Saturday, August 2, 2014

Change and Contrasts

This is the office staff-Pres and Sis Howes, two senior couples and the Assistants. We had just been served a wonderful breakfast in celebration of an Assistant's birthday. It's a very enjoyable activity. Whenever we have a birthday in the office, Sister has a tradition of fixing an amazing breakfast.  This day it included waffles, bananas, cream, ice cream, real maple syrup, and plenty of water to drink.  President does not like chocolate, but he does enjoy sweets and especially waffles and ice cream.

Missionaries from the Baulkham Hills Zone. It was their opportunity to attend the temple.  This is the largest zone in our mission so one photo does it all!  This is also just before transfers, so there have already been some changes.  That is the lesson of the mission - change is the only constant.  We are always preparing for, involved in, and remembering changes.

When the missionaries come through the office there are joyful associations.  We love to see them, converse and assist them.  Then they are quickly on their way back to their areas.  We love the noise, hustle, bustle, fun, and then it is quiet again.  

At times there is serious business to take care of as shown by these two great servants of the Lord.
This was at the 2nd Senior Couples' conference.  Pictured are all the Senior Couples in the Australia Sydney North Mission.  Their assignments are varied and challenging.  All are learning great things-skills, knowledge and ways to help hasten the work of the Lord.  This group is from 8 states - Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Missouri, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Washington and of course, Australia.  We range in age from 59 - 76 yrs. young and have as few children as 3 all the way to 14.  Together, we have hundreds of grandchildren as well as numerous great grandchildren.  

We have teachers, nurses, lawyers, dentists, an architect, an accountant, a banker, a pilot, farmers, businessman, and homemakers!

We love the Lord, we love His work, and we rejoice that we are needed.  Ammon said it best in Alma 26:15 "We have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work."

The conference training was uplifting and excellent. It was followed by a very enjoyable meal at a local restaurant.  The food was great and the conversations were fun. Associations here will be remembered for a long time. 

Previous posts included many sunsets we've witnessed in New South Wales.  But this recent sunset tops them all.  These photos were taken from near the Sydney Temple.  In person these were awesome to behold.  We know these are a reminder of the beautiful world in which we live that was created for us by a loving Heavenly Father.  

While standing at a football field to take these pictures,  5-7 others stopped, got out of their cars, and joined us in this endeavor to capture the perfect sunset.  We stood with strangers enjoying a few beautiful moments at the end of day.

Now we return to man made places. These are photos at the Chinese Garden located near Darling Harbour.  It is a place of beauty and peace within a very busy and large city.
Sister is practicing "moving mountains" which she strives to do each day!  Elder, on the other hand, seems to make it to his "happy place" in spite of the chaos he works with.
Rubbing the baby's head for good luck?

The structures are beautifully built.  This pagoda is at the center of the park and on the highest point.  Two waterfalls run down on either side of this building.
Fun with a family who dressed up in traditional Chinese clothing.
They invited Sister to join in their photo.  We love the different cultures we meet each day.

The old guy enhancing the beauty of the place :)

The Kookaburra is a favorite bird in Australia.  It is hard to get a good photo of them.  This young one posed for quite awhile.  It helped us get a good closeup shot. His friend joined him for one shot.

Above, left, shows the contrast between ancient and modern architecture. Left shows the ancient dress with modern electronics!  We hope you can see that our world is always one of contrasts.  We love and embrace those differences!
This garden was a gift from the city of Guandang China to Sydney.  It is close to the Chinatown area of Sydney but everyone comes to view and enjoy.  The old guy is conquering his world.  
Creative design came from Guandang, China  but the handsomeness of the old guy came from years of ancestors providing the perfect genes!
Circular designs are also present and we know Sister Feil can just go round and round until she finishes her projects or gets you to finish projects!

This small rest stop has round backs on the circular bench to provide comfortable seating for weary travelers through the garden.  Even the rocks are placed in specific spots to add to the beauty of the garden.  We will remember that when we view the rocks back in the yard in Lehi.  

This photo of downtown Sydney was actually taken from the Woolwich (pronounced Woolitch) Dock and Parkland.  It is several kilometers away.  Previously, we snapped several photos from here at night.  Both times the wind was blowing and we felt like we were in the Antarctic!  It was cold.  We are not able to show the actual conditions with a picture but imagine 11 degrees celsius.

At sunset the colors were beautiful.  We can't say enough about the beauties of this land.

The old post office in Haberfield has been converted to a great Italian restaurant.  We had very tasty pizza and calzone along with a garden salad for dinner.  Highly recommended and everyone was speaking Italian.  We wonder if our next mission could be to Italy?  Grazi!

Previously we had seen a Platypus in the wild from a trail but couldn't get a photo.  They move around a lot and disappear in the water.  So, this is as close as we will get for a photo of these unique creatures.  One of our missionaries captured these shots and shared the photos with us.
Two sisters arrived from Papua New Guinea who have been waiting for a visa since last November.  They are happy to be here and we are excited they finally arrived. Here is one with her new companion, ready to take her bedding to her area.

The mail room becomes a temporary luggage storage facility when missionaries arrive.  It is quickly cleared out after they have received their assignments and head out to their areas.
Sister Feil is "writing" an email in Chinese.  We had a missionary arrive from mainland China and being an only child, his mother was worried about him.  So, with the help of this Chinese speaking sister, an email was composed and sent to China.  This was very helpful and his mother will know he arrived safely and is already doing well.  We have the privilege of being instruments in God's hands to help and bless others.  We encourage all family members and friends to seek to be helpers in the world and instruments for promoting the good things of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We know you will be greatly blessed for your efforts.
From the Down Unders and land of beautiful sunsets, we say "zaijian" and Happy Birthday Joan D "wo ai ni"
Elder and Sister Feil

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