Autumn is in the air. It is definitely cooler here and the leaves are starting to turn colors. It was warm enough when we arrived in early March that we had to sleep with our window open. We have now keep the window closed and have added an extra blanket, but haven’t needed to turn on the heater in our apartment yet. It is interesting to be experiencing another Fall and then Winter for the second time this year. Luckily, the only really cold part of winter we felt was at the MTC. It does get quite cold here in their winter, but they don’t usually get snow. In general, the weather has been wonderful and we have been enjoying some pretty pleasant temperatures. We love Australia!
We are looking forward to Easter Sunday. It’s tomorrow for us. It’s good to reflect on the sacrifice of our Savior and his Atonement for us. We are so grateful that Christ sacrificed himself so we might live. It seems that Easter is quite a big holiday here. They make it a four-day weekend and each day has a name…Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter and Easter Monday. We went to buy some food yesterday, (friday) and found all the stores were closed, including Costco! And no mail delivery here, either. (They regularly don’t deliver mail on Saturday, anyway). Some stores were open today, but not sure about Monday. Of course, the best part of Easter is Sunday and hearing the talks, music and lessons that talk about the Resurrection. There are lots of festivals and fairs in Sydney this weekend, also. One is like a huge “State Fair” at home, but they don’t call it that here.
Our work is progressing well. We met with the YSA committee this last week and got coordinated on a lot of things for the YSA program here in the stake. We have two events coming up for them that we have some assignments for. One is a service project and the other is a Special Fast and Testimony meeting followed by a “Fast Breaker”. We’re looking forward to both. They will be on “conference weekend”. However, because of the time differences with Utah, the Stake, here, records General Conference and play all sessions the following Sunday here. So we will enjoy General Conference the week after most of you! It’s a bit of a stretch to watch it “live” in the middle of the night.
We’ve each taught two Institute classes and it’s one of the more enjoyable things we do. Studying for the lessons is so good for us. I find it so interesting that no matter what the situation, the teacher always learns more than the students. We do pray that these wonderful young people will gain a greater understanding of the Gospel through the scriptures as we teach, read and instruct them in the Gospel Principles found there. This is a wonderful stake. They are friendly, kind and full of life here. They are a lovely group of people who strive to live the principles of the Gospel. They may be smaller in numbers, but somehow make things run and support each other in good things. As I type this (we are still going online at the church building because our internet is still not installed at home) I can hear the sounds of the Woden Ward setting up for their Ward Easter celebration. It is so familiar and comforting to be here and still feel like we are right at home. Being in Australia and working in this Stake has that familiar feeling…like we’ve been here before, even though we haven’t. I love it!
We’ve had some Skype and FaceTime calls with kids and grandkids. It’s tricky setting things up with the time differences, but we can make it work. Gratefully! We did send snail mail letters off to each of the grandchildren. Hope they enjoy them. With 14 of them, it took me a few days! But we want them to know how much we love what we are doing. We wouldn’t trade this for anything. We are so grateful for this opportunity and we hope we can fulfill our calling in a way that will please our Heavenly Father.
Well, I will close my post. Have a lovely Easter, where ever you are. Be happy. Serve each other. Don’t be afraid to be a witness for Christ. We love you all!
Until next week…