|Vivid is so awesome! the harbour is bathed with light from so many sources!|
June is almost over and fall is definitely here. And a lot of the time it feels like winter. It is much colder this year than we remember when we first came. Or maybe it is that we have acclimated enough to feel the weather. But I did buy a new puffy coat that goes down to my thighs to keep me warmer. I love that I can feel warm on the chilly days! And I bought some fuzzy slippers to keep my toes warm which I wear at home now everyday! I don't remember cold toes last year.
|Cockatoos resting in the almost leafless tree.|
|And then it rains!|
|A rainy sunset.|
|The moonset. It seems that the full moon comes around so quickly.|
I am amazed at how fast the time goes.
So much has been happening in our personal life that it is hard to keep up with everything. When we first prepared for our mission it was our plan to serve our 23 month mission, return home to Blaine to put our things in order with the idea of 'someday' taking a research trip to Wales and then possibly relocating. That was the game plan.
Yet midway into our mission we realized that rather than spend a lot of time at home after our mission getting organized we needed to take our research trip to Wales soon after we returned from our mission. Some of Elder Jenkins' ancestors come from Wales and although we visited a few years ago and were successful in finding some information about his family in the archives there are still many unanswered questions. We asked his sister who had travelled with us before to begin the process of preparing what we needed to learn and where we needed to go to find out more about his ancestors. And we began the process of making arrangements and finding accommodation for the trip.
But knowing that this would likely be the last time we would travel to Europe we also wanted to see the parts of Ireland and Scotland where he also has ancestral ties. And since it was so close we also wanted to visit dear family and friends in Rügen and Denmark where my ancestors lived. And so the proposed trip grew into several months and we planned to leave about 3 months after we returned from our mission.
We sandwiched our planning between our missionary assignments and plans were coming along nicely.
Imagine our surprise when we had the very strong impression that we needed to move to Pleasant Grove, Utah and that the time to sell our home in Blaine and make arrangements for a new home to be built was now. As has so often been the case in our lives, we make plans and Heavenly Father sends us in a different direction. Who could even have imagined a couple of years ago as we prepared for our mission that we would need to worry about buying or selling houses while we were gone?! But we have also learned that when the Lord gives us instruction we follow. Things are just better that way.
Prior to our leaving we had packed up most of our belongings and put them in storage leaving only a few of the larger pieces of furniture in our house. And we packed a lot of things we had planned to go through after our return. But at least things were packed and ready to be moved.
With the assistance of our children and grandchildren we were able to have our belongings moved from our home and our storage unit in Washington and trucked to a new storage unit in Utah. So grateful for strong willing helpers!
Our home in Washington was listed for sale last week and almost immediately was under contract. It should be closed the end of July. We have made arrangements for a new home to be built in Pleasant Grove. Although it has been kind of tricky while we have been over here technology is amazing and has allowed us to review house plans, make modifications, choose flooring, counters, etc! Our new home should be finished soon after we return home so we can move in and put everything in place before we leave for our research trip. That will also give us adequate time to go through our records to be better prepared for our research.
Not a typical missionary activity and yet for some reason there has been a sense of urgency. Everything has fallen into place so well. There is no doubt that the Lord has been in the middle of this process. I wonder if we will someday understand the need to take care of all these things now?
We are grateful for our wonderful children and grandchildren without whom none of this would have been possible. They stepped up to help us in many different ways in the midst of their already busy lives. Now as things in our personal life settle down we are refocusing on our mission responsibilities.
It has been exciting to see the progress of the self-reliance committees. Our job really is to 'work our selves out of a job' so that the committees will be self-relaint. The new emphasis on 'ministering' allows the self-reliance materials to be used as tools to help lift those who need lifting. As we watch committees 'get it' and move forward we are thrilled.
We enjoy our time with the wonderful people here in Australia. It is nice that where ever we attend church meetings we recognize and can greet those we have come to know and love. And being in the temple almost every Friday evening has been so great! We love our missionaries in our English classes and it is a delight to become 'friends' on facebook when they return home.
Last week one of the Sister missionaries discovered it was Elder Jenkins' birthday and she orchestrated a small celebration for him. We always begin our English classes by singing a hymn and then discussing the vocabulary in the hymn. I love to hear them sing. Since his birthday fell on a Wednesday when we have English class one of the sisters asked if they could have a closing song. As the missionaries began to stand I realized something was up and I asked if I should be recording and they said 'maybe'. All the missionaries stood and sang "Happy Birthday" which brought tears to his eyes and left him speechless. Then he was presented with a card and some nice cookies. It really made his day! We love our missionaries!
|A special birthday treat from our friends.|
It was a nice birthday week as he was able to hear from our family across the miles. Technology really is wonderful to think the we can be thousands of miles away from our loved ones and be able to see them on the screen and talk with them! We miss our families and friends so it is great when we can 'see' them and communicate with them via technology!
I was pleased to be able to give a Book of Mormon to a young man who has a love for the Savior. We often are able to give "pass along" cards to people with whom we speak to let them know where on the computer they can go to learn more about their purpose here on earth. It just seems like we are often led to conversations with those who have that extra spark. It would be nice to know the 'rest of the story' to know if they were able to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe someday. Although we love working in self-reliance there are days when I wish I could spend time actually teaching the Gospel. I love the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation! How wonderful it is to know that we have Father in Heaven who loves us and has a plan for us!
There will be a big change in our mission this week. The Sydney North and Sydney South missions will combine to become the Australia Sydney Mission. President and Sister Checketts who have served so well for 3 years will return home. President and Sister Leota, who stepped in when President Bingham returned home after he was injured in a bicycle accident, will also return to their home here in the area. Elder Leota is our Self-Reliance manager, we have missed his kind counsel. President and Sister Runia will come to lead the Australia Sydney Mission. What a huge responsibility. We love the Checketts and the Leotas and value their service. And we will love the Runias as they come to serve.
We have come to know several of the doctors and physios fairly well as we work on our various medical issues, some issues more annoying than others. But I guess as we age there are parts of our bodies that just get old and need attention. Our walking has had a few hiccups being interrupted by some necessary early morning overseas phone calls. But now that things have settled down in our personal life we intend to get back to our regular morning walks. Elder Jenkins is doing better if he will remember to do his exercises. That weakness in his hips has made it very difficult for him to walk for any length of time. We are hopeful he will continue to improve. He will have a biopsy in a couple of weeks for a 'bone growth' on his rib near his sternum which has caused him considerable discomfort. We are so grateful for good health insurance that covers us even so far from home.
|Here is the Angel Moroni at sunrise. |
The soccer field we walk around is just behind the temple grounds.
As July draws near it is strange to me that it will be winter time. My seasonal clock still expects it to be spring or summer. Many of the trees still have their green leaves and every morning when we walk we have a cacophony of bird song. The Lorikeets seem to be the loudest. There is always something in bloom deceiving us to think it cannot possibly be winter. But the cold weather reminds us!
Vivid happened again this year! It is such a lovely event. Along with 2 other couples we took the train to Circular Quay and walked around a bit to view the lights. We did not go around as much this year because it was too hard for everyone to walk so much. But I love the displays on the sails of the Opera House. I am not sure the camera did them justice.
Life is good. I am grateful for my many, many blessings. To know that our Father in Heaven is aware of "me" and blesses my life is so amazing. And I absolutely know that if He is aware of me He is equally aware of each and everyone of His many children. He blesses us and gives us challenges that allow us to grow to become the people He knows we can become. He wants us to return to Him again.
The sunsets and skies continue to amaze us! Almost every day we are treated to a marvelous show and sometimes I actually take some pictures! I hope you will enjoy a few of these samples.
|It had rained all day and then the clouds began to leave so we could have a sunset.|
|Yes, a rainbow and then it was gone as quickly as it appeared.|
May the clouds of your life disappear and leave sunshine in their place!!! Have a great day!!!