Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015

We had some excitement last week which I thought I would share.  I woke up at 6:30 on Tuesday so decided to get up and call Kellie our daughter who lives in Africa.  We had talked just about a half hour when the smoke alarm went off.  Evan checked it and got it to go off.  We thought it was probably just the battery but then he felt the ceiling by the smoke alarm and it was hot so we decided I had better get dressed and he called 911.  I hurried and picked up a few thing while he talked to the 911 operator and put them in the car just to be on the safe side.  We soon had two fire trucks and three police cars outside our house.  They did all kinds of checking but found that it was the fan to the furnace.  The furnace was coming on but the fan wasn’t blowing so all the heat was just going into the ceiling.  They used a really neat hand held gadget which told them how hot the ceiling was and showed if there were any flames.  They also climbed into the attic to make sure all was well.  We tried and tried to get our landlady awake to let her know what was going on but couldn’t get her to answer.  I called Kellie back after all was back to normal to let her know things were okay.  Kellie told me that I had forgotten the first rule of a fire which is to get out first.  She said that they have really learned through all their moves that you can easily live without things that at first you thought were special or important.  I have realized that after being here for 13 months and not having really missed anything from home.  This all did make me realize though that I need to back up my journal because it can’t be replaced and I have done nearly 200 pages of journal since we got here.  I can easily grab my purse with a thumb drive in it with my journal.  I suppose my smarter than me kids could tell me how to put it in that cloud thingy and it would be safe but until then I will just keep it updated on a thumb drive.

The whole week last week was just one busy day after another.  I spent one day cemetery hopping with some of the sisters.  They are all related and we were able to find some of the headstones of their ancestors.  We went to 5 different cemeteries and located several headstones they didn’t know about from their family.  It was exciting to find the one headstone for Anna Spicer who was a great aunt to Eva Mae.  We had learned through some research that she had been married to Eva Mae’s grandfather but had only lived a year after they were married and then died along with a baby girl.  The headstone only said Anna Spicer Cunningham so I wanted proof that she was actually married to John Milton before we entered it into family search.  Later in the week I was doing family history with one of the ladies and we found the proof that Anna Spicer was married to John Milton Cunningham which was so exciting and we got her name and information entered into family search.  This was a great aunt that Eva Mae knew nothing about.  Can I just say again that I love doing genealogy and the results of doing it?

While I was enjoying cemeteries, Elder Fullmer was spending the day with a member and the Elders cutting wood.  It was Evan’s birthday so the reward for the help was that the member took us all out to dinner.  I think after the 6 mile hike the Elders took him on Monday and then a full day of cutting wood he was pretty worn out. The Elders are always teasing Elder Fullmer about how old he is and then they brought him a birthday card and gift.  The card says on the outside “It wasn’t easy but I finally found someone who can alter your birth certificate”.  On the inside it shows a caveman with his chisel and mallet and it makes a sound like he is changing the date.  They also gave him a big collage of pictures they have taken during the last week of things we have done.  It is now hanging in a prominent place on our wall.  We sure do love these Elders.

The rest of the week was just as busy with more service, more genealogy, visiting teaching, interviews with the mission president, dinner appointments (we had one for every night last week) and our branch social.  This week has already begun the same.  Elder Fullmer made a trip this morning to Louisville with Brother Wilson to give a blessing to one of the triplets born to his niece.  These babies were born clear back the end of January and are slowly gaining but this tiny one still weighs less than 3 pounds and needed an extra boost.  Considering that none of the family are active it is interesting that when things aren’t going quite right they want a blessing.  This is not the first time that someone from this family has asked for a blessing when things are really rough.  The spark of a testimony must still be in them.

That’s all for this week without going into way more detail than I want to because I am more than ready for bed.

Remember to share the gospel every chance you get-even if it doesn’t seem a convenient time or place.  Don’t be complacent about sharing the truth.  We both know of the truthfulness of the gospel and are so blessed to be out here to help in the work.
Love Elder and Sister Fullmer

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015

Dear one and all

Our warm weather is now very sporadic with a really nice day and then a cold day again.  The water has receded so the warm days are helping everything dry out.  Our friends are now able to drive the roads again to get out to church and us to get to see them.  I took pictures just 5 days later than the ones I sent last week and you can see how the water has gone down.  Elder Fullmer is just dying seeing all that drift wood that could be hauled off for firewood and no way to do it and no one interested.  It will be interesting to see how they clean all of it up.  Friends say that they plow the mud off the roads with the snowplows because it is about 8 inches deep.  Someone has a very big clean-up job.  

I have spent many hours helping different families with their family history again this week.  The spirit seems to be really catching on with some of the people.  I have a day scheduled this week to help another lady whose husband is not a member but he is bugging her about getting his genealogy done.  I am so glad to oblige because I so love doing it.

We went out to Bristow to see some of the less actives but no one was home.  As we drove to see one family we haven’t seen in a long time because of the weather we passed a cemetery on a hill which Evan pointed out to me so we turned back and wandered through the cemetery.  I love old cemeteries and it is so fun here to see just how far back the dates go.  There was a whole row of headstones of children from the same family.  I took lots of pictures so I could check to see if the temple work has been done because a lot of the names were of the families I have been helping with their history.  After talking to another less active we drove to the Beard Cemetery which we had heard about.  There is one headstone that is actually an old steam engine.  It would be interesting to know why the family did that.  We found lots of the Sketo family and lots of Beards.  Elder Riphenburg’s mother’s maiden name was Beard which is interesting.  He is going to ask her to check and see if she can connect to Indiana and the Beards here.

After we got home I looked at the genealogy of the names from all the headstones which I had taken pictures of and found that nearly all of the temple work has been done.  It is so fascinating to see how much work has been done for the people here but how few members there are in this area.  It is also interesting to see how much intermarrying there was.  Possibly because they were so far out that they only met the families close to them. 

This week has started out to be very busy and the whole week is tightly scheduled.  We have dinner appointments every night this week which is always nice.  Every day is filled with things that for sure won’t fall through which is always such a blessing.  We have interviews with our Mission President this week which is a highlight.
Another month has flown by and we are beginning to dread the end coming.  How can we leave these people we have grown to love so much.  We just plan on making the most of every day so the memories are all good.

As we were taught in Stake Conference last weekend—Open your mouth and share what we have.  People want what we have but just don’t know where to find it.  We need to help everyone find the joy we have from knowing of our Savior and His Atonement.  So my challenge this week (We get a commitment each week in district meeting) is to open your mouths and share.

We love you all
Elder and Sister Fullmer

The first picture is the steam engine headstone.  #2 shows how far the water has dropped in five days and the wood that Elder Fullmer would like to haul.  #3 shows the picnic tables which were nearly under water last week.

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16,2015

Spring has come to Indiana or maybe it is summer already.  We went from 12 inches of snow on the 6 of March to not even needing a jacket on the 12th of March.  It has been very nice since then and we love it.  We momentarily we think of what August might be like because we are starting this beautiful weather so early in the year but we won’t let it stop us from enjoying the now.  However because of the warm weather we are having some major flooding.  As we have gone to Evansville for three days in a row (Zone Meeting, Saturday night stake meeting and Stake Conference) we have watched the water continue to rise.  I wish I had taken a picture of one barnyard where the cows are standing around a feeder and each day their area has gotten smaller because of the water.  I have taken many pictures of the water but only posted the five.  It shows though how much the water has risen.  Our one member family who had originally moved into town decided to go home after making arrangements with the Girl Scout camp director to go through the campground and over the hill.  It means that Greg rides the 4-wheeler about a mile, walks across the smaller area on 2x10’s and then has his car parked there (he left it there before the water got up on the road on the one part) and then drives around the Girl Scout campground which takes him up a long hill but makes it possible for them to stay home.  It does mean that we haven’t been able to see them for nearly 3 weeks.  The water is supposed to recede by this weekend but we shall see.  The river is moving so swiftly and there is so much debris in it that it looks to me like it could take longer.

Because of all the water we haven’t been able to visit others of our less actives.  They live up or down dirt roads which are pretty impassable because of the mud.  We hope to be able to get back in to see them in the next week or so.  They always welcome us in but have warned us that now isn’t a good time to try and get to their places.  Most of them park quite a ways from their houses and walk in.  I am sure that Idaho would love to have some of this problem right now.  My friend sent an email saying that the farmers are already getting into their fields in Idaho which doesn’t bode well for the summer.
I was able to hopefully clear up some family history problems in the branch this week.  After talking to one of the Family History missionaries I knew how to send the information to Salt Lake to release some names and to record some that we had proof that the ordinance had been done.  We are going to start having a night every other month (or more if there is the interest) getting together at the church and working on family history.  As the members become more comfortable with the programs they will be better able to find things on their own and not need to rely on someone else helping them.  It is the old adage of give a man a fish and feed him for a day but teach him how to fish and he can eat for a lifetime.  I can and would love to do the work for them but I will only be here a short time and then they are back to their own devices. We have also found two of the less actives who are interested in their family history and this might be the road to their coming back.
We love you all and pray you are all helping the missionaries in some way or are talking to your friends (Opening your mouths-the theme of our conference) or doing family history or temple work which all is part of the hastening of the work.  We each are important to the work.
Elder and Sister Fullmer
Picture #1   Part of the road stopping us from seeing our friends  #2 Notice the pavilion behind Elder Fullmer #3 The far tree line is the edge of the Ohio river so you can see how far the water is out.  #4 Our park behind the flood wall.  See the top of the picnic table.  #5  The flood gate was put in and you can see a little water on this side.

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

The weeks continue to fly by as we try to make a difference in this branch.  Last week we were able to again go to transfer meeting.  We haven't missed one yet since we have been here.  It is always so fun to get to see the new greenies come in and the enthusiasm they have.  It is also so great to get to see missionaries who have been transferred from our zone that we have come to  love.  After a very long day with our 300 mile round trip we got home in time to make a couple of visits.
We once again had a snow day where we were all instructed to stay home and not be on the roads.  We got about 12 inches of new snow which totally shuts down the city.  One inch actually shuts down the city so you can imagine what 12 inches did.  I thought of the saying that neither rain nor snow nor sleet of night can keep the postal service from running or however the saying goes but in Indiana 12 inches certainly shuts down the service on some roads.  We didn't get our usual newspaper on Thursday.  Our road finally got plowed out later Thursday afternoon but they mostly just push the snow into the driveways making a couple of passes down the street.  Evan had spent a good part of the day shoveling our driveway and the landlady's drive (with the help of a young couple from across the street) and the snow plow just pushed the snow back into our drive.  It meant that we had plenty of down time to work on our lessons for Sunday.  It is so interesting and challenging to plan a primary lesson for our primary of boys from ages 3-12.  Our one young man hasn't been baptized yet and with no other young men in the branch he feels more comfortable coming with his brother to primary so we just keep him.

We were again able to babysit for the Osborn's while they went to the temple.  I must say that it can be quite a challenge to have 4 boys for 9 hours and not really just want to go back home where it is quiet.  When we got home I got a text from our sweet sister wanting to know if it would be too much trouble to make her more whole wheat bread and take it to them on Sunday.  She is the one dying of cancer and the bread is something she really enjoys and can actually keep down.  Evan took the Elders and went visiting while I made bread.  
Our new convert Sydney got her recommend on Sunday to do baptisms and also to get her patriarchal blessing. While she was here for Family Home Evening we planned our trip for a week from Friday.  It is so awesome to see her enthusiasm for the gospel and to feel of her spirit.  We fix dinner on Sundays for the Elders and have started having Sydney and another member come over as well and then we have a spiritual thought or scripture.  Every time Sydney pulls out her favorite scripture from her reading.  She is in Alma from when she first started reading the Book of Mormon two months ago and loves the scriptures.  She also pulls things out of the lessons from Sunday and talks about what she has learned.  She is just like a sponge.
With all of the melting snow the river has passed flood stage and some of the roads are covered in water which keeps some of our members from town.  One of the families has moved into town with other family members so they can continue to work.  We don't want to wish anyone back luck for too much flooding but it would be really cool to see them put the flood gates in at the flood wall.  Only someone who has never had to deal with the water problem would want that and that is this Idaho girl.  The water is supposed to crest by Wednesday and then start receding.
That's about all for this week.  The gospel is true so what else matters.

Elder and Sister Fullmer

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015

This has been a week of tender mercies and trials.  Our poor Elders called on Tuesday and said they had bedbugs.  We started doing all their laundry which took a couple of days and they slept on our couches for 4 nights waiting for mattress covers and the exterminators.  They were finally able to go back to their apartment on Saturday after I picked things up for them at the mission office after a temple trip.  They had to do major cleaning which probably wasn’t a bad thing as long as Elders have lived in that apartment.  It wasn’t a catastrophic trial but more of a nuisance for them. 
Friday was our District meeting which we did the training for.  It was a little intimidating at first to think of teaching these so well prepared missionaries but there is a lot to be said for experience.  After meeting we all went over to the river side park to take district pictures.  We take pictures the last District Meeting before every transfer.  We then went to the New China Buffet because I really wanted Chinese food.  We had to go that way to try the Walmart for mattress covers anyway.  As we went in a man stopped the Elders and said he was a member of the Owensboro branch and wanted to know about them.  He later came over and said he was paying for all of our lunch.  What a tender mercy.  If we had stayed longer to take pictures, or gone to Walmart first we would have missed him.  I don’t believe in coincidences but just mercies.  Then on Saturday when two of the sisters and I went to the temple we had another tender mercy which didn’t seem like it at first.  We missed the Cincinnati exit because we were talking and had to go down to Story and turn around which turned out to be another tender mercy.  We saw that Grinstead Drive was the next exit from Story so knew where we needed to go after the temple to get to the mission office.  We back tracked to 3rd Avenue and headed back the way we needed to go and took the Cincinnati exit and made it to the temple in time.  As I thought about it I figured it would be faster and shorter to take 3rd Ave and go back to Grinstead drive than to follow the  directions on mapquest because they were taking us clear down to the Shelbyville road and then back tracking up to Grinstead which would have been a lot longer.  We did that and it made it very fast.  After we left the mission office we went the normal way to come home but the St Louis exit is now closed and we missed the way we were supposed to go and ended up taking Story again and turning around which turned out to be the best way.  Shae Hinkle said they had taken the right detour according to the signs after leaving the hospital this last time and it took them on a way out of the way route and since then they take Story and back track.  That is nice to know as we are going to transfer meeting on Tuesday so will just go back out Eastern Parkway and Grinstead Drive and miss the construction.  It sure didn’t seem like a tender mercy at first but sure turned out to be.

Our new convert is just on fire.  She called all excited because she had talked to a man while she was at work and told him about the gospel.  She set up an appointment with him for Friday to meet with the Elders.  She is so excited about the gospel.  He wasn’t there when they went for the first appointment but they were able to meet him yesterday and he committed to read the Book of Mormon.  We all went to a part member family after that and she told them how she is the newest member and wants to be a missionary so badly.  Who knows just who she will touch?
I did some family history for a less active we have been visiting and when we took it to him last Saturday he got so excited.  This just might be the key to his becoming active once again.  He is the only member in his family so has a great responsibility.  He wants to get on the computer and start finding people on his own so I will probably spend some time teaching him the basics next time we meet. 

Hastening the work comes in many different ways.  Converting new members, reactivating those who have fallen away, doing the work for our dead and also serving in our community or schools or wherever we can to show our love for all of God’s children are all parts of the hastening.  I know we each can make a difference in even little ways.

We love all of you and thank you for your continued support.
Elder and Sister Fullmer
 The pictures at the end are our District pictures which Hermana Bennett draws for us before each transfer.  we look forward to seeing what she comes up with each time.  Because she didn't get transferred this time we will get at least one more.