Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Quiet Week So to speak....

The Wheels of Time is an interesting piece as part of a  sand sculpture competition held in Windsor. Time marches on! This week was unusual - a conference with an Area Authority, trying to find more apartments for missionaries, celebrating Australia day - the landing of Captain Cook, and a sand sculpture exhibition for our P-day.  In Sacrament Meeting today we sang Hymn 342, Advance Australia Fair.  So, we learned a new hymn and that was a nice thing. We had extra time for study, and temple attendance and with the weather cool and rainy, we enjoyed staying indoors most of the time.  We realize the the rest of our friends and neighbors are enjoying the throes of winter, but down under it is still  the middle of summer.  We feel bad when we read of snow storm after freezing snow storm pounding the US as we put on our summer clothes, and pick up an umbrella for an occasional shower.  Our thoughts are with you, but here we are and will stay for a few more months.

It was a great conference featuring excellent training and uplifting speakers.  We had a special talk by an Area Authority Seventy  who gave an inspiring message to all missionaries.  Most of our missionaries were able to come except those that are stationed too far from the mission office.  Our farthest zone is a 6 hour drive one way and the farthest branch is 8 hours away.  So it is difficult to bring every one here for this special event.

The association with and among the missionaries is enjoyable and uplifting.  We may enjoy another conference in the future with another visiting authority.  We are in the right place at the right time!  

Greeting one another after an uplifting conference.

Some of the most photogenic missionaries enjoy posing.

As soon as they see Sister Feil with a camera they strike a pose and smile - of course there are those that sneak into photos which is always fun!  

This sister is helping us learn Chinese by writing phrases in our weekly planner.  Sister Feil was able to use one phrase when a gentleman called on the phone and spoke only Chinese.  She told him "I don't understand" in Chinese and after several repeats, he hung up!  

Time to return to their areas and get back to the routine of missionary work.

Sister Feil "found" the lost world! This was a community event in Windsor.  The country towns always have great events that are enjoyable to attend.

The archeologist at work. Which one is it?

The original Sea Monster coming through a time portal - very futuristic.

And then there were Vikings.

T-rex from Down Under.  Was that the earthquake?

Near best friends after the earthquake.

Playing with the sand and creating art.

Kids always find water to play in - or "clean" in.

The details are very interesting.

Arrrgh! Matey

Outstanding in his field.

One of our granddaughters found a new pet!
This would be just like Lauren to bring it home. 

Primal scream therapy.  It works!

What more could you ask for? Notice it is the oldest Australian pub and it looks like some of the original customers are still out in front! :)  The old hotels and pubs are still an integral part of each small community.  No we will not be staying in one - we are certain they still have the original beds!

Paper bark trees are very interesting and are seen all over New South Wales.  It reminds us of the variety of experiences we continue to have each day.  Our days are filled with a lot of activities as we try to keep track of and respond to housing needs such as repairs, finding new apartments for all the new missionaries arriving and all the many related details.  We are grateful to serve here with wonderful missionaries.  We are strengthened in our understanding of the gospel as we interact with the people here.  We know the gospel is true and great blessings are in store for those who embrace it fully.  It was somewhat of a quiet week but the future looks "active" already. Love and hugs to all from your mates down under, Elder and Sister Feil

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Country Roads Take Me Home....

 Our week was a busy one as we received 5 missionaries from the MTC's who were learning English.  The Lord gives opportunities for growth if we are willing.  The other part of this story is about the Elder on the left from Indonesia.  He received help with his English and with piano lessons from a senior couple  serving there the past 2 years.  They have been friends with Sister Feil since college days ( and that is 40 years ago!) So this Elder bridged the gap in their friendship again as both Senior couples have helped him in his missionary service.  No matter where we live, we unite in our service for the Lord. 

By Friday we were ready to hit the road to the Narrabri Shire in NSW.  We would be speaking at the country branch on Sunday.  So when this sign appeared 3 hours into the drive, we couldn't resist seeking an answer!

And here's our answer!  We were heading northwest towards the outback and we almost got there.  The temperature was hovering around 95 degrees F and as you can see, clear blue skies all the way.

The sunsets are always beautiful and colorful and we have to stop and take yet another picture.  We never tire of the beauties of this earth.  We know you have magnificent sunsets where you live and we hope you take time to be grateful to Heavenly Father for His creations.
This is a camera-learning experience which actually turned out pretty good.  Yes that is the moon rising.

 Every country town has a bakery, a butchery and a chinese restaurant.  We had breakfast at the bakery which was next door to the Subway.  We try not to eat at any American fast food places because we know we can do that anytime we want back home.  This is the Namoi River.  

After breakfast we headed even further west into the bush to the Australia Telescope Compact Array.  There are 6  dishes each 22 meters across.  They move on a pair of tracks that are 3 km long.  These track radio waves from outer space.  We spent several hours learning about space and radio waves.  Wish you were here Dane!

As we were leaving the compound, Sister Feil spotted this goana and couldn't resist jumping from the car and taking his picture.  We were a little nervous about getting too close. Sister Howes said if you stand still, he will think you are a tree and climb on you.  YIKES!
From the telescopes we wandered over to Mt. Kaputar National Park.  We took the trail to Sawn Rocks.

They are inspiring.  Below are some that have crashed down to the creek area and look like a mosaic.

Back in Narrabri, we drove past a few of the heritage sites, including the Old Gaol, or as you say in America, Old Jail. :)   It took us a minute to figure out what the Information Booth lady was saying. 

The final activity of the day was a golf game.  This is becoming one of Elder Feil's monthly events.  It is a pretty cheap activity in the country towns, and if you go late on a Saturday, you are the only ones there.  So, Sister Feil attempted to play this time.  I know my sons will love this picture of my form!

 This was where church was held on Sunday.  They rent this building and generally get about 15 to church.  They are diligent and kind and we always come away feeling blessed.  This is one of the reasons we came on a mission.  

As we headed home, we came upon a cattle drive complete with  cowgirls. The men were driving a utility (truck).   

The traffic was a little heavy.

MOOOO said Elder Feil and the cow said, Huh? What?  I just laughed and snapped another picture.

They smiled when I asked for their pictures with my American accent and readily agreed.

The name of this town is Willow Tree and they have taken name branding to heart!

Country towns have interesting old items on display.

One more thing every country town has - a pub.

This is Emirates Park in the middle of the country - a huge horse ranch with numerous training paddocks for thoroughbreds.

Interesting old buildings abound in the country.

And finally a joke for the grand kids - where do Mormons in Australia go to drink on the weekend??  You are right!  A Milk Bar!  After driving for 13 hours we are ready for bed.  We have a conference tomorrow with Elder O'Riordon, an Area Seventy and are looking forward to another busy week.  We loved our visit to the country and hope we have given you a feeling for the beauty. The gospel is still true.
Love and hugs,
Elder Cowboy Feil
Sister Molly Moo Feil