Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

December 21, 2014  (Australia Date)

It is winter at home with cold temperatures, rain and snow while we are enjoying the beginning of summer with temperatures in the 80's and sometimes 90's.  When it get really hot for a few days we get summer storms full of lightning, thunder and rain.  On occasion the heavens even send down some hail.  We had an amazing storm on the 27th of November.  Sister Parsons and I were at the mission home helping to make beds when it hit.  There were hail stones over an inch in diameter.  Put a number of dimples in the mission cars that were out in it.  President Henderson was kind enough to go out and move our car into the garage but not before it had a number of dimples.  The storms move very fast with a lot of wind, lightning and thunder.  They are amazing to watch especially after dark when the whole sky lights up. 

Bribie Beach


On November 29th we drove north to Bribie Island which is the only island on the Queensland coast that you can drive to.  It had an amazingly long beautiful sandy beach on the ocean side.  The sand was like sugar and we walked in the surf as many people played in it.  The water was bath water warm.  It is the best beach we have found.  Our next trip to Bribie, my swimsuit will go and I will enjoy the surf.


Bribie Beach

I had to walk the beach under an umbrella because on the 19th of November I had gone to have a spot on my nose checked out.  There is so much skin cancer in Australia that there are cancer screening clinics everywhere.  This red spot had appeared this summer and just would not go away.  It did not hurt but it concerned me. So I went to a clinic down the street from the mission office.  A doctor checked my entire body and was only concerned with the spot I had come in for.  She took a biopsy and the results came back as Basal Cell Carcinoma.  The Clinic doctor referred me to a plastic surgeon, Dr. Belt.  I saw him on the 2nd of December and was scheduled for surgery on the 4th at 8:15 AM.  We arrived about 7:20 and I was in surgery before 8AM and back to the flat by 9:30 with a stop at the Chemist to pick up some pain medication which I did not have to use.  I had two options: 1. To have the surgery with only local deading or 2. To be put under while the surgery was done.  I chose to do a local and am very glad I did.  I felt nothing and did not have the side affects of being put under.  I had very little swelling or pain and know that is a blessing given to me by the Lord.  President Henderson gave me a blessing the night before surgery and blessed me to write down my impressions during this time and to remember the Lord loves me and is aware of my work.     
Brisbane Temple Night View

I know that the Lord blessed me with this calling to Australia because he knew, I would need this medical care.  He blessed me to be just down the street from the clinic where it was diagnosed and a referral to an amazingly talented plastic surgeon.  I would not have this care in Tonga nor even been diagnosed with it until I returned home and maybe not then.  In President Henderson’s blessing he told me the Lord loves me and is aware of my service.  There are times when I wonder if he knows me even though I try to live worthy of his blessings and love.  It was good to hear of his love in the blessing.  It brought me great peace.

All the stitches are out and it is healing really well.  I am told by the physician who is serving here in our mission that in six months it will hardly be noticeable.   Noticeable or not it is better than the skin cancer hanging out on my nose.

This mission is much different than the first mission to Poland.  We have a lovely flat to come home to every night.  It is so rewarding to be able to support the mission by working in the mission office.   We have been able to participate in the zone conferences, transfer meetings, new missionary orientations and best of all welcome all the new missionaries into the mission every six weeks.  We have some amazing missionaries here in this mission.  They are from 33 countries.  Some have so little but their faith and courage to travel far from home to serve the Lord for 2 years or 18 months.  Many of them will take home experiences that will affect Their entire lives and many lives they touch.  We had a young missionary, Elder Porutu in the office for about two months.  He came from a horrible background and has little support from family in French Polynesia.  Last transfer he was sent back out into the field and this transfer he was made a trainer.  I am so proud of him.  Hopefully he will return and make major changes in his life and the life of his family.  I pray he will have the desire and opportunity to attend college someday.  I want to keep in touch with him when he leaves which will be next transfer in January.

What an amazing view we have of the mission from the mission office.  I am working with Sister Henderson to improve the flats and help teach the missionaries to respect and take care of the flats they are provided.  Some do not know how to clean and some do not understand the need.  They have a tendency to put up with things and not report problems with the flats as they are only going to be there for a short time.  We need to change that perception.


Bethlehem Market
Shepherds

There was a Christmas program at the Temple on December 13 - 14, 2014.  There was a live nativity, a Bethlehem market, shepherds and sheep, the Three Wise Men, two small singing groups around the stake center grounds which is next to the Brisbane Temple.  Each night there were two concerts.  A community Choir performed on Saturday night and a Church Young Adult Choir on Sunday who performed “The Forgotten Carols”.  Sister Parsons and I went Saturday night and had I known they were doing “The Forgotten Carols” on Sunday we would have gone then too.  Good thing we did not because many people could not get into the concert on Sunday.  People started lining up outside the gate at 5PM and it opened at 6PM.  There were over 2,000 attendees Sunday night and 1000 on Saturday night.  It will be an event again next year.  There was some concern about the weather but only had a couple of small sprinkles Sunday evening.






Three Wise Men






Nativity





















Wheel of Brisbane
Monday evening December 15, five senior couples went downtown Brisbane to attend the Meyer Christmas Parade and then the Christmas market at Southbank.  We parked at the Temple which s on the bluffs overlooking the river.  Walked down to the river and took the free ferry over to Queen Street where the parade was held.  It is a pedestrian street with multiple shops.  Most were open.  This town closes up at 5:00 PM except for Thursday night when the stores stay open until 9PM.  The parade was well attended.  It is held nightly until Christmas Eve.  The market was made of  Christmas vendors but we did not look much because we were all so hungry by the time we arrived.  We were just looking for food.  We walked by the Wheel of Brisbane on our way to the market.  It is right on the river and am sure has an amazing view of the city from the top.  Will let you know later.....



Christmas Tree with Church behind



South Bank w/city skyline
























Giant Grasshopper




We had a visitor to one of our plants last week.  Looks just like a grasshopper but 10-20 times larger.  We did not let him stick around too long because he was devouring our nice green plant.  Sister Parsons knocked him off the balcony with the broom handle.












So here is our Australian Christmas tree for those who did not see it on Facebook.  It turned out pretty cute and was easy to decorate.  It brightens up our lounge (living room).


The best news of all is my Grand-daughter, Kiera, who was serving a mission in Curitiba, Brazil returned home on the 1st of December.  She had a marvelous mission and influenced a lot of lives in Brazil.  Her Mother was extremely happy to have her home but it will be short lived as she will be returning to BYU Provo in January. 

I want to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and express my love for my Savior whose birth we celebrate.  He came to earth to provide a way for our return to our Heavenly Father.  I could never express my gratitude for all that he has done for us.  I do not have the words.  But I know he lives just as our Heavenly Father lives.  Heavenly Father loves us so much he sent his son to endure all that is required for our salvation.  May we each remember our Savior at this Christmas season. 

Happy New Year 2015.......