Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week Seventeen

Elders Delgado and Gallo
by the Orlando LDS Temple
This week has been a great missionary week for us. Last Sunday we learned that Elder Delgado was getting transferred and Elder Gallo would get a new companion, so we took this picture of them by the Orlando temple. Elder Gallo will use it in an article he's writing for a Florida Brazilian magazine about them being here from Brazil as missionaries. 
Elder Baugh, Anthony and Idelfonso
Estevez, and Elder Cook
We also went to the baptism of Anthony Estevez in our Windy Ridge ward last sunday afternoon. Anthony was taught by Elders Baugh and Cook, and was baptized by his dad. He's a great kid! 

Monday morning I went with Elder Romero to Dr Phillips Hospital's cardiac unit to administer to a man there whose wife is a member that Elder Romero taught. Had a good visit with them. I advised the husband to try to get better soon so he could finish his work and prepare to enjoy retirement. He wasn't too excited about that ... he seems to see retirement as years of boring nothingness. I've found it to be the opposite.

Pres and Sis Berry with the first 17 new missionaries who arrived Monday afternoon.
We got to help welcome 24 new missionaries who arrived in our mission monday and tuesday. Seventeen came in monday afternoon and we helped with dinner for them. Six more came very late monday night. The six were visa waiters, several of whom are going to Brazil. Elder Willard arrived on tuesday. He served previously in the Brazil Manaus mission, went home for surgery and recovery, and is now serving the rest of his mission here in our Florida Orlando Mission. Elder Willard was assigned to be Elder Gallo's new companion in the portuguese-speaking parts of the Orlando South stake. 

Tuesday morning transfers at the Wetherbee Church
Tuesday was transfer day, which was busy getting all the newly assigned companions paired up and loaded to move to their new apartment locations. Sis Nielson helped with part of the tuesday orientations regarding health practices and use of medical insurance cards.  Pictures of the new missionaries with their trainer companions are on the Berry's website at

Elder Gallo celebrating his birthday and Elder Willard
with his welcome pumpkin that Elder Gallo carved
Tuesday night we went to a second missionary lesson with our Portuguese elders and a young Brazilian lady. It was about the restoration of the church, that we have apostles and prophets now, and we gave her a Book of Mormon. She was surprised and somewhat excited that she could go onto and see what the prophets and apostles have said just last month and in previous conferences. Elder Willard was just off the plane less than a day, but pitched right in and helped teach the lesson well. 

Thursday was Elder Gallo's birthday, and he and Elder Willard came over to our place for dinner. They live in the building next to ours.  Had another lesson scheduled for thursday but it got cancelled.

Us with five visa-waiter Elders who got their visas and left for Argentina on wednesday. 
Elder Cook and Elder Dial served with us in the Windy Ridge Ward.

Saturday was our day of service. We went with our Windy Ridge ward to clean up and paint the Ocoee Elementary school, and had a great time. Sis Allred and Sis Jackson are spanish-speaking missionaries, and Sis Lopez is our stake Relief Society president and wife of our phenomenal ward mission leader.  
Elders Gallo and Willard; Sis Spreier and Pierce (back)
Kirk and Jan, and Sisters Jackson and Allred (front)

We had a great turnout of missionaries and ward members, both at this school and throughout many other service locations throughout the stake. We had good comments about our bright yellow vests when we stopped for lunch.

Windy Ridge Ward, one of several LDS groups helping at the Ocoee Elementary School cleanup
Sky writing above Orlando

Saturday afternoon we went down to the Palm Bay 2nd ward for a baptism service, and saw an airplane writing in the sky. The message started with 'Love God', and went on, but we drove out of range to get a picture of the rest. 
Sis Thomson, Bob and his
daughter, and Sis Lamy

The baptisms were for Bob Winzeworth and Joel Ortiz. Bob is at the left with his daughter and Sisters Thomson and Lamy, who taught him. 

Joel Ortiz & Elders Baeza and McBride

Joel Ortiz was taught by Elders Baeza and McBride, and his wife and children were baptized previously. 

We saw Sisters Hiatt and Ackley there. They had a baptism in the Palm Bay 1st ward earlier saturday afternoon. 

Sister Nielson with
Sisters Hiatt and Ackley

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week Sixteen

We're loving being LDS missionaries in Florida!  Most of this week we were busy with mission work that didn't involve picture opportunities, so our pictures are all from this weekend. Sis. Nielson's keeping the medical surveillance going continually, so she's on the phone with Sis Berry, Sis Craig, our missionaries and Jacksonville's, their doctors, and our area doctor in Atlanta. I've been helping move furniture around the mission apartments, making zone maps, picking up cars, and this week trimmed video clips from the October 2013 general conference to insert into some power point presentations. The local leaders are being trained about "Hastening the Work of Salvation" from the 2013 world-wide leadership training broadcast, so there's been a lot of emphasis on local member participation in missionary work. Our Stake Conference this weekend was all about that, and the HC Stake south of us had the same thing last weekend. Pres and  Sis Berry both talked today, and all the missionaries (even us) sang a medley of songs ending with the congregation and choir singing together "Called to Serve". It was a very spiritual and inspiring conference. 
Maria and Jorge Ordinola

Friday evening our Windy Ridge Ward held a patriotic cultural night, so we had an incredible ward party where almost all of the south american, central american, mexican, and caribbean cultures were represented with displays, foods, singing, dancing, and other entertainment (including a great DJ). The first counselor & his wife, Jorge and Maria Ordinola, organized & MC'd it, and had broad participation from every ward organization. It was one of the best ward parties we've ever seen!  This is a truly great ward, and we're getting more attached to it every week. There are so many different cultures that combine here, yet everyone is bound together by the same truths and commitment to the gospel. They have a great spirit of unity in serving the Lord despite their cultural, linguistic, demographic, and economic differences. They recognize that this is the Lord's work and their lives and their work shows their commitment to serving Him. 

Elders Delgado, Gallo, and Nielson with Brazilian Ties
 Sis Nielson made some Brasilian Cheese Bread rolls with regular tapioca for the ward party, because we couldn't get manioca flour. They didn't get the right consistency, so we ended up buying some frozen ones at the Brazilian market and baked them for the party. They turned out great. Also took a few bottles of guaraná. 
Elder Cook singing the National Anthem

These pictures show Elder Cook starting out with the US national anthem, some of the entertainment by the Primary, the Young Men and Young Women, and Relief Society. Then had dinner and dancing afterward. 



Young Men and Young Women

Elders Waller and Bailey

Sisters Hoyt, Nielson, and Nielsen

Elders Steed and Bodkin
Saturday we replaced beds at the Semoran apartment with some on frames to keep them off the floor. Elder Bailey also returned plastic food containers to ward members. The sisters got new chair and apartment maintenance. The Elders in Sanford got an extra bed for a newly arriving Elder. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Week Fifteen

Here are a few more pictures from last sunday that we didn't get posted until now. We went with the other senior missionaries to Pres Berry's house for lunch and to watch the afternoon session of the LDS general conference together. Uplifting in every respect!  
Pres Berry grilling chicken & pineapple
Sis Danes playing hymns before conf.

Eating, talking, and watching general conference at the Berry's

Orlando LDS temple at night
After conference we drove by the Orlando LDS temple on the way home and took this night picture of it. They keep it well-lit, so its brightness contrasts nicely with the dark sky. 
Acorns on the sidewalk

It's fall, so temperatures are around 70 at night and just below 90 in the daytime. We see lots of acorns on the ground now, which the squirrels seem to like a lot. 

Stashed backpack

There are a lot of homeless and other street people in certain areas. Some seem to be by choice and others are truly destitute or incapable of normal functions. I noticed this stash in the bushes behind a clinic while waiting for Sis Nielson to finish some medical business.

The Busaths, Sis Nielson, Sis Pike, Sis Brown

Basic furniture setup

Thursday we helped move furniture into a new apartment for the Hansens, a senior couple arriving to start their mission. Sisters Brown & Pike helped with the move-in. Sis Busath found some more furnishings for them besides the basics shown here.

Sis Nielson and miss'y car - she liked

Slys Towing truck
Friday we went to the Hospital in Ocoee to pick up a CD of x-ray files to send to Salt Lake, after which we planned to work in the mission office until time for the MLC meeting with Elder Soares & Elder Munns in the afternoon. It didn't go as planned. The car wouldn't start after getting the CD. A lady next to us in the parking lot helped jump it, but still didn't start (but gave a pass-along card). I went across the street to WalMart and bought a new battery and installed it, but still didn't start. Then googled a repair shop, who recommended Sly Towing service to get us there. We called him & he loaded us up & took us to the shop in Winter Garden, FL. Didn't get a picture except of his truck after unloading at the shop. He's a nice guy and a good person. We talked about the LDS church and his Baptist church, found a lot of common understanding, and left a pass-along card. The shop guy said our starter motor failed and needed replacement. We pre-paid so he could fix it and leave the keys and receipt locked inside. Elder Busath came and took us in to the mission office, where we borrowed a new missionary car (< 20 mi) to get to the MLC meeting. 
Florida Orlando Mission Leadership Council with Elder Soares and Elder Munns at the right

Elder Costa, Elder Soares, and us.

The MLC meeting was great -- introductions of every missionary and some good informal discussions of how the work's going and things we can do to improve it. Elder Soares had great insight for these young missionary leaders to improve their work and lead the way to strengthen all of their missionaries. During the introductions, I spoke about us in portuguese, and Elder Soares responded in portuguese that his wife was from Sao Paulo, in Ala 2, near the time when I was there. Afterward got this picture of Elder Costa (from Sao Paulo) and us with Elder Soares. Elder Costa is a zone leader now up in the Leesburg Zone. 

Elder and Sis Hansen, arriving from Utah
We went to the mission office after the MLC and met the Hansens, who had just arrived. They talked to Pres Berry and then headed out to their new area in Titusville. We went down to Lake Eola with the Berrys and ate our linner sandwiches with them on some park benches. Had a great time, watching the sunset and taking a few pictures. 

President and Sister Berry by Lake Eola

Swan on Lake Eola

We had a great visit, and in walking out, also had a good visit with a young man walking his dog. He lives with his wife in the Lake Eola neighborhood, but they're looking to soon move further from the city center. We talked about our missions, and left him a pass-along card. 

The colored fountain at sunset on Lake Eola

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week Fourteen

We've been delighted to watch conference yesterday and look forward to the sessions today. Some incredible messages and quotes that fit so well some of our investigator friends. We especially loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk about returning to what we know is right, and his charge to "First doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith". We watched conference in our apartment yesterday morning and afternoon, then had a couple of our spanish elders here for dinner & went with them to the stake center for general priesthood meeting -- somewhat less people there now that it was broadcast on TV and on the internet. We had english, spanish, and portuguese broadcasts of conference showing in the stake center for the conference sessions. It's great to have these resources available! 

Elder Cook, Bro Ordinola, and Elder Baugh at the
Orlando South stake center
Last Sunday we got this picture of our spanish elders in the Windy Ridge ward with Bro Ordinola, first counselor to Bp Andrade. Bro Ordinola is awesome  he often translates between spanish, english, and portuguese for talks at church. His son (soon to return from BYU), just got his mission call to serve in the Brazil Fortaleza mission! We saw the Fortaleza temple site when we visited Brazil a few years ago, but it wasn't yet under construction then. It should completed while Elder Ordinola is there on his mission.

The Missionary Leadership Council of the Florida Orlando Mission
Elders Patten and Thomas

Tuesday we met with the missionary leadership council, where Sis Nielson and Sis Berry presented a powerpoint talks on the use of the Missionary Adjustment resource booklet. It was invigorating to observe the wisdom and maturity of these young missionaries as they discussed the challenges, patience, and love that it requires to encourage and strengthen new missionaries and work with members, ward leaders, and investigators. As always, Pres Berry has great wisdom to lead and guide. Also had a great presentation by Bro Herzog, the mission public affairs coordinator, on dealing with media and the Book of Mormon musical that will soon run in Orlando. We're missing Sister Higley in the above picture because Sis Berry noticed she was about to faint, so Sis Berry and Sis Nielson helped her out to a couch where she laid down most of the meeting ... flu and exhaustion. Some of the elders at the back right are standing on chairs to be taller than Elder Patten. The picture at the right shows Elder Patten with Elder Thomas, who's not necessarily short himself. 

During lunch after the morning meetings, a lady came to ask help with dedicating the burial site for a member who lived by this chapel. She drove over to Orlando from the coast, hoping to find someone at the church to give the support she needed. Fortunately we were there for this meeting and afterward contacted the bishop and some other senior missionaries who will help with the dedication arrangements.

MLC Lunch @ Birthday Cake Time
Sis Berry thinks of everything. She brought three birthday cakes for the MLC members who have birthdays this week so we could wish them a happy birthday.  We all enjoyed Sis Higley's birthday cake except her ... she was still laying down wishing she didn't have the flu.

Elders Curtis, Starks, Socarras, Dial, and Busath moving furniture

On Monday I helped Elder Busath move furniture to different missionary apartments. Here are Elders Curtis, Starks, Socarras, Dial, and Busath after loading the trailer with furniture from the foursome apartment in Poinciana. It was great to have some strong elders to help with this!

Fallen "Palm Leaves"

Sunrise over MetroWest Orlando

With lower temperatures (high 80's to low 90's) palm trees are starting to shed their top bark, which looks like warped pieces of plywood, that falls near the trunks like leaves. We also saw a nice sunrise as we walked wednesday morning. 

Elder Jensen and Elder Beaulieu

This is Elder Jensen and Elder Beaulieu, who helped us on friday to load out a queen bed and replace it with another twin bed so they'd have more room in their apartment and we'd have a larger bed for a senior couple who will arrive into our mission next week.   

Twisted tree with Spanish Moss by the golf course

We liked this tree we passed on our saturday morning walk. 

Here's also a picture of our apartment building, and of some ant hills and squirrels that we saw while walking.  The ant hills are significant because we've had many missionaries with fire ant bites in the last week or two ... we think they may be more active right new, since we didn't see as many fresh ant hills until lately. We advise them to not linger on the grass!
Our Apartment Building in Harbortown, MetroWest
Ant Hills
Squirrels by our apartment