Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I have been a slacker with the blog lately.  The weeks just seem to fly by so I have to rack the old brain to remember.  My Aussie birthday was really fun.  The missionaries, senior Lems and younger Elders and Sisters , planned a fun luncheon.  It is always fun to meet together and they sang me "Army of Helaman" which brought the tears.

The following day us and the Lems went to the temple and then to lunch with Pres. & Sis. Checketts. Definitely a birthday to remember.

We have had some wonderful baptisms this month.  Chalmers and Linda both are from China and Nichole is from Hong Kong.  Our President told us there are 9 "feeder" areas in the world for Chinese members and Sydney is one of them.   It truly is amazing to witness these baptisms as well as watching the mainland Elders teaching.  One of our Elders is the first second- generation member from China and his father is an Area Seventy in mainland China.  We have witnessed 59 baptisms on this mission in just our ward.  This is a miracle and such a blessing in our lives which we will remember forever.

This month we got a new Stake Presidency.  Our Stake Pres. was called as an Area Seventy and he was our son-in-law Chris's mission president in Perth.  It was an amazing meeting with 2 Area Seventies speaking to us.  One really interesting thing that Elder Nielson taught:  "we are all somewhat broken for a variety of reasons.  Also the clouds are broken to allow the rain, the earth is broken for grain to grow, grain is broken for bread, bread is broken to remember the Savior, the Savior was broken for each of us.  We must turn to Him with broken hearts."  Pretty interesting.
Four new convert Chinese men received the Melch. Priesthood which was another miracle in itself.

Every week we have one missionary companionship for dinner and it is so fun to get to know them .    We have some really strong missionaries from all over the world--U.S., China, Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand and Thailand.  We also try and get some of the less actives over for dinner when we can.  One such has returned to activity and we love her.

We are feeling a bit of a slump in the city.  The baptisms have been down (from 6-8 month to 2-4) the past few months.  We also see it in the english instruction.  We want to have 20 per day in the english classes where the missionaries find many to teach.  So our days have been slower, which means we have more time for play.  Yikes but there is plenty of that available here.
We took the Lems to one of our favorite spots this week, Manly Beach. It is about a 30 minute ferry ride and we find good Fish & Chips and many beautiful beach walks.  It reminds us of some beach towns in California with many shops and good eats.

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