Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week Twenty One

Elders Busath, Nielson, and Gordon cooling off
We spent most of this week in the Florida Orlando Mission office doing medical support, finishing area boundaries on digital missionary maps, and helping move apartment furniture. This picture caught us on a break before heading our separate ways on wednesday. 

Thursday morning I went with Busaths to help open up a new apartment for Elder and Sis Clare, a young senior couple from Queens Creek, AZ who arrived Thursday night. They're assigned to a spanish-speaking area near Winter Park, and were transferred to us after an emergency surgery brought them home temporarily from Montevideo, Uruguay. We took the furniture in the truck and trailer and set it up from scratch during the day, with help from Elders Slade and Hunt to carry in the couch, chair, and dresser. The Clares are the youngest of the seniors, and are a great addition to our mission, as were the Hansens, our other recent senior arrivals (They're on the right on last week's Space Center picture) !

New Apartment complex for Valencia Sisters

We also found a new apartment for the Valencia sisters, which will be ready to occupy in early January. This will allow them to live by their working area instead of up in Longwood, and also helps with the influx of new missionaries in January. We took the Sisters and Sis Busath to see and approve it at the end of Thursday after the moving was done. 
Jan and me with Elder Coe and Elder Baugh

Friday we had Elder Baugh and Elder Coe for dinner at our apartment after we got home from the mission office. They're both spanish-speaking elders from our Windy Ridge ward who are scheduled to finish their missions in December and return to their homes in California and Utah. We've loved getting to know these elders !

Us, Busaths, and Elders Packard and Galindo

Saturday Jan and I went with Busaths on an all-day furniture exchange and another apartment setup at the northern edges of our mission. We took furniture to Elders Costa and Kurtz in Eustis, and then set up a new apartment in Leesburg in an area called The Villages. Elders French, Jones, Packard, and Galindo helped us with the heavy lifting up the stairs. 

The Villages is a complex of developments that house about 100,000 people and includes 40 golf courses. It's pretty much required / expected that people drive only their golf carts even for going shopping or on local errands. (No, the missionaries don't get golf carts!)  

These photos show us vacuuming, cleaning up used furniture, and assembling a new book shelf. The second set shows the after-view. One of the better-looking apartments. Yes, this one's for the Sisters. The office chairs and study tables were donated by members who own a hotel and are changing out their furnishings. The couch, chair, lamps, etc. were donated by other members. Thanks to all!  

On the drive back we passed lots of interesting scenery, including orange groves and large flocks of black birds perched on this relay tower, and on most power poles, wires, and other high things. They like sunning themselves. It's still warm here -- 70`s to low 80's in the daytime, except Thanksgiving, which is only supposed to get to 62 ... Brr ... no more A/C soon.   

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week Twenty

Entering Jacksonville FL Monday afternoon
We spent most of Monday in the Orlando Mission office taking care of some medical appointment and insurance issues and getting some area boundaries clarified. In the afternoon we left for Jacksonville, where we spent most of the week in the Jacksonville FL mission area attending Zone conferences and meeting with Pres and Sis Craig and many of their missionaries. It was a busy and exhilarating week! 

Jan at Smashburger

We managed to go to one of the only Smashburgers in Florida, as we approached Jacksonville, to see just what Elder Busath was always talking about. Yes, they're very tasty and we enjoyed them! But we couldn't find a way to bring a fresh one back for him.  :( 

Pres and Sis Craig, presiding over the
Florida Jacksonville Mission

Monday and Tuesday nights we stayed with the Craigs at the Jacksonville Mission home and got to know them and follow them to their three Zone Conferences on Tue, Wed, and Thu. We decided that the Lord must infuse mission presidents and their wives with a boatload of energy, abilities, and inspiration to do what they do so well and with so little time or rest! 

At each zone conference we and Elder and Sis Andrews helped the Walgreens people administer flu shots to all of the missionaries who wanted one. They gave about 150 shots altogether. Walgreens donated these for the missionaries thru their voucher program, and it means a lot to us because we don't want our missionaries getting sick and then becoming a flu vector as they meet people and shake hands all day. We did the shots during the first hour while the missionaries gathered in the churches between their car inspections and the beginning of Zone Conference meetings. The Andrews are recently-arrived senior missionaries doing medical support for the Jacksonville mission. He was a paramedic/fireman, and they previously completed a senior mission in Hawaii. He was previously a counselor to Jan's brother Charles Fuller in a Bishopric in Bountiful, Utah -- small world.

Elder demonstrating his
stretch/strengthen exercise
During the Zone Conferences Jan did Health and Happiness presentations covering eating, exercise, stress, etc.  The rest of our time was for Jan to see individual missionaries during the lunch hour and in the afternoons. She knew many from telephone support with Sis Craig, and was glad to finally meet them. One of the elders showed us his stretches to reduce backaches. These are fine and well-disciplined missionaries, and many of the clinic personnel have commented on their maturity for their age. We're proud of them for faithfully stepping up to do hard things, and they're being blessed with successes for their efforts. Pres Craig kindly showed me some apps to get Jan's powerpoint presentation onto her iPad so she could show it with the same equipment being used for the other presentations in the Zone Conferences. She did well with them, and the connections were smooth. Now I'm wondering about converting to apple (?!).

Jan and I with Elder Lopez in Jacksonville
Tuesday we saw Elder Lopez, our friend from the Windy Ridge Ward, where we live in the Orlando South Stake. He is serving in one of the northern zones of the Jacksonville mission and left his home in our ward to begin his mission last July soon after we arrived in Orlando to begin our mission. His dad is our most awesome ward mission leader and Gospel Principles teacher and his mom is our stake Relief Society president. Elder Lopez is a great missionary ... maybe it's genetic! He recently became a trainer for a new companion.

Jan and I with Elder Giraldo in Jacksonville

Tuesday conference was at the Dunn Ave ward on the north beltway above Jacksonville. The Wednesday one was at the Mandarin 1st/2nd ward that is also an Institute building and hosts a YSA ward. Wednesday evening we drove down to Gainesville for the third zone conference, which was at the Gainesville 1st/5th ward chapel. We saw Elder Giraldo on Wednesday. He's a brother to the Elder Giraldo in our Florida Orlando mission. 

Jan at the Mayo Clinic Campus in Jacksonville

Mayo's 1950 Nobel Prize in
Medicine for cortisone

Before leaving Jacksonville, we visited the Mayo Hospital campus so Jan could see and assess for occasional missionary care there. We decided it's like a medical Battelle (Battelle Memorial Institute operates the Pacific Northwest National Lab where I worked at the Hanford, WA DOE facility before we moved back to Utah). We saw Mayo Clinic's Nobel Prize for discovery of cortisone, and their list of firsts: blood banks, nutritional enrichment of flour, aviation medicine, open heart procedures, intensive care units, joint replacement surgeries, and advanced transplantation methods.  

Sis Craig and Jan in Gainesville
We left Gainesville after the Thursday conference and drove home to Orlando, amazed at the work, faith, and diligence that our mission presidents and wives give in performing the Lord's work: to declare the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ and lead and train their hundreds of missionaries to rise to the challenges and rigors of missionary work, preaching faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We're reminded of the following statement by Pres Monson:

Florida Orlando Senior Missionaries

We worked on catch-up at the mission office Friday, and then on Saturday we went with our senior district for a visit to Kennedy Space Center. It was fun to see all the space hardware and memories, but especially fun to learn more about the Hubble Telescope and see its images of the far reaches of the universe, "to help learn where we come from and why we're here" as they put it. The galaxy images are quite familiar looking !

We also got this picture of us with Wendy Lawrence, a four-mission US astronaut who went with various US, Soviet, and other astronauts to the international space station.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week Nineteen

Last Sunday we went to the Windermere ward for Fábio's confirmation as a member of the LDS church. Afterwards, we enjoyed a wonderful Brazilian Barbeque at Clay Beck's house ... grilled beef and pork tenderloin, bacon-wrapped chicken, cheese bread, grilled pineapple, grilled veggies, etc. Clay cooked on his custom barbeque, which fine-tunes the art of barbeque. Clay and Adam Anthony are former Brazilian missionaries, but at least a generation younger than me.  

Seated: Fábio Dias, Adam Anthony, and his wife; Standing: Clay Beck,
Elders Gallo and Willard, Kevin Galbasini, Sis Conger and Sis Thomas, Kirk
Elder Gallo told the bishop and mission president in São Paulo about Fábio's baptism and his planned move back to Brazil. Fábio's place in São Paulo is on the same street as the LDS church for his ward there and only a few blocks away. As a youth, Fábio once even took a class at the church there.  

Fábio Dias, doing fine

 Clay Beck slicing cinnamon-coated
pineapple hot off the grill - yum!

Green stake (zone) and purple ward boundaries in FOM
I finished digitizing the ward and stake boundaries and printed maps for the 50 wards in the mission to start identifying the ~100 area boundaries. Most of the missionaries know their boundaries clearly, but the assistants will help clarify some fuzzy ones. Here's a picture of the ward and stake boundaries in the main part of our mission (the extreme north and south wards got cut off). The area boundaries we are working toward are subdivisions of the purple ward areas.

Sis Allred at the ward party

Sister Allred is a spanish-speaking missionary who moved into our Windy Ridge ward on a week when our regular organist wasn't there. She walked up to the front and started playing a prelude for sacrament meeting. Sis Jan noticed she was using the english hymn book, which has different numbers than the spanish one, and took her a spanish one. Sis Allred continued to accompany throughout the opening song without any hesitation. She later introduced herself as being new in the ward and bore her testimony in flawless spanish. 

Thursday while Jan was at trainer's follow-up meeting, I took Elder Jackson to the FL DMV for his written test to get a Florida drivers license. We called ahead but couldn't get specifics. Elder Jackson lost his wallet recently, including his Canadian drivers license. We brought both passports (dual US/Canadian citizenship), proof of residency, and his US SSN. The DMV seemed unsure how to handle his situation, but said he had to start as if he had never driven a car before, since he couldn't prove otherwise. They gave him a list of 16 driver training courses and told him to take a class, and then come back for the written and driving tests.  
Elder Jackson and Elder Monson, showing
Elder Jackson's new Florida Drivers License
After a lot of back-and-forth and checks with supervisors, they finally agreed to accept a fax from the Canadian agency who issued his old license. Elder Jackson called his dad, who went to the Canadian DMV and got the fax sent to certify that he was actually once licensed. After an hour, they reviewed his case again, and said they needed his original US Social Security card (they couldn't verify his SSN). He again called his dad, who went home from work, got the card, and faxed a copy to the FL DMV while we waited there. The DMV was now getting ready to close for the day, but they were finally inspired to give him the full license (for 7 years) if he agreed to bring in his original SS card for verification within 60 days. He was SO relieved to get the license without taking any tests. He was well prepared, having made and studied some flash cards based on the FL drivers manual, but he really dislikes taking tests or the risk of paying extra for re-takes in case he didn't pass. We felt it was a blessing from heaven that he could get his license all completed on Thursday. 

Sunset over the Orlando LDS Temple

After picking up Jan after the training meetings at the Orlando South Stake Center, we got this picture of a nice sunset over the Orlando Temple as we headed for home.  

We helped Elders Gallo and Willard prepare a portuguese article about Brazilians serving LDS missions in Orlando for Nossa Gente, a Brazilian magazine. The editor liked it but was surprised that we have Brazilians come here for missions. He thought we used only US missionaries, at least here. Anyway, he wanted some more pictures of them, on bikes, to go with the article and the picture of them by the temple. Friday morning we took a few more pictures of them and sent them off. Here's a test shot of Jan in her walking clothes to see if we had enough light, and one of the elders that we sent. 
Sis Nielson in her exercise outfit
Portuguese Elders Willard and Gallo with bikes

Elder Delgado, Alex Wright, and Elder Agor

Saturday morning we went to a baptism for Alex Wright in the Poinciana ward where Elder Delgado is now serving. It was a great service and so good to see him again, still with thumbs up. 

Sister Ward, Sister Heiner, Cherry Cooper, and Keith Hill

Saturday night we went to another baptism in the Olympia ward for Cherry Cooper, an enthusiastic lady who was delighted to find the restored Church of Jesus Christ after a life-long search for this missing part of her life. She was taught by Sister Ward and Sister Heiner, and baptized by Keith Hill. 

Saturday nite fuss over a worker on the Orlando Temple Steeple

On leaving the baptism saturday night we saw someone across the street on the spire of the Orlando Temple. We thought it was a base jumper or something, and apparently others did too, because soon there were police cars all around the temple and also an ambulance. After a while the emergency people left, and the guy on the spire stayed there, apparently just cleaning or working on it. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Week Eighteen

This week we had Zone Conferences with Elder William Walker, our visiting authority from the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS Church. On Monday he met with the Leesburg, Orlando, and DeLand Zones, and on Tuesday he met with the Cocoa, Hunters Creek, and Orlando South Zones. He gave us valuable and inspired counsel, and spent much of the afternoon times role-playing to illustrate how we can be more clear and effective in our teaching about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder Walker Role-Playing, and Sis Berry showing the synergy of our differences
using chocolate and peanut butter

Early-morning car inspections before Zone Conference
Before Zone Conferences, we inspect cars for maintenance, etc. Elder Gordon is in charge, and it started before daylight this time (7am) because we're still on daylight savings time. We were using flashlights in the beginning, but it seemed to work out okay.

Sis Nielson helping the
Walgreens pharmacist give a flu shot

Sister Nielson worked to arrange for Flu shots for all the missionaries who wanted them. After checking many options, we were very blessed to have Walgreens step up and agree to donate all of the shots and provide people to administer them. They gave over 130 flu shots. It's a great public service on their part, given the large number of people that the missionaries contact and the risk of spreading flu if we had an infected missionary. 

Sunset from the car on the way home Wednesday

The skies are generally blue or mixed with interesting cloud formations. We took this sunset thru the windshield on the way home from the mission office.

Jan and me; Sisters Conger and Thomas; Fábio; Bro Beck;
Elders Gallo and Willard; and Pres and Sis Berry at the baptism

Saturday morning we attended the baptism of Fábio Dias in the Lake Reams ward. He's a Brazilian man who was contacted by Sisters Jamison and Thomas and taught by our Portuguese-speaking Elders (Gallo, Delgado, and Willard). I was privileged to help the Elders teach one of the lessons to him. The Baptismal service was mostly in Portuguese, including the prayers, song by Sisters Thomas and Conger, and one of the talks. I gave the opening prayer. Bro Anthony (a former Brazilian missionary) gave a talk on baptism, and Bro Galbasini (their awesome ward mission leader) gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. He was baptized by Bro Beck (former Brazilian missionary).

Sis Nielson, Hernandez, Hess, and Brooks

Friday morning we picked up medical records and bike for Sis Hess, who returned home Friday afternoon for some extended medical treatments that she could not get here. She's a great missionary, and we hope she can get better soon! She has been working in a 3-some, as she is shown here with her two companions.  

Elder Walker talked a little about the Book of Mormon Musical, which starts playing in Orlando this week. He referred to his TV interview with Barbara Walters, who went to the musical and said the musical was disgusting and filthy, and that she wished she had left. Today as we visited the Lake Reams ward, they said to refer people to the following website, where they can request a free copy of the real Book of Mormon or link to on-line written and audio versions of the Book of Mormon and learn for themselves what the Book of Mormon really is: