We have enjoyed the past 3 weeks of festivities in Sydney VIVID. Throughout the city and at the harbors and Botanical gardens there were amazing laser light shows. The buildings, Opera House, Sydney Bridge and locations all over the city were awash with lights and designs for 3 weeks. We went with our YSA group and the Elders and Sisters one night and with the 10 Senior couples and President & Sister Checketts another time and just quiet evenings by ourselves. Every place was different but equally beautiful.
We had a good baptism last night. Nicole from Hong Kong was baptized and another girl from Greenwich ward. The spirit was very strong and lovely. I was so moved with the thought that all these baptisms we have gone to in the past year have been such a blessing in my life. We have probably witnessed 58 baptisms, more that I have seen in a lifetime. Beautiful young adults from all over the world who have embraced the gospel in varying degrees and lengths of time. What a blessing to be witness this miracle. I will never again witness a convert baptism with the same eyes.
We have such fun markets to shop at here. On Saturdays there outdoor markets at several beaches and other locations. We were at Manly Beach market with the other couples and watched an amazing violinist. We got one of his CDs and enjoyed his music almost as much as the fish and chips. This was the last trip to this beach before winter "set in", which means 70* instead of 85*.
We have another fun market which is indoors but full of crazy Aussie souvenirs. We have already sent home a suitcase full of "stuff" with Brittany for the grandkids. We took our new comrades, the Lems and then stopped at Time For Thai and had fried ice cream. Who would have thought..... It is so good to have the Lems here living in the same building and having an office next door.
We try to keep in contact with some of our less active friends who have been baptized in the past year. We took Joanna and Jasmine to Pancakes on the Rocks (modified version of our Dennys). They are such cute girls.
I had a wonderful experience with Linda this week. She is one of my English students from China. I showed her a Mormon message about Tender Mercies and we had a great discussion and I was able to answer some of her questions and testify of God’s desire to lead us through prayer. She agreed to having the sisters teach her this week and she said she would come to church. With the terrible weather she texted that she couldn’t make it. But I am excited to teach her this week. It is so great to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to let us know when and what to share with those around us.
This week we went to one of our members graduation from UNI. Joanna joined the church 6 months ago and is such a solid amazing member and so smart. She got a Masters in Electrical Engineering. I have worked with her in English to help her pass a test for permanent residency and have grown to love her.
Our ward had a really fun activity last month, Grammy Night. The hall was decorated to the nine and everyone came dressed in their finest. We had a really nice dinner followed by musical performances---guitar, singing, lip-sincs, and live performances. One of the best of course was the Bishopric who did "A White Sports Coat and a Pink Carnation" staring.....Elder Asplund. What a kick.
We went to Canberra which is the capitol of Australia. We stayed with some friends who used to be in our ward and we had a great 4 days together. We toured the parliament house and national museum, the war memorials and presidential gardens. It was also fun to hike through the "bush" and have some close encounters with the local kangaroos.
We attended church there and met an Elder serving there from China. We recognized his name and asked who his father was, only to learn he was the son of a wonderful man we served with while in India. He was the area director for CES and we trained with him in Hong Kong. Small world!!