Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week One...

Shel's note: Received updates today from Mom & Dad. Their internet was finally hooked up, so we're doing some catching up!

Our first week of our mission has been wonderful - filled with great experiences and strange weather!

Saturday, Nov. 15
We noticed a wall in the living room of our rental home with pictures of the last five senior couples who have served here in the Ogdensburg area and lived in this home. The couple that served here from 2010-2011, Brent & Pauline Esplin, lived in Westerville, Ohio at the same time we did in the early 80’s. Amazing!

Sunday, Nov. 16
Today we went to our first Branch meeting in Ogdensburg from 10am-1pm. They meet in a small but beautiful LDS building. We were there early enough to meet some of the members as they came in. They were all so welcoming and seemed genuinely happy to have us there. There were only 29 there for the meetings. 
We were sitting on the stand since we were the speakers for the day (the youth speaker didn’t come) and five minutes before the meeting began, Jim & Elder Hong asked me to ‘run’ the organ! I’ve never even sat at one so panic set in. The Elder gave me a quick lesson on finding the song and then how to keep pressing a key to keep it on beat. Thank goodness the chorister heard him and said we could set it automatically to keep the beat, which can be selected from the controls for each song. At the end of each verse I had to tap a button to start the next verse. During the song she leaned over and said we needed more volume and of course I was clueless. She said to push the pedal so I did and we had very loud music for a few seconds. It was just crazy. I’m pretty sure the congregation was thinking how they were glad it was me instead of them. No judging at all! I’ve already been asked to do it again next Sunday, so I guess no one else thought they could do it better but that sure wouldn't have taken much. I’ll be an expert soon. The good news is I didn't stress about my talk since I was so busy with the music.
The next meeting was in Gouverneur about 30 miles away where about the same number of members meet in a large room of a retirement home. There is one member who lives there and he was able to get permission for us to use their large dining room every week. Some of the members who live in the area are older or without transportation so this is done so they can come and participate. This meeting is from 3-5pm. I am guessing we will be giving a lot of Sacrament talks in the next 18 months.

Monday, Nov. 17
Our first opportunities for service came today. We were headed to Heuvelton to visit a family from our Branch. The roads were wet and it was lightly snowing. There was an Amish couple in their buggy heading towards us with a car approaching them from behind. The driver must have been worried about the timing of us approaching and she hit her brakes and spun clockwise. The back left side of her car hit the back left buggy wheel & jolted the buggy but hardly moved it. She then went off the road, nearly hitting an electric pole. We turned around and went to see what we could do. The Amish couple was just fine, as was the horse and they were very nice about the whole incident. They smiled and said everything was fine. They took off and the Elders and Jim proceeded to push the car until she got it back on the road. Jim was splattered, literally, from head to toe in mud. I failed to get a picture of him – it was snowing & he just needed to get wiped up as much as possible. We had to go back home so he could clean up and change clothes.
Just as we were ready to head back to Heuvelton we received a call from a member working at a local grocery store saying there was an older woman who was distraught about needing help moving some items from her porch to their upstairs rental home. Of course a large sofa was involved. So, we met her at the grocery store and followed her to her home. Her husband has serious health issues and was unable to help. When we took the cushions off the sofa I found a measuring tape (I took that as a sign) and suggested the men measure to make sure it would fit since there was a bend in the stairs and then what looked like too small of an opening at the top of the stairs, in my humble opinion. I was assured it would fit. Well, after 20 minutes of balancing and maneuvering this 3 cushion, very heavy old sofa on the stairway they gave up and brought it back down and out on the porch. 

(Update – today is the 24th and Jim’s back is giving him fits and we all know why. He has been counseled by our Mission President to not move any more furniture and to leave it to the young missionaries. We’ll see if he can follow that counsel. I've ordered him an inversion table as an early Christmas present.)

Wednesday, Nov. 19
We were supposed to drive to Watertown, just one hour southwest of here to get our car 'winterized' but the service department called to let us know they were having a blizzard and the roads were closed. Thank goodness they called because it was sunny here & we had just started to drive that way. So, we decided to drive to Ottawa which is only one hour away. It was a beautiful sunny day when we left. We found a shopping mall and did a little browsing. We headed home after about an hour and just as we were approaching the bridge back to the US we found ourselves in the middle of a snowstorm. Thank goodness we live one minute from the bridge!  

Mall in Ottawa

 Snowing on the bridge crossing back to New York

Snow & the St. Lawrence River 

St. Lawrence River 

View of the St. Lawrence from our living room window

Beautiful old church in Malone

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