Monthly Archives: March 2013

Specialized Training – Northern Zones

We just had an amazing specialized training that centered on the First Vision and Prayer. Here are 55 pictures I took at the meeting on Friday of the Northern Zones – Stuart, Palm Beach, Coral Springs, and Fort Lauderdale. I will put captions on the pictures when I have a chance but for now you can look through them and see if you can find your missionary. Look behind the main subjects because there a lot of photos where you can see other missionaries. If I missed someone I am sorry – it was certainly not intentional.  Enjoy!

1 - 29mar13 - STN - Dean, Reeves, Brown Rugg

We were almost to our turn off to the Boynton Beach Chapel when we got a call that asked if we could rescue some elders who were at the Tri Rail Station. Since it was almost on our way we said sure and picked up elders Reeves, Dean, Brown and Rugg – but at Dunkin’ Donuts! When we got to the chapel I started taking pictures

 

2 - 29mar13 - STN - Foyer before meeting... 3 - 29mar13 - STN - Gordon, Dougal, Johnson Mary

Because of our side trip we made it just in time to take just a couple of pictures before the missionaries were invited to go in and sit quietly studying until the meeting started. We did get to say hello to our old friend elder Rellaford and see sister Stegelmeier talking to elder Hunt and Jones – notice her hands are moving. The group of sisters on the right side of the picture include sisters Ellett, Dougal, Merrill, Johnson and an almost hidden sister Gordon. Sisters, Gordon, Dougal and Johnson with Mary who is passing out some of the 3000 plus letters she has written over the last 14 months.

4 - 29mar13 - STN - Hunt B Jones 5 - 29mar13 - STN - 50 Pizzas

I managed a picture of one companionship before they all went in – elders Hunt and B. Jones are the zone leaders in the Coral Springs zone. Elder Collins and myself went to get the 50 pizzas piled up on the table.

6 - 29mar13 - STN - Happy Easter 7 - 29mar13 - STN - The room before missionaries

This looks like the leftover from an earlier social gathering at the ward – unfortunately it had nothing to show what Easter is all about! Just about every inch of the cultural hall was used for tables and chairs.

8 - 29mar13 - STN - Seniors setting up 9 - 29mar13 - STN - First Sisters

Many hands make light work…the couples all pitched in to get everything ready for lunch – even I helped before I started taking pictures. E/S Ellis and E/S Singleton are becoming experts on helping out. Sisters Dougal and Gordon are the first in line – sisters first is of course the rule.

10 - 29mar13 - STN - Gordon Steg Dougal11 - 29mar13 - STN - Sisters gather

They were soon joined by sister Stegelmeier and Merrill – unfortunately only sister Merrill’s arms are visible. Soon the other sisters arrived include sisters Fletcher, Smith Chavous, Escorbores, Sablan and Tuai.

12 - 29mar13 - STN - Haddock Call 13 - 29mar13 - STN - Rellaford Winslow

As the last of the sisters started through the line I realized that I could take pictures of the elders as they waited in line. Elders Haddock and Call from West Palm Central. Elders Rellaford and Winslow now serve in Boynton Beach North.

14 - 29mar13 - STN - Reeves Dean 15 - 29mar13 - STN - Brakey Wilson

Elder Reeves is being trained by elder Dean as they serve in Riverside Park. Elder Brakey and our old friend elder Wilson are serving Boca Raton West. Notice both are wearing blue ties…

16 - 29mar13 - STN - Pattberg Doman 17 - 29mar13 - STN - Aul Shaffer

Elders Pattberg and Doman are way up in Vero Beach. It turned out being elder Doman’s birthday. Elders Aul and Shaffer are in Jupiter North. Elder Shaffer has the honor of being the last mission that was called to the Orlando Mission and came over when the Stuart Zone was added to the mission.

18 - 29mar13 - STN - Taylor Burgon 19 - 29mar13 - STN - Hall Madson

Elder Taylor was born in the Fort Lauderdale area but is now serving with elder Burgon in Fort Pierce. Elder Hall is one of our favorite missionaries and is now with elder Madson in Boca Raton East.

20 - 29mar13 - STN - Loucks Elliott 21 - 29mar13 - STN - Brown Petersen

Sister Loucks will be happy to see this pictures of elder Loucks who is serving with elder Elliott. Elder K Brown – we just keep getting more Browns and they are all above average missionaries – is serving with elder Petersen in the rural Belle Glade area.

22 - 29mar13 - STN - Mackley Bloom 23 - 29mar13 - STN -K Jones - Koleber

 

Elder Mackley is serving with elder Bloom who served as district leader in Fort Lauderdale not too long ago. Elder K Jones had his assignment changed just over a week ago from district leader in Fort Lauderdale district to be a zone leader with elder Koleber in the Palm Beach zone.

 

 

24 - 29mar13 - STN - McMullin Rasmussen 25 - 29mar13 - STN - Chamberlain Brockbrank

Elder McMullin serves with ever smiling elder Rasmussen. Elder Chamberlain has a good grip on his companion elder Brockbank. Both of these serve in the Coconut Creek district.

26 - 29mar13 - STN - Pond Rondo 27 - 29mar13 - STN - Claude and Marsh - Pond in back

Elders Pond and Rondo are basically our across the street neighbors as they serve in the Plantation ward. I doubt if there any companionship that works any harder than these two. It seems elder Claude has some kind of slight accident that required the use of a crutch for a while. He is supported by his companion elder Marsh. I can remember when they both came into the mission.

28 - 29mar13 - STN - Wood Torres 29 - 29mar13 - STN - Doria Levy

Wood is with his friend but not companion elder Torres. One of the joys of conferences and specialized training is getting to see your former mission and MTC companions. Love and hugs are a constant at these meetings. Elders Doria and Levy are serving together in the West Palm South area.

30 - 29mar13 - STN - Pearce Wood 31 - 29mar13 - STN - Maddox Nielsen

Elder Pearce is elder Wood – elder Torres friend above – companion in Coral Springs. Elder Maddox is with his companion elder Fitts – wait that elder Nielsen disguised as elder Fitts.

32 - 29mar13 - STN - Woodard Free 33 - 29mar13 - STN - Duncan Faniaka

It seems elder Woodard is being well trained by elder Free in how to make faces. I am sure he is doing just as good a job it training him how to be an above average missionary. Elders Duncan and Faniaka serve together way up in Okeechobee. I asked them if the car sank very far when they got in together.

34 - 29mar13 - STN - Grant Harral 35 - 29mar13 - STN - Grant Harral 2

Why do I have two pictures of our friends elders Grant and Harral? Because elder Harrall said he was not smiling in the first one…you get to choose which one you like best.

36 - 29mar13 - STN - Ellet Johnson good 37 - 29mar13 - STN - Gordon Dougal

Since I did not get any pictures of the sisters before they went through the food line, I went around trying to get them all while they were eating. They were good sports and posed for me – at least most of them did. Sisters Ellett and Johnson are together in Palm Beach Central area. Sister Gordon is being trained by sister Dougal in Nova YSA.

38 - 29mar13 - STN - Daines Garcia53 - 29mar13 - STN - Aloi, Bagley, Sablan, Beck, Jackson

Sister Daines is training sister Garcia in Lauderhill South. I am glad I got this picture of sister Choui – pronounced Chew – with her trainer sister Bagley as well as sisters Sablan, Beck and Jackson. I thought I had no pictures of that companionship.

52 - 29mar13 - STN - Levy Doria 51 - McMullin 29mar13 - STN - Rasmussen

I joined elders Levy and Doria for a short time as they ate the last of the pizza in the box. Elder McMullin seems to be doing the same with his companion elder Rasmussen.

50 - 29mar13 - STN - Us Beck Sablan 49 - 29mar13 - STN - Us Sablan, Beck Edwards Ellett

Sister Sablan wanted a picture with us so we took one with her and her companion sister Beck. Elder Edwards had to sneak in for one and it seems sister Ellett also got in the picture.

48 - 29mar13 - STN - Sablan 47 - 29mar13 - STN - Ship, Gust, Stewart small table 2

Sister Sablan with elder Jones in the background. When the assistants finally had time to get some food all the tables were filled – or so they said – so they brought in their own private table at sat it up. It was just the right size for a pizza box with a little room left for their water bottles.

46 - 29mar13 - STN - Ship, Gust, Stewart small table 45 - 29mar13 - STN - Happy Birthday Dorman

Same group different pose. Sister Anderson announced it was elder Doman’s birthday so he got a serenade by all the missionaries and took it as a good sport. I seem to have been moving when I took the fuzzy picture!

44 - 29mar13 - STN - Jackson Andrus 43 - 29mar13 - xx Schneider

Elder Free snuck in as I took a picture of sisters Jackson and Andrus. Sisters Aloi and Schneider are serving together. Lots of elders in background.

42 - 29mar13 - STN - Tuai Price 41 - 29mar13 - STN - Beck Sablan

Sisters Tuai and Price serve in the Hollywood Hills North area. Sister Beck seems to be trying to get a arm hold on her companion sister Sablan.  Notice sister Sablan has vegetables on her plate.

40 - 29mar13 - STN - Merrill Steg 55 - 29mar13 - STN - Duncan Faniaka Gust 4 sisters

I am not sure if sister Merrill is smiling at the camera or her companion sister Stegelmeier. Elders Duncan, Faniaka and Gust pose with sister Price, Tuai, Beck and Sablan. I kept this one because I saw elder Rasmussen in the background.

54 - 29mar13 - STN - Duncan Faniaka Gust 4 sisters

Here is the same picture without elder Rasmussen.

That’s All Folks – hope you enjoyed the show!

 

Specialized Training – Southern Zones

We just had an amazing specialized training that centered on the First Vision and Prayer. Here are 64 pictures I took at the meeting on Thursday for the Southern Zones – Miami Beach, Hialeah, Miami, and Homestead. I will put captions on the pictures when I have a chance but for now you can look through them and see if you can find your missionary. Look behind the main subjects because there a lot of photos where you can see other missionaries. If I missed someone I am sorry – it was certainly not intentional.  Enjoy!

 

1 - 28mar13 - STS - Bay OK 2 - 28mar13 - STS - Tesch, Bay

When we arrived at the Miami Lakes chapel, the first missionary we ran into was elder Bay who wants everyone to know he is OK. A little later I took this picture of him with his companion elder Tesch.

3 - 28mar13 - STS - Lange Patino4 - 28mar13 - STS - O'Neill, Curtis, Pingree

Elder Lange is being trained by elder Patino who is a district leader in the Miami Beach Zone. Elder O’Neill got in both pictures – in the second he is next to his companion elder Curtis with elder Pingree joining in. Elder O’Neill and Curtis are in El Portal South while elder Pingree is in Fontainebleau with elder Wardell.

5 - 28mar13 - STS - Plowman feeling sad 6 - 28mar13 - STS - Relief Society tables

We said our goodbyes to elder Plowman who served with us in Fort Lauderdale Zone at the start of our mission. When we got to the chapel we found the cultural hall set up for a Relief Society event. I had the elders carefully put them away as is and then set up lots of tables for our lunch. After lunch we carefully put the hall back the way it was.

7 - 28mar13 - STS - Us Plowman 2 8 - 28mar13 - STS - Plowman Bowen

 

Us with elder Plowman and then him with his fellow Hialeah zone leader elder Bowen. We first met elder Bowen when we delivered his Christmas package up in the far reaches of Lake Okeechobee where he was serving with elder Duncan.

 

 

9 - 28mar13 - STS - Lee Kafton 10 - 28mar13 - STS - Gust Stewart Ship

Elders Lee and Kafton serve together in Miami Gardens. I was finally able to get a picture of the new AP trio. They have been so busy since elder Stewart joined elders Gust and Shipley on Monday that they have not been in the office while we were there. It is good to see they are already color coordinating their ties.

11 - 28mar13 - STS - Gust Stewart Shipley 1 12 - 28mar13 - STS - Diaz Toeava

Have to have the thumbs up shot. They will work together until elder Shipley is released. Elder Diaz is given a big hug from his friend elder Toeava. They serve in different zones but that does not matter at all when it comes to brotherhood.

13 - 28mar13 - STS - Ovard Hoole 14 - 28mar13 - STS - Dowdle Williams

Elder Ovard with elder Hoole – again brothers not currently companions. Elder Dowdle and elder Williams are serving together as Zone Leaders in the Miami Beach zone. Elder Dowdle will be going home this transfer and we will miss him even though we will be leaving soon after.

15 - 28mar13 - STS - Lake Brown 16 - 28mar13 - STS - Room Ready for Lunch

It seems that wherever we go we see sister Lake who is with her companion sister Brown. Sister Lake is another missionary who has served an above average mission and will be departing on April 11th. Our table set up is not as pretty as the RS one but it is functional.

17 - 28mar13 - STS - 40 Pizzas 18 - 28mar13 - STS - Sisters both sides

 

Elder McCormick and I went to get 40 pizzas at Little Caesars. There was a young man of about 8 or 9 there and when we said we had come to pick up 40 pizzas all he could say was Wow! So sister Hansen was third in line for lunch with sisters Brown, Hymas and others close behind.

 

19 - 28mar13 - STS - Johnson Dunford, Syme, Farley 20 - 28mar13 - STS - Long Sister's Table

Sisters Johnson, Dunford, Syme and Farley sat at a round table while four companionships and sister McCormick sat at the long table.

21 - 28mar13 - STS - Long Sisters Table 2 22 - IMG_2392 - Gutierrez, Bowen Plowman

Lets see if I get this right…on the left is sisters Meiling, Hansen, Herrera, and Vance. At the end is sister Ware. Coming back towards the front from sister Ware are sisters Lira, Judkins, Holyan, and McCormick. What a great group of above average sister missionaries. The three elders are Gutierrez, Bowen and Plowman. Notice elder Plowman was not about to stop eating to have his picture taken…first things first is his moto.

23 - 28mar13 - STS -  Lee - etc 24 - 28mar13 - STS - Hoole Harper, etc

 

Elders Lee, Kafton, Marcusen and Gutierrez at one table – btw elder Marcusen is an excellent piano player.

25 - 28mar13 - STS - Whitney Diaz 26 - 28mar13 - STS - Patino, etc

Elders Whitney and Diaz look a little lonely but they were early in line and were soon joined by others. These 6 elders really did not appreciate being photographed with their mouths full.

 

27 - 28mar13 - STS - Andersons Johnson Dunford 28 - 28mar13 - STS - Ellis serves ice cream

The Andersons with sisters Johnson and Dunford. That is my untouched pizza in the foreground. Elder Ellis took my job scooping ice cream. I am glad he did because I was still busy taking pictures. Besides he needs the training for future conferences and training meetings.

29 - 28mar13 - STS - Dunford with Dessert 30 - 28mar13 - STS - Richardson

Sister Dunford is being a loving companion as she gets dessert for her companion. At least that is what she told me. I did not check to see if she actually gave one to sister Johnson. Elder Richardson was given a big hug by elder Kafton

31 - 28mar13 - STS - Ware Quiocho Hoole Ship Gust 32 - 28mar13 - STS - Quiocho

Elder Hoole hopped tables and is seen here with sisters Ware and Quiocho and the APs elder Shipley and Gust. Sister Quiocho loves to pose for my pictures.

33 - 28mar13 - STS - Quiocho Hoole 34 - 28mar13 - STS - Ship Gust eating

Elder Hoole joined in the fun with sister Quiocho. Notice that elder Gust is not only busy eating but also that he has clean his plate while others are still just getting started.

35 - 28mar13 - STS - Kata Rockwood Dowdle 36 - 28mar13 - STS - Sis McCormick

Some of our larger and more handsome elders – Kata, Rockwood and Dowdle. The senior missionaries also got in line for dessert. Sister McCormick waits patiently while elder Ellis serves her. I noticed that I managed to also capture sister Anderson and the ever present elder Hoole in the background.

37 - 28mar13 - STS - Herrera 38 - 28mar13 - STS - Wardell Pingree

Sister Herrera smile prettily in her rich red skirt. Elder Wardell and Pingree got their share of the pizza…there was enough for seconds and even thirds.

39 - 28mar13 - STS - Bare Smile 40 - 28mar13 - STS - Beer, Williams Dowdle 41 - 28mar13 - STS - Brown Quiocho, Ware Herrera 42 - 28mar13 - STS - Mary and RS Tables Back 43 - 28mar13 - STS - Lange, Kata, Diaz 44 - 28mar13 - STS - Group 1 45 - 28mar13 - STS - Rockwood, Kata, Maki…etc 46 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 1 47 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 2 48 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 3 Page 49 - 28mar13 - STS - Hansen, Meiling Note 50 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 4 51 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 5 52 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 6 53 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 7 54 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 854 - 28mar13 - STS - Elders Table 8 55 - 28mar13 - STS - Langford Rockwood 56 - 28mar13 - STS - McCormicks 57 - 28mar13 - STS - Langford, Rockwood, Comstock 58 - 28mar13 - STS - Herrera Lira 59 - 28mar13 - STS - Hoole Quiocho Ware 60 - 28mar13 - STS - Brown Lake 61 - 28mar13 - STS - Sis Anderson laughing 62 - 28mar13 - STS - Smith, Esco, etc 63 - 28mar13 - STS - Smith Escorbores 64 - 28mar13 - STS - Fletcher Bean Sis Bare

Training the Trainers…

So we are four weeks into the transfer and it was time for President Anderson and the APs to have a meeting with all the new missionaries and their trainers. After the meeting many of the companionships came into the office to pickup supplies or drop off baptismal reports or perhaps just grab some snacks before heading back to their area.

27mar13-tt-edwards-with-bares.jpg 27mar13-tt-smoot-pink-pig.jpg 27mar13-tt-edwards-off-board.jpg

Before the TT crowd came through, elders Edwards and Smoot came in on their way to some interviews. Elder Edwards spoke with the Bares about getting all the baptismal records in as soon as possible while elder Smoot opened his Easter package from home. My favorite item in the box was this pink Porky Pooper! With a big smile on his face he said his mother liked sending thing like that! Good for sister Smoot! They happened to come in just as we were removing the pictures from the going home board. Elder Edwards will be leaving on May 11 so his picture came off.

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Elder Smoot saw his picture moved to the far end of Death Row – he still has a number of transfers – while ours moved the other end! Dun – Dun, Dun, Dun. Among the first companionships in from TT was sister Chiou and her trainer sister Bagley. Sister Chiou was one of those sisters who came in between transfers because she already had language skills.

27mar13-tt-choui-bagley.jpg 27mar13-tt-farley-syme.jpg 27mar13-tt-garcia-singleton.jpg

They introduced themselves to elder Singleton. It is always good to know the person responsible for making sure you get MSF funds each month. Sister Farley and her trainer sister Syme were in as was sister Garcia who talked to sister Singleton.

27mar13-tt-johnson-urmston.jpg 27mar13-tt-lira-melling.jpg 27mar13-tt-q-ware-glasses.jpg

Elder Urmston and his trainer elder Johnson takes a look at the board. Sister Lira is training sister Melling. Sister Quiocho is training  sister Ware and was happy to strike a pose for me and had a big smile.

27mar13-tt-quiocho-ware.jpg 27mar13-tt-whitney-diaz.jpg 27mar13-tt-williamson-harris-thorne-smoot.jpg

I mentioned that I could not see her eyes with the dark glasses on so I took another with them off. Sister. Elder Whitney and his trainer elder Diaz had their picture taken in the supply room. Elder Williamson showed off his great looking purple tie while his trainer, elder Harris’ tie was a little more subdued. In the background is the newest district leader, elder Thorne, and elder Smoot.

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Elder Woodard and his trainer elder Free had big smiles for the camera. A group of sisters gathered in the supply room while elders Patino taught his trainee elder Lange how to eat as many snacks as he could while he had the chance.  Then as quickly as they came they left to head back to their areas so they could get their 8 blessings by the time they head back to their homes tonight.

Would You Like to See a Blog Like This Continue for another 17 Months?

As those who are reading this blog regularly know, we will be leaving the Fort Lauderdale mission in about a month. We will be both sad and happy to leave for home – we will certainly miss the wonderful missionaries – both young and old – and members we have come to love. We will take some time to see family, go to some great up coming events, have Christmas and then hopefully will be out on another mission some time early in 2014.

Elder and Sister Singleton are our replacements and I have mentioned to them a number of times that there were a lot of family and friends of Fort Lauderdale missionaries who read this blog regularly.  I suggested that the readers would love it if the Singletons would open their own blog and continue our tradition.

Right now they are really busy trying to learn what to do in the office and as finance secretary to really think of taking this on but they did say that they might think about it.

I purpose that any of you who would like them to start and keep up a blog once they have become comfortable in their callings write a comment to this post asking them to do this and why. In a week or so I will show them all your comments – if there are any – and maybe that will help them decide to at least give it a try. I know once they start they will want to continue – especially if once they start you will give them your thanks.

Monday Office – Tuesday Elder Thorne’s Birthday

 Monday started the second week of elder and sister Singleton’s training. It was also p-day so elder Gust was in the office to do his e-mailing. Sister Bare claims the Work Station printer as her’s because she uses it more than anyone else to do chapel cards. The Collins were in before going out to look for more housing for all the new areas that will be opening after the April transfers. If I remember correctly sister Collins is telling elder Singleton about the wild life they saw on their trip down to the keys this weekend. Sister Singleton is busy studying.

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26mar13-dm-bean-garcia.jpg 26mar13-dm-turek-van.jpg 26mar13-dm-smith-chavous.jpg

Today I went to district training while the rest stayed in the office to work. Sister Bean had sister Garcia as an exchange companion. Elder Turek is elder Van Wagenen’s new Creole companion as elder Jones is now zone leader with elder Koleber up in Palm Beach zone. Sisters Smith and Chavous join in the opening song…it is a good thing that we have 5 sisters with good voices in this district because the elders – including myself – are not very good. Loud but not good.

26mar13-dm-edwards-smoot-lake-smith-chavous.jpg 26mar13-dm-chavous-lake.jpg 26mar13-dm-edwards-smoot.jpg

Elders Edwards and Smoot listen while sisters Lake, Smith and Chavous give accountability for their area. Sister Lake was back visiting on an exchange with the other two sisters. Elders Van Wagenen Edwards and Smoot held down one end of the table.

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Last week we had elder Burt’s birthday. This week it was elder Thorne’s turn. So not only did he hold his first DTM but he also got a great looking hat and a custom decorated cake made by sister Bean. We had better luck keeping the candle burning on the cake this week so elder Thorne got to blow them out. Elder Smoot looks for food while sister Bean shows off the mustache straws and birthday boy takes the cake…

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Elder Brimley got close to his companion to make sure he got his share of the cake. Sisters Garcia, Chavous. Smith and Lake along with elder Van Wagnen look at the pizza that was there to be shared. All the elders gather in a piece or two of pizza.

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I almost got elder Smoot taking a big bite while elders Andelin and Brimley chew their’s. I should mention that elder Thorne gave an excellent lesson on Faith before we closed the meeting and started the party. It is a wonderful experience to share these meetings and the spirit that is there with the missionaries. I hope all of those who read this will join in praying for the district to meet their goal of having 15 baptisms this week. They have faith that they can do this but your prayers will be welcomed.

Family Missionary Moments…

 We got some of good news and pictures – yesterday and it all related to missionary work.

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taylor-mckay-temple.jpg elder-webb-and-elder-flores-will-work-in-jaen.jpg

Our granddaughter McKay Pier went through the temple to take out her endowments as she has been called to serve in the Washington, Seattle Mission – Spanish speaking. She went with our son Bob and his wife Lisa. Also there was her mother Teresa Collins, and her sister Taylor. The other news was that our grandson, Elder Shane Webb, who is serving in the Spain Malaga mission, is going to be training elder Flores in Jaen. The mission is getting so many new missionaries that elder Webb is a trainer after being in the mission for only one week. I am hoping that elder Flores speaks fluent Spanish because elder Webb is still getting use to European Spanish.

The Temple – Easter Bunny – Attend a Baptism…a Great Saturday

 We had a great Saturday morning. First we slept in – well Mary slept in and I kind of slept in before getting up and going to the gym. I am working on leaving in Florida the extra weight I managed to pick up in the first year of our mission here. Too much sitting down – especially with food in front of me – and not enough exercising. Of course it all starts at the MTC where it all you can eat for every meal – especially on ice cream Wednesdays.

We picked up E/S Singleton and headed for the temple construction site. We were very lucky to get there just as they were putting the trim around the windows up in the steeple. If you look back a few months you can see the glass was put in but left untrimmed until today. I love to look at the window detail and the the small detail in the cast stone. It is a beautiful building on the outside and I am sure it will be even more so on the inside.

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Front – that is the East – view of the temple. We are hoping that at least some of the landscaping will be in before we leave but we are not holding our breath. We need to go by at night to see if they are leaving any light on in the tower or on Moroni so we can get some night shots. Holiness to the Lord – House of the Lord – it could not be said any better if you used 100 words.

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They have poured most of the concrete for the parking lot. It does not add much to the beauty but it does mean that the grading is pretty much done and so the grounds can be prepared for landscaping. This was E/S Singleton’s first visit to the temple site. We are rather jealous because they will be here to help with the open house and the dedication. Of course if we are not already on our next mission we are planing to come back and help out with the open house and stay for the dedication. Wonder if anyone has a room they would let us camp out in for a few weeks.

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We dropped the Singletons off at their apartment and headed for Fort Lauderdale chapel for a baptism. When we got there we found that the Riverside Park Spanish branch was having an Easter party for their children. It looked like a good percentage of the branch was there for the activity and lunch. Of course the center of attraction was the Easter bunny…since it was already in the 80s I imagine the bunny lost a few pounds in a couple of hours of sweating in that suit.

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Sister Merrill and Stegelmeier surprised us by showing up at the baptism. One of their investigators who they hope will be baptized tomorrow was supposed to come to watch how it was done. She did not show up but it gave them a chance to have their picture taken with bunny and for sister Stegelmeier to play the prelude music. She wanted to make sure I took a picture of her at the piano so her mother would see that she is keeping up her skills. Most of the missionaries who serve in the ward came for the baptism plus sister Bean and Fletcher from the Spanish branch. Elders Burt, Thorne, Andelin and Brimley talked with the sisters before the meeting started. The picture catches sister Fletcher practicing her leading.

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Sister Teddie Parker is the newest member of the ward. There is a great story behind her baptism. The first day that sister Gordon – the one in red – was in the mission, sister Dougal and her were out giving harvesting blessings They knocked on sister Parker’s door and was gladly let in. After the blessing she wanted to know more. Since the sisters are assigned to the YSA ward, they turned the teaching over to elders Shipley and Gust. The rest is now history. When sister Parker came out to have this picture taken she saw the sister missionaries and went up to them and with tears in her eyes thanked her two angels who came to her door and blessed her. The Lord really does prepare people for the missionaries to find and teach – sister Parker is one of those. The baptism talk was given by sister Brady and elder Gust performed a perfect baptism ordinance. For the closing song sister Stegelmeier told brother Beale – he was conducting the meeting because many from the ward were at the Orlando temple today – that she wanted to teach him to lead the music. I am afraid that brother Beale is going to need a lot more lessons but his enthusiasm could not be denied.

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As we were leaving the chapel, Riverside Park was having their lunch and the bunny was still there. Sisters Gordon and Dougal started over to see him but then changed their minds. At about the same time I thought that I should have a picture of them with him. When I caught up with them and asked them to come back they confessed that they really wanted a picture but did not want to intrude on the ward activity. Of course they were welcomed by the members and were even offered lunch. Sister Gordon had the right up – it was certainly a thumbs up morning.

***p.s. for sisters Stegelmeier and Merrill’s parents. Your daughters are getting a great farmer’s tan while riding their bikes. Actually today they looked more than a little sunburn – kind of glow in the dark pink – and wind blown but that will never slow them or any other Florida Fort Lauderdale missionaries down.

Wow it is Thursday Already…

The days/weeks seem to be flashing by. It feels like there must be less than 6 days between Sundays.

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The Singletons continue to learn all the things they need to know for their office callings. They are excellent learners – much better than I was – and so we are know that by the time we leave they will be able to handle 90% of what needs to be done. The other 10% they will just have to learn by themselves. As I see them start from basically scratch, I am very glad that we had a three months just to get to know how the mission and the office ran before we started learning about our specific office jobs. It is very helpful to know how different parts of the mission operates. Sister Singleton found the Zones With Picture board and realized that she could see the whole mission in the one place. The Assistants, elders Gust and Shipley helped her understand the board a little better.

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Sisters Stegelmeier and Merrill came in to see elder Bare and I kidded her that she could not talk without moving her arms and hands. She said I was rude…but we always say this to each other and laugh. When I looked at the pictures I took while they were here, I found proof of my statement. In the first picture she is talking to the APs and her arms are a blur. In the second she is listening and of course her hands are quiet! Sister Merrill’s hands are still if she is listening or speaking…

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Elders Turek and Gray came through the office this afternoon and got to meet elder Singleton. Of course they had to stop at the departure board to see where they or their friends were.  They serve together in the Palm Beach North area.

Sharing a Missionary Experience…

Usually I just post experiences that President Anderson shares in his weekly letter but this one is so good I just had to post it. It shows why the Florida Fort Lauderdale mission is having such great success finding and baptizing sons and daughters of God. The missionaries have such great faith and testimonies of the power of prayer. They go to the Lord in faith, ask for blessings, work hard and the Lord blesses them by answering their prayers. We hear experiences such as this from many missionaries and every time they say how it was the Lord who led them to those he had prepared.

Last night as we set out to harvest we poured our hearts out to Heavenly Father to guide us to a family who was ready to be baptized and praying for us. We then set out to find them. Before we knocked on Michelle’s door I turned to Sister Merrill and said “We are going to testify and teach the doctrine of baptism till this person convinces us otherwise.” As we left the blessing on her home the Spirit was super strong – there were tears in her eyes. We invited her to be baptized and she told us that she had actually been baptized as a Mormon when she was 11. (Heavenly Father has a great sense of humor.) We invited her to come to service and she is coming on Sunday! We also left her a Book of Mormon and she can’t wait to read it, then we asked her who she knew that needed a blessing. She sent us to her friend Kurt and his family. When we knocked on their door and testified they let us right in. They told us how the Lord had sent us there and that this was an answer to their prayers. We left the blessing on their home and after the blessing the Spirit was so strong. Kurt was crying. Cristen asked us if we could stay a little and help her son understand and choose Christ. We testified and taught them about the power of baptism in their lives – they are so amazing! They are coming to church and preparing to be baptized! Wow. Immediately after we left their house could do nothing but express gratitude for the MANY miracles that are happening. I LOVE this work!!!

Elder Webb’s First Baptism…

 You will have to pardon a proud grandfather for putting in a picture that is not from the Fort Lauderdale mission but from the Spain Malaga mission. Our grandson Elder Webb had his first baptism on the last Sunday. The picture includes his companion and trainer elder Keller and the new member Fausto. Elder Webb also got the news that after just 6 weeks in the mission field he is going to become a trainer! It seems that they have so many missionaries coming in that almost all the elders are going to get a chance to train.

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