Sunday, May 18, 2014

A good example is more effective than good advice

And more easily and willingly followed.  We need not wait for a cataclysmic event, a dramatic occurrence or a special invitation to be an example.  Our opportunities lie before us here and now.  But these opportunities will not last forever!

I would be especially ungrateful if I didn't begin our blog with a big "thank you" to our family for their thoughtfulness and love on Mother's Day!

My beautiful, homemade Mother's Day bracelet from my grandson, Dax!

Guess what I had for lunch recently?  Turtle, gator and catfish, coleslaw, and a hush puppy, true deep south cuisine.  To be honest there were only two things that  I wasn't especially fond of.  First, the thought of a cute little turtle giving up his life for my meal, and second, the gator was just a little too chewy for my taste.

We have been on the look out for a new home in Cocoa for Elders, Peay and Cooper for what seems like forever.  Good news! A gentleman, who just happened to be an real estate investor and a retired Florida Peace Officer, connected with the elders recently and he mentioned that he was renovating a residence in their area and it would be available soon!  After a quick phone call and a look see we were sold.  It's a little larger than we normally like, but time was running out and you know what they say, beggars can't be choosy. They move in on Friday!

Remember that sink hole in the Lake Nona South area I told you about last week?  Well this is how they fix it in Florida.  Toss some sand on it and call it a day.

This is favorite method of parking for missionaries. 
If they don't have to actually back up they don't need a spotter-I spell that L-A-Z-Y.

It's apartment inspection time, once again!
I know, I know, didn't we just do that you might be asking yourself? The answer is yes, sort of.  We actually conducted a mission-wide inspection in November and have been doing random inspections ever since to keep the young missionaries on their toes.  But Zone Conference is coming up at the end of the month and we wanted to add a little healthy competition to liven things up a bit.

 Our first inspection was at o dark hundred Monday morning, but Elders Jones and Hunt were ready for us!  They even left little notes for us in places they expected us to check.  The little orange square in the microwave pictured above says, "Hi Elder Busath!"

At the completion of their very favorable inspection they presented us with a thoughtful thank you note for all the senior missionaries. Is it any wonder why we love this work?

Next up was the Windy Ridge South Sister's apartment, Sister Campos and Sister Day.  Unfortunately they weren't home when we came to visit, but we did get the opportunity to meet their pet fish.

Third on the list was the Buena Vista North Sisters, Salvesen and Harthun.  They had worked hard on cleaning their apartment and it showed.  Unfortunately their little, very old apartment needed some TLC that only the apartment management could provide.

The Windy Ridge North Elders, Peacock and Stewart's apartment was next.  It was definitely an Elders apartment and it appeared that they had tried their hand at interior decorating because the kitchen table was now a third desk and the dining room a gym. I hope they have other career plans because I for one wasn't a fan of their redecorating :(

 The Buena Vista South Elders, Augenstein and Davis, were also not home when we stopped by to inspect their apartment. 

But we made note of some of their specific needs and on Saturday after our senior district activity we dropped by to surprise them and resolve some of the problems. 

The Lake Nona South Spanish Elders, Stanford and Giraldo, were so proud of the transformation that they had made on their home in anticipation of their inspection that they seriously couldn't wait to show us!

 The "Pirate House" located in the Kissimmee South area. 
Our Traveling Trainers, Elders Gallo and Vance seriously took to heart the last Zone Conference challenge of "Leave no Trace Behind" and spent weeks de-cluttering, scrubbing and basically transforming this tired old home into something bright and beautiful.  I have to admit that I dreaded every time we were asked to inspect this home.  The results were always the same, depressing, but today I gained a whole new appreciation for the dedication of two young and determined missionaries who simply rolled up their sleeves to show me what they could do.

St Cloud South Elders, Wood and Coleman had a broken window in need of repair.  Since we were going to be there to take measurements, the Elders asked, "Couldn't we please stop and take a quick peek at their house and see the results of their cleaning efforts?"

The Sisters in St. Cloud North, Adamson and Maw would soon be a trio following transfers so we delivered another bed following our inspection of their little home.  They specifically requested a bunk bed, due to the lack of space, so we were more than happy to comply.




Parting is such sweet sorrow. 
Sisters Farnbach and Conger once companions assigned to the Hunter's Creek area.

The Winter Park Farmer's Market-our May Senior Missionary District Activity.

The Winter Park Elders, stopped by to sign some important paper work for Elder Cluff, a VISA Waiter, and to pick up some Comet cleanser and new burner pans for their stove. They didn't do as well as they had hoped at a recent preliminary inspection :(

 The youngsters in our group, Elder and Sister Clare, from Arizona,
and currently assigned to the Valencia Spanish Ward.

Elder and Sister Gordon, aka the love birds, Elders Johnson,
Clare and Sisters Johnson and Clare.

 That same day as the Farmer's Market we decided to mosey down the street a bit and take a boat tour of scenic old Winter Park.  A resort like city punctuated by small, winding brick streets, quaint shops and surrounded by three of seven lakes that inter-connect and make their way back to the Atlantic Ocean; the Virginia, Osceola and Maitland Lakes as well as two narrow man made canals.

All aboard!

Winter Park is a suburban city in Orange County, Florida.  The population is about 28,000, and is the home to Rollins College, Full Sail University and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art which houses the largest collection of Tiffany glass.  It was founded as a resort community mainly by northern business magnates in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The three rivers  and two man made canals are surrounded by these very old and beautiful mansions.  I wish I could remember all the details about the whose who of each home pictured, but I must be getting old and the names given simply didn't ring a bell with me, sorry.

 A 250 year old southern live oak draped with Spanish moss.
Fun fact-Did you know that Spanish moss is an air plant and not a fungus?

This particular home was about to be demolished.  So the historical society purchased the property actually cut the home in two (where the blue tarp is) and transported it one half at a time by barge to it's new location across the river next to the Albin Polasek Museum. 



 The Army of Helamen, aka the Florida Orlando Senior Missionary Elders. 
We were actually missing two of our warriors, Elder Bevans and Elder Nielson as a result of a previous commitment.  A stake service project for one, a baptism to attend for the other.

Our Sisters in Zion! Beauties to the beasts?

Following our boat tour we introduced our district to 4 Rivers Restaurant, a favorite of the missionaries serving here.
Missionaries, the tall and short of it....

Elder Patten, an Assistant to the President t a mere 6'9 and Sister Stevens, 3' something. 

In the interior of our consciousness, each of us has a private hall of fame reserved exclusively for the real leaders who have influenced the direction of our lives.  Relatively few of the many persons who have exercised authority over us from childhood through adult life meet our test for entry on this roll of honor.  That test has very little to do with the outward trappings of power or material goods.  The leaders who we admit into this special place in our minds come in all shapes and sizes and are usually those who make obedience and duty seem like the essence of who they are and transform some ordinary routine occurrence into something memorable and make us want to be more like them.
This week we have been humbled as we witnessed time and time again the obedience, dedication and desire to do their very best by our missionaries.  We love them as though they were our own kids and we couldn't be more proud of them.
It is getting harder and harder to let them go when the date of their departure arrives. 
11 new missionaries are due to arrive on Monday with 1 more a week later. 
12 missionaries are scheduled to depart for home and one on to Brazil on Wednesday morning.  The phrase bitter sweet has taken on a whole new meaning for us. We look forward to welcoming these 12 new missionaries to our FOM family and will be sad to say good bye to those that are leaving. We wish them the best and look forward to hearing of their new adventures as they pursue the next chapter in their lives.
Until next time...see you later!

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