Soltice today

I am writing this on March 21st….or 21 March as they would say here in Oz! This way of writing dates makes days like Star Wars Day (May the fourth) and Pi Day (March 14, or 3/14) a little tricky. But no worries…as they say here! It is officially the solstice today…Spring solstice for the Northern Hemisphere and Fall Solstice here in the Southern Hemisphere. Which means the weather is shifting a bit. Last year, when we first arrived, it was quite cool at night with pleasant days. This year, we are having a bit of an Indian summer (not sure if that is a term used here or not…doubltful). It’s been very nice both at night and in the daytime. When I read my journal entries from last year, I wrote about how cold it is at night. We’ve only had one or two colder nights so far this year. I love Canberra weather, though! The change of seasons is such a refreshing thing, unlike SoCal where it’s pretty consistent.

I’ll tell you of some of our different activities in the last 2 weeks, but don’t have pictures from some of them. I drag my camera along to some things, but sometimes fail to take pictures because I just get too busy. I like being busy!

We had a wonderful dinner with one of the American families, the Green’s, a couple of weeks ago. They have three adorable little boys (all with some version of red hair!) and it felt good to be in the company of little ones. It was the nicest end to a lovely Sunday evening.

A few days after that, we had the opportunity to teach an investigator again. This was a lovely experience! She was so willing to listen and ask questions that sparked some good gospel discussion. We hope to teach her with the elders again next week. We look forward to that. It’s nice that the young missionaries call us now and again to help them teach their investigators. Often it is because their member support is unable to come, or our presence is helpful, like it was with this lady. And we are more free in the daytime, when they often have appointments.

We attended another one of our Seminary classes about a week ago. Our Seminary teachers rock! They are so dedicated and faithful! It’s a challenging calling and one that requires so much time and effort. We are grateful for their willingness and faithfulness in fulfilling their callings. The youth in this stake also rock! They get up early and show the effort it takes to learn!

Last Saturday was a big day for the YSA’s here! We started the day with a baptism of a young man named Jaye. He was so excited to be baptised, but is also looking forward to serving a mission in the future. He is such a great addition to our group. Here’s my photo with him. Felt bad the pic is a little fuzzy, but our feelings were warm and fuzzy!

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In the afternoon of the same day we attended a baptism of Angus, another YSA. We sat in on one of his lessons and he has really been blessed by the spirit. Again, so excited to have him in our group! (The cute little boy is the son of the man who baptised him…a member of their bishopric). Here’s our photo:

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Between these two special events, we had the opportunity to have a YSA service project. We split into groups and did service for different members of the stake. Elder Larkin and I ended up pulling up unwanted ground cover in a backyard. We got plenty dirty and then scrambled to clean up before Angus’s baptism. It was good to get dirty and serve others. Loved it. No photos, though…

During the course of the day, the keys to our flat and mailbox disappeared out of Elder Larkin’s pocket! A few months ago, I was impressed to have a second key made to our door. (We were only given one). Pres. Monson says not to ignore a prompting and I’m glad I listened! This extra key came in handy as we would have been locked out! As it was, we still only had one mailbox key and it was lost! So we prayed about it and Elder Larkin emailed the two bishops who meet in the building where we started our service project. A few days later, he had a response from one of them that our keys had been found. We were relieved and happy about it and thanked our Father in Heaven for small tender mercies. This is a small story of a small blessing, but it resounds in us to listen to the spirit in all ways. And to also do something for ourselves after we pray for something…then the Lord can guide us.

On Monday of this week, we had the opportunity to go and watch another of our YSA’s open her mission call! How fun it was to see her get call to the Hamilton New Zealand mission. We already have two from the stake serving there and another waiting to leave in July to that mission! Because Brittney is to report to the MTC in Provo in August, and because of other things mentioned in her call, it appears she will spend at least some of her time in the Hamilton New Zealand Temple Visitor’s center. We are so thrilled to see her make this giant step in her life. She leaves in August. Again, no photo, but we will post one of her with us when she leaves.

We have been busy with regular duties, studying for our lessons, teaching our three classes a week and attending YSA Sunday School classes and FHE’s with some of the wards. We are so enjoying studying and teaching The Book of Mormon class! It is often said that the teacher learns more than the student, and it is certainly true for us right now. Never studied this hard for anything, but it is truly paying dividends in spiritual enlightenment for us right now!

Lastly, I will tell you of our quick trip to Sydney that we made just day before yesterday. We never travel to Sydney for anything without going to the temple. It’s such a lovely place and we grow and are blessed each time we attend. This was no exception. But the main reason we went was to see and say goodbye to our CES director, Daniel Kuhn and his family. He and his family are moving to Queensland to start a business. We were heartbroken when he told us just a couple of weeks ago, as we have grown quite close to him and his family. From the first day we set foot (well, actually before that, on Skype) we have had the best support and blessings from Brother Kuhn. We had three meals with his family in the first two days we were in Australia a year ago. We were quickly adopted into his family as their “American grandparents” and we really enjoyed the roll. They were busy preparing for their move, but we had a lovely afternoon at their half-packed home and then said our emotional goodbyes before we drove back to Sydney. If this is any indication of the emotions we will go through in six months when we leave, I think we will be a real basket case then! My tears flowed (in the car, so as not to upset the kids), and we hope that they can actually save enough money to fly their family to America for a visit with us sometime in the future. So grateful for the Gospel plan that will eventually bring us back together with all our loved ones, even though we’re parted from them in this life! In all the chaos, we didn’t get a photo of all of us together, but here is one of us with Robyn and the kids, as well as a couple of good photos I took of their family a year ago when they were here in Canberra. We have had many visits with them through the year we have been here. We will miss them!

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That is it for now! I will try to get back into a weekly post.

Until next time…

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