Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Surprise Visitor

We had a surprise visit this week from Flat Stanley.  Luke sent him to us and we took him around the city and gave him a mission experience.  He even got to go on team-ups with Elder Huber and Elder Hatch and Elder and Sister Green. 

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He got to see a great view of where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers converge to become the Ohio River. Thanks to Luke for sending us such a fun visitor.

We also were able to witness the conversion and baptism of Shelby Rogers.  Shelby told his wife 40 years ago that he would never join the Church. She remained active and through her love and good home teachers, Shelby’s heart finally softened and he asked to be taught and baptized.  His son was able to baptize and confirm him a member of the Church.  The ward sees this as a true miracle.  We only knew the humble, repentant Shelby but are convinced that the Gospel changes hearts and lives.

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Elders Mackintosh and Huber were the ones who got to do most of the teaching.  Elder Mackintosh just started his second transfer and this is his first baptism.  We keep telling him that they all won’t be this easy. 

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There were 10 missionaries at the baptism.  Elder Jex had served in the ward for 10 months while he was in the office and knew Shelby well. He and Elder de Leon are serving together now in another ward but got permission to come to the baptism.  The AP’s, Elders Hatch and Christensen came also. The Christensens, the Mental Health couple were there also.  The ward had a good turnout as well.

We survived our second transfer last week and got 12 new missionaries oriented to the mission.  Rod spends most of his time figuring out the cars.  We were at the office until about10:00 p.m. last Thursday getting two cars that had been sold loaded on a carrier.  We just received four new cars so that means 4 more to be sold for a total of 10.  Rod has to get them in good shape mechanically and detailed to make them saleable.  That’s on top of doing regular maintenance and keeping track of service and miles on the 63 cars in use as well as repaired when they have accidents.  That means, of course, lots of record keeping and reports sent to Salt Lake.  We manage to keep busy.


The weather has been beautiful for 2 weeks with blue skies and temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s.  Things are starting to turn green instead of grey and it’s a beautiful time to be in Pittsburgh.  We are looking forward to more visits from friends and family.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Zone Conferences

We spent all last week traveling around the mission going to four zone conferences for our seven zones in the mission.  The first conference was in Harrisburg, a four hour drive from Pittsburgh.  We stayed in Harrisburg Monday night and had conference with two zones on Tuesday.  Rod and I gave a short presentation at the beginning of the conferences and then spent the rest of the day out side inspecting vehicles.

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Most of the days were cold and sunny but Thursday it rained all day and we were soaked, especially Rod.  I was in the cars most of the time inspecting the interior and checking all the paper work while Rod checked fluid levels and topping them off.  Then I got really good at checking tire pressure and tread depth while Rod looked over the exterior of the cars and noted all the dings and scratches.


After Harrisburg we drove three hours to State College.  Most of the entire trip was following the Susquehanna River and was a beautiful drive.  We stayed in State College Tuesday night and had another conference Wednesday with two zones there.  Rod is also in charge of the 60 plus phones in the mission and had to change out new phones for everyone during the conferences.

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Of course, we had to take a look at Penn State campus before we left State College for the three hour drive back to Pittsburgh.  We finally learned what a Nittany Lion is. Nittany is a Native American term meaning “single mountain.”  Nittany mountain overlooks the Penn State University campus and the community of State College.  A Nittany Lion is a mountain lion, or cougar, that roams the Nittany mountain.  Kind of like BYU cougars.

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We spent Wednesday night back at our apartment and then got up early Thursday morning and drove the 1 1/2 hours to Butler for another conference for two zones there.  Same routine but with rain this time.

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Rod spends a lot of time on his mission phone talking to missionaries about their cars.  He could get a lot more work done if he didn’t have to talk on the phone so much. Friday we were back in Pittsburgh for our last Zone Conference.  We gained such an appreciation for the hectic schedule that President and Sister Topham have to keep.  We were exhausted after only one week of following them around the mission.  It made us happy to get back to the office.  It was another great mission adventure we are having together.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Another temple trip

Wes and Sara Walton invited us to go back to the Washington DC temple with them.  They have gone to the Columbus Temple once since they were endowed but wanted to return to the DC temple. Of course, we jumped at the chance and talked Elder and Sister Christensen into going with us.

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Wes and Sara and Payton became an eternal family here last December and were so excited to come back.  Wes spent the morning in the temple and Sara spent the afternoon. 

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        Payton just enjoyed the beautiful, warm day outside on the grounds of the temple.


We did the trip in one day this time so we left early and drove the 5 hours to the temple, attended a session, visited and ate and then drove the 5 hours back to Pittsburgh. It was fun playing hooky from the office for a day.

Wes and Sara are thinking about moving and their only criteria is that it be somewhere near a temple.  We suggested Utah would be a good place.  They promised they would at least come visit us and tour all the temples they could while there.  President Ferguson said in the last stake conference that a good test about how we feel about the gospel is how we feel when we go to the temple.  Right now it’s pretty evident that Wes and Sara feel good about the gospel.