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.

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