Activity in the Branch is improving. We usually have 80-90 people in attendance at church versus the 60-70 that came when we first got here. We can't claim to be the cause of it but it is good to see.
Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices Choir is coming to our Orange Park Stake center for 4 performances the 15-16th of March. It is to be a very spiritual experience but unlike anything I have ever seen in one of our buildings. There will be professional lighting, sound, big screen TV in the cultural hall etc. so it will be a big deal. Gladys Knight conducts the grammy award winning, 100 voice choir, will sing a few songs and will talk about her conversion story and bear her testimony. It will be a rock and roll/gospel music performance and it will be great. Can you imagine that kind of performance going on in one of our Stake centers where the stage is the podium and the audience is in the chapel as well as the cultural hall??? It is approved by the church and Gladys and her husband have actually been called as missionaries. It is a free performance but people will need tickets and we are lining up some of our inactive members to take. It will be a great experience and hopefully a boost to the missionary work in the whole area.
We have been enjoying our P-days. Last week we went back out to Amelia Island and ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant and then took a walk on the beach. The week befroe we drove about 60 miles up into Georgia to Jekyll Island. What a beautiful place that is. Back in the day it was the winter place for some of the Rockafellers, JP Morgan and the like. The old origianl club house has been turned into a great old hotel that reminds us a bit of the hotel Del Coronado off the coast of San Diego. We had lunch there and rode our bikes along some of their great bicycle paths. That is where we saw our first alligator. He was laying on the bank of a small pond that was probably only 50-60 ft. across and maybe 100 ft. long with a stream entering and exiting on each end. The bike path runs right past it so we took the pictures from 10-12 ft. away. He looked at me when I took the picture through the brush but didn't seem to be interested in my being there. I guess he wasn't hungry!
|Jekyll Island Club Hotel|
|We saw this Chapel at a truck stop on the way to the Island|
It is a beautiful Island with lots of history dating back to the mid 1700's. A couple of other interesting things were the beautiful croquet court in front of the hotel and people in all white early 1900's style clothing playing croquet. It is complete with a score board and a referee or some kind of official. I can just imagine the elegance of the place back then with the horse drawn carriages, top hats, fancy dresses, servants etc. etc.
Another interesting thing was the strip mall. We are used to seeing a lot of trailers around the area where we live. There are single wides, double wides and triple wides all over the place. We didn't see any on Jekyll Island until we found the strip mall which is the only retail area on the island. It is all trailers! The market, the bank, the post office, the hardware and liquor stores, hair salon - everything is in a trailer. Sharyn laughs about it everytime she talks about it still.
|Triple wide grocery store|
|Variety Store, etc.|
|Real Estate Office on the left and Bank on the right|
We were given permission to go the Orlando Temple for the Stake "Day of Consecration" where the members of our Stake were nearly the only ones there on that day. It was an all day event. We left at 7 AM, drove for 3 hours, did 2 endowment sessions and 1 sealing session and then drove home. It was an excellent day. It is a beautiful temple and it was good to be there for the whole day.
|Our Branch President and his wife in front of the Temple|
Elder Ball was transferred last transfers and Elder Tibbitts from Orem took his place. There are some days that Sharyn would like to transfer me but fortunately Pres. Barry won't allow it.
|The cute Elders and Sisters in our District. Elder Ball & Elder Green are in the rear by Brent|
We picked a good time to be in Florida from what we see and hear about the Utah weather this winter. We wish you all the best and keep you in our prayers always.
We love you,
Elder & Sister Brown