Monday, July 27, 2015

Night Out, Surprise Visit with Sister Welch, and Amazing P-Day

Dinner out with the Elcocks & Clarksons
Great table, Great food & Great friends
We got a call during the week from two couples working in the mission office outside of Pittsburgh asking if we might have some time to get them into a museum in the city on Saturday, the 18th, with our passes.  They usually have their P-day on Saturday instead of Monday like we do.  Anyway, we agreed to meet them with our guest passes and then went about our day with appointments.  We later met them for dinner at a restaurant that Jim and I have wanted to go to for some time.  It is called the Grand Concourse and is an old converted railroad station with the big letters P&LERR on the top of the building.  The letters stand for Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad.
Can't help but think that it sounds like something from the Monopoly game!  Anyway, we had a very nice dinner with the Elcocks and Clarksons and it was good to relax and have time to talk about mission experiences.  The stained glass in the building is really beautiful.  It is the first really nice dinner we have indulged in here and we really enjoyed it.

The next morning we were so glad to get Sister Page to church.  She is a sister we have been visiting that is on oxygen and is a little unsteady on her feet.  So she needs a wheelchair when she goes out somewhere. In a lot of ways she reminds us of my sweet mom that we miss so much.

She studies the scriptures diligently at home and loves to feed the missionaries when her health permits.  She is the only member of the church in her family and they have not been too helpful in helping her come to church.  Ever since we met her 8 months ago she has told us how much she wanted to come to church, but she has never been able to make it.  So with a little bit of phone calling we got her set up with ACCESS which is a transportation service available here for seniors.  Jim worked on her oxygen and got the portable working for the first time in quite awhile.  The first time getting her to church was a lot of work, but it was worth it to see everyone greet her at the meetings on Sunday.  And.... it sounds like her family now knows that she is serious about attending and will help her get there after this.

Our mission zone was looking forward to a special Sunday evening fireside (meeting) for quite some time and the evening finally arrived.  We traveled about 45 minutes away to the chapel at Monroeville (or Plum as some call it) and took a couple of teen girls with us.  The featured speakers were President and Sister Johnson and Chris Hoke.  Chris Hoke is very well known here in Pittsburgh.  He is a former BYU lineman and also a Pittsburgh Steeler for two Super Bowl championships.  He is now a bishop in the stake just north of us.  The thought crossed our minds that it would sure be nice to have Megan there participating in such a spiritual evening.  But then we quickly realized that she

was out of our zone and probably too far away for it to be practical.  She and her companion have a mission car, but they are limited on the miles they can drive each month.  So even though they have a car, they still do a lot of walking.

We were also singing in a missionary choir as part of the
meeting,  along with 40 or so other missionaries. Anyway,  I was out in the hall speaking with a missionary with a health problem when all of a sudden I saw her in the hallway.  What a surprise!  We hugged and hugged!  They had found out that they could come about 2 hours before the meeting started.  A member in their ward wanted to go to the fireside and said that she would drive them.  The program was wonderful and was interspersed with inspirational videos and musical numbers from some very talented missionaries.  I even got to sit right next to Megan and sing in the choir right next to her too!  It was a dream come true for all of us.
After the fireside we were able to introduce Megan and her companion to many of the members and missionaries from our area,   We also all got to talk with Bishop Hoke.  He is very personable and likeable and seems like he would be a great bishop.

The next day was P-day.  We have been waiting and waiting to have good weather on a Monday and it finally happened.  Jim and I took advantage of it and rented bikes in downtown Pittsburgh.  We then went on an amazing bike ride.

 There are paved bike trails along both the Allegheny and Monogahaela Rivers as well as bike paths over most of the bridges.  It was such a fun way to see the city from up close.  We were gone about 3 hours and rode around Point State Park as well as many areas that we hadn't really noticed before.  It is definitely something that we want to do again.

Our missionary work this past week was also interprespered with a unplanned visit to the Pittsburgh City Courthouse with a set of elders (a long story and not the elders fault).  The Courthouse experience was not the most pleasant that we've had on our mission, but one that we won't forget.  Jim also helped line up a Nepali translator from our previous mission stake in South Salt Lake to visit with elders  here who are teaching Nepali investigators that don't speak English well.  I was also asked by one of our bishops to accept an assignment as a home study seminary teacher for this next school year to some refugee teens.  This assignment meant that I spent all day Saturday at a teacher training while Jim caught up on things at home.  I've decided this is what I get for being a seminary dropout!!  We also did our first apartment inspection of the Northside Elder's apartment for the mission office.  Jim's contribution to the inspection was to let the landlord know that they need a new front door!  We are finding out that our previous experiences really are coming in handy on this mission.  Every week is SO different.  We start each week wondering what will happen next!!

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