Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week Thirty

Gates: security, control, isolation
Orlando, like many cities, has thousands of apartment buildings and complexes protected from public access by gated walls with security guards and electronic access. The two apartments where we have lived here are typical of most missionary apartments here and are among these gated communities. While reducing crime, intrusion, and non-requested visits, the gates isolate people from the neighborly contacts of earlier times. Even in non-gated housing, streets are vacant as people leave via car to work and do business, and return to their isolated homes with minimal neighborly contact. 

To reach this growing population, our mission is expanding internet proselyting to invite those who have casual interests or curiosity about religion, coming unto Christ, and why it's so important. In the anonymity of the internet, many are searching on,, mormon channel, mormonmessages, and mormonnewsroom for further understanding and they are invited to come unto Christ and find for themselves the joy and peace of improving their lives by coming to know and trust their Savior. Our mission is also beginning to use Facebook for on-line chats and teaching of those who are not otherwise available for conventional teaching. This week we are beginning to train our missionaries to use tablet computers as teaching aids (for videos), planners, and communication tools. The Lord is indeed fulfilling His promise, "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time." I'm on a steep learning curve to help our 200+ missionaries learn to use their "mobile devices".

Missile launch pictures from Jetty Park
Last Thursday night some of the senior missionary couples took a few hours to watch the launch of a communication satellite on an Atlas rocket at 9:30 pm at the Kennedy Space Center on the eastern coast of our mission. It was a fun chance to enjoy some time together in lieu of our usual Saturday prep day this week. 

We received another new missionary Friday, making 23 incoming compared to 2 outgoing in January. He is shown here with his new companions. I was happy to learn that he speaks Portuguese! We're blessed to have a great core of Brazilians and US Portuguese speakers to help in work with the Brazilian population here, as well as similarly talented missionaries for our Haitians and the much larger Hispanic populations here in Central Florida, not to mention the scores of wonderful English-speaking missionaries! 

Saturday morning we helped set up the Orlando South Stake Center for a mission conference with Elder Russell M Nelson, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, Elder Munns, our area authority, and Pres and Sis Berry. The senior missionaries helped prepare lunch and served it to about 260 people in under 30 minutes for the tight schedule. 

After the morning meetings and missionary lunch, there were Stake leadership meetings and Stake Conference sessions held at the same building, where I helped with parking and security for the evening meeting. This morning there was a Sunday Regional Conference held via video links in all of our LDS church buildings in Florida, southern Georgia, and several other states to our north. We enjoyed hearing a member of the Quorum of Seventy speak, and a counselor in the General Young Womens presidency, but had to leave before hearing the other general authorities and Elder Nelson speak. 

Jan was called out part way through today's meeting to help a missionary who was having a severe allergic reaction. We ended up going to an emergency center to assure that appropriate care was given and precautions taken to treat the present condition and minimize potential re-exposure or relapse. 

It's a joy to serve here, no matter what the task we're doing. We're surrounded by some of the finest and most dedicated people we've known, both young and older missionaries as well as great local leaders, new and long-term members of the church, and the faithful new pioneers who are just now coming unto Christ via their baptismal covenants. 

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