Sunday, April 10, 2016

Cherry Blossoms, Easter, & Pittsburgh Pierogies

We were so grateful to be able to go to the Washington DC Temple and it was an added bonus to be able to go while the cherry blossoms were blooming in the nation's capital.  It was a bright spring day when we arrived in DC with LaShaun and Vikkiy.  It was one of the peak days for the trees to be in bloom and  the Tidal Basin area around the monuments was a very busy place.  We finally found a parking place and were able to walk around and get some great pictures.

The highlight of the trip though was spent afterwards at the temple.  It was such a good break for each of us.  We have grown to appreciate being able to go to the temple so much more.  It is definitely a place where heaven and earth meet for a short time while you are there.

Easter Sunday was a very busy Sunday, but a very rewarding one also.  It was another beautiful day with spring flowers and blossoms everywhere.  Tony came to church all dressed up and even sang in the ward choir.  His baptism date is set in another 2 weeks and we are so excited for him.

We had dinner with Sister Eldridge afterwards.  She loves having us over for holidays along with the elders.

Her niece was visiting along with the Laylands who are previous ward members.  It was probably the last time we will have dinner with Sister Eldridge and it begins a series of "last times" that we will be experiencing the next few weeks.  It is a bittersweet journey that we have ahead of us!

We have started teaching two temple preparation classes - one in each ward.  Courtney and Scott are attending the one in the 7th Ward.  It doesn't look like it got started in time for us to finish and go to the temple with them since it is a 6 week class and will be interrupted by General and Ward Conferences.  Even so it will be wonderful to hear from them about their first trips to the temple after we leave.

The temple class in the 1st Ward is meant for some members to prepare to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  We should be able to fit in at least one trip to one of the temples to do this.

On April 1st we were asked to attend the MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) in Altoona, PA.  It is about 2 hours away from Pittsburgh.  It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the spirit of this meeting with so many of the young leaders in the mission (elders who are Zone Leaders and sisters who are serving as Sister Training leaders).  Jim taught his class on the Atonement that seems to have helped many elders and members here.  His way of presenting it just seems to make sense to most people and he made it into a Powerpoint presentation for the first time.

Then the weekend of General Conference came.
We really enjoyed watching General Conference in our apartment.  One Saturday we had dinner between sessions with Sister McQuarrie who is the Relief Society President in the 7th Ward along with some elders.

Then on Sunday evening we watched conference in our apartment with a set of elders and had some authentic Pittsburgh pierogies.  They were given to us by Mel who is a long time Pittsburgh resident.  For those who don't know what a "pierogi" is I have included a picture.  It is a traditional polish food that is often served with lots of onions and cabbage and other side dishes.  We are told that they are sometimes just served alone and then if you are still hungry, you just eat more pierogies!  They are like raviolis but a little bigger.  The ones we were given to cook were filled with potatoes and cheese and were homemade in a town near here called McKees Rocks.  We understand that many are filled with other things too.  We enjoyed them and had enough left over to send some home with the elders.

We have started to say a few good-byes and reflect on some of the good people we have met here.  It is getting harder and harder to think of leaving and not seeing many people for a very long time.

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