We have been in Pittsburgh, actually Bethel Park, for 2 months now. We have settled in to our responsibilities in the office fairly well though we do hit little speed bumps every once in a while. We have days when we work steadily until 6pm and then we have days when we leave the office at 2:30. We have another group of 20 new missionaries coming in Oct 23rd and we have had to open 2 new apartments so we have had some days that we leave the office and head for WalMart or Ikea to pick up household goods and we do not get home until 8pm, We have also spent a lot of time at thrift stores. That has been quite fun as we find good deals on furnishings for the apartments.This should be the last time we are furnishing the new apartments. The number of new missionaries coming in is dropping in the next few months and we should balance our numbers coming and going.
We do not see very many people in the office but we go into Pittsburgh Thursday mornings for District Meeting. This is our District. Elder Richens, Elder Herzog, Elder Hansen, Elders Swisher, Elder Gray and Elder Holley. Elders Herzog and Hansen were transferred to other areas on Oct. 25.
If we feel so inclined, we can attend the YSA Family Home Evening on Monday. So far we have felt too busy to add that to the list.
Weekends we have tried to explore our surroundings. Several weeks ago we drove south to go to the Covered Bridge Festival. There were about 10 bridges where they had crafts and food. We went the week before to check out 3 of the bridges and then went back to three more during the festival. The pictures were from another day. Picture lots of craft booths and hundreds of people around them.
Our route to DC took us right past Frederick MD. This is where Jonathan and Margo lived after he graduated from Carnegie Mellon, which is here in Pittsburgh..
We returned to Frederick after the Temple to go to Cafe Rio. Hakima introduced me to Snapchat.
Another day we checked out the Pittsburgh Inclines. We have discovered that with our Medicare card we get to ride different public transport for free. We rode the incline and then went to Station Square. This is an old railroad station that has been turned into shops and restaurants.
One of our new duties is to provide lunch once a month at the Institutes Friday Forum. Last week the speaker was Steve Shellenberger. He wrote Becoming Your Bestself: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders. He was a great motivational speaker. There were about 35 people in attendance. This was just the second time they had held a forum and they only expected 25 so it was a good turnout. One of the things that Bro. Shallenberger gave us was this little saying
Good, better, best
Never let it rest
Till the good is better
And the better is best.
One weekend we also checked out the Apple Festival in Hickory. The crafts were okay but they were outnumbered by the food booths. We stood in line for 1 hour to get a couple of loaves of homemade bread. We would not have waited for it but we had committed to bring apple pies and bread to dinner at the Mission Home the next day. We gathered there to watch General Conference.
As we drive to and from all our downtown meetings we drive past lots of really interesting homes. I love the architecture and landscaping here.
Before we arrived, the old office missionaries had picked out colors for paint and flooring in our office. We saw the color chip for the paint and voiced our opinion that it was a little too bright but no one else seemed to be concerned. The picture below shows that the walls are now a yellow but you cannot really tell from it how yellow. In a room with no windows, we now have a sunny room.
A week ago we had several fun activities. On a Friday night we rode the train (free with our Medicare cards) in to downtown Pittsburgh.
We then walked back to the Benedum Center. This is a beautiful old theater.
The Pittsburgh Opera was performing La Traviata. I knew nothing about the story line on this. We went in for the pre-show talk and I realized that this was not such a good performance for a missionary to go to. I did like the music but there were a few dicey spots in the performance. Live and learn.
We finished the day off at a wedding reception for Anna and Troy. They are the cutest couple from the YSA group. I could never get a picture of just them. They had friends and family wanting pictures with them the whole evening. Jill and Stephanie are two other YSA's.
This past Saturday, we invited the Christensen's to accompany us to the Flight 93 Memorial in Stoysville. This was another plane that terrorists took over on Sept. 11 2001. It's intended target was probably the Capitol building in Washington, DC, but the passengers had been able to phone their families and found out about the twin towers and the Pentagon and they ended up trying to attack the hijackers and the plane crashed. The memorial is really well done and it was a very moving experience. There is a walking trail you can go on which takes you down to the crash site but it was absolutely freezing that day and we were too cold to do anything more than go through the visitors center. It was raining but we had another very beautiful drive.
We ended our Saturday at the YSA Game Night. They do this about once a month and it is a fun evening.
This last picture is one that one of our YSA kids posted on the Ward Facebook page. She had shared it with one of the young men in the Ward and he made mention of it in his talk on Sunday. He talked about having seen the picture and it made him think of how wonderful it is to just lay back and gaze into the heavens and think about our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. The picture is one of such
peacefulness and I really like it.
My goal is to start taking more pictures of our missionaries and the activities of the mission. Hopefully I will be posting more of that in the future but there is also so much more to see here in Pennsylvania so stay tuned for more adventures.