Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Big Banana - Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is almost at the north end of the mission.  It is the zone that is farthest away from the office and yet as you look at these pictures, you can see it is one of the prettiest places in the mission.  The missionaries love serving here because the people and so kind and loving, and the members take good care of them.  One of the fun traditions at the country branches is "San-Sunday" when sandwiches are served after church.  Another one is "Ice Cream Sunday" and as you can see, ice cream is served after church.  One of my personal favorites is "Cold Cereal Sunday" when they pull out cold cereal and milk for the after-church crowd.  :)  We appreciate these meals or snacks because we don't buy food on Sunday and that snack gives us a jump start for our trip home.

Coffs is in between the mountains and the ocean.  All over the mountains are large banana groves.  We drove up the mountains to this wonderful lookout.  The view was so amazing and we were able to watch a bank of fog roll in. 

Bridges are becoming so common that this was not very scary at all.  It was a 15 minute drive from the church.

 And then the wind started to blow and this wonderful bridge started to sway in the wind.  It is well planned by the engineers and seems stable, but a quick picture, noticing the fog, and we were out of there!  Back on firm ground.

2 statues of Marilyn Monroe at one eatery is a novelty.   Meat pies at Freddo's are unusual - camel meat, buffalo, emu, kangaroo, and we chose - chicken!  We are soooo boring.  The Elders had already told us that the camel was horrible so we did not test their opinion.

We found the gold at the end of the rainbow and it was Coffs Harbour!  It is the first time we have ever seen a rainbow's end.

We drove up on Thursday afternoon and stayed at the Branch President's house.  On Friday, they had zone training and we were invited to come.  After the training, we all went to the Big Banana, a banana grove, amusement park and photo op all rolled into one.  There was one lady on the end who just wanted to be in our zone picture - see her on the far left?  A nice tourist offered to take our photo.  After the photo, you walk into the Big Banana and take more crazy photos.  

The zone went off to have a laser tag game and Elder found a lovely driving range that he just wanted to try out.  His swing is improving!
On Saturday, we headed to the beach as do all the tourists.  But there are so many beaches here, that none of them are particularly crowded.  There is a walk above the beach that we decided to take.

Unusual flowers.  We love the beautiful colors.

For those of you who are used to the Jersey shore, this is a busy Saturday just after Christmas in Australia.  The signs say to swim between the flags so the Surf Life Savers can help you. There are sharks here and at a remote beach a few miles away, a surfer was killed by a shark 3 weeks ago.

 Another memory of the Jersey Shore - Shoobies.  But this guy takes it to a whole new level.  We thought we had ended up in the Swiss Alps.  :)

 The rock pool is a common thing at the beaches here.  They use the existing rock and pour cement walls to form a nice pool right on the beach.  The high tides fill it with water for swimming.  It was a little cool at first, but we quickly adapted and had a nice refreshing dip.  After, we were able to shower the salt water off.

A little sand crab in shallow water.  After the ocean excursion, we found the beautiful golf course and Elder played 9 holes while Sister drove the cart and gave helpful hints like "Swing straighter" or "Putt it softer".   He followed all of the advice and ended with 2 pars.  He is already planning the next country visit and hoping to improve his score!

Here we are with President and Sister Sadler and their friend Margaret.  The backyard is beautiful and we really enjoyed our time here.

 The Branch had about 75 in attendance and we enjoyed getting to know them at the Ice Cream meeting after church.  The members are so friendly and kind and we hope to see all of them again.  

This young lady just turned 12 and you know what that means - YW here she comes.  We were reminded of some of our grandchildren who are growing and advancing and we are not there to see them.  But we have enjoyed getting to talk to each family on the computer and seeing the grandchildren do and say cute things.  We have learned a new catch phrase  - "We did not leave you to come on a mission, we are leading you to come on missions."  We hope that you feel our love.  As we start this New Year, we want you to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Savior's Church on this earth.  Following the Savior's example is the way to happiness and that is why we are on this mission.  We want others to feel the same love and happiness that we feel.  
Hugs and Snugs,
Elder and Sister Feil

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