Friday, September 26, 2014

September 15-21,2014

One of our slower weeks so far.
But still plenty busy.  We marvel each night how fast the day speeds by and before we know it is 9 p.m.! Our  daily "To Do" lists never seem to get completely checked off.

We switched around our PDay this week and spent Saturday with the Moores in Charlestown so we could attend a Home Tour of historic homes in the area.  It was lovely.  A beautiful day to be out walking through this charming part of the Boston area.  We were able to explore 7 different homes ranging in date from the late 18th century through the 19th.  There was a happy mix of styles that showcased how these historic homes have been transformed to meet the needs of today's families and lifestyles.  It was fascinating to see how the homeowners turned every nook and crannie into comfortable and unique living spaces while still maintaining the integrity of their houses.  It is a hilly region ( home to Bunker Hill ), and the tree lined streets complete with gas lamps, window boxes galore, and public parks and spaces was almost as delightful to explore as the homes.  Unfortunately, photos inside the homes were taboo, but hopefully the following photos will give you a glimmer of the beauty and charm of this neighborhood. One of our favorites had a full roof-top deck with amazing views of the Boston skyline, the harbor, the Constitution (an old sailing ship- think Captain Jack Sparrow), and the Bunker Hill Monument. 

"The boys" were great sports! Actually, they enjoyed it as much as the girls. 

Don't you love everything about this?

The next 4 photos are from Bunker Hill.

The entire Freedom Trail is marked like this and one can follow it on foot in its entirety .

Bunker Hill Monument

This photo and the following 2 are the view from the deck of a fabulous house!
Would love to see this at night.

The Constitution masts behind the trees.

Roof top deck. Sigh.

Love this old Fire House!

I'm a sucker for gas lamps.

We enjoyed a late lunch at Warren Tavern, where Paul Revere himself enjoyed a meal or two!

Other highlights of the week include:

Family Home Evening and Pot Luck Dinner with all the Temple missionaries and the temple presidency and their wives.  Sorry- once again I forgot to take photos.  Our neighbors, the Dahles, taught a lesson on kindness.  I neglected to mention that our literal next door neighbors,Dave and Joleen Dahle, are also missionaries, serving in the temple here. We are usually on very different schedules and don't see a lot of them but it is wonderful knowing they are there (to borrow butter, eggs or crock pots!)
I made a Pinterest "experiment"- Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and Cream Cheese Ball . You dip Nilla Wafers , graham crackers, and green apples into it.  Pretty yummy!

Seeing the leaves gradually changing , day to day. Thrilling!

Serving in the temple. With my sister.  Such a unique and wonderful experience.  (Kathy, you and Keith will have to serve with us on our next mission :D! And Bob and Pat, let's all sign up together!)

District Meeting and feeding the Zone lunch.  We really missed our amazing group of elders and sisters while we were away.  We served Hawaiian Haystacks. They were a hit. So many said it was one of their family favorites back home. They are so grateful for these lunches and that makes it even more fun serving them!

A young woman in her 20's approached our sisters on the bus and wanted to know what church they went to because she was so impressed by the modest way they were dressed.  She said she is very discouraged by the lack of respect it shows God when young people come to her church dressed so inappropriately. She came to church, stayed for the entire 3 hours, participated and commented over and over how happy she was to see so many women respectfully worshipping the Lord.  She said she will be back next Sunday.

The very best part of the week was Sunday when we witnessed 2 baptisms!

Djeison and Ildo
Djeison (pronounced Jason) Lopes from our ward. He was baptized by a fairly recent convert himself, Ildo.  It was a special experience for Ildo and one both he and Djeison will never forget. We were so happy to see their happiness.

Mike had his first baptism!

  It was a moving service and Mike and Susan performed their song beautifully.  It was especially touching to see how this baptism came together. He was taught in Mike and Susan's ward but lives in the Arlington Ward so he was baptized there and will attend there.  It was so gratifying to see how these 2 wards came together to make this a memorable occasion and day for Mark Anthony.  Many made sacrifices to see this happen.  A couple from Rhode Island drove 3 hours round trip so Sister Scott, who was one of the missionaries who taught him, could be there.
I was most touched by a young couple from Mike and Susan's Cambridge ward who rented a car so she could come and play the piano for the baptism.  They don't need a car for their life in the city.  I love seeing the gospel in action and all the Christ-like service being rendered every day right in front of me.  It's wonderful!

It is no wonder that we are able to go our way rejoicing!  :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 8-14

Another week...and what a week it was!

We completed our tour of the Rochester NY Mission with zone conferences on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Canandaigua, Batavia, and Palmyra respectively.

Some words of wisdom shared:
Our lives are a classroom and we are continually learning.  If you don't understand something, it's because you ask not!
While we don't understand what's next, Heavenly Father does.
Service = happiness.
It is only those who don't know how to work that do not love it.  To those who do, it is better than play.  President Francis compared this to playing a sport you love.  Coaches make you work and work hard. You have to practice the same moves over and over and over.  It's hard but because you love it it's fun. You'd rather be doing it than anything else. Once you get lost in the work, it becomes extremely enjoyable. Not easy, but joyful. Hard things become easier as you keep doing them. Your capacity to do increases.
Everyone around you is truly your brother or sister. We need to truly, deeply love them.
A mission = an opportunity to become Christlike.

Nancy teaching

Why we gain 5 -10 pounds on these trips!  The members feed us well!

Elder and Sister/Nurse Ray  We have come to love them as dear friends. Just look at those faces- how could you not love them? She even made us hot -from- the -oven chocolate chip cookies- that equals instant bonding. 

With President and Sister Francis.  Kind, gentle,positive and inspiring true Saints.

These were smaller groups that rotated through 3 different presentations.

One Senior Sister who is going home soon shared the most heart-felt testimony.  She said she and her husband had hoped to serve a Family History Mission closer to their home in Texas.  They didn't have much money and were rather unprepared for the expense of this mission. They came as the early missionaries- without purse or script, she said.  They have been so blessed.  When winter came they were not prepared clothes- wise.  One sister in the area gave her warm boots to wear and another gave both she and her husband warm coats.  She said she was never cold during that harsh, cold long winter last year.  She said she was able to do lots of family history work helping people here learn how to do it. She said, 'The Lord was making me happy while I was doing what He wanted me to do.'
Very sweet and so sincere.

We loved our time here spent with these remarkable leaders and inspiring missionaries, young and "older".  We came away ready to work harder and love deeper.

After our conferences ended  each day, we explored the local area visiting 2 charming towns along the Erie Canal and enjoying dinner on an outdoor patio each time.  I just love water! Oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, canals- all of it !

Fairport, NY

These charming houses are everywhere here. 

Along the Erie Canal in Pittsford, N.Y.

A personal dock along the canal walkway

There is a lovely pathway all along the canal for miles.  We enjoyed several walks both in Fairport and Pittsford.

We enjoyed a very special treat this week.  We had dinner with Cody and Merry Braithwaite and their lovely family. Cody is the "long lost" 2nd cousin of Dale's that we stumbled upon when we went to church in Fairport, N.Y.  Everyone who saw our name tags said the same thing: 'Braithwaites. Oh, do you know Cody Braithwaite in our ward?'
We didn't. We do now. And we are so very glad we do.
They are a light and light to all they meet.  A darling , delightful family full of love and radiating happiness.  It was the first "real" home  with small children's chatter and laughter ringing throughout(outside of mission homes) that we have been in since arriving on our mission.  As soon as we walked through the door , we felt we were in a very special place. Cody and Merry had 4 children, 3 girls( Annie, Summer and Megan) and one boy(Noah), and recently adopted 2 little cherubs (Nathan and Sam) from the Ukraine.  Both have Downs Syndrome and some considerable difficulties to overcome.  What a blessing for them to be adopted into this family and what a blessing they are to the family. They are cherished and adored by everyone -parents and siblings alike.

The Cody and Merry Braithwaite Family

Collecting BuckEyes.

After dinner, Cody and the 4 older kids took us on a tour of the historic church sites in the Mendon area, close by.  (See Pics)  It was dark by the time we got to the pond where Brigham Young was baptized so sadly we weren't able to see that.  But it was a most enjoyable evening spent with newly found family.

 The home of John Young, Brigham's father. 

Before our last zone conference on Thursday, we were able to attend the Palmyra Temple which is always an extra special experience. It is most beautiful with all of its stained glass windows and the clear window overlooking the Sacred Grove.

The Palmyra New York Temple

Gorgeous Stained Glass windows

After we were finished with our presentations on Thursday, we headed out to get a jump start on our long journey home.  The Rays highly recommended we go out of our way just a little bit and visit Watkins Glen State Park.  They gave us such good advice last week on taking the lighthouse trail, we knew we couldn't go wrong.
As the following photos will attest, we didn't! It was spectacular!  And as we arrived later in the day, all the crowds had dissipated and we practically had the entire place to ourselves.
*disclaimer: last blog I gave credit to Sister Ray for directing us to Niagara on the Lake. It was actually President and Sister Francis. Our thanks to them!

This is happening! Fall is beginning to show itself!

Do you see the natural heart?

We got our work- out for the day climbing numerous steep stairways.


We spent the night in Painted Post where Dale was able to watch the BYU game on TV.  He said it was a perfect day.  Temple, zone conference, gorgeous nature and BYU won :)

Here is a small sampling of the beautiful countryside we drove through.  Picturesque farms every few miles. Loved it!

These first 3 photos were taken from a moving car. (Just so you know!)

The Finger Lakes Wine Country

These farms touched some nostalgic part of my heart.  I think I was meant to have grown up on a farm.   

This was a lovely wooded trail I took one morning.  It was just beside our hotel. 

A view from our hotel.

Friday morning we visited the Corning Glass Museum for a couple of hours before  our long drive home.

I love this quote. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love color.

Reminded me of sea glass.

We want you all to know how much we love you. We miss you.
Yet we love the Lord and we love serving Him in anyway we can.
Thank you for your prayers and your love and support.
They help us go our way rejoicing :)
"See" you next week!