Archive for December 2011

Great ending to 2011

On the day after Christmas our mission welcomed our newest set of Missionaries. A record 17!!!

We are being so blessed in this mission to receive so many excellent and enthusiastic new missionaries.

New Elders and Sisters 12-26-11


On December 30th we had a Senior Couple Conference in Pittsburgh. Sister Topham kept insisting on calling it a party and it was really fun. We met at 12:30 PM and had a wonderful lunch. We came from all corners of the mission. Our drive was 5 hours for example. Everyone brought food and it was delicious! It was so great to meet everyone and get to know each other better. After we ate we had a “get to know” you session. We learned all kinds of things about each other and had some good laughs. After a short program, Sister Jackson told the story of the Other Wiseman followed by the Mudgetts who sang a duet by Senator Hatch and Janice Kapp Perry that was so pretty.  Then, President Topham talked about (you guessed it) missionary work. He did a great job we learned lots and no one fell asleep . . . even right after lunch!

We are so blessed to know these wonderful couples. They are amazing in every aspect of missionary work and we appreciate everything they are doing. We are grateful for the chance to learn from them.

Senior Missionaries now serving in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission.

Merry Christmas from Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

Our Nativity Display

As we prepare for Christmas this year we are focusing on keeping Christ at the center of our celebration. We purchased this nativity set to remind us of his birth. We are doing all we can to invite others to rededicate their lives to the principles taught by Jesus Christ. We strive to follow his example in word and deed as we strive to keep the spirit of Christ in all that we do.

We are grateful for the love and support we feel from our family and friends. We are blessed to have this incredible opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our Christmas Plant

We send our love as we wish you a Merry Christmas.

We spent a fun evening going to Nursing homes and singing Christmas Carols with members of the Branch.

Caroling in the halls

Stopping to sing to some sweet residents

Singing to one of our Branch members

Blessings from obeying the speed limit

Sunday we had another witness that it pays to drive the speed limit. I’m sure that it is a mission rule and of course goes along with the 11th Article of Faith.
We had driven a sister to the Stake Center, about an hour away, for her temple recommend interview with the Stake President. After we took her home we were on our way to our apartment when I saw a woman on the side of the road. The spirit said to pull over and give her a ride. This is not something that we usually do, the pulling over to pick up strangers part, but I quickly pulled over. Hopefully we are doing good on the listening to the spirit part. She gratefully got in and we took her where she needed to go. Come to find out she is a member that has moved here but had never been to church here in this area. She gave us her family’s information and an invitation to visit them. She had joined the Church in South Carolina in 1995 right after her husband died. What a special sister she is. We are excited to have met her and hope that she will accept our invitation to come to church. Had we not have been driving the speed limit on our trip we would have missed her. She was ready to give up and go home when we came.
We are so grateful to be here and serving the Lord.

Palmyra, New York Temple

The drive to Palmyra New York was beautiful, even though it is winter and cold and the trees are bare. The temple is about 2 1/2 hours from where we live. Not bad at all. We went with branch members and had time to get to know them better. On the way we commented that there were not nativity scenes displayed on our route. However as we turned to enter the temple parking lot we saw this beautiful nativity. It certainly made a statement to us on the importance of the real meaning of Christmas.

Palmyra Temple Nativity

It is a beautiful temple. The stained glass windows are incredible.

Check out the trees in the cut glass windows


Temple views . . .

Palmyra New York Temple




Looking UP

Loving our mission










The Palmyra Temple is the only temple with a see through window. This window looks out to view the sacred grove.

Notice the center window. No cut glass just a clear view of the Sacred Grove.


The view from outside the Temple of the Sacred Grove.


Ever wonder what to do with all the rocks in your yard? Do what the Smith’s did. Build a wall to show the boundary of your property. This is the original wall to mark their property. The temple sits on what was the Smith family farm.

Rock wall along original property line.

Branch Christmas Party – the tall and short of it.

The branch had a Christmas Party last Friday evening that was very successful and fun. We are excited about the branch activity that seems to be increasing.

Branch Christmas Party 12-9-2011

The primary children and the Young Men and Young Women did the Christmas Story. Notice the darling little Mary with Joseph, the high school basketball star.

Play of the First Christmas

They had a Pinata for the children. The little girls that were Angels a few minutes earlier in the play were now going to get all the candy they could. What a difference a few minutes can make!

Grab a string and PULL!

We ended the evening with Sister Jackson sharing the story of The Other Wise Man and all singing Christmas Carols.


Going back in time . . . To State College, PA and Zone Meeting

Our Zone Meeting this week was held in State College, PA. It was fun to meet the same chapel that Claudia had met in many years ago. Claudia and her husband lived in State College while they were attending Penn State University and her daughters Melissa and Kimberli were born in Bellefonte, PA, close to State College. They have added on to the building since it was a branch and now two wards meet there. We also drove by the house were the family had lived. Yes it is still there but it was too dark for a picture. We will try to take a picture of the house next Zone meeting, in March 2012.

State College, PA. Quite a change from when we were here 42 years ago.









Here is a picture of our totally awesome Zone taken at our Zone meeting with President and Sister Topham.

Zone Meeting 12-8-11 in State College, PA.


Dickens of a Christmas in Wellsboro, PA

Our purchase

Saturday we spent a delightful day. We met with a special family in the morning and then attended the Dickens of a Christmas celebration right here in Wellsboro, PA where we live. They close off the downtown streets and people bring their foods and crafts, etc. to sell. The whole downtown becomes a Dickens wonderland with costumes and music and drama galore. We saw several people we knew and of course met many new friends we hope to see again soon.






Wearing the Dickens clothes

Fun for all ages

Even Transit for Ralph


Singing for Christmas

Even a Victorian Santa was there.

The street scene



Getting to know the Pennsylvania roads . . . up close and personal.

We have spent the week visiting members, less actives, and part member families. We have met some wonderful people. We have traveled to many parts of our branch area. Our area is about 30 by 70 miles. The Mansfield Branch has 250 members with 145 families. Between 50 and 75 members attend each Sunday so there is a lot of work to do.


Mansfield Branch Area

Our mission area is very large and with up, down, and windy country roads. I’m not sure how to spell windy as in roads that wind around NOT windy as the wind is blowing. If you know how the spelling differs please let me know . . . if not, just say it the right way so this makes sense!

Here is a different view of our area. This is the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission area with our Branch outlined in red. So far we have put 3,640 miles on our Toyota Sienna (Isi) since we left home on November 12. Wow! That was less than a month ago. We are grateful that Isi gets such good mileage.

Our Branch area size compared to the entire Mission area.