Saturday, June 6, 2015

An Adventure with a Youngster

Saturday - June 6 2015
We had barely arrived home from our 5000 mile adventure with about 5 hours of sleep under our belts when we showed up for work in the office on Monday morning.   Both Elder Ashton and I immediately started on the work that was piled on our desks due to us being out of the office on out 5000 mile adventure on Friday.  About 9 a.m. Elder Ashton's cell phone rang and the mission president asked us if we would please leave immediately and drive to Franklin, Virginia to pick up the young Sister Missionaries that were assigned there.   We were to take one of the young missionaries to Smithfield, Virginia where she would become an additional companion to the two missionaries already there and to bring the other young missionary with us- I would become her companion (at least for a few days).   She was having some medical problems due to an injury suffered a few months ago and they had decided she needed to go home for further treatment but were trying to get scheduling arranged.  I thought that was fine and it would be an adventure to have a younger Sister Missionary help me with my work.  Based on the location of Franklin and Smithfield I thought we might be out of the office for about 3 hours - but due to unforeseen delays we ended up being out of the office for 5 hours.....and I got further behind in my work, but did see some interesting scenery.

It was a beautiful clear day with sparkling blue skies and so many different shades of green lining the road it was almost impossible to identify all the different shades as we sped by on our errand.

It looks like the truck is going drive right into a forest of trees, but such is not the case.   It is like the traffic engineers cut a swath through the middle of the forest and laid down a road.

While driving along I thought I was seeing white blossoms on lots of the trees, but when Elder Ashton stopped to check out a very tiny cemetery in the middle of a wheat field, I realized it was not white blossoms at all......the underside of the leaves was white and as they blew in the wind and turned over, they appeared to be white blossoms against the rest of the green leaves.   Annnnnnddd, I found something else hidden in the forest.   Do you see it?  It looks like the old house has been completely overgrown by the dense trees!

As I walked along the road I found that there really were some white blossoms on some of the foliage and was, once again, impressed with how dense the foliage is.

We continued on our way to Franklin and came to several spots along this little country road we were directed to where the trees actually formed a canopy over the road.

It is not uncommon to see homes nestled among the trees and set quite a ways back from the road.   I thought the one shown above was quite picturesque.

When we arrived back at the office at about 3 o'clock, it was obvious that my new companion was not going to be able to stay and help me catch up on my work....she could not sit, stand or walk without pain and had to be assisted to stand and walk.   So we headed to the apartment that was a bit messy and the cupboards were a bit empty because we had spent the weekend out of town.    By the way, did I mention that my new companion is gluten intolerant and I didn't know what I was going to fix for dinner that wouldn't have some kind of wheat in it.   My companion immediately fell asleep when we arrived at the apartment and I decided to fix Chinese Haystacks for dinner - there shouldn't be any wheat in that - rice, celery, cheese, pineapple, oranges, and cream of chicken soup gravy. Imagine my surprise to learn that Cream of Chicken soup has wheat in it!!!   So, my new companion had all the fixings with no gravy ;/

My plan was that my companion and I would go to the office about 10 on Tuesday and I would pass her off to one of the other sisters there and run to the store to get a few supplies, especially gluten free.   But life rarely goes as planned.   After eating breakfast my new companion said she was feeling weak and really tired and needed to lay down for awhile.   She slept the whole morning and when she got up for lunch was doing worse instead of better.   After talking with the mission nurse and the doctor she had been seeing in Franklin, we headed off to the emergency room at the hospital about 18 miles away.   By that time it was POURING rain and I didn't feel confident enough to find my way on unfamiliar roads in that pouring rain so I asked Elder Ashton if he would drive us to....


Chesapeake General Hospital.
By the time we arrived at the hospital, her legs would not hold her up so Elder Ashton grabbed a wheelchair and wheeled her into the ER in the pouring rain.   They took us right back so there was no waiting in the waiting room but lots of waiting while they tried to figure out what was wrong and what they should do.   That first day she saw 2 different PA's and 3 different doctors along with many nurses.  Then they decided she needed to stay over night so they could run more tests the next day.   The mission President called another young sister to come and stay the night with her (I was really glad for that because I was exhausted and needed to sleep in my own bed!)   I went back the next day about 10 and they still couldn't figure it our....but my assignment was to stay there and communicate with the doctors because the President and his wife were involved in a monthly conference with 40 missionaries.  I stayed until about 6:30 and was again allowed to go home and sleep in my own bed while a younger Sister stayed the night.

Sister Hatch and Sister Whetten - kept me entertained on Wednesday afternoon by singing songs from Wicked.....they were pretty good!  Sister Hatch is from Canada and I noticed that a few "Eh"s slipped out of her mouth as we were conversing.

Thursday morning I went to the office early to try to catch up a little, knowing that I would probably need to go back to the hospital at some time that day.   While working away about 8 o'clock I heard a high pitched noise and thought there must be a bird outside.   I looked up and was surprised to see this little fellow - catching water that was dripping from the leaves and then rubbing his face.   Pretty cute :)

My young companion called and said she was being released from the hospital in a couple of hours.   I told her we would come in about 2.5 hours because it always takes longer than they predict so we planned to arrive at the hospital at about 2:30.   That gave me a little time to catch up with some of my work and still take care of my new companion.   Elder Ashton felt like he should go along with me so we set out.   As expected, they still had not completed all the paperwork when we arrived at the hospital and said it would probably be another hour or two.   Elder Ashton went out ti sit in a waiting room rather than be crowded in a hospital room with two young Sisters Missionaries and me with doctors and nurses coming in and out.  About 5 minutes after he left the nurse came in and my companion asked if she could get dressed - they told her yes.   Since the other young missionary was there, I stepped out and went to find Elder Ashton.   Imagine my surprise when I turned the corner and walked into the waiting room to find Elder Ashton and a "younger woman" (probably about 50 years old) holding hands with their heads bowed in prayer.  After they finished the prayer she stayed around and chatted for awhile in her soft southern accent and when Elder Ashton tied to ask her if she would like to have some young people come and teach her she wasn't interested.......I think she just wanted to hold his hand *wink, wink.

My "companion" was finally released from the hospital and they had no idea what was the matter with her....even after all the tests.  We made it home in time for me to cook gluten free pasta for her and regular spaghetti for Elder Ashton and I and have some dinner.....which also included gluten free garlic bread......I had taken about 15 minutes when we returned from the hospital on Tuesday night to stop and pick up a few gluten free supplies but not much else.

Friday was Zone Meeting and my companion got permission from the President to attend the meeting as it would be her last one - she was flying back to Flagstaff, Arizona on Saturday.  

The Chesapeake North zone following Zone meeting

Me and my young companion.
We had planned to go out to dinner with another couple that serve in North Carolina and came up to go to a couple activity in Norfolk, but Sister Whetten was tired out and having a hard time walking after being up all morning, so we had dinner at out house - Fiesta Chicken over rice and some different kinds of fruit.   I guess it was OK for me having to adjust to gluten free so quickly.

Sister Whetten and the Stefflers - they will go home to Nampa, Idaho in September

We got Sister Whetten packed up and delivered to the mission home about 8 p.m. on Friday night so she could fly home on Saturday.   I had not seen the mission home before, but it was beautiful and in a very nice neighborhood!

Mission home in Chesapeake - about 15 miles from our apartment.

Elder Ashton picked up a cold or something from our travels last weekend and has not been feeling 100% this week.   We had a senior activity planned in Norfolk to meet for lunch and tour the battleship with the other Senior Missionaries and the mission president and his wife, but Elder Ashton did not feel up to touring the battleship so we headed home after lunch.   We did get to see an historic church that was right across the street from the converted historic abby where we ate lunch.

This placard tells the story of the church.

Impressive Methodist Church in Norfolk - Built in 1894

Back of the church - playground for the preschool

Lots of intricate detail in the building and the stained glass windows

We tried to get in but it was all locked up

I liked this perspective of the tower

We ate lunch at Freemason Abby - a restaurant in downtown Norfolk that is in a building that started out as a Presbyterian Church and at one time was owned by the Oddfellows.   Beautiful building, inside and out - lots of antique furniture inside.

An antique place to hang your coats and hats.....maybe even sit and take your galoshes off - with Elder and Sister Ashton captured in the mirror. 

Most of our celebratory "oldster" group :)

A few weeks ago I noticed some of the ground cover in our apartment complex landscaping sending up a long when I was leaving the apartment I noted that the long shoot now had a few little lavender flowers at the top.    I thought they were very pretty.

This week while driving back and forth to the hospital, I noticed that the fern like trees that I have been watching are now covered with pink "puff balls".  I found a tree here in Portsmouth and stopped and asked the lady if she would mind if I took a picture of it.   She was very gracious and let me take a picture and explained that it is a Mimosa tree - which she loves for how it looks and smells but doesn't love the mess it leaves elsewhere in her yard ;-)

So many colors and varieties of  blossoms.......I'm loving it.

Thus ends my adventure with a youngster.   I learned much and was so glad that I could provide service to her when she was far from home and worried and upset about what was going on.   One of the things I learned is that this "oldster" doesn't have the energy she once had but can rise to the occasion when needed :)


  1. My goodness... I sure hope they find out what is wrong with Sister Whetten. I"m finding (from your blog) that you sure have to be flexible in the mission field. :) Not my strong point.

  2. Your life changes on a dime out there, doesn't it? I'm so glad your nurturing self was able to be with Sister Whetten. She has a million dollar smile through all the troublesome prediction is that there is a lot of anxiety to be eventually found at the heart of all her troubles. She was blessed to have you. And, in the gluten-free department - I am learning more and more about this - as you have found, gluten-free pasta is everywhere and a great base for all kinds of toppings.

  3. Sister Ashton is such a good companion!