We began our week at the USO, opening the facility for Joyce Schellhorn. Pam manned the phones while I took out the trash. After we got settled I went back to the new store room by the children’s room and began assessing how to organize the “stuff.” When Joyce arrived 2 hours later we discussed the store room and she was okay with what we were doing. She outlined a few other projects that needed our attention and we left about noon. We were taking Shay Tuttle to dinner in the evening, so drove around Atlantic Beach and picked a restaurant that would be close for her. She worked as an Office Manager at a Hearing Aide firm out on the Beach. We returned to our apartment and got a bite to eat and at 4:30 pm changed into missionary clothes and returned to Atlantic Beach and met Shay at the chapel. She followed us to Panera’s and for the next hour we had a wonder dinner and enjoyed getting to know her better. Her husband, Chris, is on deployment on the USS The Sullivans and will be gone until December. Shay is expecting a baby in December and they are excited. They are both from Arizona and met in high school and dated in college. We talked about the Temple and plan to take Shay with us from time to time. She enjoyed the evening as did we.
Tuesday morning, we had a good morning studying and preparing for the week. We texted appointments for all the companionships in the Zone for apartment inspections and I got another dental appointment made. We left our apartment shortly after noon and drove to Stephanie Jarvis’ home and Pam got to see the cute little “Fox” she and Stephanie made last month. It was finished and stuffed, and Stephanie was mailing it to her niece. From their home we took a long drive to the Dentist office in Mandarin where I had a 3:00 pm appointment with Dr. Patch. I spent about an hour and a half in his chair while he restored two teeth. You would think at my age they would stop decaying, but they don’t! When we exited the dental office, it was pouring down rain again. Pam and I ran to our car and slowly headed out. The water came in torrents and you could hardly see the lanes on the road. We slowly made our way to I-295 and headed north. After 20 minutes we passed out of the storm area and returned to the Beach and met Samantha LaGae and her children at a local Chic Fil-A. Jerald (husband) is at sea for about a month. They liked the restaurant because it had a play area for the kids. We ordered food and enjoyed an hour with Samantha and Clive. The girls went into the play area and we hardly saw them again. My mouth was gradually coming out of the freeze and I was able to eat, and drink and it tasted good.
Wednesday, we opened the USO again and Joyce Schellhorn left us a note with a few jobs to do and we got busy working on them. We had a community service worker (Traffic violation) come in and she did a pretty good job with various assignments. I checked all the channel selections on the Xfinity box in the lounge and Pam began working on the toys in the children’s room (what to keep, throw away, or place on the free table). Joyce arrived about 11:00 am and Cheryl Vandiver shortly thereafter with a truck load of food and other commodities from Beam’s which is a local organization founded in 1985 by representatives of local churches who received appeals for emergency financial assistance. The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, or BEAM, was created to provide help in a coordinated way to prevent duplication of services. We ended up with a table load of bread and pastries and several large boxes of diapers. We sorted diapers and ensured with had two bags of each size in the storage room and then we put the rest on the free table. I also loaded about 40 boxes of sundry items being mailed to a USO in the Middle East into Joyce’s SUV. We arrived home between rainstorms. Later in the afternoon I got a haircut from an interesting lady. She was very invested in Prison Ministries with her church and planned to travel to Zimbabwe to help in the female prisons in that country. She knew about our church and gave me several complements on the missionary efforts of young Elders. I came home in a driving rainstorm, so the van certainly gets washed every day.
We looked forward to Thursday as we were going to the Temple with the young Elders and Sisters. We picked up 5 Elder’s at the Fort Caroline chapel at 7:00 am and headed off to Orlando. These 5 Elders were from the Kingsland Zone, which is in Georgia. 3 of the Elders were going home next transfer and 2 were at their halfway point. The drive south was routine until we arrived in Orlando and freeway construction was intense. I missed a turnoff for the Tollway and we ended up taking a longer way to the Temple from the opposite side of the city than our normal route. But we made it and joined a large group of missionaries and senior couples in front of the Temple for pictures and greetings. We entered the Temple at 10:30 am, changed and proceeded to the chapel to await our session. The ordinance room was full, as we had at least 50 in attendance. We enjoyed the session and being in the Temple again and did some names Johanna sent via email. The entire group met in a sealing room following the session and President Lee and his wife counseled with us. President Lee invited me to give some thoughts on the importance of the Temple in our lives and that was nice. Upon exiting the Temple, it was raining lightly so I brought our van to the front entrance and picked up Pam and our Elder’s and then the entire group proceeded to Café Rio on the north side of Orlando. The Elder’s and Sister’s enjoyed the food and visited and shared stories. The drive home was mostly in rain but not too bad. It was also quiet for over an hour as I was the only one awake. We dropped the Elder’s off at the chapel and wished them well and returned to our apartment.
Friday morning, we left our apartment at 8:30 am to perform apartment inspections with the companionships in the Jacksonville East Zone. We started out in the Jacksonville Beach area and began with Elder Roy & Plumb’s apartment. Elder Plumb is from Roxborough Park and knows our families in Denver. He’s a great Elder. It was nice to see them and the cleanliness of their apartment. We continued to Elder Lamb & Hibbert’s apartment, followed by Sisters Knudsen & Gillins, then Sister’s Redford & Ferguson and Elders Carter & Brooksby. All apartments looked good with minor issues of light bulbs and trash. We then went across the St. John’s river to Dunn Avenue and saw Elders Vaughn & Aiken followed by Sisters Roderick & Newman. Again, all the apartments looked good and the only common thread was the amount of “stuff” each companionship accumulated from transfer to transfer. In the afternoon Pam prepared food and I picked up Elder Roy and Plumb and brought them home for dinner. Elder Roy departs for home in two weeks and we will miss him. He has touched our hearts due to his sweet spirit, enthusiasm for the work and love of the people. Following dinner, we visited and had a short message and then drove them back to their area.
Saturday, we cleaned up the apartment and did laundry. We took some potatoes to another military family nearby, the Alexander’s, and did some shopping and preparation for tomorrow.
Sunday morning came bright and clear, but hot!!! It is now in the mid-90’s but with the high humidity, the “heat index” is consistently well over 100 degrees. When it doesn’t rain we cook. Thank goodness for air conditioning. We drove to the Naval Station and picked up Alexis and continued to the chapel. We saved some extra space for Samantha and her kids, who arrived right after the opening prayer and joined us. The kids were pretty good with only a couple of trips to the foyer and bathroom. During Sunday school they went to their Primary classes and Samantha had two hours of peace. Clive was entertaining in Gospel Principles and behaved himself quite nicely through the combined meeting in the chapel. The Bishop, Relief Society, Elder’s quorum, Young Men and Women’s Presidents all talked about President Nelson’s talk to the youth of the church recently. Following the block Samantha and her family left and we took Alexis back to the base and came home ourselves. We received a referral from Bishop Currie about a lady who lived in the Fort Caroline Ward and was moving to the Naval Station. We also got a call from the Dunn Avenue Sisters about a man named “DJ” who had been referred to them by missionaries in North Carolina. I called him, and he had just arrived in Jacksonville and was a Marine stationed at the Air station. He needed some time to get checked in and then we could meet. He is an investigator, so the issue will be who teaches and where. It’s been a great week!
|Elders and Sisters at the Temple|
|President & Sister Lee|
|It's Us! We are still alive|
|Missionary going home next transfer|
|Missionaries at the half-way point|
|Elder & Sister Schroeder from Gainesville|
|Elder & Sister Waite Institute Teachers at Gaineville|
|Pam with President Lee & Elder Roy|
|Beautiful Celestial Room Window|