Happenings

I did not get my post up yesterday (Friday) like I usually do. So this is a day late, sort of. Actually, only in my own mind. I get to post whenever I want! Thanks for being patient.

On Monday, we attended a FHE with our investigator, Lipou. It was in part to help him prepare for his baptism. We (two sets of missionaries, his friend in one of the wards here, the friend’s wife and son, and Elder Larkin and myself) bore our testimonies and encouraged him to be strong and move forward with faith. Then we made a few decisions about who would baptise him and confirm him a member of the church and who would participate in his program. He seemed ok, but was bundled up and coughing a little. We enjoyed the evening and told him we would see him on the following Saturday at his baptism. However, he was getting sick that night. By the next day, the Sisters called us to come and help the Elders give him a blessing, which we did before we headed off to our day class. By Thursday, he told the Sisters he was really not well and asked if we could move the baptism one more week ahead. So…barring all other delays, we hope we will enjoy seeing our friend baptised next Saturday. We took some photos that night. I hope to have a lot more photos of him and his children after his baptism. He is the one with the black beanie hat, tupenu (wrap around Tongan skirt) and striped scarf on.

IMG_5104

We taught our classes this week, of course. Between the rain, and the winter breaks for school, plus some winter illnesses going around, our attendance was quite low this week. Disappointing, but we still love to teach the wonderful teachings of the Book of Mormon and we enjoy all our students.

Thursday, we were able to attend a soccer game of one of our YSA’s. She usually plays on Sundays, but had a make up game that night. The temp wasn’t too bad, but the nasty Canberra winter wind was blowing hard and we (spectators as well as players) about froze! If felt sub-freezing with the wind-chill, even bundled up. The best part was her team won and we really enjoyed her game! I attempted a few photos, but I was shaking from the cold, there was constant movement (players and wind…) so none of them are very good. I’ll add a couple here, but they’re not much. I feel bad you can’t see her darling face! Her last name is Larkin, too! We have enjoyed getting better acquainted with her.

IMG_3449 IMG_3451 IMG_3453

Yesterday, Friday we ran some errands to get food and preparation done for our Seminary Teacher training session this morning. On our way home, the phone rang and it was our Mission President and his wife calling to say they were in Canberra for interviews. They invited us to dinner and we spent a couple of hours really getting to know them. It was a very enjoyable dinner and company. We, of course, did not take photos. But we will see them again in early August for a Senior Couples FHE in Sydney. I promise, I will take some photos and especially one with them. President Back is our fourth (4th!!!) mission president! Our first was Pres. Howes who headed up the then, Sydney mission. The mission was split a year ago and we met President Lew and his wife. They were supposed to stay for 3 years, but President Lew became quite ill and they were released after 10 months. So sad to see them go. Then we had a short-term interim president, President Palmer, for three months. They left early this month when President Back and his wife arrived to serve for 3 years. Hopefully, we will only have four! We seem to be hard on Mission Presidents, haha! 😉

As I mentioned, we had our Seminary Teacher training this morning. Our new CES coordinator came down from Sydney and we, and our teachers, enjoyed getting to know him better. It was a good meeting and we enjoyed good company and food, as well as important instructions.

That’s it for now. I will be back next week…hopefully on Friday, instead of Saturday.

Until next time….

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Skype calls and sports!

Hello world!

We’ve had a good week here. Last Friday we had a nice Skype call with our new CES director. He’s pretty new to the job and we enjoyed updating him on CES things here in Canberra as well as future events that we needed to plan for. We’ll enjoy working with him.

Saturday night we attended a ward YSA Sports night for one of the wards here! They were joined by others from the stake and it was a fun activity. They are a competitive bunch and got some good games going. They played basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer. (Only America calls it soccer…the rest of the world calls it football…). I did get my sports setting on the camera worked out so I took a few photos. Here are some to enjoy. The first five are the basketball game:

IMG_3360 IMG_3366 IMG_3375 IMG_3378 IMG_3384

I love the two elders peeking in the door in the last one…sorry, Elders…not p-day today! These are the volleyball game:

IMG_3387 IMG_3391 IMG_3394 IMG_3399 IMG_3407 IMG_3409

And these are from the “football” game:

IMG_3420 IMG_3425 IMG_3426 IMG_3428 IMG_3429

My favorite thing is the “goal” is made from two chairs.  They didn’t score unless it was between the chairs and not over the goalie’s head. It was a fun event and since they really love their sports, they play a lot of sports with each other. It’s common to have a game of basketball after Institute most weeks. No playing for us…just too old and we don’t want to break anything. We are great score keepers and cheerleaders, however!

We had a very nice Fast Breaker at one of the bishop’s homes on Sunday. I did fail to take pictures, but we descended on his home, ate like wolves, played a couple of games and left with hopefully not a big mess. Fast Breakers are held regularly each month, usually in the home of a bishop or member of the Stake Presidency. We do enjoy being together!

Monday, we had to decide between two things we really wanted to do. This time, we went with the Sisters to teach our Tongan investigator. He’s such a good man with a growing testimony. We pray for him daily and hope he will be baptised later this month. Of, course, I will post about it when it happens. We look forward to it, very much! We were also supposed to teach him again last night, but he was not feeling well. We also could have attended a ward YSA FHE on Monday, but they had a great time without us, from what we hear. What a good bunch!

We prepped for and taught our three lessons this week. We have so enjoyed teaching from the Book of Mormon and we have both learned so much ourselves as we prepare each week. We are currently teaching from 3 Nephi. It has been amazing to teach the words of the Savior to our students! We love the Book of Mormon. We testify of its truthfulness. It testifies of Jesus Christ! We are so grateful!

We had a Skype call with our grandson who was baptised this last week. It was so hard not to be there for this wonderful event. In addition to the ordination to the Priesthood for two other grandsons, recently. And even though I don’t post a lot about our family back home, I feel that a baptism picture is appropriate. So here is one of our grandson and his family:

IMG_5056

We also had a long Skype call with one of our other sons. It was so nice to really catch up and talk about our coming home with him. We miss our family, but we only have about 2.5 months left and we are really looking forward to our return.

And to close, we also had a long Skype call today with the couple who has been called to replace us here in this specific mission assignment. They are from Oregon and we are so happy they finally have their call, which has taken awhile to receive. We were hoping they could overlap us, but it doesn’t look likely. But as long as our YSA’s and students are not left “alone” for too long, it will all be alright. They will love the young people of this stake and be a wonderful addition to the program here.

Thanks for checking in for the blog. Have a nice week!

Until next time….

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Greetings from the frozen South!

Hello everyone!

It’s seasonably cold here in Canberra. It was 28F when we came home at 10:00 pm last night. Think January, if you’re from North America! Canberra gets cold, but no snow here in town. The right conditions for snow rarely exist here. The mountains get some, but they are some distance away, so we get to enjoy seeing it from afar. Here’s a pic:

IMG_3331-cropped

Last Friday was a busy evening for us as we had two events that we split ourselves between. We started at a ward YSA fun night of pizza, movies and games at one of the advisor’s home. We stayed for the pizza, (of course!), but, sadly we left before the fun began. I’ll explain why in a moment. We enjoy the company of these young people so much and this was no exception. They are a fun bunch to be around. Here’s some photos of that event. The second of these photos I love…because it shows how they laugh and enjoy each other! The last photo of this group was taken in a mirror hanging on the wall!

IMG_3238 IMG_3240 IMG_3243 IMG_3245 IMG_3247 IMG_3253

The reason we left this event early was to go to our other event that same night. This was an ice skating party that was held as a farewell for one of our young men leaving for his mission. We were at that same rink about a year ago, but neither of us remember it being so cold inside! It was colder inside than outside that night! Took awhile to get the feeling back in our toes, but we sure enjoyed watching the YSA’s that were there to say goodbye. Enjoy:

IMG_3255 IMG_3266 IMG_3280 IMG_3282 IMG_3286 IMG_3294 IMG_3304 IMG_3305

On Saturday, we popped into the family history center at the Stake Center where several of our YSA’s were doing some research for a ward event. They are trying to get names ready to take to the temple sometime later this month. While we were there, we had a quick birthday Skype call with a granddaughter. Very sweet!

On Sunday, after attending one ward in the morning, we hurried to the other building so we could hear our departing missionary give a talk. He will serve in the Hamilton, NZ mission. He’s very well prepared and will be a fun missionary as he’s a bit of a character. Here’s our goodbye photos with Elder Elijah Glass which we took on Tuesday when we said goodbye. Yes…he is very tall…and still growing! He hopes to come grow some more while he is out! I include two…please note his face in the second one…It says it all!

IMG_3334-edited IMG_3338-edited

We took another photo on Tuesday night with our good friend, Keller. He is getting ready to move to Melbourne and we will surely miss him. Keller served his mission in Long Beach and we swap Southern California stories with him. He’s a good man and we wish him the best as he moves on to other endeavors in his life. Here’s our picture:

IMG_3340-edited

On Monday, we had the opportunity to help teach our Tongan minister friend. It had been over two weeks since the missionaries had met with him. We were pleased to see that he had worked through the difficulties he was having and enjoyed the spirit the Sisters shared with him. We all challenged him to work towards baptism. He has a testimony, but is still struggling to make a full commitment and keep it. He’s a good man and we actually met and talked to him again, last night. The sisters challenged him to be baptised on the 19th of July. We’d love any prayers for him that you might offer. His name is Lipou. (pronounced Lee-po).

We also prepped our lessons and taught on Tuesday and Thursday of this week. We love our students and love teaching! We are teaching several lessons right now from 3 Nephi and the Savior’s visit to the Nephite people. The Book of Mormon is TRUE! If you will read it and sincerely pray about it, you will receive a testimony of its truthfulness and it will bless your life! You can receive a free copy for yourself from mormon.org

On Wednesday, our former Stake President and his wife came over and brought us lunch! Not only was it delicious food, but the company was great! (Can’t get any better than two “Larkin” couples enjoying each other’s company.) John and Robyn Larkin are the advisor couple to our Mission Prep class. We are now working with them to encourage all YSA and 17-year-old potential missionaries to prepare themselves for a mission and attend the class. They are amazing and we have had a wonderful response to their invitations to the class.

We had a good Skype call with our new CES director this morning. He’s a good man and we look forward to his trip here to Canberra in a couple of weeks for our Seminary Teacher Training day.

Well, another busy week is behind us. We are inching closer to our coming home. We have a little less than three months to go. We can hardly believe it!

Until next time….

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sydney…twice in one week!

Hello everyone! This has been a wonderfully full week for us! And it included, not one, but TWO trips to Sydney! Each one is 6+ hours of driving for us. However, the reasons for going have been lovely!

Last week, I told you about our sweet Holly. She was the one who got her visa to Brazil and had to leave in five days! It was a whirlwind few days for her and she felt the stress, but we were able to be with her for a few of her more lovely moments. On Saturday, we went to Sydney to be with her as she received her endowments in the Temple. It was a wonderful experience to share with her and we wouldn’t have traded it for the whole world! Here are some photos we took afterward:

IMG_3162 IMG_3165 IMG_3171 IMG_3172 IMG_3185 IMG_3186

We all ate lunch together afterward and then headed back to Canberra. Elder Larkin and I went straight to a stake Senior’s “Dine and Dance”. It was lovely and we enjoyed the short time we were there, but we ducked out early to meet up with Holly and some of the other YSA’s at a local mall for a quick get together. There was a warm feeling even though we were all sitting outside in the cold night air. Here’s a photo from that:

IMG_3212

It was a long, but full and rewarding day for Holly and for us!

On Sunday, we attended a morning ward and then stayed for the Sacrament meeting of the next ward so we could hear Holly give her testimony. We returned in the evening for a wonderful Missionary fireside. Hearing all the newly baptised members bear their testimonies and the talks and music by the full-time missionaries was wonderful! At the end, we were invited into Holly’s setting apart. It was a little tearful, but a powerful testimony that the Lord is aware of all of us. We said our good-byes (a bit tough) and headed home. Holly flew out the next day for Brazil. We know she has arrived at the MTC in Sao Paulo safely and is beginning her journey! She will be in her mission (Recife) in about six weeks. So proud of her and her courage!

We prepped for our lessons and then taught our classes on Tuesday. It was a cold, wet and windy day…a real winter storm. But we, and our students, weathered the storm and gained a lot of spiritual insights.

On Wednesday, we had our YSA Committee meeting. The YSA turnover was in full evidence as only one committee member there that night was on our committee when we started 16 months ago, and she has just been released! We have a good group at present and got a lot accomplished. Love these people!!!

Yesterday, Thursday, we made another trip into Sydney. We left about 11:30 a.m. and traveled to the Temple/Church complex. We popped into the distribution center to get a few things and then had an hour-long meeting with our new CES coordinator. He’s been on the job only a few days. Our previous coordinator moved to Queensland a few months ago. After a quick stop at the shops across the street we headed to the southern area of Sydney to have dinner and FHE with our mission president, his wife and the other senior couples from the mission. We didn’t account for traffic (we’re really spoiled here in Canberra where there is NO traffic) and arrived a little late. But it was a lovely evening. We actually said goodbye to them, because they are being released (they have been temporary while a new president was called). The new couple will come in and the outgoing couple with leave this Saturday. It will be our fourth mission president while we have been serving. We look forward to meeting them. Here is a photo of our dinner together. The outgoing president was manning the camera, but I posted a photo of them a few posts back.

IMG_3236

Well, folks, that’s it for today! We head off this evening for a ward activity as well as a goodbye ice skating event for one of our young men who leaves on his mission in about a week. We send our love to each of you and bear testimony of the work which we do! We love our Savior and we are so grateful we can do His work.

Until next time….

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This blog isn’t for you..well maybe a little!

I know that there are a few faithful readers of our blog. I know they enjoy reading about what we do here on our mission. We have some sporadic readers who check in periodically and they enjoy it too. There is also that fluke encounter by someone who may read it once and not return because they’re not interested. But we write this blog for us! This is our record. Well, one of our records. I keep a daily journal, also. I hope that in the future I can print out this blog and have it in book form. So that we and our children and our grandchildren and their children can read it and know what we did for this 19 months. My journal is more personal…it reflects the changes, feelings and growth I have experienced while we have been here. Anyway, for anyone who reads this, we hope you enjoy this experience. I’m not the best writer. (I have a sister who’s much better than I am). I don’t take the best photos, although I wish I could take better ones. We are not the best missionaries, but we do all we can to be the best at what we do. We are happy!!!  We are serving the Lord. And serving the Lord make’s one happy! Now onto today’s post:

Last Saturday we went to a YSA ward activity in one of the wards here. They had their version of  a “Cake Boss” kind of competition and then afterward they took the cakes to members in their ward who needed a little extra sweetness! It was a very nice mix of fun and service! It was so fun to see everyone’s creative sides come out and everything sure looked good. I did not take my regular camera (remember my wish to take better pictures…) so I took them with my phone. It’s a good thing the activity was more fun than my photos are good. Although the subjects of the photos are delightful! The advisor couple in this ward are newly married and pretty much the same age as these YSA’s. Bet you couldn’t even figure out which ones they are. The cake highlight of the night had to be the Tim Tam Airplane cake! Enjoy:

IMG_4359 IMG_4371 IMG_4372 IMG_4373 IMG_4374 IMG_4376 IMG_4377 IMG_4378 IMG_4379 IMG_4381

Sunday I awoke with a cold and fought that off for a few days. Getting an asthma cough every time I catch a cold does not make things fun, but I started feeling much better by Tuesday, thank goodness. I chalk that up to lots of prayers. And proper medication.

We taught our lessons this week and they went well. We are teaching about the few years just before Christ appears after his resurrection in Helaman and 3 Nephi.  It’s such an interesting time in the Book of Mormon and there are so many lessons to learn from the stories and teachings there. We love to teach and it’s so good when we have students who choose to come and learn what the Lord wants them to learn. So grateful to teach!

On Wednesday, one of our YSA girls called us up to tell us her visa to Brazil had come through. Her original Brazilian MTC date was June 25. She had been told by Salt Lake that getting a visa could take anywhere between a few months to a year. She could have been reassigned, serve part of her mission here while she waited, or just wait. She has just been waiting for the last 3 or so months. Because she is British and has a British passport, they told her it would probably come through by early September. She was totally shocked to hear it had come through this week! At that point in the call they said she would depart in early August. By the end of the day, however, SLC had called her back and told her it would be best to depart by her original date (June 24) so she didn’t have to start the process all over again! So that gave her 6 days to prepare. (And she hadn’t been to the temple yet, either!) The next day, she received another call and they told her they couldn’t get anything booked for Tuesday, so she is now leaving on Monday afternoon! We are joining her in the temple tomorrow morning as she receives her endowment. We are very excited for her, but it has been quite overwhelming for her as she scrambles to get ready. So proud of her and her willingness to do what she is asked to do. We will miss her, but we know she is doing what the Lord wants her to do! It takes courage to make such quick adjustments! There will be lots of photos in the next couple of days. I will share some of them next week.

We missed one of the ward FHE’s on Monday because I didn’t feel well. And we were supposed to go teach our Tongan minister friend several times in the last week, but he has cancelled every appointment. We are praying hard for him. We worry that he has been negatively affected and is having a hard time. We pray for him daily.

We are so grateful that we have experienced such good health. This is only my second cold and neither of us has had any major health issues. We are truly blessed by the Lord’s tender mercies. We love our Savior! We love our mission. We love serving Him, whose Gospel we teach.

Until next time….

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

YSA Convention

It’s been a full week here for us. In fact, I’m writing this a day later than I usually do. And I’m limited by time, so I better get going!

We really enjoyed our time at the YSA Mini Convention last weekend in Sydney! It’s safe to say we live a YSA lifestyle…albeit with a little less physical activity on our part. (We are old, remember!) It is so much fun, however, seeing the YSA’s have fun! And the convention was just that…a whole lot of fun! We drove up last Friday for a dance. The music was LOUD! But they all had a blast at the “Great Gatsby” themed dance. Great atmosphere and enjoyment had by all. We climbed into bed about 1:30 am! When we do things in Sydney, we usually stay at the Temple Accommodations, near the temple. On Saturday morning we were able to attend the temple with many of our group. Some did baptisms and some did an endowment session with us. It was wonderful and we love having this wonderful opportunity. After changing (them, not us), we went back to Campbelltown for our activity day. There was an amazing race (by foot) and it included things like placing a Book of Mormon with someone for each group. We waited for their return and then they got started on the games. There was Tug of War, as well as pyramid building and other crazy games like “Stampede”! You had to be there, but they enjoyed themselves. We watched…because jumping on each other’s backs, laying on the floor and climbing into stacks of people (as well as other crazy movements) just wasn’t in our physical abilities. It was so fun to watch! And much laughter and hilarious reactions went on! Nothing like 300 YSA’s to get crazy! These activities were followed by a meal and then another dance. Again, loads of fun! The following day was Sunday. Meeting in another building, we had a very good Sacrament meeting. This was followed by workshops and then a nice dinner. We then attended a very good Fireside in the same building. These Sunday meetings were so wonderful and we were enriched by all the wonderful speakers, video presentations and workshop lessons. Monday’s activities brought us to the beach! We had dodged the rain all weekend, but it caught up with us a bit on Monday. It rained on and off, the wind blew, and it was cold! But it was such a fun day. There was a park/grassy area near the water where all the activities were held. Again, there was music, and lots of games…rugby, volleyball, frisbee, a little dancing and again, good food! I made a new friend that day. Her name is Sarai. She is 19 and preparing to go on a mission as soon as she can. She is a convert (at 13) and a real sweet young woman. We had an instant bond with each other in about an hour-long conversation. And with social media, we will follow each other and maintain that fast and wonderful friendship. I think there may be people you meet here who you knew before in the pre-mortal world. And when you meet them, your spirits just remember! Here are a few pictures I took. The first one is Sarai and me. I’ve included a photo of Elder Larkin and two young men. The fellow next to him is Mone. He just returned from a mission to Tonga. He’s part of our group. The other fellow was a Tongan that was there to go to the temple. We enjoyed meeting him. Elder Larkin loves to speak a little Tongan to people and we enjoy their reactions. They are so surprised, but enjoy meeting someone who served there so long ago. I also included another photo of Sarai and me. It was such a sweet thing for both of us! She is from a stake in Sydney and we may never have a chance to meet again in person. We will be forever friends! Enjoy the beach photos, too. This was our first Sydney beach visit and probably our last. (Other than the Harbor where the Opera House is located) Notice our winter coats! We needed them! It was cold! It reminds me of California in the winter…but colder!

IMG_4348 IMG_3084 IMG_3095 IMG_3114 IMG_3117 IMG_3119 IMG_3125 IMG_3127 IMG_3129 IMG_3133 IMG_3141

We taught our classes this week. We have also had the opportunity to teach with the sister missionaries this week. Two different companionships. It’s been so interesting for us. We taught Lipou, the Tongan Minister again. He had encountered an anti-Mormon video. It had upset him and we talked about it at great length. He recognizes the power of the adversary and we reminded him that the good feelings he gets when the sisters teach him is very different from the negative feelings he got when he watched the video. He understood. We pray for his strength to continue as he moves closer to baptism. We taught a sweet 17-year old Sudanese young woman yesterday. She is so interested in leaning more and is beginning to understand more about the church and particularly about the Gospel. She’s a beautiful young woman. Then we went with the sisters to meet with a man who is a member but not active since he was 16. He has had a hard life with many sorrows, abuse and pains of spirit. He indicates he needs to change, but then, with almost the same breath says he can’t change. The sisters just happened to meet him by chance last week and he game them his address. There is something about him that wants something better, he just doesn’t realize it yet. It was very interesting to meet him. The Spirit influenced his meeting the sisters last week, for sure. It makes me grateful for our knowledge of the Gospel and it’s blessings. It truly brings us the happiness we seek.

We will testify of the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is our way back to the Father. He will heal us from our wounds. He will bring us happiness. We love our Savior and what He has done for us. We are grateful for Him and his Atonement.

Until next time….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Goodbyes are getting harder

This will be a very fast post. We are leaving in a couple of hours to go to Sydney for a YSA Convention, so time is limited.

We seem to say goodbye a lot around here. We have missionaries leaving as well as other YSA’s who are moving on to other adventures and opportunities. Last Saturday we went to a mission farewell of a young man named Dion. He leaves this week for the Ghana MTC and then will serve in Sierra Leone! Dion is an amazing story of conversion and change of heart. He has come a long way in less than a year. Saying goodbye is hard, but he is off to do special things for the Lord to the wonderful people of Africa. Here is a photo of him and us. We treasure our relationship with him and his family. (I posted photos of his little sister’s baptism last week…where he performed the ordinances for her). We are so pleased with Dion’s choice to serve and pray for him and our other YSA’s everyday.

IMG_3082

When we arrived 15 months ago, there were two engaged couples in our YSA group…two brothers engaged to two cousins! They were both shortly married in the temple about a week apart. One of those two couples had a baby boy just this week. It is so exciting to see the progress of these wonderful friends and we are so happy for them! No photos as we haven’t even seen the new little fellow yet. Excited to do so!

Sunday we held our YSA Fast and Testimony meeting and Fast Breaker. We have a Fast Breaker each month, but we only have a Sacrament meeting once a quarter. Lots of things were happening that day so our numbers were fewer, but by food time, many of our young people were with us and we enjoyed each other’s company as we feasted on homemade chile and other goodies. We love being with them…they inspire us!

We have taught our lessons and spent time arranging for this weekend’s activity in Sydney. It will be fun and crazy!. I will take photos and share them with you next week.

We are slowly inching into winter. It’s been a very warm Autumn and we have enjoyed the color and beautiful skies. Most of the trees have lost thier leaves and it’s getting cooler. It’s hard to believe we will go home at the end of winter, just as Spring begins to unfold here! Time is truly going too fast!

That is all to share with you today. We send our love and testimony to you all. We know the work we do is true and we love to teach and share our testimonies of the Book of Mormon with all who read this. Our Heavenly Father is real and loves us. Our Savior, Jesus Christ died for us and Atoned for our sins. We are so grateful for these blessings and we testify they are true!

Until next time….

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment