Good morning! Our week 16 began with a day at the USO helping prepare for and serving the “No Dough” dinner for the troops. Cheryl Vandiver had a nice group of volunteers assembled and they were a great help in getting the food and physical facilities set up. They served over 250.
When things settled down about 6:30 pm we called it a day and came back to our apartment.
On Tuesday we were at the USO again helping with a “Feeding Northeast Florida” program they are trying out at the USO. The 6 missionaries from the Fort Caroline District helped us pass out food and help patrons get food to their vehicles. Pam helped distribute the food and I stood out by the street limiting access to the parking lot as we were jammed tight initially. When patrons began leaving with some regularity I left the street and joined in with the distribution of food. The elders and sisters were a great presence and worked hard. Shortly after 2:00 pm the line of people shortened to nothing and the food came to an end about the same time. We all stayed and helped clean up, put the tables and tents down, break down the boxes and helped the food personnel get the bins ready to load onto their truck. It had been a very successful event and there were about 200 families that came for food, including several LDS families. When done, I asked the Elder’s and Sister’s if they had time for lunch and they did. We took them to Freddy’s and they enjoyed the burgers, hot dogs, and especially the fries. Pam and I got home about 4:30 pm and felt good about the day.
On Wednesday we arrived at the USO at 10:00 am and manned the office for several hours so Joyce (director) and Charley Tramazzo could go to a retirement activity for the director of the Airport USO. They left after giving us our “marching orders” and we spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon taking phone calls and helping visitors. I also had several jobs to do that Joyce left to accomplish. At 3:00 pm Pam went to the LaGae’s home on base and babysat for Samantha, so she could take her daughter Fiona to a doctor’s appointment. Pam managed Eleanor and Clive and they were great for her. At 4:30 pm, James, the night manager, arrived and I turned over with him and left to join Pam at the LaGae’s. After Samantha and Fiona returned, we visited for a few minutes and gave Samantha some food from yesterday’s drive and we left for home. We made a pass by the Commissary and did some shopping and stopped by Tara Alexander’s house and dropped off some food for her before returning home. By the weekend both husbands of these two families would be home and that will bring a lot of smiles to the children and wives. In the evening Pam and I drove out to the airport and picked up Alexis Connelly, who had returned from a period of leave in Arizona. She had a wonderful time being with family and friends and had managed her migraine headaches quite well. We were happy for her and happy to have her back safely.
Thursday was a special day for us as we got to attend the Temple again. We drove to the Dunn Avenue Chapel, in the north section of the city, and picked up Elder Martin, Elder Bennett and Elder Jheng. They were all from zones and districts in Southern Georgia. They arrived at 7:15 am and we were on our way to Orlando. We arrived at the Temple about 10:15 am and the Mission President and his wife and 4 other couples were there along with 18 other missionaries who were at their half-way point or were going home next week. We joined them and walked around to the front of the Temple for pictures and then entered the Temple and changed for an endowment session. The session was wonderful, and it was nice to look around the room and see all the missionaries in white. We sat in the Celestial room about 15 minutes and then were ushered into a large sealing room where we heard from President & Sister Lee and then from President & Sister Munns, Temple President and Matron. They were very entertaining and gave the elders and sisters some good counsel about their current work and the future. After leaving the Temple we all drove to a local Café Rio (only 1 of 10 on the east coast and only restaurant in Florida) and had a wonderful lunch. Pam was excited about eating there and it was all we hoped for. We returned to the Dunn Avenue Chapel and said goodbye to the elders and returned home. It had been a good, albeit long day.
Friday, we had a slow and relaxing morning and arrived at the USO in the early afternoon. We relieved Cheryl Vandiver at the facility and remained there through a quiet afternoon until James, the night manager, arrived. At 6:00 pm we hosted Sisters Knudsen & Gillins for dinner at our home. We had a nice visit with them and Sister Gillins gave a spiritual thought and then we sat down to a wonderful meal that Pam prepared. Later than evening we joined in a large group phone call with President Lee and received some instructions and then he went through all transfers that would take place next week. We had a few changes for the Fort Caroline and two companionships in the Dunn Avenue district that we routinely work with. We will miss those who move and welcome those who arrive. We were pleased that Elder Plumb (From Denver) is returning to the Fort Caroline district.
Saturday was a quiet day for us and we keenly monitored the progress of Sub-Tropical storm Alberto, as it continued its movement north into the Gulf of Mexico. It will impact southern and western Florida with winds and heavy rain and we will get rain and thunderstorms beginning on Sunday. Alberto reminds us that Hurricane Season is upon us and these storms are a reality here in Florida. We did housework and laundry and made a shopping visit to Costco to stock up on a few needed items.
On Sunday we picked up Alexis Connelly from the base and attended the Jacksonville Beach ward meetings. We were pleasantly surprised to see President and Sister Lee and enjoyed visiting with them and have them join with us in the Sacrament meeting and Gospel Principles class. During sacrament meeting, a young lady was confirmed a member of the church, the result of the good work of Elder’s Lamb & Roy. It rained heavily throughout the day as wave after wave of storm clouds made their way up the coast line. It was interesting as we drove down the road to exit the base after dropping Alexis off at her building. We could see a wall of water marching north along the road until it enveloped us in our van. By the end of this storm the Jacksonville area is expected to have received anywhere from 3-5 inches of rain.
All the missionaries showing their "family file" cards at the temple