"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, May 15, 2016
Monday, May 9- May 10, 2016
Sheila writes in black, Rick in blue.

These two days were spent in our busily doing the work of the office.  I was happy to find a warmer skirt at one of the shops across the street in the Carlingford Mall.  Now I just need a few warmer shirts/sweaters. Since we have no internet access in our flat and we are very busy at the office, we have little time to write in the blog. Most days this week were from 8 am to 5-6 pm. Sister Berger is much busier than I am. The other possibility is that I just may make my job look easy while I panic on the inside. Either way, we don't seem to find a lot of time to write the blog. At our flat we do not have access, at the office, we don't have time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I have thought for years that when the brain has too much information flooding in, it short circuits and starts deleting some things, no matter what age you are.  Thinking that makes me feel better anyway about aging and memory.  Today, I realized that there is something else that happens when too much is going on in my brain and which is that when I am acting quickly with lots on my mind, sometimes  my brain not keeping up. I had been told my job included watering the plants in our area.  Realizing I hadn't been consistent in doing that, and with maps, recipe books to staple and welcome folders to build, I hurriedly searched for a container to put water in.  The restroom sinks have faucets that would not allow a large container to fit under them so I filled my pitcher in the mens’ restroom shower (remember the Buckland House was previously a boys home (orphanage), and hurriedly headed to my plants.  The day before Sister Leister stood in the hall by the large plant saying, “this looks funny”.  That little bit of information and little it was, stuck in my brain and I hurried over with a quart of water left in my container and poured it in.  As she came down the hall, with a bewildered look on her face, she said, “You know, that is an artificial plant don’t you?”  Oh well, even on a mission, these things happen. I could tell you some stories about Sheila. There was this one time... uh-oh, digression just got the better of me.

The very well watered ersatz plant.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Today at work I was scheduled was to work on getting things ready for the new arriving elders who fly in on the first day of June.  The 8th day of June our office replacements arrive and I will begin trying to pass what I learned to them and I am hoping I learned enough. Today I copied maps and talks and exercise and mental health papers, pictures and information about Australia and recipes.  I have flannel board Plan of Salvation kits to print up and cut out. Sister Checketts created a recipe book after numerous elders asked for easy recipes so I had 100 copies of them which were copied that needed to be  stapled, ready to hand out as needed and no doubt will be included in my arrival booklets.

Elder Berger dealt with missionaries who lost opal cards, had phones which were not texting correctly, sisters whose medical receipts were given to missionaries to bring to Elder Berger but they somehow disappeared before he ever saw them and the many other issues that are part of being an office missionary supporting the young missionaries.  I cannot say this enough, senior couples are vital to the missionary program.senior couples are vital to the missionary program.senior couples are vital to the missionary program.senior couples are vital to the missionary program.senior couples are vital to the missionary program.senior couples are vital to the missionary program. etc.

Friday, May 13, 2016

On my morning walk I encountered two elders also doing their morning exercise.  They stopped and asked me some questions. One, from Tonga, was dressed in his native skirt.  I have noticed Tongan brethren come to the temple and to sacrament meeting in their dress black skirts.  This took my mind to the importance of good traditions.  Here we have a culture who has moved far away from the island they call home but keep the dress tradition taught to them by their families.

Last night I read Ether in the Book of Mormon.  The Brother of Jared and his family and friends, whom the Lord blessed to not have their language confounded, traveled into the wilderness led by the Lord communicating inside a cloud to the Brother of Jared to show them the way.  They camped by the seashore for four years prior to traveling to the Promised Land.  At the end of the four years, the Lord again appeared to the brother of Jared in a cloud and spoke to him for three hours, and chastened him for forgetting to call upon the name of the Lord.  After so many miraculous moments in the brother of Jared’s life and knowing the Lord lead them in the wilderness, the people were not praying.

I think we often have religious traditions to keep us focused on the Lord:  Moroni on the temples, standing when the prophet enters a room, prayers that are recited “exactly word for word”, the 24th of July celebration, blessing and giving a name to a new baby, the Messiah program at Christmas, filling our homes with light at Christmas and so many other traditions I'm not remembering right now.
In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevea said something like “tradition is all we have”.  We have so much more in the Gospel of Jesus Christ but I am very thankful for traditions that keep us focused on the gospel and on the Church.  I think senior couples serving missions after they retire is rapidly becoming TRADITION!

Today Elder Berger and Elder Leister travelled to Taree to deliver much needed transportations to elders there, bicycles.  It was an all day event.

These are pictures of an overlook in Taree. I am amazed at how blue the water is. They have not had much rain here, a fact attested to by the color of the grass.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Today we skyped quickly with Erica to wish her a Happy Birthday.   We are really enjoying her blog and told her we thought she should publish it as many people would identify with her experiences and really enjoy her writing. We emailed plans to the other children for Monday skyping.

Afterwards, we did some grocery shopping and while in the store, we received a phone call from Elder Black inviting us to take a ride with them to see the Sydney Market where they sell vegetables, fruit and fish.  We were so happy to go with them, they are great companions and guides.  The market was amazing.  There were SO MANY people there.  To get a parking space took quite some time.  Vendors from all over were there selling their fresh produce: passion fruit, squash, pumpkin, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, nuts, corn, potatoes, yams, avocados, apples.  There are way too many different foods to mention that were there.  We were sad that we had just been to the grocery store as we would have purchased some of the boxes of fruit had we not already filled our limited refrigerator space.  All we bought was a big bag of popcorn so that we can try out the hot air popcorn popper that is in our flat.

We stopped at Costco for the "just like home Costco deal" - a hotdog and drink.  This evening's plan is to watch the movie Wild Hogs, with Travolta, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence among others, and cook some chicken schnitzel, something we have not eaten here but purchased at the store this morning.  Schnitzel of all kinds is very popular here.

I had to get way back to the corner to get these pictures. It is not crowded here but it is elbow to elbow where the action is.

These cabbages were the size of basketballs.

This guy was selling nuts and beans of all kinds. This is where we bought the popping corn.

This is the mansion next door to our humble abode. It looks a little spooky in the daytime but it looks like the haunted mansion at night.

Above and below are other houses in the neighborhood.

This is where President Checketts lives. It is better known as "The Mission Home"

 The vast lawn facing Pennant Hills road on Church Property.

Elder Berger heading down the hall in the Leura chapel. I am the one on the right side carrying my old fashioned paper scriptures. 

 The mysterious Five Dollar Bill makes another appearance near Sydney Harbor.

In front of the Sydney Harbor amusement park. When I first saw this, I thought my nightmares about Sheila's mother had come true. I'm kidding, she was a delightful woman.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Today we attended the Mount Druitt Ward in Hebersham which is about 90% Samoans and Tongans.  It was so fun to be there.  Before Sacrament meeting began, a family group sang a song.  During Gospel Doctrine we were divided into groups to answer some questions about Limhi, Ammon and King Noah.  Each group not only stood up together to respond but they each sang a song that went along decently with what they were discussing.  Four wards meet there so it was pretty crowded with people coming and going and noisy but a lovely spirit and they really seem to take reading and studying scriptures seriously and in Relief Society talked about going to the Lord and the scriptures to find direction and answers in their lives.  I took a picture of one of the Tongan women who had a marvelously thick braid.

It is still a surprise to me among so many cultures who live here to expect a certain accent but hear them with the Australian accent whether Chinese, Samoan or Tongan.  The bishop of this ward is Asian and no more than five feet tall and his counselors are Tongan and large men.  We had a great experience.

I covertly took this picture before High Priests began. This angle doesn't show it very well, but the man in the middle of the picture looked remarkably like Bill Cosby.

Sister Berger wanted a picture of this sister's lovely braided hair.

1 comment:

  1. Mom, don't feel bad about the plant. When it comes to fake vs. real, I say better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes I think about feeding cream of wheat to one of Gracie's more life-like dolls...just in case.