Saturday, February 27, 2016

Farewell to the Hansons

"You can make the pathway bright, heal the soul with heavens light, if there sunshine in your heart;  turning darkness into day as the shadows fly away, if there sunshine in your heart today..."
                                                                                Hymn 228

Elder and Sister Hanson from Blackfoot Idaho have served faithfully for the past year here in the PPM. They have touched many lives for good through their bright and sunny examples!  We will miss them!  We wish them the very best as they return home to be met by their children and grandchildren.

At the overlook in Johnstown where they served.

In a recent district meeting.  
Elders:  Beal, Woods, Robertson, Bumgarner, Holman and Wilson
President and Sister Johnson and Elder and Sister Hanson

Excellent News

The following is an update President Johnson sent the missionaries yesterday.  

"Sister Johnson and I drove to the East side of the mission this morning and were able to see all three of the sisters who were injured in the car accident February 9.  We have excellent news to report.


Sister Young has made remarkable progress.  She is sitting up, talking and feeding herself regular food – she had pizza on her plate when we walked in.  Importantly, she has that glow about her that one always felt in her presence and that made her a truly outstanding missionary. One of the trauma doctors told her parents that they had not dealt with a case quite like hers and that her progress has been “miraculous”.  There is still some concern about infections and other issues that could derail some of the improvements, but she is making great strides down her long road to full recovery.  Her parents have been by her side every minute and have provided amazing support.


Sister Faamaile has made so much progress that her doctor cleared her to go back to work.  This afternoon she returned to Shippensburg where she was joined by her new companion, Sister Noorlander, who will help her complete the last six weeks of training.


Sister Douglas has also made real progress.  However, her concussion was very severe and will require her to return to Utah tomorrow, where she will complete the recovery and recuperation.  She very much wants to stay but recognizes going home will help ensure a complete recovery.  She is excited for the day when she is fully recovered and will return to complete her mission in the PPM.  Her mother has been with her and Sister Faamaile 24/7, in the only trio that involved a Trainer, a Junior Companion and a “Senior/mother”.


Thanks to all for the prayers that have helped get these three sisters to this point on their recovery journey.  All have expressed a deep thanks for the prayers, kind words and thoughts offered on their behalf.  Keep those prayers coming as they will be needed in the weeks and months ahead."


God bless,


President Johnson

Sister Young in the Intensive Care Unit at Hershey Medical

With her parents

Sister Anne Douglas with Sister Faamaile and Daughter Sister Douglas

Thursday, February 18, 2016

In Loving Memory of Sister Sadie Danielle Wells

Have you ever heard it said that when good people leave good things continue to happen?

February 9, 2016 was a transfer day in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh mission. Fifteen new missionaries had arrived the night before.  Trainers traveled in from all over the mission. The dominoes effect of transfers were in motion.  Missionaries were traveling from city to city from borough to township.  

Sister Wells joined Sister Douglas and Sister Faamaile on Monday as her companion was leaving the mission.  On Tuesday the three sisters traveled to pick up Sister Young who would be Sister Wells' new companion.  The four sisters headed off to to take Sister Wells and Sister Young to their area when suddenly the transfer took an unexpected turn.  Sisters Douglas, Faamaile, Young and Sister Wells had a change of assignment for this transfer and beyond when their car was broad-sided by a school bus that ran through a stop sign.  We were deeply saddened and grieved to hear about this tragic accident.

Sister Sadie Danielle Wells was transferred to the ultimate area; Heavenly Father's side of the veil, perhaps to fulfill a special assignment in teaching the gospel there. 

Sometimes we think that President Johnson is in charge of transfers.  He is an instrument through which the Lord makes those assignments.  But ultimately the Lord knows where he needs each of us to serve.  His kingdom reaches on both sides of the veil.  

When Elder Bennett of the Seventy heard that Sister Wells had left us he said, "We know that she is anxiously engaged in the work of salvation on the other side of the veil." 

This past week we held four memorial services throughout the mission to honor and celebrate the life of this exceptional missionary.  She will be greatly missed, but memories of her will truly inspire each of us to be better missionaries.  Our faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father's glorious plan have been renewed and the comforter has given us peace and strength.  Sadie had a strong, vibrant testimony of Jesus Christ.  This was evident in the way she lived, loved and served.  We have no doubt that the good that she generated will continue on forever.

Sister Sadie Danielle Wells

Arriving in the PPM June 1, 2015

At the Overlook in Pittsburgh

Getting I-Pads in the mission home.

When Sister Wells entered the PPM she was trained by Sister Bradshaw.  Here are some thoughts Sister Bradshaw shared:
      "Sister Wells and I went on a nature walk one preparation day. There was two pull-bars along the trail that we wanted to get a picture on. For the life of me, i could not get on the bar, so I said, “Sister Wells! Give me a boost!” She helped me up and we got a great picture. On the last day of my mission I was being picked up in the mission van by the assistants. After we hugged goodbye, i started to get into the van and she ran up behind me and put her hands under one of my feet as a joke to help me in. As she did so, she said, “Sister Bradshaw, i’ll always give you a boost.” That is who she was, and that is who she continues to be.

I miss her. I always will. The sadness that I felt for losing her, my mission baby, my friend was crushing at first, but it has been replaced by something else. The sadness changed for me. It has been a strange experience. Something that I never expected. My grief turned to joy. How in the world could I feel this joy when something so sad had happened? The comforter has worked within me to speak peace to my soul, and to awaken the faith that I have in my Savior. I realized that of all of the missions she could have gone to the Lord sent her to the Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh mission. Of all the missionaries that were in the field, I was chosen as her trainer. Of all the places we could of gone, we opened New Bloomfield, and of all my companions, Sister Wells’  family is the only one I met when I returned home. So many miracles had taken place in her life, and in mine to allow us to be together for those 12 weeks and bond us together after.

I have a testimony that the Lord is in ALL the details of our lives. The work Sister Wells was doing here has not ended because she is no longer physically with us. She continues to work, lift, and strengthen. She continues to “give me a boost!” Wellsy is one of the angels around about to bear me up.
I know Christ lives. I know Sister Wells will live again. My faith is in the atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ."

First transfer day with Sister Bradshaw

Sister Wells later trained Sister Durrant

Companions Sister Azucena and Sister Campbell with Sister Wells in costume for a live nativity.  Sister Wells was asked to play the part of Mary.

Because He Lives we look forward to seeing our beloved Sister Wells again!  We love you!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Farewell February 2016

"The truth and values we embrace our mocked on every hand. Yet as we listen and obey we know we can withstand. The evils that would beckon us, The sin that would destroy. With faith, we hold the Iron Rod and find in this our joy!"                Vs 2 Hymn 256

Elder Cooley

Elder Casper (A man I have always looked up to!)

Elder Holladay (teddy bear)

Sister Robinson, Elders Bowers, Holladay, Casper and Cooley

Well done good and faithful servants!

February 2016 Welcome to the PPM

"As Zion's youth in latter days, we stand with valiant heart!  With promise shining in our eyes resolved to do our part. Upon a noble past we build; The future fills our view.  We face the challenge of our day and pledge we will be true."              Hymn 256

Welcome new missionaries!  Front kneeling:  Sisters Palmer and Collins
Left to right:  Sisters Paine, Jensen, Wayman, Pena and Nelson, Elders Poulsen, Chafin, Moon, Spencer, Selfridge, Swisher, Christensen and Mejia (President Johnson behind the Sisters)

Setting up I-Pads

Help from Elder Bryant, Ord and Slade

Training with Elder Clarkson the fleet coordinator

Front left:  Sisters Jensen, Paine, Palmer, Johnson, Wayman, Collins, Nelson and Pena
Back left:  Elders Poulsen, Mejia, Spencer, Selfridge, Pres. Johnson, Elders Swisher, Chafin, Moon, Christensen 

New Companionships (trainers)

Elder Spencer and Stevens 

Elder Ramos training Elder Poulsen

Sister Palmer with Sister Simpson

Elder Redd training Elder Christensen 

Sister Pena with Sister Blackwell

Sister Hale training Sister Paine

Elder Wadsworth training Elder Chafin

Sister Huffaker training Sister Wayman 

Elder Bell training Elder Swisher

Sister Hamblin training Sister Jensen

Elder Moon being trained by Elder Cuthbert 

Elder Gates training Elder Meija

Elder Haroldsen training Elder Selfridge

Sister Manumaleuna training Sister Collins

Sister Oliver training Sister Nelson
(Is it coincidence that some of the sisters ended up with similar outfits?  The assignments were made before they arrived at the training!)