Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sunday, 22 Jan 2017

This week was a "back to work" week.  We were in full swing with teaching and testing.

Monday we made a trip to Costco to buy the food we needed to have pulled pork for the 16 missionaries assigned to our ward.  Here is Margaret getting on of the trolleys that we use to haul our food from the grocery store back to our flat.  Not quite the same as a SUV, but they are sufficient for our needs, and better than some people have in other parts of the world.

Margaret picking out one of the trolleys we use to carry food home from the grocery store

One of the sad parts of our mission is saying goodbye to the people we work with and help learn the English language a bit better.  BUT, it also brings happiness as we now have new friends in many different parts of the world.

Margaret & Mirjana from Slovenia.

Saturday, we did some fixit things for the sister missionaries, but changing out their shower head and changing some light bulbs.  There is always something that needs to be fixed in one of the 3 flats that are occupied by some of the missionaries that are near the Hyde Park building.

Oops, there is a cover missing

Many of the lights have the 2 prongs on the end, and no screw like we normally see in the US

This bulb has the 2 prongs on the side.  So we have at least 3 types of bulbs that need to be kept in stock - give me a break here.

Saturday noon, we went to the Rocks Saturday market for lunch and to have a look around. It was nice to get out for a bit. Then back home so Margaret could do some more work on a baby blanket and then off to see a WNBL (women's national basketball league) game.  The Sydney Flames were playing the Perth Lynx, and Jennifer Hamson (from our ward) is playing for the Flames.

It is summer.  There is a different cruise ship in Circular Quay about every 2-3 days. 

Kebab on the grill.  Margaret had Moroccan lamb kebab and I had a grilled, turkish flat bread with spinach, cheese & chicken.

Remnants of a boulder opal mine, where there are pieces of boulder with flecks of opal.  Some of the stones were pretty but most were just ok.  It really depends on how much opal is showing in the stone.

Sunday Sacrament was good - as usual.  The topic was how to recognize the Holy Ghost.  We learned that the Holy Ghost does not necessarily come to us, but we must prepare and be ready for him.  We must be ready to receive him, then feel him in our minds & hearts, then be ready to act on the promptings that we receive.

Tonight we will watch the CES fireside.

Have a blessed Sabbath.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday, 15 January 2017

In addition to our normal meetings, we held a new member fireside tonight. Normally this is held on the first Sunday of each month, but with New Year's it was moved back a few weeks.
We had some very good & moving testimonies. A Chinese couple bore their testimonies about how the Gospel has changed their lives and improved their marriage.  The husband told how the Gospel has helped him control his anger and be more peaceable in his home. A sister from the islands bore her testimony about how she used to party and drink, but after taking some lessons on the word of wisdom and being asked to live the word of wisdom by the missionaries she went to one of her normal parties.  After pouring herself a drink, she just looked at it and then just felt like she did not want to drink any more.  The final testimony was born by a Chinese man who has been studying the gospel for over two years.   He said that he has visited many other Churches & religions, but when he started studying the gospel with the missionaries he felt goose bumps all over and knew that he had found what he was looking for.

The sisters & elders sang "Come Unto Christ" as one of the musical numbers and it was really touching.

After the meeting we were able to a light dinner prepared by the Relief Society.  It was a much more extensive meal than we normally have since we normally just have dessert after these monthly new member firesides.

A good and fitting close to the Sabbath.

The Harbour YSA Ward missionaries.  A good looking group of women and men

A picture from the back of the room showing most of the Missionary Coordination Meeting (MCM) members - missionaries and ward missionaries.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday, 14 Jan 2017

My, where has the week gone.  It is Saturday and the week is a blur.  Monday (PDay) was not a Pday at all, but we worked.  That was hard after having 3 days off.  Family Home Evening was conducted by the Relief Society and it was really quite good - a good, substantive lesson and a fun activity.
The Mission President was in for interviews with the young missionaries on Wednesday and Thursday.  We had lunch with him & his wife (President & Sister Checketts) and the CES senior couple in the building (the Lems).
Thursday morning we inspected some of the flats that the young missionaries live in.  The sister's flat was the cleanest.  The elder's did ok, but have some work to do to catch up with the sisters.
We worked with several of the young kids on preparing for the various English tests that they will be taking.  So we are starting to get back into the normal routine of things.  One of the young men that I work with is starting to have a desire to come back to Church - that is a heart warming thing for me.  The sisters are now working with him and are pushing him along; whereas, I was just being a lot more gentle. The sisters are doing the right thing.
Thursday we had a man just out of the hospital stop by and ask for some help.  I talked with the bishop and we did provide some help.
Friday it was normal work and then help the Single Adults (31+) clean level 2 of the building. Then Margaret & I worked on getting the user manual for the sewing machine that is in our flat, so she can set the sewing machine to the proper stitches, tension, etc.
Another man stopped by on Saturday, but we were not able to help him.  Bishop is getting a list of food kitchens in the area where we can refer the people.  Margaret has spent the day working on the baby quilt for the expecting sister in our ward - one of the couples assigned to help with the YSA.
It is now 7:15pm and dinner is still being prepared thanks to Margaret - smells good.

Thursday-Saturday, 5-7 Jan 2017


On this day 43 years ago Terre Haute, Indiana there was 12 inches of snow on the ground and many brave souls ventured out to witness the marriage of Margaret Ann Knudsen to Michael Patrick Haley.  What a grand day that was, but not as grand as the days that followed.  43 years later we are still going strong.  How Margaret has put up with me for that long, I do not know but I am sure glad that she has.
We (that is Margaret) decided to take a 3 day holiday for our Anniversary.  We decided to take Thursday, Friday & Saturday off (more or less).

Thursday -  We went to the Westfield towers for lunch as we were out looking for some clothes for Mike.  After shopping and lunch,  we took the ferry to Parramatta which is about a 1+ hour ferry ride in the harbour and up the Parramatta river.  We walk along the Parramatta river walk and then meandered through town to Town Hall.   We found a nice little Indian restaurant and had dinner - lamb and chicken.  Then we caught the train back to the city.

The Strand Arcade - one of many shopping arcades in and around city centre

Grill'd Hamburger restaurant where we had lunch

Leaving Circular Quay on the Parramatta Ferry.  Cruise ships park in Circular Quay all the time and stay for 1-2 days.

Looking back on the Opera House

Getting ready to go under the Harbour Bridge and go up the harbour and into the Parramatta river

Houses along the bank of the harbour

More houses and shoreline.  Not sure when the harbour stops and the river starts, but pretty sure this is still part of the harbour
The shoreline that seems to be the beginning of Parramatta River

The Parramatta shoreline.  Do you see the crocodile? I do not because it is not there, but we sure thought the mangroves were a good place for them.

Parrot Island.  The tents are permanent and are rented out to the campers who decide to spend a few days on Parrot Island in the harbour.
Kissing Point - one of the stops on the way to Parramatta.
Arriving at Parramatta dock

Parramatta river walk

One of the good looking ladies on the river walk

Anniversary dinner - lamb for Margaret and chicken for me.  The meals were delicious

Friday, 6 Jan 2017

We stayed around Sydney today.  We went to a jeweler and gave him two of Margaret's earrings that had the other matching one missing - so now she will have 2 "new" sets of earrings.
We had lunch at Phillip's Foote, a favourite restaurant in the Rocks area of downtown Sydney. We also found the ground zero for the early mileage marker where all distances in Australia were measured from.  There is an Obelisk at the site.

Lamb steaks and beef kabab on the grill at Phillip's Foote

Margaret's lamb meal

The Bride with her dinner

The groom & chef with his kabab

Phillip's Foote sign and address for any adventurous souls

Year of the Rooster is 2017.  Gift from the jeweler making the new earrings for Margaret

The flip side of the coin

one side of the obelisk at mile marker 0 in Sydney

The obelisk that marks ground zero for the original distance marker of roads in Australia

The distance of some of the cities from the obelisk

The anchor from the first boat to land in Sydney Harbour in 1788 (??)

Saturday, 7 Jan 2017

Today we went off to Palm Beach, NSW Australia.  Palm Beach is a nice, little beach that is not overly crowded.  Some friends like to go up to Palm Beach to surf. We went to Palm Beach several times in the 1990s, so we wanted to go back and check it out. It was a nice sunny day and perfect for walking on the beach.  The trip from our flat to Palm Beach is about 2 hours - walking, train & bus. It was a pleasant day and a perfect end to a 3 day anniversary holiday.

Panorama of Palm Beach

More sand, surf and outcrop of land

Palm beach was not very crowded and this was on a Saturday. 

heading towards the rocks on the south side of Palm Beach

Some of the sandstone in the rocks showing how the surf has carved the rock

The rock out crop on the south of Palm Beach

The surf hitting the rocks

Happy Anniversary you two love birds

Margaret wanted a picture of an Australian Post mail box, so here it is

Para-surfing on Palm Beach.  We watched several of the surfers doing this for quite some time.  They really move quite quickly due to the strong winds

More para-surfing

A last look at Palm Beach as we head back home - Sigh!!!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017

We are almost back to normal after the holidays.  At least Mike is.  Margaret is the one goofing off today - or at least at midday.  She went to the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) for lunch with Rhonda Crosbie, Helen Jeffree, Virginia Anderson & Paulette Phillips.  The ladies are all old friends from our Castle Hill days in 1995-96.  It was a good time and gabfest for all. Margaret was sorry that it was so short.

Puppy cake from Avril for Margaret's Birthday - late since we were not together on 29 Dec.

Paulette, Margaret, Rhonda, Helen, Virginia

Dessert.  The Lemon Meringue pie was Margaret's - of course

Now back to real life.  Margaret is working with Avril on her English and preparing for the next PTE test.