Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Last Hurrahs - Maybe

Sister Howes told us of a bush walk that was within 1 k of our flat.  As we came down to counting days instead of months, we walked this one evening at sunset.  Our time here is precious and we want to see as much of the natural habitat as possible.  The miracle of it all is that even within the limits of a city, they have placed a reserve that allows you to feel as if you were out in the bush, far away from anyone else. We have beautiful areas in Utah but it is a little difficult to hide suburbia when you have no trees or only a few bushes.  Maybe that is the problem in the desert of Utah.  So Elder is pointing where we are on the map.  He always googles the places we are heading to and then gets the lay of the land so that we are not lost. 

That is a bit like our service as a missionary couple - he checks out the big picture and I work on the details.  We have been pretty successful with that combination.  Even though we are still in the spring and had just enjoyed rain, the plants soak up every little drop and there is little runoff.

This is also our life - you can go multiple ways to get to the same spot!  

There are beautiful peaceful spots in Australia and we each must search out our own.

This shot looked much better in person - it looked like a canopy of trees forming an arch.  But somehow, when you place a camera on a rock and do a selfie, the perspective changes.  Just like life.  We now have a different perspective on missions, missionaries, the gospel, the Saviour, and our place in this world.  And all because we came to Australia...

This spot reminds us of Arizona - a bridge over dry ground!  We are certain it fills up sometimes, but not today.

The water was rushing down this hole in the rock like water in a toilet.  It was swirling clockwise - is that what it is supposed to do in the Southern Hemisphere?  

The handing off of the baton, so to speak, to the wonderful, new office couple for the Australia Sydney North Mission.  We all went to church at Mt. Druitt and they are ready to move into our flat as soon as we vacate!  

 During transfer week, the missionaries all thought we had to leave then too, so it became yet another round of goodbye photos and hugs for all.  It was hard to get work done but well worth all the love that was flowing everywhere.  

We have great memories of each of these missionaries as they have come into the mission.  Some we will see again in the USA but others we may never see again.  That is what makes saying goodbye so difficult.
The Sisters were trying to weigh their luggage and fit everything in.  We will be doing the same in a few days.  I hope we have an easier time than these two.  

Elder Feil amongst the Elders who are returning home.  They are great young men and we will miss their smiling faces.
Here's the last photo with all the Senior Couples together, before our departure.  They have been a wonderful group to be with twice a month at FHE.  Plus, there were other times of association which we thoroughly enjoyed.  We hope we can meet up with at least some of them after completion of their missionary service. We found that serving here creates a bond with other senior couples because of the understanding we have of the challenges and joys we have had before, during and after our service.

 More goodbye photos.  Guyana, USA, Australia, Tonga, Micronesia, Samoa, and Vanuatu.  We will have lots of places to visit with friends in every country.  And we keep telling them they can come to Lehi - but only for 2 weeks.  Then they will have to move on.

The new Hebersham Zone.  New because it was after transfers.  Let's see - USA, England, Samoa, Kirabati, Guyana, New Zealand, Spain, Tonga, Australia, Philippines; all of these countries come together in the service of God.  We have learned so much about the world we live in.  

This was the new Penrith Zone plus a few extras on temple day.  This includes, Canada, USA, Philippines, Samoa, Tonga, French Polynesia (Tahiti), Australia, and Vanuatu

New Zone companionships add interest and a change of scenery for each companionship.  We enjoy seeing the growth over the time of the transfer and it is always exciting to see the new companionships.  

Some of the last photos with the young missionaries before we began our journey towards home.  We love the missionaries and are grateful for the association we have enjoyed over the past 18 months.  We have been greatly blessed by their kindness and dedicated service.

Malaysia, Indonesia, American Samoa, Taiwan, USA,  we love each one and try to speak something in their language - even if it is only hello or goodbye.  

Transfer week is very busy and many missionaries pass through the mission office.  This was our last hurrah with most of these missionaries.  They must go back to their areas and back to work teaching and serving.  

Our district leaders were down for the day for training and that was our only time to say goodbye to each of them.  We will tell you that we shed many tears these past weeks as we said goodbye.
 The Sister Training Leaders help train the sister missionaries and of course brighten our day.  They come for training every transfer after District Leader Training.  Australia, Samoa, Taiwan, USA, New Zealand.  Better than the United Nations because they actually love each other and get something done!

Our last Sunday at the Mt Druit ward included the Primary Program with Sister Feil as the pianist.  These children sang on key and knew the songs all by heart.  They had learned A Child's Prayer in Samoan, I Stand All Amazed in Tongan, and the rest in English.  It was an amazing program and we have posted a few of the numbers on facebook.  

Our last weekend activity we had a special opportunity to go on a dinner cruise on a tall ship - The Soren Larsen.  As can be seen, it left from the Circular Quay across from the  Opera House.  It sailed aroung the Sydney Harbour for about two hours.   This was a very enjoyable evening for us.

 We allowed the brave ones to climb up the ropes to the crows nest.  And we stayed safe and sound on the deck.  Our friends, the Smiths, climbed up on their cruise the next day. However, they are younger and braver than us. 

 Elder had the opportunity to help open the sails under the expert supervision of a real sailor. It was harder to perform this duty than it looks.  Now it is understood what hard work it is to be on the crew of a sailing ship.

 See what a great job he did?  The wind was so strong, we only needed two sails to get back to Sydney.  

It was a bell ringing activity and even the Captain of the ship gave his approval!
The crew included 4 sailors, as well as a guitarist who provided entertainment.  Most of the crew was from Europe and are working their way around Australia to see the country.  

This is David, one of the crew members.  He is from Sweden, we think.  He says this kind of work is good since it pays his board and room.
We ended the night by walking the Cahill Expressway across the bridge.  We have loved this city and enjoyed taking pictures for the last hurrah!  Google has helped us learn how to take night photos and this is the result.  The very busy Circular Quay is magnificent under the night lights. After walking the Harbour Bridge once more, we caught the train back from Milsons Point to Epping, ending a wonderful week.

This is the view of Sydney, the Opera House, and Circular Quay from the Bridge.  The last hurrah week was bitter sweet.  But we know the time has come to move on.  We have a few weeks before we arrive home on December 2nd.  So we are leaving by degrees and via different parts of Australia and other countries. We hope to see some of the places our dear missionaries are from.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is as true as ever.  We know it will influence people all over the world to do good and become better people. The Feils have left the mission...but the mission has not left the Feils.  Until next week, where in the world are the Feils? Hurrah! Hurrah! Huzzah! For the Australia Sydney North Mission.   Elder and Sister Feil

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