Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Sunday, November 15, 2015

October Blog

Palmyra Temple grounds
We continued to attend to our normal routines throughout the month, which included visiting many members of our Branch and working with the missionaries when teaching some investigators. We also attended our regular meetings during the week and on Sundays so we stayed pretty busy with those activities. On October 23, we took three of our Branch Members to Palmyra to the Temple. It was such a beautiful day and experience with those good people.

Early in the month, we were thrilled to watch our General Conference proceedings from Salt Lake City. It was great. Then we had a mission-wide conference, which was led by Elder Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy, a General Authority of the Church. After that, we hosted Elder Marc Clay, an Area Authority Seventy here in Ogdensburg. We have known Elder Clay and his wife Kathy for over 30 years. In fact, we once lived in the same Ward in Columbus, Ohio. They have remained dear friends for all of these years.

Near the end of the month, we were excited to have one of our granddaughters, Courtney Seymour and her daughter (our great-granddaughter) McKenzie, come from Ohio for a short visit.  We had a great time with them. We were so glad that Courtney was able to make the trip with McKenzie. It was so much fun to have little McKenzie around and to get to know her a little better. She is two-years old and a total delight!

Fall colors & fun...

McKenzie (great-granddaughter)

Courtney & McKenzie at Alexandria Bay

Over 6,000 pumpkins were used for this festival in Canada - about 30 minutes away. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

September Blog

With our missionaries
At the beginning of the month, we enjoyed celebrating Linda’s birthday by taking a quick trip to Watertown where we had fun seeing a movie and then going out for a nice dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. Of course, the normal activities of our mission continued. We love visiting the members and working with the less active and investigators. Then we attended our routine meetings as well. Those have been identified in previous posts on this Blog so we won’t repeat them here.

By the end of the month, we could feel the effects of the fall season. Our nights were cooling down and the leaves were beginning to change colors. We are sure that October will be spectacular. The days were also cooler but still quite nice, which we totally enjoyed. It sure makes getting out and traveling to make our visits easier and more pleasant. Another indicator that winter is just around the corner is the number of people closing up their “camps,” which are houses along the St. Lawrence River and pulling their boats out of the water. And of course, watching the squirrels gather their winter supplies is always a good indication of things to come.

There are other “senior missionaries” in the different Branches of the Church here and we have been meeting with them once a month to see their area and to exchange ideas and information about our different areas. This month we visited Saranac Lake and Lake Placid and had a chance to tour the 1980 Olympic venues and to see the fall colors in that area.

At the very end of the month, we were thrilled to have our daughter Michelle and her husband Dale come for a visit (pictures below). We filled their time here with some wonderful sights of upstate New York. We had a great trip and visit to Palmyra, the birthplace of our Church. While there, we visited the Temple, walked through the Sacred Grove, and toured the E B Grandin Print shop where the first 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon were printed. Then we also made a quick trip to Niagara Falls, which we had seen many years ago when we lived in Ohio. We had forgotten just how massive the Falls are. It’s such an amazing sight!

Our building was being cleaned one day, so the missionaries had to teach outside.

Fresh goodness at a Amish stand
Saw this sign across from one of the Amish stands
More missionary fun at our place

Missionary fun at our place

There is always someone who can play our piano
They are everywhere!
Seriously... EVERYWHERE!

On the Ferry - headed out to the castles on the different islands

Boldt Castle (on one of the Thousand Islands)

Singer Castle (again, on one of the Thousand Islands)

Niagara Falls

Visit to Joseph Smith's home in Palmyra with Dale & Michelle.

Lunch in Saranac Lake with the senior couples from our Zone.

Lake Placid Olympic Center - 1980 Winter Olympic Site

Skiing in the summer at the Olympic Park.  No snow to cushion a fall.

Beginning to look like fall in the Adirondacks. 

The sunsets on the St. Lawrence are amazing!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

August Blog

Lighthouse on the Canadian side -
we see it illuminated at night from home.
Our calling as Member and Leader Support (MLS) Missionaries is much like it sounds. By now, if you have been following our Blog, you will note that our lives are busy and fall into a fairly normal routine. In August, we spent the lion’s share of our time visiting and working with members. Jim serves in the Branch as the First Counselor to the Branch President so he has a direct link with the leadership of the Branch. Linda serves as the Family History Consultant for the Branch and has that additional “hook” to visit the members, both active and less active. Needless to say, we love our time here as missionaries for the Church. It is wonderful and at the same time very challenging. 

During the month, we enjoyed our usual Zone and District meetings along with all of the other responsibilities associated with our work here in Ogdensburg. We have two sets of Elders working in the Branch. One set is here in Ogdensburg and the other in Gouverneur. Routinely, we drive down to Gouverneur on Wednesdays to be with the Elders there. Every six weeks, is transfer week when new Elder and Sister Missionaries arrive in the mission, while others who are completing their missions return to their homes. Elders serve for two years and sisters serve for 18 months, so placing the new missionaries and moving others around is a huge task and the Mission President with his assistants coordinate all of that work. During the transfer that occurred on August 19, both of our more experienced Elders became trainers so we brought back two new missionaries to be trained - one here in Ogdensburg and the other in Gouverneur. Of course, as a senior missionary couple, we stay put, thank goodness. For that, we are glad because we love it here in Ogdensburg.

The summer is beginning to wind down. Our nights are usually in the 50's and the days are currently in the low 80's with fairly high humidity. Even so, it is pretty comfortable most of the time. We can already tell that the fall is going to spectacular here in this part of the country. A few trees are starting to change colors. We think by the end of September and into early October we should be in full color.

Our District missionaries helped paint the fence around the St Lawrence Historical Society in Canton as a service project.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

July Blog

Enjoyed the fireworks over the St. Lawrence River
We have enjoyed another wonderful month in the “North Country” as missionaries. Of course, we have continued with our usual activities that take us into the homes of our members and investigators. We now have a new Mission President and just like our past president, he is terrific. In addition, we continue to volunteer at the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen and food pantry. Both activities provide a lot of assistance to people who are struggling in one fashion or another. 

During the month, we were privileged to take a family from our little Branch to see the Pageant in Palmyra. That event is amazing and literally draws thousands of people from all over the country and even a number of countries outside of the U.S. It was an amazing production and we really enjoyed it.

On a more personal note, we had a visit from Linda’s brother and his wife from Aurora, Colorado. We were able to show them some of the sites in this area. It was fun and we really enjoyed having them here with us. Then, late in the month we were visited by our long-time friends, Tom and Pat Baca from College Station, Texas. We made another trip to Palmyra with them to see and attend the Temple there. We also visited the Frederic Remington Art Museum, which is right here in Ogdensburg. In addition, we took a day trip to Sharon, Vermont to see the birthplace of Joseph Smith. There is a wonderful Visitor’s Center there and it was great to see it. We learned that Tom has an ancestor who was from Kingston, Canada so we made a trip there with them to seek out some genealogy information. It’s a quaint little town and not too far from us. On our way home, we went to Alexandria Bay where we went to see the famous “Boldt Castle.” It is an amazing place with a great story and just 30 minutes from our house. There is much to see in this area and our guest room is just waiting for visitors!

We are really enjoying the weather as it has been in the low 80’s with some wonderful thunderstorms. It cools off into the high 50’s to mid 60’s at night. We are looking forward to the beauty of the fall in Upstate New York and a drive through the Adirondacks when the leaves are at the peak of change.

Mission office in Utica
Ausable Chasm in Keeseville, NY - they call it the Grand Canyon of the east.

Nope! Didn't even try that.
Didn't try that either. We were on the wrong side of the river, thank goodness.
Sacred Grove
Sacred Grove

Birthplace of Joseph Smith - Sharon, VT. 
The monument is composed of polished granite cut from a nearby quarry. 
Sitting atop a series of bases, an inscription stone, and a molded cap, the obelisk stone
rises 38½ feet, one foot for every year of the Prophet’s life.

Palmyra - Hill Cumorah Pageant

Remington Art Museum w/Tom & Pat Baca
Underground Railroad Museum - fascinating history of slaves headed to Canada.
Finally met Sister McCormies from Arizona!
There are many locals who rely on the food bank and meals provided by the Salvation Army. 
We are grateful to be able to volunteer with our missionaries a couple of times a week.

Missionaries playing on the beach

Alexandria Bay at sunset