Monday morning, they didn’t want us early at the USO because of a floor cleaning and waxing crew that would be there, so I went to the Alexanders and mowed their lawns. The cool weather slowed down the growth, and when done it looked good and should last for another 2 weeks. Back at the apartment, Pam and I cleaned the apartment and then left for the USO prior to noon. They were still doing the floors, so we went for a drive to Ponte Vedra Beach and had lunch and returned about 1:30 pm. We spent the afternoon helping set up the office again following the installation of flooring and painting. The biggest issue was power, and the internet but we finally figured out the network and got the desks and computers set and operating. Pam worked in the kitchen unpacking new cookware and sorting drawers and cupboards. We heard from Tara Alexander, and she was safely in Orlando and having a good time with Wes’ family.
Tuesday morning, we noticed a significant change in the weather to more Fall weather and it was nice. Pam and I left for the USO in the morning and assisted Joyce Schellhorn (Director) in setting up the main room with tables and chairs. Also cleared out the Pathway room and returned it to normal, organized the new storage room and spent the afternoon in the office organizing, cleaning, hanging pictures and generally trying to get them set for day to day operations. They are having a corporate meeting on Wednesday, so Joyce wanted the facility looking as good as possible. Pam and I left at 2:30 pm and had a late lunch or early dinner and returned to our apartment. Made some calls to members and invited Shay Tuttle to dinner tomorrow when we host the Jacksonville Beach Sisters—she accepted.
Wednesday morning, we arrived at the USO at 10:00 am but they had plenty of volunteers and didn’t need us right then. A Corporate meeting was underway in the Pathway room, so everyone was on their best behavior and not much work was being done. Pam and I drove through Ponte Vedra Beach area and took the Palm Coast Highway back across the inter-coastal canal towards the West and drove through some pretty country, mostly wetlands and seemingly undeveloped areas. We returned to the beach via Butler Blvd and had some lunch before returning to the USO. We occupied ourselves for the next few hours helping in the office. Pam worked with Cheryl on a Christmas gift list for children and I worked with Joyce installing pictures, shelving brackets and unloading bins of items taken from the desks and cabinets prior to the floor project. The Corporate Board meeting finally broke about 2:00 pm and Mike Brian brought in key players and introduced them to everyone. We cleaned up the lunch table and put away food and then Pam and I said our goodbyes and left for the day. We passed some time on the Naval Station and in the chapel parking lot before going to the Sisters apartment and doing an inspection and then took them to Panera’s for dinner. Shay Tuttle met us at the restaurant and we had a delightful 45 minutes with them all. Shay was doing well and was finally looking pregnant, and she reported Chris was having a good cruise. Sister Davis gave a short message and then we said our goodbyes. We gave Shay a small Lemon Birthday cake as her birthday is Saturday. We dropped off the Sisters and then returned to our apartment.
Thursday morning, we opened the USO. Almost immediately we had patrons arrive for bread, but alas no bread. Don’t know why, but Joyce Schellhorn (Director) told us last night that we wouldn’t have bread. Joyce arrived at 10:30 am and she had things for us to do and we took care of them. Pam finished a list of Christmas items for an Angel Tree at the NEX and manned the office and checked in patrons. Cheryl Vandiver arrived about 11:00 am with food for Monday’s “No Dough” dinner and we helped her unload her truck. At 12:30 pm I made a deposit for Joyce and then we returned some poster making items to the Navy Exchange and Pam and I left for home. We had some lunch and spent the rest of the day at home. We made a number of phone calls and texts contacting families and had some texts from missionaries about a baptism on Friday evening at the Fort Caroline chapel.
Friday morning, we left at 7:40 am to do apartment inspections and drove to the River Market Area and visited with Sisters Vai & Newman, followed by visits to Elders Shurtleff & Tualamalii in the Dunn Avenue area. We crossed back across the St. John’s river to the Arlington and Fort Caroline areas and visited with, Sisters Byington & Abril followed by visits to Elders Brooksby & Hendricks and to Sisters Johnson & Paulsen (Sister Wasden was on exchange with Sister Davis in Jacksonville Beach) and finally Elders C. Smart & Saxton. All the apartments looked okay, some better than others, but all the mechanical features of the apartments were working, the kitchens and bathrooms clean and orderly and with one or two exceptions the apartments were also clean orderly and prepared for inspection. All the kitchens had received new appliances—George Foreman grills, Ninja food processors, Waffle Makers, and new plates, bowls, cups, and utensils. The old items were removed so all missionaries now have the same basic features in their apartments. After the last apartment we drove to BJ’s on Atlantic for gas and did some shopping. We returned to the Arlington Hills area and had some lunch and then returned to our apartment. We spent time updating contact information and finished the apartment inspection report and called Elder Alexander (new senior missionary over housing) and got his email address and forwarded our report to him. Later in the afternoon we changed into church clothes and drove to Jacksonville Beach and met the Sisters at their apartment at 6:15 pm and picked up one of their investigators, William, and returned to the Fort Caroline chapel for a baptism. They had another investigator, Charlene, who was supposed to go with us, but she couldn’t go at the last minute. We arrived at the chapel at 7:00 pm and a nice group was assembled in the relief society room for the service. The ward mission leader, Brother Murdock, conducted the meeting and Bishop Ladd presided. Sisters Johnson and Wasden taught the investigator, Roberta Pierre, and she was excited about her baptism. A talk on baptism was given by Rachel Smith, a ward member and a talk on the Holy Ghost by Sister Johnson. Brother Brandon Smith performed the baptism. After Sister Pierre was dressed we met again in the relief society room and heard a short message from Bishop Ladd and the service concluded with notice that Sister Pierre would be confirmed in sacrament meeting on Sunday. We visited with other Fort Caroline members and several missionaries who were attending from the Arlington and Fort Caroline Wards and then returned to Jacksonville Beach and dropped off William and the Sisters at their respective homes and then returned to our own apartment.
Saturday morning, we learned of another Tropical Depression forming in the Atlantic and will have to watch that. Around mid-morning Pam and I began cleaning the apartment and we vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms, kitchen and dusted. We also began 5 loads of laundry which took most of the day to finish. At noon we were dressed and drove to the St. John’s Center and had lunch and did some shopping at Costco. On the way back to our apartment we stopped at a nearby Wal-Mart and bought a few items. Pam got a birthday box from Janet and then spent the next few hours talking with her and Johanna, getting caught up on happenings at Monroe and Denver. We made phone calls about Sunday meetings and settled in for the day.
Sunday morning, we drove to Jacksonville Beach and attended church. Today they only had sacrament and Sunday school meetings as at least 20 adults were gone to assist in Hurricane Michael cleanup in Crawfordsville, Florida near Tallahassee. A smaller group went to North Carolina last weekend and we were anxious to hear how that went. I called Alexis Connelly this morning, but she just got in and said she wouldn’t be at church. We are worrying about her. Sometime today the Chile Conception Temple was being dedicated by President Russell M. Nelson, our Prophet. That made 160 operating Temples in the church. It also concludes his week long tour of South America. We left for the Beach at 9:30 am and met with the saints in Sacrament meeting. Samantha Lagae and her kids sat with us and Jenny Black and Oliva were there along with the Jarvis.’ Tyler went to Crawfordsville and the Heads must still have sick children. Following wonderful talks by Sister Ward and Sister Hardy we concluded Sacrament meeting and attended a fine Gospel Principles class led by Brother Novak. Following the block, we drove to the Lagae home and picked up some dishes we had left from the military dinner party there on the 19th of October. At our apartment Pam fixed some dinner for us and we settled in for the day. Pam called her sister and had a nice talk and we also heard from Travis and he updated us on the happenings in Denver and Provo with his family. I called all the families from the Arlington and Fort Caroline wards that we have been trying to reach and also talked with Sister Reese from the Dunn Avenue ward and went through a list of names with her. She invited us to a Ward Chili Cook-off on the 10th of November and indicated all the military families would be attending, so that would be a good event for us to attend. Finally, I talked with Rebecca Cotton and got an update on her address and found out how she was doing and the forecast for the WMEC Valiant’s next cruise.
New floor in USO office and Cheryl Vandiver