Monday, July 28, 2014

Another great week in Pikesville

The best news first!!!!! Look, there is water coming from the shower head.  This is the cause of much celebration.   We no longer hves a small-flow (very small) shower where you had to stand right under the head to get any water.  (See  Book of Mormon,  Alma 18:5)

This is the view down our street.  I am making these pics larger so Katie can see them.  This is the nicer side of the neighborhood.  Anyway, we have been busy trying to meet people in the community.  It is slow go.  One evening we went with the Elders to dinner at a member's home....way up the mountain (what isn't up the mountain?), She had a nice home.  3 years ago a tornado came through and really messed up the land and completely destroyed her next door neighbors home and killed the wife.  However, Sis. Shackleford's home was okay.  She fixed a big meal of stuffed bellpeppers (stuffed with Venison....not my favorite), potatoes, rolls,  veggies and fruit.  We are learning to eat southern food.  Sorry I didn't get a picture.

We had a bright idea how to do service in this community.  We wanted to help with family history.  We went to the library and spoke with the head librarian because they are sponsoring an event where people could bring in their civil war heirlooms to be cataloged and scanned.  We offered up our services to help doing anything they needed.  We were met with an iceberg.  She did tell us it was the year of the commemoration of the civil war and she was trying to find some grave sites of soldiers from Bledsoe Co.  We offered and offered again to help, but she wasn't buying.  Finally we turned and left out the door only to have her run after us and say she changed her mind and gave us 2 papers with the name of 2 men who she couldn't find the graves of.  We took them and tromped through the Brushy Cemetery that was about 10 miles out of time.  We found both of them and took their pictures.  Of course, helped.  I don't know why she didn't look there, but it worked for us.  Well....end of the story....she was thrilled and the iceberg melted a little.  We are hoping to do more for her.  One thing that was interesting was that in the course of the conversation she told us she was very upset because she found that someone had put a headstone on the grave of a deserter.  I guess she didn't think his family would like to know where he was buried.

On Friday we returned to the home of the Curtis's.  They are the elderly couple I put a picture up of last time.  She had fallen and hurt herself and couldn't get the rest of her beans and blackberries picked in the garden.  The Elders and Darryl went and picked  the beans & blackberries.  She asked me to sit on the porch with her and sort the beans.  We did and she told me her life story.  We only got half way through because she had me laughing so hard.  They are the typical old couple who when they are apart they each blame the other for things that didn't work.  They had been married for 57 years.  I asked "Are you going to plant a garden next year?" she said "He says that next year we will only plant 1/4 the size of the garden."  I said "Is that enough?" She says "Well, he says it is." With her statement she makes the funniest puppy-dog face.  That is very typical of all her answers.  Jack then prepared a snack for us.......pulverized cabbage (no dressing or anything in it), sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, fried onions and bell peppers, pork & beans & wierners, slices of polish sausage.  But the good part was the fresh Blackberry pie.

Saturday the town had a World War II reenactment.  This is what it looked like.  Sorry, I couldn't get too close.  It didn't last long because one of the soldiers got flour in his eyes (from the fake gun powder) and fell to the ground screaming.  It took so long to get him settled that we left.  We walked down main street and chatted with some of the community people.


This is the road we got lost on Sunday on the way to  pick up the Cadds for church.  This was the good part of the road.  The rest of it was filled with rocks that were about 3"x3".  It was mighty rough.  The part that didn't get filmed was much narrower.  The car barely fit.  We won't be travelling that way again.
For my older LDS you remember this?  These little flags were standard decor in the Primary (the childrens Sunday School) when I was a kid.  I even remember the song that went with them.  This Primary is a little out of date, as is the whole ward.  This is in the church where we travel 35-40 miles each week to attend.

Last night we had a tornado warning.  The Elders had to sleep here in our house (under the orders of the mission president) because they live in a trailer.  Inasmuch as we have only 1 bed in the house, they slept on the couch and the floor.  It was pretty uneventful until about 11pm when we had a thunder and lightning storm. They were dazzled.  We were not because we have much louder storms in Tucson.

Today is P Day (Preparation Day), the day when we get to do whatever.  The Elders are here using our wifi to e-mail letters home.  That is Elder Strandling facing the camera.  He is amazing.

Well, that is all this week.  Brother Dunn is doing good.  He bakes bread about 3 times a week and then we try to find someone to give it to.  We went to the Pioneer Day potluck on Saturday and ate local Cuisine (all fried).  Brother Dunn's stomach wasn't doing too well Sunday morning.  We have only cooked 3 meals in our kitchen so far.  That is nice.We think of all of you often and wonder how you are doing.  Let us know!  We enjoy the pictures of your horses and our grandkids on facebook, and try to keep track of you that way.  Please excuse my bad typing and worse english.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Week in Pikevill,

After arriving in Pikeville on Wednesday, July 16th, Elders Stradling & Hansen guided to visit one of the stronger families in the Bledsoe County area.  We travelled up on Dayton Mountain in a misting rain through dense foliage to reach their house.  I kept thinking of the words of one of my favorite songs by the Oakridge Boys..."'d better move it or a shotgun will".  They had a locked gate, however, to keep the intruders off their property.  I can't describe how far this winding road went.......but we finally arrived.  This couple is almost off the the grid....except for propane for their water heater, stove and refrigerator.
This is their home which they built themselves.  We had a great visit, and great spaghetti.
We also had a wonderful visit with Jack and Rosala Curtis.  They also live on the mountain in a house they have lived in for many, many years which he built.  It looks like it should still be in the building process, but I think they are done.  They have been married for 57 years.  She is in poor health so he is the main cook and caretaker.  They have a huge garden.  Yesterday we returned to help them pick their blackberries and beans.  Actually Darryl & the missionaries picked and I sat on the porch and listened to Rosala's life story while we sorted beans.  She is very colorful. He fixed us a snack (better known to us as a dinner) of pulverized cabbage, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, fried onions and peppers, Polish sausage, pork & beans & wierners, avocado slices (with the peel still on), topped off by a fresh blackberry pie.
This is Elder Hansen from Oregon (near the Idaho state line).  On our first visit there he didn't quite make it through the whole conversation.
On Sunday we provided transportation to church (~40 miles away) for Bill and Joyce Cadd.  This is their home they share with their son and daughter in law and 9 dogs which they sleep with.  They are really very nice people who really appreciated us taking them to church.It was the first time they were able to attend the whole block of church in quite a while.

We have been kept very busy learning our way around the town and county, trying to remember the names of all the people we meet.  We have much more to until then....
We miss you all and think of you often.  PS the temperature here is in the 80s.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We made it to the Mission Office on Wednesday, July 16th.  We met with President Andersen and received our assignment to Pikeville, Bledsoe Co., Tennessee.  Presently they are part of the Crossview Ward in the church which is about 35 miles from Pikeville, and the Stake President is really pushing to make it a branch by itself.  For the last 9 months Elder Stradling (19 years old when he started) has had 5 companions and has worked his tail end off to accomplish this.  We are here to assist.
This is Pikeville, Tenn.  It's population is about 1,878.  I think they must have counted the dogs.  It is the county seat of Bledsoe Co. which has about 12,000.  Its elevation is 864' above sea level.  The temperature has been in the 70s during the last week (read it and weep, Tucson).  They say it will get hotter.  

This is Dollar General.  This is my favorite store....because it is the only store where we purchased our bed sheets and all other furnishings for our home.  Who would have every guessed I would be a fan of Dollar General?  We are also patrons of Save Alot and Piggly Wiggly grocery stores.  Food is much more expensive here.  I think we will have to give up milk because it is $3.78.  A head of garlic was $3.50.  Our first night here we purchased a can of Pork and Beans and a pkg of wieners, only to find out the can opener in our house didn't work.  So we had hot dogs.  The next night we had the pork and beans with wieners.  We are doing better now, but finding the time to cook has been difficult.
This is the house we live in.  It is known as the blue house on Birchwood St.  You can't see the beautiful Magnolia tree in front.  It is a nice house, but pretty bare.  We have 3 bedrooms (only 1 room has a bed) a bathroom where the water pressure is so low that you have to stand right under the shower head to get any water; a nice kitchen with no dishwasher or garbage disposal; a washer and dryer; and a living room with a love seat, couch, 1 end table, a small dining table w/ chairs.  I will take pictures later.
This is our neighbor (well, 2nd house down).  The Church of God of Prophecy.  We have trying to contact the owner because we would like to use this building for Sunday meetings  The Church of God of Prophecy only uses this building quarterly.There are so many churches in this town, some with beautiful buildings.  Everyone is very nice and friendly.

I joke about this town, because it is so small, but we really are beginning to enjoy it here.  The people are UNIQUE.  This is a struggling town with very, very high unemployment.  So much of this town does not live within the city.  We travel many miles up and down what they call mountains.  It is very green and lush.  I will blog again as soon as time permits.  Hopefully we will have our own internet then.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Provo to Nashville

It has been awhile since I shared with you.  On Friday, July 11th we headed out of Provo at about 4:30 pm.
We looked at those beautiful mountains and said goodbye.  We did see mountains again in Colorado, but after that we flat-lined.

These are our name badges which we wear ALWAYS.  Well, always in public.  They seem to be a magnet.  When we walk into a room all eyes seem to go to our nameplates.  It is quite funny.  If there is another LDS (Mormon) in the room they sometimes come and talk to us.  When we stayed in Grand Junction, CO, we had breakfast at the hotel with a delightful older couple.  Grandma Ruby Faye and Dennis (her husband) are from Preston Idaho.  They were in Colorado because they were going to a wedding of friends from Idaho who had to come to Colorado to wed because Colorado was the closest state that allowed 1st cousins to marry.  And we weren't even in the south yet.  Dennis is blind and Grandma Ruby was fully in charge.  They had served a mission in Peru.
We spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday in Colorado Springs with Susan and Bruce Crowther (Darryl's Sister and Brother in law).  We had such a good time it was hard to leave.  I think Susan is feeling better and things are looking up.  As we left on Monday morning, we had to come to a stop in the road so these ducks could cross.

We kept on and had a wonderful afternoon visit with Sam and Sarah Watkins in Augusta, Kansas.  It was so fun to see the best horse-shoer in Tucson who moved to Kansas.  Sarah was delightful and we had so much fun.  They have the biggest lawn to mow I have ever seen.

We stayed the night in Olathe Kansas in a hotel we will not be visiting again.  But it was midnight when we got there so we didn't notice much.  This changing time zones is the worst.

We have been re-introduced to the color green.  In order to miss St. Louis we cut South through Cape Girardeau.  Three points if you know what Cape Girardeau is known for.  We went through so many beautiful small towns that I could so live in.  But we went on.
You may not be able to read the sign I was forced to film at 80 miles an hour.  Do you think the driver was anxious?  So many wonderful pictures......such a speedy driver.  The sign says "KENTUCKY".  YEAH.
We had gone through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, a little of Illinois, Kentucky, and finally on to Nashville.  We got here at about 7pm.

We spent the night in Nashville at a hotel that was just a few doors down from the one we stayed at in December.  We got up early, had breakfast and reported to the Tennessee Nashville Mission office.......but more about that in the next blog.

We miss everyone, but not the hot weather.  It has been delightfully mild in Tennessee.  It has been in the high 70s and 80s; but we won't speak too soon because it could get hot.

We are at the library uploading this thinking about how wonderful it will be when we have internet.  Then I will post again.  We really want to tell you about the small town we have been assigned to in Southern Tennessee.  Until then.....thank you for being our fiends.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Provo Utah - Missionary Training Center

We arrived in Provo, Utah on Sunday, July 6th, and reported to the MTC bright and early (well, mid early) at 10 am.  The MTC stands for Missionary Training Center where we will spend 5 days in pretty intensive training.  There are 123 Senior Missionaries who checked in that day.  They are going to different places all over the world.  These are in addition about 2,000 young men and women who are receiving training to be missionaries all over the world.  They are not in the same learning areas as the Senior Couples (except for when we eat in the cafeteria.....and we had better beat them there before they eat it all).  Actually, they are so very respectful of Senior Couples.  We are always to cut in front of them in any line.....something they expect and are very accommodating about.
The Senior Couples are divided into "Districts" where we spend most of our time being taught how to teach effectively,  This is our group.  It's small, isn't it?  Most Districts are small, but a few are as large as 8-10 people.  I don't know why.  From Left to Right: The Crosbys are from Vero Beach, Fla who are going on a Military Relations Mission in Japan.  They will be in Okinawa Japan.  They are learning Japanese.  The Swans are from Vancouver, British Columbia, They are going to South Africa....english speaking.  They are Member/Leader Support Missionaries like us.  The Dunns who look a little tired, but happy, are going to Nashville, Tenn.....which looks like a party compared to the rest of this group.  The Macbeths are from Hurricane, Utah, and they are going as Mental Health Advisors to the Asia Area, centered in Hong Kong, but covers most of Asia.  They are learning Cantonese.
Okay, you ask "Who would take on teaching this mottley crew?"  Well, this is our morning instructor, Brother Rowe.  Does he look young?  He is.  About 23-24.  He served a mission in New Zealand.  But he is very able as well as cute.  He is very patient and has really taught us a lot.  We also have an afternoon instructor.  I think it is because we are too hard on the morning one. They say it's because they are students also.  Brother Copans come in the afternoon.  He served a mission in South Africa and Botswana. Because of visa problems he did serve part of his mission in the Tennessee Nashville Mission.  He is really good also, but easier to get off subject.
We also ran into some old friends from Tucson. Jim and Marilyn Busby who are going to the Toronto Canada Mission, where he served as a young missionary many years ago.
Our Apartment for 5 days.  I didn't show you the bedroom in case the bed wasn't made.  Don't let the kitchen fool you.  We never have to cook....and in fact the stove is disconnected. Our meals are always served in the cafeteria.  They are very good.  Especially the ice cream from the BYU Creamery.
 We are loving our experience so far.  It is challenging, but fun. All the 123 Senior Missionaries have become friends.  We have such good times sharing experiences with each other.  I will tell you more later about some of the interesting people we have met.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


On July 3rd, 2014 we were set apart and authorized to be Representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by President Barney Lewis by assignment from a Prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson. It was such an honor. All of our children were present to witness this great event.
Most of our material belongings are now packed in this 8'x8'x20' Pod, with room to spare.  Just a reminder that our material belongings are not the most important things in life.The 2013 Toyota Highlander is packed to the brim with the few things we are taking with us.....including the bread machine (but not the heater..boohoo). 
Our 1st Selfie, taken just as we are about to get in the car to leave.  Elvis has left the building.
If we look bad, it's because we have been sleeping on a blow-up mattress for the last 3 nights while loading the Pod.  Thank you to all those who came to help us load up!