Five Months…hello’s and goodbye’s!

It is hard to believe, but we have been in Canberra for five months and on our mission for five and a half months! It is going by so very fast, it’s hard to fathom! This last few weeks has been a very busy time for us! So busy that I have neglected the blog…and emails to family back home! But being busy is a good thing…for us, anyway!

We have been doing many things with the YSA these last few weeks. Going to their Family Home Evenings has been fun and we have enjoyed the more intimate and social occasions. We’ve laughed and eaten…so much food (!), and really gotten to know them well. FHE’s are held by the wards as well as a quarterly Stake FHE for all of them. We attend and enjoy them all! Amazingly, we will be hosting the next Stake FHE here in our little flat later this month! It ought to be interestingly cozy as our space is limited, but we are excited to do it! Pull up the floor and have a seat!

We continue to teach Institute three times a week. We recently changed our UC class to accommodate the changing schedule of our students, but it works fine. We’ve competed with a Mission Prep class and roadshow practices on Tuesday nights, but they are both good activities and since they are both soon completed, we will see more students to Institute, now. (DID YOU READ THAT, YSA…?)

We held a Seminary Make-up Day recently and we assisted our CES Director in Seminary Teacher Training. It was a long day, but a good one! We hope to have another make-up day before the end of the school year.

We had dinner with a lovely mother in the stake and her 7 children. They are the sweetest family and we followed it with FHE and games. We taught the children how to play Spoons and they love it! Very competitive, but cute!

We have assisted the Elders as they prepare for their meetings. They come here and use our computer for their documents and then print them. It’s costly for them at the library. And this last time they stayed for lunch and we got acquainted with the new Elder. So fun!  Good young men! There are about 12 sets of missionaries serving our Stake here. We attended the baptism recently of a fine young man. He’s from India, but has lived in Australia many years. He received a Book of Mormon about 5 years ago and has taken the lessons more than once. But he chose to be baptised and is a wonderful addition to our group of YSA’s here. We love his participation in class. This is a photo of him after his baptism with us.

IMG_0060-cropped Weekend before last, we drove Southeast to Mirimbula. It’s a 3.5 to 4 hour drive from here. There is a Branch in the stake there. The main part of the stake here in Canberra performed the Roadshow there on that Friday evening, which we attended. So much fun and well done, also. We really enjoyed it and also the meal and socializing afterward. The Mirimbula City Council were asked to come and judge the roadshow and they gave out awards. It was wonderful to see the Council members gain a better image of the church in this area. We spent the night afterward in a very nice motel. The owner is married to a church member there and it was so fun getting to know the two of them (husband and wife). They were delightful people and the room was lovely and quiet. It was weird to watch TV! The next morning we went to church in the Branch. The building was a grouping of rooms in a store front area on the main street. Nice accommodations and it even has a small Family History center. Church was wonderful and we got to know some of the local saints. We also inquired about Seminary students there. Only two and we are going to try to figure out a way to get them to take their Seminary online. (Something which is just now getting a good foothold in this area of Australia). We spoke to our CES director and hope to get the two of them doing just that. The drive to and from Mirimbula was just gorgeous! We went down one way and back another. A lot of the country was in it’s winter browns. We saw lots of ranch land, mountains and coastal communities. We loved it! Long weekend, but fun. We will see the Roadshow again this Friday when they perform it here for the whole stake tomorrow night. Here are some pictures from our drive that you might enjoy.

IMG_0081 IMG_0118 IMG_0124 IMG_0125 IMG_0143 I made a couple of panorama shots with the stitch feature in my camera. One is a wide valley we drove past and the other an inlet bay near the coast in Narooma. Here they are:

(Enhanced) Australian Valley betwwen Marimbula and Nooroma (Enhanced) Narooma bay in Australia

We have also had to say good-bye to two more of our YSA’s. One is an American girl, Lauren Waddoups, whose family is living here. When the age changed for missionary sisters, she put in her papers and is going to be serving in the Macon, Georgia Mission. She leaves tomorrow. We are so pleased for her decision and she is the first missionary from our group to leave on a mission. This is our picture with Lauren.

IMG_0015

We also said goodbye to one of our students who is going to the States on a rugby (they call it “Footy” here) scholarship. He’ll be attending school in Michigan. His name is Sione Fanga’i’uiha. (Yes, he’s Tongan). We will miss him! Here’s our pic with Sione:

IMG_0069 cropped

And we also said goodbye to Elyse Heslehurst. She is leaving for the States, also. She, too, will be going to school there in Colorado for the next five months. There is much movement among the YSA’s! Here’s our pic with Elyse.

IMG_0068

We also had a new YSA move into Canberra. She is from Ecuador. She’s a lovely young lady who is going to be going to school here at ANU for the next two years. She’s a great addition to our group and we’ve really enjoyed having her in our class. Her name is Ana Sariah Intriago and she is as lovely as her name! I hope to have photos of us with each of the YSA’s here and post more than just those that are leaving.

Well…I guess when you don’t post for a few weeks, then your posts are LONG! Hope you have enjoyed catching up. It’s wonderful to be busy and active. We love these young people! They are amazing and serving them has been so wonderful for us! We’re pretty healthy and doing well. We send all our love to family and friends back home.

Until next time…

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