linger-longer
So --- the week ends with the pot stirred for missionaries in the zone as well as in the branch. It will be interesting to see what the next three months brings.