Sunday, September 29, 2013

22nd Week - brought to you by the Tomaree Peninsula and Port Stephens

Our week has been a busy one.  We have been signing on flats for the new incoming missionaries, buying furniture and appliances for the new flats, visiting with our Lehi neighbor, Allison Williams on her trip to Australia, conducting two choir rehearsals with missionaries, and by Saturday noon we were ready to drive to Port Stephens for our speaking assignment at the Salt Ash Branch on Sunday.  So we loaded up the Toyota Corolla Ascent, packed our lunch and headed north on the M1 motorway.  After such a hectic week, we were ready for a change of scenery.  We had no idea where we were staying, so we asked Mr. Tom Tom, the GPS, and he guided us to Dutchies Motel on Dutchman's Bay.  It wasn't as nice and new as some of the places we have stayed, but the view was fantastic, and the weather was a perfect 77 F.

These speaking assignments have been perfect for us.  We enjoy getting to the area, learning a little history and seeing where the members live, work and play.  We try to do more on Saturday, but because of our late start, we were getting there at sunset and needed to find someplace to eat dinner.  The motel manager suggested walking the bridle path to Nelson Bay for dinner.  

We ate at the Vues - and enjoyed both the food and the sight.  Many of the restaurants are bars with excellent food. You order your food from the bar, then they let you know when it is ready, and you pick it up from the kitchen area.  It is a nice and easy system.  

The motel manager also told us to take a torch with us for our walk home from eating as it would be very dark and the bridle path was not lighted.  But of course, we forgot our I phone flashlight app, so had to make do with our keen eyesight and our little light from our vodafone.  The stars were amazing and bright.  We need Dane here to help us with the constellations.  We keep planning on looking them up but have failed to make time for that class.  

We fell asleep at 10:30 so by 6:30am we were up and dressed and ready for a walk.  We stayed in the small motel in the center of the picture on the second floor, not Amarna.  People were swimming in the water, but we thought it was on the cool side. It is so clear and clean.  Maybe by December we will be ready to don swimming suits and jump in the Tasman Sea. :)

Lorikeets are everywhere and make lots of noise.  

Aussies seem to really enjoy fishing.  Here is a father who is babysitting junior - notice the stroller - and fishing for breakfast!

The wildlife is abundant and are used to humans being very close. This cormorant is drying out his wings. 

This guy owned the place - we were about 2 feet from him and he  was pretty cocky!  

This pelican is The Sentinel - but beware of him when he needs to go to the bathroom! Actually, he reminds me of Don Dearborn, watching all the people on the jetty!

From Nelson Bay, we headed to Tomaree Lookout.  We needed to be dressed for church and thought this would be an easy climb for a picture or two.  However, it was a hike and we were overdressed.  One gentleman told Elder Feil that he looked pretty sharp but a little too casual without his jacket.  :)  

The views were beautiful of the Tomaree Peninsula.  Below is Shoal Bay - look how clear the water is.  The trail was literally hung on the side of the mountain - it was steal grating and brick on some of the path.  We climbed metal stairs as well as rock stairs.  

Zenith Beach, Wreck Beach, Box Beach, and Fly Roads with Fingal Spit in the distance.  We actually went bushwalking.

What a background!  A nice lady offered to take our picture together.  That is the beautiful Tasman Sea.

During WWII they had a radar station and lookout here.  Some of their buildings still remain and this was the base for the radar.  Some days you can see the whales pass by, but not today :(

On our way to church, we stopped at Birubi Beach in Anna Bay for lunch.  In the distance you can see the Stockton Sand Dunes.  They are the largest moving coastal sand mass in the southern hemisphere. 

After Church, we stopped in Newcastle on our way home.  Lest you think we only take pictures of Mormon Churches, here are a few options - Baptist, Presbyterian, and Anglican, as well as a War Memorial.  

So that about sums up our busy week and trips.  We came home refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to move forward with incoming missionaries this week.  We love the opportunity to serve and meet these wonderful Australians.  We know you are all busy and working hard.  We have enjoyed hearing from some of you by FaceTime, Facebook, and email.  We are trying to memorize Doctrine and Covenants, Section 4 as well as Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121:33-46.  Every missionary in this mission has those completely memorized and we are trying to do the same.  President and Sister Howes keep a grueling schedule of travel, speaking, and training, and we are trying to be just as diligent in our assignments.  We pray for your health and safety, we love you all and think of you each day.  We know that God is mindful of each of us and wants us to be successful in our lives.  Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ will bring us happiness.  Love and Hugs and Big Sloppy Kisses,
The Tired but Happy Elder and Sister Feil

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Let Me Tell You 'bout The Birds and the Bees and the Bats in the Trees...

While it's been a fairly "normal" week, there are people we have come to know and appreciate.  Sister Roberts and Elder Roberts were at the MTC with us.  They are working on digitizing cards with information from headstones throughout Australia.  Some people wrote and collected the information over a 20 year period and there's about 1 million cards to be photographed so they can be indexed for easier researching by anyone.  A very noble project.  It takes special people to do this.

Elder Smith, in the green vest, and his wife are service missionaries.  This is their second mission and they are native Australians.  They help the young adults both in the city and on the "uni" - university. Elders Ko and Esplin work with the Smiths.  Elder Ko was raised in Utah by his Korean parents.  So while he understands Korean, the native speakers tell him he talks like a child.  He is learning to speak Korean like an adult!  

Happiness is  receiving your 1st letter from home.  He's Samoan and this is his happy look! He's a wonderful young man.  He speaks Samoan but is learning English.  It has been lots of hard work for him but he can actually talk to us on the phone now and we can understand him.  Progress for all of us!  Our Samoan must be getting better. :)

The bikes purchased for the missionaries are a very good investment for their transportation needs.  Yes, Elder Feil helps with procurement along with the real workers, the Fleet Elders.  This Elder is waiting for a kidney transplant and has dialysis twice a week.  He is from Tonga.  

The Oar Bridge over the Parramatta River.  What a clever name and architecture.

The Parramatta River which runs through a huge, beautiful park.

Mulberry trees in the park.  Berries for anyone to glean.  It reminds us of the gleaners in the fields mentioned in the bible (Ruth).  Yes we did taste them - they would make great jam.  We may go back and pick more.

Old guy-Old Government House 

Australians are very patriotic and have helped in a number of wars.  There always seem to be war memorials at every park.  This one was for the Boer War.  

Family playing at the park.

The Wisteria Garden

Those are flying foxes (bats) not blossoms.

It doesn't take much to spook them into flying. 

The Jorgensens above and Feils below.

The Jorgensens are our legal couple.  He was a judge in Washington.  This is their second mission. Their first was to Ghana, so this is like a vacation for them.  They finish in October.

Walking through the park to the "fete", below.  Look up the word "fete" and how to pronounce it.  Interesting.

Different communities have flea markets on Saturdays.  The weather is usually beautiful and the variety of tchotchke is always the same.  There are homemade soaps in a variety of organic scents and oils.

More of the trees and flowers and bats.

We would clap our hands and the bats would take flight.  The noise they make is a little eerie - and because of the sheer numbers, quite loud.

They really do look like flying foxes.  I am sorry I don't have a zoom lens; you could really get the effect then.  I will go back and take a video. You need to get the full experience. 

The baby Plovers -when you try to get their pictures, they run so fast and hide in the bushes and keep their face turned away from you.  You can see how they blend into the plants.  

Baby Plovers with mom and dad guarding and herding them.

The Bird of Paradise grows in abundance in Australia. 

A group of the awesome missionaries who continue to spread the word of the restored gospel in Australia by their diligent efforts. This was a Saturday driving certification.  They literally go on a drive with the fleet Elders to prove their capability.  Yes, we took the test also.  It was helpful to take the class for an hour then drive around the area for 10-15 minutes with the Fleet Elders.  We passed!!
This past week has been our usual office duties, missionaries stopping by, checking out new apartments for the influx of new missionaries, and more touring around the area where we live.  We can't always go to the beautiful Australian beaches!
On Sunday, we were with the Young Single Adults in the city.  We saw a bit of the Sydney Marathon because they ran right past our Church building.  Elder Feil helped train a new executive secretary and Sister Feil is helping Sister Raitt teach the Chinese members a hymn so that they can sing it in church in a few weeks. They will sing it in Chinese and Sister Feil will smile and mumble something that sounds like Chinese.
We miss each of you and we miss the "grandys".  We are sorry BYU lost but we know that Evan and Casey did their best to cheer them to victory.

We strive to be diligent in our calls and work hard to move the work forward.  We were able to do more genealogy this week and attend the temple.   We love our mission and the amazing people we work with.  They are an inspiration to us to do more and be better.  We are trying to be effective and efficient tools for the Lord to use as He needs. We know the truths of the gospel will fill the earth as the Spirit helps people know what we know.
Love you heaps and heaps,
From down under,
Elder and Sister Feil