Sunday, April 27, 2014

All you can change is yourself, but sometimes that changes everything!

The Parrish Medical Center in Titusville where we had the opportunity to visit recently.

Life has a way of testing a person's will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.  Well it was another one of those weeks! 

Whoever thought that being on the Lord's errand would somehow make you exempt from having to face life's little challenges was seriously misinformed.  In the course of just a few short days we had one missionary battling asthma, one suffering from anaphylactic shock as a result of black ant bites, another passing a kidney stone, and yet another hospitalized with stroke like symptoms, which fortunately turned out to be an unusual migraine.

With everything that was happening we could either feel sorry for ourselves or treat what was happening as a lesson to be learned.  Everything is an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing.  We get to choose.  I am happy to report that we chose to be happy.  The Lord in turn answered our prayers and as a result all is well and all of our missionaries have recovered and are back at hastening His work.

In between medical emergencies we had a few road trips scheduled.
The DeLand apartment was now vacant and we stopped by to make a final inspection before turning in the keys.  Drawers repaired-check, fans dusted-check, walls patched-check, vents cleaned-check, thanks to Elder Oaks, Elder Thompson and Elder Busath.


As we were preparing to leave DeLand there seemed to be some confusion regarding the ownership of the washer and dryer.  The apartment complex management originally denied ownership so we happily removed them only to discover, minutes later, that the washer and dryer were indeed the property of the apartment complex so Elders LeCheminant and Despain quickly returned them to the apartment safe and sound.

Our DeLand moving crew; Elders, Despain, LeCheminant, Oaks and Thompson. 
One DeLand apartment done, one more to go in a few weeks.

 We received a phone call at the Mission Office advising us of an entertainment center that was available if we were interested.  Never one to pass on a charitable donation we quickly gathered up our crew (Elder and Sister Gordon and ourselves) and headed out to have a look see.  It's sad to admit, but you can almost tell if you will be pleasantly surprised or sorely disappointed the minute you drive into the neighborhood. 
Long story short, we were overjoyed with our good fortune!

 The Winter Garden Elders, Freeman and Scott, needed a working vacuum cleaner.  It appeared they were already starting their own museum of cast off vacuum cleaners, but Elder Busath conducted a quick course of Vacuum Cleaner 101, assembled the new vacuum cleaner and off we went with a broken vacuum cleaner in tow.

The College Park Elders, Peterson and Whitaker, needed to have some shoes returned that were left at transfers and to have a bike helmet picked up. Since they were short on miles and anxious for the exchange we volunteered to make the delivery.
After visiting just two of the many missionary apartments in our mission we were quickly reminded of the story of the 10 virgins-5 probably made their beds and 5 did not :(  we didn't even want to know who was who.


The Longwood Sisters, Hart and Woolley, also needed a new vacuum cleaner and as a bonus had two kitchen chairs to donate-no I didn't take a picture of their bedroom, but I definitely need to do something about the couch :) 
 4 Rivers Smokehouse
For months we had heard rave reviews about this restaurant, so on Friday we decided to check it out for ourselves.  The first thing we discovered was that it was not a sit down restaurant at all, but more like a fast food place very much like Subway. You place your order at the counter, they work their magic right before your very eyes and then you take your loaded tray of food, pay and then find a place to sit, we chose their outdoor picnic tables.  If you are not a serious meat eater this is not your kind of place.  But if you are a fan of barbecued brisket, pulled pork and everything southern; beans, cornbread, sweet potato fries, red potato salad, mac and cheese-pull up a seat, the smell alone was incredible, the food amazing!
 Our Saturday was filled with the opportunity to attend not one, but three baptisms.  This is following the baptisms at the John Young building of Carlos, Carmen, Arrenia and Jonathan Sanchez, who reside in our Poinciana Branch.  Pictured are Elders Galindo, Hunt, Slade, Brown and Jones and Sisters Hernandez and Gruber.
(Sorry but I am not a paparazzi. I feel uncomfortable taking pictures of people I don't know at a special time in their lives, but suffice to say the family glowed!)

The New Smyrna Beach Sisters, Sister Bracken and Sister Carpenter,
at the baptisms of Tammy Olson and Marc Taylor.

My work area late Sunday afternoon.  It is not usually this crazy, but we have Missionary Leadership Council next week and so the 6 Zones had to have their requested supplies divided and made ready for distribution and the two lamps at the end are the result of a plea for donations for the senior missionary couple due to arrive in July. Since Elder Busath had to stop by the office to take care of some pressing Mission business I couldn't resist the Kodak moment.  If you know me, you will know that this kind of chaos makes me nuts, but I am trying very hard to learn patience ...
There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.  The little difference is attitude.  The big difference is whether it is positive or negative, we have a choice!
In choosing to be positive we learned a simple secret:
"Put your trust in the Lord, do your best, and leave the rest to Him"
Joseph B Wirthlin
His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts and purposes higher than ours.
We love serving the Lord here in the Florida Orlando Mission and highly recommend it!
See you later......

Sunday, April 20, 2014

We're Back!

For those of you stopping by for the very first time we recently had the opportunity to fly from Orlando, FL to Sacramento, CA for a brief visit to witness a grandson's blessing and a daughter's wedding. So we took a week off from our Blog and are now back in Orlando, Florida, serving as missionaries, busy as ever, with hopes of highlighting just a few of the special moments we enjoyed while there.

 On Wednesday, April 9th at o'dark hundred in the morning Zzz we joined our 5 departing missionaries and hitched a ride to the airport with the Assistants to the President as the wheel; our destination Sacramento, CA.

 After a brief layover in Denver we finally arrived and soon began our whirlwind adventure.  On the top of our list was meeting Wade Arthur Peterson for the very first time!

On Thursday, April 10, 2014 Wade was given a name and a blessing by his father.

 Saturday, April 12, 2014 we were blessed to witness the wedding of Josh Chance and our daughter, Katie, at the Capitol Rose Garden in downtown Sacramento.
All of our kids and grand kids were there to offer their love and support!
It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words so to make a long story short, just a few of our favorite things...
The Esslinger Family-#1 daughter

The Gibson-Chance Family-daughter #2
The Bacchus Family-#3 daughter
The Hudson Family-daughter #4

The Busath Family-#1 son

 The Peterson Family-daughter #6 our baby with her husband and baby

Our kids!!!
               "Grandpa" and Jill                                Jill and her "new" big sister Haylee
                                                 3 Beautiful granddaughters

GG and Katie

BFF's-Dave and Janie Pollmann-who drove all the way from Idaho
to share this moment with us!

Matching T shirts :)
April showers


       Packages from home, even if not one single one is for us.
On Sunday, April 13th we returned to Orlando, Florida tired but happy, and ready to complete the remaining 10 months of our mission.  It was tough to leave Sacramento, but with the Lord's help we know that we truly can do hard things. 
Bright and early Monday morning we were greeted with a brief rain shower and MAIL, home again.
It's as though we never left :)
It's Easter Sunday so please allow us to share one last thing
in closing...

He was nine - in a Primary class of eight-year-olds. Eight-year-olds can be cruel. The third-graders did not welcome Philip to their group. Not just because he was older. He was "different." He suffered from Downs syndrome and its obvious signs: round face, slow responses.  One Sunday after Easter the Primary teacher gathered some of those plastic eggs - the kind in which some ladies pantyhose are packaged. Plastic eggs which pull apart in the middle. The Primary teacher gave one of these plastic eggs to each child.  On that beautiful spring day each child was to go outdoors and discover for himself some symbol of "new life" and place that symbolic seed or leaf or whatever inside his egg. They would then open their eggs one by one, and each youngster would explain how his find was a symbol of "new life.  "So... The youngsters gathered around on the appointed day and put their eggs on a table, and the teacher began to open them.  One child found a flower. All the children "oohed" and "aahed" at the lovely symbol of new life.  In another was a butterfly. "Beautiful," the girls said. And it's not easy for an eight-year-old to say "beautiful."  Another egg was opened to reveal a rock. Some of the children laughed.  "That's crazy!" one said. "How is a rock supposed to be like new life?!?"  Immediately the boy spoke up and said, "That's mine. I knew everybody would get flowers and leaves and butterflies and all that stuff, so I got a rock to be different."  Everyone laughed.  The teacher opened the last one, and there was nothing inside.  "That's not fair!" someone said. "That's stupid!" said another.  Teacher felt a tug on his shirt. It was Philip. Looking up he said, "It's mine. I did do it. It's empty. I have new life because the tomb is empty."  The class fell silent.  From that day on Philip became part of the group. They welcomed him. Whatever had made him different was never mentioned again.  Philip's family had known he would not have a long life; just too many things wrong with the tiny body. That summer, overcome with infection, Philip died.  On the day of his funeral nine eight-year-old boys and girls confronted the reality of death and marched up to the altar - not with flowers.  Nine children with their Primary teacher placed on the casket of their friend their gift of love - AN EMPTY EGG.

Jesus Christ loves each of us very much, he died for us. Jesus was the first person to be resurrected. Because of what he did for us, we will be resurrected and may live again with Heavenly Father. When we think of Easter we should remember the love that Jesus Christ has for each one of us. He gave his life for us. He was resurrected and because we know this we can show our gratitude today and every day by keeping His commandments and thinking of him always.

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission at this time and share this wonderful message of a new life with others and to show our appreciation for the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

Wishing each of you a Happy Easter!