Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Winter in Australia

July 15, 2015

The days and weeks are just flying by.  I cannot believe it has been two months since I posted anything to the blog. I was in the Juneau Airport when I posted my last blog.  I flew to Seattle, rented a car and drove to Poulsbo to see Brett, Meredith and Paige.  It was a very short visit as I left Seattle the afternoon of May 14th, flew to Los Angles to catch the 11:15 flight on New Zealand air for the 13 hour flight to Aukland, New Zealand.  I had a 2 hour lay over before catching a flight to Brisbane.  I can now say I have been to New Zealand although all I saw was the airport.   I arrived in Brisbane on Saturday, May 16 at 11:15 AM. 

Sister Parsons picked me up at the airport.  The Assistants to the President had told her they needed to talk with me about transfers because they were returning home on Monday and new Assistants would be called to work with the Mission President.   We went to the Mission Office so they could update me on flats that would be vacated and new flats that would be needed.

I had thought the transfers had happened while I was in Alaska but they were the week I returned to the Mission Office.  So I did not miss the fun of welcoming the new missionaries into the Australia Brisbane Mission. 

Lamb on the Barbee
May 23, 2015 Sister Parsons and I went to the Paniyiri Greek Festival held at Musgrave Park. It was the 39th year for the festival.  There were many food booths sponsored by a number of Greek churchs throughout the Brisbane area.  There were a number of activities: food, dance, wine, music, cultural lectures, eating competitions, plate smashing, church displays, Zorba traditional Greek cooking demos, fireworks and more.  We attended several cooking demos and then bought our lunch of Greek food at one of the many booths selling food.  The picture is of a lamb being roasted at one of the booths.  When we first arrived there were a lot of people roaming around the park but when we came out of the food demos the park was a sea of people.  It was hard to move from one place to another.  It is a very popular festival.  I had not idea there were so many people of Greek heritage in Brisbane.


 Here are two pictures of the beautiful sunsets we get here in Brisbane.  I thought the clouds were very Interesting in the one to the left.

This one is a bit dark but it was a beautiful sunset.

On May 30th we took another trip to Bribie Island to check out things for my family to do when they come this month.  Bribie is the only island that has a bridge to it.  We found a company that has kayaks, stand up paddle boards, segways, and bikes for hire.  We drove across the island to have a picnic lunch and ran across a senior couple who were there with their son and daughter-in-law.  We enjoyed visiting with them, sitting on the beach and reading.  The sky divers were out landing just down the beach from us.  It was a very relaxing afternoon. 

A senior couple from St. George are serving here in Brisbane.  They sing in the Southern Heritage Choir in St. George.  They proposed beginning a choir here in Brisbane.  It was approved by the Stake Presidents so Sister Gill went to the US to talk with the choir and learn just how it functioned.  She returned and began soliciting singers from the church and community.  This began in April and in June they performed on two weekend and gave amazing performances.  They are called the Voices of Brisbane.  They are scheduled to perfom again in October.  Sister Gill is the conductor and has an amazing ability to pull the best out of each choir member.  You can see the love she has for music as she conducts.  Watching her and listening to the choir is a joy. 

June 23rd was the beginning of the Australia Brisbane Mission Tour by Elder Pearson, President of the Asia Pacific Area.  All the missionaries from Northern Queensland were flown to Brisbane for the Tuesday meeting.  The Senior Missionaries had dinner with Elder Pearson and his wife at the Mission home.  The seniors in Brisbane prepared soup, salad and desert for the meal.  Everyone had a great time and enjoyed getting to know Elder Pearson and his wife.  Ten years  ago Elder Pearson was the Mission President for the Washington Federal Way Mission and was over the missionaries in Poulsbo, Wa.  It was great to talk with them about Washington.  They loved it there but now they are living in Auckland, New Zealand. 

3rd Zone Meeting

Elder Pearson and his wife spoke at two more meetings with the missionaries here in Brisbane.  He and his wife are very motivational and knowledgeable speakers.  They know the Gospel, love the Lord and care about all of our Heavenly Father’s children.  They had great council for all the missionaries.  The pictures are of all those who attended each of the three meetings.   President and Sister Henderson are in he center of each picture and Elder and Sister Pearson are to the right of them as you look at the picture.

So this brings us up to the 4th of July.  Elder & Sister Mickelsen, Sister Parsons and myself wanted to do something for the 4th of July.  We invited all the other seniors in Brisbane to join us if they liked.  They all were happy to join us.  We decided to go to a small island just off the coast called Coochiemudlo Island.  It is a small island with a little over 400 homes and under a thousand residents.  There are no schools on the island.  The children take the ferry to Brisbane (Victory Point) every day to school at no cost.  Many residents keep a car on the Brisbane side instead of paying for it everyday.  The island is small enough you can walk around it.  Lt. Mathew Flinder RN was the first European to set foot on Coochiemudlo Island. He landed his sloop, the Norfolk, on the 19th of July 1799. It had been known to generations of Aborginal families as Kuych Mudlo, the place where they obtained red ochre stones used as body decoration and as red pigment for shields and skin.   Every year they celebrate Flinders Day with a parade and craft fair that is well attended by mainlanders.

Seniors on Coochiemudlo Island

Walk thru Wetlands

Seniors as we gathered on Choociemudlo Island on the 4th of July.

Some of you will recognize this name as a company in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Flower along trail

 A beautiful flower along the trail.  It seems to us that flowers  bloom here every month of the year.   Sister Parsons has been affected by allergies since we arrived.  We are very observant of any new bloom.                                                                                         

Believe this is a tribute to a Aboriginal

We came across this memorial on our walk in the wetlands.

Strange Fungus on TreE

We had lunch at the Red Rock cafĂ© then walked part-way around the island.  On our walk we met a local resident who gave us a lot of history and was very interesting.  She was on her way to crash a beach picnic.  The island has some very interesting trees, flowers and a nice beach all the way around.

We arrived home after dark so Elder and Sister Mickelsen, Sister Parsons and I lit off sparklers to celebrate our countries birthday.  It was a perfect end of the 4th of July. 

4th of July Seniors in Brisbane, QLD, Australia
From left to right: Elder & Sister Mickelsen, Elder & Sister Madsen, Elder & Sister Johnson, Elder & Sister Richins, Elder & Sister Mizakawa, and Sister Parsons.

Mackay Family heading for Church

Father with Tripletts

I had to share these pictures of a family in Mackay.  We should have no excuse for not getting to church.  This family is a great example for all of us.  All children are six and under.

My family arrives in 14 days.  I am so excited to have them here.  We are going to have a great time.  You will see and hear about the time together in the next blog.

I hope you enjoy the journey in this blog......