Sunday, June 15, 2014

Free to Choose

Since it is Flag Day in the US we thought we would focus on Freedom!  We feel very blessed to live in a country that enjoys freedoms much like home.  We spent Saturday in Sydney visiting more of the historical sites and learning about the history of this country.  We started in Hyde Park.  While it is not as large as Central Park or Hyde Park in London, it is large enough that you need several trips just to explore and enjoy all of its beauties.  That is Sister Feil by that fountain, not a statue.  

This statue which Elder Feil has chosen to lean against represents Earth, Wind and Fire.  These elements have helped shape this country.  In 1787 land was needed for arriving ships and the human cargo of about 1500 convicts who sailed in on 11 ships from England.  While the convicts didn't have much choice about their journey Captain Arthur Phillip chose to be a good leader and brought them to Australia and gave them chances for a better life.

Hyde Park always has a lot of street vendors who provide entertainment for all ages.  Also, there are fountains, walkways and lots of trees.  The missionries in the city spend a lot of time here contacting people.

From the park we went to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum which housed thousands of incoming convicts over about 30 years.  In 1848 it was converted to a female immigration depot. More than 40,000 women were temporarily housed here over it's 38 year history.

The mural shows that parting with family is hard.  But the convicts had been sentenced and were required to leave for either 7 or 14 years and some were banned to Australia for life.  In front the table represents an example of the victuals of the time for convicts.  As we went through this museum we thought about the people who made choices in the United Kingdom which resulted in being sent far away.  We also considered how their choices here resulted in either further punishment or the privilege of choosing to develop skills for a better life.

One of the interactive displays had shackles of the type used with the convicts housed here.

This is a display of some of the many tools used on various projects in constructing the buildings of Sydney.

This is a diorama of early Sydney which shows the aborigines being an integral part of the society.
The architect for these downtown buildings was a Mr Greenway who had been convicted of forgery and was sentenced to life in Australia.  He took the consequence of his actions, turned lemons into lemonade and developed his skills while building this prison for prisoners.  These large beams come from the Sydney blue gum trees that were here even then.
The clock on the outside of the building is still the working clock of today.  It reminded the convicts that time for them was controlled by Macquarie, the governor at that time.  The picture below is where the convicts slept - even though this building was supposed to house 900, there were times that it held up to 1500 convicts.  

Wouldn't you like to sleep on a hammock with 30 to 70 other people?  It was close quarters with limited choices after the return from work assignments.  Looks as comfortable as ... (fill in the blank)

The work of the mission continues via many phone calls no matter where we are.  No worries.  We enjoy helping the missionaries while we are out and about.  That's our choice!

Though there were women, very few convicts had wives until they left the barracks.  One of the women in charge actually had her family living here - 8-9 of her 14 children and her husband.  

Out on the street, the Church and Court lined up with the barracks.  Macquarie wanted the convicts to remember God and the law should rule their lives.  It's wonderful that these buildings are still here for us to enjoy.
The old man with the old building - or maybe the handsome man with the handsome building!  We really enjoyed our day in the city and learned more about this amazing land down under.

Lachlan Macquarie's clock - a good reminder for us all of choosing wisely in the time we have.

And across the street at the entrance to Hyde Park is Macquarie's statue.  Is that his wife hanging on to his leg????

Hyde Park with another view of the fountain.  There were 2 brides getting their pictures taken in front of the fountain.  Below was our view as we headed back to the train station so that we could take a quick trip to Circular Quay for dinner.

Life in the big city includes driving in crazy traffic, looking for parking, traveling by bus and train, and always dealing with crowds of people.  We have become pretty adept at this part of our life and enjoy the hustle and bustle.  We are finding that it is not nearly as hectic and scarey as we first thought.  

We enjoyed dinner at a german restaurant - very appropo for the Feils.  After learning about the convicts and seeing the emphasis put on the descendants who had made it good in this land, we enjoyed our German heritage.  The sauerkraut is brilliant and as we hustled back to the train, we managed a stop at our favorite chocolate shop - Guylian - and relished chocolate cheesecake brownie and carmel slice.  YUMMMMMM!

We ended a lovely day with a baptism of 4 people from two zones.  Greenwich is a suburb of Sydney and has a baptism font that opens to a courtyard.  Missionaries from the City Zone as well as Beaches Zone gathered for this event.  

The baptism was for  3  Chinese students from the mainland and 1 Greek.  It was definitely a multi-cultural event.  

We can't say enough about the two senior couples in the city - they are dedicated to helping the students, new investigators, and people trying to learn English.  They cook, clean, teach, expound, counsel, love, taxi, and when necessary, conduct baptisms at the last minute.  They are exemplary of Seniors who still choose wisely!

The missionaries gather around this new convert just as they have for months while he was learning and studying the gospel.

The Harbour Young Single Adults pick up when the missionaries have to move on and fellowship the new converts.  They are just as needed and helpful as our missionaries; this young man already put in his time as a missionary and has come home to continue working in the Single Adult ward.  Such dedication!

It was amazing to hear the American Elder give the baptismal prayer in Chinese.  We, unfortunately have only learned Australian - "Bob's your Uncle"!

And the final Perfect Choice - The missionaries and ONE member clean up the Kitchen.  Once again, the missionaries show their service and love for everyone by handling the details themselves.  They are amazing and we love them heaps!!!!

Earlier in the week the Baulkham Hills Zone came to the temple and wanted Sister Feil to take pictures.  This is a wonderful group of dedicated missionaries who choose to serve well.  We know that sharing the gospel with as many people as will listen is the reason for missionary service.  Choosing to accept the gospel will change lives for the better. 

Time is marching on and we love the choices we have made and we are inspired by the good choices of other people.  We hope that each of you will ponder your choices and make your earthly journey joyful and successful.  Happy Father's Day to you fathers out there who have chosen to be very good fathers.  We respect and admire your positive choices.  Have another great week!  Love from Down Under, Elder and Sister Feil
p.s. the cockatoo is enjoying the view from the Angel Moroni :)

No comments:

Post a Comment