"Grand as it is, planet Earth is part of something even grander- that great plan of God. Simply summarized, the Earth was created that families might be." Elder Russell M. Nelson
April 24, 2016
April 18-24, 2016
I will be back when we get wi-fi sorted. I usually write at the odd times when I get inspired. It seems that I cannot discipline myself to write on a schedule.

Well, this week's posts are going to be consolidated into one as we have no internet in our current flat and have been so busy training for the financial job in the office of the Australia Sydney North mission.  We work from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 at night but we have phones that the missionaries can use to call us at anytime and frequently, particularly Elder Berger, receives calls after we are back at our flat.  One, this week was from a new missionary, who arrived at the airport from the Philippines before the assistants to the president got there.  A stranger who could see his distress, called the contact number for the mission office which automatically forwards to us after hours.

I have learned about requesting travel for departing missionaries, checking to see when visas expire, how much luggage is allowed, sending trunky letters, compiling passports and information that goes home with the missionary and sending out certificates of commendation to bishops and stake presidents.  I have learned about arrivals and compiling plan of salvation packets, notebooks of how to survive as a missionary filled with exercises, recipes, Celsius conversions for recipes and stove/oven use, talks by general authorities about the missionary experience, how to use the public transit, etc.  I, who have no instinct to the difference between where north or south is, have been creating maps off the LDS maps website for the missionary proselyting areas and printing the designated boundary maps up, finding corresponding areas in our large Sydney map book, copying them and pasting them together to have it laminated for the wall of their flats.  I have been making pocket sized laminated copies for them to carry with them daily.  I am using an old program called Publisher to create a monthly newsletter, typing office agendas, ordering supplies.

I survived our first missionary transfer since training which is when we have arrivals of new missionaries and the departure of old.  These new elders and sisters are so sweet, so exhausted from a 20 hour flight for those coming from the U.S. but with joy in their eyes to be on their mission.  We teach them about their first days here and how they may feel homesick and how to handle that and we teach them about emergencies and who to talk to if they have health needs.  Elder Berger tells them about the financial side of their lives here.  Some come with family's having sent them off with balloons and joy and tears and they receive weekly packets which no doubt are costing parents triple in postage what the contents cost.  They know how proud their parents are of them.  Far more, at least here and this transfer, come with contact information saying, neither parent is a member and often DO NOT CONTACT THE PARENTS.  My heart breaks for them and I want to take them under my wing and send them care packages.  How strong their faith is in what missionaries taught them, to leave all behind and to have their parents break all ties with them because of their decision to join the church.  This time they came from Czech Republic, Laos, the Philippines, the United States, Samoa and Tahiti.

We are enjoying our little flat.  The  Australians call the type of dwelling we are in a "granny flat" because it is small and next to a larger home where the owner owns both.  This flat was decorated so has more personality than our bare little flat in Armidale whose only decoration on the walls are the Del Parson calendar pages of the Savior I carried with me all the way from Santa Clara, Utah. However, we are content with the look in Armidale.

 Outside views of our Sydnety granny flat

Living area with TV!!  We do not have a TV in Armidale

living area

Kitchen, and notice the lovely Ikea baskets decorating the top of the cupboards!

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