Sunday, March 24, 2013

Days 4 Through 6 in the Mission Field

Days 4 through 6
We're back!!!
It's been a really busy couple of days and the next few days appear to be even busier.  Next week we have transfers!  What that means is that we are busily preparing for the arrival of a large number of new missionaries, straight from the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah and are preparing to say good bye to missionaries who have served valiantly and have fulfilled their commitment to the Lord.  Surprisingly it is a bittersweet experience for us as we have already grown to love some of these missionaries preparing to go home and yet are excited about the new arrivals. We are learning just as quickly as we can what we need to do personally to make the transition smooth as silk ensuring a happy outcome for all.

This is a picture of our hallway at the Value Inn at the end of a very long day.  It looks scarier than it really is, but I thought  it looked a little like the Twilight Zone. Actually the people that we have met here have been very warm and friendly.

 On our way to drop off some important papers at the Mission President's home Friday night we decided to stop by a lake near their home that has been proven to be infested with alligators to see if we could safely catch a glimpse of one.  Well Lambie would not have anything to do with it and we had to pry her from the tree when it was time to leave. I am happy to report that there was not an alligator to be seen.

 We were driving along trying to find our way to the temple Saturday morning and all of sudden it appeared out of nowhere! Horns honking, cars passing by haphazardly and there in the distance is the Orlando Florida Temple, a sanctuary from the rest of the world. It was breath taking!

If you look closely you can see Lambie on the top right corner of the sign.



Saturday, our very 1st Preparation day, was filled with a number of activities.  First we went to visit the Orlando Temple, and the distribution center to pick up a few things for the sister missionaries. Then we stopped by Sam's Club, to pick up a few things, but mainly because it was Saturday, a tradition back home :)
After a quick stop at the apartment to drop off some things we were off to get our oil changed, by a place called Tire Kingdom, and were treated like royalty. I am not kidding.  There was going to be a brief wait while they worked on the car (as expected) so they offered to refrigerate the milk we had just purchased from the store next door and gave us an umbrella so we wouldn't get wet if it happened to rain while we walked to and from a local fast food restaurant.
 Later that afternoon we had the privilege to attend a special convert baptism of a woman who had recently moved to Florida from Arizona in search of a new beginning. What started out as a simple request for assistance one day six weeks ago when she found that she had locked her keys in her car in front of the Mission Office, became life changing. She just glowed!
And if the day couldn't get any better we spent the evening at one of the other Senior Missionary Couple's apartment, Elder and Sister Moline, from Arkansas, meeting with two additional Senior Couples and two Senior Single Sister missionaries and getting better acquainted. It was really great to hear of their experiences and I am anxious to make some of our own.
Good news! Elder Busath finally got his map of Florida and the surrounding area at a local Barnes and Noble Bookstore.  He is really a happy camper now and he spends hours memorizing every detail so that he can be ready if called to go where no man has gone before.
 I am not sure if I told you before, but the drivers in Florida are CRAZY! Seriously, worse than California if that is at all possible.  There is no such thing as defensive driving you just get in your car and pray that you will make it to you destination in one piece.  We actually got cut off by an 18 wheeler on a surface street, not even a freeway. And you don't have time to get road rage because by the time one incident is over and you plan to react another incident is sure to follow and you don't dare take your eyes off the road.

 Another interesting thing about Florida is that most of the homes, at least those that can afford it, enclose their entire patios with screens.  At first I thought it was so the alligators couldn't get in, but it is actually to keep the bugs out. I have been told that they have a real problem with mosquitoes during the summer due to all the ponds and the humidity. I can't wait :( But the good news is that the apartment that we will be moving in to in April has a little enclosed patio, so I should be safe until I venture out.


 Guess who came to Orlando for a week of rest and relaxation and met us at church? You guessed it, Uncle Barton, Steve's brother!  He decided to take a brief vacation in Orlando this week and called and made arrangements to meet us.  It was our very first week in our new ward and our Ward Conference to top it off. So while we struggled to get acclimated Uncle Barton was in heaven because he had the opportunity to speak Spanish to a number of members in our ward.  You may recall that the foreign speaking branches were recently dissolved in our Stake so everything that is said, both over the pulpit and in class, is repeated through a translator. The prayers are often offered in Spanish and the program is even printed in both Spanish and English. It was really touching to hear our new Bishop, a young, tall, red headed man stand and bear his testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel in Spanish for the first time.

The theme of the conference was based on a couple of conference talks.  One given by Elder Bednar, "Converted in the Lord", and the other, "Never Leave Him", by Elder Neil Anderson. 
As you can imagine it has been a huge undertaking to try and blend cultures together, but it is working! The spirit is so strong here and you can feel the love.  In fact I can safely say that I have never been hugged so much in my life.

One of the scriptures that really touched me today is found in Abraham 3:25, "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them". I truly believe that the Lord has commanded the people in Orlando Florida to become a Zion people, to unite and love one another. To show the rest of the world it can be done.  I am so excited to be here at this time to help this great undertaking move forward.

On Sunday afternoon it was an overcast 72 degrees, no big surprise.  The three of us (Elder Busath, Barton and I) were just sitting around having lunch in our teeny tiny apartment when the heavens opened and it poured, and poured and poured.  The entire rainstorm lasted a total of less than 10 minutes and then it was over as though nothing had ever happened. I am told that rainstorms like that are typical here so I am not sure if I should plan to carry an umbrella everywhere I go or just tough it out like a native and look like a drown rat from time to time.

Thanks for checking in........stay tuned for more to follow soon.

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