Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Plan of Happiness

 Dear Family and Friends,
Another week flies by and we are running as fast as we can.  We are sharing pictures that are a little bit out of order, but since our life is hectic this week with transfers, we will do the best we can to find a common thread and hopefully this will make sense.  We took this amazing shot of the headlands - the opening to Sydney Harbour - from Manly.  We were actually in a place called The North Head. We think that makes sense because it is the land on the north side of the Harbour.  We are looking towards the South Head.  We are always amazed what a change of perspective can do for our attitudes as well as our views of life.  Sometimes we just need to stand back and try to see what is happening from an eternal persepective.  We heard this week about our sweet sister missionary in the Australia Sydney South Mission who was struck by a car while she was getting back into the car.  She has been in our prayers each day.  Her parents are here with her and she is in stable but critical condition.  We hope all of you will also pray for her.  Life is very fragile and we have a greater appreciation of that principle the older we get.  

The Baulkham Hills Zone plus 3 - Elder and Sister Feil, and one assistant.  Those assistants get around!
At the dress rehearsal, Elder Feil was trying to read his scriptures, but the Elders and Sister Feil wanted to get his picture as well as his attention.  These Elders are great performers!!
This Elder is an excellent pianist from New Zealand.  He also sang a solo while Sister Feil accompanied him.  Every one of the missionaries is multi-talented.  We have enjoyed seeing their growth but also learning of their individual abilities when they come here.
Nations coming together - Vanuatu, USA/Samoa, and Philippines.  We have actually learned to spell their countries, know what languages are spoken there, and where they are located.  Of course, America is the easy one!  We haven't forgotten our homeland yet.
The sisters all wanted their picture taken with President.  He is not very tall - 5'9" but notice how short some of them are!  You can imagine what they think of Elder and Sister Feil - we are the giants!
Some Elders just want their picture to be in the Ensign - we will see if that is a mission.  We could travel around the world and take pictures of the missionaries.  
The love missionaries have for one another is something to be admired and emulated.  They serve, help, lift, encourage, and bless all they know and meet.  

Sunday was a Stake Fireside that is put on every 3 months by our missionary zones.  The zones get to plan and execute under the direction of the stake presidents.  The Baulkham Hills Zone decided to work around a presentation of the Plan of Salvation.  They wrote and performed a short play using the story of missionaries teaching  a couple about the plan of salvation.  They had musical numbers by the missionaries to emphasize certain principles.  Missionaries made all of the props, executed the staging and lighting, and were able to teach all of us about the great plan of happiness that Heavenly Father has for us.

The evening went well and we were all blessed for being there.  We are struggling to get all our information in order here today - we love technology but sometimes it seems to hate us.  Forgive us for being techno-tard

The Elders and Sisters are so capable and we run to keep up.  This week has also brought lots of changes as transfer week always does.  We received 8 missionaries and sent 5 home including a zone leader and an assistant.  We also have new Sister Training Leaders.  That is a fairly recent call for Sisters.  They travel throughout the mission training and helping other sisters on trade-offs.  During Transfer Week, they are all able to meet with the mission president and receive help on their new assignments.  Each new missionary has a trainer that helps him adjust for the next 6+ weeks.  We had mostly Australians and New Zealanders arriving so there were few visa issues.  But we did get 2 Americans who are both speaking Mandarin!  Heavenly Father's plan is a world wide plan!   So we bid goodbye to Elders and Sisters that we have come to know and love and hope to see when we get home.   Our "Leaving" time is fast approaching and we are getting a little sad...  :(
When we visited the Newcastle Ward, we enjoyed the company of these missionaries.  It was also a great opportunity to meet and talk with many faithful, dedicated church members.  The wards are very strong with knowledgeable teachers, speakers and leaders.  They would remind you of any ward in the US with the exception of the accent.  Speaking of accents, one of the Chinese speaking sisters in this photo could hardly speak a word of English and can now converse easily with Elder and Sister Feil both in person and on the phone.  We are never far away from a multi cultural society. 

Companions for a time and then friends through a lifetime.

These Zone Leaders are a dynamic duo.
This is a representative site seen frequently because of the hundreds of communities along the ocean and bay shores.  Aussies love their water whether ocean, lake or stream.  The rain has been filling all the mighty waterways, so it should be a great summer with only a few fires.

There are a lot of black swans seen at Lake Macquarie.  Unfortunately, they stay far from the shore, but fortunately, WE have a telephoto lens.... :)

Two old geezers at the park near Lake Macquarie.  Our wonderful friend took us on a guided tour of the area prior to the evening meal, which they provided.

This was a wonderful treat to be with the missionaries, family and friends to our kind hosts, the Smiths.  We enjoyed being with them in their Home Surroundings as we have come to know and love them as fellow missionaries.  That is an advantage of being from the country - you are more likely to meet them after the mission.  We do hope our family and friends will meet some of these new friends that we have grown to love.  We look forward to sharing our home with many new friends.

Food, fun with good friends and cousins.  Grandma and Grandpa  Smith are well loved for all the service and the love they give.

What better way to end the day, than with another beautiful sunset brought to you by the crowd down under and Lake Macquarie.  This is a reminder of how graciously we are blessed by our loving Heavenly Father.  The beauties of the earth are endless.  We are influenced to believe that some of the greatest of all creations are located here in Australia.
We hope and pray that all is well for our family and friends wherever they are.  We know that the Lord loves you and will continue to bless you in all your endeavors.  We love and appreciate you.  Keep up your good works and great blessings are in store for you.  Happy Birthday to Annabelle, Miriam, Hailey, Brandt and Brianna.  We look forward to another baptism with Miriam's being the 3rd this year.  We are grateful that you are all growing the church!
Love from the Elder and Sister in the Australia Sydney North Mission-the Feils.

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