Saturday, August 22, 2009

We will not soon forget our day with Sister Rosemary Overstreet and the Kingston's and the other dear members of the Bedford Branch who were there that special day in the Raleigh North Carolina Temple, showing their love and support for Rosemary as she experienced the sacred ordinances, washings, annointings and endowment through the authority of the Holy Priesthood, available only in these Holy Temples. She had qualified herself to be there and it was such a choice experience to share in it with her and these other dear members.
Prior to the beginning of the session the endowment room was filled to overflowing and there were still members of our branch who had not been seated. In an act of true Christian charity, Sister Ball, our Young Women's leader and Sister Bible, our Branch Primary Nursery leader each got up from their seats and offered them to Sister Strawn, one of our oldest members and to Sister Smith. They were not with us then in this memorable endowment session, but we were pleased and very gratified to find them waiting for us, dressed in their white temple clothing as we completed the session and entered the celestial room. We won't forget the smiles and the tears and the wonderful spirit of love, brotherhood and sisterhood that surrounded us there on this sacred day in the Raleigh Temple.
We all went together to a nearby restaurant later in the afternoon for a late lunch before returning to Bedford. We had a wonderful time!
By following their directions we returned home a different way than we had come and cut our travel time from 5 hours to 3! Sometimes you have to admit that the locals know the territory!

Brother Hodge escorts Sister Overstreet to the car after our photo session. Elder and Sister Kingston are behing them.

Sister Overstree suffered a stroke not long after her baptism a year ago and now walks with a brace on her left leg and does her best to get along without the use of her left arm.

We were given the opportunity to teach her the Temple Preparation lessons prior to her going to the Temple. We came to her little home in Thaxton, west of Bedford, twice each week around noon time to teach her these lessons. It was a choice experience each time to be with her in her tiny little home and discuss the blessings of the Temple and have prayer with her. She has become a dear friend!

Sister Overstreet is in the orange blouse and flowered skirt, seated next to Linda. Ten members of the Bedford Branch came with her to the Temple. Elder and Sister Kingston came from Idaho. It was a sweet experience to be with Sister Overstreet in the Raleigh Temple. She is an inspiration to each one of us.

The back row, left to right:

Elmer and Sue Hodge; Ray Nichols; Judith Black; Sister Kingston; Sister Bible; Elder Kingston; Elder Chapman.

The front row, left to right:

Cressida Smith; Evelyn Deel; Sandy Ball; Glynda Nichols; Dorine Strawn; Rosemary Overstreet; and Sister Linda Chapman.

This picture was taken after the Temple session. We just outside the west entrance to the Temple.

Here is Sister Overstreet as she came from the Temple after the session was completed. Standing on either side of her are Elder and Sister Kingston, the missionary couple that was instrumental in her acceptance of the the restored gospel a year ago, last April. They flew in from their home in Idaho to be with her on this special occasion.

But, as our session ended and we stepped from the Temple to take some pictures, we found the sun was shining through great billowing, broken clounds; just a beautiful day for Sister Overstreet!

This picture is taken of the west side of the Temple, which is the side the entrance is on.

Friday morning, while Linda was getting ready I drove over and took a few early morning photos of the Raleigh Temple. It had been raining off and on and sky was completely overcast as you can see in this picture, taken of the east side of the Temple, just outside the fence.

Friday, August 21, it was our privilege to be with Sister Rosemary Overstreet as she attended the Temple for the first time, along with some thirteen other Bedford Branch members and friends.

This is a beautiful, small temple located in the historic community of Apex on the west side of the Raleigh metropolitan area in North Carolina.

We drove down on Thursday and took a room at a nearby hotel for the night. Otherwise we would have needed to be up and going at around 5 a.m. in order to be there in plenty of time for the 10:45 a.m. session.

This is a poor quality picture, but you see the young Eastern Whitle-tail doe eating the grapes that have fallen from the grape arbor out in the back yard of our home on Hopes Way, Bedford.
In the evening and often in the early morning they can be seen in the yard, pulling down apples off the apple tree or nibbling at the grapes or eating the acorns that fall from the oak trees.
Yesterday morning there were 6 deer, including a young fawn, feeding near the grape arbor, but they are very wary of anything that appears threatening and bounded off, out-of-sight, into the woods when I stepped through the door with my camera.

Friday, August 14, 2009

These are the missionaries presently assigned to the Vinton District in the Roanoke Virginia Zone. Our District Leader, Elder Shill, second from the right, believes he will be affected by this next Transfer, coming up a week from now. We sure have enjoyed him and each of these fine elders.

This picture was taken following our District Meeting this past Wednesday, August 12. We were all headed in to a restaurant for lunch and I asked them to line up for this picture as Elder Shill may not be with us next time.

The Vinton District leads the Zone in missionary activity. Elder Shill has done such a good job!

Left to right it is Elder Boling (dark glasses) from San Diego; Elder Hart from Payson, Utah; Elder Jeffery from Oklahoma; Elder Hegland from Salt Lake City; Elder Shill from Texas; and of course the whole world knows Elder Wright from Loveland, Colorado.

Elder Boling is companion to Elder Shill; Elder Hart is companion to Elder Wright; Elder Jeffery and his companion Elder Hegland are standing together.

We sure do love these young men. They seem like grandsons to us.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The nice thing about taking pictures here, where we live, is helped by there not being many man-made features to get in the way of the earth, trees and sky.

This is toward evening with the setting sun's rays creating these colors in the clouds to the north and east. Taken from the rear deck of the home on Hopes Way.

A view to the north on one of the many fair days of summer. This is from the bedroom window, looking off toward the Schutte home and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the far distance.

A rapidly developing summer storm. The kind Linda lives for. It came out of the southwest and brought down sheets of rain for a time. While it lasted it sure was fun!

An old red barn, on the grounds of the Burwell home. It may have sheltered the horses of some of the Union and Confederate troops who stopped here during the Civil War.

The Burwell home, a Civil War Trails Historic site,in an old neighborhood of Bedford, known as Avenel.
In June of 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Union cavalry under the command of General David Hunter raided through this part of Virginia and stopped for the night here at the Burwell home. Later, as Hunter continued his raid into Lynchburg to the east of Bedford, he was repulsed by Confederated forces led by
General Early, who also stopped here with his men during the pursuit.

General Robert E. Lee and his wife also lodged here at the Burwell home while on a visit to Bedford (then known as Liberty, Virginia), so it is an historic landmark.

On Hopes Way, walking back toward our residence as the sun shines through the morning mist.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This is a picture sent to us by Sharon and Allen LaRue when they were serving as Missionaries in the New York Rochester Mission. [I apologize for not knowing whether the two standing with them were new converts or investigators].

After returning home to Utah from their service as Missionaries back in 2008, Allen was diagnosed with cancer. He made a valiant fight but the dread disease finally took his life this past week. His funeral services will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4, at his home ward in Pleasant Grove.

Sharon and Allen are dear friends, over many years, since Sharon and Linda were in school together in Mesa. She and Allen were married in the Mesa, Arizona Temple on July 7, 1962, the day after I returned home from my Mission. Linda and I were able to be present at their wedding.

This was such a fine man; such a good friend and fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is much beloved by his wife, children, grandchildren and many, many friends. We shall surely miss him, and wish Sharon and the family the very best in the days ahead.

We are deeply grateful that our daughter Melissa and her husband Russell LeSueur will be attending the funeral. Sandy LeSueur of Mesa is Sharon's sister. Also, making plans to represent us at the funeral is our oldest son Jeffery, of Rexburg, Idaho. We are so appreciative of this gesture of love and support.

This is what it looks like operating the riding lawn mower and taking care of the yard each week during the summer. This view is toward the west, along the edge of the cedar trees the line the north side of the property.

The Blue Ridge Mountains (Peaks of Otter) can be seen in the far distance.

A tractor and hay baler sits, parked in the field on the north side of the Hodge property where we live. They have cut these open fields and bailed the cuttings once, so for this Summer. It looks like they should cut it once again before the Fall weather sets in.

I enjoy being out-of-doors and working in the yard. It is a nice change from the other duties of each week, providing some physical activity for the body and relaxation for the mind at the same time. The riding lawn mower permits relaxation. The pushing mower that I use to do the trimming around all the trees and shrubs provides the physical exercise. It takes me a good two hours to do the trimming with the push mower. I consider it a good work-out for an older guy.

Almost weekly, we pick up Elder Wright and Elder Hart (bending over the trunk of the car) at their apartment down on Greenwood in the middle of Bedford and take them with us in our car to District Meeting with the other missionaries of the Vinton District. The meetings are usually scheduled on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Vinton Ward chapel. It is a distance of some 20+ miles and usually we can make it with time to spare in 45 minutes.

Today, Monday, August 3, we had District Meeting because the Zone Leaders were meeting with us to give instruction from President Thornock.

We enjoy our association with Elder Wright and Elder Hart. They are full of positive energy and exhibit such happiness in the work it is a pleasure to be around them. Today, on our way to District Meeting we learned from Elder Hart that his aunt (last name, Pew) lived next door to my younger brother Lance's in-laws, the Giviten's (now deceased) in Mapleton, Utah for many years. He said he remembered the news reports that were broadcast, telling of the death by natural causes, of Brother and Sister Giviten on the very same day. It turns out he has family in Santiquin and friends in Genola, Utah where my brother Lance and his wife Becky (Giviten) and family reside. When he looked in the mailbox today, one of the letters was from a friend in Genola. Before you know it we'll find that we are related in some way.