Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day in Fort Lauderdale Florida brought 81 degrees of heat. We had to open the windows and turn the air conditioner way up because the humidity was also very high. Not exactly the way we are used to.
We tried to find a soup kitchen that we could help serve at but no one would let us. They said we had to sign up and then take a training course to be able to do it. So we decided the next best thing to make our Christmas a good one was to have some Elders over for dinner. They are from L to R: Elder Holland (Sr Assistant to the Pes) from California, Elder Hunt from Las Vegas NV, Elder Evans (we were in the MTC with him) from Antioch CA, Elder MacDonald from Alberta Canada and then Tim.

We got up and opened a couple of packages we received for Christmas. It didn’t really feel like Christmas. Brian tried to connect with us on the webcam but it didn’t work so well. We could see them but they couldn’t see us. Josh called and put us on the webcam while Alex and Maxwell opened their gifts. Amber called while they were at the Taylors and decided to wait until evening to get on the webcam. It was fun to see Autumn and McKenzie. Canyon was asleep on the sofa. We called Jeremy’s family and got to talk to them on the phone. They were busy playing games. We missed being able to talk to Craig’s family because we don’t have a phone with long distance service. We have a beautiful family.
I spent most of the morning cleaning the house and doing laundry and getting dinner ready. We had Elders Holland, Hunt, Evans and MacDonald for Christmas dinner. We had cordon bleau, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn, salad and peppermint ice cream for dessert. About the time I thought they would arrive, I started cooking the gravy (chicken flavor). As I was doing it, Elder Holland called to say they might be bringing a new member by who was lonely. I decided I needed another package of gravy so I put it in but goofed and put 2 cups of water in for it instead of 1 and the gravy wouldn’t thicken. When I realized what I had done, I immediately threw it down the disposal and thought I would have to use brown gravy. When I looked in the cupboard, I only had 1 package for 7 people!!!! Fortunately Tim kept his head on and pulled some cream of chicken soup out of the cupboard. I remembered how good the gravy was that I made to go over pork chops. I immediately had hope again that we could pull through. I added some dried Lipton onion soup and it turned out great. We even had some left over. Thank goodness for Tim.
The Elders were supposed to be here at 4:00 so I mixed the dressing with the tossed salad. They didn’t show up until 4:30 so I was a little worried about soggy salad but I guess it was okay. I was glad when the meal was over. They seemed to enjoy it. At the end of the meal they asked if they could sing us a Christmas song. They sang Tim’s favorite, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It made me cry. It was a great Christmas day!

Christmas Florida style......

Thanks to several of you we had plenty of decorations for Christmas. Brian, Mary, Clayton, Mitchell, Sam and Abby gave us this neat Christmas tree with pictures of the family throughout the year. We enjoyed looking at them everyday.

Amber, Everett, McKenzie, Canyon & Autumn did the 12 days of Christmas for us. It took 4 of the days to get this tree decorated with bows, balls, string of beads and string of lights as well as the skirt.

McKenzie chose our stockings. Didn't she do a great job.

Our Santa came one of the days. He sat on the coffee table.
Before we had received the other 2 trees, we had found this 3 ft one at the office and brought it home. It is a fiber optic one so the stems on the tree are constantly changing colors. We got one lone candy cane to hang on it as well as one ornament from the Single Adult branch. The others weren't big enough to put packages under so that is what we did with this one. Most of those under it are from other people. It was fun to have one in the living room, dining room and kitchen all within about 10 feet of each other. Christmas was everywhere we went!!! Thanks.

Cruising Fort Lauderdale's "Little Venice"

We went on a 2-hour boat ride with 3 of the senior couples down the inland waterways of Fort Lauderdale. They call it Little Venice because it has so many canals like Italy. People have their homes right on the water's edge and park their huge yachts there. We cruised past their homes and saw a lot of Christmas lights on them. I couldn't believe how huge the homes were. It was extremely cold. Last week it was in the high 80's and this night it was in the 50's with high humidity so it felt like the 40's. I know you are all probably saying "Wah!!!!" I got so cold 1/2 way through that I had to go downstairs where they had it enclosed with glass. You couldnt see as well downstairs as up . By the time the evening was over all but 3 were downstairs with me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas packages....and more packages

We just had transfers yesterday and we delivered all of the packages we had and now today we recieved these.
This is just 2 days worth of packages. The APs delivered the packages to the church for us to hand out at our Christmas Conference otherwise I would have to be relabeling all of them and hauling them back to the post office to send on to the missionaries. I will be glad when the packages stop coming.

Our Christmas Conference......

Tim and the Dallings left at 1:00 to go to the church to set up for our Christmas Conference tomorrow. The electricity had gone out while we were at lunch and did so again right after they left. I was in the dark for about 1/2 hour. Just as it went out the mailman came with a ton more packages that I needed to log in and get ready to take tomorrow. Tim came to get me about 3 o’clock to go help decorate and set up. The Welch’s had been there for several hours mopping the floors and the Fort Lauderdale elders set up the tables. We all worked hard until about 6 pm and were just finishing when a man poked his head in the door to ask what was going on. We told him that we had scheduled the building today to set up for our conference tomorros and he said, “We are supposed to be having our ward Christmas party here tonight at 7 pm. We just about died. Sister Dalling had called the scheduler specifically several times including that morning to make sure we were okay. I guess a wedding reception kicked them out of the Silver Lakes building and someone in the stake presidency told them our chapel wasn’t being used and to go there. We couldn’t stand the thoughts of taking apart everything we had done in the past 5 hours and having to do it all over again. However, the Christian thing to do was to let them have it so we took everything off of the tables, centerpieces, tablecloths, plates, napkins, and the silverware and let them set up and use the rest of our decorations. They promised they would put it back as they found it and they did. It is always scarey wondering if the building will be double booked. Last week there were 4 different things going on in the building the same evening: a ward Christmas dinner in the cultural hall, a small wedding reception in the Relief Society room, a single adult dance right after the ward dinner, and one other thing. What a nightmare. The churches here are not clean like they are at home so I will really appreciate our buildings at home a lot more now.
Our speaker was Brad Wilcox. He was a missionary companion of President Hale in Chile. He is now a BYU professor, an author, and a well known EFY speaker. He was fantastic. He is funny, full of life and very spiritual. He was released from being a mission president in Chile about 2 years ago. It was a great Conference despite the scarey start!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree,,,,

We received a wonderful Christmas card from the Centerville Ward last week. Many of the members in the ward had written us a little note. It made me cry. Tim hung it in his office.

This is our sad little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I found it in the closet at the office. It was great because it only took me 5 seconds to put it up....just long enough to plug it in. It is a fiber optic one and is pretty cool. I'm afraid that this is about all the Christmas there will be going out from this end but we send our love to all.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Swimming party in December??????......

This evening we went to President Michaud’s home for a “Finals” swimming party for those going to school. Swimming at Christmas???? It was pot luck and he made steaks with the branch funds.
We arrived at 6 pm because that is when the party started. One brother arrived shortly after we did. There was just the 4 of us until about 6:30 when a couple of other ones arrived. By 7 pm (1 hour late) we had about 12 people there so we started to eat. I took broccoli salad, one brought chips and the others didn’t bring anything. By the time 7:45 came there were about 25 people there but the only other dishes that came were a vegetarian wrap, a small container each of macaroni and cole slaw and one more bag of chips. No one brought dessert. That made about 5 dishes and 25 people. I guess the other 20 thought they would just eat off of whatever anyone else brought. The steaks were huge though and I had plenty to eat. There were only about 5 people who chose to swim. It had been raining all day and the wind was blowing so it was quite nippy. Tim even said he was cold, which is very unusual.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Say ahhhhhhhhhhhhh....

Tim has been under the weather with a very sore throat for the last 3 days. Elder & Sister Black came into the office on Friday. She has studied nursing so she said if he would find a tongue depressor and a flashlight that she would check to see if it was strep. Elder Black found a flashlight in his car and Tim found a metal ruler and cleaned it with alcohol. She performed the procedure right there in the middle of our office.
Good News!!!!!! It's not strep.........................

Thanksgiving Day.........

What a strange Thanksgiving. We went to Hometown Buffet. All the missionaries were invited to at least one or two dinners. Two of the other couples had family visiting and the other couple was invited to a non-member's home so we went with the new couple, The Welchs, out. Neither of us felt like cooking a big meal for just 4 people and Tim was just as happy because he doesn't care for turkey.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More beautiful baptisms......

Today has been a great day. We attended the singles ward for the 2nd time. When it was time to start the meeting, the counselor came and asked if any of us could play the piano because their pianist hadn't shown up. I volunteered. We had a combined RS and priesthood session so I again played for that. We usually get about 40 people there. There is an investigator who is really close. She actually had this Saturday set up to be baptized but is going to San Antonio to see her family for Thanksgiving and had forgotten that she wouldn't be home by Saturday. Hopefully the following week will work for her. We are trying to have a "White Christmas" and reach 100 baptisms in our mission in December. That is really a stretch as the highest we have ever had before is 61. Please keep us in your prayers that we can reach that goal.
Today we went back to the Fort Lauderdale Ward to see Sheryl Zayas get baptized by her husband, Socrates. He was just baptized 7 weeks ago. He is Cuban. They have 2 darling little girls. It was so exciting to see the completion of both parents getting baptized. They are looking forward to going to the temple next year. Sheryl will become a family practice doctor in a couple of months. They were fellowshipped by a couple in our ward who lives in their apartment complex. They will be a huge blessing to the Fort Lauderdale Ward.
We also had the father of another family who was baptized about 6 weeks ago get baptized last week. That completes their family of a mom, dad, a teenage daughter and son and an 11-year old daughter. The mom and teenagers have already been to the temple to do baptisms for the dead and are coming along super fantastic.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas shopping in 80 degree weather........

I had a really odd experience this afternoon. I decided to go to the new Kohl’s down the street from the office to see if there was anything that would make me feel better about the way I dress. I pretty much walked in and out but couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. There were people everywhere and nothing but HOT sweaters and winter clothing. (People were actually in coats and boots last week because it got down do about 73 degrees). Christmas music was playing “It isn’t Christmas unless there is snow”. I thought to myself….”Are they really playing Christmas music?? IT IS 80 degrees OUTSIDE!!!! Are they insane?” Then I realized that they must all be Christmas shopping. How weird. I knew right then and there that Christmas will NOT be the same this year. I don’t even have a desire to put up a tree. Elder Dalling said I was “Bah hum-bug” so maybe we will put up the 3 ft tinsel one that is here in our apartment. I think it will look pretty silly but “Oh well”. There won’t be any presents underneath it because we are going to give the couples here a poinsettia right after Thanksgiving to put in their homes. We are not buying gifts this year---everyone will just get money. It is so hard to imagine that it is cold and snowy in Utah right now. It feels like August in Utah.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nightmare hospital experience.....

Friday night found me in the ER at the local hospital. I had been having a headache, dizziness, the shakes, pain in my abdomen as well as in my shoulder area. It was similar to what happened to me about 4 years ago. On Friday at the Sister's conference I noticed that my jaw on my left side was aching like I had a toothache. I mentioned it to Sister Dalling and she said her friend had just e-mailed her the day before about a friend who had a heart attack and her only symptom was the pain in her jaw. That scared me enough that I went to the Dr and of course you know what they do.......examine you and have you go to the hospital for more tests. I was surprised that the Dr told me the jaw was one of the symptoms.
I spent 5 hours in emergency before they took me to the room. 2 of those hours were AFTER they said they were admitting me. It was NOT a comfortable bed. I arrived in my room about 11:00 at night. There was a man in the room next to me that was yelling all night so they shut my door to keep the noise down. The lady in the bed next to me said she wouldn't be able to sleep so she kept her TV on as well as her light until about 3:30 am. We had different nurses so it was a constant "in and out" between the 2 of us getting blood drawn and blood pressure taken all night. I was nearest the door. Everytime one of the nurses came in they would make noises opening the door and getting their cart over to each of us. Once the other nurse ran into my bed and another time let go of her cart and it ran into the door and banged. (Heavens sakes. Don't they know people are trying to sleep that time of night?) The lady didn't want to take the kind of medications they were trying to give her and so there were some lengthy conversations trying to convince her that she needed them. I wanted to yell "Take the pills and let me sleep." Then about 4:00 the lady by me started to snore so I knew she had gone to sleep.
By morning I was exhausted. The nurse brought in my roommate's breakfast tray about 7:30 am. By 8:30 they still hadn't brought mine so I asked for it. I was told the cardiologist said I was not to eat until he had done a test on me. He finally showed up about 12:30 (noonish) and said everything was fine and I could go home. He said it was most likely acid reflux and indigestion (same as 4 years ago). I said I wasn't going until they brought me something to eat. He asked why I hadn't eaten and I told him. He said, "I didn't say you couldn't eat." The nurse then got a piece of his mind for not feeding me. It took 3 more hours before they got the hosptial Dr up to release me and get my paperwork to me!!!!! How ridiculus. Bless Tim's little pea-pickin heart. He did all of the laundry, grocery shopping, menu planning and some house cleaning while he was waiting for me to call him and say they were releasing me. He's a trooper.

A visit with Shawn Bradley....NBA Player

President and Sister Hale flew Shawn Bradley, former BYU basketball player, who also played for Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks and one other NBA team to be the guest speaker with his wife, Annette, for our Sister's Conference on Friday. He is about 7'6". There were about 30 of us at the President's home for the conference. Our President is about 6'4" tall and looked like a midget next to Shawn. Shawn and Annette are very humble but spiritual people. Annette served her mission here in Fort Lauderdale so she really enjoyed "reliving" being here. This is a picture of Shawn, the President's 9 year old son Cameron and Elder Bachynski (I have a picture with him previously on the blog) who just signed to play with Arizona State when he gets off his mission. His papers were sent to the President's home and he signed them in front of Shawn which gave Elder Bachynski a boost. Janet is the short one! His wife is about the same height as Janet. Someone once asked him how they kissed and he said "with our lips". He is a very emotional person and cried during our opening prayer which was offered by one of our sign language Sisters. He then cried through our opening song "Walk Tall, You're a Daughter of God."
Sister Bradley is a darling lady. They have 4 daughters and 2 sons. Shawn has retired and helps his friend run a ranch in Castle Dale, Utah (Central Souther Utah)
Shawn said that he had as assignment to sign about 200 basketballs for charity one day. The next day they went into their little 3 year-old girl's room and noticed black majic marker all over all of her toys. When they asked her why she did it, she said, "I signed my autograph!"
Another daughter used to ask him to sign her homework book every night when she was in 2nd grade. He was quite thrilled that she would ask him to do it instead of her mom. A few weeks later he noticed that the bottom of all of the previous pages had been cut off. He asked her why that was and found out that she had sold his autograph to her friends.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Meet our friends.....the Goodmans

This is our friends that we have been working with for about 5 months to get them baptized. Their names are Ed and Margie Goodman. She is soooooooo close. They are so good to the missionaries and have them to dinner quite often. Their granddaughter, Jessica, was baptized about 2 months ago. We are now in the singles ward where she is attending. It seems like we have known them forever. She has a cute Georgia accent. They are both retired and neither one of them have good health. He has had a previous heart attach and she was diagnosed with a brain tumor about 2 months ago. She doesn't seem to be worried about it though. They went to Tennessee a while back and it seemed like they were gone forever. I am going to miss seeing them at church every week now that we are assigned to the Young Single Adult Branch. We will definitely keep in touch with them. We have gone out to dinner with them and had them here for dinner. There is never a break in the talking when we are with them. Janet and Marge are usually having their conversation while Tim and Ed have their own at the same table.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Transfers & accidents....

This has been one crazy and busy week. We had transfers. It was the first one with the new finance system involved for Tim. Five new proselyting areas were created and we got 15 new missionaries which always creates a lot of work for me. One of our zone leaders decided to change the name of the areas in his zone and switch the phones around. They are both tied to our computer system and he didn't bother to tell us so it created all kinds of havoc. The phones drive the areas that I send referrals to. I hope it is finally straightened out but it took a lot of work.
The evening the new missionaries arrived we helped Sister Hale serve the dinner and clean up. Afterwards Tim had to get the mission van out of their garage for another senior couple to use the next day. The President's car was parked behind the van so Sister Hale said she would back it out while tim moved the President's car out of the way. He turned too sharp as he started backing up and crunched the right front passenger bumper. I just grabbed my head when I heard and saw it happening. We may be sent home before May 1.
We also got our first transfer this week. We have been attending the Fort Lauderdale Ward which is a very diversified and noisy ward. We are now going to be working with the Young Single Adult branch here in Plantation. It will really be different. We attend our first meeting tomorrow. We are really sad because he are still working with the Goodmans to get them baptized. We have been friends with them for about 5 months now. They are coming for dinner tomorrow.
We love our family so much. They have really been a great support to us. We have such amazing friends also. Know that you are loved also.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another great week full of fun......

We threw a Halloween party for the 5 senior couples last night. We had soup, breaksticks, veggie tray, salad and sugar cookies and sherbert. It was yummy! We played games and Tim did the "Name the TV show music" game with them. We had a good time.

Elder & Sister Black

This is us! This is Elder & Sister Welch. They are from Provo and have been here 1 month.
We didn't get a picture of Elder & Sister Dalling.

We had a wonderful week this week. We worked really hard and did a little overtime at the beginning of the week so we could enjoy being with Brian, Mary, Clayton, Mitchell, Sam & Abby the 2 days they were here to see us. We kept them moving!
We went to a place called Shark Valley to see the alligators. Unfortunately, some of us saw 3 and others who went ahead of the group only saw 1!! It has just finished the rainy season so there is plenty of water for the alligotors to lay around in. It is also very hot so they like to stay in the water, back in the shade rather than be out where we can see them. The best time to come is about March or April when it is cool and it has been dry. Then the alligators have to all go to the few spots where there is water left to survive.
We showed them some of our funny trees. They may be banyon trees with the trunk looking like it has a ton of roots all twisted around each other. We took a picture standing inside of the tree. We also spent a few hours at the beach. The sunburn was worth it all! We then hit the swimming pool. Grandpa took everyone to a Chinese all-you-can-eat restaurant and the boys love it. Abby preferred to stick with the watermelon.
It was fun to be with them and see how much they have grown. Hopefully it will be lots of memories for them.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New members.........

This is the Armsby family who were baptized last week. The father is still deciding if he wants to be baptized. They are with Elder Kikongi and Elder Garrett. This is Tekeyla Johnson who was baptized 2 weeks ago. She has 3 children and is single. She is a friend of Jessica Martin who was baptized a couple of months ago. Jessica has been great at sharing the gospel with her friends.
I was fortunated to be able to play the piano at both of their baptisms.

Love those lips......

This week Sister Schulthies came into the office to pick up a package that her Mom had sent. She found a package of wax lips like the ones we used to get when we were little kids. She gave Tim and I each one and we just HAD to get a picture with them. I have almost decided that I like the look. It kind of hides some of the wrinkles that I have.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Winter is here......and the baptisms keep coming!!

We have had another week of packed activities. Besides our 9 to 10 1/2 hr office days, we took Tina clothes shopping for 2 1/2 hours, attended as a representative for missionaries, a seminar for "how to start your own business", a 4 1/2 hour lecture on "Making a successful marriage" and a baptism for a family of four. Somehow I managed to also go get my hair cut.

The baptism was beautiful as a mom and a teenage son and daughter and a 10-year daughter were all baptized. The father is coming but not quite ready. It is so heartwarming to see almost the whole family join together to support each other. They were confirmed in church today as well as the sister who was baptized last Sunday after church. The mom is the one who wanted to sign up to go to the temple her first time at Relief Society. Today they again passed the sheet around for them to sign up to ride the bus on the 14th of November. She signed herself as well as her teenagers up. It costs them $25 each to ride the bus so that is quite a sacrifice. They will be a strength to the ward.

Today in High Priest the leader was counting the different nationalities in the class. Dad thought there were about 10 men and there were 7 different nations represented. I would love to know all of the nationalities in the ward. The mom who was baptized today is from Barbedos and the husband is from Jamaica.

Socrates is a young man from Cuba in his late 30's and was baptized about 2 weeks ago. He is receiving the priesthood today. I met him in the hall between Sacrament meeting and Sunday School. He gave me a hug and kissed my cheek and said, "Here is one of my favorite women." I said I was excited for him to get the Priesthood today and he told me that he dreamed last night that he was being prepared to fight in an Army against Satan and just when he thought he was prepared he would be told that he needed to know more. He thought about his dream this morning and knew that it was testifying to him that he is preparing to fight that very battle with the adversary now that he is a member. Satan will try to destroy him but he felt safe knowing that he was going to get the priesthood to help him fight Satan with the power of the priesthood. Tears welled up in his eyes as he told me that he was so thankful that his friend and neighbor had shared the gospel with him. He wondered why people are afraid to share something so power and special to them. He will be another great addition to our ward!

The weather turned cold today as a cold front went through. It has been in the upper 80's and today it is about 69 degrees with a wind. That is very unusal. It is the coolest it has been since February. I almost want to put on a jacket SO Brian and Mary, maybe you better bring jackets. However, it is supposed to climb back up to around 84 by Thursday. I know you are probably saying "Wah, wah." With the humidity it makes it feel colder. I was actually glad to get out of the air conditioning at church and into a nice warm car.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where's the Pastor..........

I got a call from a lady who said she had been kicked out of her apartment and lost her job but that she had been hired for a new one and had bought the uniforms. She went in to start her job and found out that it was given to the boss’s niece. Now she is living in a motel and only has 37 cents in her pocket and she has a little dog. She needed someone to help her pay for her motel. She is not a member of the church. I told her that we weren’t a “mission” of that kind but if she would give me the address where she was I would look up the Bishop in that area to see if there was anything he could do. She said, “Let me talk to the Pastor.” I told her we didn’t have a Pastor, that we worked out of the Salt Lake office. She told me her address but it was spelled funny so google wouldn’t pick it up the first couple of tries. She said she was in Fort Lauderdale. Finally she spelled it to me and I said, “It looks like that is the Coral Springs Bishop.” She said, “I told you I was in Fort Lauderdale. I don’t feel Jesus in this!!! All I need is help to get my rent paid. If a church can’t even help a person in need, what are they for.” I tried to calm her down and said I would give her the name of the Food Bank and Homeless Shelter and she said, “I am not homeless and I don’t need the government to help me!” I gave her the Bishop’s phone number and then said, “He probably won’t be able to get to you until this evening because this is his home phone and I’m sure he is at work right now. He is usually at the church only a couple of evenings a week.” That put her over the edge and she basically said “Thanks for nothing!” and hung up. You feel so sorry for people like this. It makes you wonder where their families and friends are in their time of need. I am so grateful for many many family members and friends that I could turn to and know that I would get help if I were ever in that position and I love everyone of you!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The part in the hair........

This week at zone conference the missionaries were reminded that President Hale likes them to wear a part in their hair and their ties to their belts. We were then talking to the President at lunch about the part in the hair and Tim said, “I thought you said wear part of your hair.” The President laughed. Later we were singing to the missionaries with birthdays and Elder Hogge (a Senior Elder) went up front for his. He only has a little hair around the back and sides of his head so the President said, “Have you noticed the nice big part in Elder Hogge’s hair? And Elder Holdstock thought I said to wear only part of your hair.” The missionaries weren’t sure whether to laugh or not for fear of offending Tim and Elder Hogge. The President has a cute sense of humor.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We're sizzling......

Okay, it is hot here. This week the weather has been breaking records. I think the normal high is about 87 degrees. We have been around 92-93 degrees. With the humidity it is supposed to be feeling like 102 degrees AND IT DOES!!! Poor Tim had to help inspect about 10 cars today at zone conference. It took he and Elder Dallilng about 1 1/2 hours in the heat. They both came home exhausted and sweating like pigs. That's Florida for you!!!!
They may have a hard time finding a place to build the temple as the highest point in Florida I believe is 500+ feet and that is up near Georgia. The highest points around us are the garbage dumps and the overpasses and I'm not pulling your leg!!!!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A new Fort Lauderdale Temple!!!!!!!!.......

Our prayers were answered today when they announced in general conference the coming of a Fort Lauderdale Temple!!!! We have been praying so hard and working so hard for the saints here in South Florida to be blessed with a temple. It is now paying off. We will have to continue to keep them faithful and active so they can attend when it is finally built. Our mighty prayers are powerful. Every day at 9 am our missionaries kneel down and offer a “mighty prayer” to have the missionary work go forth in our mission. President and Sister Hale are great at making that happen as well as our great force of Helaman’s Army. Tim and I decided to stay home and watch conference on our laptops. I so wished that I had been at the stake house when it was announced to hear the reaction of the people there. If I had it my way, we would have gone to the church but Tim didn’t want to get dressed up.
While I was ironing this morning, I stubbed my little toe on the foot of the ironing board and I think I broke it. I heard it crack and it feels funny and is bruised. It's a good thing I'm not one of those missionaries who walk the streets all day long.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

World record........

The President told Tim and I tonight that he had been told that our mission led the entire WORLD in percentage of increase in baptisms per missionary for the last quarter. We hit a record high of 61 this month compared to about 25 a year ago. Our missionaries are the best!!!! It is amazing how you can love so many young people. They are helping to keep us young. One of them told Tim and I last week that we remind him of his parents. He then told us how they didn't have much money and were very frugal. I'm not sure if that is why we are like them or just what. Keep praying for our success and for a temple here in South Florida.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Our 15th Grandbaby is here.........

We became proud grandparents again yesterday when Jeremy and Rebecca's 4th little boy entered the world 4 weeks early, weighing about 7 lbs. 5 oz. and 20 inches long. Not bad for a month early. His name is Foster Graham Holdstock. We will have to wait to see him for about 8 more months!!! That is one thing that is hard on a mission.....missing special events with your children and grandchildren. You other grandparents will have to agree with me. From the couple of pictures we have seen he looks strong and healthy and very handsome to us!!! We are proud of our family.......

Our "Get To Know Florida Get-Together"......

The Hogge's, one of the Senior couples, hosted a "Get to know Florida get-to-gether on Saturday. They gave each Elder a tourist hat and a necklace. The Sisters got necklaces. Needless to say, the Elders looked quite silly but were good sports and wore their hats the whole evening. We ate BBQ hamburgers and played a game of Jeopardy with facts about Florida. We had a great time.
This is the Blacks and the Kynastons. The Kynastons are going home to Boise, Idaho this coming Friday.

This is Elder Holdstock doing the tourist thing.

Elder Holdstock and Elder Dalling make a fine looking companionship.

Today we had Elder Knickerbocker, Parry and Paulos for dinner.

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My gourmet chef.......

I caught Tim throwing spaghetti at the cupboard tonight to see if it would stick. That means it is cooked enough. I guess we are ready to eat!! He is getting so good at cooking.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Midnight message.......

It never ceases to amaze me how the spirit directs the Lord’s work. Yesterday I submitted a baptism for a 9-year old boy. The Elders had written a number over the top of another number for the baptism date, making it 1 month prior to when he was confirmed. I looked to see if Elder Black had the baptism and confirmation that far apart. He is the one who lets me know that an individual has actually been baptized. The Elders had put 8 August and Elder Black’s said the 23 so I thought maybe the information hadn’t gotten to Elder Black for a couple of weeks. During the night when I got up to use the bathroom, the spirit told me to check that baptism record closer. I had already submitted it to Salt Lake. When I went to the office this morning, it was the first thing I did. I called to check with the Elders on the “real” baptism date and they told me the 23 so I’m not quite sure why they submitted it as the 8th but I made the change and will call Salt Lake. If I hadn’t followed the prompting I received in the middle of the night, it would have forever been recorded wrong.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Home sweet home......

This is a picture of the clouds yesterday morning. There are such beautiful clouds here. I just missed the little bit of pink in the sky. This is the pond about 15 feet from our dining room window. It is looking across the pond to the Dalling's apartment. We will miss all of the beautiful scenery here when we go home.

Another dinner with our great friends.....

On Labor Day the Dallings hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for the 5 couples. They have become very dear friends to us so we wanted you to see who they are:
This is Elder and Sister Dalling from Rexburg, Idaho. They work in the office with us. She is the mission secretary and he takes care of the cars and bikes.
This is Elder and Sister Black from Murray, Utah. She is legally blind and croquets baby blankets. They work with the Coral Springs Ward and teach English classes to investigators.

This is Sister and Elder Holdstock. She is the referral secretary and he takes care of all of the finances.
This is Elder and Sister Kynaston. They are from Meridian, Idaho. They take care of the apartments and she helps with the missionaries' medicdal problems. This Elder and Sister Hogge from Anchorage, Alaska. They are the employment specialists.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Our Sisters are on fire.........

Sister Keller (a Spanish Sister) told me about having a baptism for she hoped 9 on Wednesday evening. Then the family of 4 said they wanted to just watch and would get baptized another time. She was disappointed so planned on the 5. The mom has been dragging her feet but the husband and the 8 year old were anxious. Just as the meeting was starting the family came in and the little boy went up to Sister Keller and said, “I’m getting baptized tonight!” Sister Keller said “No, not tonight.” He said, “Yes I am.” She went to the mom and said that he said he was getting baptized. She said “Well, that is what he wants and he is insisting on it.” Sister Keller asked if that was okay and the mom said yes so Sister Keller took off to find the Elder to give him an interview. A few minutes later the Bishop found Sister Keller and said that Brother so-and-so was getting baptized. Sister Keller said, “No it is the son who is getting baptized.” The Bishop said, “No, the father is also.” The little boy had come out of his interview and said, “Dad, I don’t want to get baptized alone. Will you get baptized too?” So she had to find the Elder to do another interview and they were both baptized, making a total of 7. She has about 4 more scheduled for next week. She is on fire!

Tim, the repairman.........

As we were coming home from the office on Thursday, Tina called and said her VCR and DVD didn’t work since her daughter painted her room and put linoleum down. We said we would go see what was wrong on our way to exercise. She had a very tiny cluttered hot bedroom on the second floor. I’m surprised she hasn’t fallen down the steep stairs. She had 3 dogs and a cat in her room with her, some of them on the bed. There was also the dog’s dish with food in it up on her bed near where she was laying. Her daughter’s dog barked the whole time we were there. Tim had to slide the dresser out from the wall. It had a bookcase unit on top of it with the TV and tons of pictures of cats and dogs. I was afraid he was going to knock something off and break it. He couldn’t see behind the dresser because it was so dark so he had Tina hand him the table lamp. As she did, it fell apart and wouldn’t work! Fortunately she had a spare light bulb in her drawer and we put the lamp back together and used it to see behind the dresser. He was able to hook up the CD but the DVD has a double image. He was sweating like a hog by the time he finished.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Breaking into a car...............

We found out this week that one of our missionaries from Puerto Rico had all of his clothes taken from his dryer at the MTC 2 months ago and has only had 2 shirts and 1 pair of pants to wear. We along with the Dallings purchased him 3 shirts and 2 pair of pants from Penneys. Dad and I sneaked to their apartment near Miami Friday morning and put them in the trunk of their car with a note on the car seat saying to look in the trunk. We got the key from Elder Dalling who is over vehicles. The missionary was very excited and thought some of the other Elders had done it. When he found out they didn't, he called Sister Kynaston (who is the one that informed us when she did his apartment inspection) and asked if it was her. She said no, "It is someone who loves you. You're job is to stop worrying about who did it and be thankful." It was a fun thing to do.
We celebrated our hump day yesterday and are now on the downside of our 16-month mission. We also celebrated our 40th anniversary! We celebrated by doing what we do best together, clean house, grocery shop and laundry........and as a bonus we went out to Applebee's for dinner. Tim is just as wonderful as he was the day I married him, if not more so. He has been a very gentle, kind and loving husband. I'm not quite sure how I caught him but it was a GREAT CATCH! Someone up above must have been helping me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Exercising with Tina..........................

When we got home from the office today we called Tina to tell her we would be going to exercise in about 45 minutes. She said, “I’ll hurry and get ready.” We thought maybe she would decline. She is trying to get ready so she can go to the dr tomorrow morning. On the way over I said, “Are you going to exercise?” She said “I can’t exercise!” So I wondered what she was going to do. I told her there wasn’t anywhere to sit but she went anyway. As soon as we walked inside she said, “There isn’t anywhere to sit.” She sat down on the weight press bench. Part way through using the bicycle, she came over and stood next to me and wanted to talk but didn’t stay long because her feet hurt her. After 10 minutes on the bike I did my treadmill for 20 minutes. When I had about 4 minutes left, she came over and wanted to know when I would be finished. I think she had enough.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Exercise with who?.........

So I have decided that I need to go to the exercise room here in our apartment complex and do some exercising (stationary bike and treadmill). I went about 4 times last week and went over in the rain tonight. I ran into our 88 year old lady friend walking her dog and stopped to see how her doctor appointment went today. I told her I was going to exercise. When I got home the phone rang and it was Tina saying that she wants to go exercise with me on Wed and Thurs and Saturday. Now that ought to be interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll keep you posted on how she does on the treadmill or better yet, at weightlifting.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fun at the luau.........

We had a luau today for our ward activation activity. They pinned real palm leaves on the walls and had beautiful colorful tablecloths on the tables. We ate pulled pork, chips, and salads. The Hollywood Ward (Bishop Hoope's Ward - Jeremy) did the entertainment with lots of hula dancing and numbers from Saoma, Tonga and Figi. Jessica's baptism followed.

The Lord's work continues to increase here in Southern Florida. This weekend we had 20 baptisms scheduled, although not all of them will actually take place.
We had a baptism today for Jessica Martin, who is a 23 year old granddaughter of the couple that Tim and I are working with. Her Grandma will probably be baptized soon but her Grandpa is holding out until he can be totally committed. He loves the church and the people so we will continue to work on him. We are going out to dinner with them on Monday evening. This last week was zone conferences and we were able to attend one near Miami. We talked about our purpose as a missionary – to baptize! The President said that Miami was the largest metropolitan area that didn’t have a temple so we are working really hard.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Little teaching moments.........

We stayed until about 6:15 tonight. About 6:00 the APs came and were standing talking to me when someone knocked on the door. It was a black lady, about 35 years old, who wanted a couple of Bibles to take to Jamaica with her next week. Elder Isom got her 2 and she asked if that was all he could spare so he got her another one. I told her she could have some B of M also and she said she had one but would like some to take with her also. She also requested some pamphlets. I asked her if she knew anything about our church and the B of M. She said something about that guy who started it all (Joseph Smith). I said “do you know where the B of M comes from?” She said “I think that guy had a vision.” I asked the missionaries to tell her the story of Joseph Smith and I told her how the B of M and Bible go hand in hand. I then told her that we have a prophet on the earth today like they did in Biblical times and she said, “I believe we have prophets all over the earth today. Some of them are scared to tell us who they are but I believe they are there.” I then asked her if she would like some missionaries like these young men to teach her about our church and she said “Yes.” I had her fill out a referral card and put it on the computer. She is in the Fort Lauderdale Ward boundaries so maybe I will see her at church. Her name is Dawn. I told her we had missionaries in Jamaica also and would she like me to send some to her relatives. She asked if I had their number and I told her I would have to put it into the computer and it would be sent to Jamaica. She said she would get their address and call me with it. The Elders told me afterwards “Sister Holdstock, you are a good missionary.” It made me feel brave with the 3 of them standing there to back me up though.
A few minutes later Elders Isom, Olsen and Stewart went into their office and shut the door. I could hear them singing a hymn. One of them could not carry a tune, but nonetheless, they sang. I think they were planning the zone conferences for next week and having a prayer and devotional before starting. It touched my heart. I love to see them being so spiritual in their duties when no one else is listening.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dodging the hurricane.....

We are still doing okay here in Florida. We had a hurricane that was going to bring us some rain towards the end of last week but it went up into the Gulf of Mexico. I guess we must have prayed harder than the missions up there. We are about 1/2 way through hurricane season and haven't seen any action at all. I hear it is terrible if you have to go to a smelly, HOT Red Cross Center and be without electicity for 10 days. They say they are packed. NO THANKS!
We have caught another 2 geckos in our apartment this week. It has been a while since we have had any. One was loose in our bedroom for about 4 days and we finally found him on the wall above my bed. It was almost more creepy finding him there and squishing him on the wall (Tim did that) than not knowing where he was.
We have a new couple coming to our mission on Oct 1 to replace a couple who is going home. The President is having the new Elder do ALL of the apartment work except for the checks that will need to be written. Tim is elated. He has been doing quite a bit of it to help the couple over them. It will be a welcome relief for him.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Busy week.....

Outside the Orlando Temple
The sisters who are going home this week.

It was extremely busy this week in our mission. We had 16 new missionaries arrive on Tuesday and went to the Orlando Temple on Wednesday with the 12 who departed on Thursday morning. We helped purchase, prepare and serve dinner at the Hale home (our President) on Tuesday evening for 30 people, lunch on Wednesday for those transferring for 140, and dinner the same night for about 30 for those departing the next morning besides our regular days at the office. Monday was spent buying and preparing some of the food for Wednesday. We never got home before about 9:00 and sometimes as late as 10:15 on Mon, Tues and Wed and we got up at 4:30 am to get ready to fo to the temple. It was a 3 hr. 15 min. drive each way. When we got back to the office on Thursday we had to catch up because of missing Wednesday. We hold the mail for about 3 days before transfers so it was really backed up on Thursday and Tim had to get all of the new addresses and changes in apartments into the computer before I could print labels for the packages and letters. We left the office Thursday about 6:30 pm.
President Hale told us today that he has made arrangements with the Director of the Hawaiian Cultural Center to host the senior couples in Jan 2011. He told him he we would give him a couple of days at his condo if he would treat us like he would the Prophet. He plans to have us all come to his condo on Kawaii for a few days reunion.
The President also told us the other evening that he knows the President of Guatemala and that his wife is involved in humanitarian work so a couple of years ago he worked with the Church to give a special humanitarian award to Guatemala's First Lady. President Hale flew on the private jet to go to Guatemala to pick her up and then escorted her to Salt Lake where she received the award and then flew back to Guatemala with her. HE KNOWS EVERYONE!!!!
About a month ago I got an idea about 3 am to put a "chapel card" in all of the "mail only" offers that I send out. The card has a picture of the chapel in each area, address and times of the meetings. The missionaries use them to give to some of their investigators. Some people do not want the missionaries to deliver the items they request (DVDs, Bibles, BofM etc) so I just mail them out. Last week one of the missionaries told me that a lady showed up at church and said she had received an "invitation" to come to church. The missionary didn't know what she was talking about until I explained to her what I had started doing and she said, "That must be why the lady showed up at church." It is interesting how the spirit directs even the referral secretary (me) to do things that can help get investigators to church.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Lesson about the"Dew Point"........

This is Elder Holland, Fernanda Chaud and Elder Bird. I played the piano at her baptism. She is from Brazil.
This is Lysent, Shamar and Sylvia Brown. They were baptized 2 weeks ago and I was able to play the piano at their baptism. Lysent and Sylvia are the grandparents.

It is sooooo hot and steamy here that Dad keeps having trouble with his glasses fogging up when we go outside. This isn't very bad. Sometimes you can't even see his eyes. It happens when we go from an air conditioned area out into the warm. This was on the way to the office in the morning.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What a bird!

This is a picture of Tim finishing his lunch. He watched this bird outside our window about (10 feet away from him) as he ate. This one is NOT as large as the one that eats the baby ducks.