Thursday, December 4, 2014

We Have a Christmas Tree!

Will you look at this!  We have a Christmas tree!  President Offenberger showed up at our door this week with a Christmas tree for us to borrow along with ornaments to decorate it.  His wonderful wife Phyllis was in on the good deed, too.  They are so great!  Phyllis has been in the hospital and is home now doing much better so it makes the good deed all the more incredible.  She has been on oxygen for years and has been barely able to even get from the house to the car to make it to church.  When President Offenberger was released as the Branch President in Spencer they planned a trip to Utah and Nevada to visit some of their children but Phyllis took a turn for the worse and they weren't able to go.  Now she is doing better than she has done in years. They are both the sweetest kindest people we have ever known.
We are now almost 2/3 of the way finished with the divorce project.  It is going much faster than we expected.  We haven't had a single re-work so far on this project. We expected the project to take until March to finish but we will finish it by the first week of January the way it looks now.  We are having difficulty getting enough help with the preparatory work to keep up with the camera.  Today we had to shut the camera down for a while and both David and I work on ironing the documents before we could digitize again.
When we finish the divorce project there is a little over a month of work that we have field orders for at the courthouse.  Dan tells us there are more in the process of being approved but other than that, we will next go to the Genealogy Library that is just two blocks from our house for the next projects. Then after that there is a small project at one of the churches here.  I'm not sure if there is a year's worth of work left here or if we will be moved somewhere else.  Time will only tell.
We had good news yesterday that the LaBarrs, (a couple that we have been going with the Elders to teach for several months) went to church last Sunday.  They live at the end of our alley and we saw them and stopped to talk and they told us.  They said it was "different".  The Elders are going to their house for dinner on Saturday and they said they have lots of questions. The LaBarrs have been extremely slow movers.  Their going to church was a huge step! We are very excited!
We have a little radio now at the courthouse and we've been playing Christmas music.  The other day while I was on the camera and David was at the ironing board I could hear him singing along.  He's turning into a right jolly old elf! We do love serving this mission!  We're so grateful to be able to be serving and grateful for the support we get from our family.  We love you all so much!  We couldn't do this without you and without the Lord's help.  We know it's His work and it's great to be a part of it!  Thank you so much for your help, your support an especially your prayers for us!  If you haven't watched it yet, be sure to watch the video, "He is the Gift" at christmas.mormon.org  It will lift your spirits for the Christmas season,  We hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Columbus Temple and Amish Country

 On Veteran's Day the courthouse was closed so we took the opportunity to go to Columbus to the temple.  As you can see it is a very small temple but it is very beautiful.  When we got inside we were delighted to see the Marietta Bishop's wife in the lobby.  She had names she needed help with so we were able to take some names through for her. Small in size certainly doesn't mean small in spirit.  This is a temple many people travel hours to get to and sometimes only are able to make it a few times a year.  The spirit in this temple is huge! The people who serve there are so humble and sweet. I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful chandelier than is in that tiny celestial room. What a special experience!  We hated to leave.
On our way home we went to Costco since the only Costco anywhere near us is in Columbus.  David wanted to get some sugar-free Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate.  Wouldn't you know, they didn't have it!  They just had the kind with sugar in it.  It's OK though, he gets it at Walmat, just not in the huge quantities.
On Saturday we went to the Amish country about and hour and a half north of Marietta with the Grammers.  We let them show us their favorite places.  We went to a cheese factory and tasted a ton of different cheeses (Yum)!  We went to a huge fabric store with super cheap bolts of fabric.  One thing they had I couldn't believe was 30 yd rolls of 5" wide lace for $5. No, I didn't buy any. I don't know how I'd get it home.  We went to an Amish bakery and David bought fry pies.  We went to an Amish woman's garage where she makes noodles and bought a bunch of her noodles.  Then we went to another woman's garage and Carolyn bought sleeves of canning jar lids at about half the regular cost. I think she said there are 30 dozen in a sleeve for $30.
There are small free newspapers available in most of the businesses that have lots of Amish recipes inside.  I have tried a few and they are worth sharing:
Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
1 C butter, softened
1 1/3 C packed brown sugar
2/3 C. sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 C canned pumpkin puree
1 3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for 30 seconds, set aside.  In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, brown sugar, and sugar until creamy.  Blend in egg then blend in vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.  With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Mix in chocolate chips and pecans.  Let batter rest  5-10 minutes.  (This gives the oats time to absorb the moisture).  Scoop dough out and bake in preheated oven 12-14 minutes.  Allow to cool on baking sheet seeral minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
2 C dry medium egg noodles
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 medium chopped yellow onion
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks chopped celery
3 cloves garlic minced
2 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth
3 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C butter
1/4 C + 2 T. all purpose flour
2 1/2 C milk
1/3 C heavy cream
Prepare noodles (you want the noodles to finish the same time the soup finished cooking) and drain.  In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes, then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.   Add chicken broth, parsley, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add chicken breasts and bring soup to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover with lid and allow soup to cook until chicken has cooked through, about 10-15 minutes longer (cook times will vary depending on thickness of chicken breasts).   Remove Chicken and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then shred into bite size pieces.  Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add flour and cook stirring constantly , 1 1/2 minutes.  While whisking slowly add in milk and whisk vigorously to smooth lumps.  Whisk in cream and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.  Pour milk mixture into soup mixture and return chicken to soup along with cooked noodles and stir.  Serve warm with fresh bread or crackers if desired.
A typical Amish farm
Some Amish buggies

Today the truck carrying the National Christmas Tree stopped at our courthouse on it's way to Washington D.C.  The truck is a half a block long.  At the back of the truck there is a "window" so you can see the tree.  The High School choir came and sang a Christmas Carole for the event  The Grammer's granddaughter was in the choir.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Working away

David is getting pretty good at ironing paper!  He's ironed thousands of sheets of paper now and so have I.  If they don't lay perfectly flat when we capture them we will get blurring so while one of us is on camera the other is ironing.  So far we haven't gotten any of the divorce records back as re-work!   I'm sure we will but so far so good! We've done 7 out of 45 of the big white boxes so far.

Some of the stories are so sad and others a a little humorous.  One case I had to chuckle at a little was a couple in 1926, if I remember right.  They had both pulled guns on each other and shot at each other bringing the police into their domestic disputes.  The judge ruling in the divorce told them that they were both such horrible people that neither one of them deserved a divorce and the only reason he was granting the divorce to them was because together they were a hazard to not only the police but the entire community and only because of that it was better to separate them. He told them his worst fear was that they would just marry other people and that would just magnify the problem.  What a laugh!  We're so used to all divorces being granted today, but back then many divorces were denied.
Another divorce that was unusual was a couple with 13 children.  The husband left his wife and kids to take off with another woman.  What I hadn't seen before is this guy was at least nice enough to sign over the farm to his wife before he left. This one was also in the 1920's.

Alcohol is a factor in at least 90% of the divorces.  Men beating their wives is predominant in the cases before World War II and again about 10 years after World War II but during World War II and for about 10 years after there is a complete change.  During those years it is the women who are awful. During those years the divorces are over unfaithful wives, especially the wives of the servicemen. Women even abandon their children for affairs with men other than their husbands. I wonder what it was about the war that made them so crazy?

I sure feel the urgency of the work we are doing.  It's like I feel the spirits of these people standing behind me saying, "Go faster, go faster!"  It drives me crazy if we are a few minutes late getting to the courthouse to get to work.  And I'm pretty sure we're usually the last ones to leave. David calls me a 'workaholic' but it's just the urgency I feel of this work.  The days go by in a flash.  I can't believe we've already been out almost 6 months.

The Spencer Branch is on fire!  They are doing so great and we are so proud of how they are taking ownership of their branch and working to make it grow.

We love you all so much! We miss you and hope you are doing well.  We know the Savior truly lives and knows each one of us by name and wants nothing more than for us to know him.  He loves us so much!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Miracle Book

I couldn't help but be amazed when I digitized this book.  It is the most damaged book I have done so far although a few others have been close.  Some of these Quadrennial Enumerations, which are similar to census records, have been exposed to water at some point and have water and mold damage. This one has holes where the mold is that go deep into the book.  The first few pages were stuck together and I had to try to gently separate them.  One of the amazing things is that the pages that were stuck together and tore when I tried to separate them were the blank pages between the letters A and B,  The pages with writing on them remained remarkably legible with very few names destroyed. Pages A and B were in the worst condition.  The rest of the book was entirely legible although every page was water damaged. The back cover looks almost as bad as the front cover. I was in awe that so many of these names had somehow been preserved until we could digitize them.  Surely Heavenly Father's protective care had been with these books until they could be preserved.

 This is one of the small books of the Quadriennial Enumerations.  All of "QE's" are under 30 pages so these are quite a change from the big books we have been doing that we can only lift one at a time.  They take a lot longer to do per page than the big books.  We're going really fast if we get four of these done an hour.
Unless Brother Grammer has some more we don't know about we should finish the QE's in the next day or two.

We almost have all of the divorce packets in the folders now and we have three boxes ironed and two weeks ago we digitized the first box of divorce folders.  We should have the audit back on that box this week and that will tell us if we did it right or not.  I expect we will start on them again the day after tomorrow.
The fall colors are at their peak and the leaves are falling to the ground.  The weather is starting to turn colder but not too bad.  It doesn't sound like winters here are quite as bad as Utah winters except Marietta has more black ice.
When we drive to Spencer on Sundays we go through a town named Ripley.  In the downtown area the lamp posts are decorated for Halloween.  It's really fun!
The Spencer Branch was reorganized the week before last.  President Offenberger was released and for the first time in many, many, years the Spencer Branch is standing on it's own with a local Branch President,  We are so excited!  Already the new Branch President is doing a great job.  He met  with us on Sunday after church and he has 3 great goals and is "In Action".  We can see the Spencer Branch really taking off now!
We sure would love to hear from each of you!  We miss you all so much!  We're doing our best to move the work forward here.  We know it is the Lord's work and it is so great to be a part of it.  What is certain is that Heavenly Father knows each one of His children by name and each one is incredibly important to Him; so important that he preserves individual names a little moldy book in the attic of a courthouse in Marietta, Ohio.  Keep the faith!  Never give up!  We love you so much!








Thursday, October 2, 2014

Back Up and Running



 I don't know if you would notice the difference in the picture but we have a completely new set up for digitizing.  If you go back and look at the last picture of David working you will see the changes.  Instead of three separate spotlights on each side we have the solid fluorescent strip lights on each side.  The monitor is hung right in front of us instead of over to the side.  The camera reaches out to the front a lot further than the old one did.
The change over presented a number of problems and we had 2 1/2 days of down time resolving them but we are up and running again and the changes are great! Twice Salt Lake had needed things to us overnight!  It was amazing.  Tony in camera repair could look at pictures from my phone or take over our computer and figure out how to resolve our problems. So even though David and I are totally technology illiterate we are not alone out here.  The support is truly amazing!
 Even though we had down time on the camera we were still working hard on the divorce packets.  On the right are the boxes of court cases we pul the divorce packets from.  In the later years they are color coded as you see in this box.  The divorce packets are green.  the red packets are cases where the State of Ohio is the plaintiff.  The brown packets are other common pleas.  In the earlier years they aren't color coded and we have to look much closer to find all the divorce cases.  Each row in the white box is considered a "box" and has a number.  The packets are pulled from the original white box, the envelope is stapled to the front of a green legal-sized folder and the contents flattened by back folding and put inside.  Once we have done that with all 80,000 packets we will go back through them and iron them to get them flat enough to capture. Yes it is a lot of work!
The leaves are really starting to turn now.  We don't go to Spencer this weekend because of conference but by the next weekend I expect we will probably see a big change.  They say the temperature will drop considerably this weekend.  I'm sure not ready for winter so I hope it's not too much.

We've been working really hard this week to catch up on all of our re-work from the blurring and hopefully we will finish that tomorrow and that will be the end of it.  We sure hope it  is anyway.  It sure has been discouraging.
Between that and David beating me mercilessly at canasta it's been pretty rough.

We're excited for the conference, we just can't wait! We love you all so much!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Paw Paws


     We experienced another first!  Paw Paws!  The Grammers have paw paw trees in their yard and brought us paw paws to try.  The ones you see in the picture that are pretty and green are NOT ripe and ready to eat.  When they are almost black and super soft they are ready to eat.  They have black seeds  in the middle and are somewhat banana-like in flavor and very sweet.  If you try to eat one before it is ripe it is very bitter. They are custard-like in texture so you couldn't be cut up and put in jello or anything like that.  They're just "finger-lickin" good.

     This is a game I made up to teach my Sunday School class on Standing in Holy Places from Isaiah.  I actually had two boys in my class that day instead of the usual one.  The less active boy that came said the closing prayer and said, "Thank you for the time going fast."  I had to laugh!
     We had the Elders to dinner on Friday and I fed them the Favorite Family Recipes Zupa Tuscana and cheese biscuits.  Boy did they ever wolf it down! The Elder in the front on the left is Elder Rose.  He is Dave Rose's (BYU basketball coach) nephew. He and Elder Numbers (far right) are both first week out in the mission field.
We appreciate them so much!  They give us more help up at the courthouse than anyone else. Each set of Elders usually come to help us twice a week.
     We have experienced more frustration with blurring.  It looks like our blurring problem has actually been a constant since we started but it just depends on the auditor whether or not our work passes or fails.  When we got our audit back last week we looked at each failed image and the blurring was consistently 1 pixel to the left.  It couldn't even be seen until magnified to 1600X.  We've been in touch with camera repair in Salt Lake trying to figure out the reason for
the problem.  They had us put a level on the table and the table was level then they had us put a level on the camera and it was way off of level.  So David spent most of the day Friday trying to get the camera level and hopefully that will fix the problem.  It has been hard not to feel terribly discouraged.
     The picture doesn't show it very well but we are starting to see more leaves turning.  They tell us we will see dark red some day and it will be gorgeous.  What we have seen in our own yard is when they turn red they fall to the ground.
We love and miss you all so very much!  We need your prayers!  They do make a difference.  We pray for you, too.  We, like Brighton, know that God is real.  We see His tender mercies on a daily basis and we are so grateful!  As we go with the missionaries to teach others it is so hard to understand why they don't just jump at the chance to embrace the gospel.  We want so bad to give them what we have.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cleveland and Kirtland

Grandstand at Sternwheeler Festival

Festival fireworks

This painting is in the visitors center in
Kirtland

This is the original manuscript
of the Word of Wisdom on
display in Kirtland
David, Karen & Dan & Carolyn
Grammer at the Whitney Store


Site of Issac Moreley's school house
where God the Father and Jesus
Christ appeared
Kirtland Temple


David & Karen on front steps
of  Kirtland Temple
Sister Brumsfield, Dan, David & Carolyn
in one of the courtrooms
in the Cleveland Courthouse
One of the courtrooms in
the Cleveland
courthouse







Main entrance hall at
Cleveland courthouse
What a crazy busy week!  The Sternwheeler Festival was great but all we really saw was the fireworks.  We did see a lot of sternwheelers but we didn't see them race.  The Elders called and needed help with their service project parking cars in Harmer Village so we did that most of the afternoon and finished in time for the fireworks.  The fireworks were the best we'd ever seen! Of course, the water just magnifies the effect.

Lady Liberty stained glass
window in Cleveland
courthouse
Monday we went with the Grammers to Cleveland and learned how to do the divorce records we will be starting soon.  That was a big help and I feel pretty confident now about starting that project.  Prep will definitely be a lot of work but your prayers we asked for have been helping and the Marietta ward members have been back helping.  One of the sisters in the Ward got up and bore her testimony on Sunday and said that one of her ancestors that she has been looking for for many years just showed up in a newly released record from the Washington County Courthouse that we had just digitized.  She didn't know this relative had lived here and hadn't looked here but because of our work here she had found this relative.  Hooray!  Suddenly we have help again!

Kirtland was wonderful!  Our favorite was the Issac Morley farm.  I learned so much about Issac Morley I didn't know before.  I'd love to find a biography of him to read.  What an incredible man! (and his wife couldn"t have been one whit behind him)  Walking his farm was walking on holy ground!

Our excitement last week was that we placed a Book of Mormon!  Judge Williams and his assistant, Rae, brought us up some cinnamon rolls and while they were talking to us Judge Williams mentioned that there was coffee downstairs we could help ourselves to.  When we politely told him we don't drink coffee it perked Rae's interest.  She went home and talked to her brother in Virginia about it and came back the next day and asked us for a Book of Mormon and said she would like to read it.  We aren't allowed to proselyte at the courthouse so we will just have to wait and see if anything comes of it.
More excitement is we are getting a new bed tomorrow!  The mattress we have had has been, to put it nicely, a pain in the back!  At church last Sunday the couple from the mission office came to Spencer (they are going to be joining us until the first snow flies).  I don't remember how the subject of the bed came up but she told me we don't have to sleep on a bad mattress and she would start proceedings first thing Monday to get us a new mattress.  How lucky was that?  That must be more of your prayers for us answered, too!  Tender mercies are raining down on us like crazy!  Thank you!

We love and miss you so much!  We hope you are doing well!  We hope our prayers for you are being answered, too!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

Labor Day started with a pancake breakfast at the church in Marietta.  It's an annual event and there was a great turn-out.  Some investigators even came.  We saw members we had never seen at church.  The young man you see closest to the front is Daniel Espinosa.  He is preparing for his mission and is with the missionaries on a regular basis.  He comes to serve at the courthouse  quite often also.  He is a really outstanding young man. He was serving a "mini-mission" when we arrived last June.  

     The Sternwheelers have already started arriving for this next weekend's Sternwheeler Festival. It is the BIG event of the year here in Marietta.  These Sternwheelers will race each other. Concerts in the park will start Friday evening. The fireworks will be huge. They tell us that they create a waterfall from the bridge you see in the background of a couple of the pictures.  The fireworks are done from a barge on the river and reflect on the water and the waterfall.
 We are very excited for the coming weekend and the festivities.

     We are almost at the end of the books to digitize at the courthouse and ready to start the divorce records.  Brother Grammer is working on finding us enough books to fill this week with work so that the divorce records can be put off until next week.  Our Supervisor from Quebec wants us to take a little trip to Cleveland to see how the missionaries there are doing the same kind of records there. The Grammers need to go with us to Cleveland and want to wait until next week to go. The trip to Cleveland will include a side-trip to Kirtland, so we are very excited about the trip.  The missionaries in Cleveland, we understand, are actually "ironing" the pages to prepare them for digitizing.  In the prep work I have already been doing I can see how that would help.  We will need someone to make us a little "ironing board".  We have an extra iron because we brought our iron and then the mission furnished us with an iron, so we're lucky with that.  The project is huge with 80,000 records and each record could have as many as 50 pages.  The project covers from 1900-1980.
   
We're hoping the Ward members will start coming back to help us.  Sister Grammer thinks they will, although we have only had the missionaries come since we were assigned to the Spencer Branch. Perhaps its been a good thing at this time since the divorce records require a  great deal of organization and too much help could have caused  disorganization right now.  The trip to Cleveland will clarify a lot of things for us. We're thinking the Lord knows what he's doing.
 

We were sad to learn on Sunday that the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency, Brother Kudrick (at left) is moving from the area.  He is the sweetest man and has been such a blessing to the Branch.  Of course, losing anyone in an area like this leaves a big hole but he leaves a volcano sized hole.  He also taught the youth Sunday School class. President Offenberger has asked me to fill that hole and David to assist the High Priest Group Leader.
     On Sunday we locked ourselves out of our house and ended up having to break a window to get back in.  David cut one of his fingers pretty deeply in breaking the window but it is OK.  We're making an extra key now and giving it to Issac.  We could have gone without that experience.  The landlord is replacing the window tomorrow.
It's interesting, we don't really like the long weekend much.  We would rather be back at work.  We love doing what we are here to do.  We feel the urgency in the hastening of the work and there is nothing else we would rather be doing.  We're in the right place at the right time and we are so grateful.  We are grateful for your support and your love!  We love you so much!  We pray for you and trust the Lord to care for you in our absence.  We love hearing from you, we miss you so much!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Service Project

This was our service project Saturday repairing this tennis court on Harmer Hill.  Most of us were on our hands and knees sealing the cracks in the surface of the court.  That's David in the center staining the table under the awning.  We started at 9:00 am and it was 90 degrees pretty fast.  I spent the whole time on my knees and by the time we finished I remembered how really "old" I am. 

These are our wonderful Elders giving us service at the Courthouse.  They have been coming at least once a week lately and we really appreciate it!   They leave with sweat pouring down their faces and filthy dirty. They are (left to right) Elder Streeter, Elder Cox, Elder Mitchell, & Elder Leo.  We love them so much!
Elder Cox and Elder Streeter visiting with David after slaving in the book rooms.

We've only got about two more days of work before we start the divorce records project.  We are so glad that our supervisor from Quebec is coming on Wednesday to work with us just in time before we have to start it. It is so huge and we haven't done anything like it yet so we are unsure how to do it.  There are 80,000 records to be done and each record has many pages to be digitized. This project isn't in books, each record is in a separate file folder.
 Also, this week we get a visitor from Salt Lake.  There is a "Justice Conference" in Columbus on Thursday and Friday that is really important and exciting for our work.  This is where the church gets a chance to present to the Judges throughout the State the opportunity to have missionaries like  us come in and digitize their records in their courthouses. The Grammers that work with us and Brother DeJong that is coming from Salt Lake will have a booth there hoping to be able to interest some of the Judges in the digitizing program.  It's such a "win-win" program.
The work is truly hastening!  It's so exciting to be a part of it!  We love what we are doing!  It is so great to be a part of this great church and to have the gospel in our lives.  The Saints out here are amazing!  One elderly sister in Spencer drives 45 minutes every Sunday to come to church to meet with only a handful of members.  She's never had the opportunity to marry or have a family but her testimony is on fire!  What an inspiration she is!  We love you so much and hope you are all well!  

Monday, August 18, 2014

August in Marietta

I can't believe it's the middle of August already and the kids are going back to school.  This picture is of across the street from our house taken in the morning before leaving for the courthouse.  It is often misty and foggy like this.  It reminds me of the mornings at Neah Bay only  without the smell of fish.  

We are just beginning to see the slightest start of the turning of the leaves.  I can't wait for the fall change of colors.  I expect it to be magnificent.

I was able to catch some of the wild flowers here although there are places where there are large purple  masses of flowers that make you think a little bit of the Garden of Eden must have leaked out here.

We did end up getting quite a bit of work back to do over last week.  Even though we couldn't see the blurring the auditor was identifying, Michael Benson pointed out that the books were post bound and the pages could be taken out of the bindings and photographed flat.  We didn't know they wanted us to do that because we thought it would take so much longer but we sure do agree it makes for a better image so we are glad we are able to re-do them flat.   It's going much better now that we're doing them flat and it's going a lot faster than we thought it would.  I'm sure there will be more things we will learn by our mistakes as we go along.
By next week we will be starting a new project.  It will be the divorce records from 1900 to I'm not sure when.  There are over 80,000 records to be digitized in the project.  They will be very time consuming.  Each record will be many pages. When I'm off camera I've been working on preparing them for capturing.  They are really quite depressing.  I've been working on the ones from 1946 to 1950 this week.  So many soldiers came home from the war to wives who had been unfaithful.  I'ts very sad to read so many unpleasant things that happened.
Other sad news is Issac punched out.  He wanted  the social scene of the church but nothing to do with the religion.  He came over last week and told us his conscience wouldn't allow him to go to church any more when he knew he really never would want any part of the religion.
We've had the Elders to dinner a couple of times and last week they even played the "Bean" game with us.  It was very brief but fun, they had to get on their way quickly.  They are such wonderful hard working missionaries.
We really thank you for your prayers.  The aches and pains of our bodies we were having such a hard time with at first have practically disappeared. We're still tired at the end of the day but not in pain.  It's OK to be tired.  We won't complain about that.  We enjoy what we are doing and so grateful that we get to be here.  We miss all of you and hope you are doing fine.  We love you and pray for you and trust the Lord to care for you while we are away.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to Spencer


 Well after two weeks of being traveling Sacrament meeting speakers we're back at the Spencer Branch.  We thought we'd share the beautiful 80+ drive to Spencer.  The first 50 miles are on the freeway but a little before we turn off on Highway 33 we see this house on top of the hill to the left of the freeway.  I'm sure the view is fantastic up there but I don't think I'd want to be there during the thunder storms we have here.
Once you turn off the freeway onto highway 33 it's hills and curves for 30 miles.  I've got to remember the Dramamine next week.  The countryside is beautiful as you can see.  Don't you love the covered bridge on this farm?  Its hard to see from a distance but there are wild flowers everywhere.  The homes along the way are adorned with so many flowers.  Most of them look like they are from fifty years back in time.  A good example is the fire truck.  It really fits right in with a lot of what we see although the towns, I'm sure do have up to date equipment.
The Church house is very small and doesn't have a formal chapel.  Sacrament meeting is held in a central room as is the adult Sunday School class.  There are a few classrooms around the parameter where the classrooms and Bishops office and kitchen are.  It does have an organ and it has built in electronics that will play the prelude music without an organist but there is a sister who plays the organ for Sacrament Meeting.  Since there are only about 12 in attendance including the children that's pretty fortunate.
At the courthouse productivity has seriously slowed down.  We are doing marriage records now and we run into a lot of attachments.  The picture on the right shows a page with two attachments.  Some have four.  In some of the books the pages have been in plastic sleeves so we have had to take the pages out of the sleeves to open up the attachments to photograph them.  Where we used to do seven books as day, now we are lucky to get three done.  Some of the books have been bound so tight we have had to take them apart and photograph them out of the binding.  That's very slow.  The attachments are all for marriages of minors requiring parental consent or marriages where the woman is pregnant and a letter is required.  In such cases, where the father is a minor, the father always becomes an award of the court until he is 21.  How interesting is that?
At the rate we are going it will take us a month to finish the marriage records.  Maybe not, after 3 more books the books get much smaller, so we'll see.
By the way, Issac is still going to church!  (Without us, since we are going to Spencer) The Elders say it is going well.  We love you and miss you!  We hope you are all doing well!