Thursday, October 16, 2014

Spring in Queensland, Australia

It is spring in Australia....  The flowers are in bloom, the birds are singing every morning to wake us and the weather is sunny and warmer every day.  I am loving it.  Sister Parsons and I went to Toowoomba on Tuesday, Sept 23, to enjoy the Toowoomba Flower Festival.  It was about a 90 minute drive southwest of Brisbane through some beautiful farm land and rolling hills.  About half way there we came across a fruit and vegetable market called The Big Orange.  We stopped and picked up some beautiful vegetables at very reasonable prices. 

The Toowoomba Flower Festival is held every year.  There are different categories of gardens: Australia natural plant gardens, home flower gardens, yard gardens, etc.  The entries are judged and awarded places in whatever category they entered.  The public gardens were not a part of the competition but were amazing.  Queens Park was a blaze of colors and textures with a large variety of flowers: snapdragons, sweet peas, tulips, petunias, pansies, daisies, etc.  I saw the most amazing tree.  It is called a bottle tree and you can see why from the picture.  There are some really amazing trees here.

Queens Park
       



























We visited the Information Center to see what was available.  Bus tours were about $45 for four hours and approximately 5 gardens which did not include the public parks.  We opted to drive ourselves.  We were provided a map with a booklet which listed all the gardens and the categories.  We visited five or six residential gardens as well as two public gardens.  It is amazing  what fits into a garden.  So much work and expense goes into these gardens.  You must have a love for gardening to do what these people do.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.        

       


















































Zone conferences for the missionaries began on Sept 22.   The Brisbane area is divided into 10 zones.  Each zone conference included two zones which is about 30 to 45 missionaries.  The mission president and his wife teach the young missionaries how to be better missionaries and to teach people not lessons.  They involved the senior missionaries in this zone conference.  Sister Parsons and I presented a funny skit on cleaning flats. We outlined Daily, Weekly and Deep Cleaning tasks and tried to encourage them to be obedient in completing these tasks and then when they get a notice of a flat inspection by the owner or the real estate agent it will be easy to have the flat clean and tidy because they are keeping it up everyday and week on Preparation Day.   (Preparation day is Monday each week when the missionaries should be cleaning their flats, grocery shopping, playing sports and possibly site seeing if time allows.

It is their one free day in the week.).  Many missionaries either do not understand how to clean or do not understand the importance of taking care of their flats.  We tried to get them to understand they are representatives of Christ and need to leave the landlords and owners with a good impression of us as responsible missionaries.

It is their one free day in the week.).  Many missionaries either do not understand how to clean or do not understand the importance of taking care of their flats.  We tried to get them to understand they are representatives of Christ and need to leave the landlords and owners with a good impression of us as responsible missionaries.  We performed in five zone conferences but were glad to see the last one roll around.   It was been great fun.  It is a good way to meet and get to know the missionaries.  Each of the senior missionaries in the office participated in some way.  Sister Montague played a game with the missionaries where they had to answer questions about the Baptismal forms.  It was fun as well.  Elder Montague presented information on mileage logs which will be a requirement from now on.  They are to record mileage each day as well as maintenance  and gas purchases.   He also inspected all the cars for maintenance, tire tread, and cleanliness. 

Funky Tree along the Street

On the 4th of October we drove south to Springbrook National Park.  It is approximately 1.5 hours southwest of Brisbane in the Gold Coast Hinterlands.   It’s geological origins date back to the vast shield volcano that was last active 10 million years ago.  Mt. Warning is its’ remnant core.  The Aboriginals called this mountain, Wollumbin meaning ‘cloud catcher.’  The  Kombumerri people, although mostly coastal dwellers, visited this mountain.  Many stone tools have been found.  European settlement began in 1906 when dairy farmers cleared the forest for pastures.  Many of the biggest trees were also logged.  The forest is reclaiming its’ land with much of the mountain covered in magnificent trees creating a haven for wildlife.



 The road up the mountain is very winding and narrow.  In places it is one lane wide.  There are a number of trails that can be hiked but also loop road with a number of scenic lookouts.  Some requiring a short walk and some right on the road.  You can see what a giant eruption it was by the enormous cauldron which is now a forest, farm land and home for wildlife and birds.

Fern Tree





















On the 6th of October the senior missionaries from up north began to arrive for our Senior Missionary Conference.  It was nice to meet all the couples from up North.  We had a wonderful three days.  One full day being taught by our Mission President and his wife and three of the senior couples.  That evening we drove south to the Gold Coast to attend a dinner show at Australian Outback Spectacular.  It was held in a very large arena with a screen at one end on which they projected segments of the show outlining the history of the Australian cattle and sheep industry.  There were also performances in the arena which included horses pulling wagons, stage coaches, as well as trick riders and other riders.  At the end of the show they had approximately 12 riders carrying the Australian flag riding precision maneuver in the arena.  Part of the admission included an Australian Outback cowboy straw hat and dinner.  The dinner was not bad and they had the serving of it down to a science.   The second day we went to Elder and Sister Orth’s home on Tamborine Mountain for lunch.  They have a lovely home on the mountain which also has a view of Warning mountain.  Everyone left Thursday to return home and we went back to the office to catch up.

This weekend was a restful one.  I had downloaded General Conference onto my computer so we were able to sit in our lounge (living room) and watch it.  We did go the New Farm Park Sunday afternoon with a picnic lunch to see the Jackaranda trees in bloom.  The lavender blossoms are so vibrant and beautiful.  The park is right on the Brisbane river so we found a bench overlooking the river and enjoyed our lunch and spent some time reading.  It was a lovely day.
 
Jackaranda Tree
Tree in New Farm Park
































October is Pink Up Racecourse Road.  Racecourse Road begins at one of the two horse race tracks in Ascot.  Horse racing is a big thing in Australia.  The community and merchants on Racecourse Road have decorated the trees lining the street in pink.  We are to vote on our favorite tree as part of the celebration.  I have included a couple of tree pictures for you.




















I am enjoying the mission and love the financial work I am doing.  It is much different from the first mission.   Each mission is different in many ways but the same as we are serving Heavenly Father and his children.  May the Lord bless each of you wherever you are......

May the Lord Bless You Every Day.......

That is is for this time........