This will be my last blog from Australia! (And it will contain a lot of photos…so be prepared). It’s hard to believe that we are leaving day after tomorrow to go home! What an amazing experience this has been for us. We never dreamed how wonderful this mission would be! And we are so very grateful that we have had this amazing opportunity and would not trade it for the world! After we return to the states, I will share with all of you what we have learned. We are so very grateful to our Father in Heaven for giving us a chance to serve Him here among loving, good and kind people!
I posted last Sunday, and it is Sunday again. Here are a few highlights to our amazing last week:
We spoke in one of the wards last week…on missionary work! Then hurried to another ward to bear our testimonies. We love being with this great stake! And, the goodbyes and hugs have been happening for a while, now. Here’s a few photos from that day:
Later that evening, we had dinner with one of the American families along with two of the young elders. Great food and good company. Here’s a couple of pics:
Monday, we fulfilled a wish we had for our entire mission! We had planned to do it back in December when we had a couple of weeks off of Institute, but it didn’t work out then, so we did it on Monday. We climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge! It was an exhilarating and wonderful experience and something everyone should do just once! They don’t let you take cameras up with you, so these are the photos they took of us:
The suits are required and are not very flattering, but it’s the price you pay! I thought my fear of heights would be bad, but it didn’t bother me too badly. The 1300 steps were a different matter and we both felt the physical effects for several days. It was ALL worth it! Fantastic experience!
Tuesday was spent prepping for out last week of Institute classes. We taught our ANU class as well as our night class and UC on Thursday. All for the last time! So hard to think we won’t be teaching Institute any more…it’s been so good for us, and we have grown so much as teachers as well as our testimonies! We said more goodbyes to some of our students. Here are some photos from our last classes:
We had a wonderful Skype call with our replacement couple, Elder and Sister Stendlund. They will arrive in about a month. We are excited for them, because we know how much they will enjoy Canberra Stake and serving there. We also began preparations for getting our flat ready for them.
On Thursday evening, we had dinner with a wonderful family. The parents are one of our advisor couples for YSA and two of their daughters have been in our program from the beginning. We were joined by another couple here in the stake. They are service missionaries who take care of the young missionaries apartments down the South coast. Here are some photos, but we didn’t get shots with the girls until Friday.
Friday morning we had two short Skype calls with two of our son’s. One for his birthday and one with the son who is greeting us at the airport on Tuesday. We enjoy talking to both, but quickly finished and started working on things that had to be done for our departure. We went to the bank, got our passports, shipped some things home, picked up some Tim Tams, candies and shipped those home and then prepared to attend our farewell party. The other Larkin’s in the stake organized it and it was fantastic! So many came to attend and there was some fabulous entertainment. We had a Tongan War Dance…Elder Larkin said it was one of the best he’s seen. Mostly performed by our YSA boys and their dance group. Also other Polynesian dances by three of our YSA girls! So good! And a sweet brother sang a couple of songs. There were those who paid tribute, including our first CES director who drove 13 hours from his new home with his two oldest daughters to say goodbye, along with a member of the Stake Presidency and one of our YSA girls! We took photos, hugged, nearly cried, and bid our farewells with sadness in our hearts! But we LOVED it!!! Many thanks to those in the stake who worked so hard on our send off! Now, for photos:
There were more photos than these, of course…and some more photo bombing, but that’s what you get when you hand off your camera. Actually, we are pleased to have so many photos of such a good evening. WE LOVE CANBERRA STAKE!!!!!!
Saturday we spent a lot of time preparing to leave!. We packed, cleaned and then delivered keys and tied up loose ends. It was a long day. We visited Sister Levine and her parents in the hospital and then headed to Sydney. She is doing okay, but still needs lots of prayers. She is not fully awake, but she looked better to us, with more color and her face seemed more relaxed. We saw this as a positive sign. It’s been a long journey so far for her parents and her. We pray the Lord will continue to bless her.
We are here in Sydney right now and went to church today. Tomorrow we will have a nice cruise of the Harbor with the other departing couples who will fly out with us on Tuesday.
This has been quite a wonderful adventure. I hope to post when we get home and have wifi and other things settled. We send our love to everyone!
See you on the flip side….