Sunday, May 4, 2014

April 2014

Jan and Nancy at the Temple
E's Tucker and Call with Nancy
On Sis Nielson's birthday she went to the Orlando Florida LDS temple with Nancy, a recent convert whom she helped arrange to be baptized for her deceased mother. Elder Call, who originally baptized Nancy, baptized her for her mother and also baptized Elder Tucker on behalf of Nancy's deceased father and brother.

Ben, Jeana, Jared, and Anna celeb Jan's birthday and seeing Florida
Our son Ben and his family came to visit us the first week of April for Sis Nielson's birthday and to see some of central Florida with their children. We took a little time from mission office work to spend with them, though Sis Nielson continued to field medical calls and arrange appointments for our missionaries.

It was great to watch conference with them via our internet TV link. As always, we were inspired and uplifted by the messages and counsel of the Lord's prophet and apostles. We've continued to study their written messages since then to better absorb their meaning for us.

Gator Joe and blue Heron in pond by mission home

We walked from our apartment to the pond behind the mission home before conference started so Jared and Anna could perhaps get a glimpse of "Gator Joe", who lives in the pond. We were well rewarded, catching some good views of him and a few pictures. We also watched one of the blue herons catch and eat several fish from the pond. The heron didn't seem to mind eating them whole and alive, so we could see the fish-lump wiggling all the way down his throat each time he ate one. Circle of Life! The heron stayed his distance from Gator Joe though, and sometimes flew to the other side of the pond.

Pres and Sis Berry with 12 newly-arrived missionaries

On April 7 we greeted 12 new missionaries who arrived here from the MTC in Provo, UT (english) and the MTC in Mexico City (spanish). One additional new missionary (portuguese) arrived the following week. They're working hard and adjusting well. They're pictured here by the pond behind the mission home, where they looked for Gator Joe. No sightings this time ... too late in the day.

Gordons, Berrys, Busaths, and Nielsons

After their welcome dinner the senior office missionaries and Pres and Sis Berry sang a welcome song for them.

Candid pictures at the "Missionary Mall"

Sister Berry organized a "Missionary Mall" event on April 11 for the sister missionaries. It was a clothing exchange, food cooking and recipe exchange, and instruction and association among the sisters. The wives of the mission presidency and members of the Hunters Creek stake helped make it an enjoyable day!

The Whites with us and our missionaries

Our daughter Lisa and her family arrived for their spring break visit to us and Florida, and enjoyed a brief meeting with Elders Delgado and Sherwin at our apartment. We spent some fun times with them interspersed with work at the mission office. Once again, Sis Nielson's cell phone was indispensible and kept busy even during the vacation days.

Air boat ride and a gator at Wild Florida

A few days later we were also joined by our daughter Becky and her family for some more vacationing. They were all very flexible to fit into our 2-bedroom apartment with the hide-a-bed and some inflatable mattresses and cushions. We had a fun time exploring the headwaters of the everglades by airboat and seeing lots of alligators (and holding one for the picture).

We spent a day at Epcot and went to Melbourne beach after the Wild Florida tour. We toured the Orlando temple grounds, took lots of pictures, had BBQ at Bubbalou's, and had as much fun as possible sandwiched in between the essentials of our office work. Sis Nielson really goes for the roller coaster rides at Disney, but Elder Nielson takes it a little more mellow.

Vacation days with the Whites and Jorgensens here in Orlando

Daltons with us at the Orlando temple
Stephen at his baptism
with Elders Robert and Fina'i

On April 13 we attended Stephen's baptism in our ward, and also saw the Daltons at the Orlando temple. We knew them from working at the Salt Lake temple and Jan was a YW resource missionary in SL when Sis Dalton was the General YW President. 

Norma's baptism

One of our greatest joys is attending baptismal services. Norma is a Brazilian who always drives by the Orlando temple to get to work. She always felt a special spirit just going by, so she stopped in one day to learn about it and go inside. Elders Gallo and Costa, pictured with her here, are both native Brazilians and taught her in Portuguese about the restored gospel as well as about the temple. She was baptized on April 20 and is now preparing to go inside the temple.

One of the baptisms in New Smyrna Beach

We dropped in for a couple of baptism services on April 26 in New Smyrna Beach and Bunnell.

Jason and Lisa (and missionaries) after their baptism in Bunnell

There was great member support and excitement for these new members of the church and gratitude for the chance to make covenants to follow Christ on the part of the new members of the church.