Monday, August 12, 2013

Port Macquarie - A Prisoner's Paradise

 Port Macquarie is a beautiful paradise that was a former site of a penal settlement.  It was founded in 1821.  It is not a shipping port but today it is a tourist port and in the winter it is still warm enough to attract plenty of "old folks" like us.  We are doing our assigned country visit.  We travel to the Branches and speak or whatever the Branch President wants us to do.  The Branches usually have between 10-50 people in attendance, of the 150+ that are on the rolls.  So you can see the amount of work that needs to be done with seeking the lost sheep. But the most inspiring part for us is meeting the stalwart members who keep on doing what is right, fulfilling their calls, helping the missionaries and moving forward with faith.  We try to travel on Saturday, depending on the distance; we speak on Sunday, teach a class, or play the keyboard for the music.  After the 3 hour block, we hop in the car, plan our route back to Sydney and enjoy a picnic lunch/dinner on the way home.  This works for most trips because the Branches are about 4-6 hours drive, but there will be a few trips that will take 8 hours of travel time.  So back to our last adventure at the prison - we drove up on Saturday after helping one of our missionaries get a white shirt that would fit him.  He is Tongan and has a 19" neck, 32-33" sleeve length, and 34" waist.  It has been a challenge but his learning English is more of a challenge.  He is now looking great in his white shirts that fit him.  We are getting good at men's shirt sizes.  

 So this Pelican has a great looking white shirt and he posed for the camera.  They are all over the shore and waterways in this area of NSW.

The Port at sunset.  

The view of the port from our hotel swimming pool.  Yes we did our laps and then jumped into the hot tub.  Mission travel is hard work and requires much needed R&R.

Elder Feil is chatting with the locals - this guy was a little stoic and not very talkative.

This seems to be the major source of dinner  or income.  They are hard to distract and Elder Feil couldn't get much conversation from them either.

 Our usual beautiful sunset picture.  I am taking lots of pictures for the kids to enjoy when we get back!
Along their waterfront, families have painted the rocks on the sea wall.  It is fun to see how creative people are.

And we found a Tom and Molly!! Who would have thought that possible!

How's this for creative?  This little guy let me take his picture.

There were skate board parks in all the small beach towns.  This guy was pretty good.

This reminds us of the stalwart members of the Branches blooming where they are planted.  A great lesson for all of us.

This is the Branch - the missionaries come early and welcome everyone to Church.

Elder Burawis from the Philippines.  Notice how the photographer caught the sun glinting off his name tag.  Elder Burawis said that was the celestial light!

President Conry and Elder Feil talking over ideas and plans on how to expand and grow this Branch to a Ward.  We could use Craig and Debra Bird here with all of their experience!

This building housed the kitchen and classrooms.  Some of the Branch members visiting on a beautiful sunny winter day.

This building was the chapel.  It will hold about 100 people.  They are bringing in more chairs and hope to get 60-80 people in the next few months.

The faithful members who inspire and motivate us to be better.  We come away feeling blessed to have met them.

We also taught Sunday School - the teenagers.  We loved it and were able to teach them about Family History.

Little boys waiting for Mom and Dad to stop talking.  Kids are the same everywhere.

Elder Balmes from Australia is 6'3" and Elder Burawis is 5'7" so he wanted to stand on the steps and be as tall as his companion.  These two are amazing.  They strive to live the gospel and are prepared to teach all they come in contact with.  Have we told you how much we love the missionaries??? :)

The Church owns 5 acres of land here - the members said they are thinking there will be a temple here in 6 years.  We love their hope and optimism.

Cathie Bay - pronounced cat-eye.  We came here for our lunch/dinner stop.  We are enjoying our picnic lunches on Sundays as we strive to keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Do you think he looks a little out of place??  We were slightly overdressed for the usual Sunday, beach-going group.  

Rainbow Beach

Pelicans on the water way.

And instead of our usual sunset picture, we thought we would end with the beautiful rainbow that we saw on the way home.  We are so thankful for all of God's creations and grateful each day to be healthy and alive and living in Australia.  We know Heavenly Father loves all of his children and is always mindful of our needs.  We pray for all of you and we are grateful for your love, support, and prayers.  

1 comment:

  1. It’s true that photos posted in this blog are very inspiring and sensational. Port Macquarie Photographer does their job very well and they are very professionals. Love your shots too.