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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Surgery Postponed - Life is Crazy Busy - Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!

It is 2 weeks since I have written but it seems much longer! So much is happening all of the time it is hard for me to keep up with us, let alone write about it.

Perhaps of most significance is that Elder Jenkins did not have his scheduled eye surgery. In a matter a couple of days thanks to our great "family" of eye doctors back home a lot of phone calls were made including the US surgeon calling the Australian surgeon which resulted in  a compromise being reached that put off the trabeculectomy in favor of waiting a few weeks to see if the new eye drop is controlling the pressure in his eye and if not then trying a less invasive laser procedure to try and reduce the pressure. We felt kind of like a pingpong ball for a couple of days not exactly knowing what was coming next. If those two other options cannot do a good enough job of reducing the pressure he will be left with the trabeculectomy but we will see how things go. 

In the Priesthood blessing he was given prior to the scheduled surgery,  Elder Jenkins was promised that the doctors would know what was best to do. And it appeared they did. A huge shout out to Drs. Amy and Brad Bearden, Phil Bastien and Aaron Kuzin. We appreciate their love and concern for us not only as their patients but their friends.
with the very yummy chicken lunch!

We have had many days of teaching English - did I mention we love our missionaries? They are a delight and our Mondays and Wednesdays are always fun. One of the missionaries from Cambodia cooked some very delicious chicken for us made with lemon grass and other yummy things. He gave it to us at English class. It was very sweet of him to do this for us.
Mother's Day 2017

Today has been Mother's Day in Australia. We visited Hassall Grove ward and enjoyed their meeting. We heard great tributes to mothers, heard songs by the primary children and the Priesthood brethren.  I actually recorded both the groups as they came into our women's meeting to sing for us. I received a lovely little floral corsage and lots of "Happy Mother's day" embraces from the sisters. Even some of our missionaries texted Mother's Day greetings to me which were much appreciated.
loved this one!

We have watched more magnificent skies and seen more beautiful birds. 



there was smoke in the west this evening 


birds on our campus lawn

We even spotted a kookaburra for the first time.

There have been lots of meetings, and trainings - the quarterly multi stake training and some training with the area self-reliance manager from Auckland, New Zealand.  I managed to finish the monthly newsletter and have already started on the next one. 

The couple who work in the Sydney South Mission and who took over many of our duties in the North Mission before we came have been so great to train us from our first arrival. They continue to teach us many things and we will miss them when they go home at the end of the month.

We visit a different congregation each week in an effort to support the self reliance efforts of each ward.  Last week we were at a building that allowed us to attend 2 separate meetings. In each meeting we listened to wonderful testimonies of the Gospel by the members and by 2 of our former English class missionaries. What amazing young men they are! The Book of Mormon has changed their lives. 

We helped with a Returned Missionary Seminar where young people who have recently returned from their missionary service were given pertinent  counsel and advice. The featured speaker, one of the Stake Presidents, encouraged us all to make room in our lives for the Savior.

On a sad note I discovered that I had been putting the wrong postage on the birthday cards I have been sending to our family. Apparently the clerk who sold me the first bunch of stamps did not understand that I wanted to send to the US, Canada and Europe so only sold me the $2.10 stamps which do not go to the US and Canada. Those stamps are $2.95. So, I am left not knowing if the cards got there on their own or if the recipients had to pay postage due. No one has told me! Postage is EXPENSIVE here.

Apparently living in Sydney is over the top expensive for buying houses, with the average house selling for about $1,000,000.

Our friends who were storing our belongings are relocating so all of our stuff was moved to a storage unit with the help of many great people in the process. There is nothing so constant as change 😉

We found a Mexican food store  called MaryDias where we found canned green chilis and pinto beans. The green chilis are not quite the same as those we are used to getting but I was still able to make some green chili sauce. It will be our turn to provide a dinner for the senior missionaries in a few weeks and I plan to serve some of our Mexican food favorites.

A magnificent clock fountain at Hornsby Mall where
we found the Apple Store.

We had an appointment with the Apple Store to get a small repair on Elder Jenkins's computer.
scary big trucks hemming us in.

The mall is only 12 KM away but we overlooked the  fact that traveling on Pennant Hills Road on Friday evening is NOT a good idea. By the time the repair was finished , and we had a bite to eat since we had missed lunch, it was about 5 PM. Oh boy!  We were in the car over 2 1/2 hours just traversing those 12 KM. My foot was almost numb from using the brake and the gas pedal. There were at dozens of huge trucks. Granted the truck drivers here are very skilled but it was very nerve wracking to be surrounded by HUGE trucks on these narrow roads.

Last week we took the train to town where I also had my eyes examined. Happy to report that all is well in that department. Since we were early we had a little time to kill so we went across the street and checked out the NSW State Library.
State Library NSW

It is so beautiful! We just sat and enjoyed a few moments of down time.

We look forward to returning and checking it out further.

what a sight

beautiful stained glass windows
lots of costumes for anti-abortion rally

lunch at Common Grounds Cafe

I think Hyde Park is my favorite place to go so far!

We saw lots of pageantry at an anti-abortion rally across from a nice outdoor cafe called Common Grounds where we stopped for lunch before walking through Hyde park and then on  to "Woolies" which is what Woolworth's is called where we found their digital prints kiosk. 

Only at the downtown Woolies do they print photos and they are only 9 cents each. Since we have been paying 49 cents each up at this end of town we will make sure to bring our photos with us every time we go to town.

Crumpets square or round very yummy!

Our Senior Missionary couples who are in charge of our activities invited us all over to their office for "tea and crumpets" one day. What a fun treat! I had never seen a crumpet let alone eaten one. They are quite tasty, especially toasted, buttered and topped with honey or jam or nutella and a dollop of cream. And our tea consisted of cold water or hot chocolate.
The crumpet bunch!
Saturday was our day to walk the Sydney Bridge. Note that I said 'walk' not 'climb'. For about $250 brave a person can be attached to cables and be allowed to climb up and walk across the top of the bridge - not for me! We chose the less scary and cheaper [free] activity of just walking across which took about an hour. It was a lovely day - sunny, not too hot nor too cold - and we enjoyed the walk. The sights are amazing! Then we walked to George Street and found  a food court in the big mall where we had our lunch. I also went with a couple of others to see a fabric shop which has lots of lovely aboriginal print fabric. But I bought only a panel of Australian Alphabet letters for a quiet book. It think it could be a great wall hanging. As we waited for everyone to gather we saw an artist preparing his 3D art. it was very interesting to see how it looked 3D from one direction but not from all directions.
starting our trek

on our way

getting there

love this view from the bridge!

Stopping along the way after he had given a bridge
maintenance crew member a 'pass along' card 
inviting him to go to to learn more 
about Jesus Christ. 

Busy Sydney Harbour

Circular Quay [pronounced 'key'] where all the ferries dock.

falling leaves - fall is here.

soon the leaves will be gone on these trees

The lunch bunch!

A street artist preparing his 3D art.

Now the sun has gone down and it is barely 6 PM. We had a notice yesterday that tomorrow morning was our "first entitled kerbside clean-up for the year" That means everyone can put out their unwanted items on our "nature strip" in front of our apartment building for pickup. I think I am a scavenger at heart but there is a lot of good stuff out there  that if we were home I would find a way to use. As it is people are driving by, stopping and taking what ever they want. Tomorrow it will all be taken or picked up by the garbage crew.

Look at all this 'trash'!

Checking it out but nothing we could use.

Life is good. We keep very busy and are usually very tired at the end of each day. We enjoy the people with whom we serve. And we appreciate this opportunity to serve the Lord. We feel like we are beginning to "get it" and are ready to move forward. We have purchased a toy tool box for a visual aid to help people understand the value of the various self-reliance opportunities which we are excited to put to use. We have been invited to Port Macquarie and Hassall Grove to train and speak in Sacrament Meeting in the next few weeks.

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