Sunday, December 7, 2014

P-Day.  We have to constantly remind ourselves that these are 18-21 year old boys!  Elders (top to bottom) Watt, Self, Nieman and Tarry.  This was their best attempt...So you can see how our week began.  The next day Elder Jones took Elders Nieman, Self and Rychlik and Bergman--his service elders and left at 8:30 am only to return about 8:30 pm.  They traveled north of Scranton and did hit snow.  We were closing down 3 apartments between here and Clark's Summit and they had rented a U-haul type truck plus the van to pick up all of the salvageable items in these 3 apartments.  One apartment took quite some time to clean.  Elder Jones is very good by this time at vacuuming...These elders work very hard to help in the temporal affairs of other missionaries.  They also made a stop to deliver beds to a set of sisters who just got done fumigating for bedbugs.  Yes, bedbugs are something we have to contend with here in Pennsylvania.  They are usually picked up by teaching humble, yet poor investigators in their homes.  Elder Jones has studied them extensively to come up with a way to effectively get rid of them.  It was a very busy day giving service.
As you can tell, our little apartment is now ready for Christmas.  This is the tree sent to us last year by John and Jana.  Their children made the decorations and I love this little tree as it reminds me of my grandkids and how much I love them and they love me.  Actually, Christmas is quite enjoyable in the mission field.  We simplify things for our own giving to our family and try to participate fully in the various ward, mission and charitable things going on.  I love Christmas, and this is one thing I want to carry back home with me--to simplify and do more meaningful things to celebrate the season.

We are very much enjoying our ward here.  I love our home ward, but we have decided that we could be perfectly content to go to church in the Broomall ward for the rest of our days.  The people are wonderful and it feels like home to us.  Today in Fast Meeting we had some good testimonies.  I will share 2:  Brother Curatolo had throat cancer many years ago and since has had difficulty in swallowing.  He got pneumonia last month and they had to trach him so now he gets his nutrients via a tube.  He told us that his biggest concern was whether he could take the Sacrament.  He has been worried about this.  He told us that since he is a convert from Catholicism his most treasured moment was to actually bless the sacrament as an adult shortly after he converted.  So last week when he was able to come back to church after almost a month of illness, he did not know just how to handle his desire to take the bread and water.  He managed to see a small crumb of bread separated from the rest of the pieces and he took that little piece and placed it on his tongue until it dissolved.  He was so very elated!  His story caused me and everyone else in the audience to really appreciate our ability to take the sacrament and to pay more close attention as we partake of the bread and water.  Second testimony:  Susan McElroy was just released as our RS president in the summer.  She is a kick and I really do like her.  She is always happy.  She and her husband converted just after they married and were attending college.  She said that for her family she and her husband are the pioneers--the ones to set the example for their family to follow.  Anyway, she had a dream and when she awoke she had a distinct impression about being a good example to her grandchildren.  They were headed to Utah where 3 of their children live and while there they took the time to go to the temple and Bro. McElroy, with Susan in attendance, baptized his grandson for his father and baptized his granddaughter for Susan's mother.  She said that because of the tightness of the family bonds in that room the Spirit was very strong and they had an amazing experience.  Another goal for me--enjoy pursuing family history and ordinance work when we return home.  That is also missionary work!

One last story:  As I mentioned several weeks ago, Elder Jones and I have been teaching Barbara Johnson the missionary lessons.  We prepare and teach her almost weekly.  Anyway, we taught her again this past Monday and talked mostly about the apostasy and the need for restoration.  We also really encouraged her to read more than just a little of the Book of Mormon, because she needs to have a real testimony of it and that when she does, she will really desire to be baptized because she will understand the need for it.  She has been coming for almost 9 months now and so we again challenged her to baptism.  She accepted!  She said that she just needed to decide whether to do it right now or wait until after a trip to Utah that she is contemplating for health reasons.  Anyway, we were so excited--but then she said: "but I need you to know that I was baptized into the Mormon church in about 1988 or 1989, but I don't think I was ever confirmed".  We swallowed HARD and then proceeded to ask a few more questions to clarify what we had just heard.  In the end, I ended up calling SLC and speaking to the membership department and sure enough, after being unable to find anything for the first couple of tries, they located her membership in the "unassigned" members.  So she is meeting with us again tomorrow and I guess we just switch gears and go to the "new member" lessons...

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