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.
|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 !
|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|
|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!