Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

Bok Tower
(aka Bok Mountain Lake Sanctuary and Singing Tower)
is a National Historic Landmark, contemplative
garden, and bird sanctuary.
This week has been really good. We got to go to the graduation of a girl in our ward. It was really nice, they drove us all down from the parking lot to the college in golf carts. I think it would've been like a 3 minute walk haha, if even that. The girl who graduated is Samoan and her family came out for her graduation. It was really funny, I guess they have some kind of tradition with leis, and they put so many on her that you could barely see her face. They had made all of them by hand, some of them had money and candy on them. And they gave each of us a lei when we left, it was neat.

Tower contains 205-foot tall Singing Tower
with its 60-carillon bells.
 Y went back to Japan on Saturday :( We're going to miss her a lot, but she's planning on coming back in a few months, so hopefully we'll still be here. We got to go to Wendy's with her the other day and say goodbye. One of the less-actives we had been working with and a few other members also moved this week, we felt like everyone was leaving. Florida seems to be a very transient place.

The tower is built upon Iron Mountain,
one of the highest points of peninsular Florida (~295 ft above sea level).
It was dedicated in 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge.
Last p-day we went to Bok Tower, it was so cool! It's at the highest point in Florida and it was built by a millionaire, just for fun I guess. It's only a few miles from us but we had never gone because it was too expensive, but we decided just to go anyway. I don't have any pictures I can send yet because my camera is out of commission, but you should google it or something, it's really pretty :)

Although the tower's interior is not open to the public,
it contains the largest carillon library in the world.
Recitals are given daily.

We've met some really neat people this week. One is this guy the elders used to teach that we had been trying to get in contact with and just happened to run into on the street. He told us "one of their names was Elder, but I can't remember the other one... Yeah, I knew Mr. Elder real good" :)

The gardens began in 1921 when a Dutch immigrant, Edward W. Bok,
editor of the popular women's magazine Ladies Home Journal
and his wife were spending the winter beside Florida's Lake Wales Ridge.
We also got to take a journey to the very bottom of our area, which is probably like 45 minutes away, so we never go down there. We went there to do some service for the cousin of a member in another ward. We basically just dug a hole for  a few hours. Not even basically, that's what we did :)

The site is a refuge for more than a hundred bird species.
Wild turkey and groups of sandhill cranes are also often seen in wandering groups.
Attempts were made to introduce flamingos several times.
But the flamingos were not native to central Florida and could not survive the
winters that were cooler than those of southern Florida.

Last night the bishop and his wife had us over for dinner with some girls they had met who are also kind of missionaries. They're training to go all over the world and teach people how to be self-sustainable. One of them is from Alaska and the other is from Africa, they were really cool. We talked to them about what we do and a little bit about the church. And after they left we told Bishop we had wanted to give them a Book of Mormon (we completely ran out and ever since then everyone has been asking for one!) and he told us he had 2. So we chased them down on their bikes in his big creepy white van and we found them just as they were about to disappear into the woods and he jumped out of the van and ran after them and was able to give them both a Book of Mormon. It was the best :)

The ornate brass door leading into the tower.
The tower is surrounded by a 15-foot moat
that serves as a koi pond

I don't really have much else to say, except to just express how grateful I am. Grateful for my family, for this gospel, for this wonderful opportunity to share it, for all the wonderful people I get to meet, and of course for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful that I've been able to come to understand it better and to realize that without His sacrifice I would truly have nothing. But because of it, we have everything! :) What a privilege to share that with the world :)

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