Thursday, February 4, 2016

When life gives you snowstorms--make igloos!!

One of the profound thoughts
sent to us by text by one of the elders on a day when it was snowing quite hard here....
When life gives you snowstorms....make igloos!

We experienced our first really big snowstorm of the winter the middle part of January.  The storm hit really hard east of us near Washington DC and New York, but here in Pittsburgh we only got around 8-9 inches.  Other parts of Pennsylvania were hit alot harder and the snow stayed a lot longer there too.  We heard on the news that cars and buses were stranded for more than 24 hours on part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (76) where we have occasionally traveled.  We were so glad that we were relatively warm and cozy.  Within a few days, the snow melted in Pittsburgh and we experienced thawing temperatures of 50 degrees and above.  On one of our P-days Elder Butler went to play basketball with the elders and I took a walk around Highland Park.  It was so nice to get out of the stuffy apartment and into the crisp winter air.  While we were thawing out here in Pittsburgh we got some pictures from Sister Wall and Sister Welch in Monongahaela.  They got a lot more snow in Monongahaela than we did.  They ended up doing a lot of "service" snow shoveling and just plain
playing in the snow.

We also had a fun experience of visiting and eating dinner with the Reyes family in their home.  They are just a great Spanish speaking family who recently joined the church.  We have a feeling that they will be a great strength to the Spanish group here in Pittsburgh in the years ahead. They have an inspiring conversion story and they feel so blessed to be part of the church.

They invited us for chicken and mole sauce which was very good......but also quite spicy for the taste of Elder Butler.  He is especially sensitive to anything with a very hot flavor.  But he went ahead in true missionary fashion and pretty much cleaned up his plate while silently sweating and swallowing hard.  When he was all done someone mentioned that he has a hard time eating spicy food and the mom said "Oh, I have some on the stove without any spice at all"!!  He then had a second helping which he enjoyed much more.

Enjoying dinner and the company of the Reyes family

We also enjoyed hosting our district here in our apartment on January 20.  The occasion was a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast to all 75,000 fulltime missionaries who are now serving around the world.  It was inspiring to hear words from apostles and other leaders about the most important principles of missionary work.  One of my favorite quotes was from Elder Dallin H. Oaks when he said "You are not called to preach what is politically correct or personally comfortable.  You are not called to invite people to join a social club whose rules are made by its members.  You are called to testify of Jesus Christ and to invite people to do what He has required to come unto Him and walk the path He has defined by His doctrine to reach exaltation in the celestial kingdom."  We had lunch for the elders after the meeting and discussed the things that had been covered during the conference.

Another new thing here in Pittsburgh is the initiation
of the website  We have heard that Pittsburgh is one of the last places in the U.S. to start using this website, but it is a wonderful tool to help church members partner with other churches and community groups.  We participated in our first project with a Presbyterian church in a neighborhood close by us called Shadyside.  The project was making personal hygiene kits for girls in underdeveloped countries.  The sponsoring organization is called Days for Girls.  I took my sewing machine and 6 or 8 elders showed up to cut, iron, and assemble kits.  The ladies there gave Jim the "Ironman" award for doing the best job of ironing bags for the kits.  We also got a tour of this beautiful old church by the assistant pastor, Kari.

We finished the month of January off by helping to organize a Senior Missionary Conference here in Pittsburgh for President & Sister Johnson and six other couples besides ourselves who are serving in the office and in outlying areas around the state.  We began with an activity of walking to the Cathedral of Learning on the the University Pittsburgh campus. Then we had the treat of taking a tour of the Heinz Chapel which is so beautiful and inspiring.  Sister Johnson was even able to play the organ which was a very unexpected blessing since we were previously told they do not allow outsiders to play the organ.  We joked that it is probably the first time some of our LDS hymns have ever been played in this chapel....Come, Come, Ye Saints....Praise to the Man...etc.  Then we finished with all of us singing together....Called to Serve.  We are hoping there will be a way to hold a missionary fireside or something similar in this chapel before we leave.

After the activity we went back to the church for lunch and get-to-know-you introductions.  We went around the circle with missionary highlights (short experiences or insights about our work) and then President and Sister Johnson gave us inspired counsel and teachings.  Their messages were just what we needed to strenghten our resolve and keep us going when times get tough.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves and loved getting to know each other better.

What an amazing work that we have a privilege of being a part of -------------we are so grateful that we came on our mission!

No comments:

Post a Comment