Monday, May 28, 2018

Week 16

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.

Fort Caroline District Missionaries at monthly interview with President Lee
 Feeding Northeast Florida activity at the USO
Feeding Northeast Florida activity at the USO
 Food distribution
 Sister's Knudsen & Gillings giving out food
 Elder Roy helping a lady with her food
 Elder Findley (rear) and Elder Lamb working at the tables
 All the missionaries and Pam and I at the USO food project
 Missionaries at the temple
All the missionaries showing their "family file" cards at the temple

Monday, May 21, 2018

Week 15

Monday morning, we had a pair of sisters at our home doing their laundry. When we did inspections last week, we noted that Sister Knudsen & Gillins had a tiny washer that would not spin out their clothes, so we invited them to come and do laundry at our place if needed. They brought blankets and sheets and wrote emails while they waited. Pam and I cleaned the house and, in the afternoon, did a little shopping. In the evening we drove to Jacksonville Beach and attended a discussion with an investigator we had met at the USO during one of the prep days for a “No Dough” dinner. It was interesting that in the week following the dinner the Elder’s tracted into her home and she talked about us and they did some service for her and eventually set up this appointment. She seemed very pleased to see us again, and we spent an enjoyable hour getting to know her. She was quite religious but without any official affiliation. Eventually Elder Roy turned the discussion towards the Restoration and together with Elder Lamb they told the story of the First Vision and visit of the Angel Moroni and challenged Jessica to read the Book of Mormon. Pam and I had an opportunity to chime in once in a while, but they did a wonderful job and Jessica seemed intrigued by everything. She accepted an invitation to attend church the coming Sunday and to read in the Book of Mormon.  

Tuesday, we arrived at the USO late in the morning and we ran the office as Joyce Schellhorn (director) had to attend a briefing for a new command that recently arrived at the Naval Station.
We had about 2 hours on our own and took a number of calls and had a dozen patrons come for various services. When Joyce returned at 2:00 pm we discussed some calls and our schedule for the rest of the week and then we left for home. It was raining off and on most of the day and the forecast was for much the same for the rest of the week. We broke down and bought a couple of umbrella’s and would surely use them. In the afternoon we stopped off at the home of Tara Alexander from the Arlington ward and gave her some Girl Scout Cookies. She is so frustrated at the pace workers were making doing some renovation work on their house.

Wednesday morning, we attended the District Meeting at 10:00 am and enjoyed being with the Elder’s & Sister’s and again were so impressed with their ability to discuss the gospel and their roles as missionaries. We had to leave early and continued on to the USO and Joyce was there, and she had her husband’s new puppy. a 13-week-old black Labrador. We spent the morning cleaning toys and the children’s room, so it could be used that evening. Contractors had been doing work in the room for the last month or so and everything was covered with dust.  At noon a Girl Scout representative came and a few minutes later a truck arrived with 3 pallets of cookies. Another truck from NAS Jax USO also arrived and some of the cookies went to Jax and some to the Mayport USO. After we were done, and the trucks left, Cheryl Vandiver (assistant director) dropped in. She had just returned from a 3-week cruise to Europe and England and an extended stay in Scotland. After visiting for a few minutes Pam and I drove on the base and took some girl scout cookies to Samantha LaGae and her girls. We were pleased to see that Jerald was home and we were sure that made Sam happy. It was a beautiful afternoon and before returning to our apartment we took a drive north over the Dame’s Point bridge and then along the north side of the St. John’s river by the Atlantic Ocean beach towns. The drive was very enjoyable seeing all the coastal homes and communities. When opposite the Naval Station we stopped at a Ferry Station and got in line and waited 15 minutes and then whisked our way across the river back to the Naval Station. For a couple of hours in the evening it rained very, very hard and the water came down in buckets along with thunder and lightning. It wasn’t scary, but certainly got our attention. We wondered where all the water went for in Utah our streets would be flowing with water. We understood why all the water retention ponds existed across the city. A map showed literally thousands of them and we thought they were for Alligators!?

Thursday was a Memorial Day of sorts. Our USO director, Joyce Schellhorn’s husband was a Navy Helicopter pilot and deployed on the USS Stark (FFG 31) during the Iran-Iraq War. On the 17th of May 1987, an Iraqi jet aircraft approached and fired 2 missiles at the frigate and 37 Navy personnel were killed and 21 injured. The Stark was made sea-worthy in Bahrain and continued back to the states where it was repaired. There were many issues concerning the ships readiness for battle in the Persian Gulf which led to court martials and forced retirements. We left for the USO at 8:30 am and opened up the facility after counting the bread and pastries. We had 4 people come and get bread or other things before we closed the facility because of the memorial service at 10:00 am. We had planned to attend, but our member friend, Alexis Connelly, was going home to Arizona for a week’s leave and needed a ride to the airport. We arranged to pick her up at 10:00 am and had to make a circuitous route on the Naval Station to avoid the memorial service. We finally made it to Alexis’ barracks and she was waiting for us and was in good spirits. She could hardly wait to get home and be with her family. Approaching the airport, we stopped at a shopping center and had lunch and then continued to the airport. Following the drop off we returned to the USO and worked there for another hour until Joyce returned from the service. She was very subdued, and it took a while for her even to talk much which wasn’t Joyce. As we left we took a tent and two cases of water for a special Military Night at the Zoo that we would be attending Friday evening.

Friday was Travis’ birthday and we hoped he and Jennifer were having a wonderful time in Mexico. At 10:00 am Stephanie Jarvis, a member from the Jacksonville Beach ward arrived, and she and Pam continued working on a stuffed animal project. They were making a Fox, but it had so many little pieces. They finished at 1:00 pm. At 4:15 pm we departed for the Zoo and needed the extra time because of a huge detour. The USO was sponsoring a Military Night at the Zoo and we had been selling wrist bands for the past two months. The Zoo closed at 5:00 pm and reopened at 6:00 pm for military families only. We eventually found the entrance and parked our van, unloaded and set up the tent and waited. We were pleasantly surprised at the large number of families that came—I would guess anywhere from 500-1000 parents and children. Along with other volunteers, Pam and I helped patrons put on their wrist bands and welcomed families as they arrived. About 7:00 pm the arrivals slowed to a trickle, so Pam and I went inside and took a train ride around and through the Zoo and enjoyed seeing the enclosures and animals. We also walked to a few areas before deciding to go home. Back towards the entrance we ran into Stephanie and Lance Jarvis and Shay and Chris Tuttle. We knew they were coming but hadn’t seen them. They were both from the Jacksonville Beach Ward. We were happy to visit with them for a few minutes. We also saw a man and two children and one of the children recognized our missionary badges and said, “I’m a Mormon too.” They were from the Timucuan Ward on the west side and he worked at NAS Jax. It had been a successful activity and the weather was excellent despite a torrential rainstorm earlier.  

Well we probably shouldn’t mention this, but Saturday morning we watched the Royal Wedding from England. Quite a gala event. We also cleaned our apartment through the morning and did several loads of laundry. Later in the afternoon we did some shopping, made phone calls and prepared for the Sabbath.

Sunday morning we had planned to attend the Jacksonville Beach ward as Jessica was planning to be there. At 8:55 am we got a text from the elders saying she wasn’t coming so we changed plans and quickly left for the Fort Caroline chapel and attended the Arlington Ward sacrament meeting at 9:00 am. We enjoyed being there and had a nice visit with Tara Alexander and her children and also with the Bishop concerning the Alexander’s. Both sets of missionaries were with investigators so that was good. Following the sacrament meeting and visiting we settled down in the chapel again and attended the Fort Caroline Ward sacrament meeting and block of meetings. We enjoyed being there and meeting the saints. We also met a young lady who is in the military and stationed at the Naval Station. She is a single mother (we think) and living with her mother near the Fort Caroline Sisters apartments. We got her information and hope to visit with her soon.

 Ferry Ride
 Ferry Ride
USO Welcome Tent at Zoo
Pam with other Volunteers
 Zoo Entrance
Zoo Train
 Cute little boy in front of us
 Another wonderful "Selfie"
 Savannah Enclosure

Monday, May 14, 2018

Week 14

We began our week at the USO getting ready for the free dinner that evening. There were a lot of volunteers present so “many hands made light work.” Pam and I helped in the kitchen and ended up with 5 roaster ovens filled with meat and veggies for the Beef Stew. The Players’ Golf Championship begins its week activities on Tuesday and we had numerous requests for information regarding tickets, parking and the Military appreciation day on Tuesday. At 5:00 pm patrons began arriving for the dinner and we had about 170 throughout the night. I worked in the office checking in and giving out meal tickets and Pam worked the dessert line. A Baptist Church near our home sponsored the dinner and we had a lot of discussions with them about our roll as missionaries and about Faith issues in general. It was a good night’s activity. Before going home, we took a meal to the gate guards at the Naval Station and hoped they enjoyed the food.

On Tuesday we were at the USO again because the Joyce, the director, was going to the Player’s Golf Tournament today with about 50 military personnel for Military Appreciation Day activities and a concert that night. We completed all the tasks Joyce had for us as soon as we could and then settled in the office routine of phones and checking in patrons as they arrived. We got a lot of calls regarding the golf tournament and a few requests for Zoo tickets. Pam fixed us a salad for lunch from the No Dough leftovers and it was good. She left for the LaGae’s (Member Navy family on the Naval Station) home at 12:30 pm and baby sat 2 of their children for several hours so Samantha could take Fiona to an Orthopedic Surgeon for an appointment. She was born with congenital hip issues. I had two Community Service individuals come and I put the first to work in the children’s room and he got up all of the carpet squares pulled up and discarded (the center is replacing the flooring). The other individual cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen. These workers general have been convicted of a DUI or something similar and are working off their sentences. Pam returned about 3:30 pm and James (the night assistant director) came at 4:45 pm and we turned over the facility to him. Pam reported that Fiona’s hip was doing well, and surgery would not be required, so that was good news.

Wednesday we were shocked by the church news about moving away from the BSA programs for the boys. I think we knew it was coming, but not so rapidly. Anxious to see what will replace all the programs mentioned for the Young men and women and Primary children. We went for a morning walk and then at noon Stephanie Jarvis (Jacksonville Beach Ward) came by to get some sewing help on a project she was doing for a niece. We first took her to lunch and enjoyed that and then I returned them to our apartment and I got the van service at a nearby Wal-Mart. When I returned they had the pattern and pieces cut out and were beginning to assemble. They were making a “Fox” and it was cut but very intricate.

On Thursday we were at the USO again, this time opening the facility and counting and tabulating all the bread and pastries that had been donated Wednesday evening from a local grocery store. It all looked tasty and after we had the numbers, patrons began arriving to pick their choices. We also had another Community Service worker and he went right to work outside mowing the lawns and trimming. Good worker! Wednesday afternoon the facility got several pallets of Girl Scout Cookies and today we gave out a lot to a couple of commands and also had a “free” table for patrons to take cookies. It is a big hit! We are getting 3 more pallets next week, so the program will go on for a while. Joyce arrived at noon and we left and took 40 boxes of cookies with us and gave half to the gate guards at the Naval Station and half to the base clinic. They were both happy to have them. We had a late lunch and returned to our apartment. Our attention was turned to Denver and the activities going on there this day. Drew (grandson) and Kylene were being married in the Denver Temple and our immediate family were gathered for the occasion. We enjoyed the videos and photos sent documenting the celebrations.  

Friday was a quiet day for us. We took a walk in the morning and at noon Stephanie Jarvis and Pam continued sewing on her project and while they were doing that I went and got my hair cut. Pam and Stephanie stopped about 4:30 pm and we had a quiet night.

Saturday morning was busy for us as we did our first apartment “inspections” of missionary apartments in our area. We began our first appointment at 9:00 am and drove to 6 apartments within 20-25 miles. As you might expect the Elder’s were not so neat and the Sisters were quite neat. We checked the kitchens and bathrooms for sanitary cleanliness and the living and bedrooms for general neatness. Also checked the mechanical systems, ensuring filters were being replaced, fire extinguishers were available and smoke alarms working etc. For the most part things looked pretty good. We were amazed at how large the apartments were and the conveniences—washing machines and dryers in every apartment and dishwashers in the kitchens. Following our inspections, we drove to the Naval Station and spent over an hour with Samantha LaGae and her children. She posted something odd the other day on Facebook and we were concerned about her emotional state. Jerald, her husband, is at sea and has been gone for about 3 weeks and she’s at her wits end with her children, mainly Eleanor and Fiona. They are both a handful—cute but a handful. Before returning to our apartment we had a late lunch, early dinner and then to our home. We made a few calls to verify Sunday activities.

Today was “Mother’s Day” and Pam and I are so grateful for our mother’s. What great teachers and examples they have been for us throughout our lives. I am also personally grateful to be partnered up with the mother of our children—my dear wife Pamela. What a “brick” she is and stalwart to the core. I know there is nothing she would like to do more than be with our assembled family in Denver, but service to the Lord is what is important right now.

We picked up our single lady on the Naval Station, Alexis Connelly, and went to the Jacksonville Beach ward and enjoyed all the meetings. They had a nice Mother’s Day program and yummy looking treats for all women over 18. We returned home and spent a quiet afternoon. Pam called her sister, and each of her girls and had a rousing visit with each of them throughout the evening. Everyone seems to be doing all right and we were happy to know that Erin and Weston got home safely. A good week!

Views from our Morning walks!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 13

Week 13 was a wonderful and productive week for us. It began on Monday morning the 30th of April. We didn’t go to the USO that day but used it as a preparation day and did cleaning and shopping throughout the morning. In the afternoon, we drove to Jacksonville Beach and met with Joyce at the USO and confirmed some dates where she wanted us to work and then had a very enjoyable meeting with Rebecca Cotton, a young Ensign in the US Coast Guard. She recently returned from a several month deployment into the Caribbean Sea and this was the first time we had met with her. She had recently graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut and served aboard the USS Valiant. She was a former missionary and very active in the YSA Branch in the stake. We explained our calling and enlisted her help in locating military members, especially singles and she was anxious to help. When we returned home, Pam received a video of Sherwood’s funeral and it was nice to see the family gathered at this sacred time.

May began on Tuesday and we had an appointment at the medical clinic where we received our third and “final” Hepatitis shots. Following that we went to a local Wal-Mart and Pam shopped for food items and I took the car around back to have a tire checked out as it was leaking air. The technician came out a little later and told me the hole was too big and they couldn’t fix it, and the tire needed to be replaced, but they also didn’t have that size tire in stock. I told them I would take it to a Cooper dealership as I had purchased hazard protection from them and that was settled. When Pam was done we drove to a Discount Tire outlet on Atlantic Blvd. The service writer came out and looked at the tire and I showed him the metal and he said they would check it out and I didn’t say anything about our stop at Wal-Mart. Well the bottom line was they fixed the tire? They also repaired the air sensing module on the rim for no charge! That certainly surprised us, but we appreciated the gesture and if we have any issues in the future will certainly return to that store. We returned home and later that afternoon had an appointment with Matthew Garrison to visit but it got pushed back to Thursday. We also got a call from another Military wife, Tara Alexander, and she needed help. She needed to bathe her two dogs and couldn’t do it with her 2 children in the way. So, we went to her house and took care of her children while she was outside washing the dogs. They both had skin issues and need a pretty toxic wash. The kids, Trista and Kyler were very good for us. Pam fixed them something to eat and that pretty much took up the time we were there. I cleaned up the family room and Pam did some dishes for Tara.

Wednesday was a big day for us. We arrived at the USO at 8:30 am to help out with “Farm Share” a group that passes out food to military and others free of charge. We asked the missionaries in the zone to help and they agreed to this assignment and President Lee approved. When we arrived the Farm Share people were set up in the rear parking lot under the trees and we checked in with Joyce and then with the Farm Share leader. When our Elder’s and Sisters arrived, we got them parked and reported to the food area and the missionaries began handing out large sacks of food and helped deliver the food to the cars of patrons. We ended up with 16 missionaries and they had a wonderful time being together and helping out on this worthwhile project. We estimated they had about 20 pallets filled with food items of all sorts (canned and boxes), fresh tomatoes and cabbage, frozen meat and boxes of MRE type foods plus water. At the beginning we had a traffic jam as the parking lot was filled with cars, but once we got some patrons finished and they departed we were able to manage the people and cars much better. The star attraction was the appearance of Abry Jones, a defensive lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was 6 ft 4 in tall, about 300 pounds and a mountain of a man, but very friendly and a hard worker. When he wasn’t signing autographs or posing for pictures, he was busy helping haul food to cars. He played college ball for Georgia but was undrafted and signed as an undrafted free agent and has had a solid first team career with the Jaguars. By noon all the food had been distributed and we assisted in cleaning up and then took pictures and said our goodbyes to the missionaries and thanked them for their service. I think they had a good time and enjoyed being with one another. In the afternoon Pam called Tara Alexander as we had brought some food from the USO for her, she was on the road and said she would come by our apartment. She arrived with Trista and Kyler and we enjoyed their visit and the kids were entranced by Pam’s desk chair. I put them in it and spun them around and around and they thought that great fun. We took the food out to her car and she left. At 5:00 pm were at the LaGae’s for dinner. We enjoyed visiting with Samantha, Eleanor, Fiona and Clive for an hour or so and they have become quite special to us. From their home we drove to another military family on the naval station (Tuttle’s) and met with Shay and Chris and got to know them better. Chris is a Fire Controller on “The Sullivan’s” (DDG-68) and would be deploying within a month. Shay works as office manager of an audiology firm in Jacksonville Beach and plans to stay here for the deployment. They also confided to us that they just learned she was pregnant. Shay teaches Primary, but Chris has not been too active even though they were sealed in the Gilbert Temple. A very nice family and it was good to finally get to meet them.

On Thursday morning we opened the USO at 9:00 am and counted and put out the free bread and pastries that was delivered the previous evening from a local grocery chain store. Penny (volunteer) came a little while later and Joyce arrived just before noon and they got busy cutting up meat for Monday’s “No Dough” dinner. Pam and I ran the office and took phone calls and checked in patrons until we left at 1:00 pm. We had an appointment with the Garrison’s in the afternoon and drove to their home and visited with Matthew and her new baby. Alena, his wife, was asleep so we missed her, but enjoyed getting to know Matt. He was currently attached to the Naval Station Base Services and was on a Limited Duty status due to a car accident he had a few months ago. It might be career ending for him. He was baptized as a youth but had not been to church since about 12. We met him at the USO in our previous week. His wife was not a member, but they are interested in coming to church and finding something for their family.

Friday morning began at 10:30 am with Pam and I setting up a table for the USO at the Navy Exhange main entrance foyer, celebrating Military Wives Appreciation Day. There were about 15 other tables set up from various support groups and we visiting with the patrons as they came to shop and handed out travel kits, candy, and comic books. Several wanted information on volunteering and information on tickets for events upcoming in the local area. We gave out a lot of the goodies and enjoyed visiting with the individuals and families as they came by. We returned to the USO at 2:00 pm and checked in with Joyce and returned items that were not passed out. We helped a little in the kitchen and then returned home. We hosted Sister’s Knudsen and Gillins tonight for dinner at our home and they arrived at 6:00 pm. Pam was craving for some good Mexican food and created a Café Rio style salad and it tasted wonderful. The Sisters enjoyed the meal and wonderful Banana Crème pie for dessert. Following dinner, the Sister gave us a spiritual thought and prayer and then left.

Saturday was kind of a day off for us as we didn’t have any appointments. Following a morning of cleaning and laundry, we decided to take a drive down to St. Augustine, which is a historical city on the coast about 25 miles south of Jacksonville Beach. The area was settled by the Spanish in 1565. They build a town, established missions to the Indians for the Catholic Church and explored surrounding area. Thus, St. Augustine was founded forty-two years before the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts - making it the oldest permanent European settlement on the North American continent. Today the Castillo de San Marcos (fort) is the primary landmark of the early settlement and it was built in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. We spent almost 2 hours wandering the various levels of the fort and it was quite magnificent. As we were looking around up on the “gun deck” a man and woman approached us and said, “Hello Elder & Sister.” It was a father and daughter visiting. The father was from Oakland, California, and his daughter lived in Jacksonville and was married to a sailor stationed at the Naval Station. They were both members of the church although they were not active. I visited with the daughter and got her phone numbers and permission to call them during the next week. Apparently both her and her husband were members, just lost. so that will be a wonderful opportunity for us. At 2:00 pm a special reenactment took place where the Spanish gave up control of the Castillo to the British. They had men representing both nations marching around and going through a ceremony and then they came up on top and lowered the Spanish flag and raised the “Union Jack” of Great Britain. Quite an impressive ceremony. When done we exited the fortress and wound our way through the old historical part of St. Augustine back to our van and home.

Sunday morning, we attended church in the Jacksonville Beach ward and picked up Alexis Connelly and met the LaGae’s at the chapel. We had a wonderful 3 hours with them and everyone seemed to enjoy the meetings and classes. This was Alexis’ first sacrament meeting for over a month and we were happy her migraine headaches had subsided for the day. She is still getting treatments and evaluations for they haven’t completely gone away.  Samantha and her children sat with us and we helped with the children and they were good. Jerald LaGae is at sea and will be gone for another few weeks. In the afternoon Stephanie and Lance Jarvis invited us to dinner and we joined another “Beach” ward family, the Poppell’s and their 3 children, and Alexis Connelly also came along with a new convert, Tori Martin. We had a wonderful time with all these new friends and enjoyed a lovely meal and played a game following dinner. It was a rousing game, called “Telestrations” and we all laughed and had a good time. We were especially happy that Alexis got to associate with Stephanie and Lance and meet other members of her new ward.

 Pam in St. Augustine
 Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
  Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
  Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
  Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
  Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
  Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
  Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
 Historical home in St. Augustine
 Historical home in St. Augustine
 Magnolia's are in full bloom here in Jacksonville
 Farm Share
 Pam at Farm Share
 Farm Share
 Pam with Abry Jones of the Jacksonville Jaquars at Farm Share

Missionaries who helped us at Farm Share
 Pam at the Navy Exchange on Military Wives Appreciation Day
 Pam and Joe at Navy Exchange

 Sister Knudsen and Gillins at our home for dinner

Week 66 (6 - 12 May)

Monday morning, Pam and I left for the USO at 9:30 am. No Dough dinner was that evening, so we were busy. Upon arrival my birthday was cele...