Monday, October 21, 2013

End of 2013 Service Year/Beginning of 2014 Service Year

August was filled with activity for me.  I got to go on my first KY-1 RBC build.  It seemed like an eternity since being on my last build in DE.  This build took place in Alexandria, KY which is on the border with Cinncinati, Ohio.  So for the first time ever, I stepped over into the state of Ohio.   This build was 5.5hrs away from home for me.  KY-1 RBC has a large area that they cover, seems to be slightly larger than the area that DE-1 RBC covers.  Anyways, I was able to join the Roofing crew here! I was a little nervous about joining a new RBC crew.  I was so comfortable with my crews and friends back home.  So I felt like a new kid at school when I went up to the KY roofers.  Much to my surprise they were quite excited to have me join.  They needed another girl on the roof.  Part of my introduction to the crew included their sharing of crazy stories of their antics, at that point I knew I would be right at home.  The crew was shocked to here that I'd been roofing for 7 years with DE-1 RBC.  They all thought I was about 16, maybe 18 years old.  So I stepped up on the roof, and after meeting more of the crew, their antics became apparent.  Some of the guys wanted to tease me and test me out a little, and if you know me, I dished it right back.  Here's some pictures from the weekend.
We took a little break while we were waiting for materials. 

Boy do they feed us good on RBC! I thought the little sign was so cute!

And the cleaning department has a bowl of candy out and free for the taking.  I'm really looking forward to the next build soon!

Also in August I got to spend the day with a group from the South Dundalk Congregation, Baltimore, MD that came down to work unassigned territory in Floyd County, KY, which is the next county over.  In this group was Sister Stephanie Battle who was part of Rising Sun's congregation when I was little.  I got to spend the day working with them in service.  Here's some of the friends:
From Left to Right: Damara and Tyrone Evans, Me and Nickell Crawford.

While we were out in service we contacted a woman who ran a wildlife rehab out of her home.  She brought out a baby bobcat that she was working with.  It was so cute to see her yellow lab playing with the baby bobcat as if it were one of her puppies.
Here the woman is holding the baby bobcat.

One day in September, Mike, Molly and myself were working in Matewan WV in service.  As most may be aware, this area of the country abounds with creeks and rivers.  Kentucky is second only to Alaska for the most waterways.  Anyways, while we were in Matewan we stopped to eat our lunch outside.  This man approached us, turns out he knew Mike from one of his old jobs.  This man now runs a business giving airboat tours that highlight different Hatfield/McCoy Feud landmarks.  If you weren't aware, the Hatfield/McCoy feud took place in Mingo County, WV and Pike County, KY, mostly in the areas that our congregation covers.  So this man offered us to take an airboat ride for free! Boy was that fun and we got to end the visit with him with a witness.

Molly, Me and Mike

One neat thing that I discovered over the past two weeks, is that I found territories that I still had never been to even though I've lived here for 10 months now.  I really felt out in the boondocks in this territories, named Vulcan and Beech Creek.  To get to them we had to drive down a gravel road right between railroad tracks and a river.  It was not uncommon to be riding right next to a train as we went to the territory.  Being there felt like being in unassigned territory since these people hadn't been reached in some time.   Here's a nice little shot of driving down this gravel road.

On our way to the Annual Meeting in Logan, WV, we stopped at Devil Anse Hatfield's grave.  It has been interesting living in Hatfield/McCoy territory.  I feel like I should know more of the story than I do.  However, the Hatfield/McCoy feud has become popular on TV and has spurned some reality shows that don't stick to the truth.  Just a little FYI, they are no longer feuding down here, the families generally get along.  Most people here can trace themselves to each family somewhere down the line.  

This is Devil Anse's grave.  The family had this statue made in Italy and sent here.

Finally, over the past couple months we have started the preparations for winter.  Down here my only source of heat for winter is wood.  So while my aunt and cousin were here in August, they helped stacked my supply.  However I was a little worried because I had no soft wood for starting up my fires. Then much to my surprise, one Thursday before the meeting we had a big thunder and windstorm roll through.  I hear a loud crack and looked out the window to see a tree fallen across my driveway.  Guess what? It was a poplar tree, yes, soft wood! The tree was already dead and the storm blew it over.  So while it blocked my driveway for a day and a half, it supplied my kindling for the winter!!! 
One thing I have learned is to not panic, but to wait on Jehovah and He will provide. 
Here is the tree right after the storm:

Finally, two weeks ago 10 friends from the congregation got together to help an older brother, Bill to get his wood for winter.  He had this giant tree that was dead up on the mountain behind his house.  So a couple went and cut up the tree into large pieces a few days before we went.  So between the 10 of us we cut and stacked this tree and it should supply Bill's wood for the winter.  Here are some pictures from the day.
This was the hillbilly slide that Johnny rigged up so that they could roll these giant pieces of wood down the hill. It sure helped the brothers get all those chunks down without helping them.

The wood splitter was running with a few manning it.  One to supply, one to move the wood and one to operate the lever.  These chunks of wood were huge!!!

We also had our human chopper, Herb, who was faster and we think split more wood than the machine.

Here's all the wood that came from just one tree.  My job was to stack it with the help of Rachelle.
What an adventure it is to live down here in the mountains.  It is really refreshing to see our congregation work together to help each other.  It is so comforting to know that many will help those who have a need. What a wonderful characteristic of Jehovah's organization.

Summer Catch-Up

Since the last time I wrote a lot has gone on.  So let's shoot for a nice, hopefully not too long update.

In July we had our District Convention in Charleston, WV.  I had a wonderful treat of visiting with Debbie Ball, Tana Blake and Brenda Roop.  All sisters from Rising Sun.  Tana now lives in WV though.  Also, my old study/child Alisa was there with her grandparents who are part of my circuit.  
From Left to Right: Brenda, Debbie, Me, Alisa (Tana was taking the picture)

After the District Convention, Alisa came and stayed with me for a week. She was such a treat to have around during service, the meetings and even a little hiking and swimming. She is really maturing into a beautiful, spiritual young lady.
Alisa and I at the Kingdom Hall.

I almost forgot.... Right before our District Convention, a group from the Nottingham, DE congregation came down to work unassigned territory nearby in Virginia.  They were working with the Grundy congregation, which close to ours.  I got to go over and visit with them for a meeting and a night for dinner while they were here.  It was really nice to see faces from home down here. I know the group had an AMAZING experience in service and some really want to come visit again.

  From Left to Right: Cameron Richardson, Morgan Cuthrell, Jenny Miller, Molly Smith, Me, Arielle Fraze.

One thing that we have really been enjoying is the children's videos on the website.  My pioneer partner, Molly has been using them on a couple little girls.  Molly's dad studies with their parents.  The girls are young and active, so Molly and I have tried to keep them busy so they don't distract their parents.  They really like watching the videos.  
Here is Molly showing a video to Hailey.

At the beginning of August my Aunt Beth and cousin Ian came to visit for a couple days.  They were auxiliary pioneering for the month and we made sure we got in a couple days of service.  Here is a picture of Ian and Beth witnessing to an older woman who lived at the main head of a far out holler.  This older woman invited them onto the porch and chatted for a long time.  My Aunt was able to give her a Bible Teach book.  The householder would not let them leave without a bag of tomatoes.

We stopped on a road that still had a swing bridge across the river so Beth and Ian could get on it.  We even took a turn rocking and jumping on it! 

at the very beginning of September, I got a visit from Craig & Michaela Young and their baby, Otto.  They were part of my RBC carpet crew and we rode our bikes together back home.  I hadn't seen Otto since March and boy how he has grown! Otto and my fiancĂ© Mike made fast friends.  
While Craig & Michaela were here we got to enjoy service and especially some hiking.  Otto was such a trooper and so easy and fun to be with.  We went to the Breaks Park and geocached there.  For those of you who know what that is, there's over 100 caches in this park.  Finally we took them up to the waterfall that is across from our Kingdom Hall.

It has been so nice to have visitors over the summer.  Everyone enjoys coming down to our beautiful mountains and experiencing service down here.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Boy Time Flies!!!

I can't believe it's been two months since my last post! Sorry everybody.  A lot has happened in that time! A brief overview: two of my best friends (Rachel and Joanna Knox) came to visit for a weekend, my Dad came down again, we had the Circuit Overseer's visit, and we are in the final days of the District Convention Invitation Campaign.

Where to start....

The highlight of May was definitely Rachel and Joanna's visit.  It was so nice to have my friends from home come visit.  They came down for four days and got to go to my meetings as well.  I thought it was quite funny how they were entertained by the comments of the friends in my hall and their accents.  Down here in small halls, the friends are very expressive and share personal experiences, which are often funny. While Rachel and Joanna were here, we took them on the hike I usually do 2-3x weekly.  They thought I was trying to kill them. I guess I've gotten a little acclimated to hiking in the mountains, though by no means am I an expert! I also got to take them to Breaks Interstate Park, which is called the Grand Canyon of the South.  Afterwards, we went to "town," Pikeville.  They got to see just how far it is to a Walmart! Here's some photos from their visit:
Me standing on Pinnacle Rock

Joanna and I at an overlook
Rachel and I the overlook

Joanna and Rachel at the overlook

Rachel and Joanna at Pinnacle Rock

Rachel, Joanna and I at the meeting

Another exciting thing from May was that I had a snake invasion in my house.  I had laid down to take a nap and was woken up by my puppy, Gatsby, barking at the snake.  It was a black snake and it went under my refrigerator.  Let me just say that I hate snakes, they give me the creeps! This just happened to be a day that all of the brothers who lived nearby were out of town.  I had to call an older sister from our hall.  She brought her grandson up to my house to get rid of the snake.  Let me just say her grandson found it entertaining that both me and his grandmother were afraid of the snake!
This is the snake in my kitchen.

In the beginning of June we had the visit of our Circuit Overseer. How exciting that was! Down here, when the C/O comes we all have lunch at the Kingdom Hall for everybody that goes out in service.  I really like that because we get to spend time together and its a great opportunity to share experiences.  I don't know how many of you have had your C/O visit recently, but on Sunday we were shown an amazing video entitled: 
Good News to Every Nation, Tribe and Tongue.
What a wonderful video! We had many visitors attend to see the video.

My dad came down for the weekend of our C/O's visit. Its so nice to have visitors even just for a weekend. While Dad was down we also went to the Breaks Park and Grundy, VA.  Dad was quite intrigued by the Grundy Walmart and their cart escalator.  Here's some pics.

So that's a little update for now.  I hope everyone is enjoying summer! It sure has been hot and rainy down here lately.  More to come soon!!! 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Memorial, Circuit Assembly & April Update

Hello Everybody!!
I've been having some internet issues over the past week and was unable to post sooner.  
I figured I'd share some info about our Memorial.  As I stated before, our congregation has about 27 publishers (I think). We had 58 in attendance at the Memorial! That's pretty good, but we were expecting more.  However the day before the Memorial and the day of we were having a snowstorm. Down here when it snows everybody pretty much stays home because the roads can get bad pretty fast.  
So all in all, we were quite happy to have the 58 in attendance due to the weather conditions!

This is the stage in my Kingdom Hall:

So two weeks ago we had our Circuit Assembly.  I'm in WV Circuit #1 and we go all the way to Salisbury, NC for our assemblies.  It's a five hour trip, but everyone is so grateful to have an assembly hall that we all willingly drive there.  I got to go to the Pioneer Seminar again, what a treat! So on our way to Salisbury we stopped to hike at Pilot Mountain State Park, which is outside of Winston-Salem, NC. Here's some pictures from our hike!
This is a panorama from the top of Pilot's Knob. 
If you look hard, you may be able to see the highway that we got off of.

Here is Herb, our fearless hike leader!

Molly and I stopped to take a little rest on some rocks. I made the mistake of wearing sandals because I didn't know we'd be walking.  But it wasn't too bad!

Another scenic outlook.
This is Pilot's Knob as viewed from the highway. 
The pictures above were taken from the very top of it. 

And now for some pictures of the Salisbury Assembly Hall.  I found out from a friend that it is the largest in the US and the most used assembly hall.

The stage.

Front lobby:

The outside view from the front.

This was a neat map of assembly halls in the US Branch.  To give you an idea, I live in the little pointy bit of Kentucky that's wedged between West Virginia and Virginia.  My circuit used to go to the London, OH assembly hall, but that is almost as far away as Salisbury and much more crowded.  

So our circuit had an average attendance around 958, so it's a little smaller than DE Circuit #1.  But we have 157 pioneers and there was a 50% increase in pioneers since last year! What amazing growth!!!
It was so encouraging to see the rest of our circuit.  Up until now I felt a little isolated because we are so far away.  My congregation is at one edge of the circuit and their are congregations at the other end of our circuit which is about 5 hours away. 

So now here is some pictures from my adventures over the past month.  We went kayaking a few weeks ago, and we drove right down into the river to unload!

This is Johnny, he was getting all set to launch.

Out in service a week or two ago we stopped at this house.  This is where Johnny and his 7 siblings grew up.  There were 10 people living in this little house!  Right now it is unoccupied.

Last week Pike County had something called Hillbilly Days.  It's kind of like a county fair. But they shut down Downtown Pikeville (our 'city') and you see these cars parked all over the streets and fair vendors all over.  They also have craft tables. Hillbilly Days is held to benefit the Shriners Hospital.  So you can probably imagine some of the characters you'd see here. We went on a rainy day, so the crowd wasn't too bad.  But the day before, it was sunny and the streets were packed!

This picture was taken this week.  Up in the top of this barn is Johnny and a boy named Jonathan.  This was taken at Rachelle's bible study's home.  Her study Ernestine is in the pink jacket and is Jonathan's aunt, but she raised him.  Anyways, Johnny was waiting outside while we had Ernestine's study and Jonathan came along and started talking with Johnny.  Long story short, they ended up playing pool in the top of this barn.  The whole time, Johnny was witnessing to Jonathan and they would pause to read scriptures.  Jonathan agreed to a Bible Study.

Last but not least this is the guard pony we encountered this past Saturday.  We pulled into the head of this holler where I have a call and the little pony came running down the hill.  I got out and it let me pet it and scratch it a bit.  But after I went to the door, the pony wanted to chase our car down the holler.  Yes, it was loose and not fenced in! Or sometimes you will see horses tied to stakes in the yards here as well.  Saturday we also had a softball game at the local park.  I switched my work days so that I could go to the game.  So if anyone would like to come experience seldom worked, we also like to play sports and hike! So come ready to explore and play!!