Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunday, 26 Feb

Monday happened a century ago. and the rest of the week is a blur.  Mainly we worked on normal things that we have done all the other weeks that we have been here.
We have been in Sydney over 6 months now and the time is flying way too fast.

The Haleys with Lainey Xu

Flower beds in front of St Mary's

A bee on the flowers in front of St Mary's

One of the flower beds at St Mary's

Tomato festival in the Domain & Botanical Gardens

Lotus &  pads in Botanical Gardens

Two beauties at the Lotus pond, Botanical Gardens

Panorama of Sydney Harbour from the Botanical Gardens

Aboriginal design material for bush baby booties

At Town Hall train station waiting on the train to Wollstonecraft.  We are heading to a baptism for Hannah Lu

Sister Haley with Lu, Han (Hannah) at Hannah's baptism

Lest We Forget monument, Hyde Park

The central walkway at Hyde Park at night

Sulfur crested cockatoo on our balcony.  This is a bit of a rare site for our building

The same bird, but slightly different angle

Chinese pecans.  A gift from Klaus Li

Sunday 19 Feb

Monday, 13 Feb -  Today is Uncle Herb Smith's birthday.  I miss him and enjoyed the time that I lived with him & Aunt Marjorie.  Margaret & I took today off as my birthday since the 14th was going to be a busy, normal day.  We went to Phillip's Foote with the Lems for lunch and had a great lunch.  I had the marinated steak kabab and Margaret had the lamb chops - again.  We then stopped by the jewelers and dropped off my ring to have one of the prongs redone.  Margaret made some cinnamon rolls with penuche (brown sugar) icing - oh my, I really love those rolls.  I crushed the pecans and added them on top. Maybe next time (I hope there is a next time) we will had the pecans into the rolls themselves.  We gave some of the rolls to the Lems and froze a few for later.
Cinnamon rolls with penuche icing and pecans.

Margaret worked some more on the table runner.  It has aboriginal prints on one side and Australian animals on the other side.  Getting close to done.
Table runner with the aboriginal prints

Table runner with the Australian animals and scenes

It was a good day.

Tuesday, 14 Feb -  HAPPY VALENTINES DAY & HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mike.   Today was a busy, normal day.  Lots of scheduled time teaching English and sharing the gospel as part of the teaching.

Wednesday, 15 Feb - Mike needed to make a run to Officeworks to pick up a printer ink toner cartridge for the young missionaries printer.  They were out of toner and they use the printer quite a bit to print out pass along "cards" inviting people to the English class they teach each Monday - Friday at 6 pm. Then Mike needed to conduct a temple recommend interview and then have bishopric meeting, except the bishop was sick today so the bishopric meeting was cancelled.  Margaret spent a fair amount of time with Avril helping her prepare for the PTE English test.  Avril is making some fairly good progress in her pronunciation.  Mike was able to have a FB Messenger chat with one of the sister members on how to be a leader.  It was nice to have the opportunity to share experiences in leading in a way that the Saviour would do - even though the leading was at work and not at Church.  Mike came away from the chat feeling like he accomplished something today.

Thursday, 16 Feb - We were able to talk with Heather and a bit later in the day with Brea on Viber.  It was good to have a few minutes with each of them.  It is interesting how when either Margaret or Mike teaches English that we also veer off onto other subjects and discuss the questions that are nagging at the minds of the young adults that we are working with.  We hope that we are making a difference and giving them some sound advice or freedback.

Friday, 17 Feb - Today is going to be a different day - they all are.  Margaret does not have any appointments until 1 pm so she can stay home - doing laundry and sewing.  Mike had an appointment at 10 am, but it was cancelled due to a district meeting that the elder forgot about.  Tonight we clean level 1 and Mike will be helping/advising on the cleaning of level 2.  It is the Single Adults (31+) turn to clean this weekend.

Saturday, 18 Feb -  The ward temple trip is today.  We leave Hyde Park at 0830 and the temple baptisms start at 10 am.   Harbour stake conference is this weekend and Mike has a 4 pm meeting and then we both will attend the 7 pm general adult session.

Sunday, 19 Feb - Harbour Stake conference general session was held at 10 am. As usual the stake conference had several good talks.  the challenge is to now do something with the talks and not just say they were good.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sunday, 11 Feb 2017

Note - I am going to try to make a short comment for each day - at the end of the day or the next day while I can remember the day and remember whatever feelings I had.

Monday, 6 Feb -  We changed out light bulbs and one light socket in the Sister's flat this morning.  Then we cleaned up our own flat as we have an inspection by the property manager tomorrow at 10 am. Margaret will be working with Avril today - before her PTE test tomorrow.  Cristina is coming in at 1 pm to practice for her IELTS and to discuss her job prospects.  Hopefully at 2 pm I will be at a BBQ for the missionaries put on by Mino.  I left for the bbq at 2:15 and got there about 2:45.  The food sure tasted good after the walk.  I took a chicken burger sandwich back for Margaret and Avril.  FHE tonight at 7:15 pm.  Mino taught the lesson about trusting in Heavenly Father.  The activity was a blindfold tour of the building with the blindfolded people being led by the "spirit".

Tuesday, 7 Feb - Waiting on the property manager to come by at 10 am for the semi-annual inspection.  Mike has a lesson with Elder Taufa at 11.  The Elders that he teaches are doing well and have a lot of questions about what they read and other Church teachings. Today Avril takes her PTE test and we hope that she will do better than the last time.  She does seem to be more ready this time, per Margaret. We work with these kids and grow to love each of them; although, sometimes they can exasperate you - just like any other 18 to 30 year old.  We are reading the Doctrine & Covenants in the morning together and just finished D&C 20.  We have also been reading the history that relates to each revelation and it is interesting to see how the revelations came about.

Wednesday, 8 Feb - It is a rainy day today. Mike met with Cristina and we worked on speaking. She wants to take the IELTS at the end of March.  Margaret worked with Avril.  Avril did take the PTE test yesterday and feels better about it, but will not get her results until next week.  We get a satisfaction when those we help can achieve their English test goals or at least come close to them. Mike adjusted the cutting edge of the paper cutter that the missionaries use - it still will not cut a single sheet. Mike talked with Tianyi this afternoon after he finished his lesson with the sister missionaries.  He is headed to China on 15 Feb and hopefully will return in April after he gets his new visa - we hope he will get the visa. Tianyi did not achieve the IELTS score he needed to get an extension on his visa.  Lots of kids coming in & out today.  It is a good place for them to come and meet with other members & friends.  It is nice that we have such a place for them to meet.

Thursday, 9 Feb - Where has the time gone?  It is now Friday, 17 Feb and I think I have forgotten all that has happened since 9 Feb.  Today was a typical day of teaching and practice testing.  The English language is a hard one to learn as the rules (and exceptions) are all so backwards to the way most other languages are used.

Friday, 10 Feb - The carpets on level 2 of the Hyde Park meeting house were cleaned this morning and Mike had to be over to let the cleaning guy in.  Then a bunch of teaching of English until about 5 pm.  At around 5 pm, we grabbed our backpacks and headed out to Rouse Hill to spend the nigh with Rhonda Crosbie.  We met her at the Rouse Hill shopping mall and had a Thai dinner and frozen yogurt.
Margaret & Rhonda with the frozen yogurt

We stopped at Coles on the way home to pick up some food for Saturday.  We were tempted (NOT) to buy some Vegemite that was on sale.

Saturday, 11 Feb - We spent a nice leisurely day with Rhonda.  We took a walk in the bush land set aside as a green area near her home.  Margaret & Rhonda spent the day gas-bagging and Mike worked on taxes.  Margaret & Rhonda slipped out of the house to buy a birthday card for Mike and came back with the card PLUS TWO dresses for Margaret - a fair deal I was told by Rhonda.
One of the dresses bought by Margaret

Sunday, 12 Feb -  It was a busy day with meetings for Mike starting at 0830 and going to about 4 or 4:30 pm.  With the YSA covering a lot of territory the travel times can get pretty long for the YSA, so we try to cram as much as we can into Sunday.  We had one of the new members talk as well as 2 of the young missionaries.  You can see a lot of growth in both the members and young missionaries - especially the missionaries from the Asian countries. They really work hard at doing what is right and learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday, 4 Feb 2017

Another week just whizzed by

Monday, 30 Jan -  We spent some time teaching in the morning and then worked on catching up with other things the rest of the day. Margaret went shopping for Aboriginal fabric to make a table runner, which she will be making on 4 Feb. FHE was conducted by Bishop Akroyd and we reviewed the Pacific Area plan for 2017 - strengthening our faith in Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ.
The fabric for one side

Australian animal fabric for the other side

Tuesday, 31 Jan - Today President Checketts held a Zone Conference in Greenwich.  The Haleys and Lems attended the meetings and prepared the lunch for the 30+ young missionaries.
Happy Missionaries since they have been fed

Wednesday, 1 Feb

Oh my, another month down.  Time is really flying by.   We went to Costco in the morning to get Mike's hearing aids adjusted.  Then back to the meeting house for lessons and teaching.

Thursday, 2 Feb

We went to Costello's and picked up our opal rings today.  Pictures to follow.  Mike has to take his ring back for a minor adjustment.  Mike also had to go to the bank to wrestle with the people there on a matter for the ward as part of his counselor assignment.  Mike lost the wrestle.
Mike's boulder opal

The same ring at a slightly different angle gives a totally different set of colours

Margaret's ring.  3 white opals inlaid in gold.  Solid back to help the light reflect back out the opal; hence, giving the blue & green colors.

Friday, 3 Feb\

More window cleaning - the ones they could not get to last Saturday.  Also had to get a key made for one of the Elder's flats since they lost a key.

Saturday, 4 Feb

We held a ward leader training meeting in the morning, along with breakfast .Mike is still full from breakfast.  Margaret is out in Carlingford working on the table runner.  Mike has been assigned by Margaret to bake a 2nd chocolate cake - time to go home and do that.

Sunday, 5 Feb

Fast Sunday.  The Fast breaker was prepared by the Lems.  Dessert was by the Lems and Haleys. We held MCM at 3 pm and said goodbye to all the missionaries that are being transferred on Tuesday or going home.  Sister Ihler is going home.

Panorama of the MCM

A group photo of the Harbour YSA ward MCM

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sunday, 29 Jan 2017

Where does the time go?  It was just Sunday the other day and now it is Sunday again. (actually it is Tuesday, 31 Jan, but that is another story and blog entry)

Monday, 23 Jan -   We did some teaching today and I made a welfare grocery run.  Then off to Carlingford for FHE with the Senior Missionaries.  Since it is close to Australia Day, 26 Jan, we had Aussie food for dinner - compliments of Sister Barr and the McSweeney's

Aussie dinner - meat pies, sausages, chips (fries)

BBQ sauce on the sausage

Table runner going away gift for the Leisters.  With various Australian and Aboriginal designed material.

Tuesday, 24 Jan -  We did our normal teaching and IELTS practice testing.   Bishop Akroyd is going up north for the holiday (Australia Day), so we held our bishopric meeting tonight.  The Pacific Area has issued their plan for 2017 and we will be presenting that on Sunday during the 3rd hour.

Wednesday, 25 Jan - Getting ready for tomorrow and celebrating Australia Day.  Margaret stayed home to get a BUNCH of sewing done for the missionaries - sewing up pants and shirts.  Margaret finished the baby quilt for the Petry's and we delivered it on Tuesday, 31 Jan

Baby quilt - binding & ties

Baby quilt - binding and back

Baby quilt - back & binding

Baby quilt - top

Thursday, 26 Jan 2017

AUSTRALIA DAY -  Happy Birthday, Australia   We took most of the day off to enjoy the public holiday.  Around 5 pm we walked over to Darling Harbour to stake our a piece of real estate to plop our bodies and watch the festivities.  The Lems went with us.  We grabbed a take away Gozleme (look it up) and waited for the Dragon Boat races at 7 pm and the fireworks at 9 pm.  Lots of people dressed up in the Australian flag.  It was a good day.

Panorama of Darling Harbour on Australia Day

Want an Australian tie????

Australia, Australia

Everyone gets into the act on Australia Day

Twins.  At least twin hair bows

Margaret & the Lems - waiting and looking tired

Dragon Boat races
And I mean everyone wants to get into the Australia Day act

And now for the fireworks

and more

and more

even more

and not finished yet

Let's shoot for the sky

A waterfall of fireworks off the Darling Harbour causeway bridge

Friday, 27 Jan 2017
Lunar New Year's Eve.   We went to China town, but there was not much happening.  There was a lion dancer, but that was about it - other than a LOT of people looking around.  The year of the Rooster, but NO rooster tie.

China Town Lion Dancer and a Bazillion people

The Lion again

Down the main walkway through China Town, Sydney Australia

Saturday, 28 Jan 2017
Lunar New Year's Day

We had window cleaners come wash the windows on both levels of the meeting house, so Mike was over at the meeting house at 6 am to check things out and to give the cleaners access to some of the windows.  Later in the day, Margaret met with one of the women she is teaching and spent a few hours with her.  Then off to Greenwich for the baptism of 4 converts at 5 pm.  It was a good meeting and the talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost were given by fairly new members - they did an excellent job.  Then back to the flat to change clothes and  off to Circular Quay to see the larger than life lunar animal lanterns that are spread around the wharf area.  We grabbed a sandwich while down there.  It is the year of the Rooster so that specific lantern was closest to the Opera House.

The Harbour Bridge with RED lights

The sheep

The Dragon

The Mouse.  Margaret's lunar animal

The Monkey

The Opera House - red

The Cow

The Tiger
The Opera House turning red for Lunar New Year

The Snake

The Horse

Sunday, 29 Jan 2017

The speakers in Sacrament were really good today.  They talked about Heavenly Father and how we can get to know him better.  One of the speakers talked about her dad and related how she can know Heavenly Father, just like she knows her own father.  After the 3 hours, we had ice cream and in honor of Lunar New Year we had dumplings.   After all the meetings and eating, Margaret and I changed clothes and walked to Circular Quay where we looked at the last of the lunar animal lanterns that we had not seen the night before.
The Pig  (and Mike, just in case you are not sure which is which)

The other side of the Pig, with Mike.  This is Mike's Lunar animal

The Rabbit with a little help from Margaret

The Harbour bridge from close to the southern starting point of the bridge