Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is the first baptism we experienced at the Bedford Branch since our arrival here in January.
We had the enjoyment of sitting in on the lessons taught to Logan Spring Wright, 8 yrs, shown here just prior to the baptismal service Sunday, March 29, with her mother Jackie, and her step-father, Paige Tomlinson, and her grandpa.
Her baptism brought a great many people together. It was a wonderful service! The Kingston's came clear rom Idaho to be part of the baptism. They had been instrumental in the conversion of Logan's mother Jackie, who joined two years ago. It was a very special day for these families who are related to Logan and came out to show their support. The chapel was full!

The missionaries serving at the present time, March 30, 2009, in the Roanoke District, which includes the boys of Bedford, Elder Spendlove (far left, hands in pockets) from Cache Valley, Utah and the big fellow with the dark glasses, Elder Boling of San Diego, California.

Our District Leader is Elder Shill, second from the far right, first row. He is the grandson of Wynn & LeRene Call, who we served with at the Skyline Seminary in Salt Lake City so very many years ago (1966-68).

This picture was taken Monday, March 30, at the end of our District Meeting in Vinton, VA.

Friday, March 27, 2009

This is looking south as I drove through the same, new neigborhood in the small community of Goode, Virginia. Several of our Bedford Branch members have their homes in Goode.

This is a newer neighborhood in Goode, Virginia which is directly east of Bedford on both sides of the US 221. The particular group of homes is north of the 221, and just few miles east of where we live. The Blue Ridge Mountains can be seen in the background on this rainy, overcast day. I had gone in with the car to the Forest, Virginia, just 12 miles away to get our car in to the Nissan dealership for routine service and oil change. When I saw these nice homes I had to pull in and take a picture as Linda had not been with me, due to illness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For those of you that have never actually seen a real "caboose," here is a caboose. Years ago, every frieght train had a caboose as the last rail car on the train. This rail car was furnished with beds and with other necessary equipment to house brakemen and other train employees who were important, in those days of no computers and limited communications, to the safety and proper operation of the railroad. The caboose was always painted red and is was distinguished by having these "bay window"-like side extensions on each side of the caboose so that the brakeman could have a better view of the rail cars and the locomotive(s). They often had a similar viewing port atop the caboose. This particular caboose does not have that feature.

This old caboose is parked on a side rail, near the tracks, in downtown Bedford, Virginia; a relic of a bygone era in railroad history. They don't need a brakeman or other employees riding at the rear of the train any more. Computers and other electronic sensoring devices and controls have taken care of those once important functions. Anyway, here is a look at the past on the great American railroad.

(note: the smoke stack that seems to be growing out of the top of the caboose is actually part of the old industrial building on the other side of the railroad tracks in the background).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

This is a portion of the lawn and flower garden on the south side of the Bedford Library.

Spring is in the air! Today is the first day of Spring, officially. This is the first day that the Sun appears above the horizon at the North Pole. Brrrr!

This is the first day that the Sun fails to appear above the horizon at the South Pole. Double Brrrr!

So, you can expect more Springtime pictures on the blog as flowers bloom and trees continue to bud and then begin to leaf out! we had three days of quiet, soft and continueous rain. But, today the Sun is shining, the sky is mostly clear of clouds and the air is fresh! We are doing our taxes. We ought to be driving through this delightful countryside, but now it is time and past time to get them ready.

This is our most oft visited public building in Bedford, the Bedford Central Library, located on Bridge Street, just down the hill, 1/2 block from the wonderful old building that used to house the high school but is now the Bedford Middle School. This is a fine library, with branch librarys scattered across Bedford County. This is where we come to hook in with the wireless service so we can go Online and email our children and friends and maintain our Blog postings while we are here in Bedford serving our mission. This is a lovely town and a most accommodating public library. It has a "Quiet Room" upstairs where they house their special collection of books on Virginia, geneological records and all their collection on World Ward II, which is quite extensive, given the size of the community. But, then again, this is the site of the Nation's D-Day National Memorial, so it is understandable they would be interested in all the printed material relating to the War. This Quiet room is furnished with nice sitting chairs and four big tables and chairs for study. This is where we go to use our laptop and read and send our emails.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We passed by this scene on US 460 on our way from Bedford to our Zone Conference in Salem, Virginia yesterday morning. It is a farm on the north side of the highway on the outskirts of the small town of Thaxton where some of our Bedford Branch members reside.

Spring has arrived in Virginia and the next several weeks should provide a lot of beautiful changes in the landscape!

We had Elder's Boling and Spendlove with us. They are happy to share a ride in our car for these conferences as it saves miles on their mission car. The missionaries are only allowed to put so many miles on their assigned vehicle during each month.

We had a very instructive and uplifting Zone Conference at the Roanoke Stake Center with President and Sister Thornock and the Assistants. We were able to meet our new District Leader, Elder Shill. He is the grandson of Wynn & LaRene Call, whom we served with on the faculty at Skyline High School Seminary so many years ago.

So, why didn't I get pictures of Elder Shill and the other missionaries instead of empty landcapes? I don't have an answer. It is a "Senior Moment"-type thing? We don't know. Next time we will do better. We had a very touching closing moment at the conference when President Thornock asked Elder Carmona, who is going home soon, to stand and bear his testimony. Elder Carmona told of how he was converted to the gospel at the age of 15 and how his little sister was not permitted to be baptized even though she was so desirous of becoming a member. She had to wait 5 long years. Finally, after fasting and prayer, Elder Carmona went to his parents and pled with them to allow his sister to be baptized. His words finally touched their hearts and they gave their permission. Elder Carmona said that when he was baptized you could have counted those present at the baptism service on the fingers of one hand. When he baptized his little sister the chapel was filled to overflowing and people were standing in the hallways and on the outside of the building, all for his little sister. Her obedience to her parents and her patient persistance in wanting to be a member, waiting for all those years, was an inspiration to many, many people.

It was wonderful to hear this humble Hispanic elder bear his testimony of the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it has changed his life and the life of his family and so many others.

What a blessing is this missionary assignment to Linda and me. We do love it with all our heart! Tonight we will participate in the second discussion with a beautiful young lady, who is approaching her 8th birthday and whose birth father has given permission for her to be baptized. Her name is "Logan Dawn Wright." She is very sincere and very prepared. She listens with great attentiveness and both asks and answers questions during the discussion, demonstrating an amazing grasp of the doctrine and the stories associated with the Restoration of the Gospel. We are looking forward to being with her and her family again this evening.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just to the east of the Bedford Branch chapel on Longwood Street, this row of trees have begun to put our their Springtime blossoms. All over this part of Virginia the trees are starting to but out! We are excited to see the change that Spring and Summer will bring to the Virginia landscape.

We gathered at the church last night for a fund raiser dinner and auction for the Young Women of the Branch, so they will have money to go to their annual camp this summer. It was a very enjoyable evening with a good turn-out that filled our tiny cultural hall. There was an Italian theme, "The Ides of March," and so we had pasta and salads. And then we got to bid on cakes and pies and other homemad desserts. We ended up taking home a huge pan of chocolate brownies, smothered in dark chocolate frosting!, a Lemon bunt cake, and a huge homemade apple pie! So, now we have to do our best to eat it all ! Come on down and help us!

Whenever Linda see the number 11 11, she always brings it to my attention. She has this interest in number combinations (don't ask me to explain it. It is one of the mysteries of life). So, while we are out in Montvale, Virginia, looking for one of our members, she sees this house with the street number displayed to the right of the front steps.

No, the house is level, but the street is on a slop and I didn't correct the angle when I took the picture from the car window. (We have our limitations!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This is the view, looking west from Grove Street crossing, down the tracks as they run under the ancient stone bridge (Bridge Street) which allows downtown Bedford traffic to pass over the railroad. The public library that we go to almost every day is just north of the bridge about a 1/2 block. Some things have been here a long, long time.

Yesterday (Wed) we drove into the largely deserted part of "Old Moneta." A number of old commerical buildings that once formed the downtown business area of Moneta years ago are still standing. Some appear to be partly occupied, but we didn't see one soul. We were looking for a street that runs to the east past this "Moneta Produce" building. The address for one of our Bedford Branch members was listed on this street. We found the house just beyond this building. No one was home. We left a flyer with some Branch information and our name and number. Just a short distance (200 yards) from this scene is a newly constructed group of upscale shops and modern business area.

This isn't a very good picture. I took it through an upstairs window and screen. But, there in the back yard of our Bedford home 7 full-sized wild turkeys were pecking about for seed that had fallen from the bird feeder. As soon as I stepped out onto the porch they were airborne! They left the ground in full flight and went through and over the trees you see in the background! This is the second time we have seen wild turkeys come in to our yard. It is pretty exciting. They are handsome!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Here we have Elder Downward (to the left) Zone Leader of the Blacksburg Zone, which is to the west of the Roanoke Zone. And next to him is one of his missionaries, Elder Ericksen, who he brought to the Allergy Center for a follow-up appointment with Dr. McBride because Elder Ericksen is suffering from a skin rash. I had a very nice visit with these two fine missionaries while waiting for Linda, who also had an appointment with Dr. McBride.

Elder Downward is from Bountiful and Elder Ericksen is from West Jordan, Utah. I told them I needed their picture because Sister Chapman did not get to meet them and she would be asking me all about them. They kindly consented!

We have experienced a dramatic upward trend in the weather/temperature these past 3-4 days, following the snows of the previous weekend. We are now bumping the high 70s!

I'm not sure what I'm posting here, but enjoy it, if you can. I'm wanting to post the picture of the two missionaries I spoke with while Linda was at her doctor's appointment at the Allergy Center in Roanoke on Thursday.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

This is a home we drive past each day on Longwood on our way to the public library in Bedford. These hardwood trees tower upward with great majestic, outstretched limbs. The photo does not begin to do justice to the sight of these marvelous trees, which in summer must be heavy with green leaves.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Don't ask what that piece of paper is, hanging out of my coat. We don't have any idea. After we ate lunch at this restaurant, ( "Liberty Station," a converted train station in Bedford) I wanted Linda to pose in front of these ice cycles hanging off the edge of the roof, but she would have none of it!

If you will come visit us, we will take you to this restaurant. It is good food and an interesting piece of Bedford history.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mar 1, 2009 A New Bishop in Linden, Arizona!

We want to extend our congratulations to the new Bishop and his wife and family in their newly created Linden Ward in Show Low, Arizona. Our very best wishes to you, Steve, and to Ann and the Children as you begin this new adventure in your life! If we understand it correctly this action was taken today. We wish we could have been there to be part of such an important moment in their lives!

This is the view from our hotel window, following our return from the final session of Stake Conference, here in Salem. Salem is just on the west side of Roanoke, about an hour out of Bedford when the roads are dry and conditions are normal. We were glad we weren't feeling the necessity of driving back to Bedford in this storm.

We are tucked in for one more night at the La Quinta Inn on Sheraton Drive, just off Interstate 81 on the north side of Salem. We will make our way back to Bedford in the morning unless conditions worsen.

We came down to Salem, Virginia from Bedford on Saturday, Feb 28, and took a room at a hotel just off the I-81, less than a mile from the Roanoke Virginia Stake Center. We did this so we could be more available to attend the meetings of Stake Conference without having to drive back and forth between Bedford and Salem. This turned out to be a good decision because of two snow storms that hit the Roanoke/Salem area starting last night and again today. It is still snowing at 3 p.m. as we post this picture to the blog back at our room after the conference.
Our visitor, Elder David Cook of the Seventy, provided inspirational council to the adult members of the Stake last night and to the youth of the Stake in the General Session this morning. President and sister Thornock also spoke as did a counselor in the Washington DC Temple Presidency and his wife, President and Sister Fox. Their's was a very compelling message about the importance of the Temple. They spoke from a perspective of conversion to the church in their adult life and the great blessing of the Temple as they have been able to do the ordinance work for so many of their departed ancesters.
After the close of the Sunday Session of conference we happened to meet this little fellow, Jared Taylor Farnsworth, great grandson of Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television! He is in the arms of his grandfather, Paul Rucker of Salem. We were so struck by his sweet demeanor and cute outfit we had to stop his grandfather and ask for a picture.