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Sunday, April 9, 2017


These past few weeks have been so jammed packed that it seems like we have packed 6 months activities into 1 month!!! It has been truly amazing and we are loving it!! We had no idea how hard we would work, how much we had to learn or how tired we would be. We had no idea how quickly time would fly! We have happy surprises everyday!

The temple faces east and greets the sun everyday!
We love where we live! We love that we are only moments from the temple. I finally had a chance to take some pictures of the temple. It truly is the jewell of our campus. 

It sits along side of Pennant Hills Road which is one of the busiest roads in the area. There is always a lot of traffic and I do my very best to NEVER make a right turn on or off of that road. I have actually gotten rather creative in making left hand turns to avoid crossing traffic. Kind of like I would always make right hand turns at home.

I love the beautiful lights at night!

Friday evening we spent some time in the temple which was a great experience. It was dark when we came out so I was able to take a few pictures. The stained glass windows are so beautiful I wanted to show them.

Hard to really see the beautiful details
of  the stained glass windows.

I will never tire of the beautiful skies!
We are so lucky to live on the 4th floor because we have an amazing view which is not blocked by trees or buildings. I love to go out on the balcony and just be there. We turned the elliptical around so it faces the west and I can look at the beautiful view as I exercise. 

Hard to see the bird but that is his chest!
Yesterday I saw a flock of about 3 dozen cockatoos flying past. There are so many beautiful birds but I do not know their names. A pair of gray birds with bright red chests flew by as well as many green ones with red, yellow and purple breasts. They fly so fast and are usually camouflaged in the leaves of the trees  on campus so it is hard to get a good picture. The one day I actually saw them up close and personal I was without my camera! I think I must make a point to never be without my camera! But there are some days when I do not have time to walk on campus.

So, I often take a few minutes on our balcony before we leave or after we get home to just spend time enjoying the view. It just makes me happy.

Street view looking south from the balcony

There is a lot of building going on in the Sydney area. Housing is very expensive and there is some encouragement to build more to increase the supply.

Street view looking north from the balcony

Looking north west from our balcony

This has been a very busy week. The newsletter was finally finished so I could sen it out to those who needed to get it.  Now I am beginning the next issue. We are scheduling a lot of meetings to help leaders as they implement the self-reliance initiative. We work with amazing people who are all trying to serve the Lord. We are so grateful for all  who help us in this great work.

This week we also began teaching English to about 20 young missionaries. Our Mission President feels that it is very important to teach these young people to be more proficient in English. They come from all over. There are Elders and Sisters here from Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Tahiti, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Fiji, to name only a few. They do not have English as their first language so when they come here they have to learn English to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people in English. They do an amazing job of learning the language of the Gospel very quickly. But the regular everyday English does not come as easily even though they study with their companions.

So we have been asked to work with them and help them become more proficient in English so they can be more self-reliant when they return home. We had so much fun last week! We will cover grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension as well as some writing skills. They are so awesome and so eager to learn and so humble. Our Wednesdays will be full as we go from the Hebersham Stake center for the first class to the Doonside chapel for the second class.

Last week we brought a variety of candy to give as treats and rewards for participation. That went well as we made them describe the candy and tell why they chose it before they could have it. Then they had to describe what it tasted like. And of course we ran low on candy because our first  group had 14 people who liked candy. 

great parking!
So before our next class we had to find a store to refill our candy supply. We stopped in Rooty Hill where we also got a quick sandwich. Rooty Hill has an old fashioned main street with lots of small stores. All of the cars were backed into the parking places. They seem to backup really well around here. That has NEVER been my strong suit!

Not sure about these guys!
An empty lot between two businesses had these walls of graffiti. I wonder if the town let someone come and be artistic. They always do such a  great job! I hope someone asked them. I think some of our grandchildren will be impressed.

It was a fun little detour on our way to the next English class.

Did I mention that we would be LOST without our Navman? It has saved us many times. But today was interesting. Doonside Chapel was our destination and we followed the directions exactly. And we saw the chapel and started looking for the drive way to get in. But...all we saw was a long iron rod fence with no entrance. Perplexed we continued on to the stop light and made a left turn since the chapel was on the left. We went to the next intersection and turned left again and cruised the street looking for a place to turn to find the chapel. Luckily we chose the correct street and down at the very end was a small gate that allowed us to get into the church yard.

We had a great time with our second group, and we had enough candy :)

One of the things we have noticed about the various church parking lots as we have travelled from building building  is that they all have a basketball court painted on the parking area. I think it is a cool use of space. This one even had a metal bar to drive under to access some of the parking.
I thought the property behind the church had such lovely trees. That is our trusty car in the parking lot.
I still love flowers. This was in the hedge in front of the Doonside Chapel.

A lovely view from the Doonside Chapel.

This was General Conference weekend in Australia. Last week was General Conference in Salt Lake City. General Conference is held every 6 months in Salt Lake City at the Conference Center. 20,000 people go there to watch it but of course it is not big enough to hold everyone. So, the conference sessions, there are 5 each time, are broadcast. Depending on where you live you can watch it live on TV or your computer. But when you live in Australia there is no reasonable way to watch it live. So, everything is postponed one week. That means it is broadcast in all of the church buildings here on Saturday and Sunday. People get pretty excited about conference, but I think most of them do what we did and cheat by going to and clicking on the tab for watching conference.

We started watching during the week and watched all of the Women's Broadcast from the Saturday before and all of the Saturday talks. It really was wonderful to hear the talks from our leaders. Even our Prophet, President Monson spoke. It really is wonderful to know we have a prophet who gives us inspired counsel in these crazy times in which we live.

Saturday evening the missionaries got together for the men to attend the Priesthood session at a church building. Some of the women got together and went to see Beauty and the Beast. Yes, senior missionaries are allowed to go see movies. It was a fun get away.

Today was Sunday and we decided to stay in our flat to watch the conference talks instead of going to a church building. We were able to access all of the talks but the music was not a part of it. So we went to Youtube and search for the Tabernacle Choir. We were able to listen to their sweet strains before we watched the talks.

Our Prophet spoke again admonishing us to be kind and charitable. He also announced that  5 new temples would be built. That is always a joyous announcement. The new ones will be in Brasília, Brazil; the greater Manila, Philippines, area; Nairobi, Kenya; Pocatello, Idaho; and Saratoga Springs, Utah. There are currently 155 temples operational around the world. We are so lucky to be within walking distance of the Sydney Temple.

Walking to the office. His hip is improving!

Baked cookies! That means I figured out how to use the oven
and how to bake here. I didn't even burn them ;)


We started the day with clear skies. Then we watched as small cirrus clouds crept their way across the sky becoming bigger and dark and finally blotting out the sun. 

Dark clouds covered us bringing tremendous lightning and thunder and pouring rain. And then the storm moved on. 

This shot was just as the dark clouds began to cover the sunlit sky. By the time I realized I had part of the balcony roof in the shot the moment was gone.

So, now it is almost Easter time when we can remember our Savior and His sacrifice for us. Without Him nothing would be possible.

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