I believe we are getting to the point where we will have a rhythm in our lives. We will have certain Stake Self-Reliance committee meetings every 3rd Saturday evening in Harbour Stake, every 4th Tuesday evening in Penrith Stake, every 4th Thursday evening in Baulkham Hills Stake and every 4th Sunday evening in Hebersham Stake. We are still waiting for the exact schedule for the Gosford and Newcastle Stakes which we hope will not conflict. It is really a wonderful thing to sit in those meetings and hear about all the good that is going on in trying to implement the self-reliance initiative to lift the people here.
The initiative is so amazing and it works! I am responsible for creating a monthly newsletter that covers the self-reliance activities of New South Wales and ACT [Australian Capital Territory] so I get to find out about the cool stuff that is happening. People who participate are thriving! Lives are being changed which is exactly the point.
We have sat in on a few Wednesday evening sessions of a Starting or Growing Your Own Business group and it has been amazing to see the way these people have come together and are learning and growing by just trusting and following the material in the manual. The manuals are all set up for a 12 week period methodically moving step by step through needed information. Each session begins with 20 minutes of foundational doctrinal learning before moving on to the course materials. The synergy is something to behold.
Mt. Druitt Ward held the first ever Self-Reliance Workshop which was a huge success. There were classes on budgeting, the importance of education, spending our time on what is most important and doing family history as one of those important things. Everyone was engaged! Then hot dogs were served followed by a rousing volleyball game. We loved being there on Saturday and feeling the wonderful spirit of the event.
But our travels have not been without incident. We are getting used to driving on the left side of the road but the hardest part is not knowing the area well enough to know where we are going. Thank goodness for our Navman. But one night it stopped working! Very stressful! We sort of knew the direction we needed to go but in the dark rainy night it was a challenge. Pulling off to a side street we waited as the Navman said "acquiring signal" but it never did. I prayed asking for help and then I realized I could use my phone to find our way. But it was almost out of power. Then I realized that we had a power block in my bag which Elder Jenkins had felt impressed to bring. An answer to prayer for sure and we made it home. The next day we got a new Navman from the office which seems to be better.
The dark rainy nights make driving a challenge but thankfully no one has hit us and we haven't hit anyone or anything :)
Another word for you but I am not sure I have the correct spelling. A mosquito is a 'mozzie'. I learned this as at least 4 have found me and left their mark. I am not a fan of mosquitos! But I guess all of the rain has brought them.
|heavy rain along our way|
Sunday evening we had a My Path Devotional in Toukley which is about an hour and 15 minutes north of us. We decided to attend church services there in the afternoon so we could be sure to find the correct building for the evening. I packed a lunch so we could eat in between.
|always speed cameras but they seem to control the traffic well|
Our drive up was pretty rainy in some parts but we found our way and enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people. I even played the piano in the women's Relief Society meeting because no one else was there who could. Toukley is on the coast and we though it would be nice to sit and look at the ocean while we ate.
|pretty green area and a green car like our son's|
|such a beautiful view|
A nice young couple led us out to a good vantage point just 10 minutes away from the chapel where we ate our sandwiches and enjoyed the view. It sporadically poured rain but part of the time the wind just blew like crazy. We loved seeing the water! We have driven through so much traffic in the greater Sydney area it was so nice to be out in the open for just a little while.
|Elder Jenkins and the wind is blowing!|
|Sister Jenkins with wind blowing her skirt.|
|rain in the distance|
|a young lady enjoying the beach|
|the broiling water - I love it!|
|just a beautiful view of the clouds!|
We have driven over 600 km [ just over 370 miles] since we got our car. That does not sound like a lot but except for Sunday they have all been logged on busy city roads driving on the left side in LOTS of traffic. But we are getting better at it.
Our meeting Sunday night was so great! Our presenter taught well the doctrine of self-reliance. If everyone could understand and live by those principles life would be so much better!
Our Mission President had a Senior Missionary Conference one day which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was a sweet balm to our souls in the midst of our sometimes stressful days. We had an opportunity to hear from everyone as we all gave a couple of minutes of information on a topic of our choice. We learned how to make a chocolate sprinkle sandwich, how many kinds of eucalyptus trees there are, and many interesting and faith promoting personal experiences. Then we learned more about our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement for us. We were given some pass along cards and challenged to pass them out. Our job was not to convert people just to give them the cards.
|here is the front and back inviting people to check out mormon.org|
They have daylight savings time in Australia as we learned when we awoke on April 2nd to discover that we had gained an hour. Now it is lighter earlier in the morning but the sun sets about 6 PM.
|my desk on a busy Monday morning|
yes I used both computers and the iPad to do my work
There is a great deal of office work to keep things moving. It was nice to finish off the newsletter for last month. So, many things to do and learn!
Oh, and we FINALLY got our home internet up and running well. There was an incorrect IP address which was slowing things down.
One of the best things has been meeting so many wonderful people. They are so open and loving and we love them back. We are excited to continue associating with them all here. Australia is truly a melting pot. There are Aussies, many Polynesians including Samoans, Tongans, and other Pacific Islanders, there are New Zealanders [or Kiwis as they refer to themselves] and Maori, Chinese, East Indian,etc, etc. We have found everyone to be kind and friendly. In fact we have yet to meet anyone who has been rude or unkind.