Sunday, June 20, 2010

On June 16, Elder's Whitby and Shelburne were both transfered to serve in other areas of the mission where they were needed. In their place have come these two very enthusiastic young sister missionaries: Sister Harris (on the left) the Senior companion and Trainer, from Rexburg, Idaho, and brand new Sister Anderson, just arrived from the MTC. Her home is in Orem, Utah. We were so happy to meet these two very fine young missionaries! They will do a great work in Bedford. We know the members are looking forward to having sisters here. It has been years since sister missionaries have served here.
This picture was taken from our front porch, on the first day of their arrival. They had come to our home to meet with us and the new Branch Mission Leader, brother Reed Hatch. They have hit the ground running! Sister Harris worked as a dietician at the Utah State University in Logan before she was called as a missionary. Sister Anderson was in her 3rd year of college and surprised her family by taking a job at Disney World in Florida, playing the part of Mary Poppins in the parade of Disney characters that perform daily at this remarkable land of fantasy! These are attractive, intelligent and talented young women! We are looking forward to hearing of their missionary efforts in Bedford in the weeks ahead.

On Monday, June 14, we were again with Elmer and Sue Hodge as their guests for a tour of the nearby historic home of Thomas Jefferson, called "Poplar Forest," a large acreage and lovely home established by Thomas Jefferson as a place of rest and seclusion. The land of several thousand acres, located on the east side of Bedford County, just west of Lynchburg, was a gift from his father-in-law. Jefferson designed the home. It contains many interesting features that show Jefferson to be well ahead of his time. The guided tour is expensive but very informative concerning this most interesting American, our 3rd President. A compliment to his brilliance was stated by President John F. Kennedy, when, upon addressing the new members of his cabinet in the east wing of the White House in the early days of his presidency, said to them: "So much brain power has not been assembled in this room since Thomas Jefferson dined here, alone."

Of all the special moments on our last Sunday, June 13, was to have our dear brother Merle Dutton (to Linda's left) in attendance at our meetings at the Bedford Branch. He was again accompanied by his cousin Harry Dutton of Salem. Harry and his wife Dolores Dutton are active, faithful members of the church. They have made a pointed effort to express to us their deep gratitude for the change that has taken place in Merle's life since we began our weekly visits to his home back in February 2009. To have Merle with us now for the 4th time in 3 weeks in our Church meetings and special events means more to us than we can adaquately express. He is a very sincere person in all that he does. We are deeply honored that he has made the decision to renew his attendance. He has not been an active member of the church in close to 60 years!
He wept as he tried to tell us of his feelings about our friendship and how he will be missing us as we depart for home. But, he has friends now among the members of the branch and we believe he will want to continue his activity and hopefully prepare for the reception of the priesthood and qualifying for Temple blessings. After all, he is 81 years young! We love him with all our hearts!

Sunday, June 13, was our last Sunday with the members of the Bedford Branch. We were privileged to speak in Sacrament meeting. There were 112 persons in attendance! They had to open the folding doors between the chapel and the cultural hall to accomodate everyone. What a very sacred and emtional time for us! What an outpouring of love from the members of the branch. After the meetings they had a dinner in our honor, during which they presented us with an embroidered quilt and an embroidered, framed wall hanging, labored over by women of the Relief Society, especially Sister Glynda Nichols. What a forever memory they made for us!

Here they are, Elmer Hodge, with President Scott on his left, posing for me at the completion of their superb job of detailing our car. What a very special thing to do for someone! We were deeply touched.
This work was done at the Hodge home, out on the driveway on Nichols Rd in Bedford which they purchased and moved into just this past year. They had a beautiful home in Vinton, just out of Roanoke, but wanted to move to Bedford because of their love for the Bedford Branch and the Bedford community.
President Scott and his wife Lindsay and family of 4, have a new home in Goode, a community just east of Bedford. They too, have come to Bedford because of a special feeling that this is where the Lord wants them to work and to be of service in the Church. We will never forget these excellent men and their wives and families. They are key leaders of the church in this area. They both have a vision of what the Lord intends for Bedford.

As our time of completion of our missionary assignment in Bedford, Virginia drew near, President Harvey Scott, our branch president, and brother Elmer Hodge, 1st Counselor in the branch presidency and our ever increasing friend, approached us seperately. Each asked if they could detail our car for us, before we departed our mission. As it turned out they combined their efforts on an afternoon the week before we were to leave.
Here are the two busiest men of the branch cheerfully taking time to super clean, wash, wax and polish our car from end to end. This is easily a service that would have cost upwards of $200 at a professional shop. We hardly knew how to express our appreciation for this act of love and kindness. Boy, did they make it shine!