Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fires, Spiders and Broken Down Cars

So, what have we been doing this week?  We traveled through smoke on our way to Armidale.  The fires are still putting forth a lot of smoke.  For those who have worried about us, not to worry. Life goes on as normal.  The fires are an important part of the eco-system in Australia.  Seeds need some real heat in order to germinate.  The gum trees don't seem to die in a fire. They just put forth more shoots and they continue to grow though trunks are blackened from fire.  What a lesson on perseverance for all of us.

Taking a needed break from driving to Armidale.  The round trip took 12 hours!  After arriving we unloaded the trailer and two vans and set up a flat for a Senior Missionary Couple who should arrive this month.

Some roads go somewhere and others go nowhere or disappear into water. Nice car bath!  If it looks dry, that's correct. There hasn't been the usual rainfall this year.

When the grass has been consumed within fenced ranches, permits are issued for cattle to feed on thick grass along roads. There were many herds along the roads eating the abundant grass during our trip.  We had to drive carefully through them.

A very cute cattle station girl.

This station is run by the Armidale Branch President and his family.  

Raised beds makes it easier for Sister Evitt to grow a lot of vegetables to feed the family. 

 The 3 children pitch in at the station, but also have a lot of fun being children.  After setting up the flat with all the furnishings, we attended a branch activity. It included a pot luck dinner and a "No Talent" show.  It was very fun.
How unique is this?  Mormons renting from the Convent!

Okay, don't fuss too much.  Supervision is needed!  But then someone must do the real "work".  Young bodies handle lifting and moving things much better than oldsters.  We shop a lot at IKEA for furnishings and the Elders put them together.  They did a great job and the new Senior Couple will enjoy a nice place to live as they provide support to the Armidale Branch members. At the "No Talent" show, one elder told a great and funny story.  The 3 other elders performed the Haka, led by Elder Simeavao.  It was most impressive.

Amidst all the moving and setting up of the flat, we learned of a missionary car that just quit working and had been left by the road about 50 kilometers from Armidale.  We made phone calls and then arranged for a tow to the dealership in Tamworth for repairs.  This adventure only took about 2 hours to finalize.
 It's a guy thing.  You just have to discuss important matters when doing serious work.  
Then the real work begins!  Of course, a very good photographer across the street documents the effort.

Missionary work is just that, work.  "Put your shoulder to the wheel push along…"

 But the effort pays off. A job well done.  Well, at least it got done!
After Fast and Testimony Meeting, we left for home.  This is  the stretch break after two and one-half hours of driving.  And there was one.

 Then there were two.
And finally there were 3.  How are we getting home? This river isn't big enough for us all.

The one lane bridges are very interesting.  Some are quite old and some have unique construction.

One of these probably wouldn't grow in Utah, but it's very impressive.  It's the only one of it's kind that we have seen in all our travels, so far, in Australia.  And we don't know what it's called.

The town of Stroud is a small place with friendly people.  It's a common activity to gather at places like this as family and friends to eat and talk (and to wave at the "tourists")

What does "hardware" have in common with "produce" other than the same roof.  Sounds lucrative or it's just a place to get hammered by vegetables.

Earlier this week we saw a list and photos of some of the most dangerous bridges in the world.  This isn't one of them.  But you can see the old bridge to the left.

 This was a nice breakfast served at the mission home for some strange birthday person (Elder Feil), visitors and office missionaries, as well as Assistants and Fleet Elders.  President and Sister Howes were the Chief Cook and Bottle Washers.  Thanks!

Here's the group that attended the breakfast.  They are a great group and we have a great association in our service.

 Occasionally we have other visitors like this Huntsman spider.  It was quit large and surprised me when I was getting the bag to get the mail. 
Our Fleet Elders are fun to work with.  Elder Knighton is from American Fork, Utah.  His family lives close to our home in Lehi. Elder Ireland is from Boulder, Colorado.  They are the "enforcers".  Only you can perform baptisms! Elder Ireland received a package this week from someone in his ward.  It contained these decorations.  Halloween is not celebrated much in Australia.  But the night before, we were surprised by a knock at the door.  There stood a gentleman who said that his children wanted to come and "Trick or Treat" the next night and would we be willing to participate. We said of course and then he promptly handed us  candy to give to his children.  We told him we had candy we were going to give, but he insisted; so the next night, it was no surprise to open the door to our only "trick-or-treaters" and give them his candy as well as some of our own. 

We have been learning how to maintain apartments, inform managers of problems and set up new apartments for missionaries not yet here.  We have learned how to handle broken down cars, large, smelly, wet spots on carpets and mattresses that older couples think are too hard.  Each week we are amazed at our growth and marvel at the blessings that come from serving the Lord.   We are excited to learn of new grandchildren coming and enjoy seeing the old ones all dressed up for Halloween.  We miss seeing you on a regular basis, but we know we are in the right place doing the right things.  You are all in our prayers -
Love and Hugs,
Elder Strong &
Sister Photographer

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