Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

We took a fun trip the week before Christmas to the Washington DC Temple with Wes, Sara and Payton Walton so they could become an eternal family.  What a blessing for them and what a treat for us to be part of it. 

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We drove to DC the day before so we could enjoy the LDS Bookstore and see the lights on the temple grounds.  It was 50 degrees and a lovely evening for seeing the lights.  There were 500,000 lights on every bush and tree and were a beautiful addition to the beauty of the temple.

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I especially enjoyed the nativity scenes inside the visitors center and outside on the grounds. 

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         These two were from Holland and the Philippines, two countries I have been to.

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This one intrigued me because someone had taken pictures of their family dressed up in the figures of the nativity and put them on blocks and displayed them as a nativity.  Something my girls would do.  The nativity outside was life-size and beautiful. 

We had a real treat when we met Mike an Debbie Corry at Café Rio for lunch before we went to the temple.  It was a fun time with family and I loved having Café Rio again.

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It was Wes and Sara’s first time at Café Rio and they loved it too.  Rod even enjoyed his coconut shrimp tacos.


We had a Christmas party at Institute Thursday evening, a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with the Carman’s and enjoyed being with the little kids on Christmas Eve while they were tracking Santa’s progression around the world, and a Christmas feast at the Wylie’s with their family after Sacrament meeting.

Our most enjoyable Christmas activity was visiting with family.  It was almost as good as being there.  We love our Savior.  We are happy to be serving Him here in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission.  We pray we may all put Him first throughout this new year and always.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Union Town

We were invited to speak in the Union Town Branch on Sunday.  Brother and Sister Parker have become good friends in the few times we have gotten to spend with them.  Brother Parker was the Branch President of the Waynesburg Branch for 10 years and when they moved to Union Town a short while ago, he was called to be a counselor in the Branch Presidency there.  Cindy is in the Stake Relief Society Presidency and since she joined the church while living in Moundsville, she takes every opportunity to visit our ward when she is assigned to visit. 

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Union town is about 1 1/2 hour drive from Wheeling into Pennsylvania.  We left about 0800 Sunday morning incase we had bad roads or got lost.  We spoke to a congregation of about 50 people and stayed for the whole block and got to know them all better.  We had a great time and they made us feel so welcome.  Union Town would love to have some missionaries serving there.  Cindy, very graciously, packed us a lunch to eat on our way home. She is one of those people I felt like I knew already when I first met her.  I’m sure we were good friends in the pre-earth life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December in West Virginia

This is our first December in West Virginia and so far we have had warm, sunny days and cold, icy days.  We still don’t know what to expect from the weather out here.  I guess we’ll just enjoy what we get.

The Wheeling Ward had it’s Christmas party this week and it was a great success.  We, as missionaries love these ward activities because we get to invite all the less-actives and non-members we know to them and some actually come.  Sister Carman, our RS president did a great job turning our chapel/cultural hall into a Winter Wonderland.  The ward supplied the ham and everyone brought side dishes to go with it. 

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We had over 100 people there, including several less-actives and three non-members.  We had a program afterwards of musical numbers and readings put on by various ward members.  I got to accompany Al while he sang “Oh Holy Night” and the mob choir while they sang “Silent Night” which Rod was a part of.  We have some very talented people in this ward and everyone had a great time.  The Primary kids had an activity before the rest of the ward got there about gifts and what the true meaning of Christmas is. We hear it was great too.

Christmas time is a good time to be a missionary.  People are more turned to the Savior and a little more willing to talk religion.  We challenge everyone to talk more to their non-member friends and neighbors and share the good news of the gospel. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another baptism

Kamryn Birkhimer turned 9 on Nov 1 and was baptized on Dec 3.  She, with her mother, Sunny, and her brother, Kolton, have started coming back to church the last few months, but we didn’t manage to get Kamryn baptized before she turned 9 so we helped teach her and she is now a member of the Church.  She was fun to teach and so excited to be baptized. 

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Her less-active dad, Jerry, and her non-member Grandma and Grandpa Birkhimer were at the baptism.  Jerry declined the chance to baptize his daughter, but he acted as a witness for the baptism.  She asked Elder Green to baptize and confirm her.  It was a wonderful event and the Spirit was there so, hopefully, all felt it. 

We are gearing up for the Christmas holidays, not looking forward to being away from family this year.  We had decided not to worry about decorating for Christmas since we don’t want anything more to take home, but we couldn’t help getting a little something.  This is our Christmas tree.

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It’s all of 12 inches high but does the job.  We attended a volunteer dinner at Wheeling Hospital and I won the white poinsettia in a drawing and the red one playing bingo.  The table cloth and salt and pepper shakers are Dollar General.  That’s the extent of our decorations for this holiday.  We feel very festive now.  Most of all we are grateful for our Savior who’s birth made the whole Plan of Happiness possible.