Sunday, June 14, 2015

Memorial Day News--From Home & Here

Being here for Memorial Day seemed really different.
We attended a ward Memorial Day picnic on a beautiful day at a beautiful park here. The weather was perfect and we actually got to taste something off the grill--something we will kind of miss this summer.  We were very grateful to also get a few pictures from Jared and his family who tended to my mom and dad's graves at home.  Somehow it just warmed our hearts to see them doing this---something we would have liked to have done if we were there.  Just one more thing that makes us so thankful for GOOD kids and grandkids!

We continue to notice seeds of the gospel being planted in people's lives here even amidst alot of transistion in both of the wards that we attend.  Both the lst and 7th Wards have a large percentage of the population comprised of students from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and a variety of other schools and programs across the city.  So summertime is transition time with lots of people graduating and moving in and out.  Even with all of the movement, the Elders seem much more busy than they were in the winter and the work is moving really well.  Each Sunday there seems to be alot of new people who are investigating the church in attendance at the meetings.

Mary, who just went through the temple, is now the teacher of the Gospel Principles Sunday School class for newer members of the church.  She was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools. She told the class that she has found many answers to her questions that have added to what she learned as a young girl.  Today we had an awesome class where everyone introduced themselves and told a little bit about where they came from and how they came to join the church.  There were a variety of brief stories told by people from a variety of different religions.  Some were born and raised in the church---some had fallen away and were now returning.  One was trained as a minister for a time and is investigating the church currently.  One said she was a recovering alcoholic who almost lost her life when she fell away from the church and made very bad life choices.  One is actually a Pittsburgh Steelers football player!  At any rate, each person was there because of their search for truth and a feeling within themselves that tells them they have found the truth in what the restored gospel has to offer.

We also helped Karen and Charlette with family history, did a service project with the elders which involved removing carpet padding and staples at Margaret's house, and hemmed some drapes for Martha who is moving and trying to sell her house. No matter how messy or trivial the service projects are, we are finding that it feels good to wear jeans and T-shirts occasionally!  At least I like it!   It still makes Jim a little nervous and shaky to take off his tie!!!!   We also watched a video with Mel and Elders Tunquist and Wright that we found from BYU-TV.  It is called "A New Day for the Book of Mormon."  It gives a variety of expert opinions both in and out of the church about the validity of the book.  It was just SO  good.  Mel really liked it.  He is devouring and getting into family history.  He is already excited to start working towards going to the temple.  We are also visiting the Children's Hospital again for two families.  One is a 3 year old boy who went with his mom for a routine doctor visit and wound up being sent a couple of hours away here to the hospital with a diagnosis of leukemia.  Another is a family who has had so many struggles with their little 5 year old son.  They have been in the hospital this time for over 50 days. We are realizing that the people we visit seem to love our visits.  We think it is not because of us.  We feel that when we enter the room and they see our name tags that it just melts their hearts.  They know we represent the Savior.  As they face such difficult trials we sometimes want to give them something tangible, but have realized that His love is really what they need most.
Morning hike at Falls Run

Then on Saturday morning for our exercise time we drove about 15 minutes away to the coolest little hike.  It had rained the night before so things were a tiny bit damp and misty.  We hiked across many small bridges to a small little trickle of a waterfall.  It was so refreshing and was a nice bit of variety for our exercise routine.

               Pennsylvania is really BEAUTIFUL !!!

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