Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Believe

"To believe in God is to know that all the rules will be fair,
and that there will be wonderful surprises." 
 Ugo Betti
 Guess what?  We have ducklings in the pond in our backyard!!!

 Four little ducks swimming in a pond, along came a hawk and then there was ONE! 
For the past week I have seriously jumped out of bed (okay struggled out of bed) to take my morning laps around the pond and to look forward to the happy sight of turtles sunning themselves, squirrels racing up and down the trees, and ducks and now ducklings quacking me a greeting, but today was different!  All was quiet and only one little duckling was swimming in the pond.  The mother is very protective as you would expect, and just scurried away as I approached.  Elder Busath says it's just the circle of life.  I say that hawk better find another pond to prey on because I am thinking about picking me up a sling shot from the local Winn Dixie!

Yep, you guessed it, we got mail!  This time it was all the way from Montana! Steve, our favorite and only son, also know as Bubba, and his sweet wife, Megan, were in Montana recently visiting her twin sister Rachel and getting acquainted with Rachel's new baby girl McKenzie.  It was so thoughtful to think of us on their vacation and we could almost smell the wide open spaces of Montana inside the box.  The box was packed with a little brown magnet in the shape of a bear-he even has dangly legs :), not one, but two 3 Musketeers bars, a box of Hot Tamales, little fans, which are already in my purse, little Nerf-type pistols (which I may just try out on a certain hawk I know of),
and 2 colorful ponchos. 
 It appears that all that shipping experience at the Gap and at Banana Republic
comes in handy once in a while!
 I wish you could all know how exciting it is to get mail while serving in the mission field.  Especially mail that is addressed to you and doesn't have to be forwarded to places from one end of our mission to the other ;)  it's like a big hug in a box, or Christmas in June, 
and we absolutely love it! 
Thanks Bubba and Megan!

I see the moon, the moon sees me.  The moon sees the ones that I want to see.  So God bless the moon and God bless me.  And God bless the ones that I want to see. 
When I saw this full moon one night it brought back memories of the lullaby my mother sang to me, and I sang to my own children and grandchildren.

 Our Mission President Garth Hall and Sister Sharon Hall from Rexberg Idaho. 
On Saturday, June 29, 2013 they left on a jet plane for home,
and they won't be coming back again! 

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave footprints in our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." Flavis Weedn
We feel that this sentiment pretty well sums up what our heads and hearts cannot seem to express into words.  Although we only knew them just shy of three months, they have touched our lives and
we will never be the same.
We met our new Mission President Michael John Berry and his wife, Beth, from Draper, Utah  briefly on Friday night and I loved them immediately!  I am so excited to have the opportunity to be serving with them and am looking forward to getting to know them better.
.Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold. 
We are rich beyond our wildest dreams!
Until we meet again.................

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Trust in the Lord With All Thine Heart...

I thought the bugs were big in Florida! 
This is a typical moth we encountered as we came into work one day.
"The greatest gift I ever had, came from God, I call him Dad." 
As you can clearly see Elder Busath had a wonderful Father's Day!
Thanks to six terrific kids and their families!!!
Our very own Pleasant Hill Ward missionaries prior to transfers. I just didn't want to miss this Kodak moment in the event that transfers would change some of these powerful companionship's.
From left to right, Elder Daniel Giraldo, a Spanish speaking missionary from Florida, Sisters Abby McLeod and Rachel Wells, Elders Troy Larsen, and Nicholas Clement, English speaking, and Elder Cameron Cook an Argentina Visa Waiter and Elder Taylor Jackson, their District Leader.

In their true character....
Monday, June 17, 2013 Transfers...
5 Elders and 21 Sister missionaries arrived from the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah,
tired, but excited to be here!

First pictures, then :)

We discovered that in this particular transfer almost 85% of the missionaries were from Utah.
Two were from California!

The Assistants, Elder Romero and Curtis, with Sister Hall at the door.  Elder Knapp, also an Assistant for one more day, is standing talking to the sisters. He departs for his home in Eugene, Oregon, Wednesday after 2 years of faithful service.  Sisters Conger, Adamson, Ransom, LaForce and Barnes are seated around the table waiting for the festivities to begin.

Due to the increased number of missionaries called to serve in Florida Orlando the Mission Home is no longer large enough to feed nor provide sleeping arrangements for all.  So we schedule the Hunter's Creek Stake Center and feed them in the Relief Society Room and then they are all transported to the Mission Home to be interviewed by the Mission President.  Once the interviews have been completed the Elders are housed overnight with the Assistants and other Elders nearby and all, but 6 of the sisters will stay at the Mission Home. 
Elder Busath and I had the opportunity to transport the "Super 6 Sisters" to President Wood's beautiful home in Winter Park.  (He, in the advance car, and me following close behind in a mini van).  President Wood is a Councilor in the Mission Presidency.  The next morning bright and early we arrived at President Wood's house to transport the sisters back to the Mission Home to pick up their medical cards and then back to the Hunter's Creek Stake Center for orientation.

 Sister Conger, Sister Gebs, Sister Welch and Sister Hess wait for the luggage to be loaded in the trailer before they are on their way to orientation and to meet their trainers.

 Elder Ward, Hemsley, Perez and Waller ready for action.

 Sister Moffat, Sister Moline, Sister Godfrey-just to name a few of the faces I recognize.

First orientations, then meet the trainers...

While the new missionaries receive instructions and meet their trainers others who are being transferred gather in the parking lot to renew their friendships and get acquainted with some new faces.

Get ready, get set, go...
 We got mail!  Yes we admit it, we are spoiled.  The Potts sent us, not one, but two packages to help us celebrate the 4th of July-California style :) And we plan to put all of our goodies to good use. We actually have plans to spend the 4th in Cocoa with our Senior District, sitting around, eating Navajo tacos, and watching the fireworks.  Hopefully they will be in the mood for s'mores because we have all the required ingredients :0

 Sisters Halliday, Ransom and Salverson, and Elders Ward and Hirschi stopping by the Mission Office to pick up their bikes and take care of other business.


On Sunday we had the opportunity to watch the worldwide broadcast, titled, "The Work of Salvation".  It was part of the annual training for new mission presidents, numbering 173 this year, more than ever before.  One of those 173 new mission presidents is our very own, President Michael Berry and his wife, from Draper, Utah, due to arrive on Friday, June 28th.  We can't wait to meet them and welcome them to the mission.  But with their arrival comes the departure of our well loved President Garth Hall and his wife, Sharon, soon to depart for their home in Rexburg, Idaho.  I am awful at good byes so I have to keep singing the words from a popular church hymn, "Until We Meet Again," to keep from crying.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stared the broadcast by stating something only a full time missionary would appreciate, “To all the full-time missionaries sharing in this broadcast around the world, we say never again in your entire life are you going to be part of a zone conference this large!”  Although our own chapel was filled to capacity with full time missionaries we felt the sweet spirit that can only be felt in a Zone Conference.

For those of you who actually participated in the conference I apologize for the review, but for those of you who didn't you missed out on a wonderful opportunity and I feel the need to share some of the powerful words that were spoken.

“To the many members of the Church gathered in innumerable locations, we affirm that ward and stake councils can no longer say of this great army of missionaries, ‘There they go.’ No, the hour is upon us in which we must now say, ‘Here they come.’ All of us must plan for and use this heaven-sent resource in the most productive way possible.”

The number of full-time missionaries worldwide has surged from some 52,000 to an unprecedented 70,274 after last October’s announcement that the age of eligibility for service would be lowered from 19 to 18 for men and from 21 to 19 for women. Fifty-eight new missions were created to accommodate the increase, bringing the total to 405.

“We have asked, ‘What will all these missionaries do?""said Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the twelve in his address.  "Our answer is that they will do the same thing that missionaries have always done; they will follow the Savior Jesus Christ and preach His restored gospel."

But in this digital age, that will now include the Internet as a method, he said, explaining that for people today, online media are often their main point of contact with others, even close friends.

In his prerecorded remarks concluding the broadcast, President Monson endorsed all that had been said in it.
Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him,” he declared. “He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work.”

It is a privilege to be a servant of the Lord serving in the Florida Orlando Mission, and we are humbled to be a part of His important work.  It is an exciting time to be a missionary and we highly recommend it :)
In closing, I just want to say that the title of this post is not random, but rather an important principle that I recently learned on my knees and now feel impressed to share.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6.

Life is tough sometimes, but I testify that these word are true! We may not always understand why things happen the way they do, or why it feels like the Lord isn't answering our prayers.  He loves us, I know He does.  I think President Henry B. Eyring put everything into perspective when he stated in his April Conference talk, "My promise to you who pray and serve the Lord cannot be that you will have every blessing you may wish for yourself and your family.  But I can promise you that the Savior will draw close to you and bless you and your family with what is best." 

We have felt His love and we wish what is best for each of you.........

Until we meet again.........

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Searching for the Fountain of Youth

During the course of our travels we accidentally discovered Sumterville, Florida!
Not exactly the fountain of youth, but very close.
Elder Busath had to drive over to Sumterville, in the Leesburg Zone, to drop off a new AT&T phone because the reception on their old Sprint phone was so bad. What a surprise :) 
We had no idea what we were in for.  The two missionaries that live here saw us circling the area and called us on their faulty cell phone to give us specific directions to their place.  We actually did see a mailbox along the side of the road with their address on it, but it lead down a narrow, winding, sandy road.  So we did what people from Florida do, we made one U-turn after another. We were driving a truck and a trailer at the time and didn't think we could make it out even if we  did find them.  Well were we ever mistaken. The missionaries assured us that the road was plenty wide enough for us to turn around so off we went.  The road turned and twisted along the way, and even crossed what appeared to be the front yard of a neighbor and then it suddenly ended at the front porch of a small white trailer.  We later learned that the trailer was owned by a member of the Church who lived a few acres away.  It was in the middle of nowhere!  It was like a picture from a story book and we hated to leave. I have to admit I was a little worried about their safety being so far from civilization, but they informed us, not to worry, that the Evacuation Center was to the left of them just over the fence so their safety was no longer an issue

 A view from their backyard.

 Seriously I had to drag Elder Busath kicking and screaming from this place. 
He acted as though he had died and gone to heaven it was so peaceful and beautiful!
Speaking of youth, this Sister Campos on the left, from Utah and Sister Harrison, from  Bakersfield, California,  companions for the past 6 weeks. Sister Harrison was a Visa Waiter who was serving in Florida and who recently received her Visa and is on her way to Argentina.

Finally our first Preparation Day in a very long time!
The De Leon Springs State Park 600 acre main attraction is the headspring, with some 19 million gallons of water per day flowing from an underwater cavern at a constant year round temperature of 72 degrees and we thought it was just another swimming hole!
The Old Spanish Sugar Mill located in De Leon Springs State Park was a great place to have our Senior Missionary District monthly activity. They advertise a do it yourself breakfast prepared at your own table for only $4.95 per person.  Although you can be creative and add apples, bananas, blueberries, pecans, and chocolate chips for  $1.85 more.



                                             The Sherwood's on the right and the Marble's on the left look like they are ready to get started.

Delicious!!! And you even get to play with your food.

 Elder Moline really got into the hang of it.

To attract tourism in 1880 business owners changed the name of the area around the St. Johns River from Spring Garden to Ponce de Leon Springs.
Below is a picture proclaiming to be the "Fountain of Youth"
We found it!!!

Just a little history...

1835 the mill was destroyed by the Seminole Indians. In 1864 it was destroyed once again by Union Troops during the Civil War.  In 1920 it was rebuilt and now serves as the Spanish Sugar Mill Grill and Griddle restaurant.

The Visitor Center features the parks 6,000 history with the native America mound builders.  Bones and gray snail shells uncovered in the area are on display and prove of the centuries of occupation by native American groups who came to gather food. 

The 1830 Mill Wheel pictured below is said to have pressed sugar cane, ground corn,
and processed cotton.

Flood plain hammock trees flourish in the wet conditions Florida is so famous for.

Mushrooms anyone?

 Old Methuselah (below) is a cypress tree over 500 years old.  It is said to have survived the early 1900's when the cypress trees were cut for lumber to build homes and businesses.

 Our Senior Missionary District, from left to right, Elder and Sister Moline, Elder Busath and myself, Elder and Sister Sherwood, Elder and Sister Marble, Elder and Sister Bevans and
Elder and Sister Gebs.

 Just 45 minutes down the road from the De Leon Springs State Park is the Ponce De Leon Inlet Light Station Museum and since we were in the neighborhood we just couldn't resist.


The museum is one of the few Light Stations in the United States with all of the original keepers' dwellings and support buildings intact.  It was completed in 1887 and is a National Historic Landmark and has, for over 125 years, guided mariners safely to their destinations.

The Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse (front and side view) is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and one of the tallest in the nation. The tower tapers from a 32' diameter base to a 12' diameter top. The bricks are 8' thick at the bottom and 2' thick at the top.
Activated for the first time on November 1, 1887, the lighthouse was illuminated by a kerosene lantern inside a fixed Fresnel lens.

This is a picture inside the 175 foot lighthouse and there are actually 203 stairs to the top.  Yes, we really did climb to the top, and yes it was a little scary and it got very narrow
the closer we got to the top.
The top of the lighthouse!!! 
The view from the top is breath taking and definitely worth the climb!


 A stowaway!

 Our Kodak moment from the top!
Elder and Sister Sherwood joined us at the lighthouse.

 The Principal Keeper's dwelling.


In 1933 the Lighthouse Service electrified the tower and changed the beacon to a flashing characteristic.  A rotating third order Fresnel lens was installed



 In 1970, the Coast Guard established a beacon on the south side of the inlet and abandoned the lighthouse :(  In late 1982, the Coast Guard installed a modern beacon in the tower, and the lighthouse was officially returned to its original use as a aid to navigation.
We had a great day and arrived home just in the nick of time!
 Okay so we couldn't wait until the 4th of July! (Thanks Marili) After a wonderful day of sightseeing and spending time with friends it was cause to celebrate the last of our free time and
get ready for transfers.

Florida, teeming with wildlife, rich with history, an incredible place
 to be serving a mission for the Lord!
See you later, alligator...............