Tuesday we headed out to Dayton Mountain to visit the Earls. Dave Earl is back from Nashville where he went for tests to see if he would qualify for a heart transplant. They still don't know the decision yet. On the way to their home we stopped at the Oren Wooden's Apple House. It is only open from August through October. We checked out all their preserves (the Pickled Jalapenos, Watermelon Rind pickles, Horseradish pickles, and Pickled Okra. We settled for a fabulous apple pie which we took up to the Earl's. We found them sitting on their porch relaxing, so we stayed a bit and then headed toward home.
Elders Randall and Fenwick serve in Spencer (which is actually part of the Sparta Branch). Elders Strandling and Hansen have the questionable pleasure of serving in Pikeville with us. We have a 1 1/2 hour meeting each Wednesday. Elder Strandling is the District leader so he makes assignments as to who gives the prayers, talks etc. This week Elder Hansen was assigned to come up with a good role-play. Role-plays are used to train missionaries how to answer questions, give lessons etc. Well, Elder Hansen came up with a doozy! It was so hard for me that I pouted about it for the whole next day. But I will do better because of it.
After we finished that we hurried to a meeting with he Elder's Quorum President (in the hat) and the Bishop (no hat, no hair). This was the second time we met to go through the ward list to identify who needs visits and help. There are about 500 members in the Crossville ward....and about 130 who attend regularly. The Bishop says that his ward covers 1000 square miles, so you can see that he needs some help. So many members of this ward are elderly or have medical problems that keep them from fully participating.
On Saturday evening we went to Dunlap, Tn., which is about 25 miles south of Pikeville. They were having their county fair in which the Church has a booth. We passed out 'CTR' balloons to the children and asked adults to fill out a short 4 question survey. It was a very small fair, if you asked me. It was mainly carnival rides. Inside the 1 building they had a band playing. I would have like to hear them more but I was needed outside.
There were 4 other missionaries there with us--2 Elders from Jasper and 2 Sisters from Dunlap. Elder Dunn even got to speak a little spanish to one family. Next week (week of 26th of Aug) the fair is in Crossville and we will be spending more time there. Then starting about the 6th of Sept. it will be in Pikeville.
Sunday was our big important church meeting here in Pikeville to see if we have enough people to start a Branch of the church right here!
Sorry, this is a picture from the back. I was trying not be conspicuous. There were 85 people there! Yeah! Way up in front sitting down is the Bishop of Crossville, and our Mission President, President Andersen. Standing to the right, the taller man is the Stake President, President Crawford. We held this meeting in the Sequatchie Valley Electic Co-Op building. We had more people than chairs, so some had to stand. It was a success, and we celebrated after the talks etc. with Peanut Blossom cookies & Rice Krispie Treats that I made the day before.
This is Elder Stradling and the Mission Pres., President Andersen in deep discussion. I think the Pres. is
After the meeting the Stake President left and forgot to take his scriptures with him. Elder Stradling is sure that it was a blessing from the Lord because it gave us the opportunity to drive to McMinville (better known as the birth place of Chuck Smith) on Monday to return the scriptures and do some heavy convincing that we really do need a branch in Pikeville. I think that the Stake President is so fond of Elder Stradling that he will do his best to get that done. Hopefully soon.
Elder Dunn and I did some grocery shopping at Walmart while Elders Stradling and Hansen did their convincing with the Stake Pres. After we picked them up we had the opportunity of going to the local Ace Hardware and found a long lost relative of Chuck Smith. Actually it was the grandson of his cousin. It was fun to meet him and to witness him talking to Chuck on my cell phone.
The drive to McMinville is not a very pleasant drive. It is beautiful.....green and lush on both sides of the road; but it winds and winds much like the road up the Salt River Canyon. It took us about 1 1/4 hours to get there. When we finally got there we could get no GPS coverage so we had to go by inspiration to where the church was. I even went into a verizon store to see if my phone needed updating. The lady said no, it was just bad coverage. It was also very cloudy and raining.
Well, that is the end of another busy week. One thing is for sure, I never have any trouble sleeping at night. I hope all is well with each one of you. We love what we are doing and wish each one of you had the opportunity to feel the joy of serving your fellowmen and to help bring joy into their lives.