Sunday, November 18, 2012

We're going west

"We're Going West" is a song from the musical Promised Valley about the Utah pioneers. It is now our time to go west. We started Monday Morning at Palmyra, New York where the restoration of the gospel started. We were presented with a tour of the Smith farm by Sister Aiello from Italy. A lot has changed since we were there last. There is a new visitor's center, the frame house has been restored to period time, a new barn and cooper shop were built, and extensive pathways have been developed through the Sacred Grove.
Sister Aiello and sister Wheeler in front of the log house

Going to the frame house
Restored kitchen of the frame house
Across the farm to the Sacred Grove
We then went to see the Martin Harris house and Grandin printing shop. Not much has changed. We stopped by Hill Cumorah. 

Sister Wheeler on Hill Cumorah
Stained glass in the Hill Cumorah visitor's center
About noon we started our long, wet drive to Kirtland, Ohio. We know it took a lot longer than four hours for the early members to move to Kirtland, but we didn't have the luxury of that much time. It was getting dark and quite rainy in Kirtland. We noted several changes there - new visitor center, restored sawmill, and restored Whitney house. We had a guided tour by Sister Ence (from Utah) and Sister Johnson (from California). We were very impressed by the spirit of the three sisters who helped give us tours of these special sites.

The wet sawmill
Sister Ence and Sister Johnson with Sister Wheeler - Whitney store
Sister Wheeler shopping in the Whitney store
 Tuesday and Wednesday were long travel days. On Tuesday we went through Ohio, Indiana (where we were delayed on the turnpike for an hour because of two accidents), and Illinois. We were able to find a nice place to stay in Eastern Iowa. This is about the starting place for the pioneers. On Wednesday we crossed Iowa and most of Nebraska, spending the night in Sydney, Nebraska. We definitely made better time than the pioneers - maybe because we didn't have as much to carry.

Western Nebraska is a wild place
Could this be Canadian geese we are seeing (in the background)?
 Thurday was our last day of travel - across Wyoming to arrive in Logan about 5pm. We were able to wash the car (which got dirty from truck spray), get a bite to eat, and purchase emergency groceries. We then moved into our home. It is still a little strange being home.

We were without communications so on Friday we went to establish our utilities. We tried to find the location of the offices, but they just listed phone numbers and we didin't have a phone. We decided to stop at the Logan Visitors Bureau to see if they could tell us where to find the offices. They were very helpful and let us use their phone for calling. We set up our gas and phone utilities from there.  One "tender mercy" was that we were able to get our old phone number back so we won't have to inform everyone of a new number. We walked the block to Logan city offices to set up our power utility.

We then stopped by the county building to make a payment on our property taxes. Two students were there in the lobby conducting a survey for their research. We stopped to take the survey and one student noticed our missionary badges. (Since we couldn't call the stake president when we arrived home we were not yet released.) The second student was from Brazil so we spoke a little in Portuguese. We asked if he were a member and were informed that he was not. We offered to get him a Portuguese Book of Mormon if he would like to read it. We passed by the Distribution Center and purchased a Portuguese Book of Mormon to give to him. His friend agreed to give him an English Book of Mormon. He promised to read it. We ended up with his contact information so we can follow up. Maybe there is a reason we were not released. Who would have guessed that we wopuld be doing Portuguese mission work right here in Logan Utah.

Saturday was spent in unpacking and rearranging the house. It was a lot of work and we were very tired. In the evening Olivia (our Navajo foster daughter) stopped by with her daughter Courtney.  It had been a long time since we have seen them and we had a delightful visit.

Olivia and Courtney
Sunday was our mission report to the ward. As we walked in to the building a councelor in the bishopric pulled Elder Wheeler aside (He is called Elder Wheeler because he had not yet been released) and called him as the teacher's quorum advisor. He was sustained in sacrament meeting. We both gave our mission talks and attended the remaining meetings of the block.

We had a small soup lunch for those who traveled from out of town. Besides Olivia and Courtney we had Ken and Kate visit with their family and Andrea and Jason with their six children. It was good to see our grandchildren again. We had a wonderful afternoon visiting and letting the children run around the house.
Kate, Ken and family

Andrea, Jason and family

By 4:30 pm everyone was gone and we were at the church again to meet with President Wallis. We were finally released as missionaries and will start a new phase of our lives.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Welcome home! We were sad we couldn't come to your homecoming, but Steve was home only 2 hours yesterday! Enjoy your trip to Washington. Love from us all.