Hello everyone. And greetings from your two favorite missionaries! We are alive and happy living and serving in the land down under. I have recently become keenly aware of the wonderful blessings we receive everyday. particularly our extraordinary good health. We are indeed grateful for the Lord sustaining us here on our mission with such amazing health. And we are eternally grateful to Him for that.
Our lives go in and out each day as we continue to find ways to serve the Lord. We spend a good deal of time studying. And as we are teaching Book of Mormon right now, I wish to publicly state that we are so grateful for this amazing book and it’s teachings of Jesus Christ! We are learning so much as we study and our testimonies and knowledge has grown so much. And we see this reflected in our students. They choose to come to our classes and then they learn by the Spirit. We make no claim to their learning. It is the Spirit that teaches them and we are just an instrument in His hands. When we get a sweet text, an intent gaze, a quiet remark after class, a smile of thanks, or a testimony bourne, we know that the spirit has made His mark on someone’s heart. What joy this brings to us!
We have enjoyed several activities with our YSA’s in the last couple of weeks. One ward had a movie night. We got there late and missed the first half of the movie…which was “Frozen”! We really wanted to see it, but watching it completely will have to wait. There was good food, too and those that came enjoyed it! The next day we went to a baptism for two young men. One 16 and one 27. So we got a new YSA to our group. We failed to take a picture for you, so that will have to wait, also. The missionary work here is going strong. We love working with the young missionaries whenever we can. The baptism ran long and started late, so we missed another ward YSA activity that same night. Hopefully we will catch the next one.
We have had several lovely Skype and Face Time calls with family. We were able to wish some grandchildren happy birthday. Can’t believe how fast they are growing up! We really can’t have a grandchild who is 16, can we? Visiting with family is a two-edged sword. While we love seeing them and talking to them, it actually makes us miss them more. But that’s part of the sacrifice, right? And it won’t stop the calls!
We have had a couple of American girls here with us for several months. They came over from BYU on a Biology exchange with University of Canberra. They joined our group and made a mark while they were here. Since they didn’t know each other before hand, they were instructed to stay together, “like missionary companions”. They have left to travel back to the states and we will miss them. What a nice addition to our group. Here are our farewell photos of them. Diane on the left and Anna on the right.
The same evening we had to say goodbye to one of our other YSA’s. He is moving to the Gold Coast for work. Tama is from New Zealand and is a native Maori. He sings and also has a band up there which he will be joining. We will miss him and we are so grateful he was a part of all of us while he was here. He made an impact on our lives. Here’s our goodbye picture. I’m also including a goodbye photo of one of our YSA’s who has left on her mission. Her name is Deborah and she is serving in the Auckland, New Zealand mission, Mandarin speaking. (Funny…she is Tongan, born in America, but raised here!)
We had a great opportunity to travel to Sydney a week ago with several of our YSA’s for a trip to the Temple. It was a quick trip up and back in one day. We met VERY early and arrived about 9:30 am. But it was so wonderful to be there with all of them. Two of those who went are newly baptised members. And one of them was there for the first time. He expressed what a special experience it was for him at the Fast and Testimony meeting last Sunday. We had the chance to ride along on the bus. What a riot! They are so fun to be with and the destination and the work we did there was most wonderful. I so wanted a photo of all of us in front of the temple, but they scattered so fast at lunch, I didn’t get one. They did capture shots of each other and I took several photos on the bus. Here’s my favorite. We love being with them!
We went on Daylight Saving last week. But because of the opposite season, it was our “fall back” time, so we gained an hour of sleep. On Sunday, I had the opportunity to join the women of the stake for the General Women’s meeting which they broadcast here a week later. It was lovely, and so good to see the entire chapel full of women, young women and girls. We look forward to viewing General Conference this coming weekend. Because of the odd hours here when they are broadcast live, the stakes in Australia play them a week later for their members and it is the same in the states, with the two days dedicated to the Conference. Many watch online, of course, but we have somewhat limited wifi, so we will see and hear the sessions tomorrow and Sunday. Really looking forward to it!
We had a lovely Family Home Evening and pizza with a family we have grown to love and cherish. We had Christmas Eve dinner with them, also. They had invited two of the Elders and an investigator and we had a lovely lesson from them. As I said, we love the young missionaries. These two had become companions just that day (transfer day) and were just getting to know each other. The missionary who has been here for awhile is from Columbia. He is a sweet, faithful elder and we have grown to love him. His new companion is from Finland! The investigator is from Brazil and the lady whose home we met in is from Spain, but has lived here a long while. Her children are half Samoan! It’s a real melting pot here…with people as well as missionaries. We love it!
Well, it is time for me to make supper. We send our love out to those who read this post. We are happy doing the Lord’s work. We testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and you would be blessed to learn more about it. If any of you is interested please go to mormon.org. There is someone at that site that can help answer your questions. Or just ask a missionary or a member you may know!
Until next time…