We had our first "senior couple" missionary conference last Saturday and it was awesome. We met in our church building which is called the 'Oakland Building' and there were ten couples there. It was so helpful to be able to meet and share experiences. It built our testimony of what a great work we are engaged in. The Glovers did a wonderful job of planning the conference and they gave each couple a plaque with the definition of a missionary that we thought really sums up how we feel about the work that we are doing.
The names of the couples are from left to right: the Glovers who were in charge of the conference and serve in a tiny branch that the members call "a twig" in the town of Philipsburg, the Clarksons from England who serve in a ward near Gettysburg, the Swingholms who serve as Mental Health advisors to missionaries in 24 missions around the eastern United States, the Elcocks who recently became the new office couple, the Johnsons who are the Mission President and his wife, us--the only couple in Pittsburgh, the Barneys who serve in a place called Hanover, PA, the Bentleys who are leaving soon and have served in the office and worked with missionary cars as fleet coordinators, the Thornes who are from Liberty, Missouri and are leaving soon after serving as the office couple, and the Bells who are also leaving and have served in Wintersville, Ohio which is actually a part of our mission.
It is quite sad that we have three couples leaving with no replacements in sight. We have had several members tell us how much they appreciate the couple missionaries and that we should consider ourselves a "hot commodity"! We hope that we can live up to the expectation and we so hope that we will get word of new couples coming soon.
We also had a neat experience with the small pamphlet
We are excited because we have been asked to teach a Temple Preparation class in one of our wards, so we hope that Karen can be a part of the class. We have been reading over the lessons and we hope that the class will get started soon.
Sunday was our ward conference in the First Ward and our elders (the ones in our apartment building--Elder Harper and Sorenson) had a neat experience at church. They met a young woman in the parking lot who was coming to church for the first time. It was our ward conference and President Peterson gave a great talk about the things we can share with others---prayers, example, warmth, means, time and the gospel. He made the comment that we hear the statement about Hastening the Work in preparation for the second coming of the Savior, and we think we have a lot of work to do to make that happen---but he actually said that it is the Lord that is 'hastening the work' and we just have to be ready for it. Anyway, the young woman who came to church was a perfect example. She found a Book of Mormon in a Marriott hotel, saw advertisements on TV about the church, and went onto lds.org. She became almost obsessed in learning everything she could learn about the church. She finally got up the courage to come and see a real church meeting. It was then that she met the missionaries before she even got in the door!