Our first week was spent immersed in Gospel discussion. We laughed , we cried and we learned from our amazing young teachers. We had the opportunity to practice teaching each other principles of the Gospel and feeling the Spirit as we did so. Our district had 4 couples one going to Rome, Italy to work with the refugee camps to help ease the suffering there; another going to Nauvoo, Illinois to dress in period costume to help tourists learn the church history of that area, another couple going to our same mission, Australia Sydney North to work in the office, and us. It was a great experience!
Our second week began early in the morning. We woke early Monday, at 4:30 AM, to get ready to be shuttled to the train which would take us to Salt Lake so we could train at the Self Reliance Office in the Church Office Building. Wow!!! It felt like we were on the receiving end of a fire hose! So much to learn about this amazing Self-Reliance initiative which aims to lift everyone to improve their lives by teaching them how to get a better education, how to start or improve a business, how to apply for a job and how to manage finances all the while increasing their testimony of Jesus Christ and improving basic life skills.
The first morning we even got new missionary badges that say "Self Reliance Services". We were 8 couples training together and 5 more couples who listened in remotely. We, and the couple who are assigned to the Dominican Republic were the only ones assigned out of country. Everyone else was assigned to the United States as the initiative begins to roll out there. It is such an amazing initiative and opportunity for anyone who is willing to be involved!
Then it was time to leave, not only the MTC but the US. Our sweet daughter-in-law picked us up with all of our luggage. We stopped at the ATT store to change our phone plan. We are able to keep our current phone numbers by going onto a prepaid plan. But since it will cost us 25 cents per minute we will not use our US numbers unless there is an emergency. We also have to pay for text messages. If we are in a wifi spot we can use our WhatsApp, email, etc. So as soon as possible we will figure out some Australian phone service.
|With two of our wonderful "daughters"|
And then it was time to go to the airport. All the while we have been in a state of disbelief that we would actually be going. But the luggage was loaded, we and the family were in the car and off we went.Our suitcases each weighed in at 49 pounds!! Wahoo! We did a great job!
It was a nice surprise to have another sweet daughter-in-law also come to see us off!! Our sons married such awesome women!
We certainly felt the love!!!
|some of our wonderful grandchildren!|
Then on to our gate for another sweet reunion with one of our sons as he returned from a business trip in time to see us!.
|getting ready to board in Salt Lake City!|
It was a very long flight about 20 hours in airports and in the air but we made it. We even got to sleep a fair amount along the way. We met and enjoyed visiting with several interesting people who each had their own story to tell. I guess with the international date line, we lost Friday on the way and arrived on Saturday morning. Immigration and customs approved us without a hitch and all of our luggage made it safe and sound.
We were met at the airport by another missionary couple who brought us to our lovely new home. We are on the 3rd floor in a very nice, well appointed apartment which will be our home for the next 23 months. And the bed is very comfortable!
|Our cozy living room|
|A rainy view from our 3rd floor apartment. It is very beautiful here!|
A few hours to unpack and freshen up before they took us grocery shopping. It will take some time to get used to the layout of a new grocery store and the different products. But we found what we needed to last us for a while. Then a chance to use the other missionaries' internet to send our family a quick note to announce our safe arrival and then an EARLY bedtime.
We woke up at 4:30 AM today. It will take some time to adjust. Today we will have an opportunity to attend Church and meet people in one of the areas over which we have responsibility. Then we will observe a Stake Self Reliance Committee meeting to observe how that works here.
Things to do tomorrow: get our phones figured out; sign up for our own internet; get our assigned car; put our things in better order; learn our duties and get to work!
So the adventure begins...