Sunday, May 22, 2016

Work - Church - Travel = Our Mission

It has been an eventful couple of weeks since our last post.  We would like to take this opportunity to share a few of the highlights with you.


Many days we feel like we're doing more for Internet Archive and the University of Florida then we are doing for Family Search but then there are exceptions.  During the last few weeks we've digitized records dealing with each person who has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor as well as bibliographic sketches of over 300 army generals.  We're also working on a series of memorials given in the United States Congress for colleagues who have died.  The work continues to move rapidly.  By month's end, we anticipate setting a new record for our site regarding the number of items uploaded onto Internet Archive's website in one month.


Sunday, May 14 was a historic day for the Gainesville 5th ward. Bishop Thomas was released after serving as the Bishop of this ward for nearly eight years.  He has been the Bishop since the ward was created.  Our Ward Mission Leader was called to be the new president of the Young Single Adults branch. The sacrament service included a missionary farewell as one of our young men has been called to serve in Texas.  A sister was confirmed a new member of the church following her baptism the day before and we had five investigators in attendance, as well as an inactive member who returned after a two year absence. This was the tenth convert baptism that has occurred in the two wards we've attended since arriving in Florida. It is amazing to watch the Gospel at work in the lives of both members, investigators and missionaries.  


We enjoy spending our free time seeing the sights within our mission.  During the past few weeks, we visited the Appleton Museum of Art located in Ocala and affiliated with the College of Central Florida.  We were very surprised at the extensive collection of art and artifacts found in the museum.

We were unable to take pictures of the beautiful paintings, but we did get a few pictures of items in their Asian collection.

We were surprised to find this statue of a horse during our stop in Ocala.  Ogden, Utah isn't the only place with decorated horse statues along its' streets.

We enjoy taking walks and riding our bikes in the neighborhoods surrounding our apartment.  You never know what you'll see!  Yesterday, these four Sandhill cranes were taking a stroll through a neighboring apartment complex.

During the past year, we've had membership in the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens located in Gainesville.  A couple of weeks ago, we made our last trip there during our stay in Florida.

Their collection of bamboo is amazing as is the different form trees take in the gardens.

We've been surprised to see how many types of cactus grow in Florida.

During the upcoming week, our good friends Elder and Sister Martin will be returning to their Utah home.  It has been great serving with them and enjoying many activities and some great restaurants together.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

April was a Great Month

Our Work

April saw the continuation of our efforts to bring additional resources to those who are hunting for information on their relatives.  We were able to upload 850 items onto Internet Archive's website.  The items included a total of approximately 62,000 images.  We continue to make good progress and look forward to reaching higher goals during the last three months of our mission.

Go Gators!

Serving in Gainesville has provided us with several opportunities to attend college sporting events.  The quality of athlete and level of success associated with the University of Florida and the SEC has been exciting to experience.  We had a chance to attend both a baseball game and a football scrimmage on the same day with our good friends, Elder and Sister Martin.

Baseball - University of Florida vs. Mississippi State University

46,000 fans at the University of Florida's spring football game

Good friends serving together in the Florida Jacksonville mission.

Gators are great - We still follow BYU, U of U, USU, and the USNA!

Other Missionary Activities

We also enjoy doing the activities that are usually associated with missionary work.  One responsibility is to check on the apartments of our younger colleagues.  Missionary safety is a significant priority as is the maintenance of a healthy living environment.  In April, we had a chance to visit missionaries in Williston, Chiefland, and Old Town.  Since it was their "P Day", we all met in Chiefland for lunch after our inspections.

It is always great to have the missionaries in our apartment.  They bring a great spirit, eat a lot of food, and engage us in a Gospel discussion during each visit.  This month, we had a little bigger gathering then usual.

These are some of the finest young men you'll every meet.

Every Tuesday, we attend a Book of Mormon class taught by our missionaries.  The group includes investigators, new members, and missionaries.  We enjoy studying the Book of Mormon together.

Missionaries come and go as transfers occur.  Two of the four missionaries here were leaving for other parts of the mission the following day. 

Our chapel, home to the Gainesville 1st and 5th wards.  It can be a hive of activity.  Last weekend it hosted a baptism on Saturday evening, church services on Sunday, and a "break the fast" potluck dinner after church Sunday afternoon.

Sometime for Fun

We managed to sneak away to one of our favorite spots, St. Augustine, to celebrate Sister Wolff's birthday.  One of things on our "to do" list was to take a tour of Flagler College.  The facility was originally built in 1888 to serve as a winter retreat for the "very" rich.  We had been told that it was beautiful, but words can't really describe what we saw.

The grounds are amazing.

The Tiffany stained glass windows are beautiful.
Many of the ceilings are painted - this is the student cafeteria!

We don't go to St. Augustine without spending a little time on the beach.  For those who worry about coming on a mission because of the separation from children and grandchildren, modern communication goes a long way in resolving that issue.

Sister Wolff getting birthday wishes from children and grandchildren on her I Phone.

Help Wanted!

Our mission ends on August 1.  They are still searching for our replacements.  Interested, contact the Family History - Records Preservation folks at the Missionary Department in Salt Lake City.  You are needed!