Monday, March 25, 2013


We have officially been at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial for 5 full weeks.  We have been blessed so much while we have been here.  We have settled into a routine which is what old people and missionaries do.  We get up every morning at 6:00, make lunches, eat breakfast, get ready and do scripture study and leave by 7:45.  We arrive at the shop at 8:00 and have our morning meeting with us and the Shefchiks and any of the employees that are there when we meet.  We sing a Hymn (we started at the first of the Hymn book and are finding out how many hymns we  have never heard and we skip them), have a spiritual thought and prayer.  It is nice to sing and pray with those we work with.  After  our devotional, Tim, our supervisor tells us what needs to be done and then we do it.  Sometimes, we plan 2 or 3 days in advance.  We usually work until 3:30 and then do whatever we want to do.  We have done several things in the evenings, but that will be in the next post. I have taken photos of some of the things that we have done at work in the last 5 weeks, so here they are.


Joe Mendor, the Sharon, Vermont, FM Group Director
He is over all 25 buildings in the Mission
He is a great person and our Boss.

Tim Packer the JSBM Supervisor
He is our supervisor and helps Joe with some other buildings.
He knows a lot about a lot of things and has really helped us.
Dawn  Gross
She is the secretary and is on top of everything.  She keeps the whole
FM Group running.  She is so nice and kind to everyone.
She works part time and is able to do about anything.
She is a great worker and a pleasure to work with.  

Taking down lights.  Brent is in the tractor this time.
Removing the Poinsettias from the Visitor Center.  This is the Gator that we  can drive around on
We put the flag up at the Visitor Center
Concord, New Hampshire Stake Center about 80 Miles south east.  We went
there 4 different days to help get the building ready for a special Stake Conference.
One thing we did was put pads on the bottom of chairs to protect the new gym floor.  

Essex, Vermont Stake Center about 75 miles north.  This is our Stake Center
We went there twice to put carpet cove around the walls.
The building was flooded by a broken pipe and they were putting everything back together.

Hauling chairs from Concord to St. Albins.
St Albins, Vermont, Chapel,  It is about 20 miles from Canada.  It was a
fun trip hauling chairs.  It was new chapel and very nice.

We clean the Visitors Center every morning.  We vacuum, dust, empty garbage and
clean the bathrooms.  I really enjoy this.  There are 2 rooms so it really isn't too hard.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


 Elder and Sister Dyches
When the sun is just right it reflects off the monument.  I wanted to get at least one picture of it.  At the right time of year it reflects right off of the top.
Elder and Sister Shefchik 
They are the other FM Senior Couple.  We work very closely with them.  The have been here since October so they know the job.  He was baptized in a river in Viet Nam and she was raised a Quaker.  They have helped us a lot since we arrived and we have been several places with them.

Elder and Sister Johnson
They are the Directors of the Visitor Center.  He is retired from the military.  He has been a Mission President in Germany and just left the Missionary Department.  They are great people.  She is so much fun and hugs everyone.  We hold home evening and socials in their home which is next to the Visitor Center.

Elder and Sister Osborn
They are missionaries that give tours at the Visitor Center.  She gave us our tour on the first day were arrived.  They are from Salem, Utah and live in the same Stake as Eric.  His family owned the Osborn Sewing Plant in Mt. Pleasant many years ago so they know some people in Mt. Pleasant.  We enjoy them and visit with them when we can at Home Evening and when we clean the
Visitor Center.

Elder and Sister Petersen
They are from Mesa, Arizona, and have been here longer than any of the other senior couples.  She is an excellent cook.  She and I hung some pictures in the Residence. It was nice to have help from someone who knew how to do the job. He was a high school baseball and track coach so he and Brent have a lot to talk about.

Elder Peterson and Elder Barfuss
These are our Elders.  Elder Peterson (left) is from Tusan, Arizona and has  served for 10 months.
 He is being transferred March 26, when the new Sisters come.  Elder Barfuss is from Tremonton, Utah, and is going home on March 26.  They are a lot of fun and very hard workers.  We drove them around on Sunday.  We helped teach a lesson to a less active man and Brent helped give a blessing to a man in the hospital.  We drove all around to places we haven't gone to before.  We were gone for 4 hours and it was a good experience.  We will miss them when they leave.
Elder Peterson, Elder Dyches and Elder Barfuss

Saturday, March 9, 2013


We were called to serve in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission.  Our Mission President is David Wilkey who grew up in Mt. Pleasant and went to North Sanpete High School.  He played on the State Basketball team that his father, Mack Wilkey coached in 1969.  He was a good friend of my younger brother, Karl, who passed away in 1978.  He spent quite a bit of time in our home with Karl.  We were able to meet with him and Sister Wilkey on Feb. 21.  We were so glad to see him and he was glad to see us.  I couldn't help but wonder what Karl would be doing at this time in is life if he were still living.  During our visit with him, we talked about old times,  missionary work and our families.  It was such a great visit and we really felt of his spirit.  As we finished, his wife joined us and we prayed together.  He blessed us and our family with many wonderful blessings.  He is an amazing mission president.  All of the missionaries really love and respect him.
We will be getting a new Mission President in July.  His name is President Stoker.
Elder and Sister Dyches with President and Sister Wilkey

Thursday, March 7, 2013


On our first day we went to our work.  We had a meeting with our supervisor, Tim, and our boss Joe.  They talked to us about being missionaries and volunteers and what to expect.  We meet every morning with the Shefchiks, and Tim, Dawn and Geraldo, who are paid employees of the Church.  We sing a hymn and have prayer and then Tim tells us what needs to be done and we get to work.  We are welcome to do whatever we feel comfortable doing.  We work from 8:00-3:30 every day with a break in the morning and lunch.
The building that where we have our meetings, eat and do some of our work,

The first thing we did after our orientation was go on a tour at the Visitor's Center.  Sister Osborn, one of the site missionaries, took us on the tour.  We watched the film of Joseph Smith that is in Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake.  This film is new and is almost the same as the old one, but there are some interesting changes including the ending.  Lucy Mack Smith talks about her son  at the end.  It is a really nice addition to the movie. 
 After we finished the movie, we went through the tour.   The Center has 2 rooms.  We listened to the information in the first room and as we walked through the door into the next room there is a statue of Joseph Smith.  As we walked into the room it was as though he looked right at us and acknowledged that we had come.  It brought tears to my eyes because I really felt like he knew we were here to help take care of this special place.  When we shared this experience with President Wilkey, he told us that  the Prophet Joseph Smith is very interested in his birthplace.  This quote has been shared with us.
We feel very bless to be able to serve here.

"Next to Bethlehem where the Savior was born, this site, the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith is one of the most sacred spots on the face of the earth, and if we were worthy, we could see the angels that hover over the trees, protecting this spot and those who are here." Joseph B. Wirthlin
Front Gate going into the JSBM before the snow was plowed
Maple Lane leading up the the JSBM

Monument in the Snow

My favorite picture of the monument.  It really is beautiful in the snow.

Look closely and see Brent shoveling snow
South Royalton Chapel on the grounds of the JSBM
Our only day of sunshine

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


We arrived in Sharon, Vermont at 8:00 pm on February 15, 2013.  We were pretty tired.  We had traveled 2750 miles in 7 days.  Brent drove all of the way.  The Shefchiks, the missionaries that we will be working with, had dinner fixed and they helped us unload the car.  It was so nice to take the suitcases out and know we wouldn't be packing them again the next day.  Our apartment is interesting.  The missionaries that lived here before had left lots of things of us.  There were some dishes and spices and cleaning materials.  We have a nice kitchen, a living room, a bedroom and a small office.  We have a full sized washer and dryer and a nice recliner among other mismatched furniture.  It will be fine.  The biggest issue is the clothes closet is in the living room which is 2 rooms away from the bedroom.  It is a nice big closet, so we will manage.  Another issue is that there is a step down from the bathroom to the living room and I'm afraid I may forget about it on one of my many nightly visits to the bathroom.  We have a nightlight so that should remind me to look out for what I am doing.  The first week we went shopping almost every night after work to get different things for the apartment.  On Saturday, the Shefchiks took us to West Lebanon, New Hampshire, which is about 20 min. away to go shopping.  It is a typical shopping area, Wal Mart, K Mart, Penneys, Kohls, TJ Max, Joannes fabrics and several good grocery stores.  In our area in Vermont, there are only 2 stores which are more like convenience stores.  Anyway, after the week we had purchased pretty much everything we needed for our place including a really nice desk that we found at a Thrift store.  (I know everyone is surprised that I have been in a thrift store)
Our Apartment is the one just behind the car

This is just across the street

We live right by the freeway off ramp 

This is a view from the road around the monument.  The building on the left is the Director's home and the office for the missionaries.  The one on the right is the Visitor's Center

This is our first view of the Monument
If it looks cold, its only because it is.

Monday, March 4, 2013


We left Kirtland about noon and started toward Palmyra on Valentine's Day.  It was snowing lightly and we drove into New York. (Something that was really annoying were all of the toll roads.  There were quite a few in New York.  I think we paid about $50 in all by the time we got here).  Anyway, we drove in snow flurries all the way to Palmyra.  Of course we arrived after dark.  Since it was Valentine's Day, we had to go out to dinner.  We drove downtown across from the Gramdon Printing company and found a Chinese Take Out place that was open.  When we went inside we found 4 missionaries there.  It was fun to see them. They were excited to see us too.  We took our takeout back to the hotel and had a romantic dinner in the breakfast room.  It was actually pretty fun.  
The next morning we ate early and packed the car (one more time) and arrived at the Welcome Center by the Sacred Grove at the time it opened.  The missionaries have been happy to see us at every place we .  I think they get a little bored sitting and waiting for people to come.  Went on the tour of both of the homes.  We really enjoyed it.  After the tour of the homes, we walked into the Sacred Grove ourselves.  It was pretty cold, but we just walked and talked a little.  We sat on a bench for a while and felt the spirit of that special place.  We just looked at each other and said, "It really happened."  There is no doubt.  It really happened just like Joseph said it did.  The Sacred Grove is a wonderful place to feel the spirit and express your testimony.  Even though it was cold, we didn't want to leave.  We walked out slowly.  I have seen the Sacred Grove in the summer and it looks much different in the winter, but one thing for sure, the spirit is the same. 

First Log Cabin 

Room where Angel Moroni Appeared to Joseph Smith

Kitchen in the Log Cabin
The Frame home

The Kitchen in the Frame Home

Hearth where the Plates were hidden from the mobs
Sacred Grove
Sally in Sacred Grove

Brent in Sacred Grove
A Tree in the Yard of the Frame Home  It was planted about the time Joseph Smith's brother Alvin died.

Palmyra Temple
View of the Sacred Grove from the Temple.  Pres. Hinkley had the trees cut so you could see the Grove.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


We  left Nauvoo at 8:00 am on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013.  We knew this would be our longest day driving so we wanted to get an early start.  We drove all day and tried to get there before dark, but we ended up driving through Cleveland after dark.  It was kind of hard, but Brent did great in the traffic and the dark.  Our GPS (Shirley) was a life saver on this trip.  She really knew where to go.  We arrived about 8:00.  We had called and made a reservation in a hotel.  When we go there it was being remodeled and we thought it was a little sketchy, but our room was brand new so we were blessed.
We got up early and went to the Kirtland Historic site.  We watched a movie about Kirtland which was very interesting.  We learned that the Kirtland period was from 1830-1838.  Joseph Smith was only 25 years old when he arrived from Palmyra with Emma.  We felt a very special spirit when we were here.  There were so many spiritual experiences at this place during this time.

These are the things that took place in Kirtland. The Kirtland period was very important in Church History

Painting in the Vistors Center

Outside Newel K. Whitney Store
Inside Newel K. Whitney store where Joseph and Emma lived.

The school house

The Temple is owned by the Community of Christ and was not open for tours on the day we were there.

Cemetery across from the Temple