A new MLS (Member Leader Support) couple, Elder and Sister Buchanan, (left front) arrived over the weekend. They will serve in Hornell. This is their third senior mission having been in the Alpine Mission of Southern Germany, Switzerland, and part of Austria and in their home stake in Utah previously. He served in Germany in his youth. Sister Jefferies made clam chowder and Sister Jones made sour kraut soup. Sister Spencer made salad, hot rolls, and brownie sundaes Buchanans felt welcome.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
The Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center provides concerts of sacred music on Sunday evening through the spring.
The first evening featured the Jansson family from Rochester who presented classical voice and piano numbers. Sister missionaries Embley, Barrett, and Packard provided the opening numbers.
The second evening began with Sister Abreu singing to Sister Packard's accompaniment. Two students from the Eastman School of Music, Andrew Winslow and Di-an Lui performed wondrously on the harp.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
The monthly social in the Batavia Branch celebrated St Patrick's Day.
We got in the spirit of it in honor of our Daily and Kirkpatrick ancestors.
The missionaries were more Vikings than Irish.
Sister Jones led the group in singing "Happy Birthday" to selected members.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
After being postponed due to the weather, we drove to Batavia for the Relief Society Birthday celebration. While Sister Jones enjoyed the party, I went home teaching at Applebees.
Some of the silly sisters- Schwartz, Ogden, and Guy.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Western New York had significant challenges from the weather two weeks in a row.
There was severe wind damage in Rochester on Wednesday, March 8th with over 100,000 people being without power, most for 36 hours but about 10,000 through the weekend. Elder Spencer and I were at a Zone Conference in Buffalo and when we returned to the office, the Sisters were sitting in the dark, very bored. We had power at the Young farm and enjoyed a comfortable night feeling a bit guilty since many people were cold. Thursday was Zone Conference in Palmyra, which had power and was a productive day. We went to the office on Friday anticipating that the power would surely be on, but it was not. Elder Spencer needed to deliver a repaired car to Fayette about 45 miles east, so we all went. We met the Elders at Sauders Grocery in Waterloo and had a delicious lunch and shopped for some groceries. When we returned to the office in the mid-afternoon, the power was back on and we went to work. Some of the food in the refrigerator at the office was bad and some was thawing. We called the missionaries in the area to get the good food which they eagerly did. We worked until 8 to get caught up from the unproductive time.
The following Tuesday afternoon, it started snowing and snowed and snowed and snowed until Wednesday evening. Over 20 " accumulated, the third largest snowstorm in their history. The County Executive banned all non-essential driving Wednesday. Believing we should be 'subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law,' we took the day off and mostly rested. Thankfully the snow blower preformed magnificently as I used it twice and shoveled twice.
The scene above is the office parking lot with some of our vehicles that are for sale.
Here is life on the Farm.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Two of the site missionary couples were released at the end of March. The family home evening group gathered to wish them farewell at the Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center, It was a nice program with everyone writing notes for them to take with them and they shared favorite experience of their mission.
Stake Conference came around again and we invited the Elders from Batavia and Warsaw to spend the night on the Farm to save them miles driving back and forth. It was a short night getting home near 10 and then 'springing forward' and losing an hour. We did tour the Waters of Brigham, Tomlinson Inn and Tomlinson Cemetery. We had a really good breakfast casserole with bacon, ham, and sausage and three cheeses. Sorry, no picture.
Elders Page, Winkler, Self, and Shaw
At Stake Conference, President Howell was released as he is moving to Israel to be on a faculty there. The family will live 'on the economy' rather than in a compound. He speaks some Hebrew and is determined to lecture in Hebrew. His field is quantum physics.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Family Home Evening with the Senior Couples was fun. The Bergstroms were in charge and had church music as the theme. Sister Bergstrom talked about the early church hymnals and related topics. Then everyone was asked to share what was their favorite hymn. I chose "How Great Thou Art" and related singing it on top of the Tooth of Time with the crew at Philmont. Sister Jones picked "How Firm a Foundation." Then we played Name That Hymn with Sister Bergstrom playing 3 or 4 notes of 15 hymns. Most everyone scored in the 11 - 13 range.
The finale was playing "Called to Serve" on plastic harmonicas, recorders, and kazoos that were awarded as prizes for the game. It was a hoot.
"Called to Serve"
Saturday, March 4, 2017
The church scheduled a world-wide broadcast for youth originating at the Joseph Smith Farm Visitor Center on March 4th featuring President Eyring and Elder Holland.
They arrived on Friday, spent some time at the sites, conducted a fireside meeting for the Palmyra Stake (we are assigned to Batavia Branch in the Rochester Stake), and inserted our missionaries into their schedule Saturday morning before the program Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, President Eyring had a bout with pneumonia the previous weekend and needed to conserve his strength by resting Saturday morning and was not with us. We learned subsequently that a snow plow cleared the driveway of the house he was staying in at 5:30 am and he was not able to go back to sleep. He remarked he worked very hard to forgive the plow driver.
However, our missionaries were richly blessed by the visit from Elder Holland. He arrived at 9:30 am and we were all situated for a group picture with him as soon as he arrived. (pictures by individuals were not allowed) We then filed out to the sanctuary and shook hands with him as we exited the cultural hall. We were instructed to only state our name and home town so it went very quickly.
During his remarks, Elder Holland said that this was in effect a missionary interview. As he looked into each missionaries' eyes, he could discern if the missionary was struggling or on track. Fortunately, he said that only a few were struggling.
In his remarks, I was most impressed that he is a master teacher. Since we almost always see the general authorities making their formal presentations at conferences, we seldom think of them as quick witted, engaging, interactive, humorous, or animated. Elder Holland was all of these. He made a wonderful explanation that the Book of Mormon is a revelation about revelation. He used the first 14 pages of 1 Nephi to show that it is a pattern for all the subsequent revelation through prophets.
I was proud of our missionaries who displayed great spiritual depth from their study, pondering, and prayer in preparation for the meeting.
Elder Holland was scheduled to leave at 10:30, but stayed with us until 10:45 in spite of needing to go and prepare for a broadcast to 500,000 young saints. Such is his concern for the missionaries serving the Lord.
One of our talented missionaries, Sister Croft, was part of the special music for our meeting and the subsequent Face to Face broadcast with her violin.
After our meeting, we stayed at the office and watched the broadcast with the Spencers and Jefferies.
Needless to say, this day was the highlight of the mission thus far.
Friday, March 3, 2017
To prevent the missionaries from the far west getting up at 5 am to attend the meeting with Elder Holland, we invited the ones from the Niagara Falls area spend the night before the meeting on the farm with us. Here are Elders Cummard, Case, Pederson, and Peterson. We had a hearty supper, some slipped over to the Waters of Brigham, chatted and retired to bed. It was a delight having them with us.