Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Friday February 26, 2016.  Elder Johnson took us to the airport at 5:30 a.m.and we boarded a plane to fly to Melbourne.  Elder Leota wanted us to come back to Australia and do some training in Melbourne so he and Carl decided to have us come back to back and share the cost.  We landed in Melbourne at 10:00 a.m. and Elder and Sister Myers picked us up.  We went to their house to drop off our luggage because they are going to let us stay with them because they have three bedrooms, two baths and it will save time and money.  It was fun to stay with them and get to know them better.

We wanted to go to Queen Victoria Market so after we unpacked we headed to town.  We went to the market when we visited in December of 2013 on our way home from our Samoan Mission and I really wanted to go there again.  It is the greatest market place.
Reed loved being in Melbourne again and recognizing some of the old buildings to the right and new buildings above.
 They sold quite a few Aboriginal art pieces.  This market has all kinds of clothes, art, purses, crafts, boots, ties, leather products, etc.  We bought some gifts to take home to our granddaughters.  Most of the products are well made and a decent price.
Besides all the crafts and clothing booths they have rows and rows of fresh fruit and vegetables for sale.  Some of which we have never heard of or seen before.
They also have a deli area with so many different kinds of cheeses, olives, sausages, smoked meats, etc.
Then they have a whole meat market with any kind of meat you can think of to buy.  We had a wonderful time walking around, eating, and shopping.  If you ever get to Melbourne do not miss The Queen Victoria Market!  Elder and Sister Jose met us and we had a fun time together.

Elder and Sister Myers and Reed and I headed about an hour out of town to see some sand sculptures.  We arrived five minutes after they closed and they would not let us in.  We walked around the fence and looked through the cracks.  They are pretty fancy sand sculptures.  Wish we could have seen them all and up close.

We walked around the park area over to the bay which leads out to the Tasman Sea.  You can see the sand sculptures behind us.  Beautiful day and area.
 Headed back into town and stopped at Saint Kilda Pier to wait for dusk to watch the penguins come to shore.  We went over to the pier where the big cruise ships dock and had some very good fish and chips.  Elder and Sister Myers then Elder Jose.  Other side Nada and Sister Jose.

Nada walking on Saint Kilda Pier.  Someone was throwing food into the air to keep the birds there so they could take pictures.  I had to borrow a jacket from Sister Myers.  It was so hot in New Zealand and Brisbane I forgot to take a jacket.  It was quite cool in Melbourne and I had to pretty much wear the jacket everyday.
Looking through the sailboats in the harbour to downtown Melbourne.
The penguins did come out as it started getting dark.  You could see them swimming in the water and then climbing up on the rocks.  They were hard to get a good picture of in the dark because you were not allowed to use a flash.  More of them probably came out after all the people left.

Reed and I standing in front of the Melbourne Temple.  It is about 1/2 an hour out of town.  Beautiful area and Temple.  We were able to do a session at 9:00 a.m.  We then changed our clothes in the church across the parking lot and headed to the Dandenongs for the day.

First stop was in a town by the name of Sassafras.  Very cute little town with fun shops and nice people
Next stop was a town called Olinda.  We ate at this restaurant called Pie in the Sky.  They serve great meat pies here.  They do not have these kind of meat pies in the United States.  Very good and everyone eats them in Australia and New Zealand.
There were a lot of fun shops here as well.  I would have bought some things but I have no more room to get things home.
Stopped at a place called Sky High for some great views of the Dandenong Mountains, surrounding areas and looking back to Melbourne.  They had a machine by this maze putting out a lot of bubbles.
 Nada and Sister Jose is the gardens at Sky High.
Next stop the Chocolatier Store.  Oh my, chocolate everyone.  Nada is trying to take a bit out of this giant chocolate bar outside the factory.
They were preparing for Easter.  They had lots of giant chocolate bunnies and eggs.  It was pretty good chocolate.  They had all different bars with different flavours some were called bush tucker and different herbs.  Very interesting.  The chocolate was good but I don't think they were as good as Sees Chocolates.
Nada and Sister Jose checking out the lime, lemon, and apricot trees which they used in the different chocolate candy..  It was fun to visit and we took chocolates back to Auckland for friends and our office mates.
On the way back to Melbourne we saw these kangaroos hopping in a field by the side of the road.  Not something you would every see anywhere else.  Reed said he never saw this when he served in Melbourne as a young missionary.

We went to a park and there were these kangaroos sitting on the side of the road.  As we got close they starting hopping away.  Very interesting animals.  It was really fun to watch them and see them like this.
Reed standing in the parking lot of the Fairfield Chapel.  Brought back a lot of memories.  He said this is where they always came on transfer day.  He shared some fun stories with us.  We went to a High Priest meeting Saturday evening.

On Sunday morning, the 28th of February, after church we headed to 1216 Burke Road where the Mission Home was when Reed served in 1970 - 1972.  The Mission Home is gone but we walked around these new houses and Reed shared some more wonderful memories of his mission.  I was so glad to be there with him but felt sad that he could not see his old Mission Home again.

Elder Myers in front of their home.  We fixed a really nice dinner and had Elder and Sister Jose come over for dinner as well.  That afternoon we went for a walk around the park about 10 minutes away from their home to see some beautiful birds.  Below these two Lorakeets were singing in one of the trees but we didn't see any other fancy birds.

Sunday afternoon we went for a walk around the park about 10 minutes away from their home.  Sister Myers said they usually see really pretty birds there.  We did see these Lorikeets but no other colourful birds today.  Maybe they are out more in the mornings.  That evening we drove to the Deer Park chapel and did a YSA devotional with about 300 in attendance.  It went very well.  We talked with people for over half an hour after and finally had to excuse ourselves to go home.
Monday, February 29, 2016, (Leap Year) we headed back to the Deer Park chapel to do a parent meeting at 10:30 a.m.  We had 18 parents there including a stake president and bishop.  It went very well.  Lots of good questions and interest.  Reed really is a very good teacher.  Heavenly Father has prepared him his whole life for this mission.
That evening we had off so we took the train into the city.  Reed wanted to walk around and see what he remembered.  He remembers this church across the street from Flinder's Street Train Station.
Flinder's Stree Station where we arrived into the city on the train.  As we passed some of the suburbs Reed remembered some but not all.
As we walked up the street some of the trees had these colourful knitted wraps on them.  Not sure what they are for.
Reed wanted to go to the library.  It is a beautiful library.  He spent a lot of his p-days here.  Again shared some of his fun mission memories.
Nada, Sister Myers and Elder Myers acting like we were studying in the reading room.
The University is right across the street.  This is one of the science buildings.
Tuesday morning, March 1, 2016, we got up early and went back to the park to see if we could see some birds.  Yeah we were successful.  We saw these beautiful Gallahs.

We saw a whole flock of Cockatoos.  Australia truly has some beautiful birds.  We saw quite a few yellow and green parrots as well.

This is a Gray Gum tree.  They are so cool looking.
We did another parent group at the Fairfield chapel at 10:30 a.m.  I don't know how they were promoting these but everyone that ended up coming said they wished they would have known what they were going to be about and they would have encouraged more of their friends to come.  Some asked if we could do another one, if we could come back and some asked if they could do workshops in their homes for the non-member friends.
We me with Elder Leota and our missionaries for some specific training with just them and then had a new MLS couple come in to work with us on some English Language helps.  They have been assigned to the Chinese branch and are helping them learn English.  That evening we did a leadership training with about 80 people in attendance.  It took us over half an hour to get out of the building.  People are really showing a lot of interest in education and how they can help their own children and families and help the members in their wards.  This is what we have been hoping for.

Wednesday morning, March 2nd we had to drive about an hour to get to a parent meeting at NarreWarren Stake by 10:30 a.m.  We had 51 parents in attendance and Sister Jose and I did a nursery for 16 children.  What a great turnout.  People were excited about what Reed had to share and asked a lot of questions. 
Sister Julie Bielenberg, the Stake Relief Society President, had us over to her house for a very nice lunch because we had to do a leadership training in this same building Wednesday evening.  The people have been so good to us.  That evening we had over 90 people in attendance.  Some great feedback after the meeting.  A lot of leaders with questions of how to get started.  We told Elder and Sister Myers and Elder and Sister Jose, "We have planted the seeds, now it is your job to help them grow!"  I think they will be able to stay very busy.

Thursday morning, March 3, 2016, Elder Leota came and picked us up to take us to the airport.  His flight left at 11 and our flight left at 11:55 a.m. so it worked out good.  We had such a great time training and meeting all these new people.  We really enjoyed getting to know Elder and Sister Myers and Elder and Sister Jose better.  We went home very tired but felt like we had done what we were called to do.
We feel very blessed for all the wonderful experiences we have had so far on this mission.  We have been places we never thought we would ever see.  To visit Reed's old mission area was a real treat for him and for me.  To be able to see and be in the places he has talked about many times was great.
We know the gospel is true.  We know how important this Education Initiative is.  We see many wonderful things coming together.  It is great to see The Lord is in charge.
We love you all and hope things are well in your neck of the woods.  Things are moving forward here in the Pacific.  Until next time, Love, Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada)




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