Called to Serve

We have loved traveling and being with family for the past two years but we felt the call to serve another mission so here we are in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for the next year.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Because I neglect to take pictures and have not had a lot of these before now, I am agoing to go back and post some pictures from past happenings. 

A little hard to see but this was taken when Elders Perkins and Meurs met with our missionaries in Sept.  We had some wonderful training on Friday and then the Stake that we attend had the pleasure of having Elder Perkins speak Saturday and Sunday.

At the end of September we had Zone Conferences. These are held in 3 different locations.  The first was in Greentree and this was our group there. 

 The next day we met with another group in Cranberry.  The third day we met with the rest of the missionaries in State College.  Greentree and Cranberry are within a half hour of where we are and so we just go for the day.  State College is quite a drive so we left from the Cranberry Zone Conference and headed for State College.  As always, it was a beautiful drive. 

This is Sister Christensen.  Her husband is the Mental Health person for 23 missions in the North East US.  If the rest of the missions are having as much trouble with anxiety issues as we have had then he is kept very busy.  Sister Christensen acts as his secretary.  She also does the luncheons when we have new missionary training.

In between new missionaries arriving, orientations and Zone Conferences, we work in the office 5 days a week.  Some days we are very busy and do not leave until well after 5pm. Other days, we run out of things to do by 2:30 and we take off.  On those days we entertain ourselves by shopping or going to a movie.

This is our latest group of new missionaries learning the nitty gritty of missionary life - medical, finances and housing issues. We had 20 new Elders and Sisters arrive on Oct. 23.

Elder Clarke giving his instructions on housing and referrals. We have a little over 80 apartments that we oversee.  We have found that we have some really nice landlords that we deal with.  We are trying to train our missionaries to contact those landlords when they have problems.  One week we had three separate issues of water leaking in an apartment.  One of those was an apartment of Sisters who stayed up most of the night dumping a bucket and putting it back again in their closet because water was dripping.  They waited until the next morning to call Elder Clarke.  He contacted the apartment but instructed the Sisters to call the landlord immediately next time - day or night.

On Friday, Nov. 4th, I had to do the lunch for the Friday Forum at Institute  It was a good thing that I had planned an easy meal.  We had a few issues in the Mission and Wayne ended up having to drive one missionary up to Warren and bring another one back to catch a flight home.  I ended up having to drive myself into Pittsburgh and do the luncheon.  The speaker was a retired professor from BYU.  He spoke about a non-profit that he organized in a class he taught.  They go into South American countries and work with the people in providing small business loans and training.

Again I have no pictures but that night we had a Senior Missionary game night.  All of the seniors came to the Mission Home and we had a yummy soup and salad dinner.  We then played Three Degrees of Glory (Bunco). Most everyone had a good time.  I felt bad for the husband of our Church Service Missionary though.  He does not like to play games and you could tell it.   Two of the couples who came from across the mission stayed the night at the Mission Home and the next morning we all met at the National Aviary.  This was a thoroughly delightful experience.  There were so many different birds.  All sizes - from canary to condor, and colors - plain black to a rainbow parrot. 

 Sister Samuelson just had to compare her height to that of the Flamingos.  She is a bit short.
Cute little Kukaburra.

 Our Senior Gang: Elder Haroldsen, President Johnson, me, Sister Johnson, Wayne, Sister Caanan, Elder Caanan, Elder Samuelson, Sister Samuelson, Elder Thompson, Sister Thompson, Sister Casler, Elder Christensen and Sister Christensen.

One of our little oddities.  Elder Kotter is from cowboy country and I don't think that he is used to being without his hat.   Since we are close to Amish country, I guess he thinks it is okay to wear one of their hats.   We discovered that Elder Kotter has a PVC steer that he practices roping on P day.  Sister Johnson was telling us about how skilled he is with the bull whip.

I thought I would close this post with a picture that my niece had taken of my parents.  95 and 96 years old and still going strong.  They have always been an example to family and friends.  When you talk about enduring to the end, I think of them.  My Dad always wanted to serve a mission and that did not happen so in a way I serve my mission in honor of him.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Busy Week

We started our week with one of my favorite activities.  I got to go to the Mission Home on Monday to help prepare dinner for 20 new missionaries who arrived that afternoon.  It is always so fun to see them as they arrive tired but excited to finally be in the mission field.

One of the Elders is originally from Qing Dao in China so it was especially fun to meet him and reminisce a little bit.  He left China when he was 18 and his family now lives here in the States.
Tuesday was Orientation and Training for the newbies and that is always a busy but enjoyable experience.  We travel to Greentree for a morning of instruction followed by a great lunch, which I end up helping with, a little more training and then there is an influx of other missionaries as they all meet at that chapel to meet up with new companions and head for new areas.  It is transfer time!

We have a Senior Couple who had to leave after only two months because of a medical emergency in the family.  We told them not to worry about cleaning their apartment and so Wayne and I headed for Meadville on Friday to clean and get things ready for our Move Crew to go and load up all the furniture and household goods.  I wish I had taken pictures.  They lived in a very old home that had been converted into apartments.  There were very high ceilings and all the doorways were arched.  The doors looked so neat.  There were about 3 fireplaces in there.  It was a very interesting place.

Just off the highway in Meadville there is a Dept of Transportation service yard with a lot of very interesting art work.  "Read Between the Signs" is one of them.  There also is a continuous mural made out of old recycled road signs. There were huge flowers that were amazing.  All of it made from used road signs -  pretty clever and spectacular.

Our mission is an iPad mission and usually the new missionaries receive their devices as soon as they arrive.  This time there was a hangup on the delivery and so they did not arrive until the day after transfers and all the new missionaries were now scattered all over Pennsylvania.  Since we were going to Meadville we decided that we would deliver the iPads to as many as we could.  We took 4 into Pittsburgh on our way to Meadville.  We took one to a missionary who lives next door to the apartment we were cleaning and since we had gone so far already Wayne decided to drive up to Erie to take one to a new Sister up there. 

 A house decorated with pumpkins and mums in Erie.
 They even decorate the meters.
 The Fall colors are getting darker.  The reds are finally coming out.  The yellows are already falling.
 As we drove down to Lake Erie, we passed several grape vineyards.  Wayne was told that this is a major Welch's grape area. 
 Saturday morning, Wayne went to participate in a service project on the Montours Trail.  This is the railroad tracks that have been turned into a walking trail.  I ran errands all morning and worked on a quilt top that I hope to finish sooner rather than later. In the afternoon we went into Pittsburgh to locate the Aviary.  The Senior Missionaries are having a fieldtrip there next weekend.  We wanted to make sure we knew how to get there.  Our Ward Halloween Party was that night so we killed a little bit of time driving around and then went to the church.  We were still too early for the party so we went to dinner at the Tamarind Restaurant behind the church.  The restaurant is in an old house.  It seems like there are a lot of businesses like that.  It is nice to see that they do not just tear down old buildings  There are some beautiful old houses here. 

Oh boy, my favorite kind of food - Indian.  They did have wonderful Garlic Nan though.

 At the party, we had so much food that they had to have a Linger Longer the next day at church to use it up.
 Bone yard ring toss.  I took a few pictures of things before the party got started and it was a good thing because they turned all but their special effects lights off and it was almost too dark to see anything.

Jedi Princess.  Alec had fun twirling in the dress all night.

 We had one very talented make-up artist.  Bryan sat for quite a while to get this look.
 Jill, our little peacock and Stephanie the make-up artist.
 The night was just a very laid back evening of mostly socializing.  It looked like we had just about as many people as show up for church on Sunday.  That really is not a large number.  Hence all the left over food.

Today we shipped off 4 more iPads and then Wayne drove several hours in the opposite direction as we had gone on Friday and delivered 3 others.  At least the weather was nice today and he had a nice drive while I stayed in the office and worked. 

Tonight is Halloween and all of our missionaries were told to stay in their apartments and to do a Halloween Haul Out.  They are supposed to clean their apartments real good.  I know the missionaries who live next to us are doing that because I can hear them vacuuming, etc.  We are stocked up with candy but we did not have one single trick or treater.  How disappointing.  I really expected some kids since we see them playing here all the time.  They must know some better places to go to.