Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week Three

Birds in our wayside pond.
We tried to make time to walk for exercise this week, and made it three times. It’s beautiful in the early morning and soon becomes hot and humid. This picture shows a pond along our walkway. There are always a few white birds at this pond (White Ibis? Baby Storks?). At first we thought they were statues because they stand so still, with no ripples in the water, but on the way back we saw they had moved. So now we know.

We met with the Mission Pres about working with the Portuguese-speaking people here. He wants us to get more information about where they are and how to reach them. We’re told that their population declined greatly during the economic slowdown. We often hear Portuguese at grocery stores, but so far have identified only a few dozen Brazilian members among the wards in South Orlando. Most have gone into the English-speaking wards. We estimate there could be about 16,000 Brazilians living in Orange County, mostly in South Orlando, compared to about 300,000 in all of Florida (mostly in the Southeast). They are overshadowed here in South Orlando by more than a million Brazilian tourists that come to Florida each year, for the theme parks, sightseeing and recreation, and shopping. We’re told that prices here are about half of those in Brazil for many items, so this is a great shopping destination. We like to send referrals to Brazil, but we get more excited over Brazilians who actually live here. We have met with our Portuguese missionaries and ward & stake leaders to help us understand the Brazilian demographics in our mission, which will be ongoing in the months ahead.

Jan worked nearly full time this week on medical concerns. It looks like we’ll lose a couple of missionaries this week over injuries and to receive treatment. Most of our other sick and injured are continuing here, setting some great examples of faith and perseverance! One elder passed 3 kidney stones within a week, with only a few hours at a hospital, and has faithfully continued his missionary work on splits with young men in his stake to increase the coverage for him and his companion. Jan checked the swollen knee of another whom we met biking back to his apartment. Kirk, the elder’s companion, and our mission accountant gave him a blessing and Jan gave him a brace & instructions on icing and treatments for the coming week. Jan follows up with her medical contacts regularly until they recover or return home.

We went to the Orlando Temple this week with our seniors district, and bid farewell to several who are returning home. We need more senior missionaries to fill in for those who are leaving, particularly office specialists, member leader support, and employment specialists. Let us know if you want to explore this opportunity to serve in sunny Orlando!

Sugar Mill Ruins at Ponce de Leon Park
Yesterday on our prep day we went with our mission accountant & office secretary in the mission truck & trailer to the Ponce de Leon Park, kind of close to the Atlantic coast. The park has ruins of an 1800’s era sugar mill, and more importantly, the Fountain of Youth. Jan enquired of an elderly lady using a walker if she was there to visit the fountain of youth. She replied that she’d been coming there for many years, but it just doesn’t work. Pois é. The next picture shows the mission accountant, secretary, and Jan by the dried-up fountain, which is now diverted to a nearby pool (for external use only).

Sign at the Now-Dry Fountain of Youth
After the park the four of us drove near
Accountant, Secretary, and Jan @ Fountain of Youth
the coast to convert a former senior couple apartment to one for a pair of young missionaries by exchanging furniture, adding another desk, etc. A tenant in the adjacent building introduced herself and asked if we were moving in, so we explained we were just preparing the apartment for younger missionaries. She kindly offered to donate an end table & a pair of lamps, which we gratefully accepted for use in some of the other missionary apartments. It’s nice to meet good people! 

We spent the rest of Saturday visiting a few sick missionaries scattered around the mission and delivering white boards to some others for planning. We are continually refreshed by the faith, courage, and diligence of our wonderful missionaries! 

Today at church we were glad to meet Brazilians from three separate households in our Spanish/ Portuguese ward, plus a family visiting Orlando from Sao Paulo. Visited another dear Brazilian couple after church who attend an English-speaking ward and lived for years in Utah. Our members are so kind and supportive!

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