Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Many mixed emotions accompany this entry on our blog...we are entering the final days of our time here in Harmony, Pennsylvania.  Some days flew by, others not so much, but we have cherished the opportunity to be here and serve in such a sacred and beautiful place.

 We will miss the peace and serenity that we feel as we walk the roads that the prophet Joseph Smith and his lovely bride walked and planned their future as newlyweds.   We will miss reading a verse from the Book of Mormon in the room where it first fell from the lips of the prophet.  We will miss walking in the quiet grove where Joseph and Oliver went to pray and where John Baptist appeared in answer to their prayer and restored the priesthood of God to the earth.  We will miss the quiet ripple of the river where the first baptisms in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times took place.  And we will miss the sweet spirit of all the people who have come and visited this site with a desire to strengthen their testimonies and draw closer to the Savior.  It's been an honor to know and serve them.

And we will miss the beautiful young sister missionaries that we have grown to know and love as if they were family.

                               They truly have been our light here.


We started the "B-Group" with these missionaries.  All of us have names that start with the letter B---Bells, Baantjer, Bingham, and Banners.  We may be the B-Group, but they are A+ missionaries!


We were blessed with the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia Temple a week ago with all of the missionaries who will be departing this month.

And while in Philadelphia we took advantage of the opportunity to see some historical sites...the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Redding Street market where, of course, we had to have a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich.   


As we prepare to head home we had a little fun in the Isaac 
Hale home where we couldn't resist trying on some of the hats on display there.  Can't you just picture Emma Smith wearing this???


Her father, Isaac, was a hunter and would have worn a hat much like this.  It makes Dean look sooooo handsome, don't you think?

Thank you to all who have followed us through this journey.  We have felt your love, prayers and support.  You are dear to our hearts and we look forward to being together again soon.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Winter Time

My, my! When I look back at the last post I realize how long it's been and am amazed at how much time has passed.  The holidays came and went and here we are in the middle of a bone-chilling Pennsylvania winter.  Single digit temps are the norm and the windchill factor dropped us all the way down to a -22 a few days ago.  The snow hasn't been deep yet---just three or four inches at a time, but it seems like every morning we wake up to a new snow fall.  

  The view from our front porch every morning. 

Even the statues are looking frigid!   BRrrrrrr...

 The weather has definitely had an effect on the number of people who come and visit us at the site, so we have to be creative and find things to do to fill our time productively.  The Church had an initiative called "Light the World".  They asked people across the world to look for ways during the 25 days in December leading up to Christmas day to find ways to cheer, serve and bless others as the Savior would do if He were here....thus bringing light to the world.  
The missionaries put our heads together and came up with a few ideas that we could do.
Here is our list:

One of the most enjoyable things on the list was to go caroling.  We took cookies to our neighbors and to the mayor of Susquehanna.  On another evening, we joined with the Methodist Church and loaded up a bus and went caroling at a care center and also visited some shut-ins.  This gentleman served in WW II and was so grateful and delighted that we came.

Some homemade cranberry bread for our new friends.

All of the missionaries worked hard and made 20 knit beanies and 15 lovely fleece blankets that we took to Philadelphia and donated to a charity that helps clothe and house new refugees to the area.  They were thrilled with our small offering and it warmed our hearts to be able to help.

Dean and I also put together some wreaths to place on the graves of Emma Smith's parents and Joseph and Emma's first child who are buried near the Visitor Center.

Christmas Eve found the Senior missionaries at our home after we attended a mass at the Catholic Church.  We enjoyed a dinner together and then read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and sang some carols....reminding us of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ on that night over 2000 years ago.

On Christmas morning we had a big breakfast with the young sister missionaries, Sister Spackman and Sister Carter and we all opened our gifts together.  It made if feel almost like home to have their bright smiles and enthusiasm around our home.

We're so grateful for all those who remembered us and sent their love, gifts and good wishes to us during the holidays.  We know we are truly blessed!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

What a fun fall we have had!  The highlight was LOTS of visitors.  
Larry and Kathy Grasteit spent a few days with us and we loved every minute of it.  We played games, toured the site and made a trip down to beautiful Bushkill Falls. 

 Janis Miller and Johanna Brown also found their way out to New York and Pennsylvania.  It was so great to see them and catch up on all the news from back in Colorado.  It was quick and short, but we had a chance to attend Church, give a tour, and have a laugh or two. Thanks for coming, ladies!

We also had a visit from Dean's sister and brother-in-law, Ellie and Mel from Utah.  We went out to dinner and celebrated Mel's 85th birthday. WOW! The next day they got the VIP tour of the Priesthood Restoration Site.
Our son, Mitch and his wife, Danielle  were also here for a few days.  They brought grandchildren!!!  It was such a blessing to be able to meet our new granddaughter, Raine, and give her some special attention from her grandparents.  She is adorable as you can see. 😁

During their visit we got permission to leave mission boundaries for a day, so we went to Cooperstown, NY the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  We loved a walk through history and the opportunity to learn more about the stars of the this great 
American past time.

We also finally did a coal
mine tour down in Scranton, PA 

 (Dean is super handsome in a hard hat.)

It was a fascinating tour as we descended hundreds of feet underground and learned of the difficult life of a coal miner.   The donkeys that worked in the mines eventually went blind, because they never saw the light of day.  Their entire life was spent hauling coal in the darkness.

We've enjoyed a lovely fall, and even got into the Halloween spirit around here.

Can you guess what our costumes are??? (Missionaries have to be creative---and minimal)  Dean is a bulletin board and Cheryl is a "ceiling fan". 
(Get it???)  😉

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Some Work, Some Play

     Life here in the mission is filled with lots of long hours, walking, and tours.  But, occasionally we get away for a little break on our "P" day (Preparation Day).

The last few weeks we've enjoyed some work and some play time.
We got a way for a day and drove down to the Philadelphia area and visited Valley Forge.  It was fun to learn more about the history of the Revolutionary War and gain a greater appreciation for the sacrifices of our forefathers.  They endured many hardships so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we do today. I'm grateful for their courage and foresight.

                          Trolley Tour

 We gave the Joseph and Emma Smith home a new coat of paint recently.  I'm sure they appreciated it!  The lovely red was beginning to fade a bit.   This is the home where most of the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph and 15 revelations included in the Doctrine and Covenants were received.  It deserves to look stellar.

Last week I gave a tour to a family of five who were planning to be baptized on Saturday.  It was such a delight to meet them and get acquainted with their family.  When they decided they wanted to join the Church, they knew they would have to make some changes in their lives, so they got married on Friday and the baptisms took place on Saturday. 😀  They were baptized in the Susquehanna River near where Joseph and Oliver were baptized.

But between all that work----we did have the chance to do some hiking around Lackawanna State Park just north of Scranton.  It was a beautiful day and we came across some deer, some fishermen, and some boaters.

Such a handsome guy!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Spring finally came and summer has flown by.  The beauty of the green hills and the wildflowers growing everywhere never ceases to give us a visual treat.  All of the rain pays big dividends by giving Mother Nature everything she needs to create a colorful palette to paint pictures that can't help but delight.



our summer has been very, very busy with thousands of visitors and thousands of tours, but it's heartwarming to have so many come and enjoy the Spirit that pervades this area.  The land recalls the sacred events that occurred here and you can't help but feel peace as you walk the paths.

To get ready for the crowds we spiffed up the statues a bit by cleaning them and putting a coat of wax on them.  A water fight was bound to occur the day we pulled out the hoses to scrub off the winter dust.  But, it was fun for all!

4th of July didn't pass by unnoticed here.  Although, it was a normal day at the Visitor Center, we got up early in the morning and went to the local high school for some races and some fun with water balloons.  Later in the day we had a little barbecue and managed to have some fun games between tours.


 We were so blessed to have some of our family come see us in July.  My parents and my sister Leslie and her husband, Bruce flew out and we enjoyed so much showing them around and spending time together.   Christine, Doug and their daughters, Sydney, Jordan and London also came for a few days and we were able to drive up to Palmyra with them and see some of the sites there too.

This is the cabin on the Smith farm where the prophet Joseph Smith was living at the time of the First Vision.


                 Inside the Smith family cabin.

The upstairs bedroom where the Angel Moroni told Joseph of the Gold Plates hidden in the Hill Cumorah.

Another highlight was the visit by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency.   The wonderful people we meet here are the greatest blessing of all for the service we that we give.  Each are cherished, unique and have a story to tell.  We love spending an hour or two with these beautiful children of our Father in Heaven and sharing our testimonies with them.