Friday, August 28, 2015

"Spring is in the Air'  and love abounds here in Sydney.  We witnessed the sealing of Wynn and Tanya from China in the Sydney temple.  It was a beautiful experience to see these 2 young members exercise their humble faith in the temple of the Lord.

Love was also in the air with my sweet companion of 44 years as we strolled the Chinese Gardens.  The gardens are a short walk from our flat and is such a relaxing and beautiful place to visit with our good friends Wileen and Gordon.

There are waterfalls, all kinds of birds and small wildlife and you can rent Chinese costumes to wear and take pics on the grounds.  Couldn't quite talk Allan into that one.

This was birthday week, Wileen on the 27th and Karli on the 28th.  We decorated Wileen's office with balloons and flowers and put a sign in the window so the YSAs would know.  Later we went to breakfast with the Hendersons for a very unique and "Australian" breakfast.  Wish we could have showed up on Karli's doorstep with a bucket of bagels to celebrate with her.

We love our mission here with the YSAs.
There are so many small moments, when recognized, that are direct evidence of the Lord’s hand .     We went to the temple for the sealing of Wynn and Tanya.  They have been in Sydney for about 1 ½  years.  They are both from China, found the gospel separately and then found each other.  Wynn joined the church first and Tanya about 3 months later.  They then got acquainted and the rest is now history.  It is so inspiring to recognize how the Lord is moving his work forward with the Chinese people.  One of my English students, Leigh, is cautiously coming to know of God and Jesus Christ and I can feel a real desire and sincere faith in her.  She is SADLY returning with her husband to China next week and I am sending with her the contact information to find the nearest church in her area. After the sealing we went to a wonderful baptism of Angelia who has another pretty neat story.  She has been living with a less active member for some time and she became interested in the church.  He has returned to activity, they were married about a month ago and now she was baptized.  She is an

attorney here and they will now be attending Summerhill ward where they have some good friends who are also young attorneys.  The Lord heals and restores testimonies in so many amazing ways.
Then Sat night we went to the eve session of Stake Conference.  It was really good about strengthening members through ward councils.  Well we have heard this before but this time Melina was sitting with us and I was able to explain what ward council is and then listen to the talks through her new member eyes.  It was totally different and after the meeting she told us how much she appreciated our friendship and support.  Wow, so meaningful.
Today Stake Conference was really good.  We all rode the bus together and that is always fun and it was so good to look at the bus full of YSAs and realize that we actually knew most of their names.  Yipee, we are making progress.  One of the highlights of conference was when 2 of our recently baptized members were asked to bear their testimonies.  Guilia(Italy) has only been a member 1 week and her and Yan Lin(Singapore) both gave such pure and sincere testimonies.  How we have come to love these girls and their enthusiasm for the gospel. 
We love serving here and being a mother and father for so many young adults who have no family and need nurturing and someone to talk with.  We are not climbing mountains but perhaps filling some lonely valleys of these precious young people.

Monday, August 10, 2015

All of our cute missionaries wanted to celebrate "Christmas in July" so we drew names and planned a yummy dinner.  We decorated with some pretty random decorations found in a cupboard; re: Christmas octopus centerpiece.  Everyone brought food for a great dinner and then we did secret santa gifts which were so fun and creative.  How we love all these fun and totally dedicated missionaries.  They truly bless our lives.  (as a SAD sidenote: half way through the dinner while eating corn on the cob, Allan broke one of his front tooth vaneers and had to make a hasty departure, later resulting in a $2500 dentist visit)

One of our favorite P-day walks is to Darling Harbour, a short 15 minute jaunt to relax and enjoy the sights. This day happened to be the Sydney Boat Show with the harbour filled with hundreds of boats for sale or time share.  The sights of this place never cease to amaze.

We have been teaching Temple Prep classes to a cute couple from China.  They both have lived in Sydney about 2 years,and Wynn joined the church soon after arriving.  Tanya joined about a year later and they became acquainted in the ward.  They are being sealed later this month.  They are the shining example to ALL these other young singles that young people REALLY DO GET MARRIED!!
We had a fun Relief Society activity last week.  We (the Sister missionaries) taught hair braiding and it turned out so fun.  They set up the chairs like a train and everyone practiced their new hair braiding techniques on the person in front of them.  It was so fun and then we enjoyed mini pavlovas for dessert.

Last weekend we were so blessed to attend TOFW in Sydney.  There was a grand array of speakers: Elaine Dalton, Heidi Swinton (she wrote Pres. Monson's autobiography), Sherrie Dew , Brad Wilcox, and musical entertainment by David Archeluta and Sandra Turley.  It was such a fun day with 6 other Senior missionaries.  The next evening this group did a fireside for all Sydney North missionaries so we got a grand weekend of inspiring talks and amazing music.
This past weekend we also had 3 new baptisms--Jessica from Brazil, Baberly from Peru and Jo from Thailand.  We never cease to be amazed how the Lord leads his beautiful children to find the gospel in different lands and places. Sunday at Sacrament meeting we had 30 visitors and 20 were Chinese investigators.  We love serving here in this ward where missionary work is on fire!!