Monday, July 29, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods......

This week we traveled to Armidale - over the Great Divide.  These are the mountains that divide the coast from the Outback.  So over the rivers, down Waterfall Way, and through the Bush to Armidale we went.  The Bush is aptly named and if you can't tell from these pictures, there is so much green and trees that sometimes you can't see for forest for the trees - literally.

 The farmlands were magnificent.  We traveled up through the World Heritage Forest of Dorrigo and then on top and down the other side are the stations - cattle as well as sheep and farming.  Every few minutes we would stop and take yet another picture.  Can you imagine the Man from Snowy River here?  I kept looking for him - but they seem to drive utility trucks now days and the horses just look good in the pasture lands.

On Sunday mornings, after checking with the Branch President, we are given an assignment to speak.  I usually have 15-20 minutes and Elder Feil finishes up with 15-20 minutes.  We have been choosing our own topics and we have been focusing on Prayer and Sacrifice.  These small "country branches" are filled with wonderful, faithful saints who are striving to live the Gospel,  and work the programs of the Church. 

Welcome to Relief Society!  Armidale is a University town - the University of New England - wait a minute, that sounds familiar. Am I in the Northeastern United States again???  The three younger girls are students at the "Uni" as they say here.  They are top notch and strive to be good representatives of the Savior by keeping his commandments and living his gospel.

This good brother works at the "Uni".

After church, everyone cleans up, including the counselor in the Branch Presidency.  It is a 2 phase building similar to what we had in NJ.  I felt right at home.

The Young Single Adults.  The sweet lady third from the left is waiting for her mission call.  Her brother is already serving in the Marshall Islands.  

And of course we check on our beloved missionaries - Elder Stergios and Elder Robbins from Australia.  Elder Stergios speaks French so maybe he is from French Polynesia.  We are still learning all the interesting facts about 120 missionaries.  The old brain is getting a workout.

Yea for Primary.  What a sweet face!

The cute little chapel.  It looks like home.

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego????

Picnic time so that we don't have to buy food on Sundays while we travel home.  I know it is winter, but this weather makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors.

Picnic time was held at Brigadoon :)  How are things in Glocca Morra.......I kept waiting for something magical to happen - oh that's right, I'm living in "magical" every day!

Over the river and through the woods, back over the Great Divide, on Thunderbolts Way we followed the sleigh - oops, reverse that, because there is no snow in this part of Australia.  It gets cold, but no snow, just rain.  Brilliant!!

Cleaning and visiting after Church.  Part of the social scene.

And this is the remains of Primary - It was so nice hearing them sing the Primary songs and remember the 36th ward at home and all my friends.  We are all children of God - how nice to be reminded. :)

Once again, where are we?? The street and town names all reflect that British Heritage that we have in common.  We even went across the river Avon and the very next town was named Stratford.  We are so blessed to have been in both England and Australia within a year's time.
 While we miss our children and grandchildren, we know this is where we need to be right now.  We are learning great lessons about love, sacrifice, patience, gratitude, and we thank Heavenly Father each day for making this possible.  I have the perfect companion, the perfect job, and live in a wonderful land called Oz!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Missionaries arrive on jet planes to get here and when it's time, they take the big bird home.  In between they serve the Lord by seeking to spread the word of His gospel to all who will listen.  They brighten the lives of people they meet by their happy countenance and positive, loving attitude towards everyone. Those who listen to the message of the restored gospel are greatly blessed by these emissaries of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  All people are invited to join in.  We are fortunate to be helpers in the Australia Sydney North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Above are new missionaries already hard at work completing required paperwork-fun:)

Sister Howes and Sister Cox-masters of feeding the missionaries.

Simple crockpot type meals are a good way to go when feeding several missionaries .

Will the paperwork ever end? Asks Elder Davey from England.

The Fleet made needed purchases of vacuum cleaners for missionary flats.  Quite the sight when these 3 soldiers were crossing the busy street-Pennant Hills Road-in front of the Mission Office.  This is how real men like to go shopping. We survived!!!!

Posing as soon as the camera comes out.

Elder Arona-3rd from left- finally arrived and his District came in to support him and immerse him in the work and activities of missionaries.  5 different countries are represented here.

Missionaries saying goodbye to Elder Corbett (2nd from right-Scotland), a wonderful, happy friend and missionary.

How goofy can missionaries look?  And all they drink is water.  3 Americans and a Brit.  Our comrades as they battle for souls in the work of the Lord.  Fun and dedicated servants.

Some of the wonderful Mandarin Speaking sister missionaries.  Sister Bambrough-left-writes simplified Chinese as well as native speakers. They bring a great spirit into the Mission Office as they pass through after a district meeting or picking up supplies.  Sister Feil loves and supports them.

Obedience to law is expected no matter what the spelling.

And there's still paperwork to be completed.  Seemingly a never-ending process.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Long and Winding Road......

The Royal National Park  This national park is full of gum trees, palms, and pine trees that we have never seen before.  It was peaceful, cool, and silent except for the noisy birds that are always making their presence heard.

As we left Saturday Morning at about 8:30, the sky was clear and blue and the forecast was for 60 degrees.  We had a speaking assignment in Ulladulla - about 229 kilometers south along the coast.  We had already been to Wollongong, and this was past that another 1&1/2 hour drive.  Australia has more than 500 National Parks and we drove through 7 on Saturday and Sunday.  Ulladulla has a small branch of the Church and our goal was to drive down on Saturday, sight-seeing as we went, speak on Sunday morning, and drive home Sunday afternoon.

Hymans Beach - the whitest, softest sand in the world!  We spent an hour here with plenty of other tourists.  We did not go in the water because we think it is cold in the winter!  Others are not as logical.  

 Australians take very good care of their beaches and this one was exceptionally clean, including the water.  They have laws about water drainage and are always careful with trash - so the place was spotless!

 Elder Feil, why are you playing in the water??  Oh, your wife told you to stand there while she took a picture! Some nice tourists offered to take our picture and we returned the favor.  

Jervis Bay and the light house or the rubble thereof.  They built this lighthouse in 1860 but it was in the wrong place, and the wrong color and didn't work so well as a lighthouse.  So great was the fall.  But the view is still amazing and it helps to use the lighthouse as an introduction for my talk on prayer.

 What a name for a town and a beach.  We are almost to Ulladulla now as the sun begins to set in the west.  We use a GPS to find our way around and for the first time, it did not work on the motel address.  But after calling the motel, we were not far away.

This is the best use of a tire that I have seen.  I'm sure there are crafters that would pay big bucks for one of these planters.  Or maybe this should be a Relief Society craft project.  

Here it is-Back to the Future!  And the Branch President offered us a chance to stay at his house, after we had made the reservation :/  This was taken Sunday morning before going to church.  At the office on Saturday they had to get an "impression" of my credit card.  Gee, 1970's.  It was just as "quaint" on the inside.  We did have a good day at church.  Molly played the piano and we both gave talks in Sacrament Meeting. The highlight of being there was talking with those attending afterwards.  They are a humble and stalwart group.

Here's the church building.  It's located inside next to a chinese restaurant.  It has been fixed up nicely and works well for church services and activities.  Fast Sundays are a little hard because of the smells from the restaurant.  A counselor in the Branch Presidency blessed the Sacrament while the only young man present passed it to the congregation.  There was one young boy in Primary.  Relief Society and Priesthood Meetings are combined.  But they sang the hymns louder than most Wards we've been in.  We felt loved and we loved them.  And it is true, as Paul said "and  all were edified".  The next time we drive the Long and Winding Road, we will have friends to greet us.