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Friday, June 2, 2017


Morning as the sun was coming up. As the sun comes up the
sky always seems to clear away the clouds. Today will be a sunny
day with temperatures into the high 50's For  15 C
So, our life has changed again! Yesterday [Tuesday] our trainers boarded a plane and headed home. They have been so great to help us, teach us, show us and support us, and now we are on our own. It is a little scary but I believe we can do it! There just really is a LOT to learn and figure out not to mention the driving, etc. Three months in and in many ways it seems much longer. But it was been a great three months! Already we know we will be so sad when our 23 months are finished and it is our turn to board that plane.

Now there is a new couple who came on Wednesday and we are trying to help them get oriented. They are well qualified and will be a great blessing to the people in the Sydney South Mission where they will serve. Several of the senior couples live in the same apartment building  which is just a block inside the South Mission. The new Self-Reliance couple is the only couple who is actually assigned to the South Mission. The rest of us are assigned to the North Mission.

This week has been very busy! It began with a doctor visit on Monday to learn that Elder Jenkins' eye pressure has decreased and seems stable enough to not worry about having  the invasive surgery or even the less invasive laser procedure. That is a HUGE blessing and a definite answer to prayer. He will go for check-up in 3 months just to keep an eye on things.

Self-Reliance has been very busy for us this week with five evening meetings all in different locations. It is really great to sit in on these Stake Self-Reliance Committee meetings and to witness the love and concern the leaders have for those under their stewardship. They are dedicated and willing to sacrifice their time to help. I really love this Self-Reliance Initiative. It will make all the difference in the lives of those who choose to embrace it. The possibilities are just so HUGE.

Besides the meetings, our English classes and giving some English tests we have actually completed a lot of busy work and paper work in the office. It just takes a lot to keep the momentum going. And I was able to finish the monthly newsletter and get it disbursed to all who should have it. It takes at least 20 hours to get it put together with the articles and pictures that are involved.

We went to the Stake Conference of Gosford Stake and heard wonderful talks many of which were centered around President Monson's counsel from our last General Conference in April when he asked us to read out of the Book of Mormon daily. The people who spoke gave their testimonies and examples of how following the prophets counsel has brought peace and clarity of purpose to their lives. They also gave their experiences of sharing the Book of Mormon with others. The prophet is old in body but ever strong in Spirit with a sharp mind. We are so grateful for a living Prophet who speaks for the Lord.

Now we are in Port Macquarie to do some self-reliance training this weekend. We are grateful to have been invited to come and help the Branch here. We look forward to meeting the people this afternoon and tomorrow morning.  We are spending the morning in our motel room completing preparations for the training and finishing this blog.

on the road
still on the road
It is a long but beautiful drive up here. We broke up the 370 km drive to stop in Newcastle and spend an hour with a young missionary who will soon return home so we could help him figure out his plans for the future.  He is a great young man with a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a great desire to move forward living his life as the Lord would have him live. We gave him some 'homework' and we will do some research for him before we meet again.

The drive up really is quite lovely. The wind was blowing as there was supposed to be a rain storm moving in which made the eucalyptus trees look amazing as the leaves bent and swayed. Elder Jenkins took some pictures from the car but had to stop because the battery was running low on the camera and we wanted some power left to take pictures when we arrived at the Koala Hospital.

We are staying at a very nice Best Western Motel in Port Macquarie. It is clean and best of all the bed was great! We were so tired. It looks like a beautiful day today and we hope to have enough time to go see the ocean.

We are so grateful to be on this mission. We are growing in ways we never knew we would grow. We are more tired than we ever thought we would be but somehow the Lord sustains us and keeps us safe and gives us enough energy and ability to do what is required. Going on a mission is not for wimps! But we are so glad we finally got here! We absolutely love the wonderful people we are meeting! Our lives have been immeasurably enriched by our experiences.  And we have only been here 3 months. Our testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has grown through our experiences. I am constantly amazed at how the Lord just prepares what is necessary to care for His people.

In the Doctrine and Covenants 104:15,16 it states:
"And it is my purpose to provide for my saint, for all things are mine.
But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way the I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, and the the rich are made low."

The more involved we are with Self-Reliance the more we realize that this is the Lord's way to care for His people. The various manuals are all encompassing and can touch every aspect of our lives all based on a firm testimony of Jesus Christ. Those who are embracing these concepts become  so happy and wonderful blessings of all kinds are coming to them.

Lots of random pictures this week. Our busy schedule has not allow us to be home for most of the sunsets for the past couple of weeks. In fact there has not been a lot of time for anything but there always seems to be something that tempts me to use my camera..

Very yummy Golden Kiwi.

Feijoa - a new taste experience. It has been described as a
blend of pineapple, apple and mint. I like it!

Always beautiful skies!!

Early morning removal of the discarded items on our nature
strip. The machine literally  gobbled up  everything from
large armoires to strollers to mattresses! It was crazy and fast .
But now we have a clean nature strip again.

In front of the fountain in Hyde Park after our trip
 to the eye doctor

A lovely meal prepared for us with great love by one of
our English class missionaries from Cambodia.
Three times now he has brought us yummy food!
from the car as we were on the road
Newcastle Stake Center where we visited
with the  young missionary.

I was tired and needed a break
so we pulled off at this lovely rest stop
I think this is a wild turkey which we saw at the rest stop,
we also saw one at the Koala Hospital .
If you click on this you will see our route.
And the mantra,
Stop. Revive. Survive.
is posted on all the highway signs
advertising the rest stops.
There was some good info to read!
on the road
We see these birds a lot. I think maybe they
 are like magpies in North America.

We tried to time our traveling to make it to the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie in time for the 3 PM tour.  We did our best but just had to stop at a couple of rest stops to Stop-Revive-Survive. The first one was a lovely spot with palm trees. The second was not as pretty. The clouds were gathering in preparation for a rain storm and the wind was chilly. But we needed the breaks. It really is a long drive, especially when you are tired. And we still need to drive home on Sunday.

We arrived at the Koala Hospital at 3:05 and managed to slip in after the tour had begun. It was actually a very short tour. There were very few Koalas available to see. There are some being worked with that are not available to be seen by the public. The goal is to rehabilitate these creatures that have been rescued from fires, from being hit by cars, etc. and reintroduce them to the wild.  Only the caretakers are allowed to touch the Koalas and then only while they are needing to be fed. As they get better the caretakers no longer go into the cages, speak to them or make eye contact with them so they can be 'weaned'. We also learned that the babies, or "joeys", live in pouches just like kangaroos. They are very sensitive to noise. 

There are a few permanent residents that can never be reintroduced to the wild because they are blind or have lost their claws which do not regrow when damaged so they would never be able to feed themselves, etc. We learned that although the Koalas are endangered their habitat is not so they are gradually dying off. There is a 60% mortality rate for the 'joeys' before they reach the age of 2 years when they are trying to establish their own space. There is little available space for them to create their own area because so many of the eucalyptus trees are being cut down to make room for development. The volunteers  who work at this hospital are devoted to their cause of preserving the Koala. It was interesting and I am glad we went.
At the beginning of the tour.

Same Koala from a different angle.

This female is up in the tree which was about 35 ft high.
I love my little camera that has such great zoom lens!

Elder Jenkins by this blue one. There are
about 51 of these 3 meter statues around
Port Macquarie. There were only 4
 by the hospital. Maybe we will have the
chance to find more later.

Sister Jenkins by the green one.
 I think they actually all have names
but I don't know them.
As it says the Koala Ambulance.
This is available 24/7 to rescue the Koalas in need.

Here we are together by a smaller one.
This was a monument to a special female
who kind of started this whole hospital effort. 

Fun Fun!

Another green one.
Each is different and very creatively done!

One of  the beautiful blossoms on the hedge in front of the motel.
There really does seem to be something beautiful
blooming all of the time. It is officially fall but most of the trees
here do not shed their leaves.

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