Monthly Archives: April 2013

We are home…but busy

Well we made it home safe and basically sound. But we will not have internet until Wednesday. I am writing this in a stake center parking lot. Will catch things up to date soon.


Farmington New Mexico –

We stopped tonight in Farmington NM. If we had not told the wonderful couple that has watched over our house for the last 17 months and our family that we would not be home until Saturday afternoon, we could be home in time for dinner tomorrow. But instead we will probably drive home via the St George area where we can say hello to some of the couples we served with in the FFLM and other missions.

I want to share an experience from a blog of one of the amazing above average missionaries serving in the Fort Lauderdale mission that illustrates one of the reasons it is having so much success. The combination of faith, exact obedience and hard work makes the missionaries close to the spirit. We were indeed blessed to have the opportunity to get to know and serve with such missionaries.

“I also saw a huge miracle in our area, as I was on exchanges in our area with Elder Faniaka. We were going to an appointment that we had, but we turned down the wrong street. Then I looked and saw this man on the side of the street and the Spirit absolutely prompted me to pull over and talk with this man. I kept driving, but then I heard the Spirit tell me the same thing a second time. So we stopped the car, parked, and began heading to this mans house. We knocked on his door, because he had gone inside. Then his whole family came out, we prayed with them, and they explained they had been praying for more peace and strength and this prayer brought that. Then they all accepted baptism! It was amazing to see the Spirit guide us to this amazing family.”

Even in Carlsbad…

I asked the motel manager where he suggested we eat and he said the locals went to a place called Whiner’s Diner because they prepare everything fresh themselves.So that is where we went. When out waiter walked up he noticed our name tags and asked if we were Mormons…and when we said yes, he said so was he. We found that there were two wards in Carlsbad with about 300 active members. So again everywhere we go we find Latter-day Saints.

BTW the food was good.

President Anderson’s Letter

Although we are on our way home, we are still getting president Anderson’s letter to the missionaries so we will share some of the experiences that he writes with you…

“I love your faith and obedience. I love to hear the words “President, we did what you said” and then you express the blessings and miracles that occurred because of your obedience and faith:

 “The first day we did what you said (transfer day). Came home and went to work! We did just that! We were able to leave 8 blessings that night, It was incredible. As we left blessings by knocking doors, we made sure we contacted everyone and asked for referrals from EVERYONE. That is how we were able to show God we wanted to find families. In return, God blessed us with 8 amazing families! It all started before we left the apartment, we fell down on our knees and offered up a sincere prayer, asking God to show us the way, because we were both new and needed His help, His guidance, and His direction. What an incredible thing to see God’s hand work through us that first day. I caught a glimpse of what God has in store for us in the upcoming weeks.” 

Your faith and obedience also creates diligence as you are blessed with miracles:

 “The very first day we went out and got to work. We prayed for a place to go harvest, felt inspired to go to a certain area, so we got in the car and drove over there. When we got to the area before we got out of the car we prayed and then started walking. The first people we saw outside we came up to and offered to leave our Saviors peace and blessing. They allowed us to and wanted to be baptized! Then we asked who we could go leave this same prayer with and they sent us to their neighbor who is sick. We left the blessing with her and she wanted to be baptized! Then we asked her who we could leave this blessing with and she sent us to her neighbor as well. When we met her neighbor she broke down in tears and started talking about how badly she has been struggling with everything. We then left a blessing with her and she accepted baptism as well. God blessed us immensely as we were diligent immediately after transfer meeting, and as we asked everyone for referrals!”

Your faith and obedience will direct you to those of God’s children that need you most:

 “This week we saw a big miracle We were knocking doors in a neighborhood … and when we knocked on his door he said ‘Just so you know I’m already saved’ but let us in almost instantly. We asked him what we should pray for, and he said he and his wife just separated, and he wasn’t feeling very good about it and wanted his family back. He said he was just like one minute before folding laundry and said a short prayer to God to send him some help. And there we were! He felt amazing after the blessing and accepted baptism with an ‘of course!’ The next day we taught him a short and great first lesson on baptism and he told us that shortly bit after we left, he received a call from his ex-wife saying she wanted to reconcile. He told us, ‘I know God sent you’.”

Your faith and obedience is contagious and our investigators are exhibiting the same:

 “We had a super great baptism this week. When previous missionaries first met her they blessed her house. They continued to teach her from there. She was mildly interested, but didn’t really see why she should be baptized again. Once they started talking about the commandments she really struggled because she had a major addiction to coffee. She would usually drink about 2 gallons a day apparently. She had tried to quit multiple times, but it had always hurt her. Even 6 painkillers at once wouldn’t stop the headache. Apparently at some point she had not progressed at all really, but they kept having good lessons and felt they should stick with her. Then almost overnight she changed. She’s been clean for 5 days now and she is soooooo happy!!! It has been amazing to see just in a week the great change the gospel has brought into her life. Yesterday before the baptism she said to us, ‘You never asked me why I changed my mind and decided to get baptized even though I had already been baptized before.’ So we asked her why she got baptized. She told us that she had decided one day to pray and said to Heavenly Father, ‘If you really want me to do this then help me to not drink coffee for one day’. That day she drank no coffee. She then decided that she should get baptized. She bore her testimony and said that she knew she should do it, not only because of the day she didn’t need to drink coffee, but God had blessed her not to need it.”

We Are in Carlsbad…

Well we got into Carlsbad New Mexico early so I set up the laptop so I could post on our blog.

Before we left Fort Lauderdale we stopped by Hollywood where we picked up a package from elder Smoot to bring home. Then we stopped by the mission home so Mary could be interviewed by president Anderson for a temple recommend. While we were there we got to meet sister Anderson’s lovely mother.

Our next stop was Tampa where we had lunch with our good friends elder and sister Walker who just arrived for their mission as an office couple. We have not seen the Walkers for a number of years but like any good friends it was like it had only been a few weeks. While we were coming out of Cracker Barrel we met two men who saw Mary’s tag and introduced themselves as members from near Panama City. We asked if they happen to know an elder Mthalane who served there and they said not only did they know him but had him over for dinner a few times. We delivered elder Mthanlane’s mission call while we were serving in South Africa, helped him check in at the MTC, and then visited him in Panama City when we drove through on our way to Fort Lauderdale.

We spent our first night in Tallahassee and went to church at the Tallahassee 4th ward. We said hello to the missionaries and asked if any of them knew or had served with elder Mthalane and one of them had been his companion. Then the bishop introduced himself and when he heard that we had served in Fort Lauderdale, he told us that he was Boca Raton which is in our mission.

We then drove to San Antonio so we could see the Alamo and the Riverwalk. We had only 30 minutes at the Alamo and the Riverwalk was pretty much blocked off because of Fiesta…a special celebration that includes a parade on the river. We were too tired to stay up for that. However along our walk three women came up and introduced themselves as members.

So no matter where we went we met people who we knew, knew people we knew or were members. It is a small world when you are missionaries wearing your name tag.

Friday…Saying Goodbye and a Great Lunch

Well I am about to turn off our internet service so I can return the equipment to Comcast. I am not sure when I will post again…hopefully along the way back home. But I must say that the last day was a good one. We went into the office in the morning to do some last minute training with the Singletons and then took five amazing sister missionaries to lunch and to say goodbye. We have grown close to some of them because they have been in the area for some months so we see them often in meetings and at the office. We will miss them but have their promise that they will keep in touch after they are released…

19 April 2013 - Lunch with sisters


So long beautiful Southern Florida!


Thursday – Temple Pictures – A Last Piano Lesson

After having lunch we went to the used bookstore for the last time and then delivered a load to the Goodwill store…for some reason I did not take a single picture.

Later we headed for the temple site where I took pictures from Vista View park with the water and houses of the complex in front. Then we drove down to the temple for more pictures. I noticed a fisherman walking to an area where I could take pictures of the South side and the West side that were different and yet did not go onto the actual construction site so that I would not annoy brother Barry by breaking his trust. Since these are probably the last ones of the temple I will be able to take, I am putting a lot of them on the blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

We then went to Bishop and sister Rampton’s home where Mary gave her last piano/organ lesson and we said goodbye to a family we have grown close to. We will see them in Provo in August when they all come to deliver their daughter to BYU!

1 18april13 - Temple - Mary 2 18april13 - Temple - water 1 7 18april13 - Temple - water 7 8 18april13 - Temple - water 8 9 18april13 - Temple - water 9 13 18april13 - Temple - front south 2 14 18april13 - Temple - front south 3 15 18april13 - Temple - south steeple 19 18april13 - Temple - south steeple 20 18april13 - Temple - south steeple trees 21 18april13 - Temple - South steeple trees 2 22 18april13 - Temple - South 23 18april13 - Temple - south full 2  25 18april13 - Temple - West 2 26 18april13 - Temple - West 3 28 18april13 - Temple - Full Front 2 30 18april13 - Temple - North front steeple 31 18april13 - Temple - North Steeple close 34 18april13 - Temple - Steeple window 35 18april13 - North 3

36 -Mary and Rampton 37 - Mary and Rampton close

Thursday – Part One – Cleaning and Lunch

We spent the morning packing and cleaning. We are down to packing the difficult 15% that is left over from the easy packing. I would say that it will take us about 2 – 3 hours to finish packing and then putting everything into the van. Unfortunately I can not remember how I packed the van to get here – it was perfect for the trip. We could get to the things we wanted to take in each night and the rest was neatly packed around them.

Earlier in the week elder Smoot invited us to go to lunch with him and elder Bloom. He suggested Flanigans because that is where we took the district a year or so ago. We had a delicious lunch and lots of good conversation with these two dedicated missionaries. 1 18april13 - Smoot Bloom f5 18april13 - Smoot Bloom eating


2 18april13 - Smoot Bloom Mary 4 18april13 - Smoot Bloom Us


6 18april13 - Smoot Us 8 18april13 -  FL CSI





Wednesday – Office, Cleaning, and a Ward Missionary Correlation Meeting

In both of our other missions away from home, we pretty much were on our own time schedule each day. In Fort Lauderdale as an office couple, we pretty much were in the office by 8:00 each day and left at around 5:00. After that we could visit members, go out with the missionaries, or attend meetings. Often we just went home and collapsed. I would take going into townships, working with mutual, etc any day over the office. But on the other hand we have gotten to better know many more of the missionaries and couples on this mission than on others.

Today we went into the office in the morning. In the afternoon Mary went back and I stayed home to organize and clean. In the evening we went to the Fort Lauderdale chapel for our last wonderful WMCM with bishop Brown, brother Acevedo, and the elders. When we got home we had some dinner and I fell asleep on the couch.

1 17apr13 - Steg 10 16April13 - DM - Steg Doug 2

Sisters Johnson, Merrill and Stegelmeier dropped in at the office. When I started to post the left hand picture of sister Stegelmeier I realized the how much it looks like the one I took of her yesterday.

2 17apr13 - Merrill, John, Steg 3 17apr13 - Mary

This new threesome of sisters Merrill, Johnson and Stegelmeier will cover the Pines and Davies areas for the next 5 weeks. Mary expounded something to the sisters. Notice that sister Merrill is holding a packet of Chastity pamphlets – which is why they came in – and a bag of chips which a bonus for having a reason to come into the office. Sister Bare keeps the bowls full of treats.

4 17apr13 - Steg Collin, Ellis 5 17apr13 - Collins, Ellis

Sister Collins helping E/S Evans with their iPad. Elder Ellis is slowly but surely learning how to use his new equipment. He even has managed to get Siri to understand him when he asks for directions to chapels and homes.

6 17apr13 - Pink Brown 7 17apr13 - Brown Us

We will miss Bishop Brown and his great spirit. He has so much love for the members of the ward and the missionaries. He kids the missionaries but always with a big smile. Pinky of course will also be missed.

9 17apr13 - Thorne, Bloom, Van, turek 10 17apr13 - Marcussen, Burt, Ave, Brown

Elder Thorne was on an exchange with elder Bloom who is no stranger to these meeting as he served here as district leader a couple of transfers ago and is now back as ZL. Elder Van Wagenen scores with elder Turek looking on. Elder Marcussen is the new elder on the block. Elder Burt managed to be behind something on the bishop’s desk in every picture I took of that side of the room. Brother Acevedo only looks like he is relaxing. He is one of the best ward mission leaders that I have ever met. He is on top of everything which is why this is a great missionary ward.

11 17apr13 - Van, Turek, Marc 12 Proust, Gust, Thorne, Bloom


Pinky got elder Burt this time – sorry elder Burt. Brother Proust is assigned to visit the new members and give the new member discussions. Elders Gust and Shipley came in a little late because they were visiting investigators. Mary said the opening prayer and I said the closing. We gave most of the elders and bishop Brown a big hug and then left for the last time on this mission. God be with them til we meet again…

Tuesday – 2 District Meetings and a Po-Boy!

Today we visited two of the Fort Lauderdale Zone’s district meetings. We did not stay for all of either of them but we did get to hear a very spiritual White Handbook training and say goodbye to some of the many amazing missionaries we have come to know and love while on this mission. As I mentioned in the Fort Lauderdale district meeting, the missionaries are what has given us the greatest spiritual experiences of our mission.

1 16April13 - DM - Burt, Smoot, Bloom 2 16April13 - DM - Fletcher, Chavous, Smith

Elder Burt with elders Smoot and Bloom…elder Bloom came back as Zone Leader after being the district leader a couple of transfers ago. Sisters Fletcher, Chavous and Smith chuckle of the the district picture we asked all of them sign.

3 16April13 - DM - Bean 4 16April13 - DM - Thorne, Brimley

As usual sister Bean was hidden behind the piano as elder Torres sang the opening song and elder Brimley wrote.

5 16April13 - DM - Messy car 6 16April13 - DM - B Johnson

We then went over to the Plantation district meeting and I found this on the back seat of one of the missionary cars…I have no idea which missionaries but they are obviously not keep the rule of no eating in the car. We took a picture with Sister B Johnson who has been in our area for a number of transfer and always has a ready smile.

7 16April13 - DM - Sisters waiting 9 16April13 - DM - Steg Dougal

The Davies and Nova YSA sisters arrive together and I shot a series of pictures as I went to open the door for them. Sister Steglemeier, Dougal, Merrill and Gordon were all waiting patiently to be let in.

10 16April13 - DM - Steg Doug 2 11 16April13 - DM - Ellis, Mary, Gordon, Doug

I took a shot of sister Stegelmeier calling me rude and managed to also get a fun shot of sister Dougal. They are amazing missionaries who give 110% effort all the time. The Ellis’ were there for the meeting so sister Ellis and sister Pier are behind sisters Gordon and Dougal. I do not remember the name of the young man who brought the ZLs today but he is going to go to Quebec as a Spanish elder…I imagine he will also pick up some French along the way.

12 16April13 - DM - Rondo Wilson us 15 16April13 - DM - Us Steg Merrill 2

We caught a last picture with elders Rondo and Wilson who are serving in the Plantation ward. Elder Wilson is back in the zone as district leader. He was here before serving over in the Fort Lauderdale ward. We had to have a picture with sisters Stegelmeier and Merrill – thank you elder Ellis for your help.

16April13 - DM - Po Boys 17 April13 - DM - Patino Lange


From that DM we went to the Sawgrass Mall for the last time and had shrimp Po-Boys from Popeyes…not as good as the one I had down in Key West at Carolines but still a good one.Back in the office elders Patino and Lange pose to show the difference in their height. We had an interesting discussion about the short and tall elders and sisters in the mission…elder Patino and myself rank in the bottom 5% … but of course good things come in small packages and we do not have to duck to go through a door.