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Sunday, May 21, 2017


The days are crisper, the days are shorter and the leaves are turning. Fall is coming! My northern hemisphere mind still cannot wrap itself around the fact that May is fall. Our grandchildren at home are finishing out their school year and looking forward to their summer vacation. The children here are gearing up for winter and going on with school. 
Morning view from our balcony 

But it is beautiful! Some of the leaves are turning but some are staying green. And today when we left church our car was sprinkled with leaves that had fallen during our services.

I have been told that there are flowers of some kind blooming all year long. I look forward to that. It will be interesting to see. Already we have seen so many beautiful specimens.



Whenever I walk across campus or whenever we go anywhere I make sure to bring my trusty camera with me just in case there is something to shoot.


There is just too much beauty for me to capture it all despite how hard I try.

garbage collection despite our pile of stuff!

It is interesting to see how garbage is handled in our current neck of the woods. These garbage pickups are amazing. With great precision the driver manages to pick up each receptacle, empty it and carefully put it back right where it came from without a hitch.

The pile of discarded items keeps growing and then shrinking and then growing again. Every day some one comes and finds a "treasure" and carts it away. But every day someone else adds something to the already huge pile of stuff. The notice said May 15!!! But they must not have been as serious as the note sounded. At this point I will be glad to have it picked up and gone.
the Free Fruit Bin in Woolies

The other day when I was grocery shopping I noticed this little bin in the produce department. "Free fruit for kids". And I noticed that several young children were sitting in 'trolleys' eating a piece of fruit. What an awesome deal. I know some stores give out cookies but isn't it so much healthier to allow the children to learn to like fruit as a treat?

Our week has been busy. It began with a lot of great calls for Mother's Day. Of course that meant Monday morning to get the calls from the US on the correct day for them. So, we spent 4 hours chatting with our children and grandchildren on FaceTime. What a treat! We love them all so much! And of course I just wanted to be able to hug them all.

But we actually did some real work too. There are many reports and arrangements for training meeting that must be done behind the scenes of our actual work. And there is the monthly newsletter which is never ending because as soon as one month is completed it is time to start on the next. It is satisfying when I actually get some of the articles done early.

Elder Jenkins has been working on an excel spread sheet which has all of the congregations we will work with in the course of our efforts. He is organizing the sheets to show which congregations we have visited and what we have learned or what has transpired during out visit. There are a total of 45 congregations through out our Sydney North Mission that we will try to visit as often as possible to offer our help. Sometimes  we can manage to visit 2 congregations on a Sunday when more than one congregation shares the building. Today we visited the Dural ward from 9-noon and then stayed to visit Normanhurst from 1-2. We could have stayed until 4 but we were too tired. It was good to be in each ward because we were able to learn important things in regards to Self-Reliance.

We have been trying to come up with a good visual aid to help the people we train have a better understanding of how it all fits together. So, we thought of using a tool box with tools. Any handi-man knows that he will not use every tool in his toolbox to work on one issue.  And it is the same with the "storms" of life, or the problems of life. Each issue we deal with needs a particular tool or solution to do the most good.

The 12 principles of Self-Reliance are: 

Self-Reliance Toolbox
-Self Reliance is a 
Principle of Salvation

-Exercise Faith in 
Jesus Christ

-Manage Money

-Repent and Be Obedient

-Use Time Wisely

-Work: Take Responsibility 
and Persevere 

-Solve Problems

-Become One, Serve Together

-Communicate: Petition and Listen

-Show Integrity

-Seek Learning: Resolve Where 
You Are Going and How to Get There

-Temple Ordinances

The tools that are available through manuals which are: 

My Path - to figure out what is needed by each individual 
Leaders Guide - to help leaders know how to administer the initiative in the Lord's way
How to Facilitate a Group - to help facilitators do their job

Study Groups are available for:

My Job Search- to help someone be effective in finding work or better work
Starting and Growing my Business - to help someone with their own business
Education for Better Work - to help people know what kind of education they need  to obtain better employment.
Personal Finances - to help people learn to manage their finances by creating and living on a budget

The Pacific Rim has additional resources:

Success in School Begins at Home - to help parents help their children in school
Study Buddy - to help students who need help get help from peers
Mum's Pre-school - to provide a curriculum for mothers to use for their pre-school children
English Study - to help non-native speakers learn English
My Continuing Path - to help returning missionaries to get back into the real world.

Our job on this mission as self-reliance missionaries is to help the various congregations learn how to find out what is best for them and to help them utilize the best groups by training the Stake leaders to train the ward leaders. A ward is a congregation and a stake is a group of congregations in a general geographic area. It is our hope that we can help lift the people who are willing to participate.

We have been told that the self-reliance initiative will change the Church. And it will change the Church because it will change the hearts of the people. Teaching the foundational principles and helping people strengthen their testimony of Jesus Christ to know that these programs are His way to care for His people. 

So, that pretty much sums up what we are up to, besides teaching English to the non-native English speaking missionaries. Our mission president feels that the best way these missionaries can become self-reliant after they return home is if they have a command of the English language. And that makes sense because so much of the world's business is conducted in English.

And in between all of that we get to see gorgeous sunsets, beautiful trees, and many beautiful things. We occasionally get to play with other senior missionaries whom we enjoy.  We get to love the wonderful people we meet as we visit the various congregations. We are even learning about some other cultures.  And we will soon be able to travel to some outlying areas to do some training and see some more of this beautiful country as we travel.

We love to watch the sky from our balcony!

PS: It has been brought to my attention that comments left on the blog page are not getting through to me. So, if you want to contact me please use my email:

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