Category Archives: Fort Lauderdale Mission

We have been called to serve in the Fort Lauderdale Mission. We hope to record our experiences with pictures and words so that our family and friends who are interested can follow what we are doing.

A Visit to Parys and the Past

We drove up to Parys with the elders to meet with our friend sister Bobbi. After a nice visit we went for a walk down to the Vaal River – Louis needed to make a trip outside – where I took a picture of an anhinga drying its wings on a rock in the middle of the river. This reminded me of the first time I saw one doing that. It was in the Florida Everglades when we were on an outing with senior couples instead of young elders.

16dec14 - Bobbi, Mary 16dec14 - Liera, Bobbi, Louis, Mary, Taylor 16dec14 - Bobbi, Louis 2 16dec14 - Anhinga wings

It was a very nice day in Parys – overcast with a breeze. As usual at the end of our visit Louis took us all for a walk down by the river. When I saw the Anhinga with it’s wings outstretched I was surprised because I did not know that they were found both in Florida and South Africa. I wondered if they were introduced in America like other birds. I was surprised when I found that Egyptian Geese that I first saw in Africa were in the park across the street from our apartment in Florida.

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Transfers Part 4 – All the Other Great Missionaries…

Here are all the other new companionships for this transfer. There may be some duplication but hopefully I did not leave anyone out.

Oct 14 - Trans - Stephens, Menendez IMG_6307Our former Vaal Zone, ZL became the new AP when elder Davies – look at the smile on his face – became a senior companion to elder Garnica up in Tzaneen where he will finish his mission.

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The Dunn’s Mission Blog…

President Dunn has been in the communications industry for many years but from what I can see and read in their blog, sister Dunn has lots of talent also. Anyone who wants to see lots of pictures and how President and Sister Dunn is experience their mission will want to check their blog regularly…

President Anderson’s Letter – 22 June 2014

I am not sure if this will be the last or next to the last letter from President Anderson to the FFL missionaries but in either way I will miss reading his weekly letters that not only shared spiritual missionary experiences but also had great training messages. I did not always share the teaching because the training was aimed at the missionaries and their needs. However I felt the experiences really were important because they not only showed how the gospel changed people’s lives, but also how God led the missionaries to those He had prepared to listen and act…

“A miracle that we saw this week was right after zone training. We went to harvest excited to apply the things we were trained on. We said a specific prayer to find a YSA age person that would accept all of our invitations and for a family that we could pass to the other missionaries in that area. We knock the first door and a YSA age guy opens the door. He let us come in and share the harvest blessing with him and he felt the spirit. We invited him to act and he accepted all of our invitations. The third house we knocked on we prayed with a family from El Salvador. We invited them to act and they accepted all our invitations too! Then to finish off the harvest we found a Hatian family that accepted all our invitations to pass to the other missionaries. The Lord truly blessed us with miracles because we exercised our faith!”

Following the keys brings them from “finding” to “Baptism”:

“Miracle Transfer Day, and I was transferred to my new area.  My companion and I got home and we immediately set out to harvest since we needed all 8 blessings by the end of the day.  We [went to an area and]  picked a road.  We said a prayer to ask God to send us to a miracle who would be baptized.  In my entire mission I have never met anyone on transfer day who was baptized.  We walked down the street and were able to leave amazing blessings with people, one of which was a lady from Cuba!  She loved the prayer we left with her and said she would think about baptism.  That Sunday, she came to church with her friend.  We stopped by that Friday and invited her and her friend to baptism.  She told us she’d never been baptized before and if it would bring her closer to Christ, she would do it.  She came to church again.  As we taught her she was so willing to change her life to prepare to be baptized, she quit smoking and coffee in a day!  The next Friday we had her interview and she passed! She was baptized last Sunday!”

Following the keys will invoke the Spirit, even through doors:

“The member was running late so we decided to take advantage of the few minutes we had and went right to knocking some nearby doors.  The second door we knocked, a man spoke with us through the door saying that he could not open the door because he was blind.  We did not believe it and testified that Christ sent us to bless his home, but he insisted and told us that his heart was open to receive our blessing, so we believed him.  Midway during the prayer, he stepped out and told us that he felt our love and sincerity and knew he could trust us.  He knew we were sent from God.  He immediately accepted baptism and we started teaching him the day after. I learned from this the importance not wasting the Lord’s time.  Even if we only have one minute, we can change someone’s life.”

Sister Anderson and I look forward to the same feelings of Alma and Ammon when they reunited after 14 years of being separated (thankfully it won’t be that long). When we reunite with each of you we will feel these same emotions:

President Anderson’s Letter – 15 June 2014

I love to spend part of Monday morning reading President Anderson’s letter to the Florid Fort Lauderdale missionaries. I have noticed that as it grows closer to the time when the Andersons will be finishing their mission that his letters are getting longer. It reminds me of King Benjamin calling his people together to counsel them as he approached the end of his life. He wanted to make sure that he imparted all the knowledge and wisdom that he had accumulated over a lifetime of righteous service….

I will miss the words of wisdom and the great missionary experiences that he shares each week.

“Telling God what you are prepared to do for his blessing is evident of “I know I can, I knew I could, I will”:

 â€œWe took your invitation to create an if/then statement and take it to the Lord. Our statement was if we get 15 people committed to church by Saturday night, wilt thou bless us with 5 investigators at Sacrament! We went out this week and worked super hard. We saw a lot of miracles and were very blessed and by Saturday Night we had exactly 15 people committed to church. We went out Sunday Morning before church and did our round up and no one was answering! We continued to work hard. We went out with a member and went to pick up an investigator and her granddaughter who had both committed to come to church. When we knocked the door, the Grandma opened the door all dressed in her Sunday best and said that they were still getting ready and that we should wait for them. A minute later her Husband (who had never been interested in meeting with us) came out of the bedroom dressed in his Sunday best and following him were all their little grandchildren. All of them came to church and had an amazing experience! The fellowship from the ward was amazing! They felt the spirit and all of them are preparing to be baptized this weekend! What an amazing blessing! God blessed us so much after we did everything in our power that we could do!”

 Opening our mouths to everyone is evident of “I know I can, I knew I could, I will”:

 â€œSo we went to our harvesting spot and said a prayer agreeing we would talk to the first person we saw. We jump out of the car and head for a man walking along the street and he oyms us before we could say a word! We get to know him a bit and testify that Jesus Christ loved him. He got really surprised and said, ‘How did you know I love God!?’ He then opens up about a few struggles and challenges he had been facing in his life. We decided not to miss this amazing miracle and share a scripture about how we all must follow Christ and be baptized. He accepts and says, ‘I promise I’ll be there!’ Then he goes and grabs his beer and, while dumping it in the trash, says he will never drink again! The next day after overcoming a bunch of doubts he told us those famous words, ‘Tell me anything and I’ll believe all your words. I know you were sent from Jesus Christ.’” 

Following the promptings of God and answering prayers of others is evident of “I know I can, I knew I could, I will”:

 â€œ…  we knew that we were supposed to be on that certain street. We heard a noise come from a house and felt like we needed to be there. When we went to the house the door was open and 2 boys were playing a video game in the front room. We asked if they could get their mom or dad for us. In a couple of minutes a man came out. We introduced ourselves as ‘Representatives of Jesus Christ’ and stated that we were there to leave the Saviors peace and blessing with him and his family. He stared at us like we were from another planet! He immediately got his wife and asked if we knew each other and if we were playing a joke on him. I was pretty confused until they explained the situation. He did not believe there was a God. He actually told his wife (the day before) that when God sends him a sign, then he will believe in Him. His wife started fasting that day that God would give her husband a sign and we showed up the next day! They actually came to church on Sunday! He has changed so much in the week that we have known him. The gospel changes lives!”

President Anderson’s Letter – 8 June 2014

President Anderson has arranged so all the missionaries in the FFLM will go to the temple on June 20th. They will be in 4 sessions and after each one they will have a group picture taken in front of the temple. What a wonderful experience for the missionaries and President and Sister Anderson.

You are touching the heart of everyone that you declare with power and authority that we “represent Jesus Christ” and even when they don’t embrace it now, be optimistic that they will reflect and embrace it later:

“I got a call at the very end of personal study from a random number. I picked up and a lady in Spanish told me ‘Hi, you gave me a card to come to your church, but I don’t have a ride’. I told her we’d help her get there and asked if we could stop by to pray and share a scripture with her. She agreed and we went over later that day. Well when we got there, she opened up her purse to show us the card she had, and it was a chapel card, nicely folded with our number on it, but the names [missionaries from two years ago] were written on it! My companion and I were astounded that she’d been hanging onto the card for what must be almost 2 years now! The spirit finally prompted her to call, what a miracle! Turns out she used to go to church when she lived in Missouri… we will be teaching her and her 2 kids this week.”

Your power and authority will draw to the Church, and because of the kind of missionaries you are, you will continue to invite even after your release:

“Our most solid investigator came with his member friend, and then someone that we had harvested earlier that week walked into the chapel for Sacrament Meeting! We went up and started talking to him, and we asked him what made him come to church, and he said ‘Well, I told you guys I would come, didn’t I?’ It was awesome! And then the Sisters came to get us during Sunday School and said ‘There is an investigator who lives in your area who showed up to church today because a member invited her. She wants to be a member of the church.’ She attended the Ward yesterday, and we assigned her with a member friend. (Sister Jasmine Brown recent released FFLM). We were not able to stick with her during the Service, so we asked Sister Brown if she would invite our investigator to be baptized during church that day. She did, and our investigator accepted!!! Sister Brown told us over the phone that she had invited her to be baptized, and that she had already arranged to go and pick up our investigator for church the following Sunday. It sure is nice to have a Returned Missionary from your own mission to help you out. God truly blessed us yesterday.”

As we prepare diligently for the Temple, God will bless us tremendously:

“So after church and our miracle baptism, we went out to find our investigators who didn’t come to church and reset them with baptismal dates…. no one was home or picked up the phone. So it is 8:30 and we’re exhausted, but we know we have to give all of our diligence to the Lord to qualify for miracles and our revelatory temple experience on the 20th. So we pray and follow the feelings to an area we’ve never knocked. After getting rejected at a few doors, we knock into a man. He asks us if we can just pray outside because his little dog is inside. I’m not going to take that excuse, so I asked if he’d put the dog away and we could step in and bless his home. I’m so glad we were bold because it was one of the most powerful harvest blessings I’ve left in a long time! The spirit was so present and when we invited him to be baptized and he said  ‘I think so. Yes, I need to make that commitment to the Lord, because he’s changed my heart’. I was so glad that we chose to be diligent and that God answered our prayer that we said earlier that we would be blessed and be able to bless someone else’s life. I’m so excited to go teach him!”

Fort Lauderdale Cornerstone Capsule…

While we were serving in the FFLM, President Anderson had each missionary write their name and a short message on cards which he told us would be put in the time capsule that was put in the capsule that would go into the cornerstone of the temple. Below are some pictures that show the capsule and the cornerstone. I wonder when it will be opened and what people who open it will think about what they find inside. Although we could not be there for the dedication, at least a small part of us did attend.

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President Anderson’s Letter – 1 June 2014

President and Sister Anderson have just one month left before being released and returning to El Paso so there will be only a few more inspiring letters coming from the President. I do not know if the new president will continue to send letters to those of us who have been released but if he does we will continue to post them until the last missionary who we served with comes home. Also below is a picture of the last group of missionaries that the Anderson’s will be sending back to their homes.


President’s Letter ”

The inspiration of this statement is one that I extend to all of you, with the same pledge and effort, “Give us this Mountain, Give us these Challenges”. Accomplishing the purposes God has put us here to achieve, will bring about “promised blessings” that God has pledged to give. God is blessing you for the “Mountains” you are climbing and the people He trusts you with because of your obedience and diligence in opening your mouth:

“My companion saw a girl across the street that was sitting on the front porch of an apartment building. We went over to her and left a Harvest Blessing, and by the end she was crying. She said she had been going through a really rough time. She had just moved here from New York, got scammed out of a lot of money, is going through identity theft…and etc. Basically we were a huge answer to the prayers of her heart. After we invited her to be baptized, and before we committed her to a date she said, ‘so when is the soonest we can do the baptism?’ We told her June 1st and she was so excited. She came to church this past Sunday and basically became best friends with the whole branch. We found out that she smokes, but throughout all of the service she was expressing that she knew she needed to quit. Our member told her ‘I hope you know that you’re gonna be my new best friend?’ She agreed and then apologized for her bad habit of smoking that the member was going to have to deal with. Our member was baptized in January and told her ‘”Don’t worry,  I’m gonna help you quit! I used to have that same problem too.’ She was so happy and she was simply glowing all of Sunday and making friends left and right. A few minutes ago she called us and told us she is now planning to move out of her boyfriend’s house. We haven’t even taught her the law of chastity! She just wants to be right by God. I am so grateful for the blessings that are being rained down.”

Because of the “Mountains” you are climbing, you, as representatives of Christ, are bringing Salvation to many by the Spirit and Testimony you express. You are escalating their interests and desires, building up their hopes and faith; then inviting them to act:

“After teaching an investigator this week, we were heading back to our car when one of his neighbors that was out watering his lawn yells from a little bit of a distance ‘what do you have for me?’ We were a little confused and thought he was mad and he yells again ‘what are you selling?’  We answered ‘salvation’. We walked over to him with our member and we introduce ourselves as representatives of Jesus Christ and offered to share a harvest blessing with him. He accepts and we ask him what it is that he needs. He says that all he needs is to stop drinking. He told us how his marriage of 30 years had just ended not too long ago because of his drinking problem and you could tell it was very hard for him… He goes and turns off the water and then invites us to come inside. We went in with him knelt down and offered the blessing. The spirit filled the room and after the prayer we all stayed on our knees for a minute, through his tears he says I knew you would come. I felt it as you walked down the street something told me I needed to talk to you guys and I knew I had to bring you over. We testified that God loves him and that he could be healed through the atonement. We invited him to be baptized and he said yes.”

We are helping others to climb their mountains:

“We had met her about two or so weeks ago at a Burger King. We gave her a card and invited her to church. We didn’t have church that week due to the dedication so she was standing outside the building and called us asking for an explanation. We were able to tell her that we didn’t have normal church that week and she was ok with it…  She had come to church before and said that she liked it…  on Wednesday we met with her and she explained to us that she had read over half way through in the Book of Mormon. We were shocked and praised her for it. We didn’t see her for some time then on Saturday night she called and said ‘What do I need to wear to my baptism tomorrow?’ She remembered the date we had set her with and was determined to be baptized. With the help of our wonderful Branch she was able to get into the font on Sunday. She is an example to me that the spirit speaks to all of us.”

President Eyring shared:

“My heart was stirred, knowing, as I did, some of the challenges and adversity he [President Kimball] had already faced. I felt a desire to be more like him, a valiant servant of God. So one night I prayed for a test to prove my courage. I can remember it vividly. In the evening I knelt in my bedroom with a faith that seemed almost to fill my heart to bursting. Within a day or two my prayer was answered. The hardest trial of my life surprised and humbled me. It provided me a twofold lesson. First, I had clear proof that God heard and answered my prayer of faith. But second, I began a tutorial that still goes on to learn about why I felt with such confidence that night that a great blessing could come from adversity to more than compensate for any cost. The adversity that hit me in that faraway day now seems tiny compared to what has come since—to me and to those I love.” ( President Henry B. Eyring, General Conference April 2011)

I know Missionaries that South Florida has no mountains at sea level, but we have many “Spiritual Mountains” to climb as we are “Exactly Obedient” and “Diligent” to what God has called us here to do. We can get 175!!! We have shown God already that we can get 168!!  Every companionship needs to contribute (Baptize) early this month for us to accomplish this.

Set your goals now on who and how many you will baptize this week, this month. Then set goals (specific) to achieve this goal. Then take it to the Lord “if we do this (specific) will thou bless us for our very best effort with these (specific) baptisms?” I know the Lord will bless you as you conquer your mountain!!!

What will we do to prepare for our opportunity to attend the Temple on the 20th of June? What are you prepared to do to have the greatest revelatory experience at the “House of The Lord”?

President Anderson’s Letter – May 25 2014

Dear Missionaries,


We will start interviews this week with Fort Lauderdale Zone on Friday May 30th, Miami and Homestead Zones on Saturday May 31st , and Stuart on Tuesday June 3rd. The Zone Leaders will give you the times that we will meet at the Chapels. Please bring with you your 72 hour kits and your Area Books.

Friday before the dedication of the Temple, Sister Anderson and I, along with the Temple Open House/Dedication Committee, Stake Presidents, and dignitaries from Salt Lake, went inside the temple to observe the insertion of items that would go into the Corner Stone Box of the Temple. We were able to witness the names and signatures of all of you missionaries, along with our promise, placed in the Corner Stone Box. That promise being the personalization of D&C Section 4:

“Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

Therefore, [We will] embark in the service of God, [We will] serve him with all [our] heart, might, mind and strength, that [we] may stand blameless before God at the last day.

Therefore, [we] have desires to serve God [and we] are called to the work;

For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, [we will] thrusteth in [our] sickle with [our] might, the same layeth up in store that [we] perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to [our] soul;

And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify [us] for the work.

[We will] Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.

[We will] Ask, [so we may] receive; [We will] knock, [that it may] be opened unto [us]. Amen.” (D&C 4)

And the blessing from it as pronounced by King Benjamin to his people after all we can do:

“Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.” (Mosiah 5:15)

Sister Anderson and I were very humbled as we were able to help carry the Corner Stone Box to the Corner Stone, place it into the cavity, and help seal it up (see enclosed pictures). Our names will be in that Corner Stone as long as this Temple stands.

Christ is our Chief Cornerstone and others recognize it immediately:

“We were harvesting and her answer [questions] to the approach [was] ‘Do you have a place I can go to pray? How did you know I needed a prayer? Where is the church? Can I come? Can my kids come?…’ We slip in a card between her words [and she says]… ‘Tomorrow at nine?  I will be there.’ [We then say]: ‘awesome!! Can we say a prayer here?’ her reply ‘yes! …[we invite] will you be baptized?’ her answer: ‘yes, yes, Yes!’”  

Christ is our Chief Cornerstone and they will do all they can to keep commitments as they recognize Christ in you:


“We have an investigator who found a ‘Finding Faith in Christ’ card on the ground, picked it up, and called the number on the back. Over the past couple of weeks we have been working with him, he has become so happy! We taught him the Word of Wisdom so that he can start making the steps to living that commandment. He sold his cigars and used the money to take the bus to church yesterday. He loved church and is being baptized on Sunday!”

Christ is our Chief Cornerstone and the influence of His Spirit and Atonement will bring them to Him:

“It started last Friday… , we had talked about following promptings of the Spirit, especially with OYM’ing.  We were towards the end of the day and we had met a lot of people through our efforts, we had just locked up our bikes to go and see a scheduled appointment that we had, we were running a little late, and so we were hurrying.  A few doors down from our investigators house there was a couple outside on the front porch, we both felt like we should keep up with our OYMing and we both felt the Spirit telling us that we needed to contact them… we knew we couldn’t deny the Spirit.  We approached them and told them that we were representatives of Jesus Christ that we were there to say a prayer with them.  They accepted, and we prayed.  After the prayer they both were quiet and peaceful, we explained to them the Holy Ghost and that those good feelings were from the Spirit; we then challenged them to be baptized.  They at first weren’t sure, and started to back down, but we testified and used doctrine to help overcome their concerns.  After that, the husband said, ‘If you get me a ride, I will be ready at 9:30’.  We got him a ride and he came to church, we continued to teach them, and the husband was baptized yesterday, and he was so happy.  I was very grateful that I took that opportunity to open my mouth, when I could have just passed it by, and said that we were late to our appointment.  It was a miracle.”

President Hinckley goes on to describe the importance of Christ being the Chief Corner Stone and the other three essential cornerstones of the Gospel that we testify of every day:

“We have basic cornerstones on which this great latter-day Church has been established by the Lord and built, “fitly framed together.”

They are absolutely fundamental to this work—the very foundation, anchors on which it stands. I should like to speak briefly of these four essential cornerstones which anchor The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I mention first the chief cornerstone, whom we recognize and honor as the Lord Jesus Christ. The second is the vision given the Prophet Joseph Smith when the Father and the Son appeared to him. The third is the Book of Mormon, which speaks as a voice from the dust with the words of ancient prophets declaring the divinity and reality of the Savior of mankind. The fourth is the priesthood with all of its powers and authority, whereby men act in the name of God in administering the affairs of His kingdom. “(President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign February 2004)

The power of these Cornerstones with Jesus Christ being chief among them is a tremendous foundation of this Glorious Gospel that we have to share and declare to the entire world. Christ lives and loves us. As we access His Atonement, we will also live again with God, Him and our families. God has spoken to us today and has revealed His Gospel to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is truly another Testament of Jesus Christ and another witness of His divine purpose. The authority of God has been restored so that we may know of His love as we are able to receive and participate in his holy ordinances such as baptism and Temple blessings.

Every time you missionaries see this Temple, I pray you will remember that your names are sealed in the Corner Stone similitude of the Chief Corner Stone of Christ, and reflect on your promise and the great blessings that God has and will give you. This also signifies our calling as “Representatives of Jesus Christ” and no one in the world knows that better than all of you missionaries in this mission. Let us show Christ that we know how to keep a promise by proclaiming his Word with all our “heart, might, mind and strength”.


President Anderson’s Letter 18 May and Pictures

We can help others in their infirmities and partner with our members to embrace them with the Gospel:

“We were harvesting on Saturday right before [a] baptism, and we saw this lady sitting outside in front of her house. We went and prayed with her and she really felt the spirit. She said that she would like to be baptized and come to church with us the next day. That is when the real miracle was. She came to church and after sacrament meeting when we asked her how she felt she said ‘I feel like I was just in a spiritual realm.’ And she immediately accepted a date to be baptized. Then she especially loved relief society. She felt like everyone cared about her and she was part of a family. When we followed up with her that night and taught her for the first time, we found out that her desire was to belong to a church where she feels like she has a family. She doesn’t have any family close by, and she really felt like she gained a new family yesterday!”

Others are looking for relief from their infirmities and you will be their sign from God:

“We went to harvest and we had a lot of energy and excitement. As we approached the building my companion said ‘hey, look at that door up there it has a cross on it. Let’s go knock it!’ We prayed then went straight to the door with the cross. The woman that answered the door was really excited to see us. She explained to us that the missionaries used to teach her and her family 15 years ago in North Carolina. She talked about how much she loved the missionaries and how well they explained everything. She said that us showing up at her door was a sign from God because she has a friend that’s a member of the church in Orlando who had e-mailed her that morning telling her she needed to come to church with her. Before we could even say the harvest blessing she was asking us where the closest chapel was. After the harvest blessing she felt the spirit we testified that God had sent us to her so that she could be baptized the 18th of May. She went back into her apt. grabbed her calendar and wrote down her baptismal date for the 18th and set and appointment for us to come over at noon the next day!”

We can help others recognize their infirmities and that God is the answer to their desire for “real happiness”:

“… we promised Heavenly Father that we would talk to everyone we see as we asked Him for someone who is willing to receive us to be placed into our paths. We OYM’d a couple of people and talked to a guy learning that he has been wanting to change. He not only accepted baptism etc… after the prayer because he felt “so amazing”,  but he stepped out on faith afterwards and did something remarkable. He told us that he knew God sent us to him specifically at that time because he was getting ready to light a marijuana joint to smoke. We testified, taught doctrine, asked him inspired questions letting him teach us what he knew inside for himself… After about 10 minutes of persuading him he went inside, came out with the rest of his marijuana and walked with us to the dumpster. He hesitated and laughed a little at how he couldn’t believe what he was about to do and sure enough, he threw it deep in! He did it, I asked him to march with joy back to his place because he just kept a commandment from God and he did so. Joyous and all!  His countenance definitely changed!”

Zone Conferences were held and below are the pictures from the different conferences. All the missionaries are there but you may have to look close to find your son or daughter..enjoy. We were released from the FFLM some 13 months ago but we were happy to see E/S Singleton, E/S Ellis. and E/S Sommerfeldt are still faithfully serving. We were surprised not to see the E/S Collins who have so well for over 4 years.

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