It’s a jungle out there. That seems to be the case with the vegetation. Especially if you come from Utah. We bought a little guide-book, “The Trees and Shrubs of Virginia”, and plan on learning more about our local trees. There are many different kinds and there are lots of them. The picture attached is a nature trail located near the center of town. Everywhere you look you see vines attacking trees. If an area hasn’t been developed it’s a jungle.
It’s a jungle out there. Our most prized possessions are our scriptures. But in second place, and gaining fast, are the GPS systems in the car and on the phone. To begin with the roads constantly take you in a different direction from the direction you hope to go. You start on a main road that is headed north and within a short distance you are headed southeast. If you want to go west you get on a thoroughfare headed west, but there is almost no chance you will go west. The only roads that are not directionally challenged are freeways. Therefore, most of the troubles we have in our lives are caused by freeway exits.
It’s a jungle out there. The second travel challenge relates to the names of the directionally challenged roads. The name of the road you are on is sure to change very shortly. A perfect example is the main road near our apartment. One block west of us it is Old Lynchburg Road; closest to our apartment it is 5th Street; heading east it becomes Ridge Street; still headed east you are suddenly on McIntire Road. Four names for the same road in less than five miles. Surely Brigham Young will not rest in his grave until this great evil is taken from the earth.
On the other hand it is very civilized out here. The people are wonderful. They are full of southern charm. If you look at people they look back. If you smile they return the smile. If you speak they reply. This is true of members and non-members. Members are especially charming. At Wal-Mart the cashier saw our name tags. He said, “How are you Elder and Sister Ware?” We replied we were fine and asked him if he was a member of the church. He explained that he was baptized with his wife in February 2012. While a few others waited in line he went on to tell us he was “sealed for time and all eternity” to his wife in February 2013; that he had unofficially adopted the two sister missionaries who taught them; how he was soon going to the St. George temple to see one of those missionaries married; that he would do the work for his parents while in St. George and that, since they had no children, he was leaving all his earthly possessions to those two missionaries in his will. It was a lot of information when you just wanted to check out some hamburger and chips, but it certainly made you feel good. The conversation was full of southern charm in a Mormon way.
It is civilized out there. We have been to a convert baptism with the Hermana’s in our district. It was held in a Spanish-speaking branch in Richmond. We sat in on a first discussion with two Elders from our Young Single Adult ward. We have met Brother Morris. He is the Church Education System Coordinator for the Waynesboro Virginia Stake and the Winchester Maryland Stake. We had a few questions about our mission call and he has filled in most of the blanks.
We are enjoying both the jungle and the civilization we find in our mission.