Sunday, December 29, 2013

December the 25th

 As we wrapped up December in bright Christmas paper, we spent our days in the office, our nights giving tours at the art and light display and were able to squeeze in one more side trip to Mosman Bay for a moment of relaxation.  This trip we traveled with the 2 Senior Couples who work with the Harbour YSA Ward, the Dicks and the Nolans. We love working with them and spending a relaxing day was also enjoyable.  
The architecture of Sydney is fascinating.  It is a mixture of old buildings which then house new businesses like McDonalds!  McDonalds, KFC, and Hungry Jack have taken over Aussie land.  They are everywhere, and everyone is forever eating there.  Except us, because we would rather eat real food!

In a beautiful old shopping mall in the city is this Swarovski Crystal Christmas tree.  

Also in the old customs house is a miniature replica of the city, encased in plexiglass that you can walk on.  Very cool!

Cremorne Point is an old section of the city with beautiful old apartments and gardens.  We took a ferry,  had a great walk, and saw more of the older part of Sydney.

We found him just hanging around.  The spiders are amazing and I don't know if he is poisonous but his web is outstanding.

We had lots of fun and realized that we were running out of time so we had to hustle back to our regular jobs.  

We enjoyed giving tours and helping others learn about Jesus Christ and his life here on earth through art work.  We met people from all over the world and had a chance to watch people being taught in several different languages.  But the Spirit is the common denominator that helps us all feel the love of Heavenly Father.  

Christmas morning, and thanks to family and friends, we had a few gifts to open.

My very sweet husband gave me this arrangement for Christmas.

Our stockings were filled with letters and candy from the YM and YW of the 36th ward.  With help from Evan and Erin, we had fun reading and opening these gifts.  They also decorated these Tshirts for us.  We will use them on Pdays.

We received a fun box of goodies and pictures from the kids as well as a beautiful pin.  We thought you would enjoy the pictures we took by timer.  We are getting pretty handy with our camera.

We also will enjoy shopping with a gift card from Deseret Book and Elder is pretty excited about his putting green that will help relieve stress at the office.  All in all it was a fun morning.  After opening our gifts, we headed out the door with food for the YSA in the city.  

We met this missionary in the MTC and have enjoyed working with him here.  We feel like he is one of our oldest friends - in mission time!

This is the 1st counselor in the Bishopric along with his sweet wife.  They are from Korea.

The Bishop is looking festive in his Christmas hat receiving this gift from the ward.  He is such a loving and devoted man and puts in hours of time serving the ward.

Lots of food for the YSA Ward members was enjoyed and it all disappeared  fast.

We then headed back out to the office area to enjoy a dinner with the Senior Couples.  It was a completely American dinner.  A nice touch of home for all of us who have been gone for so long.

We opened Christmas poppers, which is an Aussie tradition, and found these amazing crowns.  A good time was had by all. :)

 We exchanged gifts - $5.00 limit and there were some interesting and creative ones. We finished up that party with a few rounds of table tennis.

It was certainly a different Christmas for us.  But as we served and associated we felt the spirit of the season and enjoyed good company and experiences with the visitors at the Art Exhibit and Nativity near the temple.  We felt the love of family and friends and we will try to visit with you over the next several days.  We hope all of you are working on your resolutions for 2014.  We wish all a wonderful new year of prosperity and health.  Our Savior's birth is recognized and celebrated at this time of year and we know He lives!  We remember His wonderful words and works and we are grateful for the opportunity to study and practice His teachings.
From the "holiday makers", Elder and Sister Feil