On November 1, 1960 the Florida Mission was created out of the Southern States Mission, with Elder Karl R. Lyman as the first mission president. The original Florida Mission was divided into the Florida South Mission (July 1, 1971), then later into the Ft. Lauderdale Mission (June 1974). The Tampa Mission was created in 1976; and the Jacksonville Mission was created in July 1987. Then almost 40 years after the original mission was created in Florida, the Florida Orlando Mission was created from the Florida Jacksonville, Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale Missions on July 1998.
Which brings us up to date.
On Tuesday we received new computers in the office today in preparation of our new Mission President, Michael Berry, due July 1, 2013. I don’t know about you, but I have a love hate relationship with computers. I admit that sometimes I can’t live without them, but when they don’t obey my commands (or read my mind) then I am absolutely convinced that I can live without them. My old computer had some issues I won’t lie and was more than ready to be relieved of its duties. But my new computer is like a small child, anxious to be of service but with so many safety measures installed it takes me FOREVER to maneuver from here to there because I am constantly being required to tell it what I need it to do. Yet it has questions and more questions and then to top it off there are a few reports that I no longer have access to. So long story short some of my work is speeding along quite nicely for a change, while other work is getting backlogged until I can locate the right person with the proper authority to re-install the programs that I need.
This little fellow appeared out of nowhere on our office doorstep. He actually did poke his head out eventually and scooted away, but he kept tucked in fearful of the unknown for hours, which reminds me of our recent Relief Society Meeting.
On Tuesday at Relief Society we gathered together to watch the movie, “The Other Side of Heaven.” It is the story of Elder Groberg and his experiences as a missionary on the island of Tonga. Well watching the movie and getting better acquainted with the sisters in the ward would have been a good enough reason to attend, but what made it so special was that the movie was in English with Spanish subtitles! If you recall in one of our previous blogs our stake recently closed all the Spanish speaking branches and now we are all one big happy family ward. Everything and I mean everything is in English and in Spanish. The programs, the hymns, even the lessons. It does take some getting used to, but one nice benefit is that Sacrament talks and lessons have to be much shorter to allow time for the material presented to be translated. Another benefit is that it causes you to truly become humble and to really appreciate the effort of the one conducting or teaching the lesson. No more spoon fed lessons. You really have to seek the spirit if you want to receive the message the way that was meant to be received. I for one absolutely love it! But maybe it’s because I have always had to rely on my heart instead of my head (or ears depending on who you ask) to receive instruction and inspiration. Life truly is a series of decisions and our challenge is to endure the consequences of our decisions-come what may. Unfortunately many English speaking sisters appeared to have had other plans that night so Relief Society was attended mainly by the Spanish speaking sisters. I can only say that it was their loss.
Thursday-We had the privilege to attend a mission wide conference presided by our new Area General Authority, Elder Ulisses Soares, one of the seven Presidents of the Seventy and currently assigned to the North America Southeast area and over 17 missions.
Our new Senior Missionary District!
From left to right Sister Grant from Mesquite, Nevada, her companion Sister Stewart from Payson, Utah, Elder and Sister Gebs from Evanston, Wyoming, Elder and Sister Moline from Greenbriar, Arkansas, Elder Busath and me, Elder and Sister Sherwood from Kirtland, New Mexico, Elder and Sister Crismon from Orem, Utah, Elder and Sister Marble from Clearfield, Utah and Elder and Sister Bevans from South Western Alberta Canada.
We got mail!!!
The Gibson family sent us a care package today and to say that we were surprised would be an understatement. I have to say it was almost like Christmas because Elder Busath drove me crazy begging to open it before we got home!
Once we stepped through the door there was no stopping him and when all was said and done we really couldn't decide what items we liked the best. The letters from our Grand kids, Lucas, Mason and Jill, the cookie mix, the little 3 Musketeer candy bars and Hot Tamales (thanks Lucas), the battery operated fans or the little white board and sticky notes. I can say that every one of the items will be put to great use and I can't wait to decorate my desk with the sticky notes.
I don't think the little 3 Musketeer bars are going to last until tomorrow though :)
Thanks Gibson family we loved the package and for you thinking of us!
In closing I just wanted to share a few things that we learned at our recent mission conference with Elder Soares:
Our Mission President, President Hall, began the conference on a powerful note with inspiring counsel, “As a mission we are all doing a good job, but we are still not living up to our full potential. We all have the faith to do the work, but we need to recognize the power that we have been given and to get on our knees, ask for miracles and then make them happen.”
One of the first things that Elder Soares mentioned that immediately touched my heart is how great a calling it is to be a missionary! He testified that every one of us in the chapel that morning had been called to this mission by a prophet of God. That we needed to strive to fulfill what is expected of us. We are a trusted representative of Jesus Christ-do not fail!Since October 2012 30,000 missionaries have been called to serve.
Elder Soares also admonished us not to be disappointed at having been called on a stateside mission rather than to a mission in far away country. He made it clear that the church in the United States supports the world! That the gospel needs to grow and flourish here in the United States first so that it and we can support the whole world.
Other words of wisdom from his inspired counsel:
- D&C 39:13-“Thou art called to labor in my vineyard, and to build up my church, and to bring forth Zion, that it may rejoice upon the hills and flourish”. (Labor and flourish-build and edify)
- Moses 3:5- And every plant in the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. The Lord planned before he acted and we must follow His example.
- If you do not plan, you plan to fail!
- By His grace we can do anything, after we have shown our commitment!
- Success is measured by your commitment and your commitment is where your heart is. We must be willing to be humble, and willing to do the hard things that are asked of us.
- Missionary work is happiness.
We need to find joy in the journey (President Thomas S. Monson)
We are truly loving this journey we are on and enjoy you being along for the ride!
Until next time.........