Wednesday, May 13, 2015

APRIL 27-MAY 3, 2015

We caught a morning ferry from Nantucket and bid our very fond but sad farewell, picked up our car in Hyannis Port and started driving straight for New York.   President and Sister Francis from the New York Rochester Mission had kindly asked us to participate in their zone conference there.

We love the Francis's! 
One thing we have learned on our mission is how incredibly hard and with such depth of love for the Savior and for their missionaries these presidents and their wives work and serve. Our eyes have been opened wide and we marvel at their stamina, consecration, and sacrifice.

They were held in the Meeting House adjacent to the David Whitmer Farm House and Visitors' Center Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. until around 4 p.m.

We were asked to address the issues of self-sufficiency and safety.
It was a round robin format with 4 work shops- ours, physical fitness, cooking, and a tour of the Whitmer farmhouse where Joseph Smith completed the translating of the Book of Mormon and organized the Church.  It was a busy and fulfilling week.

Elder Braithwaite had them captivated with his stories of the foolish acts of other missionaries and their unfortunate consequences. 
He took a photo of me teaching but it was 'unflattering' so the vain part of me is not publishing it here.

This was such a fun and brilliant workshop.  The wonderful and tireless Sister Ballard conducted this "Chopped" Food Network type challenge to encourage the missionaries to eat healthier meals with hands on experience proving it is not that hard, time consuming nor expensive.
They were divided into groups, given a box of ingredients and had 45 minutes to make a main dish and dessert. 

The senior couples were the judges and I gave this one extra points for the creative flair in presentation. They were all pretty tasty. 

They didn't make all of these but these were some of the clever names of the recipes.
Another favorite, by name and taste, was Peach My Gospel...a peach cobbler type dessert.

We are constantly uplifted and inspired with the stories the senior couples share with us.
This darling couple were able to bring their service dog with them. They say he has been the best missionary of all!  Everyone wants to meet him and hear his story. Because of him, they have given out over 100 copies of the Book of Mormon.  They say the dog "chooses" people.  They will be walking along and he will detour into a building and go right up to a particular individual. 
Love it!

Another couple we talked with who are here as Missionary Leader Support missionaries brought back 44 less active members and personally taught and baptized 8 souls. 
So inspiring!

There is so much work to do.  Any of you eligible "seniors", come join the fun!

  A view into the Visitor's Center.

I love this portrait of my Savior. I love the intensity and His eyes here. 

A reproduction of the room in which the translation took place in an upper room in the farm house.

"Let your light so shine."

This mission includes most of the sacred sites connected with our church history in this area.  Many of the missionaries are able to serve in each of these sites but there are a few who never have the opportunity.  The Francis's want to make sure that each and every elder or sister who serve in this mission get to visit and experience each of the sites even if they don't get to serve there.  This is the main reason for holding this conference here.  It is a little removed from the other sites and some may never see it if not for this occasion.  The tour of the farmhouse and Visitor's Center is the highlight of this particular conference for these missionaries.

Following is a brief history of the farm...
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in the Peter Whitmer home at Fayette, New York on April 6, 1830.  Joseph Smith had come to stay at the Whitmer home in June 1829 to escape persecution in Pennsylvania.  Within a month of his arrival, the Prophet completed the Book of Mormon translation, the angel Moroni showed the golden plates to the Three Witness, and the Lord revealed procedures for establishing His Church.  On April 6, about 60 friends and family crowded into the 20x30 foot home to witness the organization of the Church. 
If you would like to know more click here:

On Tuesday night following the conference we took the mission's new nurse and her husband out to dinner so we could get to know them better. Dale had almost daily contact with these mission nurses so it is so very nice to have a face to go with a name-from both sides. Wanda and Dennis Workman are great, hard working people from Asheville, North Carolina.  It was a pleasure to meet them.
I was certain I had a photo of them but sadly cannot find it.

On Wednesday evening we were invited to have dinner with...
the Winebrenners and the Mylroies, our new found friends we met on Nantucket! 
As mentioned in the previous blog they live about an hour away from where we were staying for the conference. We were in Senaca Falls and the Winebrenners live in Pittsford while the Mylroies live in the neighboring village of Fairport, two very charming small towns on the Erie Canal. 
We were so happy they called and we were able to visit with them again.
We first went to the Winebrenners incredible home.  They knew I loved homes and was fascinated by their life of restoring and decorating older homes. ( a dream job for me if ever there was one!)
They were kind enough to give us the grand tour. Amazing property! And amazing what they have done with it.  The upstairs of their home is a tribute to Nantucket with many tasteful and wonderful reminders of that special place. This home  was formerly a carriage house and is an historic property right on the canal including a granary and bull barn.  Every inch was fabulous and I was in heaven

 A place to relax and take in the canal.

 The canal has a wonderful walking path all along most of its length. 

The upper great room in the loft of the bull barn.

We loved seeing their home and handiwork.  After our home tour we met up with the Mylroies for dinner at local restaurant and had ice cream cones for desserts at a yummy place right on the canal. We loved having a chance to visit with these wonderful, inspiring people once more.  More good and gracious folk have never lived.  So loving, welcoming and hospitable. Take you right in , under their wings,  and love you as one of their own. Kindred souls.  We are so grateful our paths crossed. And, as Sally put it,  there are no coincidences.  We were met to meet. 
Dale and I marvel at the tremendous blessings we have had on our mission of meeting and associating with some of the best people on earth.  They touch not only our lives but our hearts. They inspire us to be better. We are eternally grateful.  

One of the zones from these conferences.

The Francis's have an incredible mission.  Their missionaries are well- trained, dedicated, happy and healthy. When I commented on how few health problems they seem to have, the reply was telling: President Francis is so happy and so positive and so loving it is infectious and spreads throughout all his missionaries. Great work President and Sister Francis.  Thank you for the blessing of serving your mission. 

On Thursday after the conferences ended the Francis's invited us to go with them to a Mennonite store where they were picking up some deli sandwiches to take back home to their sons for dinner.
They said they were their boys favorites so we ordered one too and it was delicious. 

 We ate in on our way back to Palmyra where we were blessed to ponder in the Sacred Grove for a while before going to the temple. We had the entire grove all to ourselves.  What a special experience that was!

Brother Mylroie invited us to do sealings with him so that is just what we did. We didn't want to pass up another chance to bask in his spirit.  And just being in that temple is a special experience in and of itself.  It was a perfect ending to our time here with this mission.

We wanted to make one last stop before we left this area.  We wanted to see the grave of Alvin Smith. We had tried in previous visits to visit it but could never find it.  Thanks to Brother Winebrenner's directions we succeeded this time.

We made it just as the sun was setting. Perfect timing!

On our way home we decided to stop and see Lake George, N.Y., described locally as "the prettiest lake in the country".  But aren't they all? HA! I think Lake Tahoe fans would have an issue with this claim! I was quite lovely though and, in season, I imagine even more so.

The historic and famous Sagamore Hotel.  Felt I had gone back in time to the Gilded Age. Gorgeous!

The historic and famous Sagamore Hotel.  Felt I had gone back in time to the Gilded Age. Gorgeous!

We spent the night in Saratoga Springs, a very attractive and amiable town.  The race track was closed but the town scene was bustling with many sidewalk cafes and cute shops.  Loved it!

The drive through New York state is always lovely.  Rolling green hills and farm after farm as far as the eye can see.

And another extraordinary week in Dale and Nancy's Excellent Adventure comes to an end.

While at the Whitmer Farm I had a few quiet moments to reflect upon the events that took place there and the affect and impact it has had on me and my life. As I was reading in the introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants I read the testimony of the Twelve Apostles to the truth of that book.  I desire to end this post with their words. As a set apart full time missionary for the Church, I echo their testimony as my own.

"We give this testimony unto the world, the Lord being our helper; and it is through the grace of God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are permitted to have his privilege of bearing this testimony unto the world, in the which we rejoice exceedingly, praying the Lord always that the 
children of men may be profited thereby."


  1. sounds like a great zone conference! love the picture of the sacred grove.