Sunday, December 28, 2014

Lord, Is it I?

It was our beloved Savior’s final night in mortality, the evening before He would offer Himself a ransom for all mankind. As He broke bread with His disciples, He said something that must have filled their hearts with great alarm and deep sadness. “One of you shall betray me,” He told them.
The disciples didn’t question the truth of what He said. Nor did they look around, point to someone else, and ask, “Is it him?”
Instead, “they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?


"In these simple word, "Lord, is it I?" lies the beginning of wisdom and the pathway to personal conversion and lasting changes. And if the Lord’s answer happens to be “Yes, there are things you must improve, things I can help you to overcome,” I pray that we will accept this answer, humbly acknowledge our sins and shortcomings, and then change our ways by becoming better."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf


On Christmas Eve many of our Senior Missionaries donned Santa hats and set off for all points of the Mission to deliver last minute packages received from loved ones or to drop off a little something extra to our young missionaries far from home. We would have enjoyed sharing pictures of our various stops along the way, but "secret" meaning keeping both our identities and theirs confidential, sorry.

Elder Oglesby, Elder Stewart, Elder Hemsley, Elder Bagshaw, Elder Jackson and Elder Thompson helping us to keep our Christmas traditions alive.

Sister Lamy and Sister Potter, assigned to the Hunter's Creek area, finishing up the Christmas Singing Snowman jig saw puzzle while their breakfast was being cooked. 
Sister Potter is patiently waiting for her Visa to be approved to serve in Australia.

Christmas Day! 
We began the day by preparing breakfast for the Elders in our area, all six of them,  and an hour later feeding the two Sister Missionaries. Then it was off to see the movie "Unbroken" with friends and home again to open our Christmas presents. Beautiful family pictures, gift cards galore, a book and even a scented winter candle-we must have been very good this year.

Later in the day a group of the Senior Missionaries got together to enjoy Hawaiian haystacks for our tropical Christmas dinner.

On the day after Christmas...we got more mail :(

Elders Metcalf and Honda, assigned in the Winter Park area, had an extra bed and desk they wanted removed to make more space in their apartment.
"When we start believing that our contributions at home, at work, and at church are greater than they actually are, we blind ourselves to blessings and opportunities to improve ourselves in significant and profound ways."
As we prepare to welcome the new year it has become a time of self evaluation ...

  A Parable of Dandelions

Once there was a man who enjoyed taking evening walks around his neighborhood. He particularly looked forward to walking past his neighbor’s house. This neighbor kept his lawn perfectly manicured, flowers always in bloom, the trees healthy and shady. It was obvious that the neighbor made every effort to have a beautiful lawn.

But one day as the man was walking past his neighbor’s house, he noticed in the middle of this beautiful lawn a single, enormous, yellow dandelion weed.
It looked so out of place that it surprised him. Why didn’t his neighbor pull it out? Couldn’t he see it? Didn’t he know that the dandelion could cast seeds that could give root to dozens of additional weeds?
This solitary dandelion bothered him beyond description, and he wanted to do something about it. Should he just pluck it out? Or spray it with weed killer? Perhaps if he went under cover of night, he could remove it secretly.
These thoughts totally occupied his mind as he walked toward his own home. He entered his house without even glancing at his own front yard—which was blanketed with hundreds of yellow dandelions.
Are we guilty of being blind to our own weaknesses?
"Treating ourselves to Smashburger after a day of service.
Some of us are convinced that our busy schedules or unique circumstances make us exempt from the daily acts of devotion and service that would keep us close to the spirit.  It is easy to become creative at coming up with excuses for not doing what we know we should be doing!" Is your heart set on the convenient things of this world, or is it focused on the teachings of Jesus Christ? "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

 In a little more than a month we will be heading back home to California. With all that is still left to be done we decided to get a heads start on packing this weekend to allow us time to tend to more important things.

Elder Weston Gale bringing music to the Poinciana Branch!
May we from this time forward seek with all our might to walk steadfastly in the Savior's blessed way-for seeing ourselves clearly is the beginning of wisdom.We must put aside our pride, see beyond our vanity, and in humility ask, "Lord, is it I?"

Wishing you a happy, healthy, better you for the New Year! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Called to Serve


Called to serve Him, heavenly King of glory,
Chosen e'er to witness for his name
 Elder Busath getting the table decorations ready for the upcoming departure dinner 

  Semoran area Elders, Jacobsen and Jones, were packing up and getting ready to close down their apartment following transfers. As a result, we decided to cannibalize their apartment a little earlier than they expected to help set up another apartment before transfers.
Elders Pelo and Packard, assigned to the Ocoee South area, came to our rescue and helped us move the furniture from the Semoran apartment to prepare for the Windy Ridge Sisters due to arrive the next day following transfers.

Out with the old "yucky" Windy Ridge furniture and in with the "almost new" Semoran furniture.

 The recently refurbished Windy Ridge apartment already for the Sisters!
 Monday, December 15th
18 new missionaries arrived to the Florida Orlando Mission. (12 Elders and 6 Sisters).
One Elder has actually been called to serve in India and a Sister to Australia and are waiting for their Visa's to be approved.

 Getting to know you, getting to know all about you...
 Elder Busath pretending to change a tire when
two Sister Missionaries just happen to be passing by...
 Learning to get out of their "comfort zone" by role playing
 Our new arrivals, from the back left to right, Elders Conrad, Hanson, Cannon, Carver, Armijo, Salinas, Chidester, Tripp, Honda, Whitaker, Fife, Palmer
Sisters Fricke, Moody, Quinton, Earl, Nielsen, and Potter.
 Far and wide we tell the Fathers story
Far and wide His love proclaim 

Following our transfer meetings we usually feed all those who attend.  Unfortunately there was a little scheduling conflict and the Cultural Hall was being used for a Stake Activity, Travel to Bethlehem, so we had to set up lunch for 250 as  a grab and go... 
   Yes, have we got mail!!!

Following the transfer meeting on Tuesday, we had the missionaries line up outside the Mission Office and Elder and Sister Clare assisted us in distributing a little Christmas cheer in the form of packages from home. 
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be; press forward ever,
Called to serve our king.
 Some people still don't understand the phrase that "less is more". 
 Elder Bean celebrating his 65th birthday!


On Tuesday we held a special dinner for the 27 departing missionaries.
(7 Elders and 20 Sisters) at the Hunter's Creek Stake Center 
Sister Alison Carpenter
 Sister Zoe Hart
 Sister Erin Baker
 Sister Annie Pierce
 Sister Jessica LaForce
 Elder Patrick Flood, once the Assistant to the President,
now preparing to depart for home
Called to know the richness of his blessings--
Son's and daughters, children of a King--
Glad of heart, his holy name confessing,
Praises unto him we bring

Just a few of the departing missionaries who have touched our hearts
and changed our lives forever!

Two squirrels supervising the moving operation from the treetops



The Viera apartment was being closed and we needed help to empty the apartment.
Elders Fulmer, Jurges, Ferguson, and Zeigler to the rescue!

Many hands do make light work!!!

Unfortunately there is simply not enough storage space to keep everything. 
So sometimes we have to make tough decisions and sometimes the choice is obvious so off to the dump we go.  Fortunately for us on this particular day the workers at the dump must have felt sorry for us because they wished us well and didn't charge us a thing!

 Some of the furnishings that qualified for Uncle Bob's storage facility.

Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be; press forward ever,
Called to serve our king.                
On Thursday, December 18th we had the privilege to witness the Miguel and Yachira Jordan family sealed together forever in the Orlando Temple!

On Friday, December 19th the Mission held a special Christmas Devotional for all 220+ Florida Orlando missionaries at the Lake Mary Stake Center

Yes, due to Christmas being right around the corner we transported all the mail that could not be forwarded and all of Friday's mail to the Devotional to be distributed.
Elder F. Willard and Elder C. Willard opening a package to determine who it is for. 
There was no first name listed :(

The Conway Sisters apartment also needed to be closed down and Conway East and West Elders Clement, Herrin, Jennings and Whitaker agreed to help.

We actually got a Christmas package in the midst of all the weeks activities.  This one from the Peterson's in Rocklin, CA.  It appears to be too small to hold baby Wade :(
On Saturday we had the privilege to attend "A Night in Bethlehem"
hosted by the Hunter's Creek Stake
Sister and Brother Thompson, as Hebrew scribes

                                Elder Oaks                                       Sister Fisi 
Elder Bagshaw
Elders Radigan, Thompson, Oglesby and Perez    Our AP's Elder Call and Elder Waller
Getting into the spirit of the evening, Elder Gale and Elder Busath
(Elder Gale has recently been assigned to the Poinciana Branch
with us and we are thrilled!)
It seems only fitting that we close this weeks post with a quote from Luke 2:8-16: 
"And there were in the same country shepherd abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hose praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."
Let the truth of this wonderful story change you!
Center your faith in the Son of God...and He will bless you!
He is the gift at Christmas and always! 
We wish you peace and happiness!
Merry Christmas!!!