"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, December 18, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016

6:30 a.m. and we were up and on our way by 7:30 to Sydney for the missionary Christmas conference.  On the way we received a telephone call telling us our accommodations had been changed from the Temple Housing to staying at the mission home with President and Sister Checketts.  Temple accommodation is brimming over the next few days it appears.

We arrived in Sydney, went directly to the mission office so that I could do some laminating for Primary sharing time for the Christmas presentation.  While there we helped the Leisters who were still working on responsibilities for tomrrow's missionary conference.

At 6:00 p.m. we arrived at the Checketts and found Elder and Sister Pierce who are also staying there.  Leisters invited us all to come to their house for fish and mango tacos and mango sticky rice for dessert.  It was so fun visiting with all of them and eating the delicious food.  We were given a typical bedroom where the elders and sisters stay the night before they leave to go home.

Upstairs where we spent two nights.

This time of year Sister Checketts takes the Christmas packages and wraps some of them with Christmas paper and has them ready to be delivered to the missionaries.  Those who do not reeive packages from home are given gifts from the many members who donate to the need here in Sydney.

Elder and Sister Pierce, we enjoy them so much. They are wonderful, humble Missionaries from Woods Cross, Utah. They are assigned to a branch much like ours in our same Missionary District.

Sister Checkett's Christmas tree

President and Sister Checketts, what wonderful people!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What a wonderful day, exhausting but wonderful.  166 missionaries brought together for talent show presentations, the movie "Finding Dorrie" and five different competitive group games, one of which we were in charge of - rubber band shooting of empty soda can pyramids.  There was ham, turkey, kimshee, spinach salad, taro, funeral potatoes, fresh fruit, pavlova, brownies, pumpkin pie from Costco, trifle and things I've forgotten I am sure.  It was so fun seeing some of the missionaries who have been in Armidale or knew us in the office.  Elder Yong, from Taiwan, who we taught English and Elder Berger told him to be sure and tell Sister Checketts when he was transferred to Sydney, "I speak English very well" gave Elder Berger a huge hug and said, "I speak English very well", so sweet.

The event started off with singing "Six White Boomers", the Australian replacement for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Elder Leister telling about introducing a Christmas carol telling about its meaning

 Waiting for their turn at the rubber band challenge

Elder Berger timing the game

Elder Kehler (one of ours from Armidale) on the left and Elder Gibbons on the right

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President Checketts with some very happy sister Missionaries.

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Two Sisters from the islands who have beautiful singing voices.

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Elder Moulton

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Our Wonderful Mission President and Sister Checketts.

 Musical numbers from the various districts

Elder Bush straining to provide a falsetto part to their musical number

Sister Berger with Elders Kelly and Peterson, previous Armidale elders

This is Sister Spainhower from St George, Utah. Today was the last day of her Mission in Australia. She is returning home with honour tomorrow.

Sister Siriset, determined to win

Elder Moulton, our Armidale current elder and Elder Dranesfield

Having our picture taken - 166 elders and sisters plus senior couples (happy Sister Leister)

         Sister Checketts calling for attention, photographer climbing the ladder to get the picture

Leaving the movie, Sister Spainhower from St. George on the right

After the conference we joined the Pearces to cross the busy Pennant Hill street by the temple and have fish and chips at the mall.  The beautiful temple Christmas lights were lovely to look at.

Sister Berger after a long day, shown here in front of the lighted Temple grounds here in Sydney.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

We left at 6:30 a.m. and after our GPS sent us on a wild goose chase in a way that added two hours on to our travel, we arrived home at 3:30 pm exhaused.  The branch planned on a Christmas dinner at the Grapevine Pub which we attended at 7;00 p.m.  The food was good and everyone seemed to have a good time but we were exhausted when we finally made it home.

President Sully with his dessert with honey comb and cream

Sister Sully with her dessert of a chocolate trifle

Sally and Anthony Smith with creme brulee

Saturday, December 17 2016

Today was stew the chicken for tomorrow's dinner and make gingerbread men for tomorrow's Primary sharing time.

After helping with the CTR class and conduicting sharing time, accompanying the MacDonald children as they sang in Sacrament meeting and Elder Berger teaching his class and then having Presidency meeting, we choked down a half of a sandwich and headed for Inverell to conduct the monthly Sacrament meeting.

Once again, it was touching to feel the strong spirit in our little cottage meeting Sacrament meeting.  We asked Sister Michelle Ready to teach the Relief Society/Priesthood lesson and she did such a wonderful job and the spirit was so strong.

Brother Benesch listening to Sister Reddy and Sister Ali's husband, Riaz, in the blue, who cooked all afternoon in a hot kitchen for us to have one of his native Muslim dishes

This is the first Sacrament Meeting where I have been presiding. Next week, Christmas day, I will preside again because President Sully and Brother Smith will be away with family.

Sister Reddy teaching

Paper cutting activity emphasizing what Christ expects of us

It was Richaad's Birthday so he had candles and blew them out after we sang Happy Birthday to him.

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