Pam and I began our week at the USO and were surprised at the number of cars in the parking lot. Dave Ostrum and Cheryl Vandiver had opened, and volunteers were working on “no dough” dinner preparations in the kitchen and on adjacent tables. Pam worked in the kitchen and I spent the morning setting up the main rooms—salad, condiments, dessert and drink tables. By noon all the preparation was done, and volunteers began to leave. Cheryl said they had chief selectees coming in the evening for the dinner and we didn’t need to stay. We shopped for the week and then returned to our apartment and did some laundry.
Tuesday morning was Primary Elections in Florida and the USO was a designated polling location, so they closed it for normal operations. Dave Ostrum opened the facility and stayed throughout the day, so we didn’t go in at all. We cleaned our apartment and then drove across the river to the Dunn Avenue section of town to find a Beauty Supply store where Pam bought a permanent and some needed supplies to do a permanent at home. On the way back, we drove along the north side of the river and took the Ferry across the St. John river and continued to the Naval Station to see Samantha LaGae. She was home with two of her three kids and we had a nice visit. Jerald was at sea for a couple of weeks. After the visit we returned to our area and had some lunch and then returned to our apartment where Pam finished Alice’s Baptism dress and it was beautiful.
Wednesday morning, we drove directly to the Beach Church on Jacksonville Beach and picked up a dozen boxes of fruit and vegetables and then continued to the USO. A fitness class was in process and all the tables and chairs were out of the main rooms because of the voting yesterday. We unloaded the food onto the pool table and got it sorted, displayed and pictures taken and posted on a Military wives Facebook page. Pam drove to the Naval Station and took care of Fiona and Clive while Samantha LaGae organized her office. She was beginning an online college course and couldn’t get anything done with the kids underfoot. After the fitness class left I swept the floor and together with Dave and a volunteer set out tables and chairs and got the facility back to normal. Once Facebook got wind of the food we had a steady stream of military wives and husbands coming in to see what was available and by noon most of the food was gone. Pam returned at 1:00 pm and we visited with Dave for a while and confirmed schedules and left. We had some lunch and did some shopping. While at Wal-Mart I had the van serviced and new wiper blades installed. Here in Jacksonville, the wipers get a workout. Later on we drove to the chapel in Jacksonville Beach to meet the Sisters (Knudsen & Davis) and when they arrived, took them to dinner. We enjoyed the meal and visiting with them for an hour. Both are Sister Training Leaders and super missionaries.
Thursday, we opened the USO at 9:00 am and laid out the bread and pastries that arrived the previous evening. By 10:00 am patrons began arriving to check out the bread and goodies and also Cheryl Vandiver arrived for her shift. We spent a quiet morning answering phones, checking in patrons and a few other sundry jobs. At noon we left and had lunch and then went to a dental appointment later in the afternoon. I had a molar removed that had been giving me issues as the root had split and was infected. Doctor Jeffrey had babied it for years, but now it needed to come out. The whole process took about a half an hour and once the tooth was out the doctor filled the root socket with bone graft material, sealed it up and I was done. The next step was either do nothing or have an implant put in ($$$). We made a stop at Wendy’s on the way to our apartment and got a large Frosty—Yum!!
Friday morning, we awoke normally, and I had a good night’s rest and my mouth felt fine, so we went to the USO and spent the morning. Cheryl Vandiver was working with one community service volunteer. It was a pretty quiet morning and Pam and I worked in the office taking care of donations and doing a little housework. At noon we drove to the LaGae home on the Naval Station and visited with Samantha for a few minutes. Following lunch we returned to our apartment and Pam gave herself a permanent and did a beautiful job.
Saturday morning, I texted Tara Alexander about coming to mow her lawns, but she replied the Elder’s had come by the previous Thursday and did the job. We asked if we could take her and kids to lunch and she said she and Samantha LaGae and kids were meeting at Costco and would we like to join them, so we did. It’s been wonderful to witness this friendship that has developed. Even though they live 10 miles apart they do a lot of things together and support each other. When they arrived, we got in line and bought a lot of hotdogs for the kids. It was good to see them all and received hugs from Eleanor, Fiona, Clive, Tristin and Kyler. They were very good and ate their food. After visiting for a while, we said our goodbyes and Pam and I did a little shopping and returned to our apartment.
Sunday morning, we drove to the Jacksonville Beach Ward and greeted the saints and other missionaries. Tyler Gneck was there along with Shay Tuttle and Jennie and Rich Black and their daughter Oliva. It was the first time we had met Rich. Sacrament meeting was excellent and following the sacrament we enjoyed many testimonies. I bore my testimony after having had a dream about it this morning. Felt it was a prompting. Following sacrament meeting we attended the gospel principles class and enjoyed Brother Novak’s lesson on Tithing. The Sisters had two men they were teaching, and they were both interesting and challenging individuals. Following the block, I visited with Rich in the foyer, but he was very shy. We hope to be a positive influence on that family. I texted Alexis Connelly before we left the Beach, but she didn’t answer so we returned to our apartment. Alexis went to her brothers Boot Camp graduation in the Army during the week and on the way back to Jacksonville was involved in a car accident. Don’t know all the details but hope we can help her if needed. Emailed our monthly report to Salt Lake and also to the mission president and President Lee called and we had a nice visit with him regarding our work. Appreciate their support.