"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, September 4, 2016
Monday, August 29, 2016
Sheila writes in black, Rick comments in blue.

President Sully is on a horse ride with his sons for a week.  His wife went to Brisbane to visit her daughters while he was gone.  Brother Benesch and his wife visited their farm and found lots of lambs that had died from lack of milk.  Many of the ewes who were not receiving good feed had no milk.  They brought seven lambs that were nearly dead to their farm and bottle fed them and nursed them to a decent state.  We came out to check and see if they needed any help and had a turn feeding them.  The lambs are so cute.  As soon as the back door opens they run to the steps eagerly waiting for the bottles. They are just like babies and need feeding every three hours and Sister Benesch put coats on them because they were cold in their weakened condition.

The trees are blossoming with spring flowers.  We took a side road for a while on our way home from the Benesch farm.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

We had a nice visit from Elder and Sister Swayne, the missionary couple in Port McQuarrie.  They brought a new microwave for our Armidale elders from the Sydney mission office. When they went to the temple the office asked them to bring it to us.  We had a nice lunch and visit together

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Today we picked up the elders after Seminary and traveled the three hour trip to Wallangra to help Sister Jackman.  She lives on 1000 acres out in the bush and is recently widowed.  She is renovating her home which is an aluminum shed. 

Faith versus good luck or memory - Yesterday, we discussed the need to fill up our gas tank.  Today as we drove through a little town and were stopped by roadwork people, we were all listening to a wonderful talk by Matthew Cowley on miracles.  I was writing down some of the things he said that I wanted to remember.  Into that moment the words presented themselves, "do we have gas?" I remembered we had needed it yesterday, turned to Elder Berger and asked, "did you get gas?" It took a few seconds to register my question and he looked at the tank, emphatically said, "No" and saw that we only had 7 kilometers of gasoline left.  We turned around and filled the tank at the only place in the little town with gas, a single gas pump.  If we had gone on down the road we would have had a 15 kilometer walk back to that little town and we did not have a container for the gasoline so it would have been inconvenient and we would have arrived late at Sister Jackman's.  That still small voice that I believe is too often ignored in many of our lives, is such a blessing.  The older I get, the less I believe in coincidence.  

The Shed, as Sister Jackman refers to her house

Sister Jackman's frequent visitor

Elder Moulton and Elder Kelly boarding the 4x4 to move trash to the bonfire pile

They loved this part of their service!

 Adding trash to the future bonfire pile

Elder Berger putting together book shelves

Sister Jackman built these drawers

Reupholstered couches and chairs in cow and deer/elk patterns unloaded by the elders

Putting together tractor seat bar stools was my task and Sister Jackman's task

As we left we saw an Echidna, Australia's porcupine looking anteater 

Thursday morning in the rain after Seminary I took this picture out of the front doors of the chapel. We are just starting to take the first tentative steps into Spring here. The trees across the street are in bloom and the trees on the lawn are still bare. The tall trees with leaves that you can see are the eucalyptus trees that are throughout this area and never lose their leaves. This is an interesting place.

Sister Bernadette (a retired nun) invited us to join the other tenants at Coleman Court for lunch at the Bowling Club.  We had pork roast, yams and potatoes and enjoyed the company of the other people.

One of the tenants, Bill, is 89 years old.  He has a birth defect of a shriveled hand, went totally blind last year and had back surgery which had complications and he was flown to another hospital for repair work.  During the flight, they lost his upper plate so the poor man cannot chew.  he spent most of his working years in Africa and he and Elder Berger had a great time talking about Africa and guns. he is a humble man who accepts what life gives him with gallantry.

This wonderful group makes us feel young!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

In honor of our 45th wedding anniversary today, we went to Dangar Falls which was in what Brother Clarkson calls "a full flood " after a couple of days of rain.  It was windy and cool but after hiking for about half an hour the sun came out and it was beautiful. As no one cooks a better steak and I haven't found a salad anywhere in Australia that I like better than mine, we came home to salad and home cooked steak and watched a Robert Redford movie, "All is Lost".

We have had our ups and downs, challenges and disappointments, but we have experienced lots of good times and always been there for each other and are thankful that we have been able to take this journey together.

I told Sheila that in Australia, the 45th anniversary is the Waterfall anniversary, so I took her to the Dangars Falls in New South Wales. In the U.S. it is the Sapphire Anniversary. It is so sad that because she is in Australia, all she gets is to see a waterfall. Please do not tell her that this may be my imagination. I think that next year, anniversary number 46 is "The back rub for husband" anniversary here in Australia. I am so fortunate to have Sheila as my Wife and Best Friend.

Windy but beautiful day

Elder Berger loves to get right to the edge to take a picture, which makes me nervous!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fast and Testimony day and we are so fortunate to feel the wonderful spirit in this little branch.  Today one of the member's bore testimony to having her prayer answered that the wind would stop in order for her to complete the lifting of a metal sheet into her home.  One bore testimony to a strong warm, light-filled response to her request to know the church was true when she was an investigator.  One bore testimony to being warned to stop what she was doing when the power went out and she tried to plug wires into new outlets.  She said she kept hearing the words, "stop and listen" and when she did, she heard the crackling that told her fire would be the result of her continued action.  One member said they had gone to a family wedding in Brisbane and one of their mothers was having a lovely meal on Sunday because it is Father's Day here.  He said, we decided to come home because we didn't want to miss the wonderful spirit we fell here each week.

I assisted my new primary worker, 15 year old Kristin, as she taught the CTR class for the first time and then I taught sharing time with my new counselor their to support me which made all the difference to my nervous state and then Elder Berger and I and the elders worked on a musical number for branch conference this in two weeks.  President Alfred asked for a musical number. We have no one else to ask to sing with us so Elder Berger will do base, the elders the melody and I will sing the Tenor part and play the piano.  It is a bit low for me and playing the piano and singing is not something I excel at but we will all do our best.

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