Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wild Florida

The middle of nowhere has been discovered, over 4,000 acres and 1,000 gators without a house or road in sight!

Last Saturday the Florida Orlando Senior Missionary District decided to explore a bold new world, where many missionaries have gone before-Wild Florida!
To save time I will forgo the commentary-enough with the shouts of joy already- and let you scroll through the pictures at your leisure. (But beware, Janie, some of the pictures are creepy)

For those of you who are wondering, no, only Senior Missionaries can go on the air boats 
and only with prior approval.

Our district in all their glory.  From front to back and left to right, Elder and Sister Gordon, Sister and Elder Nielson, Sister Moline, Sister Danes, Sister Vaden, me, Elder Moline, Sister Bevans, our Captian Skip and Elder Bevans.  Elder Busath is taking the picture.

If you look closely you will see that there are actually four more people in the first row of our air boat. Unfortunately during the course of our tour one of the women had a medical emergency requiring us to return to shore post haste.  As expected once it was discovered that the woman was in distress Elder Busath and Sister Nielson sprang into action taking charge of the situation and making sure the patient and her companion were comfortable.  When we docked we were met by the St. Cloud Fire Department who quickly transported the woman to the local emergency room for treatment.

We are tempted to include these photographs of the firemen acting as back up spotters to support and re-emphasize the importance of the spotter job to our missionaries.  Sometimes they feel like it is just an inconvenience we are asking of them.


Our district with the remaining two occupants of the air boat tour. Even in times of trouble each member of our District rallied around offering words of comfort, support and going the extra mile.  As a result we made two new friends. I am so proud to call them friends.

"Civility carries with it the essence of courtesy, politeness, and consideration of others.  All of the education and accomplishments in the world will not count for much unless they are accompanied by marks of gentility, of respect for others, of going the extra mile."
Standing for Something-Gordon B. Hinckley

Our warm welcome to the rest of the exhibits...

A Watsui from Africa. Their horns can grow up to 8 feet long from tip to tip and have blood vessels in them to help keep them cool.

Peek a boo I see you...hiding in the Hawk Swamp.

Did you know that alligators usually have 80 teeth. When they are lost or broken they can grow more teeth and are said to go through 2, 000 teeth in a life time.

This is a Zonkey. It's what happens when a donkey and a zebra fall in love ;0

 Billy goat gruff...

On your mark, get set, where is that hare?

Come on in the water's fine :)

 Eye see you :)

Did you know that a group of alligators is called a congregation?

Life is good and we have so much to be grateful for!

Let me close by quoting Robert Browning;

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made;
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God;
See all, nor be afraid."

Friday, September 20, 2013


I have been told that the Hawaiian word "Aloha" means the essence of life and it is used to say both hello and good bye.

Our Mission President recently reassigned us from the Pleasant Hill Ward to the Poinciana Branch so we had to say good bye to our good friends in Pleasant Hill and get ready to make some new friends. 

 Bishop Justin Rucker and his wife, Lori.

Landon McCarl-my first good buddy in the ward!  Landon and I soon discovered that we had something in common. Landon had his first cochlear implant as a child so he was an expert and helped me to learn more about what I can and can't do which I will forever appreciate.

 The McCarl family

 Brother and Sister Egg.
Sister Egg is always saying that she has the best job in the world. 
She works at Disney World as a nurse :)

 Brother Hunt and Brother Edmonds enjoying our linger longer activity.

 Brother and Sister Sharman

Unfortunately due to the short notice the word didn't get out that we were leaving so we missed capturing the pictures of many of our special friends.   But even though we may not have pictures of them they will always be in our hearts.

 It's transfer time and we wanted to get one last picture of our Hunter's Creek sisters, Sister Pierce and Sister Bowman, before they left on their new adventures with their new companions.

Amidst the storms of life danger lurks; and men, like boats, find themselves stranded and facing destruction.  Who will man the lifeboats, leaving the comforts of home and family, and go to the rescue?  Ensign, May 2001

I will go and do!!!


Elder Gebs just packing one more thing before he departs for home in Wyoming :(


 Elder and Sister Gordon, from Orem Utah, arrived safe and sound just a few days before transfers and will be joining us in the Mission Office. We are thrilled to have them join us, but it is with sadness that we had to say farewell to Elder and Sister Gebs who served faithfully for 23 months and are now on their way home to Evanston, Wyoming.

Arrivals September 9, 2013-7 Elders and 5 Sisters

The new arrivals trying to stay cool and dry on a warm Florida afternoon.

 Trainers and their trainees

The Hunter's Creek Stake Center just 1 hour after transfers. 
It was as though the sea of cars, crowds of people and piles of suitcases seen just a few short minutes before was but a figment of my imagination.

Departure dinner at the Mission Home. 
After serving honorably for 2 years we had to bid a fond farewell to 9 valiant Elders.

Elders Larsen,  Evans, Finke, Jimenez, Lasitani, Jackson, Park, Lindstrom

If you believe
Within your heart you'll know
That no one can change
The path that you must go
Believe what you feel
And know you're right, because
The time will come around
When you say it's yours
Believe there's a reason to be
Believe you can make time stand still
You know from the moment you try
If you believe
I know you will
Believe in yourself, right from the start
You'll have brains
You'll have a heart
You'll have courage
To last your whole life through
If you believe in yourself
If you believe in yourself
If you believe in yourself
As I believe in you

 Guess who got mail?  Elder Busath received a big box, all wrapped in gray duct tape.

 Inside the box was a wooden crate with a crow bar attached that stated,
 "If at first you don't succeed, pry, pry, again! 

The Slaughterhouse Man Crate filled  with"the best parts of 6 different cows'" sent by his brother Joseph.  I am not sure who was more excited, Elder Busath or the 3 Assistants to the President who just happened to be around for the unveiling and to taste test the contents :)
Thanks Joe!

Random, I know, but I couldn't resist sharing  a picture of what McDonald's looks like in Florida.


What makes you happy?
Do material possessions make you happy and grateful?  Perhaps momentarily.  However, those things which provide deep and lasting happiness and gratitude are the things which money cannot buy: our families, the gospel, good friends, our health, our abilities, the love we receive from those around us.

The English author Aldous Huxley wrote, " Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for grated.'

We personally have so much to be grateful for and we just wanted to express our thanks to all of you for motivating us to stop and think of all our blessings as we try to record on our blog the wonderful experiences we are having as we serve the Lord here in the Florida Orlando Mission.

Gracias, danke, merci, thank you!