Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28, 2015

First off—I want to tell you about the concert we had the evening of Father’s Day.  It was wonderful!  It was called ‘How Great Thou Art’ and the members of the Palmyra Stake, along with many missionaries put it on.  There were many good numbers, but there were 3 very exceptional ones.  The people that live in the Palmyra Stake are very talented.  There are some that attend or work at the Eastman School of Music or some of the other colleges here (there is usually a college in every large town here)  Even Batavia has a 2 year college there.  The last number was done by a lady and she sang I Stand All Amazed.  It was a different version than I have heard before and it was spectacular.  It brought everyone to tears—it was that good and the spirit was so strong! 
June 22, 2015  We didn’t have our office meeting this morning.  There was a young sister that was in need of counseling and that took precedence.  We had a good day and went over to Honeyoye Falls after work to look around.  It is so pretty there (and we are very close).  There is a small water fall that is just behind main street.  It is a really fun town.  We liked it very much!

June 23, 2015  We worked and the Kenworthy’s came into the office right before lunch.  They asked us to go to lunch with them and we didn’t have to have our arms twisted.  They are a nice couple from near St. George that are working at the Seneca Camp.  They brought their 5th Wheel trailer all the way from St. George.  They like living in it.  We showed them a few things around here and the Young farm.  They were excited about everything and he loved the Mushroom house/Star Wars.  It has recently been sold so we probably won’t be able to get pictures up close when someone moves in.  I posted pictures of it in an earlier blog.  We went over to the Eastview Mall after work to trade an IPad that was defective.  Bother, that Apple store—they have people waiting hours to get help.  They are so busy—you would think that things were free!  We didn’t get home until 9:00.
June 24, 2015  We spent the day at the office and then studied and had supper. Nothing too exciting!
June 25, 2015  We were face timed by the kids after Brent’s baptism.  Everyone looked so good and so happy.  We were sad that we couldn’t be there, but happy that it was such a great event for the family and are so proud of dad (Grandpa Butch) being able to baptize him.  

We went to Greece and met the Long’s for a home teaching visit.  They like the China Buffet in Greece so we spent a couple of hours talking with them and enjoying dinner.  It was nice that they would meet us half way.  The drive to Albion is over an hour. 
June 26, 2015  We worked all day and then went home.  This is Dennis’ first month of being the car czar and he has had 4 accidents to worry about.  Two of the accidents were totally avoidable and were stupid mistakes made by young men (Elders), one was an older gentleman backed into the missionary car in the church parking lot, and one was caused by wind slamming a door into another car in a parking lot.  So, Elder Merrill’s hair is getting thinner!!
June 27, 2015  We had an overcast, rainy day.  We went over to the storage unit and surveyed what there was in storage.  Wow!  I was surprised how many pamphlets were there.  (missionary pamphlets)  I don’t think I will need to order any of those materials while I am here.  I am busy ordering Book of Mormons though.  The President challenged the missionaries to give out more Book of Mormons and they have committed to giving out LOTS.  Plus the pageant is coming up in July and we will need lots for that.  I am excited to see the pageant and it will be good to have the Jagielski’s here for that!  We are looking forward to their visit.  Yahoo!  Can’t wait!!  But like Annette says, ‘it’s hard to wish it here, because then it goes so quickly and then it’s over.’  That’s true, but we are still excited to show them around.
We got our tickets to come home in August for the sealing of our family.  We will leave here on Aug. 18 and return on the 22nd.  It won’t be a long visit—but quality, rather than quantity.  Right? 
June 28, 2015  We attended church and enjoyed being with the people there.  It’s funny how we feel like we belong there now.  I will be glad when the Haggerty’s get back from Arizona.  I have played the music the past 2 weeks and I don’t feel that confident. 
Here are some pictures of the inside of our home.

Notice the low ceilings--we can actually touch them!

What a blessing to have a washer and dryer!

This is the upstairs--there are 3 twin beds, 1 queen and a bathroom

Blessings:  We are so blessed to be surrounded by good people; family, friends, and ward members.  They are such a strength and support.  We need to be able to help each other through the tough times as well as the good.  It is a blessing to BELONG!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21, 2015

June 15, 2015  We went into the office for our weekly meeting and then back to our home to get Chris, Cindy, and  Tessa.  We planned to take a cruise on the Erie Canal and so we went over to get tickets.  The schools had booked field trips for the day on the cruise and it wasn’t available to the public.  So, we went and had junk plates (Dennis and Chris) at Tom Wahl’s.  They loved them!!  We drove over to Batavia and got the apartment ready for 1 last night sleep.  We took them to Pauly’s for supper later in the evening.  They liked it. 

June 16, 2015  We got up early and drove into Buffalo.  Chris, Cindy, and Tessa had an 8:20 flight back to Idaho Falls.  It began raining while we were on our way.  I think that Tessa loved having it rain so much here, because she was able to use her umbrella several times.  She really loves umbrellas.  After they left we drove back to Palmyra for Zone Conference.  We made it on time.  We thought that we might drive out of the rain, but we didn’t—it rained harder and harder.  When we finished Zone conference—it was a beautiful sunny day.  The weather here changes often.  We felt lonely when we got home with the kids.  It was so nice to be able to show them around and see them.  We went into the office and stayed late to catch up on some of our work.
They cut a hole through the middle of the tree for the electric lines
June 17, 2015  We got up early and drove to Buffalo (again) for Zone Conference.  Dennis is now the car czar and he checks everyone’s cars.  He makes them check the fluids, tires, and anything else that could go wrong with their cars.  After that has all been done, he rates the cleanliness of their cars.  Some of them had worked really hard on getting them into tip top shape, and some of them had hardly worked.  It was a difficult choice on the good ones and the ones that had the ‘golden plates’ (the cleanest car for the zone for that period of time gets a license plate holder that says golden plates) really expected to win them again—but were sadly disappointed when they didn’t get the prize.  We stopped at Batavia and gathered up loose ends and laundry from the apartment. 
June 18, 2015  We got up early and drove to Canandaigua for the last Zone Conference.  It was a beautiful morning and the conference was good.  President Francis challenged the missionaries to read the Book of Mormon in 6 weeks.  (there is a schedule)  Along with all the reading—we are to mark every time it says--
  •         something about Jesus
  •        something about His character
  •         His words
  •        His doctrine

We all got new inexpensive Book of Mormons for this project.  Mine has already got lots of color to it.  There is so many references to Christ in the Book of Mormon.  How can people think that we are not Christians?
We went to our home and got some furniture to take to Batavia (making a switch) and then we went to Batavia to get the things out of that apartment that aren’t Elder approved (it had to be Elderized).  We went with the Workmans.  They had a pickup and we were able to get that done without too much difficulty.
Barbara, Nancy, mom and dad called and told us that Brent had called them and told them that he will be baptized on June 25.  Dad is going to baptize him.  We are so happy and wish we could be there for this wonderful occasion.  Another miracle and blessing!
June 19, 2015  We spent the entire day at the office.  We got so much accomplished!  It was great!  We went over to Henrietta after work and got a few groceries and dinner.  It was a nice evening.
June 20, 2015  We went to a few garage sales(yes, they do have them here—and they are GOOD!)  We had been authorized to get a new couch and so we were able to find a nice one at a furniture store that was reasonably priced for the home.  I think it will be great!  We had lunch and looked for apartments in Pittsford that the Elders could move to.  The President asked that we look because one of our contracts had gone up in price for next year.  We were not able to find anything less than what we have so we will report that to the President at our Monday meeting.  We made a jello salad for ‘munch and mingle’ after church on Sunday along with a sausage dip and chips. 
June 21, 2015  Happy Father's Day!  What a great day!  We love our fathers, grandfathers, sons, son-in-laws, etc.!  We went over to Batavia to church and I played the music for the day.  The Haggerty’s went to Arizona for 2 weeks and I tried to make Bill feel better about going.  He was worried about his calling as organist and didn’t want to go.  I asked if anyone else could play the organ.  He said no.  So I asked if anyone else could play the piano—he said no.  So, I told him that I would do it for him if he would go and have a good time.  It was alright playing for them.  I need to practice more.  BUT—thanks mom and dad for giving me the lessons and having the patience to make me practice.  It is good to have this talent to use for situations like this.  I appreciate it, thanks again!
Munch and mingle was a hit.  Lots of people brought dishes today.  Many of the people liked my dishes and asked for the recipes.  That’s always nice!
Dennis got some nice pictures this afternoon.  We really are in the cradle of the restoration!  We need missionaries (senior couples or single sisters) to come to this mission.  If you are interested, please call and we can help that process.  Steve Aldrich and DeeAnna are hoping to come here soon--and we are hoping they can also!
If you are interested in just a visit, let us know.  We love company!
Barn on the John Young property (our home)
Cow stanchin in the barn

Elder Merrill (selfie) for Father's Day!
The stream they stopped up to get enough water for baptism

Deer in the field by our home

Blessing:  My dad was made an Elder today (June 21, 2015)  We are so proud of him!  Way to go dad!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14, 2015

June 8, 2015  After work today we went to Buffalo to pick up Chris, Cindy and Tessa.  They flew in from Idaho Falls.  It was so nice to see them.  We stayed at the apartment in Batavia. 
June 9, 2015  We had Zone Conference at Batavia and President Francis had us do our part near the beginning.  After we were done we visited Letchworth Park, Lamb Dairy, and Devil’s Rock.  We had a great time at each place.  We ate pizza for lunch and went to the family diner for supper. We showed them things that took us about 3 months to see in an afternoon.   We played games at the apartment and had a great day.

June 10, 2015  We had Zone Conference in Buffalo and went to see Niagara Falls after conference.  We took the Maid of the Mist tour and got up close to the falls.  While we were on the way back it began to rain and then a huge clap of thunder scared us.  It was so loud in that canyon.  

We had lunch in Buffalo at the Cheesecake Factory, which is always a treat.  We came back to the farm home and showed them around.  We took them into Pittsford later in the evening and we ate at Tom Wahl’s (a burger place that is really good)  we showed them the office and Wegman’s Grocery store.  It is such a nice market.  On the way a HUGE rain storm began and then hail.  We couldn’t even see.  We pulled over for awhile and then drove slowly home.  The power was out and we used flash lights to get ready for bed. 
A garbage plate at Tom Wahls

June 11, 2015  We let Chris, Cindy, and Tessa sleep in today and went to Zone Conference at Westfall without them.  (it was close and we came back after our presentation)  We went to Palmyra and saw the Hill Cumorah, The Sacred Grove, Grandin Printing Press, the Martin Harris home, and ate lunch at Nima’s  (we had calzones).

Here we are at the Martin Harris home

The Stake had Priesthood meeting at the Hill Cumorah and before the meeting we went back into town and saw a drive in that had lots of people at it.  We decided to get an ice cream.  A lady told us to get a kiddie cone, and then she said—‘no get half a kiddie’.  It was HUGE!  We were eating our cones and met some people from Idaho Falls and then Chris said, “I think that guy over there owns the Wendy’s in Rigby—or someone looks just like him”.  Yes, he was from Rigby too.  It was fun to visit with them too.  We went shopping at the Eastview Mall while the men went to Priesthood meeting.  It was a nice day! 
June 12, 2015  We went into the office and worked about ½ a day.  We went to Lake Ontario in the afternoon.  It was cold and windy at the Lake, but it was pretty with the fog coming in.  

We went to supper at a China Buffet and then we went home and visited with the ladies from the office for quite a while.  Dennis and Tessa put leaves in covers and we had a good visit.
June 13, 2015  We took it easy in the morning and slept in a little.  We drove over to Penn Yan and went to the Windmill.  It is a large market where Tessa got cotton candy and we bought some pretty pies from an Amish booth.  We thought the pies would be delicious, but we were disappointed.  We drove over to Seneca Lake Camp and had a nice ride on the golf cart around the property.  We also went to Fayette to the Whitmer Farm where the church was reorganized.  It was a great day!  We had dinner at an Italian place on the way back.  We were so tired when we got home, we got things ready to go to church and went to bed.

June 14, 2015  We got up early and drove to Batavia to church.  We had a good time at church and then Chris made Mongolian beef for the missionaries at the apartment.  They enjoyed church and everyone was so happy to meet them.  They were a hit!  We couldn’t get Tessa to talk to anyone.  (she claims that she talked to the missionaries)  Sister Haggerty made her a little purse.  It was so nice of her.

Funnies:  One of the branch members mentioned to Cindy that people had been afraid there was a drought because there had been 2 weeks without rain.  (it has rained almost every day that they have been here in New York)  We thought that was ironic--considering Idaho gets such a little rain (usually).

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7, 2015

June 1, 2015  Most days are the same at work, so I will say that we work at the office from 9-5 (and sometimes longer) each day, Monday-Friday.  After work we went over to the President’s home and welcomed 2 new missionaries to the field.  We had dinner and then gave them an overview of the things the office would do for them.  They looked so tired and scared.  We then drove over to the Palmyra Inn where we met our wonderful friends from Grant.  The Hansens, Beesleys, Summers, Hegsteds, Stuckis, Phyllis Millar, and Kaye Field.  It was such a glorious reunion!  They looked so good to us.  It is such a blessing to have wonderful friends.*  It seemed like a life-time ago that we had seen each other and it made me think of how great the reunion will be in Heaven when we see our loved ones again.  That is something to live for, right?  (not die for—we must live right so we can be together forever)

June 2, 2015  We had transfers today and the missionaries are always so excited to get new companions (not that the old ones are always bad) and then the new Elders were given their trainer.  We had 1 Elder leaving this week and he bore a great testimony of the things he had learned on his mission.  After work we drove over to the Inn again and picked up the Hegsteds.  Chuck and Janet had friends from New York and the 2 car loads came over to Mendon to see our home.  Paula was a Young and wanted to see the Young home.  We had a great tine and then went to Tom Wahl’s to have a burger.  We visited until around 10 at the Inn.  The other couples didn’t return from the Temple so we left.  It is always hard here to stay late because the drive is long.  The tour was supposed to come to the Mendon Cemetery on Wednesday morning and we were going to meet them there.  Then we would have gone to the Temple with the group.  However, one of the tour members had a kidney stone and they were afraid to spend too much time in an area without medical help—so that is the reason we brought the Hegsteds to the Young home on Tuesday night.

June 3, 2015  We went over to Sam’s Club after work (about 10 miles) and got some groceries. When we started putting groceries away we realized that the door had closed and that we were locked out. We tried everything and then Dennis found a window that wasn't locked shut.  He was so nice about climbing through.  ( it was my fault we were locked out)

We worked on getting the house put together a little more and flopped into bed.  We have a new sister in the office and she has had to have lots of help.  That has kept me pretty busy.  I like her and she is catching on.  Dennis has received 8 new cars for the missionaries.  I have had to drive with him over to the dealership and then follow him home.  The church has used several of the dealerships around here for their cars.  I guess that gives everyone a little piece of the pie.  However, some of the dealerships are quite a few miles away. 
June 4, 2015  After work we went to Wegmans.  It is a very nice grocery store that seems to have everything and then some.  The produce is beautiful and everything is clean and neat.  The prices are alright and we got some things that Sam’s doesn’t offer.  We went home and made potato salad and chocolate sheet cakes with hot fudge sauce for the MLC meeting in the morning.  (MLC is mission leadership council)  We are getting more accustomed to our little home now.  It still has uneven floors, but it is cozy!  There were some people in our drive way after work and Dennis talked with them about the property.  It was 2 couples on a trip here from Utah.  They weren’t interested in coming in but wanted to see where Brigham Young had been baptized.  (it is very close to us)  Tonight we saw our first fireflys here.  (or lightening bugs as they say in North Carolina)  It was dark out and there were little bright spots flitting around.  It was neat! 
June 5, 2015  We served dinner to the MLC group at noon and they seemed to enjoy it.  There was pulled pork sandwiches (which seems to be a staple in the mission) and then the potato salad and the brownie delight.  We did some more cleaning after we got home.  Dennis was worn out as he had sent most of the cars home with missionaries and sold some of the old ones.  He is doing very well at his new calling.  I am really proud of him.  I guess my scary thing today was that one of the Elders lost his wallet.  I had to cancel his MSF card (Missionary support funds; a limited credit card that I load each month with $195) and order another one.  When they lose their funds they can borrow from their companion until the new card arrives.  The day was nice and sunny and then we had a cloud burst in the afternoon that really put down the water.  It poured!  It also poured in the evening; along with lightening and thunder.  It was so pretty!
June 6, 2015  We got up early and picked up the Workmans and the Walkers.  We had a great day as we visited the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, New York.

This glass piece represents the death of a glass factory and how the vultures ate it up
We also went to Watkin’s Glen.  It is a state park that has lots of waterfalls and 800 steps to the top.  We made it almost half way before Sister Walker’s knees began to hurt and so we didn’t do the entire hike.  It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed ourselves.  Both of the couples are great!  The Walkers are MLS (member leadership support) missionaries in Warsaw and the Workmans are the apartment people along with the mission nurse.  We had really good hamburgers at a Friendlys in Corning.  It was nice to hear of their lives and work in the mission.  Elder Walker was a soldier in Viet Nam and a State Highway Patrolman in California.  He has lots of entertaining stories.  The Workmans are from North Carolina and they have cute sayings.  The one they used today was, “gooder than snuff, but half as dusty.”
A saying I enjoyed this week is “If you keep doing what you’ve done, you will get what you’ve got.”  In other words—if you keep doing things the same, don’t expect a different outcome. 
Elder Merrill and Elder Walker sharing secrets
Ron and his brother Dennis and his other brother Dennis

June 7, 2015  We got up early and drove to Batavia to church.  We went with the Elders to pick up an investigator, but she was not home.  So we attended church and fast and testimony meeting was really nice. Our new little convert Skyler was one of the first to bear his testimony. He bore such a sincere and simple testimony. It was very special. Sister Karol was there after having been released from the cancer unit at the hospital in Rochester and she bore a wonderful testimony.  She is still really weak and going to have more chemotherapy, but she is happy to be home.  After church we went home teaching to the Haggertys, Sandra and Susan, and then over to visit with Carla.  Carla thought she had been baptized, but there aren’t any records for her; so she is going to be baptized in the near future.  She is a very nice lady.  We arrived back in Mendon about 7:15.  That seems like a long day! 
One of the sisters at church told me about her conversion.  Her daughter was grown and lived beyond Palmyra.  Her and her husband drove by the Hill Cumorah when they would go visit their daughter.  They were always saying it was a beautiful hill.  She had bad knees and told him that someday she was going to climb that hill.  He would laugh.  (reminds me of Barbara’s song about ‘climbing that hill someday’)  So, one year they saw the advertisement for the pageant and decided that they would go and see it.  They loved it and went 2 more times that summer.  He told her, “if I believe anything, it’s what they do in that play.”  So, she asked him if he wanted to have their names put into the canister for missionaries to visit them on their way out.  He said yes.  Well, they did and it was a windy evening and they didn’t hear back at all.  The next year they decided to go back to the pageant and loved it again.  This time they put their names back in and they were contacted and baptized.  They are great people.  There are people prepared to hear the truth and they want it.  I can hardly wait to go to the pageant now.  Our stake president here, President Jensen, came to church last Sunday and had a full beard.  He is in the pageant and is growing the beard for his part. 

Blessings:  Having friends that we can do things with and that we love and get along with so well.  We can count on them for support and help.  Good friends are huge blessings!  Thanks for coming to see this part of the world dear friends!  We love you!

Update on Brent:  He arrived home Saturday, June 6, 2015.  Yahoo!  We are so excited for him to be home with his family.