Saturday, January 31, 2009

We have completed the move of our belongings from our temporary quarters at the lake into the home we have rented in Bedford. The owners needed this past week to clean and install curtains, change out the old refrigerator for a new one, change and replace some door latches and locks, etc. They did a host of other things to make us more comfortable. They have been so kind.

We cleaned bathrooms, vacumned floors and washed bed linens, towels, etc., at the Miller cabin, so we could leave it like we found it. What a blessing it was to have this place to stay in while we hunted for a rental.

I took this picture from the front deck of the Miller cabin at Smith Lake as the evening sky to the northeast took on a glow from the western sunset.

The library is closing so I must post this short note and return to our new home on Hopes Way. We still haven't unpacked suitcases or boxes, but we are finally in and it is so, so good to know we can get settled and get down to the real purpose of our missionary assignment, to work with these members and reach out to those who are searching for the purpose of their existance.

Monday, January 26, 2009

January 26, 2009, Monday, A home at last!

After a full 10 days of looking for a place to live in or near Bedford we were approached yesterday at Branch Conference by High Councilman Elmer Hodge of Vinton. Brother Hodge said the home of his parents (now deceased) had just become available. He gave us the particulars on the home and we arranged to meet he and Sister Hodge at the Church Monday morning for a walk-through. What a perfect place! We both felt immediately that this was an answer to our prayers. It is partially furnished, spacious, clean and very functional with all the necessary living area on one level so that Linda does not have to be going up and down stairs. It is on a beautifully landscaped 5-acre lot. It has a full basement and garage. Brother Hodge's sister will collect the rents. She accepted our check for payment of our first month and we will be able to begin moving in this week as soon as they replace a broken refrigerator and get some curtains hung and some door locks changed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 24, 2009, Saturday, the house hunt near Bedford continues

As we headed south from Bedford toward our temporary quartes at Smith Mountain Lake we had to stop and take this picture of a glorious sunset.

We have learned that Virginia has wonderful mountains; a most delightful countryside; a rich heritage of over 400 years of history as one of the oldest and most storied places in America; and it has beautiful sunsets to boot! We feel very fortunate to be here!

We know we will find something soon that we can move in to and begin settling in to our true purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ. We have been meeting a variety of townspeople, homeowners, realtors, property managers and others. All have been helpful and kind. They see us in our missionary attire, with our badges on and they usually ask what we are doing and where we are from and it gives us an opportunity to explain our reason for coming to the Bedford area. Sometimes we are able to leave a pass along card with them. We like to think we are doing some good, even though we are still homeless.

Actually, this is a land of great contrast between the old and the new. The rural area outside of cities like Bedford and Roanoke is covered with abandoned structures like these old homes that have stood here for years and years. A short distance down the road there will be a newer home or a well cared for older home with beautiful yards, barns, fences and outbuildings. Then a short distance furthor on you find an old single-wide mobile home or another derilict farm building, literally falling down upon itself, then a little furthor and a mansion of a home or a rural church of which there are very many.

We hope you can help us decide on which of these homes would be more suitable.

Wednesday, Jan 21, we had the opportunity of meeting with the missionaries assigned to the Roanoke District, of which we are a part. Elder Jytanski (2nd from left in middle row) is the District Leader. He is from Orem, Utah and conducted a very fine training session with these missionaries regarding the great importance of the Book of Mormon as a major tool in the conversion process. We were given the opportunity to introduce ourselves. They welcomed us warmly. We were able to go to lunch with them at a nearby Chinese Buffet after the meeting. Sister Chapman won their hearts when she announced that we would be picking up the tab for their meal!
The Zone Leaders, Elder Gowen (standing to right of Elder Kytanski) and Elder Green (first on the left in the back row), also joined us at this meeting and the lunch aftward. This is a fine group of missionaries. It was wonderful to be with them and feel of their dedication, energy and enthusiasm in an area where much of their time is spent going door-to-door.

These are our temporary quarters on the shores of Smith Mountain Lake some 18 miles south of Bedford, Virginia. There is a large walk-out basement on the lake side of the home that can't been seen from this elevation. You could get spoiled in a hurry living here. Linda appreciates that she has only the porch steps to climb as there are bedrooms, bath, kitchen and large living areas on the main floor.

This home was made available to us by the owners, the Miller family. It is their summer vacation home. They kindly allowed the Branch President to place us here while we hunt for a furnished home to rent, hopefully closer in to Bedford. Some members live down near the lake, including the Branch President, Paul Martin and his family. He is a building contractor and knows many of the homeowners who have property in this huge Smith Mountain Lake area, located in the southern part of our Mission.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Jan 17, 2009, Sat, House hunting in Bedford, VA

This may surprise you. This is the view from our hotel window, looking north from the Bedford area toward the Blue Ridge Mountains; part of the Appalachian and Great Smoky Mountain chain.

We have been out looking at rental properties today, in Bedford and surrounding area. We have looked at some possibilites, but have not yet made a decision. The home we like best is 30 minutes out of town, though still in the boundaries of the Bedford Branch. We have also looked at a townhome located very close to the branch chapel in Bedford. It clean and modern, with lots of nice features, but it is unfornished. We are continuing to check on other possibilities.

We know these are great pictures, but when you consider that we were doing 55+ on the freeway at the time, heading out of Charleston toward our assigned area in Bedford, Virginia, I think Linda did super to capture this view of the West Virginia state capitol building as we hurried by.

This was Friday morning, at around 11 a.m. with temperatures in area of 11-13 degrees.

Friday, January 16, 2009

January 15, 2009, Arrival in West Virginia

The countryside in southern Illinois and Indiana took on a dramatic difference from the scenes available to us earlier in our trip across Missouri.

No bill boards line the Interstate in Illinois or Indiana. What a difference!

I-70 from Kansas City to St. Louis is literally one huge bill board after another, mile after mile. Shame on Missouri (shame on Arizona, as a matter of fact!). Our compliments to Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky where you see the countryside with its wonderful farms, rivers and woodlands unobstructed by commercial signs and bill boards.

Wednesday morning the arctic air that swept down over the Mid-west brought the temperatures in the single digits as we drove through St. Louis and crossed the mighty Mississippi.

Linda took this picture of the famous "Gateway to the West" that stands on the bank of the river, welcoming travelers to St. Louis and the great western expanse of the American continent.

Here is where so many early settlers, explorers, adventurers and pioneers came to get outfitted and ready for their western journey across the plains.

We didn't stop but kept on heading east, changing from I-70 to I-64 as we crossed onto the Illinois shore and continued on through southern Illinois, then on through southern Indiana, finally stopping for the night in Frankfort, Kentucky.

We arrived at the West Virginia Charleston Mission Home on Thursday afternoon just President and Sister Thornock were completing a Zone Leader conference and luncheon.

The Zone Leaders were all gathered about their mission president on the front porch and Sister Thronock was preparing to take their picture as we pulled up.

We got to shake the hand of each of these fine elders as they departed. Then we were warmly greated by President and Sister Thornock and taken inside the Mission Home where they fed us a late lunch and engaged us in conversation.

We realized finally, that this is the very same mission home we came to 25 years ago to pick up our son Jeffery at the conclusion of his 18 month service in the the West Virginia Charleston Mission. How special it is for us to be here now at the beginning of our service!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 13, 2009, Between Topeka and St. Louis

As we drove east along I-70 from Topeka, Kansas to St. Louis, Missouri today, there were numerous sites of historic significance we could have visited, to include: President Eisenhower's ancestral home, President Truman's ancestral home, Fort Leavanworth, etc., etc.

We chose, however, to visit this delightful spot instead, located at Kingdom City, MO, just off the Interstate, between Kansas City, MO and St. Louis. This is what seniors do. They try to re-visit the days of their youth. In our case, the "50's. Was there ever a time more enjoyable? I ask you.

Everything you can think of that existed back in the 1950's can be found in this store. We didn't buy anything, but we did have fun walking around and looking at all the old stuff, like poddle skirts, 45 rpm records, old bill board advertisements and 10,000 other miscel things relating to times gone by.

Hey, it was a fun 20-30 minutes. Then we drove on.

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12, 2009, Birthday on the Kansas plains

Today, January 12, 2009, is the birthday of the loviest lady in my life! My sweetheart, wife, dearest friend and eternal companion, Linda Burnham Chapman.

She looks like she might be 40 years at the very most! What a special, beautiful woman, mother and choice Latter-day Saint! She is greatly beloved by her children, grandchildren and extended family and many friends!


Of course, we had to take this exit from the I-70, east of Abilene, so we could check out the town of Chapman, Kansas!

History of Chapman
The history of Chapman goes back to 1855 when George Freeman settled on land 4 miles North of the present town site. In 1857 John Erwin and Michael Hunt settled on land 1 mile North of the present town site.
In 1858 the boundaries of Dickinson County were established by Governor Denver and the name of Dickinson was chosen in honor of Senator D.F. Dickinson of New York. Newport was the site of the First County Seat and was Southeast of town. In this same year Mr. Erwin broke prairie ground for the first crop of sod corn. Mr. Lenon planted wheat by hand and harrowed it in with a harrow made by tying brush together and weighing it down by a log.
The early settlers lived off the meat of buffalo, deer, wild turkey, rabbits, and prairie chickens. Their nearest doctor was an army doctor at Fort Riley, about 15 miles away.
Prairie fires, Indians, buffalo herds, and cyclones were always threats to the Pioneers. There were many tribes of Indians in the fertile valley of the Smokey Hill River running from Abilene to Junction City. Among the tribes were the Kaw, Delaware, Pawnee, Sacs, Pottawatomie, and Fox. Some were friendly and some were not.
Buffalo herds migrated from South Dakota to Texas and sometimes took up to 3 days for the herds to pass and would stretch for 1/2 to 1 mile wide. The prairie grass was so tall a cow could get lost if it wandered from the herd.
The Erwin home became the center of Pioneer hospitality; no traveler was refused lodging or something to eat. Mr. Erwin was also the postmaster to the first Post Office of Chapman Creek. This Post Office was called Farmington Post Office.
The first Catholic Church was built and the first Mass was held in August 1866. The church was built at the corner of St. Patrick's Cemetery, close to the Erwin home. The first district school was held in this church.
The Pioneers traveled as far as Leavenworth, Kansas to buy supplies. They lived in dugouts, log cabins, wagons, and tents until better homes could be built and everyone helped. They had varied occupations, all contributing to the growth of the community.
In 1866 the Union Pacific Railroad came through the area and the community began to grow quickly. In 1869 the area suffered a devastating setback when they had a tremendous flood. Many human and animal lives were lost, not to mention the number of crops and homes that were destroyed.
In 1872 the community was incorporated and named after the Chapman Creek. This was then the beginning of the town of Chapman.
In the year 1874 a disaster occurred when there was an invasion of Rocky Mountain grasshoppers. They ate everything in their path, even the fuzz off the cottonwood boards and netting from farmhouse windows. The only thing that the grasshoppers did not destroy was Mrs. Ryan's small patch of growing tobacco.
In 1879 bonds were voted on for a new school building which was to be used for all community activities, religious and social.
In 1880 the Methodist's built a new church, and in 1883 the Catholics built a new St. Michael's church and other congregations were also formed. In 1888 a high school was built for the education of those desiring advanced training. It was the first County High School of its kind in the world and home of the first Hi-Y teen club in the nation.
The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1909.
We are presently a town of about 1,400 people consisting of retirees, civil service workers and army personnel, with Fort Riley only 15 miles away. The area around is a farming community of wheat, milo, corn, cattle, and hogs.
There were many families instrumental in building the community around the town of Chapman. Most were from Ireland or were descendants of those who came from Ireland. Therefore, our town is called Chapman Irish.

The farming town of Chapman, Kansas is just south of I-70, a few miles east of Abilene. There are lots of shamrocks in display about the town, designating this to be the home of the "Fighting Irish." Most likely, this is the name associated with the local high school athletic teams.

This is another picture, taken while traveling eastbound on I-70 nearing the Colorado border. You can see the Rocky Mountains, faintly in the distance.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jan 10, 2009, Sat, Day 1, Trip to WV

The drive east along I-70, from Salina is a spectacular drive on the northern edge of Utah's canyonlands.

We finally crossed the Rocky's on I-70 and stopped for the night in Golden, Colorado.

We are happy to be on our way to our field of labor in West Virginia!

Saturday, Jan 10, we departed from Provo with temperature just above 9 degrees, but with clearing sky's and bright sunshine. As we drove south through the farming community of Gunnison, on our way to the junction of US 86 and I-70, we photographed these trees that were covered with frozen white of the previous snow.

Jan 9, 2009, Friday, last day at MTC

One of the best things that happens to us at the MTC is our opportunity to have these wonderful returned missionaries as our teachers, helping us learn how to best use "Preach My Gospel" and work effectively with local priesthood leaders and members in the church units where we will be serving. These are great young men!

These two dear, former sister missionaries really touched our hearts as they spoke of their experiences in the small community of Finley, Australia back in 2002.
They consented to come out to the main hallway and pose before the big world map with Sister Chapman.
They now serve as volunteers at the MTC, inspiring senior missionaries with their stories of faith and fortitude in the face of almost total opposition. We just loved the spirit they brought to our large, end-of-the-day meeting with all the senior missionaries.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jan 6, 2009, Tuesday, Provo MTC

This was the view from our room on Tuesday morning as the snow continued to fall. We are on the 2nd floor of the Jacob Hamblin building where they house the senior missionary couples and older single sisters. The rooms are small, but we have what we need. We are very grateful we are not housed down at the Super 8 motel where some of the missionary couples are staying as the drive back and forth is challenge for them on these snowy mornings and evenings.

We've met such good, devoted couples, some on going on their 4th and 5th missions. Many, like us, are on their 2nd mission.

All day, Tuesday, it continued to snow here at the MTC in Provo. Street conditions prevented many of the older volunteers who help with training sessions from being able to drive safely to the MTC so we were teaching each other as missionary couples. It was fun! What a choice experience!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jan 5, 2009, Monday, Arrival at Provo MTC

The cold and snow doesn't bother Sister Linda Chapman. Everything about the Missionary Training Center is so special, who can complain about a beautiful snow fall on the day of our arrival, Monday, Jan 5.
Not long after this picture was taken (3:00 p.m.) it started to snow again and continued snowing until long after nightfall. To us it looked like at least 10 new inches of snow. It made it kind of interesting to unload our things from the car and get them to our room. What fun!

A view from our hotel window of Mt. Timpanogus and the snow covered Wasatch front, looking north in Provo, Utah. It went down to 2 degrees on our arrival Sunday, Jan 4. It warmed to 18 degrees when we checked in at the MTC Monday morning. Brrrrr!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

On our departure from Show Low, Friday morning, Jan 2, en route to Missionary Training Cener in Provo, Utah, we stopped for our first visit to Kelly's new place of employment, the KWKM 95.7 FM Radio station.
Here she is performing her receptionist and other duties at her dexk in the front office.

New Year's Day evening we enjoyed dinner at Fiesta Mexicana in downtown Show Low with Steve & Ann, Rebecca & Randy and Kelly & Brock. We were without doubt the most noisy, rowdy group in the entire restaurant.

What a good time, being with these dear daughters and their husbands!

Laughter is good medicine for the soul!

On New Year's Day we got to see our grandson, Rathen Ricedorff, lead his Show Low High School Cougars to victory over a team from Joseph City during an invitational basketball tournament at Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside. It was a great game!
We are very proud of you, Rathen.

When we arrived at the home of our daughter Ann and her husband Steve Williams in Linden on New Year's Eve, we were greeted by the youngest member of the family, Joshua, a future gymnest, no doubt about it!

We will be away from our family for the next 18 month's and we these children will all grow and change in so many special and important ways. We will miss seeing and being with them.

New Year's Eve 2008 found us in Show Low/Linden, visiting one last time with our White Mountain families. Rebecca and Randy hosted a gathering complete with food and drink at their home so we could all be together and ring out the old and ring in the new.
Who is that fellow in the stocking cap, standing in Rebecca's kitchen, surrounded by all those good looking girls?
It just so happened that our Son Jeffery and his wife Kristi and children were traveling back to their home in Idaho from their Christmas trip to Texas and stayed the night at the Ricedorff home before continuing on, So, its Jacob in the cap, visiting with his cousins.