Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016

Happy Birthday, Marisol Limon Martinez Haley

Today was "feed the missionary" day.  We try to have a "feed" about every 6 weeks for the young missionaries.  Today the Lems prepared the main part of the meal and we provided vegetables and birthday cake.  The lunch ("feed") was a success and there were NO leftovers - the missionaries (girls and guys) can sure eat !!!!!!

A "before" picture of the food line.  We had beef roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, broccoli/carrots with hollandaise sauce.  Chocolate cake for dessert

A "almost after" picture.  This was with the SECOND plate of roast beef.

Margaret and the Lems at the "senior" table.  At least the young missionaries left some food for us

most of the missionaries busily filling their mouths and stomachs

the "crew" of missionaries at the Hyde Park ward.  What a good group of young men & women.
Lunch is over and it time to get back to work.  Margaret in her normal mode of working with one of the "kids" on their English. Avril Shen is preparing to take the PTE English test and so they are doing a lot of practicing and preparing.

After lunch it is back to work for Margaret.  I am trying to catch up on the blog and then I will send out emails to remind the YSA about our Ward Christmas party at the Arthur Byrne Reserve, Maroubra beach.  Nothing like a barby on the beach.

Bishopric meeting tonight and then the day is over.  Missions are not for the faint of heart or lazy.  If you are looking for a vacation, then stay home and do not come on a mission.  you definitely put your shoulder to the wheel when you are called to a mission.

Monday, 28 Nov 2016

Today was our "P" (personal day).  We cut out most of the fabric for the baby blanket over at the meeting house because there are some long tables that we could use.
Margaret met with one of the kids for a few hours and helped them prepare for their upcoming test in 2 weeks.  I met with one of the YSA guys and helped him with getting some things straightened out with the new flat manager. He is changing flats and got some things hosed up.
Then it was back to the flat.

Margaret baked a chocolate cake and then made snickerdoodles.  She was going to make chocolate chip cookies, but for some reason she changed her mind and made the snickerdoodles.  Well, we found out on Tuesday why her mind was changed - one of the new young missionaries had his birthday on Tuesday and his favorite cookie is snickerdoodles !!!  So just like Elder Bednar has said - most inspiration comes but we do not know it until some time later.  We are just trying to be good boys and girls and do the right thing, only to find out some time later how our actions were set in motion to help someone else.  No angels coming down from heaven saying "you are now going to be inspired to make snickerdoodles"

We made it to FHE and I spent the time on level 2 with the YSA, while Margaret stayed for a while and then went home to bake the snickerdoodles.

Sunday, 27 Nov 2016

Sundays are long days.  Longer than anything we experienced in Newbury Park.  They start at 8:30 am for Mike and to until at least 4 pm.  This Sunday we also had a regional YSA devotional at Villawood which is about 1 1/2 hour train/bus ride from Hyde Park meetinghouse.  We were lucky as the Lems were able to borrow the Zone leaders car and we drove - only 50 minutes by car.
The YSA have a devotional every 4th Sunday of the month, except December.  Usually we get a live video feed from Villawood to the Hyde Park meeting house but this time our stake, Harbour Stake, was in charge of the devotional so we decided to go visit in person this time.

Before the meeting we met Dennis & Paulette Phillips and gas bagged for an hour before the meeting and before they had to leave for a different meeting.  Ah, it was good to be with them again.  We will be getting together some more.

 The devotional has musical numbers and some testimonies - the testimonies are pretty good.  One of the brothers told how he developed this testimony while on his mission.  The concluding speaker was Elder Hamilton, Area Seventy, and he talked about if Heavenly Father talks to us.  The answer is of course that he does.  He gave some examples about attending various stake meetings or making visits to some of the saints during a stake conference and how the Holy Ghost will just let him know that a particular person is the one for a calling that the stake needs or has had trouble filling. We have to be attuned to the Spirit and we have to be ready to listen and ready to act on what we are told by the Spirit.  He quoted President Russell M. Nelson - "you need to learn to listen and listen to learn".  We need to pray for opportunities to share our beliefs and then be ready when those opportunities show up at our doorstop.  They never show up at a convenient time, so we need to know that and make the time for them as they will most likely not come back.

We got home around 10 pm.

It was a good day.

Saturday, 26 Nov 2016

Since we did not clean Friday night, due to the Flames basketball game, we cleaned level 1 on Saturday morning.  For those who complain about cleaning the ward building 1 time every 6 months or so - we clean every other week and it takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If you get called on a mission, be prepared to work as this is not a vacation.

After cleaning, Margaret took me to Lincraft fabric store to buy material for a baby blanket for one of the sisters here in the ward.  We have about 3-4 young married couples assigned to the ward to help fill in some of the callings that the YSA cannot fill.  SOOOoooooooooooooo, a few hours later "we" had the fabric figured out.  Then we also had to buy the rotary cutter, cutting board and straight edge because all of that equipment was in our storage back in the USA.

Then it was back home for a late lunch and a nap.  The rest of the day was spent at the flat with cleaning, food prep, etc.  It was good to have a half way lazy day.  We were invited to see the fireworks at Darling Harbour, but took a pass on that.  Darling Harbour has fireworks every other Saturday, so we will have another chance.

Friday, 25 Nov 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the USA.

We worked with YSA and others today on English.  Pushing on diction and/or pronunciation as that seems to be one of the main issues facing the kids.

Tonight we go to watch the Sydney Flames play basketball.  The Flames are one of the women pro basketball teams in Australia.  Jennifer Hamson, BYU graduate, plays for the Flames and is a member of our YSA ward.  The game was a nail biter.  They went into over time, but the Flames came out the winners - 93 to 86.  It was our first game to attend and it was definitely an exciting one.

more of the iron work in the balcony - sure love this kind of iron work here in Australia

The flyer hanging on the wall advertising the Flames' game.  Jennifer Hamson's picture is on the flyer.  She is one of two "imports" for the Flames

Jennifer Hamson on court.  The girl in the white uniform is also a member of the Church and playing for the Bendigo Spirit

We all did try to stand up tall for this photo, but we still came up a bit short.  Haleys on the left. Jennifer Hamson in the centre.  Lems on the right

Jennifer Hamson in centre with Bishop Akroyd and family (Sister Akroyd on the left and Bailey on the right).  The girl immediately to Jennifer's right is with the Spirit and a member of the Church in Melbourne

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wed-Thursday, 23-24 Nov 2016

We decided to take Wednesday afternoon off as part of our Thanksgiving Day (Thursday).  Australia does not celebrate Thanksgiving since it is an American holiday, but the Mission President basically declared Thanksgiving as a holiday for the senior missionaries.  The young missionaries still had to work on Thursday, 24 Nov - hah, at least one privilege for being a "senior" missionary.

We are to provide a mixed fruit dish for Thanksgiving, so we went to Costco on Monday and bought apples, pineapple & frozen berries. Then on Tuesday we went to Coles and bought the rest of the fruit.

Wednesday we worked in the morning and caught the train at about 1 pm for Seven Hills.  Rhonda Crosbie met us at the train station and took us back to her place, but did make a stop at Bunnings so I could look for some hardware items that I needed.  Her knee replacement surgery is doing well and she has been allowed to drive this week.  The girls dropped me off at Rhonda's with a list of "fix-it" jobs and took off to shop for dinner.  A LONG time later they came back with the food, but had also taken a few detours through other stores while they were out.  I was able to get most of the jobs done before they came back.   One item that I was not able to get finished was to change the frequency on her remote/wireless doorbell, but we got it figured out after they got back.  Now Rhonda will not have the doorbell going off in the middle of the night caused by some other neighbor having the same frequency.   We had a good time visiting with Rhonda.

Thursday morning we finished cutting up the fruit and making the fruit dish. Rhonda's daughter-in-law picked us up and took us over to the mission home.  The ladies met at noon and took off for Castle Towers shopping centre while the men watched a little football and discussed some Church organisational items.  Some of us got tired of football and went over to the meeting room and set up the tables/chairs for the 4 pm Thanksgiving dinner.  We decided to use the china dishes instead of plastic plates and even put tablecloths on the tables - impressed ????
Dinner was plentiful, just like back home.  We had great food and visited with those at our table. After dinner we cleaned up, packed up and then headed to the train station for the ride home.  We got home and unpacked the trolley.  Then we fell into bed and slept soundly.

 Senior Missionaries gathering around the tables, patiently waiting for the food to be ready to consume
 The turkey
 The turkey being placed on a platter, so we can eat it
Vegetable plate from the Lems with dip in the red/orange peppers in the middle of the plate
 more of the table being prepared.  Turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes in the foreground.  Margaret way in the back cutting up the dessert
 Fuit plate & veggies in foreground with pies in the back
 Dessert anyone?
 Margaret (on right) cutting up a pie
Margaret with her plate of Thanksgiving dinner

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Saturday 19 Nov 2016

Today was a complete Saturday off.  We spent the morning cleaning the flat and Margaret made Lasagne - without cottage cheese which is a bit different here than in the USA.
At 1 pm we met with one of the students and heard how their test went on Friday - not so good according to them. They are to take the test again in 2-3 weeks, so we are putting on a full court press over the next few weeks to help them practice the parts of the test where they need some more help.

Around 4 pm we took off and walked to the Royal Botanical Gardens.  We wanted to see if the rose garden was  still there and how it looked.  We found that the rose garden was not as big as it used to be - nothing stays the same.  So below is our picture story of our walk.  We tried to eat dinner at the street fair in the Rocks, but it was closed so we had to eat at home - not so bad actually since we were able to check out the lasagna.

The last of the roses.  Most have bloomed and died away

BUT the lilies were out in force

Lots of lilies

and more lilies

and lavendar lilies.   GORGEOUS

One of the fig trees in the Royal Gardens.  The trunks are very gnarly and some of the trunk is actually additional roots.  Good looking woman standing next to the tree

The Royal Gardens are pushing chocolate - good for them

What is left of the rose garden. There are some beds just past the building at the end of the walk that Mike is walking on.

The "last" new bloom of the season.

Built as the stables for the Government House (home of the Governor), this building is now part of the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney University

Cadillac waiting to carry away a bridal party at the Conservatorium

Not to be outdone, someone has a Rolls Royce waiting for them

Anyone for a short jaunt around the harbour?  Cruise ship pulling out of Circular Quay on it's way to New Zealand 

The front of the Opera House as seen from the Royal Gardens

The Harbour bridge from the Royal Gardens.  Ferry boats on either side and Opera House to the right

The Royal Botanical Gardens are 200 years old this year

Anyone interested in their wedding photos being taken on the steps of the Opera House?

Time to go home and eat dinner.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday, 18 Nov 2016

Thank goodness it is Friday - we actually get a few hours off tonight as we do not have to clean level 1 of the building.
Miracles never cease in this world for those who have faith.  Faith does precede the miracle.  We have a room in the ward building that has been converted to a welcome room where there are several paintings from the life of Christ and the Book of Mormon.  The room overlooks the street out front of the building.  It was suggested that we remove the middle door to the room as it blocks the view for those in the room.  Since removing the door makes a change to the structure of the building, we have to have approval from several levels in the local Church administration, and then make a request to the local building facilities organisation to arrange for someone to come and remove the door for us.  We got the approvals easily and then submitted the request to facilities.  In our request we offered to remove and store the door, so that facilities could do more important things - VOILA !!, we were given permission to carefully remove the door and store it.  As stated - miracles never cease to happen.

Mike also went to one of the universities (UTS- University of Technology, Sydney) to attend a disciplinary review for one of the Chinese YSA.  Mike had helped him with one of his homework assignments - trying to help teach him proper English which was not being taught at the school.  He was accused of cheating, so we met with the Uni staff and explained what was done.  Then we were told how we should do such things in the future.  Hopefully they understood that all was done with an intent to teach the YSA student and they will not do anything drastic.  I left the meeting feeling fairly good, but we will see.

We finished working with the YSA around 6 pm and then vacuumed our office space - leaving the rest of level 1 for the Lems, as it is their week to clean.  We walked down to Circular Quay and nosed around for a while.  We were able to see the Opera House as the sun set and also after dark.  Funny how we never get tired of seeing the Opera House.  We could also see Luna Park across the harbour on Milson's Point.  The street vendors in the Rocks area were closed - I guess they only open on Saturday night  (maybe we will check them out on Saturday).

Then we had dinner at City Extra - a cafe on the wharf at Circular Quay.  Nothing fancy, but it was there.  We then caught the train back to Museum Station and were home by 10 pm or so.
Lunch at the new Thai restaurant in our building, ground floor

The steeples of St Mary's with the setting sun glistening on them.  A beautiful site

The menu at Phillip's Foote where you choose your meat and BBQ (grill) it yourself.  A favorite place of ours, but we have not been there yet this trip

The Opera House at night

From Circular Quay.  Opera House on the right.  Harbour bridge on the left with Luna Park directly below the bridge (all the white lights)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday, 16 Nov 2016

Today was finding the 1 and leaving the 90 & 9.  We use Wednesday afternoons to go find the "lost sheep".  Today we went to Burwood and Homebush.   Burwood has a large Chinese population and Homebush has both a large Chinese and Indian population.

We visited the flats of 4 of our members, but did not find anyone home.  We made phone calls and found that 2 of them have moved to other parts of Australia, and two of them are still residing here in Sydney.

Sister Haley at Burwood station waiting on a train to take us to Strathfield so we can catch a train to Homebush

Homebush station.  Note the fancy, old time grill work on the top of the station cover

Homebush station sign

Fleminton station where we got off to go to Homebush West for one of the lost sheep.  The Sydney Markets are here, and we think they are (the ??) one of the wholesale markets for Sydney.

One of the streets in Homebush West.  We bought some meat & chicken Masala dry mix from an Indian/Sri Lankan store a bit further down the street.  We need to find a day that we can try them out - hard to wait that long.

Picture of some of the fruit for sale at the store in the above picture

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sunday, 13 Nov 2016

Sundays are always good.  They are also busy.
Today we had bishopric training at Greenwich Stake Center - that was good and instructive.  We learned that when we extend a calling to someone in the ward that we should make sure they have 5 things -
1 - communicate vision and value of the calling
2- incentives - what do they get out of the calling
3- skills - they need to have or be given the skills necessary to do the calling
4 - resources - they need to know where to get the necessary resources to do their calling
5 - Action/execution plan - they need to know how/what/when to do their calling and to have regular follow up by those who called them

If any 1 or more of the above are missing, then one or more of the following problems can ensue -

Sounds just like something President Jordan, Newbury Park Stake President would teach.

We then attended a general priesthood meeting where 3 of our members were sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and to be ordained an Elder.  These young men (and the young women) never cease to amaze me at their faithfulness and growth in the Gospel.  Many of the future leaders of the Church in China (and other Asian countries) are right before my eyes.

Picture of the Hyde Park ward  missionary committee. It includes the ward missionaries, the full time missionaries, senior couples and bishopric.  Quite a crew we have working on missionary work here in Hyde Park YSA ward

Elder Haley with Bishop Akroyd.  Elder Haley is 2nd counselor in the bishopric.  Bishop Akroyd is quite a person and I look up to him.  He is a great bishop and has a heart of gold