Tuesday, March 22, 2016


On March 9th we had our last zone conference here.  It was one of the most spiritually exhausting, but wonderful, days we have spent on our mission.  It was great to see the new public affairs initiative presented and to get our cards.  The website, FollowHim.mormon.org has a short video as well as the Tabernacle "virtual" choir presentation.  It is amazing!!

As always, hearing President and Sister Johnson's messages was totally inspiring.  We were also asked to give our departing testimonies at the end of the meeting since it will be our last zone conference before we leave.  President Johnson arranged the last musical number right before our talks to be a medley of songs played by Sister Welch (Megan) of God Be With You Till We Meet Again and I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go.  She played it beautifully and it was so touching to us.  Needless to say it was pretty hard to get through our testimonies without a few tears.  We are overwhelmed and so grateful for all that has gone on in our mission.

Then three days after the zone conference we were then able to spend another morning with Megan and her companions in a special stake member missionary conference at the stake center in Plum.  It was unique to be able to be picked as a "family" in a role play about presenting lessons to members about missionary work.

After the meeting we were invited to a member's home for lunch.  This family is affectionately known as "Mama Z" and "Papa Z" because their last name is so hard to pronounce and they really are like a Mama and Papa to the missionaries in the area.  They invite them for meals often and are just real friends to them.

It was great to meet the "Z's".  It seems like most areas have someone who steps up to be a Ma and Pa to the elders and the sisters and it is a blessing on both sides.  We think we may have been like this to a few missionaries in Pittsburgh and we feel like it has blessed us more than them!

Then....another two days later we spent a P-day
with "the trio" in Pittsburgh.  It was supposed to be a rainy day so the girls had decided to go to the Science Center.  That was crowded and the weather improved so we stayed awhile and then left so that we could walk across the bridge to Point State Park.  The weather actually improved and turned into an absolutely gorgeous spring day.  We finished our day at our favorite Pittsburgh restaurant spot....Peppi's.....and then picture taking at the Northside Lookout.

We were invited to dinner at the home of President and Sister Peterson later in the evening
and we had a short home evening with them and the Northside Elders.  They are a wonderful family and we have learned so much from them.

We also used a P-day recently to visit the Flight 93 memorial.  It was a sobering, humbling, and  inspirational visit.  It is located about an hour and a half away from Pittsburgh in a farming

community.  The guide told us that the average number of visitors a year to the site and memorial since 2011 has been 300,000 per year.  It was amazing to see and feel the examples of faith, courage, and hope that this small group of ordinary people displayed.   They did something so heroic and unselfish with only minutes to make decisions.  Also, many miracles could be seen in the event even though it seems so tragic.

Then.....we got great news in a voicemail from President Johnson.  There will be a new couple coming to replace us!!  This is something we have wondered about, worried about, and been praying about!!!  At least one of the wards that we work with just isn't very strong right now.  Having a new couple come to replace us will make it so much easier to feel like the work we have tried to do will be continued.  We are busy trying to put together a folder and lists to help them know how to begin.  The Hansens, the couple who served here before us, did this for us and we have communicated with them many times throughout our mission.  It has been so helpful to have them to talk to occasionally and we feel like we are close friends even just on the phone.

Hallelujah really is an appropriate word for how we feel right now!  I recently posted this picture on Facebook with the comment that through all of the ups and downs of our mission that we are so glad that we came.  It is one of the best things we have ever done!

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