Hello again from the wild kingdom. We're glad you could join us.
"Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion"
Doctrine and Covenants 132:8
I am happy to report that our Senior Missionary District recently completed the almost 100 residence inspections and the results are in. I won't bore you with the details, but it was truly a labor of love and we learned a great lesson or two. We have had the opportunity to see both elders and sisters step up, ask questions, and then do all that they were asked to do. While others took a wait and see approach. Hoping that maybe we were just kidding or that someone else might volunteer, like a housekeeping elf, to do what was needed. Sorry, but you left your mother at home.
I am hoping that follow up will be the key.
As I have mentioned before the Florida Orlando Mission, unlike many other missions, rely on the charitable contributions of others to furnish the missionaries apartments. Which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is of course that it is cost effective and no church funds are required. The bad thing is that the missionaries receive many charitable donations that simply are not approved. It's very difficult for an appreciative elder or young sister missionary to turn down a queen sized bed, when he or she is supposed to be sleeping on a twin sized bed. Or that extra set of golf clubs that is just gathering dust in your garage. Of course then there is always that awful sofa stained with a cushion or two missing or a broken recliner that really should be taken to the dump, but why not give it to the missionaries? I am sure that you get the picture...
Anyway we have identified and redistributed the surplus, made a list of the remaining needs and are hopeful we can request and receive exactly what we need to outfit out missionary residences appropriately and in a timely manner.
To avoid any further ramblings on my part and because I am tired it has been a hectic week, I thought I would give you a visual tour of some of our recent excursions.
Saturday we had the opportunity to drive to an area referred to as Apopka to sign a lease on an apartment for some elders who have to move to make way for sister missionaries some due to arrive at our next transfer. Due to our upcoming transfer of 28 new missionaries (23 of them sisters) in two weeks we have had to open up 3 more areas requiring additional apartments.
This first picture is the leasing office and it has been my experience that it is all about first impressions. The office is beautiful, soft music playing in the background, a view overlooking the pool, etc. The apartment complexes we lease from are generally old and worn so that they are affordable, but looking at the leasing offices you would never know that.
Okay so a picture of the door may be a little over the top, but I warned Elders Sanford and Alves that I took pictures of their new apartment so that if it ever got dirty or damaged I would know who to go to :)
For once it was nice to see an apartment that had clean carpet and freshly painted walls, rather than an apartment that was well loved, but not well maintained.
Following our trip to Apopka we got to stop by Metro West to reserve an apartment (pictured below) for a new senior missionary couple, the Nielson's, from Salt Lake City, Utah, who are due to arrive the end of June. The word is that they were originally called to serve in Brazil and have been waiting for their visa for 10 months. We are thrilled that they will be coming here and can't wait to meet them!
The apartment pictured below is the same complex that currently houses our Portuguese Elders serving in the Windy Ridge area.
As you can see nothing matches, but they make it work.
These three elders, Elders Hernandez Delgado, Untch, and Cleis da Costa, are awesome! They set the standard for a well kept apartment and very few came close to beating them.
Ok so another random picture. I thought it was a little strange to have little benches all over the apartment complex next to the doors. What I didn't know is that these little plastic benches are in fact garbage receptacles. You place your garbage in them and someone from the apartment complex comes along and picks it up every few days to keep the bug population down.
Below is another example of missionary housing. On our way home from Metro West we received a frantic phone call from Sisters Beckert and Merrill. It seems that they accidentally left their cell phone on top of their car, drove away and the person behind them ran over it. So we had to drive back to the office, pick up a spare phone and drive it out to them in Oviedo.
Oviedo is a nice drive.
They live in a rural area in a cute little house.
Bikes are a huge part of our mission. Every missionary is required to ride a bike. Two companionship share a car every other week, but even on the weeks that they have a car they are told to put their bikes in the bike carrier, drive to a particular destination and ride their bikes. It's great exercise and I am told that they meet many more people on bike than they would in a car, but bikes and clean carpets do not go together. Fortunately these sisters have tile floors throughout the house.
Inspiring quotes to get their days started on the right note.
Well the day was not over yet. After our trip to Oviedo we had just enough time to stop home, brush our teeth and make it in time for the Pleasant Hill Ward Boy Scout Camp and Girl's Camp Spaghetti Fund Raising Dinner. The cost was $5.00 each or $20.00 for a family. Everyone was also asked to bring a dessert to auction off. We were thinking ahead and picked up a triple chocolate cake at Sam's Club late Friday night just in case we ran out of time.
The man at the podium was the auctioneer and he did a great job. There weren't many in the audience to our dismay, but the evening was a huge success. Bidding started at $5.00 and the Lemon Supreme cake in the white bakery box Elder Busath had his eye on sold for $45.00! He actually went over to the winner with a tiny plastic knife begging for a bite-but no go.
The audience did take pity on us and allowed us to win a smaller lemon cake for a mere $15.00. Of course that was after Elder Busath was told that he could not bid against his own wife :)
Bishop Rucker told each missionary companionship that they could bid on anything they desired up to $45.00 and he would cover them. They were so excited and carefully checked out their options and waited for their item to come up for bidding.
I think waiting for your particular item to come up for bidding was the hardest part.
Elders Jackson peeking around Elder Cook's shoulder and Elder Giraldo had to be gently persuaded to share a little of their double chocolate cake.
Sisters Wells and McLeod (holding their white cake with peanut butter and chocolate frosting) was a gift purchased by a new convert, Richard Kalleo.
At the end of the evening the Bishop had purchased many delicious desserts and made a point of cutting them up and sharing them with all of us. We followed his example and shared our lemon cake and to our surprise many of the members came by our table, dropped off their expensive purchases, Elder Busath's Lemon Supreme cake included and asked that we divide them among the missionaries.
As I said in the beginning it was a very hectic week and we definitely could not have performed all of the needed work by ourselves. We are ever so grateful to our wonderful group of senior missionary area inspectors. J.C. Penney once stated, "My definition of an executive's job is brief and to the point. It is simply this: Getting things done through other people. Cooperativeness is not so much learning how to get along with others as taking the kinks out of yourself, so that others can get along with you."
I hope that we were able to get rid of maybe a few kinks through our experiences, but the next big project is deep cleaning...wish us luck!
We love the opportunity we have to serve here in the Florida Orlando Mission and are already seeing the blessings that have come to our family. It's not easy sometimes, but definitely worth it.
See you next week.....