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Multi-cultural event

Sunday afternoon in Australia and it's a beautiful sabbath day.  The ACT (Australian Capital Territory) hosts a three day event in downtown Canberra that celebrates the many different cultures of this country.  Yesterday we wandered past the booths from various countries and tried foods from sample trays that were offered to us.  There were pastries, both savory and sweet, from Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other middle eastern countries.  There were dancers from Poland and the islands of the South Pacific and music from every corner of the globe.  If you stopped to take it in; the smells, colors and sounds could almost overwhelm a person.  We had a massive plate of food that came from a booth from Samoa.  Several members of the church were there and it was such a sweet moment to see their big smiles and feel of their love.  The plate of food they stacked up for us would've fed five people.  They also serve a drink that has watermelon, mango, pineapple and coconut milk. …

Power in being together

Last night was our third week of Institute and it was pure joy.  To be able to stand in that room, nearly full, with those powerful young people was awesome.  After class, one of the young ladies, Tahi Sekona, said, "I could have listened to you all night".  It wasn't my teaching skills that were being spoken of, but the spirit that was in that room.  I could've spent the whole evening with them!

Sisters Heridas and Smith had invited a new investigator to come to class.  Her name is YanYan and she's a graduate student from China.  She arrived, at the building, before the missionaries and walked in the room with such confidence to introduce herself.  She found her own way to a church meeting a few weeks ago and I certainly hope she returns.  I love having investigators in the classroom.  When you're teaching about eternal truths it doesn't matter where you step into the conversation.  Jordan was there again last night and I'm confident that he's go…

February 18th

Last night was family home evening and we held it at the Lyneham church so they could play games.  And they played the games!  Joseph and Lexi were in charge and there were 36 wonderful young people playing "European handball" and board games.  We stopped at the Woolies and bought ice cream treats and Dani brought a bunch of food.  That "game" was hilarious.  They scatter obstacles, tables, chairs and carpet pieces throughout the gym and then taped a goal on each wall.  They divided into teams and there were about 8 people on each team.  You can't take more than three steps and you have to throw the ball within 5 seconds.  They use a ball that is a little smaller than a volleyball so you can grip it.  It wasn't a full contact sport until later in the evening.  There is a goalie for each team and he has free reign on the court if he wants to leave the goal unattended.  Keep in mind that about 15 of these young people are very strong, and stout, Polynesians. …

45th Valentine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day here in Australia and the US is just in the midst of theirs.  So what is it like to be sharing that day for the 45th time?  It's sitting in a District Council meeting with 8 young missionaries and feeling the press of her knee against mine, and smiling.  It's having her put her hand on my leg and putting my arm around the back of her chair.  It's holding a tray of homemade red velvet cupcakes, in the car, that she's just baked for the young missionaries, as she places mini M and M's on the top of each cupcake....only the red ones earn the right for the top of the white frosting.  It's being asked if I bought her chocolates and before I can say "no" she says, "yes, he bought me chocolate chips at Costco!"  It's watching her play the piano, at the church, before a broadcast and realizing, for the tenth time today, how beautiful she is.  I still remember the Sunday after our first date when I saw her playin…

new life

After 3 months of living in Australia we are starting to see some greenery.  It had become so brown through the drought and combining that with smoke filled skies it was rather dismal.  Now, with cooler temperatures and rainfall, the hills and bush are showing new life.   We went for a hike around, and up, Black Mountain.  We didn't completely circle the mountain but we went on several trails before ascending to the top.  Quite a view of the area.  Canberra was completely master planned and laid out for communities, roads, mass transit, schools and businesses. The view from the top of Black Mountain really was beautiful.  We're going to have to go up for a dinner in the restaurant that is up in the tower.  There are some similarities with the Space Needle in  Seattle but I will always feel that the Space Needle is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.  So many memories in the great Northwest.

Last night was Institute and there were a few new students and a few that we…

Family Night fun

Last night there were 36 people in this little flat.  It was the best of times.  Evelyn made cinnamon rolls that everyone was raving about and Dani brought sausages.  I couldn't stop smiling just watching these kids interacting together.  All of the young missionaries were also in attendance and there were a few investigators.  Jordan is a member of the Anglican church and he is actively studying the gospel.  He's planning on attending Institute tomorrow night and there were several others who indicated they would be coming.  George has recently returned from his mission to Hong Kong and he's quite the artist.  We played Pictionary and he was the star of the evening on the white board.

I printed out a picture that was taken during the framing of the barn in Star Valley.  I told the young people about the weight bearing capacity of a single 2 X 6 and compared it to the strength that comes when doubling the timbers or even tripling them.  We all have a limited capacity as w…

First classroom in nearly 6 years

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For 36 years I experienced the joy, fear, excitement and mental preparations before the start of a new academic year.  Last night, Wednesday, was the first class I've taught in nearly 6 years.  I'm not sure how the students enjoyed the evening but, for me, it was wonderful.  The educational arm of the church has an updated curriculum for the Book of Mormon and it was a sweet experience, especially in my personal preparation.  The quotes are all from recent conferences and various articles.  I really tried to keep my materials to be covered in a 90 minute period but I wasn't able to complete even 30 percent of what I brought.

There were about a dozen young people that came and we met in a room that was arranged so each student had desk space available.  The S & I (Seminaries & Institutes) had provided notebooks, pens and I brought a few teaching supplies of my own.  Sister Moir, who is the Stake Coordinator was there and she is great at taking care of any needs. Sh…