Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We love Pittsburgh already!

This is one of the scenes similar to what we saw the first night we arrived in Pittsburgh.  We drove through a long tunnel in the early evening and on the other side of the tunnel this is what greeted us! What a great welcome!
The next morning when we went to the mission office, Elder and Sister Thorne accompanied us and led us to our apartment on Friday afternoon, the 14th.  They got a little lost in downtown so we got a pretty good tour of the city trying to follow them up and down the narrow streets.

The neighborhood where we live is kind of a mix of row type houses and apartment buildings.  It is not in the 'skyscraper' section of town, but more on the outskirts.  It is still considered downtown.  There are alot of cool old buildings that seem to each have a story about them that we are anxious to find out about.

We arrived at the apartment and had a welcome and moving crew 'all in one' with a set of young Elders who were waiting for us and are also living in the same building.  They are Elder Harper from Las Vegas and Elder Sorenson from Gunnison, Utah. We have a feeling we will become good friends with them.

The Elders had bought us a few groceries to get us started and we settled in unpacking and arranging everything. We wondered what we would do on Saturday and thought we might have time to catch up on all the reading and computer work we have to do, but that was not the case.  No sooner had the Elders gotten to know us, than they invited us to a service project, a first lesson to a sister from Turkey who is investigating the church, and dinner at the Bishop's house. Then we also got a call inviting us to attend a Relief Society activity at noon at the church.

Saturday morning came and we had to bow out of the service project because Jim had been developing a skin infection while we drove to Pittsburgh that kept getting increasingly worse.  We were told by President Johnson that we could call Dr. Campbell who is a Pittsburgh doctor who donates his time to help missionaries with medical problems.  We called him about 9 o'clock in the morning and got him while he was still at Mercy Hospital downtown--- just a few minutes away from us.  We drove there and met him just before he was leaving to go home.  He prescribed antibiotics and told us a few other remedies to try.  What a blessing for us to get things taken care of so quickly!

We attended the Relief Society activity, had lunch, and met some of the wonderful women in the ward.  Many of the women there have husbands who work or attend school at nearby University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  Others are women going to school while their husbands play Mr. Mom.  Others are single and married sisters of many nationalities.  We wear name tags but they don't-- so it will take us quite a while to remember all of their names!

Somehow we were also able to fit in our first grocery shopping trip to a crowded nearby grocery store called Giant Eagle.  It has been years since Jim and I have been grocery shopping together for more than two or three items.  Working together is still a work in progress!

We unloaded groceries just in time to be able to get ready to meet Sibel at the church for her first lesson about the gospel.  She is from Turkey and has been searching for truth concerning religion.  She has been attending Bible study classes in an international student group, but has not been happy learning from the revised, modern translations of the Bible.  She is very educated and has a PhD in pathology and embryology.  After our first class with her and the Elders we decided that she is what they call a "golden investigator".  She is reading the Book of Mormon and is coming to church tomorrow!

We then went to Bishop Geherin's home for dinner with his wife and daughter, the Elder's and another couple from the ward and their children.  Then....the bishop asked us to go with the Elder's to the home of Sister Martin.  She is a black, single sister with two children who has been in the military and recently joined the church in April.  She has had struggles, but it was such an inspiration to meet with her and feel of her spirit.  She had asked that her home be dedicated as a new start for her and her children.  The Elders performed this priesthood blessing for her and she was very grateful.

These were two posters that helped welcome us to our apartment on the first day.  We later found out that they were made by Sister Toupin from Ogden and Sister Rock from Morgan, Utah.

We had a hard time figuring out what the yellow one said at first.  Finally figured out that it says "We Stinkin love you"!!

We feel very grateful to get to know such great young people.

We met these two Sister missionaries for the first time after an Addiction Recovery meeting at night when it was about 16 degrees outside.  They don't have a car and so they walk most of the time everywhere they go.  They had come to the meeting by car that night, but they were still so cold and bundled up from their days work. They somehow still had BIG smiles on their faces.

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