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.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

New Missionaries -  January 27th

 The Beginning of Ground Hog Day
 If you have seen the movie Ground Hog Day you will remember how every day was a repeat of the previous day.  Well our Zone Conferences had a little bit of that feel to it this time.  We headed to Northumberland for the Feb 1st meeting.  This was the first time we have met there and it was to be a trial run for future conferences.  President felt we would save missionary miles and times by meeting in a more central location.  Since we now have to meet every six weeks, staff is going to providing lunch every other time.  This was the trial run for that too.  I did a small survey to see what the missionaries would like for lunch and it was unanimous to have Hawaiian Haystacks.  A bit of an undertaking but everyone loved it. 

We had a bit of snow driving across the state to get to Northumberland.  It wasn't too bad until we had to get on I80 and got surrounded by big rigs.

                                                This was the first of our repeating days. 
 Sisters always go first.  We have such polite Elders.
 This was the group in Northumberland.  We had approximately 57.
 This is our mental health couple , Elder and Sister Christensen.  She helped me in the kitchen with the lunch and then they did a presentation in the afternoon session.
 This was the first time for presenting awards for the cleanest apartment.  It is amazing what a little competition will do.  One set of Elders and one set of Sisters in each Zone can win.  It was surprising that overall, the Elders had higher scores reported from their inspectors.  
              Willing Elders helping to clear the walkways in Brookville, our next repeating day.
 Another day but the lunch looks surprisingly the same.
The missionaries always write little thank yous to the ladies who provide lunch.  They post these all over the kitchen while they are out being sung to.
 This is the Altoona and Jamestown Zones meeting in Brookville.
 We always have a ton of supplies and mail that we haul to each Zone Conference.
 Elder and Sister Caanan with Sister Johnson.  The Caanans are on a Member and Leadership Support Mission.  He was an Institute teacher and so they teach an Institute class one night a week and they are doing an Addiction Recovery class one night a week.  They just celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary last month.
 Sister Casler helped out at the Greentree conference.  She always seems to get stuck cleaning the floor (which was filthy before we got there).  Sister Casler is our Church Service Missionary.  She works in the office with us but she will be leaving us in April. She has been working there for 2 years.

 This is the Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh West and Pittsburgh North Zones meeting at Greentree.
           Sister Wall will be leaving us March 1st and so she had a Tshirt out for everyone to sign.
These are our two Chinese missionaries.  Elder Li is from Qing Dao originally but his family now lives in Utah.  Sister Lyu is a Temple Square missionary on loan to our mission for a couple of months.  She will be leaving us Feb. 21st along with Sister Shum.      
Now why did I refer to all of this as the Ground Hog Days?  When we were in Brookville, we were just 20 miles away from Punxatawny PA.  And it was on Feb. 2nd.  That is where  Gobblers Knob is - the home of Punxatawney Phil.  After we finished with our conference, President Johnson made sure that he and the senior couples headed up there.  He was so excited to be at Gobblers Knob on Groundhog Day.  We were just glad that we went long after the other 10,000 people had gone. Elder Clarke made a joke about us experiencing the repeating Groundhog Day.  We had three days of the same meetings and the same food each day.

The rest of these pictures just show some of the activities we have been involved in over the past few weeks.  Most of our extra curricular activities are with the Young Single Adults.

Family Home Evening - We had a boat making competition.  Each team of two had 10 straws, 2 pieces of paper and some masking tape.  The competition was to see who could construct a boat that would float the longest when weight was added to it. 

                                                                Mark and Andre stratagizing.

Alec and Dan

James and Jill.  Should have gotten the award for spending the most time on meticulously designing and building tactics.  Theirs was the one that sunk the fastest.

The master builder.  Also the winner with a little help from me.
Bryan and Jackson.  

Twice a week, Monday and Friday nights, we are now conducting English class with several Spanish speaking people.  It started with us going to the home of a husband and wife who are members of the church but we now meet at the church. Last week we had a lady and her son join us who are not members.  They are from Venezuela. This week the Elders found a man and his son from Guatamala who joined us.  None of these people speak English so it has been quite interesting.  Thank goodness the Elders are with us most of the time.  The Reyes family also have 4 children who speak English and an interpret when necessary.  The other two boys do not speak any English.

 This week at FHE they did soap carving.  There were cars and hearts and Alec did a great fish.
We also went to several performances this month.  The first was a Neil Diamond tribute band that performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony.  If you closed your eyes the singer sounded just like Neil.  It was a really good performance.
The second performance was The Hunchback of Notre Dam.  Very good performance and I really enjoy being able to go to these old theaters.  They have been restored beautifully.

Well that is our first half of February.  It has been very busy and we look forward to a slow week this week.  More to come though.  We will be preparing for new missionaries coming in the end of the month, a few missionaries going home before then.  We have tickets for a few more performances and in a couple of weeks we are having an activity for the senior missionaries.  Stay tuned.

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