"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, March 26, 2017

Some additional pictures from our most recent Zone Conference in Maitland.
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Our Zone being as normal as possible.

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Our Zone acting Crazy!

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President Checketts doing training.

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Pizza for lunch!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The rain is continuing here in Armidale.  It interferes with my morning walk but certainly provides a beautiful green to the yards.  We taught a Doctrinal Mastery lesson in Seminary.  It reminds me of eating vegetables: you know they are important but it is hard to get excited about them. 🙂  The lesson was on the Plan of Salvation, knowing where to find answers in the scriptures for friends' or associates' questions.  I can really see the inspiration in teaching in this way even though it is more challenging than the regular lessons.

We worked on creating a video to post on Facebook asking senior couples to consider requesting a mission to the Sydney Australia North mission.  We are concerned that three more of us will be going home in the next few months and at this time there are no replacements available. Four Senior Couples will leave our Mission before the end of July this year. All four have been assigned to Member and Leader Support (MLS). President Checketts has not been notified of any replacements. That means that there will be two Branches that will lose Branch Presidents and two others that will lose counsellors. The Sisters who will be leaving are currently serving as Primary Presidents or other vital callings within the Branches. The Australia, Sydney North Mission really needs replacements for these couples. Please let anyone who might be interested to contact us and we will put them in touch with President Checketts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

At District Conference President Checketts told us that sending young men and women on missions is very successful.  He said even though he is educated and trained in the gospel and has taught the gospel for many years, people open their hearts to the young missionaries far more easily and sincerely than to him.

Friday, March 24, 2017

After Seminary we worked on the video we are doing for Facebook and visited the Benesch's for dinner (tea) where we recorded a message from them.  Everything is so very green and so very wet. The Benesh family may have to move as the owner of the farm they are leasing from has decided to sell.  I have added to my prayers a request that they may find something to lease nearby so they can continue living in the branch as they are extemely important. I feel Sister Benesch would be the best choice to replace me as Primary President when we leave.

We enjoyed her apricot chicken and apple pie with custard and mango ice cream. I started with a head cold and was miserable by the end of the evening, glad to go to bed.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

We traveclled to the Sully farm and gave the home teaching message.  They are such smart, well travelled and interesting people.  We always enjoy talking to them. We were greeted with so many parrots and birds of beautiful red and blue and yellow and green feathers.  We saw five kangaroos  We can really see why people love to live on farms here.  There is such beauty and peace.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Primary was full as usual.  I taught the CTR class and music in sharing time.  Elder Berger taught the gathering of Israel.  I tried to control my coughing.  We received a sad post on facebook from one of our Inverell members.  They were notified that their permanent resident visa had been denied and they have 28 days to leave the country.  They are heartbroken.  Their 11 year old son loves his school and sports.  Their 23 year old daughter is hooked to their visa and is trying to complete medical training to nurse here.  They will have trouble getting decent jobs in  Fiji from what they have said.

They cancelled the Inverell Sacrament meeting today and so we invited the elders to eat with us.

Sunday, March 19, 2017
Monday, March 13, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Savannah is ten years old today.  We dropped off a little birthday treat and card. 

Thursday, March 14, 2017

Off we go to Maitland to attend missionary zone conference.  It rained quite a bit but we arrived safely and stayed at the bed and breakfast we stayed at last zone conference. This is a nice place and we were the only guests. The hosts are very nice and very accommodating. We found out at about 9 pm that the location of the Zone conference had been changed so we had to alter our morning plan to accommodate a much longer drive.

Tantarra Bed and Breakfast was enjoyable once again; because of rain we ate our breakfast meal inside.

The owners love antique and Asian decor

One of our previous Elders in Armidale, Elder Moulton, relating his conversion story at Zone Conference.

Elder Dransfield, mugging for the camera, stands next to a John Belushi lookalike from New Zealand.

The 3 Musketeers doing what they do. Most of the time they seem older than they are, but at times like these, they seem like the wonderful teenagers that they are.

              These three are such good friends, being together for Zone Conference was lots of fun

After Zone conference in Maitland, we drove to Coffs Harbor amid tons of rain and arrived at our motel at Woolgoogla Holiday Park.  It was after 10:00 p.m. and still raining.  Inside our cabin it rained and the wind blew as hard as an Idaho snowstorm.  I was unable to go to sleep.  About midnight I noticed the side of my bed was wet and Elder Berger had a wet foot and upon investigation the end of his side of the bed was sopped with water.  We got up and saw the rain coming through our ceiling.  Needless to say, we didn't sleep that night.

The only part of our bungalow that leaked was right over our bed. For a few seconds, when the wet sheets woke me up, I thought one of us might be ready for adult incontinence products. My fears vanished with much relief when I saw that the roof was the source of the moisture.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

We were asked to help with the Youth Activity this morning and drove to the chapel where it was decided they had enough adults.  I was asked to fill in for the pianist who was to accompany the choir and play for the congregation during the conference as their pianist was having heart trouble.  That gave me some stress, especially the thought of doing the choir but I used the time to practice and then attended the Womens' meeting.  After, we were served a light lunch and picked up a few groceries for our cabin before the Priesthood Session at 2:30 and then choir practice and then the evening adult session of conference.  Neither one of us had slept last night so we were quite tired.  I managed to play okay for the choir evening number and the congregational singing.  The speakers were wonderful.  Some of our Armidale members were unable to get to Coffs because the rain resulted in closed roads but the Beneschs and Sullys made it.

Sister Benesch holds court with the elders.

Elder Moulton with President Sully

Sister Berger struggled a bit with a different organ than she is used to, but she did a great job on short notice. The regular organist had a heart attack the night before. She is doing fine.

The new District President, President Alfred, always looks like he is having the best time of his life.

It was the 75th anniversary of Coff's Branch and the Relief Society 125th anniversary so a lovely cake was served to us along with dinner just prior to the evening session.

Together again, Elder Moulton is sad because his two buddies will be going back to Armidale soon.

Sister Checketts, Sister Benesch and Sister Berger enjoying a chat.

Sister Mackay cutting the cake.

Brother Benesch setting the record straight with Elder Denning.

Elder Dransfield trying to look "Buff" while Elder Childs is amused.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

After a wonderful Sunday full of inspirational meetings, we joined President Owen and his wife, President Alfred and his wife and President Mackey and his wife at the Owen residence for dinner with the other senior couples.  The food was lovely and we really enjoyed good conversation.

Sister Brown with Sister Alfred

Elder Swain, President Owen, and Elder Brown

Sister Swain, listening, is a very lovely person whom we respect and enjoy.

President Alfred seems to be at peace with what is being said.

Indoor conversation with President Mackey, Sister Mackey, Sister Owen, and Sister Berger.

Monday, March 20, 2017

We got up after another damp night with huge humidity and took a walk on the beach before leaving for home.

When I see these selfies, I really miss facial hair.

Views of Woolgoogla Beach.

On our way home, into the Dorrigo rain forest

All the rain added to these impressive waterfalls in the Dorrigo Rain Forest

Ebor Falls was huge after the major rainstorms and we were glad to arrive safely back at Armidale.  MacDonalds invited us to come to dinner for Lucy's 9th birthday celebration which was a welcome event.

Yes, definitely need the facial hair.

It was a foggy, wet ride home

Cupcake time for Lucy's birthday dinner