Sunday, October 27, 2013

Good Nick

This was a quiet week, no trips, no incoming missionaries, everybody is moved into new flats, so we will clean up a few items that we have passed over because we had so much on other weeks.
The cattle stations here have names.  In fact, they even name their home if it is in a beautiful or memorable spot.  So we want you all to be thinking what we should call our Lehi home when we return - something like Tomolly Haven or Lehowra or Utira or Lehigong were a few we had fun with.  After looking at these pictures and seeing their names, we're certain that you will catch the spirit of Australia and want to name your homes something clever.  Notice the cow on the first picture - no bull intended.

Comings and goings are the normal activity here.  The Jorgensens were the legal couple  from Washington.  They finished their 18 months and headed home just as we all do soon enough. So at our usual Family Home Evening, we bid adieu to our new friends and hope to see them back in the States.  We don't lose friends, we just have old friends in new places.  

 Elder Roberts is the oldest senior here and an avid photographer.  I think we have told you that their job is digitizing cemetery records for Australia.  But he never seems to tire of taking pictures.  You would never guess his age and we hope to act as young as him when we grow up.  The Moores are the new kids on the block and are working in Public Affairs.  Elder Moore knows Cousin McClain Bybee quite well as well as Cousin Les Feil.  It is a small world in the Church and we always seem to find a connection.

This little Kookaburra has moved into our neighborhood.  He seems just as interested in our antics as we are in his.  But they are a noisy lot and wake us up about 7:30 in the morning - of course we are already up because we get up at 6:30 and exercise!  We have enjoyed the crazy noise they make.  

As for beauty, the pink and grey Galahs are spectacular.  A few of the missionaries are able to feed them from their hands and get them to show up every day. Check out videos on youtube of their talking. The Magpies have a beautiful warbling to add to the noise of our day.  They are not afraid of us at all and we can get quite close.
Did we mention that BYU's quarterback served in the Sydney Australia Mission?  The missionaries are so pleased to have "one of their own" doing a great job.  We do get to listen to the games on Saturday or Sunday mornings.  We of course have both Utah fans as well as BYU fans amongst the Seniors.    

 These two are just fun and enjoyable.  When they are in the office, we are having a good laugh.  They gave us advice with our YSA activity on Friday.  We taught line dancing and a mixer dance called the Barn Dance.  The single adults loved it and at one point we must have had 60 of them out on the floor dancing.  

 The Mortdale Young Women had their camp at Carlingford where they learned about family history, looked up family names and were able to take them to the temple and do the baptisms.  One of their fun activities was an Amazing Race.  They came to the mission office and recited the Young Women's theme for Sister Feil before getting their next clue.  So here are the YW in Australia......

Allison and Rob Williams came to Australia to visit an old missionary buddy of Rob's.  Allison spent a few hours with us in Sydney and then she and Rob went to Jervis Bay/Hyman's Beach for a few days.  It is enjoyable to see friends from home and share some of our life here with them.  

The Beauties of Hyde Park 
We have yet to see all of Hyde Park with all of it's gardens, old buildings, and statues.  We are trying to catch glimpses and hope to be able to spend a few hours there this summer.  The Church is on the opposite side of this beautiful building.  The bird in front is an Ibis, the dirtiest bird in Australia.  They even have fleas and lice!  Yuck.  But they look pretty funny!

Elder Kato making a comment on his short haircut.  Elder Marsh is just smiling and happy.  He is from New Zealand and a few weeks ago asked if we would help him by getting a framed picture from the Distribution Center for his recent investigator.  We said yes and then he asked if we could wrap it up nice and maybe put a card with it.  Of course we agreed and promptly bought the pictures, wrapped them up and taped a nice blank card to the top of the gift.  We put a sticky note with his name on the gift and put it in the mail box so the assistants could take it to him before the baptism.  Elder Marsh called a few days later to thank us for the gift and then he explained that he was so excited to actually get a package because he had never received a package before so he opened it.  Then he remembered that he had asked us to get the gift for his investigator!  He had a good laugh at himself and was apologizing to us for all the hard work we had gone through for him.  We are trying to be humble, and meek like Elder Marsh and expect that the good gifts we receive are just meant for us.  We love our children and grandchildren and think of you as our good gifts.  We are grateful for your love and support and enjoy talking to each of you.
So that concludes our week with our apartment all cleaned from top to bottom and it is in good nick.
Love and hugs,
Elder and Sister Clean 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Busier than a Bucket of Bugs and Happy Birthday Tom Feil

 One of these three is not like the others.....We drove to Taree for our speaking assignment on Saturday.  Taree has just opened up to missionaries again.  They closed the area for 2+ years and the Branch President has been begging for missionaries.  So we finally had enough to give.  These are two of our finest - Elders Imeson and Watts.  The Taree members are so excited and have already given them food and are working hard to keep them busy teaching and finding.  Sister Feil even had a referral for them to check on and when they went to the house, a young girl answered the door and said, "Oh great, my Dad has been waiting for you!"  They are already teaching them and have a dinner appointment with them on Monday.  It is very exciting to be a part of this work.  

We did not stay in Taree but drove to Forster which is by the ocean.  We walked this path which leads to lookouts of the bay and Tasman Sea.  Along the way we found 1 Mile Beach.  There is a HUGE sand mountain that was such fun to climb.

 The camera doesn't give the perspective we would like - but we understand the kids like to slide down this on a piece of cardboard or plastic. And of course we had to try out the temperature of the water - still cold!  But there were kids surfing without wet suits.  So  we guess you become accustomed to the temperature.  

We were told that whale watching was easy - not so - it takes a lot of patience to wait for them to turn up!  

This is definitely a non-contact sport and requires much sitting and watching.  But it is pretty exciting when you actually see them. While these pictures are not so great - we were taking them from 300 yards away and then cropping them on the computer.

 This was the moon on the water.  After a birthday dinner at The Aztec restaurant, we headed back up to the lookout for this picture.  At the end of the day we were "flat out like a drinkin' lizard" or shall we say "very tired". On Sunday, we drove back to Taree to speak in Church.  

The sisters wanted you to know they are the "Old Aussies". They are all between 70-80 and were pretty funny. Sister Feil mentioned in her talk that Elder Feil was celebrating his 89th birthday.  One of the Sisters asked if he was really 89??  This young mother was also celebrating her birthday - but only 25 years.  They even had a cake for them at the Sandwich Sunday get-together after Church.  

Jacaranda trees are our new favorites - they are not native to Australia, but were transplanted from Brazil.  They bloom every spring and are magnificent and smell amazing.

 After Church, President McNab asked us to visit an elderly couple in Gloucester - only 2 hours out of our way but we accommodated.  This is cattle country but very dry for this time of year.  We were able to visit them for an hour and enjoyed getting to know them.  They made us feel welcome.
 This is called a blow hole - the water comes through the rocks from the Tasman Sea. 
 As we headed home, we decided to stop at Seal Rock which has a working and well maintained Light House.  You can spend the night for the low low price of $650 so we decided to eat Elder Feil's birthday picnic dinner there.  A birthday he will never forget!!

The views were spectacular but the wind was powerful!  We were trying to take pictures and  hanging on for dear life!  You can hear the waves crashing into the rocks below.  It is great symbolism for a talk about the gospel.  

No Elder Feil was not born in 1875 but he was out of the wind.  Sister Feil is actually hanging on to the railing while her stomach is doing flip flops.  Just a little scary! 

 We were alone for a bit and then 3 nice ladies showed up and willingly took our picture after Sister Feil told them about Elder's birthday.  There was no birthday cake here but there were sandwiches, cookies, water, fruit, and chocolate!  A feast for a king and queen.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  We love being able to serve, help, and bless.  We are so inspired by the people we meet who are dedicated, knowledgable, accepting and willing to do many good things.

Not only is this photo inspiring, but Sister Alvarado, after receiving stitches following a bike accident asked the doctor if he liked to read.  He answered, "Not the Bible".  She said "that's good" then left a Book of Mormon with her testimony in it for him to read.  We run to keep up with the young missionaries and are learning to not be so fearful about sharing the gospel with others, as Elder Ballard counseled in General Conference.  The Book of Mormon is true.  We are sharing an Arabic version with a security guard at a nearby apartment building.  We are anxiously engaged and know that you all are, too. We love you all,
Older Elder and Not as Old Sister Feil