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

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