Sunday, 3 January 2016

November 21, 2015

I am getting behind on blogging.  We have just been so busy and in the evenings by the time I fix dinner and get it cleaned up I am too tired to want to blog.  I am going to try to be better though.

On Saturday the 21st we packed our suitcases, headed to Penrose Stake to do a Priesthood training then headed for the airport.  We are going to Brisbane Australia to work with our new Education Specialist couple and the Self-Reliance couple there. We arrived at 9:15 p.m. and Carl Maurer the Self-Reliance Manager in Brisbane picked us up and took us to our hotel, very nice.  We are right on the River overlooking downtown Brisbane.
We went for a walk along the river every morning and this is heading back to our hotel, The Point which is on Kangaroo Point.
This is from the balcony of our hotel room.  You can see the Story Bridge and Downtown Brisbane.  It was a very beautiful, clean city and had a good feeling to it.

 Sunday Carl picked us up and we spoke in sacrament meeting, taught a combined YSA and YM/YW group on the doctrine of education.  We had lunch with Elder and Sister Palfreyman, our new Education Specialist Missionaries there, at Elder and Sister Johnson's home, who are our Self-Reliance Missionaries there in Brisbane. After lunch we hurried back to the Carrawatha Chapel to attend a Self-Reliance Committee Meeting with Carl and all the Stake Self-Reliance Specialists which we presented at.  Then we attended a regional YSA meeting with all the YSA reps from the stakes in the region and had about 15 minutes in that meeting.  Then we attended a very interesting YSA regional devotional with a non-member, journalist speaking on loving your neighbour in a digital age.  It was very good.  We returned to our hotel at 9:30 p.m. very tired but grateful for all the experiences we had enjoyed on this Sabbath day.
 We forgot our memory card for our camera so we did not buy a new one until Tuesday late afternoon so we did not get any pictures before Wednesday.  On Monday we trained all morning with Carl, the Palfreymans and Johnsons.  We then went to Palfreyman's home to see how it was and spent a couple of hours visiting with them and helping them understand what this calling is all about.  Elder and Sister Johnson picked us up and took us to downtown Brisbane to walk around and we took them to dinner.
On Tuesday we trained all morning again, did a little site-seeing around the Gold Coast then did a fireside for the Ipswich Stake.  After Reed finished that evening the Self-Reliance Specialist came up to us and said he finally understood what we were trying to do with the English and Study Groups.  It was nice to have the light go on.

Wednesday we were able to meet with other missionary couples serving there in Brisbane.  We trained them on the Education groups and they were all very excited to help get some of these things going in the areas where they are serving.  Everyone sees the need to help the saints with their educational needs and to get them into school and keep them there.  We are happy to have our missionaries and Self-Reliance Managers catching the vision.

There were these big lizards every where we went.  Some of them were very large.
 Wednesday afternoon everyone was tired so we went downtown so we could get some pictures.  They had just finished decorating this big Christmas on the square outside their government buildings.
Reed with a couple of kangaroo statues.

The flowers were in full bloom and this walkway was very colourful with bougainvillea along the downtown side of the river. It is much hotter in Brisbane.  It was 34C (94F) we were hot and tired by the time we caught a water taxi back to our side of the river.  Carl picked us up at 7:00 p.m. and we did a YSA workshop for the Neurang Stake.  We got home around 10:00 p.m. ready to call it a day.
Thursday November 26th, Thanksgiving Day.  We did some training again in the morning and helped both couples with some computer issues.  Then Elder and Sister Johnson took us to Costco!  It was so fun to just walk around the store.  Reed had a hot dog and drink for the same price as the US.   Reed said, "What could be more American than grazing your way through samples on Thanksgiving Day at Costco."  We bought a few things to take back to New Zealand with us.

We had a little time before we needed to be back to do another workshop so they took us to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  Reed actually held a Kola and I touch him but the picture did not turn out real well.  They also let you go in where the Emus and Kangaroos are and pet them.  Nada petting an Emu on the left.
Reed petting a kangaroo and Nada had already petted a couple.  They just let you roam around with them.  Pretty domesticated.
 So cute.  Their fur is very thick.
This Kookaburra lives in the trees by Elder and Sister Johnson's backyard.  She feed them fresh meat every day and they just come and sit on the fence and eat it.  It was fascinating to watch them and listen to them.  They have a very loud and distinct laugh.
Thursday evening we did another YM/YW workshop on education.  Read talked to them about the Doctrine of Education and then gave them tips on how to take notes, how to read and understand textbooks, and how to study in groups.  The kids listened and made some good comments.
Friday we took the day off with Elder and Sister Johnson and went site seeing.  We went to Springbook Park and did some hiking to waterfalls.
 There were a lot of Strangler Figs wrapping themselves around the other trees.  They end up killing the tress.  They look really cool but they are not good.
These are Jacaranda Trees.  They are so beautiful when they are in bloom with these purple flowers and then when the color is gone they are just ordinary trees.
Nada and Elder and Sister Johnson hiking to the Best Of All Lookout spot.  It was a bit cloudy with a lot of moisture in the air so it was not quite as good of a look at as it could have been.
Purling Brook Falls

 A wild turkey.  He came right up to us.  Did not look very appetizing.
 If you look carefully you can see a Paddymelon (very small like kangaroo) running across the road in front of this truck.
 As we were driving back into the city we passed this group of trees with all these bats hanging in them.  There were hundreds of them.
 Saturday, November 28, 2015 we got up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the shuttle to take us to the airport to fly back to Auckland.  They upgraded us to Business Class.  Oh my, now that is the way to fly.  Wish it would have been longer than a three hour flight.

We really enjoyed our time in Brisbane.  We loved getting to know the other missionaries better and training them was an honour.  They have started a few English and Study groups.  They will start back in earnest when school starts up again.  School is out here for the Christmas break and then Summer break.  Most schools will begin again the last week of January or first week of February.

We feel blessed to work with such wonderful, dedicated people.  We know that helping the Saints understand how important finishing high school successfully so they can move forward with some kind of tertiary training will improve and change their lives.  The Gospel is true and Heavenly Father knows us and expects us to learn and do all we can so we can live with him forever.

Until next time, love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada)



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