Well, here I am, in Pittsburgh! I've wanted so serve here my entire mission, I am so happy to be finishing out here. Really excited and ready to just give it my all. I am in the Pitt 7th ward, aka Southside. There is a lot going on here. It meets in downtown Pitt, and because of the location boundaries almost all our members are young couples, usually with a baby or two, either in or finishing college. The best part is that they're all pretty fresh from their missions, so they know what it's like and are ready to help out however they can. They have us over for dinner, try to help us find people to teach, and try to come out with us. It's pretty darn cool. It's an especially interesting change from Fredonia, where there were hardly any members. And especially with the demographics of the Jamestown ward, which consisted of mostly really old people. The other challenge we have is the ward just lost two missionaries, the Swissvale walk elders. So we are now covering the whole ward. The other thing about young RM's is that they are brutally honest in their dissemination of missionaries, almost every single family we've met has told us how lazy the last elders were. So we have to show we are really willing to work hard here. Finally, there is a Spanish group in our ward that operates at the same time, and we are the designated Spanish missionaries for all of Pittsburgh. It essentially pulls in any Spanish speaker in the tri-stake area, so technically our area is massive, as we may need to travel anywhere from Penn Hills to Butler to Carnegie. No bikes, but we do have a car. Honestly, Southside is so hilly that bikes would be an impossibility, there are some hills our car has trouble with.
I'm not worried because I have a great companion. His name’s Elder T, he just finished his training, so essentially he's been out as long as I've got left. He has a lot of energy and passion to share the gospel. He really wants to do great things and work hard, so we are going to get along awesome. I'm really excited! He is from Colorado and is the first in his family to serve a mission, which is pretty cool.
We have one investigator right now who I'm very excited about. He's really old and his name is M. He met the missionaries grocery shopping and took them home because it was raining, and started taking the discussions. He loves the church, he has read almost thirty chapters from the BoM, he pores over Mormon.org to know more, and this week we set him with a baptismal date for May 16. He is a very nice person and knows Pittsburgh like the back of his hand. He is super connected. He came to our ward BBQ on Saturday and skewed the mean age by about 40 years. He also came to church this Sunday for the first time, which was cool. (Bit my fingernails a bit during Hymn #292 Oh My Father.)
This Sunday was regional conference, which was pretty cool. First one that I can really remember, part was broadcast from SLC, where Elder Anderson and Elder Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke. Elder Anderson talked about missionary work, and named specific people and places in our region where missionary miracles had occurred! One of them was Lancaster PA! A lady was invited to church by a friend, and then joined soon thereafter! I thought it was pretty cool.
Let me tell you something cool from this week... Well last night Elder T and I were out walking, trying to visit a bunch of our inactive members we know nothing about. We walked by a porch where this dude was sitting, said hello, he seemed friendly, and then we kept going. And a little feeling just told me, turn around and talk to him. But I didn’t, I was tired, I ignored it. But then the dude called out, "Hey, come back here!" So we went back, he asked us who we were (He thought we were salespeople.) We introduced ourselves, he told us he had tons of questions about religion but didn't know how to answer them. We gave him an answer, set up an appointment for today! He texted us last night, he was really excited! Cool huh? It just goes to show you never ever know who is ready and who isn't for the gospel. So that's why you have to talk about it with everybody!!!
Finally,you know I went to the Sacred Grove a few weeks ago, right? So as I was walking, I figured, when else am I ever going to have an opportunity like this? So I knelt down in a secluded part of the grove, knees in the snow, and prayed to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. That he really did see the Father and the Son, thus nullifying centuries of apostate creeds declaring the Trinity and revealing the true nature of the Godhead. And I got an answer by the power of the Holy Ghost. Clear, unmistakable, like a bell ringing in my ear, just telling me it was all true. You don't need to see them to know. That's what the third member of the Godhead is for.