Sunday, April 21, 2013

Today is April 8, 2013.  It is our P day once again and we visited the Okefeenokee swamp with some friends/members. It was a great day, nice and warm but not too hot, bright sunshine, small crowds, no bugs and we saw quite a few gators.

We really enjoyed conference this past weekend.  We took an inactive member named Roy Hartzog to the chapel on Saturday AM to watch the session.  There were 5 of us there.  Elders Tibbitts and Johnson, Roy and us.  We attended again on Sunday morning and there were 7 of us.  The two Elders, our investigator named Tony McMaster and Bro. and Sister Godwin.  But I have to say that it was a very spiritual experience.  Tony is a good man and will be baptized before too long and it was great being there with him listening to the Apostles and Prophets.  We watched the afternoon sessions at our apartment both days and I went to the chapel Saturday night for Priesthood meeting.  As I did so I thought about my sons and expected that both Michael and Robert were taking their sons to the meeting and going out for a treat afterwards like we used to do.  John will have to wait a few years for Blake and Zack to get old enough for that but I hope that will be a tradition for them also.

We have been working with both Tony and Faith McMaster, his 13 year old step daughter, Tom Gordy and Catie Gann, Craig and Shelley Sperry, and a few more.  We also spend a lot of time each week finding inactive members and inviting them to attend our meetings etc.   We have become good friends with the Taylor's, the Sturdivants and others.  We have found most of the people on the roster that actually live in the area and all in all feel that we are making some progress.

Since it has been quite a while since we have posted anything to the blog we are putting on quite a few pictures taken at various places we have explored including St. Simons Island, Amelia Island and the swamp.  The swamp pictures are all in the Okefenoke, the Armadillos and the cycling in the rain are in Fernandina, the boat garage and some of the others were taken on St. Simon Island.  It is beautiful here
and never too cold although it has been cooler than we expected.

We have come to love the people here, some of them are very diligent and strong in the church.  It is not as easy to be that way here because they are so spread out and there is not as many opportunities to associate with each other.  They do watch out for each other though and do as much as they can to help each other when there is a need.
On St Simon Island they preserved all the trees by building the road around them.  

St Simon Island boat garage
Looking out at the swamp from a tall tower

Alligator nest where she lays her eggs

Closer look at the alligator nest

The swamp from our boat tour
Alligator on shore - friendly guy!!!

How would you like to meet this guy while out swimming
Alligator on the shore
Our friends, the Sturdivants at the old timey village at the swamp

Sharyn, Earl and Norbra

Brent and Earl at a homestead near the swamp

Skeletorn of a 13 1/2 ft. alligator in the Visitor Center

Cute armadillo at Fort Clinch

Drenched in the down poor at Fort Clinch
                                                            Riding in a downpour

Well it is now the 21st of April.  It took us a while to get this together and ready to post because we have been pretty busy lately.  We have some more pictures of some of the youth in the Branch, our service project of moving a Sister to Huntsville, Alabama (over 500 miles one way) and some other activities that we will put on line soon.

We had good meetings today.  One family we expected to be at church didn't make it and if they and a few other regulars had shown up we would have set an attendance record today.  We did have 97 people though and that is a great number for here.

We have met a lot of good people, some active and some not.  We can see that the gospel could really be a help to those who are not active if they could just soften their hearts and give God a chance to enter their lives and receive his blessings.

There were two men there today that we have worked with.  Roy Hartzog and Gerry Walsh.  We have had many discussions with Roy, have taught him a lot of lessons, took him to see Gladys Knight and have run him around to the doctor. and the store since he doesn't have a car.  The Elders have also taught him a couple lessons and he showed up with a member today so that was good.  Gerry used to be the president of his 70's quorum in the midwest years ago but he fell on hard times, got divorced, was in a car wreck and had some addiction problems but is a good man and wants to get his life on track again.  It was good to have him there today as well.

Things are going well overall.  Those of you who have been on missions know that there are plenty of up's and down's but more up's than down's so we are happy and healthy.

We hope the best and pray for y'all everyday.

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