As we sat at home on Monday we watched the rain bands from Isaac come and go. We noticed that the edge of the pond/lake that we look over started to move over it’s banks, over the grass and towards our apartment. One of the maintenance men went by and Mary asked him about the height of the water and he said that the county said that no more water could be released into the canals because they were all filled to their peak. Luckily the rain stopped before the water got really menacing and it was fun to see the fish and turtles come up on the grass.
Turtles came up on the lawn to get some bread…the water over lapped the lower pool deck…the high water mark shows how the water came before it stopped raining.
Tuesday morning provided a beautiful sky as the sun returned to Fort Lauderdale.
The Florida Fort Lauderdale mission was poised to have it’s second month of 100 plus baptisms when Isaac came roaring up from the South. Due to the possibility that it would have great impact on the area, two stakes cancelled all of their Sunday meetings and the others all had only one sacrament meeting in the morning. Therefore a large number baptisms had to be shifted to next week.
But even with all of this 27 great people entered into the waters of baptism during the week and brought the total for the mission for the month to 94! This shows that while Issac kept these above average missionaries from reaching the mission goal, they still had a great month!
We were at the office this morning when we got a call from Sister Anderson. She said that she hoped we were at home and not at the office. Because of the forecast of high winds and lots of rain, President Anderson wanted all missionaries – including the couples – to stay at home all day. So we did a few things – including calling other couples – and came home.
Thankfully – at least for Florida – Isaac has moved to the West and the eye will probably miss all of Florida except the Keys. However this is not of course good for wherever it ends up coming ashore. I have found it somewhat hard to pray that our mission might be spared when this means some other mission will be affected.
Last night we heard that there would be no 1 PM meetings and we should go to the 9 or 11 am meetings. Actually the only meetings that were held in our area were at 9 and that was only sacrament. It ended up that as soon as the sacrament had been passed it was announced that due to a major band of high winds and rain that the bishop decided to end the meeting and send everyone home. Mary and I can not remember us ever being in a meeting where there was just the sacrament and no speakers. But then we have never been in Florida when a hurricane was off shore.
But we did not go home! Elders Shaffer and Harral had a baptism for a woman planned and they were determined to hold it. So Mary played the piano, we sang one verse of a hymn, prayer bishop Pickard gave a short talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost, Jackie was baptized, one verse of a hymn, closing prayer and everyone headed home.
I have commented before on how most of the saving ordinances are simple and short. Once again as I was watching this amazing ordinance of baptism I was touched by the spirit as the power of the Priesthood, a simple declaration of purpose, and then immersion in water, changed the life of this woman for all eternity! The only robes were simple white garments, there was no elaborate ceremony, and the whole ordinance took less than 2 minutes – but all the power and blessings of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost were invoked.
We are winning!
We tried to get some pictures of the progress of the temple but since we must take them while traveling on the freeway we can not slow down much so this week we got a couple of good shots of the South side and a great – if not planned – one of some of the equipment that is being used. Hopefully we will get better shots in the weeks ahead as we travel home from the Pine’s chapel that is supposedly going to be open for September’s testimony meeting!
It was Mary’s turn to feed the ducklings – they are getting quite big and they can put away an amazing amount of bread. They are also not very polite about sharing – it is every duckling for itself! The smart ones catch the bread on the fly but there is plenty of scrambling. Mary is really enjoying helping Sister Rampton with improving her piano playing. I get to spend the time either reading something from their excellent library or talking to one of the daughters – usually Chloe. I have a great picture of her studying but I promised I would not put it up for public display.
Needless to say one of the things that we regularly check is the forecast of where now tropical storm Isaac may be going. It is rather like the old saying – “Pray for the best and prepare for the worst.” I went to the gas station this morning to make sure our gas tank was full, we have water, lots of high calorie food bars, our cell phones and iPads are fully charged, but we do not enough batteries. The mission has a program in place as to where each missionary companionship and the couples will go if it looks like Issac decides to take a bigger turn to the East.
While we were preparing for the possibilities of a hurricane here in Florida, we found out that a couple of teenagers playing with fireworks started a fire on the North side of Rock Canyon which is way too close to our neighborhood. Thankfully there was little wind and the great firemen and women were able to get it under control before it did any real damage. However the two culprits were caught and their families are facing a bill of around $100,000 to cover the cost of fighting the fire.
From this week’s letter from President Anderson…
“On Saturday… one of the last doors we harvested, after a not so successful street, was David’s door. We blessed him and he was very touched. We testified, invited and he rejected. He said… I am not looking to become a Mormon. We invited him to Church and he said no, and so we left him our number and a chapel card. The next door was a family of 3 that accepted and committed to come to church… then as we were walking to our car we got a call from an unknown phone number… we answered and someone said ‘Hi is this the sister Missionary? This is David…you guys just said a prayer with me. Sooo you turn left on Hiatus road to get to the chapel??’ I smiled and said ‘yes’… and he said… ‘and is ok if I don’t wear a suit?’ And I said ‘yes!’ He said ‘ok …I was inspired and I will see you there tomorrow’… and he came..! Miracle .. THE HARVEST IS INSPIRING!”
As I checked the mail this evening, in came pictures from the last two Zone Conferences. So I decided to do one more post with them and a picture of the new couple that arrived here on Friday!
In May we went to the Miami Shores chapel to be part of the Miami Beach/Hialeah Zones conference. These are elders and sisters that we do not get to see very often except at conferences and transfer meetings unless they have served in the Fort Lauderdale zone. Hopefully many of them will serve here in the Fort Lauderdale zone so we will get to know them better.
On Friday afternoon the Bares finished their long drive from Provo and we got a chance to meet them, give them a phone and help them move into their apartment here at the Waves. They are not stranger to Fort Lauderdale as they have spent many months here enjoying the warm all year around weather.
As noted below on Thursday we had a chance to go to the Fort Lauderdale Zone conference. We know most of the missionaries very well as we have been to their district meetings or they have been over to our apartment for a last lunch or two.
It has been a great Sabbath day. Lots of powerful talks, an excellent Sunday School lesson, and to top it all off a baptismal service for a strong father and his son.
I already have mentioned some of the articles and talks I read this morning. As I was getting dressed I noticed the items that I put in my pocket including passalong cards – Faith in Christ being the most popular, glasses, and a yellow liner pen, all sitting on a picture of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It just looked right for a picture. After a great block of meetings, Mary was asked to play for the baptism of Victor Texador and his 8 year old son Danel. It was Elder Harral’s first baptisms – he baptized Danel who gave a nice shout as he came out of the water. Elder Shaffer has been successful in all of his areas and is a fine trainer for Elder Harral.
I will mention an opportunity I had to follow the spirit. Just as the Sacrament service was finished, two women stuck their heads into the chapel, looked around and then went back out. It was obvious at least one of them was not a member so as the Deacons were walking back up to the front I felt that I should go out and see it they needed help. It turned out one was a member but the other sister was an investigator that the Elders are teaching. I told them that the sacrament was over and showed them where the elders were sitting with the Texadors. They stayed for Sunday School but not for the baptism service.
With our meeting not starting until 1:00 I must confess that at times it is easy for me to just find a book – not the scriptures – and curl up and read for a couple of hours. A few weeks ago I read a talk about the Sabbath Day that changed my attitude about the way I spend the morning or at least how I am trying to spend the Sunday mornings.
I have found it a good time to read the Ensign and listen again to conference talks, and ponder what I read. This morning besides reading and listening to a couple of talks by Elder Neal Maxwell – there are 53 of his conference talks available at LDS.org – I read an article about President George Albert Smith in the January 2012 Ensign (http://preview.tinyurl.com/8hn722e). The article ended with this comment about President Smith:
“As one observer said of President Smith: “His religion is not doctrine in cold storage. It is not theory. It means more to him than a beautiful plan to be admired. It is more than a philosophy of life. To one of his practical turn of mind, religion is the spirit in which a man lives, in which he does things, if it be only to say a kind word or give a cup of cold water. His religion must find expression in deeds. It must carry over into the details of daily life.”
It really got me thinking if the same or at least most of it could be said about me and the way I live what I know is true. As I once read somewhere “If you were accused of being a Latter-day Saint, could they find enough evidence to convict you?”
So as not to create a false impression that I spent the whole morning at LDS.org reading uplifting articles, here are some pictures that I accumulated from visiting other blogs and taking screen shots.
I guess we have never really left Africa because one of our favorite websites is the Tembe Elephant Park webcam. Almost every morning – it is afternoon in South Africa – we check in to see what is going on there. Elephants actually standing in the water is unusual but this big old bull was having a great time. He probably left the water hole and threw dirt all over him – it is an elephant thing. The middle picture caught impalas in the front, an elephant and way in the back some waterbucks. I am pretty sure we never saw this combination live while we served there. I can remember the first time we saw an impala and how excited we were. After three months we had seen so many we didn’t even say anything when we saw a herd.
Our dear friends Elder and Sister Bell who are serving as PEF missionaries, sent this picture of them being Helping Hands in the Philippines which has been hit by one terrible flood after another. Another blog I visit shows scenes from the DRC. I thought we had seen some very interesting loads on motorcycles, bikes and carts but I think this one of a van being transported on a cart beats them all. The writer mentioned that the men, cart and van actually passed them while they were sitting in traffic. We had that happen in Jakarta when a man pulling a huge cart full of grasses kept passing us as we tried to get through a stuffed traffic area.
We had Zone Conference for the Fort Lauderdale Zone on Thursday the 16th and I managed to take a few pictures. Sister Carnes with her new missionary sister Holyan. All the zone eating a delicious taco salad lunch. The young lady in pink is Cordy who is the Anderson’s granddaughter. She had a great time taking pieces of cake and other gifts to the missionaries. Elders Brown and Shepherd are companions who we only get to see at conferences and transfers. They are serving in the Hollywood Hills East area – elder Brown is district leader.
Elders Hall and Pond serve in Fort Lauderdale South area. Elders Doman, Marsh, Conger, Rellaford, Brown and Shepard shared a table. On Monday the 13th the couples got together at the Mission home for a FHE.
The ducklings continue to grow and will come to be fed when they hear my voice. The other day an intruder tried to join the group to get some of the bread but mama duck soon chased him away…the picture is blurry because he was making a quick exit. I think the ducklings would eat from my hand but I am afraid they would not stop with the bread.
I saw this license plate picture in the mall parking lot and thought it was worth taking. The Westfield Brower Mall has a nice fountain and sign outside the main entrance. Mary is talking to our neighbor. The little boy in the picture was born just one week before our youngest grandson Colin.
A misty morning shot. We get some great morning views from our deck.