"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, November 27, 2016
Sheila writes in black, Rick in blue.
Monday,November 21, 2016

We purchased our turkey for Thanksgiving and we have invited the elders and the Smith family to eat with us.

Our $50.00 turkey, crazy how much they cost

Size 50 = $1.00 per size, I guess. Size 50 is 5 kg which comes to about 12 lbs. which comes to about $3.20 U.S. per pound or less than 1 cent per day per pound per year if you only buy one turkey per year. I am working up my strength to look at the price of ham for Christmas. I'll keep you posted. Sister Berger did a wonderful job cooking this golden bird, it was delicious! The young Elders inhaled their portions along with the trimmings, par for young Elders. The Smith family, who joined us, were lovely, even though they were not used to some of the more traditional American dishes,

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Today we traveled again to Gunnedah to have lunch with Elder and Sister Pierce who leave to go home in February.  They are so far away and seldom have contact with other senior couples and are so glad to spend time with us.  We had a good time even though it is a long drive. The Pierces are scheduled to return to Bountiful, Utah on February 8, 2016 and are a bit trunky for their family there. We love the Pierces and their dedication. All Senior Missionaries could use them as a great example.

Many of the huge trees are blooming with golden color, not something I am used to seeing at home in such large trees.

Thanksgiving, November 24, 2016

A long day of cooking and decorating and preparing.  Most everything turned out eatable at least.  The flour is strange here and my pie crust was really thick and tough and the rolls were dryer than they should have been but overall I think we all ate well and had a good time.

Sister Berger's imprivised  Thanksgiving Centerpiece impressed our guests.

A lovely table set by Sister Berger who also picked and arranged the pink roses. She appropriated the flowers from the Catholic Diocese.

Brother Smith, Sister Smith, Kristen and Joshua Smith waiting on the Elders to show up.

The Turkey is done and the gravy is being made.

Our thankful wall that had everyone's turkey stating something they were grateful for

Their forks and knives will be just a blur after the blessing.

Brother Smith is regaling us with aussie tales along with pictures. He tells great stories!

Cutting our faux Pumpkin pie was difficult due to an experimental crust (see text above). Everyone thought it was delicious and there were no leftovers on the pie.

What, no more food?

We gave the Smiths some Hershey bars from Costco in Sydney. They were unable to appreciate the subtle improvement over the Cadbury chocolate that they are used to. Check the expressions.

Never leave your camera unattended with the elders around

Elder Moulton showing off his Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) teeth.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Exhausting couple of days.  After sleeping in a bit, we went to the church where I could practice accompanying Sister MacDonald on her violin for "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" which we are doing this Sunday for Invitation Sunday.  I also typed up my talk for the program.  

After, we sought out a new member appearing on our newest branch list, discovering he had moved to Newcastle who knows when.  We then delivered invitations for "Invitation Sunday."  It was really nice that there were leftovers as I am tired of cooking. I hid the leftovers from the Elders so that Sheila could taste the meal. She says that she just cannot enjoy it on the day that she has cooked it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday:  Accompany Sister MacDonald on flute, Give talk on why life can be hard and the companionship of the Bible, Book of Mormon and modern day revelation, helped the little Primary kids make stars for their Christmas trees, Elder Berger taught a lesson about forgiveness and the love of Heavenly Father for each individual person on earth.  Then I helped feed the members, about 40 came, some of them haven't been for years.  I made a chicken, broccoli, rice casserole that went fast and from the comments seemed to be liked.  No matter how much food we bring, it gets eaten up.

There was a lovely spirit there.  One of the less active men who hasn't been to church in years told me my talk was exactly what he needed to hear which is a wonderful thing to hear.  Having the spirit guide us in developing a talk and presenting it is always the goal because the spirit is what really teaches the listener.

Brother Hoffman, a consistent member for many years and the Primary teacher

Look closely at the faces. These lovely people are focused on the task at hand. We love 'em!

Brother Benesch and I will move in after the first wave has landed.

Sweet Devika, my helper when her mother allows her to come

The Children had a wonderful day!

Primary table

Brother Dixon to the left, less active for many years, so excited to have him come and Brother Clarke, a non-member who really seemed to enjoy himself

Sister Sully's pavlova, a very Australian dessert and Sister Clarke's awesome chocolate cake

Quick meeting of the priesthood leaders, Yours Truly, Brother Benesch and President Sully.

Sister Tan is a lovely member who has just joined our early morning Seminary class.

Sunday, November 20, 2016
Monday, November 14, 2016

Sister Betts and Kristen want to continue having some kind of Seminary lesson Tuesdays and Thursdays until school vacation starts so we worked on a lesson for tomorrow and I prepared a home evening lesson for our evening with the Fords.

After our home evening lesson, we played the game, "Was it President Uchtdorf or Dumbledore" quotes.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

We are working on getting the information together that we need to send to SLC in order to move the records in our branch of those who have moved.  It was a full day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Elder Berger taught a seminary lesson on the Kirtland Temple and showed the video about John Tanner who basically gave every penny he had to the church and saved the property for the temple from being foreclosed on.  It is a story of miracles and faith and his posterity includes David O. McKay, Nathon Eldon Tanner, Victor Brown Junior and many others.  It is a wonderful story.

After lunch we left to home teach President and Sister Sully and they invited us to stay for dinner which we really enjoyed.  We were able to see the huge moon that has been advertised on social media.

Wednesday, November 17, 2016

Lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant

This is the Lunch Special. Sheila ordered the Combination chow mein with fried rice and a drink for $10.00 Austrtalian or about $7.65 US.

Friday, November 18, 2016

We left at 7:00 a.m. for Sydney to attend Seminary training for next year.  We are staying in Temple Accommodations which only costs missionaries $30.00 a night which is a great price.  We went a different way which we were told would save us about 40 minutes.

A huge bird flew down in front of the car and collided with us.  Feathers went everywhere and as we stopped to investigate, there was one huge feather left behind.

The food does not agree with Elder Berger as evidenced by his slimming stomach

Our first close-up view of a wombat, which is a bear like creature that is so much bigger than it appears here, was lying on the road.

This is a dead (or really tired) wombat. It measures about 4 feet from head to tail. It has a somewhat porcine shape to it's body with little stubby legs. The local Blokes tell me that it is very dangerous to hit a wombat with your car because wombats are heavy and dense and have been known to flip a car over and cause massive trauma to the car and it's occupants. I avoid live wombats.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Arrival at Temple Accommodation housing


Beautiful blooming trees at the Sydney temple

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Our early morning seminary training started at 8:00 a.m. with teachers from all over the Sydney North mission attending.  It was a marvelous training introducing us to the Doctrinal Mastery program which takes the scripture mastery scriptures and teaches how to answer doctrinal questions out of the scriptures.  That will be so helpful to the teenagers who are being presented with so many questions today.

Sister Berger and yours truly during a break in the training. 

Discussing strategy with Seminary Trainers


Our supervisor, Ben Terry is in the middle, facing the camera. He is extremely helpful.

There was a wonderful spirit here and a morning tea of fruit and muffins and a lunch provided which we appreciated before leaving to drive the 6 1/2 hour trip home

Sydney traffic is terrible but on Pennant Hills Road where the housing and the temple are located, the traffic is a real pain

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Saturday was exhausting so it was lovely to not have Primary to attend to as the MacDonald family was out of town and the other two regular children did not attend.  We had wonderful speakers, Brother Smith of our presidency and Brother Lenehan of the mission presidency.