We began our week at the USO and we busied ourselves with odd jobs. Around noon a group from the ADP Company came with a large box of food donations. We displayed them in the foyer area and took some pictures. The food will eventually be sent to the middle east and Pam and I were asked to be in the pictures because we had shirts on with the USO logo (also our missionary badges). Charley Tramazzo, who handles finances, asked me to type a brochure for him. They needed to re-publish an existing brochure and needed to make a few changes but didn't have the original source, so I typed it up for him. Charley also told us that the restaurant Freddy's was making a sizable donation and we couldn't believe that Freddy's was on the east coast. We went there for a late lunch and it was very good. definitely reminded us of home.
On Tuesday we did a little housework and some shopping. We also made several calls to military families in the Arlington and Fort Caroline wards to see if we could make some visits. We confirmed one visit and hoped others would return our calls. In this day of instant gratification we have the ability to be in constant contact with each other, but finding someone home, or at least who will pick up their phone or answer a text is next to impossible. Pam baked a cake and cookies for dinner and to give to our missionaries and also for visits. In the evening we went to the Fontoura family, a military family in the Fort Caroline Ward. Ricardo and Kylie were a young couple from Florida and Ricardo was a dentist and currently in the Army Reserve. They gave us some names of other military families in the ward and we learned they were leaving for Yakima, Washington in the summer so Ricardo could do some specialty training in his field of medicine (Pediatric Dentistry). They were a wonderful family.
Wednesday morning we were back in the USO. A construction crew were there working on two projects: divide the nursery area into two rooms by constructing a wall with a connecting double door. And dividing the back room from the office into two rooms to create another meeting room. Pam and I spent most of our morning in the office and doing odd jobs to clean things up and put things away. In the afternoon we changed into missionary clothes and then a set of sisters, Sister's Redford and Poulsen, serving in the Arlington ward came to have dinner with us. They actually live in our housing complex. Sister Redford was from West Point, Utah and attended a year at Weber State and a year at UVU before coming on her mission. Sister Poulsen is from Temecula, California and knew the street where Ric and Kathy lived, but didn’t know them. They are both great missionaries and work well together. Following the meal, we had a short devotional with them.
Thursday morning Pam got her hair cut and was very pleased with the cut. Following lunch, we went to a doctor's appointment at a nearby University of Florida Health Care Clinic. We turned in paperwork and waited a few minutes and then a nurse took our vitals and placed us in a room to await Doctor Susan Hoffman. What an interesting lady she was. Her voice sounded like she had smoked all her life, but when we walked out we were confident she had our medical health high on her priority list. She discussed everything in great detail and mapped out a plan of action. We will return for blood work and an update on all of our tests and then schedule what she called a “Wellness Check” which I guess is an annual physical to establish a “baseline.” They did an INR test for me and didn’t draw blood, but pricked my finger and put the drop of blood on a little strip and read it on a hand-held device and I was 2.0 in about 5 secs. We also got our meds taken care of and when the existing prescriptions run out she will take over with a phone call. In the evening we had Elder's Blanchard and Birch Elder’s for dinner. We had a nice visit with them and a short devotional afterwards.
Friday we were in the USO about 10:20 am and spent the morning and early afternoon sorting bins of donated items, in particular the USO at the airport wanted some tooth brushes, shampoo and soap. But when that was accomplished we continued sorting the dozens of bins Joyce had in the wall cabinets. When Cheryl arrived to begin preparations for next Monday's "No Dough" dinner, Pam helped her. After the sorting job completed I spent time in the office sorting through boxes and boxes of file cabinet folders and created a box to store newspaper clippings by year. At 2:00 pm Pam and I left with the three boxes of items for the Airport USO and delivered them. I had flown out of the airport several times, but it had certainly changed but seemed very user friendly. The USO agent met us at curbside which was nice. We then had a late lunch at a Panera’s in the River City Marketplace and then came home. We visited with the Alexander’s at their home and spent an hour getting to know them and learn where they were going in their lives. Wes was a convert of less than 3 years and is working to become an Elder. They are also attending a Temple Preparation Class.
Saturday was a very quiet day for us. I made a lot of phone calls with the goal of meeting several military families in the Fort Caroline Ward. I made contact with one family for sure and hoped for return calls from 3 others. Following lunch we drove to the Naval Station and found the location of a family and knocked on the door, but no answer. The name on the mail box was something different so I think maybe the wife had moved. The family name was Espinosa and I knew he was on deployment, but so far haven't made any contact with his wife. Will keep trying.
Our week ended on Sunday and we drove to the Naval Station to pick up Alexis Connelly. Well she didn't answer her phone nor a knock on her room door. So we didn't know what to think. Fortunately, I got a text from her later in the day and she was medicated for a migraine headache and hadn't heard any alarm, phone or knock. We will try again next week. Instead of going to the Jacksonville Beach Ward we returned to the Fort Caroline Ward. The block was very good with wonderful talks in sacrament meeting and interesting and spiritual lessons in the 2nd and 3rd hours. Actually it was almost like being home. Strange how the church is the same wherever you go. After the block we met with Keith Foster and his wife Julie. He is a scoutmaster and she a seminary teacher. We had a nice visit with them and told them what we needed from them. Keith is a prominent CDR on the base and has over 400 enlisted men working for him, so he knows a few hidden members and also can give me a head’s up on deploying ships. We left the chapel and came home for a couple of hours and then went to Sister Nuttall’s for dinner. She was the former relief society president in the Arlington Ward and her family were moving to Texas. Elder’s Blanchard and Birch came also and a friend from the Arlington ward. Wes and Tara Alexander were also there and brought lettuce and vegetables out of Wes' garden for a salad and Tara had made cupcakes. We had a very nice evening. Sister Nuttall is a wonderful, faithful woman and what a strength to the ward. While we were eating Elders Masino and Stuart came to get something from Elder Blanchard. They are the assistants and Sister Nuttall was very happy to see them. It was a great conclusion to our week.
Sorry for the lack of photos this week. Will try to do better.
The USO donation