Well it has been another crazy two weeks and I would like to think that things are beginning to slow down, but after another 12 hour day yesterday filled with mission related business (replacing beds, installing fans, leasing more apartments) I think this may be what we should expect in the days, weeks and months to come as the Lord hastens His work.
Poor Elder Busath suffered a number of injuries as he tried to leap tall buildings in a single bound, repairing apartments, lifting bunk beds, installing fans and as a result we could have easily focused on the negative, what we lack rather than on our blessings. Said the Greek philosopher Epictetus, "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things he has not, but rejoices for those he has."
Today my post is all about the things that we are personally grateful for. If it would help get you in the mood try singing that song from the Sound of Music, "These Are a Few of my Favorite Things":
Memories that remind me of home.........
An actual fireplace in a not so local Wendy's restaurant in Florida
Our one and only Elder Finke, from Germany, talking German to someone in Germany
on our behalf.
We received an anxious telephone call from a family member in Florida requesting that we contact the LDS Mission in Germany and have them send someone out to offer a blessing to their family member hospitalized in Germany.
Sister Tayla Salvesen, from South Africa. She was hit by a car while on her bike and was recently sent to Utah to recover.
We are so grateful that we got to know her and are hopeful that she will be able to return soon.
The Hunter's Creek Sisters, Bowman, Salvesen and Pierce.
Our apartment complex is finally being painted! I was afraid to get my hopes up, but after reviewing some of the buildings already completed, brown on brown, beige on brown, and green on beige, I really hoped our building would be painted green, and it was!
On Friday, August 16th we received a special invitation to attend a Mission Leadership Training Meeting with Elder Erik Kopischke, 1st Councilor in the Southeast Area and of the first Quorum of the Seventy, presiding. In layman's terms he is a General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and thus a very important person.
Just one of the many things that I gained from attending this meeting, "You can only know, what you are ready to know. You can only receive, when you are ready to receive." We each are entitled to spiritual experiences, but we must first ask the question before we can receive the answer. He suggested that we must first ponder the things that we have questions on. Pick one question that we have and actually write it down on a piece of paper. Then open your mind expecting to receive an answer, focus on the question and listen carefully to the Spirit, especially at Church meetings and He will answer your question. It works!
Elder Kopischke and his companion for the day, Elder Munns, are pictured in the center of the back row behind Sister Higley in the beige sweater and blue skirt.
Saturday our Senior Missionary District scheduled an activity to visit
the Farmers Market in Winter Park.
He kind of looks like what you would expect a Florida farmer to look like, right?
Floppy hat, tropical shirt...
From left to right, Elder and Sister Nielson, Sister Vaden, Sister Dane and Sister Bevans.
After sampling some of the delicious fruits and vegetable available here at the farmers market we have all vowed to eat more healthy, at least until our next Big Mac attack.
After the Farmers Market we ventured over to the Charles Homer Morse Museum of American Art, known internationally for its collection of the works of American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. The museum included Tiffany leaded glass lamps, stained glass windows, jewelry, the Byzantine-Romanesque chapel interior Tiffany created for the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and Tiffany's own personal collection of American art, pottery and graphics from his Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall which was destroyed by fire. It was absolutely beautiful and I wish I could share pictures of the various exhibits, but there are rules enforced there regarding that very thing. I have to admit that Elder Busath got a little restless, but fortunately they even had a few exhibits with displays of the various tools used in the stained glass and jewelry process to keep his interest.
You guessed it, we got mail all the way from Meridian, Idaho!
In honor of back to school our special backpack was filled with everything we would need to continue our education.
Cute note books, to record our ever growing list of things to do, a pink and a blue thermos, to keep us hydrated with our Crystal Light in the Florida humidity, pictures of our grand kids, Dax, Cale and Jett to cheer us up on down days, checkers, (I think old people are supposed to like to play them) handi wipes, to use in between cleaning assignments, a little white board, our favorite candy, trail mix, sticky notes, etc. all of which will come in handy and are greatly appreciated.
We are beginning to make the other Senior Missionaries jealous of being loved so much :)
Thanks Esslinger family!!!
On Tuesday, August 20th and Wednesday, August 21st the Florida Orlando Mission held Zone Conference. On Tuesday, the DeLand, Leesburg and Orlando Zones were invited to attend at the church building in Oviedo. On Wednesday, the Cocoa, Hunter's Creek and Orlando South Zones gathered at the Orlando South Stake Center for instruction.
Zone Conferences usually begin bright and early at 8:00 am where their vehicles are inspected to check tire pressure, fluid levels, signs of misuse. Then a group picture of each zone is taken and instruction commences until 3:00 that afternoon.
The Orlando South Zone
The Cocoa Zone
The Hunter's Creek Zone
This is the Zone we are currently assigned and I am the cute one on the far left in the red sweater.
Lunch is usually held between 12:00 until 12:30 and is provided by an assigned ward Relief Society. Since each Zone Conference usually has about 120 people attending it is a huge deal. The missionaries usually sing the Primary song "Nephi's Courage", to those that have provided the lunch with a special verse at the end to thank them for their service.
After lunch Elder Busath and I were given the assignment to provide instruction on some important details that our missionaries seemed to be forgetting. Little things like texting me instead of calling me, completing official forms accurately, changing the filters on their air conditioner monthly, submitting their utility bills to the office to be paid, notifying the office of "accidents" and injuries, etc. Since our presentation was immediately after lunch and it was expected to be a long day we decided to have some fun.
You be the Investigator!
Allow me to introduce our selves, Shirley Holmes, great grand daughter of the famous Sherlock Holmes, and my faithful sidekick Doctor Watson. We represented the agency known as C.L.U.E-Chaos Lingers Until Educated! Long story short we hid 20 clues under their chairs and worked together to try and solve, "The Mystery at the Mission Office".
We had the best time being silly, waiving a duster around to punctuate a particular idea, my phone always waiting for an important text, a garbage bag in my pocket to throw away bad ideas...the best thing is that I think that many of the missionaries finally got our message.
My phone was seriously on fire the next few days with texts reporting referrals, requesting name tags, apartment needs and one companionship actually sent in 4 months worth of utility bills that they had been hanging on to because they simply didn't know what to do with them :(
At the completion of the Conference the Mission President introduced our new Mission banner and requested that we all "leave our mark".
I tried to roll my fingerprint like Elder Busath, and leave my "mark", but as expected my fingerprint has no definite features or ridges so it always comes out like a big blob :(
In fact I have often been told that I would make a great bad guy because they would never be able to raise my prints at a crime scene, good to know right?
The utilities company recently called the Mission Office to report an extremely large usage of water at the Mission Home. Since it wasn't transfer week, with an expected water usage increase as a result of more showers being taken and more dishes being washed, it was another mystery to be solved.
The actual amount of water being used and the resulting bill itself $$$ was pointing to a HUGE water leak somewhere so we decided to do some investigating on our own. Unfortunately we didn't find anything out of the ordinary around the perimeter of the house unless you call 7 wild turkeys overseeing the project usual.
In California when investigating a water leak you would not be surprised to find a big mound in your lawn due to a broken pipe. In Florida the soil is so sandy that the water would never collect long enough to cause a mound to give you an obvious clue that maybe a pipe might be broken. Inquiring minds still want to know, where is the leak? More details to come.
In closing I had hoped to add just two more of my favorite things of which I am truly grateful. One a recent picture of our kids and the other a picture with all of our grand kids, but I am ashamed to admit that I am technology challenged. They were sent to me by text this weekend after a fun family get together in Sacramento. So now I need to learn how to send a text from my phone to my e-mail. Maybe there is something in that backpack we just received that will help me :)
This is a wonderful time to be living on the earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, families who sacrifice for each other (like driving all the way to Idaho to help a sister and her family move) and friends who know us and love us anyway..
We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain negative and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude is a sin, then shouldn't gratitude be a virtue?
We love each of you and appreciate you checking in on us from time to time.
We are having a wonderful missionary experience and appreciate the opportunity to serve at this time in this place!
Until next time..........see you later alligator!