Sunday, January 19, 2014

Part of Your World

What would I give to live where you are?
What would I pay to stay here beside you?
What would I do to see you smiling at me?
Where would we walk?
Where would we run?
Just you and me and I could be 
part of your world.
I don't know when,
I don't know how, but I know some thing's starting right now.
Watch and you'll see, someday I'll be, part of your world.

Hello from Orlando Florida, or as we like to refer to it as the wild kingdom!
Obviously there is a huge Disney World influence here as well so hang on to your seats
 it has been  very busy week.

Just hanging around watching the airplanes go by.

Monday, January 13, 2014 sitting at the Orlando, Florida airport parking lot anxiously waiting for the call from the Mission President to let us know that all 22 brand new missionaries are ready to be picked up. 
The Gordon's are driving the small white van, the Assistants to the President are in the truck and trailer and we are driving the big white van and have the privilege to transport all 9 of the new sister missionaries.

Welcome to the Florida Orlando Mission!

It's a small world after all :)  

Our very own Sister Gordon actually taught, one of our new sister missionaries, Sister Lynch, in high school!

First stop the Hunter's Creek Stake Center where we have the opportunity to feed them a dinner of lasagna green salad, cookies and ice cream after their long flight and to get to know each of them a little bit better.

Hail, hail, the gangs all here!

 Bright and early Tuesday morning was "transfers"s for many of our missionaries. While our 22 new missionaries were being oriented and receiving further instructions the missionaries notified of their impending transfer met at the church and waited patiently in the chapel for the special program to begin which would advise them of their new companion and the area in which they would be serving.

Following the "special" devotional and the last opportunity to hear the testimonies of our two departing missionaries, Sister Dunford and Elder Howard, it was time for lunch! Subway sandwiches anyone? 
This was only the second time that we had held transfers in this format and had invited everyone to stay for lunch. "Everyone" included not only the new and transferring missionaries, but also the members of the church who had graciously taken time out from their busy day to transport our missionaries. 
We served over 200 people today!

Elder Busath working the crowd!

Elder Busath and Elder Delgado all smiles :)

Before we knew it , it was time for the missionaries to hit the road and get started on their new adventure. We on the other hand, headed for the office to put out any new fires that had started while we were away.

Okay so a photographer I am not, but if at first you don't succeed...


On Thursday morning I received a somewhat hesitant text from the Elders in one of the new apartments we recently opened, advising us that they were still without dishes, silverware, pots and pans, etc. The members of their new ward has agreed to provide them initially, but someone had dropped the ball.  
No problem!
After a quick stop at our storage garage we picked up everything they needed and even took time to hang their whiteboard. As always the smiles on their faces were worth every minute of our time.

You know what they say, "All work and no play, makes Johnny a dull boy."

On Saturday the Senior Missionaries took another trip to the Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant in the DeLeon Springs State Park for an early pancake breakfast before traveling to visit the manatees.

Yes, that is a jacket Elder Busath is wearing. It was 45 degrees and in Florida that's freezing, brrr!

 It is said that Ponce DeLeon discovered the famed fountain of youth here.  Although the story might not be 100% accurate, evidence does show that native Americans inhabited this area more than 5,000 years ago.
However, Elder Busath and Sister Anne Danes didn't want to take any chances just in case the legend were true, but unfortunately the fountain was dry :(

Blueberries, apples, bananas, and even chocolate chips were available to dress up our 
buttermilk or buckwheat pancakes.

 Breakfast is served!

Following a delicious pancake breakfast we decided to venture down the road another 16 miles to visit the winter home of the manatees. Since they are only out and about for viewing during January and February 
we just couldn't take a chance on missing this great opportunity.

Blue Spring, located in Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida, is the winter home to more than 200 manatees.  Tucked within 2,643 acres are 15 natural habitats, a lagoon, a north-flowing river and a first-magnitude spring that discharges 104 million gallons of water daily into the St. Johns River.

Gold Rush prospector turned orange grower, Louis Thursby purchased Blue Spring in 1856. He built his three-story house atop a large Indian midden in 1872 which has since been restored and stands there today. Before the railroads rolled through in the 1880's, Thursby's Blue Springs Landing was a hotbed of steamboat activity, shipping tourists and goods to Jacksonville, Florida and beyond.

A Kodak moment!

 The manatee is a gentle, slow moving marine mammal. It weighs about 1,200 pounds and measures 10 to 12 feet long.  It eats 60 to 100 pounds of aquatic plants a day, helping to keep the waterways clear.  A manatee can live to 60 years old, but collisions with watercraft and loss of habitat threatens its survival.

Fun fact:  in 1971, "The Forgotten Mermaids" episode of the Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau was filmed here.  The documentary brought attention to the manatee and the importance of Blue Spring as a winter refuge, greatly influencing the state's decision to purchase the land. And we are so glad they did!

And since we are talking about mermaids I thought it only appropriate to close with a famous line from the movie, "The Little Mermaid"

To quote Sebastian-
"The seaweed is always greener, in somebody else's lake.
You dream about going up there, but that is a big mistake.
Just look at the world around you, right here n the ocean floor.
Such wonderful things surround you, what more is you lookin' for?"

What more is we lookin' for is right? Each one of us has much to be thankful for!
Elder Busath and I have been blessed with much more than we ever deserved. A happy, healthy family, grand babies being born, children finding love again, grandchildren making us proud, and an opportunity to serve as full time missionaries, instruments in the Lord's hands, to invite others to come unto Christ.  To share what we have been given and so much more.

So as we start this brand new year let us take time to count our blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!

Thanks for letting us be a little part of your world, see you later...

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