Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday, 26 Sep 2016


Today we took the ferry from Circular Quay over to Manly beach.  We had lunch and then went for a walk along the walkway that follows the beach.

Chocolate - even in Manly and right on the pier after we got off of the ferry

Manly Surf Club

Manly beach from the south looking north

Some sunbathers at Manly - one towards the top and one about half way up the stairs

The colors of the water at Manly were gorgeous

At the end of our walk, looking down and north.  We saw at least 4 beaches from this view point

Leaving Manly, but we will be back

We did stop at the Royal Copenhagen ice cream parlor after our walk to rejuvenate our bodies.

Coming back into Circular Quay from Manly.  The front of the Opera House with Sydney CBD (city business district) in the background

Sydney Opera House - there will be more pictures of this iconic building

The Harbour Bridge.  you can walk across on the main road area or climb up to the top where the flags are.

Margaret is fixing a shoulder bag for one of the missionaries so we stopped by the fabric store to pick up some material.  Then home for dinner and a chance to sit and rest my feet.   Family Home Evening is at 7 pm, so there was not too much time to rest.

Sunday, 25 Sep 2016

Sunday evening we attended a Stake meeting at the Greenwich meeting house.  The meeting was on self reliance, and specifically on education whether formal schooling or a trade.
While we were waiting on the food to be set out prior to the meeting, Margaret noticed a couple coming into the building.   It was Mele and Steve Hailame - old friends from the Dural ward when we lived in Sydney 20+ years ago.   Well, we had a nice reunion and sat with them during supper and caught up on the news.

Saturday, 24 Sep 2016

Today was a good day - busy but good.

We met the YSA at the chapel in the morning and headed for the Sydney Temple at 0830 (well that was the time we were supposed to leave, but we actually left at 0845).  We walked to Town Hall station and caught the train to Epping.  Then we climbed into the M54 bus at Epping Station and rode to the Carlingford Shopping Centre.  We then got off the bus and walked about 10 minutes to the temple.
At the temple the YSA performed baptisms.  We had a few young adults that were not members with us and they waited outside the temple and in the waiting room.  While they were waiting we organized a time for one of the Temple Presidency to visit with them for a few minutes.  After the baptisms, we took pictures (below) and then went over to the shopping centre for lunch before heading back home.

Some of the YSA at the Sydney Temple on Saturday morning.  The ward has a monthly temple trip so that new members can get to the temple within a month of their baptism

We got home around 2 pm and had a short rest before meeting the YSA and "about to be" new members at the ward building.  We left the ward building at 3:30pm with the Greenwich ward building as our destination.  We again walked to the Town Hall station to catch a train to Wollstonecraft station

 At Town Hall station waiting for the train
Wollstonecraft station - we made it and now unloading from the train - all 40 of us

Today we held baptisms for 6 young men and 1 young woman.

The new converts with the young men that will baptize them.  Note that the single rose is slightly apart from the thorns.

Some newly baptized members were more demonstrative than others. 

After the baptisms we headed back home, grabbed a bit to eat at the Schnitzel place and then went to the ward building to clean level 1 where we work.  We clean level 1 every week, so for those who feel it a burden to clean the chapel once every 3 months - come on over and help us.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday, 23 Sep 2016

Today we had more lessons - teaching English and helping one of the investigators get ready for his baptism tomorrow.  We currently have between 7 &  9 young people who will be baptized tomorrow.  I sure do love a parade, and that is what it will be as we leave the meeting house and head to Greenwich ward building tomorrow afternoon.

Tonight the Relief Society will have a Visiting Teaching High Tea.    A High Tea is - well, I will have to wait until Margaret tells me about it later tonight.

Well, it is now later tonight and here are some pictures of the High Tea.  It looked like a lovely High Tea.

Preparing the High Tea.  Please note that some of the Brethren were in the kitchen preparing the food.  Luigi (in foreground and the shorter of the two) is a student chef and his right hand man, Mino, is behind him.  These 2 are always cooking up something for the ward. 

 The tables are set for the High Tea.  Shown in the picture is one of the Hostesses with the mostest
 Each table had its own carafe of fruit juice or water, sandwiches, vegetables and cheese/crackers
The side table with fruit, scones&jam, and other finger foods.  I think we should start having High Teas in the US

Now it is time to "High Tail It" home and get some sleep.  We have a temple trip in the morning with the YSA and then convert baptisms in the afternoon.  I am not sure when I will dry out.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday, 22 Sep 2016

Today was a typical day, but I think our typical day will change over time.  We still have some hours during the day that we can fill more productively, but the open time does let me have time to type on the blog which is good since there is not really any time else to do so.

A typical day goes something like this -

0530 -0630   wake up and exercise
0630- 0800   wake up Margaret, personal prayers, personal scripture study, companion scripture study
0800-0900/1000  eat breakfast, shower, get dressed and get ready for the day.  Sometimes we head to the office at 0900 and sometimes 1000
0900/1000 -  2000  meet with YSA kids, read with YSA kids, run the IELTS classes, teach English 1on1, do some finding of lost members, etc
2000 (8 pm for the non-military people) or later, we prepare and eat dinner
2200 (10 pm) we go to bed

What is wrong in this picture?  Ans - note the clock and that is NOT morning time when Margaret was preparing our evening meal today.

Not bragging or complaining - just stating the facts for all you who want to go on a mission.  It is not Club Med
But we love it and we are having an enjoyable time, yet still serving the Lord and His children.  The best of all worlds.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday, 21 Sep 2016

Each Wednesday is District Meeting day.  The 14 Sisters and Elders assigned to our ward - Harbour YSA Ward - meet from 10 am to 11:30 am.  Today is close to transfer day, so we (the Lems and Haleys) made brunch for them.  We had scrambled eggs, pancakes and fruit.   The food went over fairly well - at least no one complained.  We then had a birthday cake for the elders and sisters with birthdays in September.

Heads down, eating away
The Harbour YSA ward district.   A great group of young men and women.  We have 2 extra in this picture and they will be with us for a few weeks.

Margaret and I will be teaching more English this afternoon and then go to the hospital and hopefully find out the status of the young Chinese Sister who is there.  We hope that she can be released soon so she can go back to China for a few months.  Then she hopes to come back here to Sydney and finish her studies.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Monday, 19 Sep 2016

Today was a Personal (P) day.  We took the train & bus to Lidcombe where we visited a Costco store and stocked up on a bunch of stuff that we will need to make meals for the young missionaries.  the trip is about 1 hour each way.  I spent most of the day following Margaret around the aisle of Costco as she "cased out" the place.  We ended up with 2 trolleys full of food - A$200 worth.

After we got home, we met one of the YSA sisters (Lainey) and walked to St. Vincent's hospital to visit one of the other members there.  She (the sister in hospital) was out with her mom on temporary leave, Lainey wrote them a note in Chinese telling them we would come back on Wednesday at 7pm.

Then we walked back to the meeting house for Family Home Evening (FHE).  We met a young lady from the USA that had just arrived in Sydney and was going to stay here for a year.  She had saved up enough money to live here for that period of time - or so she hoped.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Saturday, 17 Sep 2016

Well, I was not going to write about today, but it was a super good day.

We went to the Sydney temple to be with one of the YSA sisters (from Peru) who was receiving her endowments there.  We traveled with one of the YSA sisters from Thailand who is returning home this coming Wednesday.  She was going to do some baptisms before she went home since the LDS temple in Bangkok is not finished yet.
When we arrived the Thai sister was told that there was not enough manpower to have baptisms, so baptisms were cancelled for the day.  Margaret took her over to the office area to find out what day she could come back to perform baptisms.  While they went to the office, the temple President stopped to talked with me (it is a SMALL temple) and I told him of the situation.  He went to the Thai sister and told her to wait a minute.   Then the President rounded up a few men and asked me if I would do the baptizing - of course it was not possible to say "no".   Margaret then went with the Peruvian sister through the endowment session while I went to the baptismal font area.

In the baptismal font area, the temple President was the recorder and I did the baptisms with the Thai Sister. Two other men working in the temple acted as the witnesses. We then were able to do confirmations, so the Thai sister was able to participate in more than she originally expected.

Here is a picture of the Peruvian sister (middle) with Margaret and the Ward Relief Society President who was her actual escort in the temple -

After the temple session we went home with Rhonda Crosbie, one of Margaret's best friends, for the rest of the afternoon.  We had a nice quiet and peaceful afternoon.  Well, I did any way.  Margaret and Rhonda gas bagged the entire time - there was no loss of words that day

Rhonda Crosbie with the Haleys

Rhonda took us to the Brent/Katie Jeffree home so we could say hello to them, but they were not there - their loss.  But here is proof that we were there - just to poke a stick in Katie's eye -

Rhonda took us to the train in Seven Hills and then we headed back to Town Hall station.  We got off the train at Central station because we were told the train ended there, but then saw that it went on so we jumped back on - in a different car.  While standing and waiting for the train to go to the next station a young lady dropped her pen and I stepped over to pick it up for her, but she got to it before me.  A few minutes later one of the young men with her was eyeing us and finally he came over and said - "I repsect what you are doing and think that is great that you are taking time out of your life to share your beliefs."  He asked about us being Mormon and was very kind and praising of us and what we were doing.   We had to leave the train since it came to our stop, but it would have been nice to have talked with him some more.  I regretted that I did not have any pass-along cards (which I fixed today) to give him.

It was a good day

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Friday, 16 Sep 2016

Margaret and I were doing our morning scripture study and we read Alma 60 & 61.  These 2 chapters deal with Moroni, Captain of the Nephite Army, writing to Pahoran, governor or chief political leader of the Nephites, and complaining that (rather harshly) the central government was not sending any food or new recruits to help with the war against the Lamanites.  Moroni was really angry in his letter to Pahoran and accused him of gross negligence in his conduct as a governor.
What struck us was the reply from Pahoran (Alma 61).  Pahoran did not jab back at Moroni or say all the things that Mike Haley would resort to in such a situation, but Pahoran just said that he was sorry that Moroni and his men were suffering and that he found no joy in that.  He explained the situation and offered what support he could to Moroni.
Pahoran took the high road.  He was charitable towards Moroni. He was Christ like in his reply.  Boy that sure cut me off at the knees.  I thought of all the times that I reply with a tit for tat; how I jump to conclusions and put my mouth in gear before I put my heart in gear.

So with that thought in mind, I went over the our office to meet with a young man who does not speak English very well and we discussed keeping the commandments from Preach My Gospel.  We had a good discussion with the aid of a white board to help communicate thoughts and an English/Mandarin dictionary.

Below is an example of the sophisticated artwork that we used -  Notice the Holy Ghost going into the heart of the person via the superb, artistic handiwork of Elder Haley (Michelangelo eat your heart out)

Oh, yes here is another artwork masterpiece on the Tree of Life and the great & spacious building (the world) separated by the river of worldliness

We have game night tonight, as we do every Friday. Lots of young adults playing all kinds of crazy games and then eating - always eating.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016

As Sister Haley and I were having our scripture study this morning, we were reading in the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon.  We were reading Alma 56 and 57 which talks about the 2,060 young men  (called the Stripling Warriors) that went to battle with Helaman against the Lamanites.

Alma 57: 19-21
19 But behold, my little band of two thousand and sixty fought most desperately; yea, they were firm before the Lamanites, and did administer death unto all those who opposed them.
 20 And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted.
 21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

As we read the above verses, I thought of the young men and women (our full time missionaries) that serve in the Harbour YSA Ward.  They are exactly the same as the 2,060.  They are valiant in the cause of sharing the truth of the Gospel and when the older, long time members begin to fall short in missionary work, the young missionaries are there with their energy, enthusiasm and strength to pick up where we have begun to falter.  They provide us with an example that picks us up and gives us new energy to open our mouths and share the joy of the Gospel.

It is so neat to be able to meet with and associate with these young missionaries.  We get lots of smiles, hand shakes and HUGS.  They let us old fogies participate with them in activities, which is good for us.

So that was the start of our day on Wednesday - a good way to start the day.

May you have a good day wherever you are, and may God, Our Heavenly Father,  bless you with those things that you stand in need of.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday, 12 Sep 2016

Today is our personal/preparation day (P Day).  We did laundry and baked brownies before meeting the Lems (the CES missionaries in our area) at 11 for a ferry boat ride to Watson's Bay.  We had lunch - fish & chips before setting off for a walk/hike along the cliffs on the southern side of the entrance into Sydney Harbour.

 On the ferry, pulling out of Circular Quay (pronounced like "key").  the Harbour Bridge
 A side shot of the Opera House from the ferry
 The front  (or back???) of the Opera House with some of Sydney in the background
Our Destination - Watson's Bay.  Now for some fish & chips
 some of the beach at Watson's Bay
 Smile !!
Sydney skyline in the background from Watson's Bay

 Some of the cliffs on the ocean side (Tasman Sea) of Watson's Bay
 More cliffs
Loved the various colors of the water as it crashed into the rocks

 Panorama from Watson's Bay - showing the Tasman Sea on the left and Sydney Harbour on the right.  Sydney CBD (city business district) in the middle
Panorama from Watson's Bay showing the entrance to Sydney Harbour.  The land in the background is the North Head (north side of the entrance).  Watson's Bay is located on the South Head.

The Lighthouse on the South Head.  Built in 1858

We took the bus back to our flat from Watson's Bay since the ferry was not going to come in for about an hour.

Monday is Family Home Evening (FHE) and the YSA ward has a good one.  The lesson/spiritual thought was given by a new convert from China - She did a super job.  We had kids from China, Thailand, Mongolia, Philippines, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Brasil, Italy and USA - not sure what country I forgot.
The games & food come after the spiritual thought, and the YSA really get into their games.  Tonight we played 2 games and the last one was popping the balloon tied to one of the feet. 

 Most of the sisters had been eliminated by this time
But not all.  Sister Liao was hiding her balloon behind her feet and staying out of the action.  She did not win though.   Sister Liao will be ending her mission soon and heading back to China.

Sunday, 11 Sep 2016

Sacrament meeting starts at 10 am.  We usually have about 110 to 130 in attendance each Sunday. After the 3 hour block, we hold ward council or one of the other meetings.  Then after that hour meeting we hold MCM (missionary coordinating meeting).  There are usually about 20 in attendance that the MCM where we review the progress of investigators and newly baptized members.  We did not have any baptisms this past Saturday which was a first, but it looks like we will have 7 baptisms on Saturday, 24 Sep.   The young missionaries and the ward missionaries are really very active in our area.

Saturday, 10 Sep 2016

Today was a busy day - full of food and adventure.   The Elder's Quorum had an activity in Prince Alfred's Park - just behind Central Station  (the Union Station of Sydney).  They played basketball and ate well

 An uninvited guest.  These Ibis are all over the place and will fly up to the food table, grab some food and flay away
 The Barbie being prepared - chicken on skewers, pork sausages and pork/beef sausages
 the cooking crew.  Luigi (2nd from right) is studying at one of the culinary schools in Sydney, so we are blest to have him take control of the food for various events.  Fernando, Klaus, Shawn & Mino (left to right) are usually the assistants.
 Ready to eat.  We have rolls to put the sausages in.  Now to keep the Ibis away from the food, which did not last very long once the Elders heard the food was ready.
The group of Elders polishing off the food that was so painstakingly prepared for them.  It was good, especially the sausage on a roll with grilled onion.

Sister Haley and I then took off to stop by Paddy's market where we bought a sweatshirt (Australian Green & Yellow colors) for me and some other items - including some cuff links with a kangaroo design. 
Then back to the flat for a short nap.   Later in the afternoon we headed to the Rocks (near Circular Quay) and on the way we met some of the Sister Missionaries who told us of a CHOCOLATE festival at Circular Quay so we made a slight  change in direction.

 The advertisement for the Chocolate Festival
 One of the booths at the festival
 Part of the crowd at the Chocolate festival
 the Opera House from the Chocolate festival side of Circular Quay
Chocolate dipped fruit - pineapple, mango, nectarine.  They were all good tasting.  We took the fruit back to the 29th floor of the building where the YSA ward is located and ate them while looking out over the Sydney skyline at night.
 Sydney skyline - looking North. Sydney Center Tower in the upper center left section.  The Opera House is the two triangles in the center right.  St Mary's Cathedral is the yellow building in the lower right side of the photo.  (sorry we do not have a better camera for these night shots).  Hyde Park is in the center 
The street to the east of Hyde Park, with St Mary's on the right leading up to the Opera House (2 white triangles) in the upper left of the picture.
The ANZAC memorial in Hyde Park

What a nice way to end the day sitting at the top of the building looking out over our new home - Sydney.