We spent the week in Ruskin, Florida at a mission conference. It was a wonderful week. I really enjoyed meeting each one of the other missionaries in the conference and even got to interview them. I will be sharing those on Missionary Talks in the coming weeks.
I got to run 3 days while we were there. Monday was 54 degrees when I stepped out the door. That was a bit cooler than I expected. I had a nice run of almost 4 miles. On Tuesday the temp was even colder–47. I personally have a rule that I can run without gloves down to about 47 degrees. Since I did not have any gloves with me, the decision was easy. Running 6.4 miles kept me plenty warm. Then on Thursday I ran just under 4 again.
The town had a great Goodwill store. The Goodwill is between Ruskin and Sun City Center, which is a huge retirement community. When you wear conservative suits like I do, the same suit that looks good on grandpa looks good on me. Generally the more elderly you have in an area, the better stocked Goodwill is with clothing.
On Tuesday as I ran by the Chamber of Commerce in Ruskin I noticed a funny sign out front. Under the large chamber of commerce sign there was an advertisement for Julia’s Florist. It looked like the Chamber was selling flowers to be able to pay the electric bill. I talked to someone in town about it. They informed me that the Chamber rotates advertisements for local businesses. Boring. I liked my explanation better.
The guest speaker in the conference was AV Henderson. Dr. Henderson is an old preacher who I have heard speak on a few occasions. It was great to be part of a team with him for the week. Saturday night before the conference started I was privileged to sit and talk with him for a couple of hours about mutual friends. It was interesting as we talked that the pastor of the church and I, as well as Dr. Henderson, had several mutual friends and acquaintances yet we (the pastor and I) only know each other because of our mission board.
Sometimes you really connect with a church and it’s people more than at other times. This was one church in which we really felt like we belonged. Those are always fun meetings.
Because we were the only missionaries there with children present, we were allowed to stay in the missionary apartment at the church. This gave us a lot more room than a hotel would. There were only two disadvantages to the arrangement. When you are sleeping just 12 steps up above the church auditorium, you can’t easily blame your tardiness on the traffic. The second thing was that we did not have constant Internet access. We had to plug in through one of the staff member’s offices. Since the church had a school using the same Internet connection, there was a filter that locked us down from several sites. Basically any social media sites was blocked. No Facebook or Twitter except through our iPhone connection. I love my phone more and more every day.
The return trip was through a different route than we came down. We were able to pass through my wife’s hometown of Homassassa Springs, FL. In Homassassa they have an animal park that she and I have visited before. It was fun taking the kids and to see how much the place has changed since the state took over several years ago.
We were also able to visit with my wife’s brother. They have not seen each other for almost 3 years. It was good to get them together again.
We have gotten a few phone calls on our Suburban we have for sale, but no one has come over to give it a test drive. As we were pulling into the driveway upon our return from Ruskin, a truck pulled up at our house. Within an hour of getting home this week, I signed over the title to our truck.
We will be home a couple of days and then hit the road for about 5 weeks. This was a tune-up trip to get us ready for the big one starting Monday. We realized a few things we left behind this last trip that we will make sure goes with us on the next adventure.