Thursday, February 26, 2009

This was our happy group of Senior Missionary couples serving in the West Virginia Charleston Mission. President and Sister Thronock are standing next to Linda in the 2nd row. The office couple, the Christensen's are in front. We are missing the Cochran's who stayed in Buena Vista, Virginia to be at the baptism of Sharon and Allen LaRue's daughter-in-law, Tabitha, married to their grandson James. (sorry, I don't have the last name).

This picture was taken on the steps of the Mission Home in Charleston.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some look more like this!

Here in this beautiful state of Virginia they are celebrating 400 years of history. Homes of days gone by still stand, scattered all about this interesting Bedford County where we are serving. Often, we wish these old homes could talk. What a story they would tell!

Since Monday we have been out each day, traveling to the furthest reaches of the Bedford Branch, knocking on doors and trying to locate those who are on the membership records of the Church. It has been a very interesting and enjoyable time. Linda is the co-pilot, navigator and scribe. I take the doors so she doesn't have to get out and climb steps and stairs unless/until we are invited in.
Some homes look like this. This in in the Thaxton area west of Bedford.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February 16, 2009, Monday, Finding members along the Blue Ridge

On our travels from Big Island where we had three member families we tried to contact, we drove along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping here at Abbot Lake at the foot of one of the famous Peaks of Otter. There is a resort hotel on the shores of this lake with a very fine restaurant, open year round. We stopped and had a nice meal before driving on to visit members living in Montvale on the other side of this mountain.

This is Goose Creek Valley, nestled beneath the Blue Ridge Mountains west of Bedford. A number of our member families are scattered about through this area. We had to open some gates, cross some cattle guards, drive through some cow pastures being careful not to stampede the cattle, drive over some steep, narrow and very rocky roads to get to some of the homes on our list. Often, no one was home and we were glad we at least had a flyer with our names and information on it to leave at the door.

We woke up yesterday, President's Day, Feb 16, to a new, light blanket of snow that fell quietly during the night. But today, we were determined to begin our travels about the Bedford Branch, to meet and get acquainted with those whose names appear on the church records but who we don't see attending any church meetings or activities. We prepared a flyer with information on upcoming events, i.e., Stake Conference, a YW fund raiser dinner, and the dates and times of April General Conference. We included our name and phone number as well as those of the full-time elders and the Branch President. By noon the snow had mostly melted away. The roads were nice and clear. We started with those who live furthest away, up in Big Island to the north and then we crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway and dropped down into Montvale on the west end of the Branch area. It was great to be out knocking on some doors and meeting some of our members.

Yesterday, was President's Day, when we remember these great men who established and preserved our American way of life. We love these two men, especially, Washington and Lincoln, for the integrity of their souls and their faithfulness to the cause of liberty in the time of greatest crisis in our nation's history. They stood resolute. They saw more clearly than other men the things most dear, most needful as conflict swirled about them. I hope we always take time to think of them and to speak of them to succeeding generations.
Early morning walks provide food for the soul. The day is fresh and new and we realize that regardless of any problems or set-backs of previous hours, this new day holds such promise!

Seeing the light of the morning sun touch the landscape and the sky, enfusing it with marvelous color; it deserves attention. It reminds us of the great privilage it is to live in this beautiful world and experience the wonders of nature around us each day.

It is about 7 a.m. in this picture, looking off toward the Blue Ridge Mountains from the hill just to the north and west of our residence on Hopes Way in Bedford

Monday, February 9, 2009

February 9, 2009, Monday in Bedford, Virginia

Here is another picture of the scene from our front porch on the morning after our first snowfall (Tues, Feb 3), here on Hopes Way in Bedford. By noon it was mostly melted away, but it sure was a beautiful sight when the morning sun first hit these snow covered trees that line our little road.

Linda has been quite sick all this past week. She has suffered from a persistant cough that cold medications and decongestants seem to have little beneficial effect. And her pain levels have been very high with her Fibromyalgia and an inflamed esophagus. Everything, all coming at once it seems. We have a call in to a respected doctor, Dr. Dane McBride, an allergist. He is also the member of the Mission Presidency and a former president of the Roanoke Virginia Stake. We are waiting to here back from him.

Linda was too ill to attend Zone Conference last Wednesday and remained too sick to attend our Sunday meetings at the Bedford Branch. I fulfilled my speaking assignment at the Branch Sacrament meeting on Sunday but it was not the same being there alone without my dear companion. The members of the Branch all inquired about her and wanted us to know she would be included in their prayers. They are a wonderful group of Saints.

This is the fireplace area on the east wall of the walkout basement. It is a large room, carpeted and clean. Just waiting for a family to come visit. There is a couch, chairs, table, desk, bookcase and nice T-V. There is a bathroom down here too, and a large utility/storage room and access to the large garage off to the left (not shown).

This is one of two smaller bedrooms across from the master bedroom on the main floor. It contains a single bed and dresser. Linda carried out the blue theme of the room, adding a picture of grandmother Elsie Chapman.

When Portia Dolan, the family member who we will be paying our rent to, stopped by to bring the living curtains back from the dry cleaners, we walked her through the house to see some of things we had done to settle in. She seemed very pleased with everything. She liked seeing this picture on the dresser in this blue bedroom. She said the dresser had been her mother's dresser.

Portia has been so kind and thoughtful in getting this home ready for us to move in to. Both she and her husband and brother and sister Hodge did so many unexpected things to insure we would be comfortable and that the home completely functional, purchasing items for the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, etc., to include new washer and dryer and new refrigerator. We just can't say enough about their kindness to us.

This is the master bedroom. There is a very nice, large wooden dresser, not shown, that matches the bedroom set. There are two clothes closets and the master bath opens off to the right (not shown).

While the curtains and bedspread are old. The owners had everything cleaned and the curtains laundered and ironed and re-hung after we agreed to rent the home. They also went out and bought new mattress covers, sheets, pillow cases and blankets for our use.

I took this picture of the kitchen while standing in the dining room. The kitchen extends some distance more to the left to include the refrigerator and ample room for the kitchen table, chairs and small cabinet (pantry).

Melissa asked for some interior photos of the home we are living in on Hopes Way, Bedford, Virginia.

This is a view looking across the living room into the empty dining room.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

This is the lovely Bedford Branch chapel located in the heart of Bedford. The interior of this little meeting house is very much like being in one of the meeting rooms of some of our Temples. It is beautiful!

This was taken on the day of our Branch Conference, January 25th.

This is our neighbor to the north of us on Hopes Way. You can see the new snow cover on the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.

Another view of the home we now reside in on Hopes Way in Bedford, Virginia. This picture was taken the morning following a snow fall during the night. Such a beautiful morning! Cold and clear as a bell!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This is looking the other way, south down the little lane we live on (Hopes Way). There are only two other homes on this road. From the front of our home we can't see either of our neighbors.
What a totally peaceful, beautiful place! Yet, we are only a mile from the Bedford Chapel and less than a mile from the grocery store, drug store, gas station, restaurants, etc.
We just keep pinching ourselves! Is it too good to be true?
We woke this morning, Tuesday, Feb 3, to a beautiful blanket of snow! This is our first snow that we have experienced in the Beford, Virginia area since our arrival in mid- January! It was such a beautiful sight that I had to go down the road with the camera and take pictures. This is truly a lovely spot.

We are still unpacking and settling in to this home. It has been so exciting for us to think that we are in this home and now we can focus on fulfilling our callings as missionaries. What a great place to serve in! We love Virginia!