Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Wonderful Christmas Season

The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year wherever we are, but being in the mission field during the holidays has provided us with some very special experiences.  We would like to share a few of those with you.
Lights are always a part of the Christmas experience.

Gainesville's "duck pond"
Businesses in St. Augustine
Only those who work with books all day would think of creating this type of Christmas tree!

Christmas also provides an opportunity for special spiritual experiences.

The Gainesville Stake of the LDS Church put on the musical "The Savior of the World".  We had the opportunity to watch the musical several times during our experience as Guest Service Missionaries on Temple Square.  The presentation by the Gainesville Stake was excellent,.just as good as we experienced in Salt Lake City.  Those who attended one of the four performances had a special Christmas experience.

The Christmas season provided many opportunities to be with other missionaries.

One of those opportunities was the mission Christmas party and devotional.  The talent displayed by our young missionaries was very impressive.
Missionaries serving in the Gainesville zone.
Missionaries serving in one of the Jacksonville zones.
Try playing a Christmas carol on a bottle of water!

On Christmas eve, we enjoyed dinner and some time to share traditions and song with one set of Elders serving in our ward.
Christmas morning we helped serve the Gainesville missionaries breakfast followed by a "gift" exchange and a devotional at the institute building on the campus of the University of Florida.
This nut cracker was a "hot item" during the white elephant gift exchange.

Friends, both old and new are a special part of the Christmas spirit.

Elder and Sister Mullins are now serving in the Florida Jacksonville Mission.  Elder Mullins and Elder Wolff were colleagues in the Utah School Superintendents Association.
Three missionaries from Morgan County, Utah serving together in Gainesville, Florida.
 Elder and Sister Martin, new friends that are a big part of our mission experience.
Dinner with Tom and Glenda, Elder Wolff's brother and sister-in-law who live in Florida.

For those of you in the cold and snow, take a look at this weather forecast for the week 
of Christmas.

We hope your Christmas was as good as ours.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Opportunities Continue in November

The Work Goes On

On November 1, we celebrated the half way point in our mission.  It is hard to believe that as we move on to the month of December that we've been in the mission field for ten months.

The process of digitizing books for those doing genealogy work continues at a much greater pace as our competency increases and our center becomes more established.  As we begin the month of December, our total output includes 335,933 captured images and a total of 743 items on line with Internet Archives and Family Search. The books that have been put on line can be seen at

The books shown are the most recent that we've digitized and are awaiting approval from Internet Archive's quality control program before being returned to the library.  The baskets contain books yet to be worked on.  There are "always" more books!


One of the unique aspects of our mission comes from the fact that we're in a partnership that includes the University of Florida.  We work in one of their facilities and thus follow their calendar including time off for holidays.  Besides two days for Thanksgiving, we were also off on Veterans Day and for the University of Florida's homecoming.  That's right, the entire campus closed down for homecoming!  

We take advantages of holidays and Saturdays by visiting the sites within our mission's boundary.  On Veterans Day, we traveled to Cedar Key located on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

A great lunch of seafood in a local restaurant and a couple of hours in the community's museum made the day a success.

Thanksgiving - Time for Friends and Family

President and Sister Craig decided to spend their last Thanksgiving in the mission field with the senior missionaries.  Everyone was invited to the mission home for a Thanksgiving feast and fellowship.  
Currently, there are nine senior couples in the Florida Jacksonville mission with another couple coming in a few weeks. We enjoy the time we have to spend with President and Sister Craig.

Orlando Temple

It is always a good month when you have a chance to be in the temple with a room full of missionaries!  We had that opportunity again in November.