This last week has been filled with some very sweet moments! And we enjoyed every one of them. What I don’t have is a lot of pictures from each special event this last week. So I will post what few I have and just tell you about all the rest.
Last Friday we had a zone conference here in Canberra with the Canberra Zone. These are so wonderful and we gain so much by being with the young missionaries as well as our wonderful mission president and his wife. It was a spiritually filled day and being the only senior couple in the zone gives us a fun perspective.
Friday evening our stake had a fun Valentine’s Dance. Each time there is a Stake Conference here the stake has a large stake activity on the Friday before. There was lots of good entertainment, socializing, snack food, and dancing, of course. Here are a few pictures to enjoy:
The little one is Michael and some of his older siblings, Dion, Sienna and Bella. We took the pictures with my turn around screen on my camera and Michael loved making faces and seeing himself do it! Hi big brother Dion is one of our 5 YSA’s who are waiting for their mission calls at the moment. That doesn’t even count the 5 who already have their calls and have not left yet! These are amazing numbers for such a small stake! Fun evening!
On Saturday and Sunday we had our Stake Conference. Wow! It was a real wonderful two days! One of the best Stake Conferences we have ever been to. We had two members of the Seventy here because the Stake Presidency was reorganized. We were so please to see who the Lord had chosen to lead this Stake. It was one of the Bishops of one of the four wards. He chose a counselor from the former presidency as well as another Bishop to be his counselors. Excellent choices and we know them all. Good, honorable men who will do a wonderful job leading this stake. Of course, that means two new Bishops to come, too. Many changes. There were also many of our YSA young men who received the Melchizedek priesthood, also. It’s so wonderful to see the growth in this group and how many of them are moving forward in a good way. The sessions of Conference were so good and personally very uplifting. So much of it was on missionary work and also the rescue work of the church. The missionaries are such a big part of that. It’s such a good feeling to part of the Plan! I wish all of you could have heard some of the talks we heard! Fantastic weekend!
On Monday we went to a really good YSA Family Home Evening for one of the wards. The lesson was amazing! Again, we were spiritually fed! Afterwards we played a game where someone who is mathematically challenged (me) found herself a bit embarrassed! But it was fun, none the less!
Tuesday was Institute. Our day class went well, if not a little long. So much to teach and never enough time! Luckily the chaplaincy “curator” didn’t boot us out, even when we went overtime! Night class was also good and our Mission Prep class is full and going strong. It’s taught by a member of the stake. Both our class and mission prep meet and let out at the same time and we socialize together afterward. It’s lots of eating, laughing and basketball! After clean up we actually hopped in our car and headed for Sydney.
Arriving in Sydney at 1:00 am, we got settled in our room at the Temple Accommodations and got about 5 hours of sleep before waking and getting ready to head to a unique and wonderful meeting. We arrived at one of the Stake Centres a little before 8:00 and joined all the missionaries from Sydney North mission and Sydney South mission as we all waited for Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to arrive. Per instructions, we were able to go to the front and shake his hand, as well as those of his wife’s and two members of the Seventy and their wives. Miraculously, this only took 25 minutes for almost 450 missionaries (215 for South and 199 for North, plus a few extra visitors and invited guests). It was a sight to behold and we felt such a special feeling to not only shake Elder Nelson’s hand, but to hear him speak to us (as well as the others). I know that some of what was said was directed to me and to the prayers I have been giving to the Lord for some answers I am seeking. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants what is best for us. I am so grateful he places people (both great and humble) into our lives to bless us and answer our prayers. I felt that so often in our many meetings this last week.
After our amazing and uplifting meeting and several hugs and greetings to missionaries we have worked with, we headed out to have lunch with two other senior couples in our mission. The pizza place we met at was closed (boo hoo) so we headed to the shops (mall) across from the temple where there were several food places, we all got our food and sat down to eat and visit. It was enjoyable learning more about the other two couples. Several missionaries from both missions ended up there as well. One of the Sydney North elders is from England and a very good friend of one of our YSA’s here. I was able to take a photo of this faithful Elder and send it to our cute YSA girl. She was thrilled, and just for fun, I will show it here. (She is one of the 5 who are waiting for a mission call right now!)
After our lunch, we went and had a nice long visit with our CES director. It was raining pretty steadily by then, so even though all these places are quite near each other and we had a small umbrella, we got wet several times in our going about. When the temple reopened (it’s closed each week day afternoon), we waddled through the rain, again and arrived early enough for a 5:00 pm session. immediately we noticed the wives of the general authorities just inside and realized we would be attending a session with them and their husbands. What a sweet experience it was to attend a session with Elder Nelson and stand in the prayer circle with him, also. Again, he shook our hands as we all left the waiting bench to go into the session. Sweet moments, indeed. We saw the latest new film and again, we were filled with the spirit and answers to prayers.
As we came out of the temple, the rain had eased up and the sky was beautiful as it neared sunset. There were no photos allowed in our meeting in the morning, nor do we ever take pictures inside the temple, but enjoy these few I took outside to help us remember what a special day it was for us. When we filled our tank with petrol to come home, a huge double rainbow appeared in the sky. Couldn’t get a great picture, but it was beautiful and bright. Enjoy our picture memories:
We drove home last night and enjoyed the amazing Aussie sky at night as we came home. It was bright and clear and the milky way was bright and thick, as well as millions of tiny stars! It was amazing. Of course, no way to take a photo from a moving car and we did not stop. But sometime before we leave, I want to drive outside of the city and try to take a photo of the night sky!
One last thing…On February 18…one year ago we entered the MTC in Provo! It is hard to believe we have been on our mission for a year! It has gone by way too fast. We feel like this is home, in a way. This scripture says it well. D&C 51:16-17.
16. And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence;
17. And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good.
Thanks to our friend Brett for teaching us with these lovely verses. We also want to let all of you know that we asked for and received a one month extension to our mission. This will allow us to finish our Book of Mormon course in Institute and we will say our good byes in September. We truley don’t want to think about it yet…
We love you all!
Until next time…