"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
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Monday, April 4, 2016
Sheila writes in black, Rick in blue.

After packing everything up and loading the car we left for the 5 plus hour drive to Sydney.  Along the way we stopped at a rest stop with a cool sculpture of a ship.  When we arrived in Sydney we checked into the Temple Accommodation motel that was booked for us until a missionary couple flat becomes available.  We were invited to the Senior Couple home evening tonight and enjoyed the chicken enchiladas, seven bean guacamole dip with chips, watermelon and ice cream cake.  Training on our temporary office jobs begins tomorrow. It is about 500 ks to Sydney from Armidale. Most of the way it is a very lovely drive. Traffic was not bad until we got about 90 ks out of Sydney then things got very congested. I am glad that I had some driving experience out in the sticks before coming back here. The speed limit was 100K or about 61 mph most of the way so it took us about 6 hours to arrive at our new digs.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Coincidence or Tender Mercy

In Gospel Doctrine on Sunday, one of our branch members commented that during the production of the movie, The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille, used the prophet, David O McKay as a consultant. I had never heard that and hoped I could find out more about it but wasn't sure how to go about it.  As we were leaving the next day for Sydney to begin a 3 month job of working in the office, I grabbed four Ensigns from our ward library past issues file to have some reading material once in Sydney.  There were about 50 magazines and I just grabbed four.

Imagine how pleased I was when I opened one of the Ensigns this morning (December 2002), to find the article talking about Cecil B. DeMille and President David O McKay and that the article was written by Elder Berger's second cousin, Marlin K. Jensen, one of the seventies.  The article said: In May 1957, Cecil B. DeMille, renowned producer of motion pictures, gave the commencement address at Brigham Young University at the invitation of President David O. McKay (1873–1970). His latest production, The Ten Commandments, had been filmed with some technical advice from President McKay. In the course of its production, a close friendship had formed. Following a tender introduction by President McKay in which he praised the nobility and character of his friend, Cecil B. DeMille stunned the BYU graduates with a masterful address on the purpose of God’s laws.  In his address he said, We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them” 

I feel it was a blessing to me to grab the correct Ensign for no other reason than my Heavenly Father loves me and provided me with something to make me happy, even if wasn't a terribly important thing.

Our day was full and mentally taxing as both of us trained on loads of information from 8:00 to 4:00. We ate fish and chips at the mall for lunch and back to the office.  When we finished, we went to our motel and were greeted with ambulances and the manager weeping ran to us saying, "I've been praying for someone with the priesthood to give a blessing."  Apparently one of the temple ordinance workers (Brother Dowding) who stays at the motel part of the week had a heart attack in her motel room.  He was having chest pains and knocked on her door telling her he didn't want to be alone as he wasn't feeling well.  He is divorced and far away from any of his family.  He is 69 years old.  She had to perform CPR on him and didn't feel she knew what she was doing but he survived and is in the hospital having stents put in. It is good that she called the ambulance when he got to her door or he might not have made it.

Wednesday-Thursday, April 6-7, 2016

Lots of new things to learn and try to mentally file away so that I can pass the info on to the new office couple when they arrive.  My job is dealing with missionary arrivals and departures with lots of packets and maps and laminating and information an scheduling.  I also deal with travel, visas and luggage requirements.  We have been eating lunch at the mall across from our office and take our life in our hands to jaywalk as it takes forever to get across the street by car. We have been told, repeatedly, that Pennant Hills road is one of the busiest roadways in all of Australia. Sometimes it will be solid traffic for 4 or 5 minutes without a break and it is impossible to get onto the road. Jaywalking is insane but it beats the 3/4 mile trip to the crosswalk.

I just realized that today, 4/7/16, we are starting our fifth month of Missionary service. That means that in just one month from today we can start our 18 month mission. 23-5=18

This is my mentor, Elder Williams, sitting in the Tire shop while they put tires on his car for the trip home. Since he is an Aussie, he brought his own car to the mission. You can see it dimly through the service window, it is the one furthest away. They live in Queensland, about 100 kilometers north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast. He won't admit it, but he is pretty "Trunky".

This is the view out of my office window. If you look closely you can see the Angel Moroni on top of The Sydney Temple. I think that it is the most wonderful view of any of the offices in the building.

My Spacious palatial office with it's state of the art computer electronics.

Across the street from our office is a large mall with a sizable food court where we have tried fish and chips and Asian chicken and rice dishes.  It is very crowded. The food so far has been adequate, about on par with Denny's, but without the chicken fried steak and the senior discount. I would love to see a Cracker Barrel or a Red Lobster. I have lost about 10 pounds since we have been here so maybe it is a good thing. Now only 20 more pounds to go. No, we don't belong to the coffee club.

This is the Buckland House where our office is.  The church bought this in 1980 when what had been a Boy's Home orphanage, closed.  It is huge with lots of empty rooms which would be delightful to a bunch of kids playing hide-and-seek.  The temple, distribution, the mission president's home and several flats for office workers are on the same property.

Friday, April 9, 2016

We found out today that a flat for us to move into, located on the same property as the Buckland House, will be available for us next Thursday which pleases us.  Living in a motel with a tiny refrigerator and microwave is fine for a few nights but living out of a suitcase gets old pretty fast.

Today Sister Williams taught me about keeping the mission history, creating and copying the newsletter done monthly, various meeting agendas, the departing and arriving missionary update lists and as travel sent me airline travel options for the departing missionaries I had to determine that they were doable for all those involved in picking up and delivering the missionaries. I also became more comfortable answering the phones.

When we finished our work, we drove to Costco and purchased a few things.  They carry lots of items that are definitely Australian, like Vegemite and seem to cater to the large Asian population.  I am so sad that the Torta rolls I love are not here.  I was really hoping they would be.  I bought a huge package of ciabatta rolls in place of the Torta rolls but they also seem very different from the ones at home. Costco looks the same but the products are way different. I believe that the 8000 mile distance from the U.S. might have something to do with that.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

We went to second hand shops looking for winter skirts for me.  They are hard to find in any of the shops and no luck today.  I am perfectly happy for Sister Berger to buy "new" clothes but she insists that they are way expensive and not worth the cost. We will see how she feels after a few more D.I. like places. After, we bought a few groceries and I worked on adding my training notes to the "how to" book Sister Williams gave me.  Here are a few pictures of our new domain for the next week.


Our computer, office, eating area

Our kitchen area

Our sleeping area

The communal eating area, as sometimes the place is quite full of new missionary arrivals

Our communal kitchen

More of our communal kitchen.  I would have a hard time staying here more than a couple of  nights without this kitchen where we can put extra things in the refrigerator and actually cook or bake.

  This lovely painting of the boy Joseph Smith decorates our motel wall.  It reminds me of the Prophet Joseph Smith's statement: "It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy of a little over fourteen years of age, and one too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself."

Sunday, April 10,2016

This morning we traveled to the Normanhurst chapel to watch the televised Sunday session of conference.  I am always thrilled to observe and feel how a group of saints gathering together invites a strong presence of the spirit.  We really enjoyed the session.  We decided the traffic, which on our street of Pennant Hills, is ALWAYS heavy, was better to be avoided, so we opted to stay here after lunch and watch the second session on our computer in our motel room.

Elder and Sister Williams, who are training us, invited us to their flat for dinner along with Elder and Sister Leister, the other office couple.  We enjoyed meatloaf, mashed potatoes and vegetables with cheesecake for dessert, along with lots of good conversation. Both the Williams and the Leisters are very well traveled and well read. It was a very enjoyable evening!

The Leisters 

Elder Williams holding court.

It was a great meal with great Missionary Friends!

Sister Williams (the Chef)

The Leisters from South Jordan, Utah.

No comments:

Post a Comment