Saturday, October 11, 2014

Walking the Coathanger to the ChocoFest

FIRST FAMILY PHOTO!  The baby emerged and all the senior couples were gaga over the new little one!  You would think we were all grandparents with the number of photos shot the first day.  But Spring and new life are always enjoyable and help us to feel young again.  The family home is right outside our office window so we enjoyed watching the antics of the birds.

This is an obedient child - when the parents squawk, he follows and obeys.  If the photographer gets too close, the parent assumes the protective stance - and of course the photographer backs down after getting the perfect shot of a masked lapwing (plover)!

How long does it take 2 Tongans to change a flat tire?  Less than 10 minutes!  That screw stuck in the tire was huge and these Elders moved that tire as if it were a toy.  Elder Feil just tried to stay out of their way and help them to feel appreciated!

On to Temple day - we are fast approaching the time when we will not see them and we find great joy in just taking their pictures and enjoying their fun personalities and great spirits!

 You can always tell the newest missionaries - they are so hungry, they will not put down the food even for a picture!  The "olders" have learned to fast better.  :)
A portion of the Beaches Zone!  From Tonga to Taiwan and USA to China.  How amazing that they all come together to serve the Lord and invite others to come to Christ.  

We are participating in the time honored tradition of giving ties to missionaries you have served with.  The Elder on the left said Elder Feil was his first companion because when he came into the mission, he was left in our office until his companion arrived.  

These are the Sisters of the Beaches Zone with their Zone Leaders.  Can you find the Australians?  Or maybe the missionary from Guam?

 Back to the Birds - there were 4 eggs in the nest but only 1 hatched.  The Grounds Keepers finally had to remove them this week because they did not hatch.  So sad.  But the only child is doing well and growing fast!

We have enjoyed our friendship with the Sheens.  They served with us as service missionaries, finding flats for the mission.  They were so helpful in teaching Elder Feil the ins and outs of real estate in Australia.  Sister Sheen is quite the cook with Chinese food being her area of expertise.  So when a dinner invite came, we jumped at the chance.

 Sister Sheen worked hard in the kitchen and we were the happy beneficiaries of her knowledge and skills.  The food was delicious and the company was great. 

 Do these old guys really know how to play this game?  Who won the honor to start and who won?  Those are secrets that will only be told around the campfires when we return!
The kitchen is where the real action is happening.  It was a wonderful evening with good food, fun, photos and conversation.  The young sisters joined us (below) after completing a busy day spreading the gospel.  We also enjoyed the company of a member of the temple committee from Salt Lake who was working on the Sydney Temple.  He had quite the conversion story to share with us and inspired all of the senior missionaries to feel good about their efforts.  We will share when we get home - it is a little too long to share here.

Flat Stanley got into the action with the Harbour City Zone.  He doesn't realize that he's surrounded by some very wonderful missionaries who have his back!  A zone leader's little sister sent Flat Stanley, and because we can travel more than the zone leader, he came with us for the day.  

An old church in Milson's Point.  We thought the steeple was unique.
The sisters love Flat Stanley.  He will be missed when he heads back to the USA.
The ever present and uniquely designed Sydney Opera House, with the city as a backdrop, always attracts photographers.

Walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge, from Milson's Point to The Rocks, was not only good exercise but was an enjoyable activity with Flat Stanley and the Allens.  The weather was perfect and the company was great.  The intricate structure of the bridge is fun to look at.  It took about 8years to build it, between July 1923 and January1932.  It is lovingly called the "Coathanger" because it does resemble one in shape!

Boats of all kinds use the harbour for enjoyment and service, such as cruises, ferries, water taxis, etc.  This is the view looking down from the bridge.

This is our 3rd trip up the pylon but we never tire of taking others to enjoy the view.  A nice local lady offered her services as the photographer.

The views from the observation deck at the top of the pylon museum are inspiring and awesome.  We are looking towards Darling Harbour and the Anzac Bridge.  Below we stopped for our lunch at the Chocofest.  This table and chairs reminded us of the many meals we enjoyed at the Dearborns table!  Elder Feil is sitting on a bale of hay covered with a gunny sack.  Cheap and comfortable!

There's always a variety of good food available at The Rocks.  Plus, on this day the theme was Choco-Fest.  We were able to watch artists at work making a variety of chocolate treats.
Although it may be hard to believe, we did sample a few of those chocolate pops.  Elder enjoyed blood orange/chocolate and Sister had pineapple/chocolate.  There is always something happening on Saturday at The Rocks.

We enjoyed a meal with the Elders after our usual block of church meetings in Mount Druitt.  This was a sort of meal on wheels!  It was prepared by Sister Feil and enjoyed by each of us present.

  After which we kept on driving west to Penrith for our missionary fireside.  Sister Feil was able to play the piano for one of the Elders who sang.


Smiling faces of these Sisters reminds us of the joy of serving the Lord. At the fireside we had the opportunity to hear great messages, music and meet nice people.  And we enjoy conversations with the missionaries.

The sisters from around the world - China, USA, American Samoa, Fiji, Australia.  We are reminded of the fact that we were created that we might have joy in this life and in the life to come. As we walked the Harbour Bridge we are reminded of the need to stay on the strait and narrow pathway that leads to eternal life and exaltation - our  desired destination so we can be with our Savior, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father forever.  We appreciated President Monson's talk last Sunday morning "Ponder the Path of Thy Feet" and hope that each of us are following the path the Saviour walked.  That path will bring us safely home.  We enjoy being part of the "hastening of His work" here in Australia.  We will continue to love each of you and look forward to seeing you in December!
Keep on walking,
Love Elder and Sister  

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