Monday, September 29, 2014

John and Pati Collier's Visit to Orlando

We have been looking forward to September 19th for a few months now. The Collier's told us they were coming to Orlando and invited us to celebrate John's 60th birthday with them at Roy's Restaurant. Pictured are Matt and Chrystal Collier; John and Pati Collier; Elder and Sister Bean. The dinner was excellent and we had a bit of a hard time visiting because the table next to us was noisy. We were able to catch up on some Hidden Valley Ward news--our good neighbors that we miss these days.
 Matt and Chrystal live in the Orlando area and have just moved into a beautiful new home.
Their son Random is getting baptism in a week.
We met the Colliers for a session in the Orlando Temple on Wednesday. It was a beautiful day and the clouds above us were preparing for rain. The Florida skyline changes--beautiful clouds grace the sky, it rains, then they billow away.
Our planned time at Disney's Magic Kingdom with John and Pati was rained out so we spent Friday evening with them at Downtown Disney. It was fun to eat at Earl of Sandwich, visit, walk around the shops, visit, then eat ice cream, and visit. The entire Collier family had come for the baptism which unfortunately we missed on Saturday--Bye, good friends tell everyone hello.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Missionary Experiences

*This cute couple, Santa and Sister Clause did not come from the North Pole but they live in Florida--and have visited many gatherings in their Santa attire for years. (Right now they are wearing missionary badges--serving a humanitarian mission.) Their slogan is, "Keeping Christ in Christmas". Notice the Red Silverado--a bright eye catching advertisement to call for bookings. They share the gospel wherever they are with a message about the restored gospel and a reminder to visit I love their unique approach.

*Elder and Sister Bean were walking out of Home Depot in a bit of a hurry when a clean cut well dressed gentleman approached them and said to Elder Bean, "You look like you are a man of God. I have been praying that the Lord would send someone to help me." He gave his sad story which boiled down to needing money for gasoline for his car. We were in too big of a hurry to actually take him to the pump so we gave him a pass along card, some money, an took down his telephone information so the missionaries give him a call.

*Wednesday evening we took the Kissimmee Ward Spanish and English Sister missionaries to dinner at a Mexican Restaurant "Suzon Latino". The owners are very friendly and know the missionaries and has even come to church. We had a great dinner together--then we asked them if we could leave a message about Jesus Christ, which they agreed. One of the Sisters who has a beautiful voice suggested we sing, "Nearer My God To Thee" in Spanish. We had been the only ones eating but in the mean time two other tables had filled up so we had more of an audience. There were six of us singing and it sounded beautiful even though two of us were singing in English. When we were finished everyone clapped. The owners wife being the cook thanked us so much--she said it gave her chills. I told her that feeling was the Holy Spirit. We left so elated--true happiness only the gospel can bring.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Baptism of Steve Pallais and Helen Abrams

Saturday, 22 Sep 2014 Steve Pallais (29 years old) was baptized in the Kissimmee Ward by Brother Howe and Helen Abrams (@ 70 years old) was baptized by Elder Jeppson.
     A month ago Helen went with Elder Bean and I to a fireside to hear Elder Hamula of the Seventy speak. She has been great to get to know. Her husband even came to her baptism.
     Steve has done a lot of scripture reading while he was investigating. He has his PHD and will soon be working for Disney. He wrote a heart felt, inspiring testimony and read it to everyone at the baptism.

Monday, September 22, 2014

New Missionaries Arrrive--22 Sep 2014

About 5:30pm tonight 11, Sisters and 8 Elders arrived at the Orlando Airport for their first day of the mission. They came to the Wetherby Chapel for dinner or barbeque pork sandwiches, potato salad, chips, fruit, cake and ice cream. After dinner the president had to interview each of them. At the same time the Assistants to the President had them role play. They practiced several ways to approach any and everyone they meet--asking them how they feel about Jesus Christ and if they would like to learn more. Name and number please.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Utah Connections

 One of the greatest moments in our mission is when we meet some one from Utah. Elder Haddock is the next door neighbor to our daughter Suzanne in Bountiful. The Haddocks are great neighbors--our grandchildren have done a lot of swimming in their pool. So glad he introduced himself to us--Suzanne said that he was serving in Fort Lauderdale. He will be home for Christmas.

We also were able to meet Elder and Sister Mills who are serving in Key West. They are Member Leader Support for the missionaries and members in the farthest Southern Florida. They were neighbors to my sister Martha Rushforth. Wow, they think a lot of Martha and Craig and I couldn't agree with them more. They sold their house in Kaysville and are not sure where they will live when they get off their mission. Sister Mills said that she provides food for a linger longer after church every week. That is tricky since it is hard to know how many will be there. What a great service--sweet is the work.

Meeting Elder and Sister Platt in Hammond, Louisiana

On Friday afternoon we left Alexandria, LA and drove for four hours to Hammond, LA to meet Elder and Sister Platt for dinner. The Platt's are serving in the Mississippi Jackson Mission as an office couple. Not long ago their mission president was talking to Doctor Bean about a missionary and he said, "I think there is someone here in our office that knows you." Sure enough it was Elder and Sister Platt whom we have known for many years. Their son Nathan grew up in the same neighborhood with our children. It was a great place for families. We got to talk to the Platt's at that time and since we were going to Louisiana we planned to meet. We had some good Mexican food at La Carreta, then went to Cold Stone for ice cream. We had a four hour visit--so fun to catch up.

Specialized Training with Louisianna Baton Rouge Mission

We had four days of specialized training in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission.  Elder Doctor Bean did a 40 minute presentation to the missionaries on  dehydration, ingrown toe nails, basketball, bike and car safety and managing stress. After his presentation he talked to any missionary with a concern such as knee pain, head aches, ingrown toe nails, cough, chest pain, etc.  Tuesday we were at a Stake Center near New Orleans, Wednesday--Baton Rouge, Thursday--Lafayette, and Friday Alexandria. At those Specialized Trainings Elder Bean visited with and advised 12, 20, 10, 12 missionaries respectively.
President and Sister Hansen of the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission

There are 5 zones just like this one in the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission
On Tuesday when we were done Elder Bean asked me to drive the 80 miles from New Orleans to Baton Rouge Mission Home, because he was so exhausted. Sister Hansen fixed a wonderful chicken  salad for dinner. Their internet was down so President and Doctor went to the mission office to use it there. Sister Hansen told me about their six children looking at a lovely family picture behind the grand piano.

There are about 200 missionaries in this mission and one of them we know! Elder Cole the son of Brent and Marilee Cole and Grandson of Mike and Joyce Cole.
What were we thinking--no single picture of Elder Cole but he is 5th from the right in this zone.

For lunch Sister Hansen fixed a green salad and ordered pizza that was delivered hot and ready. She was so kind and loved the Elders and Sisters.

The Baton Rouge Temple is a small temple adjacent to the BR stake center-- We were able to attend on Wednesday evening

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sunday Evening with the Pratts

Kael, Nan, and Dr. Pratt

At the Kissimmee ward today (August 31) we met Sister Pratt for the first time—so genuine and down to earth. We met Brother Dr. Pratt the first week we attended. He is an OB/GYN that works for the State of Florida doing OB for indigent patients. She spent the summer in Utah/Idaho and when we met she said: “I made some extra chili, would you like to come to dinner?  Wow, what a treat! The Pratt’s are beyond wonderful. They have 8 children and 21 grandchildren (one son has 11)--he was Mission President in France 2002-05 and just got released as Stake President.
Just to let you know how kind they are—Kael ate dinner with us. She was introduced as their adopted daughter. They have taken her into their life and include her for holidays and weekends. She is a brilliant girl who is emotionally damaged because her father abused her. 

The orchard pictured on the right was damaged by Hurricane Charley that came through this area in 2004. One of the trees that survived is now loaded with key limes.

 Their home is set under tall trees on a 7 acre farm, a citrus grove, grass fed beef grazing in a lush green rye field, a swimming pool attached to the back of their kitchen. They have a huge barn that was built by a contractor with the help of their teenage boys. They have used this barn for ward parties.
  We had 2 wonderful hours together including evening chores—corralling the calves from their mothers for the night. In the morning Dr. Pratt will milk the cows before he goes to work. They drink raw milk and have chickens for fresh farm eggs.

Busy Week--Three Baptisms in Kissimmee Ward

Sister Allison, Lynda Carta, Sister Moffitt

23 August—Lynda Carta got baptized Saturday evening –her ordinance was performed by Brother Chris Underwood.  I love her story. Lynda has been a church going Christian but a few months ago she became disillusioned with her church and quit going. She was feeling very depressed and did a lot of praying for help. Out of the blue she called her brother who lives and California. He had been a rebel and they were not close, in fact she it had been over a year since she had talked to him. He sounded so excited to talk to her and mentioned how happy he was. He had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints six years earlier and he told her how happy he was. She told him how unhappy she was, so he asked her if he could tell his bishop to send the missionaries to teach her. She was good with that—the very next afternoon two sister missionaries, Moffitt and Allison appeared at her door. You know the rest of the story: they taught her, she came to church, within a month she was baptized—and so happy!

Just a note about the referral system—The Church has a world-wide referral system: Lynda’s brother in California gave his Bishop Lynda’s address in Florida. The bishop then sent her info to the referral center. The mission office in Orlando Florida where she resides received the referral and sent a text message to the missionaries closest to her home. The missionaries received the text in the morning and were knocking at her door that afternoon. Bravo to technology—in this case it took less than 24 hours. Any one can send a referral via the internet at --“Meet the missionaries”.

Baptism of Shyanne Wilson and Maibelene Harper.
August 26, Maibelene Harper & Shyanne Wilson were baptized. It was Tuesday evening--young men/young women activity night--without a doubt a great night to have two young women get baptized because they have their peers to support them. Elder Call and Elder Jeppson, pictured on the right were the missionaries that taught them. Maibelene's mom and sister were baptized before we were assigned to attend the Kissimmee Ward. Dr. Bean had been sick the baptism day so we stayed home from the Mission Office. He was still feeling very uncomfortable at the baptism so we left quickly after the service. I made a pizza for the Harper family that day and gave it to them at the baptism. I think it was the first time we have stayed in our apartment for the day since we came on our mission.