Thursday, May 28, 2015

Last week we met some other fun couples for an afternoon at the theatre to see Les Miserables.  It was held in a beautiful old theatre and was an amazing production with many different stage affects and such wonderful music.  It was a real treat.

After the play we all went and changed into our "grubbies" and walked down to Circular Quay (where the Harbour Bridge and Opera House are located) to see VIVID SYDNEY.  This a 18 day event every May where they do laser light shows in various locations around Sydney every night.  They have amazing light shows continuously changing on the high rise buildings and the wings of the Opera House.  It was impossible to get the effects in a picture but it was quite the experience.

Last week we had "Meet the Mormons" movie night.  The missionaries handed out flyers on the street and we invited all our English students, ward members, etc.  It was quite successful with about 75 attending.  We had muffins and milk following and everyone seemed to enjoy and had good comments.

We have had an amazing few days here with an apostle of the Lord.  Elder Cook is such a wonderful man with a kind heart and firm and unyielding counsel.  We began Sunday with a fireside where he and Sis Cook and our Area Pres (Pearson) spoke.  They spoke to YSAs, single members and then families.  Each took one topic.  He told the youth “don’t LOOK like the world.  Your appearance should be a symbol of the things in your heart.  Instead mirror the Lord”.   Great counsel about marriage and keeping our families safe.
Monday we had a Mission Conference with these leaders.  Both missions came together so there was about 400 missionaries.  It was a beautiful sight to see and an amazing meeting.  All 400 of us went by and shook their hands before the meeting began and he asked how our family was. 

 Elder Cook is here by special invitation to speak on Religious Freedom.  He has met with the Prime Minister and leaders from other churches.  Tonight he is speaking at Univ. of Norte Dame Sydney and is the first outside religious leader to ever be invited.  He told us that 2 other apostles are speaking on the same subject in Brazil and Argentina.  He said we are working as Apostles to protect the world.  Pretty amazing!  He said they are VERY CONCERNED because agency and religious freedom go hand in hand and that was what the war in heaven was about.

 We went to the temple for the first time in Sydney after the devotional and it was a lovely small temple with a very peaceful spirit.  Then we went for a grand lunch with several couples. 

 Last night we are prepared a light meal – finger food, etc. for Elder Cook and the LDS attorneys in this area at our building.  So we feel the hand of the Lord in our lives so abundantly with all these amazing experiences.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

We had another fun P-day exploring the city.  It seems we are always drawn to the harbour but often see other things along the way.  Allan couldn't resist the old English phone booth.  Chris has us on the lookout for his "digareedo" (sp?) and they are in all the tourist traps.   It is fun to look in one direction and see the old restored and well kept buildings and turn around and see the new and modern sky scrapers.  We often see these Ibis birds wandering in the parks and they are always curious and delightful.

This week was full of so many great things and people.  We had a good FHE as usual and we celebrated one of the Elders birthday with cake and ice cream.  This week was transfers and we had a big shake up with 5 Elders leaving and 4 new ones coming and one finishing his mission.  We attended a fun evening of farewells with all these amazing Elders whom we have already grown to love and admire so much.  These 2 Sisters are amazing--one is from mainland China way in the north and the other from Taiwan.  They were part of the Sisters conference we had this week with 16 Sister Missionaries serving in this mission.  Pretty impressive.

 These are some of our stalwart YSAs.  Nora from Mongolia, Yang Lin from Korea and Reena from Figi.

Our English classes were FULL and FUN this week.  Our one-on-one tutoring keeps growing, adding 4 more new students.  Our days are becoming so full but how do you say NO?

Sundays are LONG days but so uplifting and wonderful.  We usually have about 125 at church and the meetings are all so good.  It is amazing to see these new converts slowly grasping the knowledge of the gospel and acting with such faith.  We have about 5 Sunday School classes being taught in 5 languages.  Relief Society is really interesting also with these girls from around the world teaching lessons.  Following the block we always have "linger longer" snacks and socializing for at least another hour.  Then in the eve we meet with the young Missionaries for a weekly planning meeting.  What a super way to begin a new week.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Well this week has been another filled with new friends, great experiences and lots of new things to learn.  We love the variety of opportunities we have to serve in this YSA ward and mission.  FHE was great this week due to the amazing young adults who lead this activity.  They presented a good lesson followed with fun and hilarious games and yummy refreshments.  It is interesting to sit back and watch all these young adults from so many cultures interact.

We worked with some new recruits this week.  This is Jack from Vietnam who is brushing up on his English.  We are working with a really cute couple from China; he a member and she an investigator who are getting married next month.  They invited us to their restaurant for "Hot Pot" dinner.  Each person has their own pot of soup on individual burners and we all share many meats, noodles and veg. to cook in our pots.  It was steamy and good.

We walked around China town which is huge and busy.  It reminds us of San Francisco China town.  Are these cotton candys hilarious or what?

We love interacting with the 14 missionaries assigned to this ward.  We assist with some teaching, have meetings together and try to invite some to dinner each week.  This week we had Sister Buo-In and Sister Prabang from Thailand and one of our new converts.  They are so cute and fun.

Our P-days are so fun and interesting.  We can walk or take the train to so many grand sights here in Sydney.  We went to Sydney Harbour and enjoyed watching the boats, people, and the beautiful sights in the Harbour and about the city. 

This week an amazing young man from China was baptized.  He has been attending for the past month and you would have thought he was already a member.  He is so natural and engaged in the gospel and has good leadership skills.  We believe he will return to China and be a great leader in the church in the future.  It is so nice that a large group of young adults attend these baptisms and support these new members.  It was beautiful baptism and the spirit was so evident as he bore his testimony and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The Lord truly loves ALL of His children in this vast world.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Last weekend we went to another ward building with some YSAs and many of the missionaries for Nui’s baptism.  We all walked to the train station to ride about 30 minutes out of the city.  We got many opportunities to share what we are doing as people noticed our group and missionary badges.  Both baptisms were so sweet and humble .  

We also tutor Nui in English and she has become such a sweet friend.  Just as in India and China, these dear young people yearn for “parent” figures and are so appreciative.

This week we had some great activities with the ward and investigators at FHE and other activities.  And they do love to eat.

The harbours and many bays are so picturesque and we just can’t get to enough on our P-day.  We have had to dodge the rain a bit lately as it seems to rain at some point almost daily. But I have a grand little umbrella which makes me feel like I am under a mushroom.  So all is well.