Monday, December 24, 2012

Its Christmas eve and we have just gotten home from delivering some gifts to a few people.  We are getting ready to nestle down on the couch with our little Christmas tree, a littel nativity both loaned to us by a Branch member, a door covered with cards from family and friends that reminds us of all those we love back home, and a really cool wood carving made by lady in the Branch.  I bought it from her.  I have been telling her that she needs to sell them and that I want to be her first paying customer so she said she was going to do that.

Although we miss Y'all, especially at this time of year, we are happy to know that you our family is all getting together and we will be there in spirit


Sunday, December 23, 2012

We have been quite busy the past couple of weeks.  There have been several Christmas parties plus our regular district and zone meetings.  Sharyn has been busy mending clothing for missionaries, both male and female and we have continued to try to refine our efforts in tracking down members.

The Christmas party for the Senior missionaries consisted of stuffing gift bags for the young missionaries, having dinner at the mission home, then going to St. Augustine for a rainy ride around the city on an open tram to see the Christmas lights.  It rained so hard on the way down there that we considered turning around and going home, but we persevered and the rain slowed down by the time we got there.  We are planning to go back on a P day in the daytime when the weather is better.  It looks like a good place to visit.  There is a lot of history there that would be fun to see.

The Christmas party for the Elders and Sisters was on the 16th.  I believe all 162 missionaries were there.  We got there at 11:30 AM and finally left to go home after the devotional somewhere around 8:00 PM so it was a long day but it all went well.  It was good to meet an Elder Feliz from my sister's ward in Salt lake and to see how happy they all were to get their letters from home and renew acquaintances with past companions etc.  The Elders from our Branch rode down with us along with one of their investigators.

The weather here has been cooler and cloudy but we were able to take our bikes out to Big Talbot Island and ride for an hour or so on our last Pday.  There were tornado warnings north of here in Georgia last Thursday night that resulted in our missionary coordination meeting being cancelled but there was no threat where we are.

We also had our Branch Christmas party and Primary program.  There were 99 people there on the day of the Primary program.  We should have one once or twice a month!

We went to a care facility for the mentally ill last week.  We sang Christmas carols with them, gave them some gifts and some refreshments.  They were happy to see us and we had a good time.

Joshua Thompson is a 17 year old young man who is a gamer on the internet.  He met a returned missionary in Salt Lake on line who was able to interest him in our church.  He gave him a couple of discussions on line then called our Branch Pres. who notified our Elders. Josh was baptized yesterday and confirmed in sacrament meeting today.  This all happened within the last 5 weeks or so.  His mother is also interested so that is really great.  We have what are called "Facebook" missionaries in our mission.  I don't know all they do but they say they go on line and post things about the church and make friends with those who respond.  It is a pilot program for the church and it seems to have some success.  It was great the way Josh was found.

Tomorrow is P day again and since we have bought no presents for each other we are going to JAX in the morning to get a little something.  We are then coming home to take some gifts to some members and spread some Christmas cheer before settling down in our little abode to watch a Christmas movie.  On Christmas we are having the Elders for dinner and letting them use our computer to skype their families.  Wednesday will be a work day but we have permission to leave on Thursday and go to Washington DC to attend Cade and Erica's wedding in the DC Temple.  We are excited about that and looking forward to seeing some family there.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you are all well and happy, and that you will have the spirit of Christ in your Christmas this year and always.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pictures taken on a recent walk (except for the church)

Street view of our church  It was built in sections as the congregation grows.
North end of church where the chapel will be added
Great garden where he raises turnips, greens and rutabagas.   

There are horse ranches close by also

Some areas look a lot like Hawaii!
 A stream and forested area not far from our apartment.  It is pretty but we don't dare walk into it because of snakes and who knows what else!
Could be a scene for a calendar

These are some pictures we took on a recent morning walk.  They are within a mile of our apartment.  We walk or ride our bicycles for 45 minutes to an hour three to four mornings a week after studying.  Then we decide what area we are going to attempt to locate members.

It's hard to believe that it is near the middle of December.  The temperature is usually in the 70's but is often overcast and sometimes foggy but all in all it is quite comfortable.

This will be a busy week. Today we are driving to Jacksonville for a Christmas party for the Senior missionaries where we will have dinner at the mission home then board a train for a ride to St. Augustine to see the lights etc.  It will be fun.

Yesterday we had 99 people at Sacrament meeting!  Usually we have about 70.  It was the Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation.  We should have a Primary program every week.  We were excited to see several members that we have recently been working with.

We spend most days looking for people on the branch membership list.  Many on the list can't be found but the ones we do locate are always friendly and welcoming.  Friday we went to about six locations in a row without finding any members but other days more fortunate.

Wednesday we attended our first Zone Conference.  There were about 20 Elders and 2 Sister Missionaries and us.  We were extremely impressed with the spirituality and maturity of the zone leaders and how well prepared they were.  It was three hours well spent.  Afterwards we took the Sisters out to lunch and home to their apartment.