Thursday, August 10, 2017

Arrival of Grandchild #10

    Today we were going to go into the City and have Elder and Sister Lems take us out to Watson Bay.  A beautiful beach area I am told, with the best fish and chips in Sydney.

    At 5 a.m. our daughter, Cambria called to say she was admitted to the hospital and getting close to delivering their 3rd child.  Monty and I were both very excited for this new ones arrival.  No one knew what the sex of this child was, not even the parents.  Since we all knew the sex of #1 and #2 child, Cambria and Josh decided to not find out and have a surprise birth.  How excited we all were to find out who would be joining our family.  We hurried, got ready for the day and rushed down to the office to hook up to Facetime.
 
   I was concerned about missing the birth of this grandchild.  I have been to most of our grandchildren's arrival into the world and I had been feeling sad that I would miss this birth.  Well, this actually turned out to be a pretty amazing experience.  Here we are halfway around the world in Sydney Australia, connected to Facetime with perfect visual and audio.  It was so wonderful that Josh and Cambria are so willing to share this special experience with us.  It was also very interesting to hear the doctor tell Cambria  to "push" and watch this strong woman push as hard as she could,  then, stop, turn, look at the phone, smile at us, and casually pick up where we had left off on our earlier conversation.  I think it was only 3 or 4 pushes before the baby was born.  They had one of the nurses video record Josh, Cambria and Lynlee as they brought the baby out and lay the child on Mommy's tummy and announce, It's a BOY!".  I think we were all expecting a girl but oh so happy to have another precious little boy.  We were able to see him as soon as he was cleaned up and once again another Penrod with lots and lots of dark hair.  Mr. Nameless weighted 7 lbs 11 oz and 19 inches long.

   How lucky are we to live in a world with modern technology that allows us to be part of this special experience when we are so far away?  When I asked Josh how he felt about having a new baby in the house he pointed out this is child number 3 and he is in his 3rd year of medical school...it should be a perfect baby.

    I am always so impressed with Josh and Cambria, they make a good team.  They are doing an outstanding job balancing the heavy demands of medical school, parenting, and spiritual strength.  I love this little family.  So grateful to Heavenly Father with blessing us with each of our wonderful and gifted children and their spouses.  I am also, excited to be a grandmother to 10 of our Heavenly Fathers special little spirits.  They touch my heart each day and make me happy to be called Grandma.

LIGHT

    I have mentioned in earlier blogs about a wonderful Senior couple that were in our District at the MTC.  The Jenkins are the Self Reliance Missionaries for our mission.  They work very hard and travel many kilometres to present the church's Self Reliance Program to interested parties.  They seem to be at one end of New South Wales or the other end.  Along with the many miles or "K's" they travel they see some pretty amazing sites and Sister Jenkins is a good photographer as well.
    Since Elder Ellison and I stay put in the office, I like to borrow some other missionaries travelling photographs.  Isn't this sunset just stunning?  I love looking at it.

 Another interesting picture and thought from Sister Jenkins follows below.


We stopped to take a picture. After I had taken the picture I realized the sun was almost ready to give its golden glow that comes just before dusk. So, I waited a few moments for that glow and then took a second picture. 
After I saw what I had taken I realized that there was an object lesson in the contrasting pictures. 

The first one, although I like it a lot, is in contrast to the second photo which is bathed in light. I realize that our lives are like that. We can live our lives doing things  "our own way" or we can live our lives doing as the Savior has asked and be bathed in His light.

It is my hope and prayer that any of you reading this will desire to know the way to return to our Father in Heaven with your families. I  just cannot imagine Eternity without my family!


I feel like Sister Jenkins.  
As we have been anxiously awaiting part of our family to come visit us in Australia, my excitement to see them is beyond measure.  

How great will our Joy be when ALL our family will be reunited together again?



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mail Dilemma and Obedience

2 Aug 2017

Lessons to be Learned

The time was coming for outgoing missionaries to be heading home after 2 successful years of service in Australia.  Most missionaries had learned many valuable skills and lessons that would help them throughout their lives.  However there are some that still struggled with being obedient.

About a month before departing missionaries leave, we will give them instructions on how many suitcase and weight they can take home with them.  The missionaries returning to Islands or Countries with small airports are only allowed 1 checked on suitcase weighing 23 Kilo (approx 46 lbs), a carry on suit case no more than 7 Kilo and a personal item.  The Church will pay to mail 1 20K box with specific dimensions to the individual's home.  Several missionaries came into me early to get the appropriate size box.  The really organized missionaries returned a week or two before departing to fill in the proper forms and have it shipped early so they would receive the box by the time they got home.  One Elder we will call Elder K was going home to Cambodia.  I gave him the right size box and told him to be sure and not go over the allotted 20 Kilos.  A couple of days later he texted me and said he couldn't get everything in the box I gave him and could he ship 2 boxes home that totalled the 20 Kilos?  I tried calling him but he did not answer so I had to leave a voice message that 2 boxes could not be shipped because there was a charge per box.  I never heard back from him.

The day of departure came and Elder K showed up without a box.  I asked him where his box was?  He said the Zone Leaders would bring it the following week.  I totd him we needed to weigh it and fill out the proper forms.  He assured me the weight was correct.  I told him if it was even a little bit over weight I would have to go through his belonging and choose what to pull out of the box to get it within appropriate limits.  Once again he assured me there would be NO problem with his box.  I had him fill in the mandatory paperwork, strongly encouraging him to be sure and fill in All information and do it correctly.  Once again the cliche  "no problem" was his response.

Yesterday the Zone Leaders brought in Elder K's box.  Immediately I could tell there was going to be a problem.  He had packed his belongings in a flimsy box that circumference was bulging.  When we took it downstairs to the mail room, it was over weight and out of limits with it's circumference.  Not only was the size and weight a problem, but he had left off his Postal Code.  Without the postal code we can not ship it.  The weight and dimensions  of his bag would cost an additional $150.  Why didn't this Elder follow instructions?  I have sent him an email and hope to hear from him soon.  But I am not holding my breath as other returned missionaries have not responded to emails I have sent regarding left behind items.  We have a Sister that left 20 lbs of Beads, shampoo, hand lotion and candy that she wanted a member to ship to her at a cost of $200.  I am pretty sure she can buy those things for less, even in the Philippines.

So here we sit with 2 large boxes of items that will probably never make it home.  Some of the Seniors hate to throw anything away.  Not me.  I just want clean work spaces.  Just not sure what a reasonable amount of time is before donating or throwing personal items away?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Compassion in Action

On our 2nd Senior outing about 2 months ago I observed something that showed great Charity and Love.

Early Saturday morning 10 Senior couples met at the office building for our monthly outing.  We drove over to the dock where we took a 1 hour Ferry ride to downtown Sydney.  We arrived at 9 a.m. excited to see the sights and  shop at the outdoor market and walked along the bay.  We could see the Opera house across from us, it was a little too far for us to walk too.  We all met up at noon at a nice restaurant where you could eat vegetarian or choose your own meat and BBQ over an open pit.  It felt really good to sit and drink cold water and relax as we had been going pretty strong for 4 hours and walking 4-5 miles (and we ARE getting older).

After a delicious meal we walked some more to the dock for our return ferry ride.  We were approximately 30 minutes early with many empty seats on the dock.  We enjoyed visiting with each other and showing each other what we had bought.  As I was listening to one of the Sisters talk I noticed the dock was filling up with people taking  ferry's to various destinations.  I noticed an older gentleman struggling to walk as he passed by our group.  He was limping, and had a pained look on his face.  He soon was out of sight as he walked all the way to the end of the dock.  Shortly I noticed him walking back toward our group.  I supposed he was looking for a seat.  Just then I noticed President Checketts get up quickly, walk over to the elderly man, point to his empty seat next to his wife, and gently usher him over to the seat.  The gentleman took the seat gratefully as we waited another 10-15 minutes for our ferry.

Now the interesting thing is President Checketts is a large man with bad knees and hips.  I know he has had one hip replacement and maybe some knee surgeries.  All the walking we did that day could not have felt good on his aching bones and muscles.  But President Checkettes noticed, maybe because he could relate to this older gentleman's difficulty in walking and  showed compassion towards this man and gave up his seat.

I don't know if anyone else in our group noticed what was taking place as there was so much laughing and talking place.  I don't know if anyone outside our group noticed the kind act.  But I noticed and I was so impressed by the gesture, I am writing about 2 months later.  What a good example President Checketts is, even when no one is paying attention.  I am sure this is something Christ would do.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Water Leak on the 27th Floor

I forgot I was going to write about a small water problem we had last month.

Driving home from doing Flat inspections up in the Central Coast Area we received a call about some Elders Flat on the 27th floor in downtown Sydney that had flooded.  Apparently one of the Elders had turned the kitchen sink on full force, then forgot about it, and left for the day to do proselyting.  When the Elders returned that evening they came in to carpet covered in water.  As I was listening to the Senior Companion explain what his Junior Companion had done, I started wondering why the drain hadn't drained out the water.  Then my mother's intuition  kicked in.  Ahhhh,  a sink full of dirty dishes would keep the sink from draining properly.  Now I don't know that is esactly what happened for a fact, but I am pretty sure something like that happened.

Without going into all the details about how NO other missionaries were available to help mop up excess water or get fans and heaters to help dry up the mess....let me just say that my GOOD HEARTED husband, after a long day of doing flat inspections drove downtown into a mass of people visiting the yearly event of "VIVID LIGHT SHOW" (see earlier June Entry) and drove into massive traffic to take equipment to expedite the clean up.  Getting home close to midnight.

I have not heard if there was leaking on lower floors, or what other damage was done to the Elders Flat.  But here is the lesson to be learned.  Don't leave dirty dishes in your sink and Definitely don't leave your faucet on all day while out doing other things.

This is just another adventure in the mission field. Yeah!

This is a picture of a church on the grounds of The Kings School.  A Private School just a couple miles up the road from us.  The campus is beautiful and I am not a very good photographer.  This building was built in the late 1800's







Monday, June 19, 2017

Gifford Nielson

20 June 2017    

At our weekly Devotional we had a special opportunity to hear from the Area Presidency in Auckland NZ.  It was a farewell to a member of the Area Presidency, Brother and Sister Gifford Nielson.  It was interesting to hear a little bit more about someone I was familiar with.  Gifford Nielson was a star quarterback for BYU when Monty and I were first married and living in Provo.  Before being called to the Quorum of the Seventy's Brother Nielson had been Mission President in the Melbourne AU mission.  Wonderful remarks were made about Brother and Sister Nielson and then they each took a few minutes to express things they had learned and grown from while serving in the Pacific Area.

Brother Nielson encouraged all of us to build our foundation upon the Rock of Christ.  This is done by doing the simple things. Reading our scriptures daily, saying personal and family prayers, and giving Service.

Brother Nielson told how when he and his wife flew to New Caledonia he asked the local Stake President if there might be a couple of families they could visit in the short time they had in the area.  The Stake President set up 2 appointments.  When the time came Brother  Nielson went into the designated home with the Stake President, introduced himself to the family and then said something like this.  "The Lord has sent me here to your home.  I do not know why I am here, but you do.  Brother______can you tell me why I am here?"  The father of the house would first say, "I don't know"?  Brother Nielson would look deep into his eyes, smile, and start nodding his head.  Shortly, the Brother would start to say something like "You are here because I need to do better.  I need to take my wife to the Temple and we need to become a forever family  We need to be reading our scriptures".  Brother Nielson would say "That is right."  Without saying anything the member would intuitively know what needed to be said and done.

Sister Nielson quoted Albert Einstein who said:  There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; or you can live as if everything is a miracle.   So with that comment I will tell you about a miracle, that happened Saturday.  

Monty and I had a very busy day.  We/I was gearing up for one of the busiest times of my job, MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference).  This is where all the Zones put their orders in for  supplies and Housing needs for all 150 missionaries.  I am feeling much more comfortable with this big responsibility than when I first arrived.  But this week coincided with our Senior FHE that Monty and I were in charge of Lesson and dessert.  Elder Ellison was also getting ready to take a rental truck up north to close out a Senior Flat and help the seniors move everything out as they were headed back home and no replacement was coming to take their spot. We needed to clean our flat as it gets NO attention during the week. We also had our YSA lesson to prepare for Sunday and a Stake YSA evening meeting.  We also had an Engagement Party to attend Saturday for the son of Glen Karaka who we have become very fond of down in the Service Center.  Saturday was a pack full day.  By 2:30 I was exhausted and needed a nap if I was going to make the Engagement Party.  I laid down thinking I needed to get up by 3:30 or 4 p.m. at the latest.  At 3:30 I sat up in bed and thought, "I can sleep for another 1/2 hour and it is so cold.  Lay back down and sleep just a little bit longer.".  But I couldn't go back to sleep for some reason.  I got up, put on my sweater and thought to myself, "I wonder what the weather is like outside?"  I went to the back door and opened it.  On the other side of our electronic gate was a tall Polynesian fellow.  He said "Is this the church Mission Home?"  I told him the office was down closer to the Temple, was there something I could help him with.  He told me his brother was serving a mission in this Australia Sydney North Mission and he had 2 packages he wanted to drop off to him.  I told him to bring them to me, as I am the person that actually gets the mail to the missionaries.  He and his wife brought 2 huge 
packages that weighed between 20-30 lbs.  I had him put them in the car so I could drive them down to the office later.

Now there is no reason I should have been awake.  I heard no noise or stirring outside my gate.  If I had not woke up this poor brother would have had no where to leave these large packages and he certainly would not have wanted to pay postage on those heavy boxes.  Now this is just a little miracle.  Well, maybe a big one for Elder Kaipuke who will be so excited to get these gifts from home.  I would say it was really a BIG Miracle for the Brother that had driven up from Melbourne to  deliver these package among other errands he had to do.  And it was faith promoting to me that Heavenly Father cares about the DETAILS of our lives, BIG or small.  He is interested in each of our lives.

I CHOOSE to BELIEVE in MIRACLES happening  EVERYDAY!




Vivid Senior Activity June 2017


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

FLAT Inspections

Monday Elder Ellison and I  drove up to the Central Coast Zone to do 3 flat inspections.  For those that may not know, a flat is NOT a flat tire.  Rather a flat is an apartment, condo or some type of housing.  Flat inspections have not been done for several months as Elder Ellison and I are just coming up to speed.  Elder Ellison has involved all the Senior Couples in helping inspect flats in different areas of the mission.  That way we don't have to do 60 inspections and drive extremely long distances.

We started with the Zone leaders flat.  It looked like a small older twin home.  We pulled up about 15 minutes later than we told them we would be there, due to the fact I had Elder Ellison go back to our flat so I could pick up some cleaning gloves (per Tyler's recommendation) and cleaning supplies, just in case we would have to get involved with showing missionaries how to actually clean.

The minute we walked into Elder Riquelme (pronounced Rikaleme)  and TangiPi flat I could sense it was VERY clean.  Things were definitely older, worn and seen better days BUT it was clean, organized and well taken care of.  I was so shocked at how nice it was, I wanted to give them a big hug, but that would be breaking Mission Rules.  The study area was so impressive with maps of their Zone, the missionaries under their charge, spiritual thoughts and quotes on the walls etc.  (I even flipped the picture of the Prophet to the back side to make sure their were no inappropriate pictures like in the movie "The Best 2 Years"). They had a few weights and bars for lifting so they could get their exercise in.  The fridge and stove were all very clean albeit the fridge was quite empty due to the fact that it was P-day and they had not been out shopping.  I was so proud of these 2 Elders I gave them an A+ for a job well done.  Now on to the Sisters.

Hmmm, well the Sisters are very sweet and kind, bubbly and full of energy but not quite as responsible as the Zone Leaders.  A couple of the Sisters I think really did want to have a cleaner flat but being in a 4 missionary flat made it more challenging.  I gave them a number of things to improve on.  As we walked out to our car Sister Walker and Lam walked out with us to get some light bulbs. They forgot to bring their flat key so Sister Lam stayed holding the locking gate open.  As Elder Ellison was rummaging through the car looking for the light bulbs Sister Walker asked if they got the award for "Most Improved Flat"?  We did not know what she was talking about.  She said she was brought in last transfer and asked to help the other Sisters do a better job of cleaning and organizing.  What a hard job she had.  She could not become the "Boss" or do all the cleaning on her own.  She had to encourage and lead by example.  That is a difficult job for one so young.  She was really doing the best with the situation she moved into.  Good Job Sister.

The last Flat was another set of Elders.  We had gradually fallen farther behind in out time schedule.  They were patiently waiting for us sitting on their deck reading scriptures.  Once again, when I walked in I could tell this was a clean flat.  Lucky for these Elders this flat was new, and pristine and they were doing an excellent job keeping it that way.  Their study room once again was organized and clean.  Motivating quotes in a couple of spots.  The only problem I found was they had a Fan, heater and vacuum in a closet that were not being used.  Elder Ellison didn't want to fill up the car with more junk, but I felt we needed to bring it back in to the warehouse so we would know where things were instead of sitting in closets and no one knowing where they were.  We tested all the items to make sure we were not hauling back nonworking items.  The vacuum was broken so we told them to just throw it in the trash/rubbish.  They were hesitant to do so.  No one around here wants to throw things away.  They think they can be fixed!  BY WHO?  Elder Ellison doesn't have the time and taking them into repair shops takes money and TIME.  By the time you do this the cost is almost as much as a new vacuum.  These Elders had their 2 beds in the living room as the 2 small bedrooms would not hold the two beds.  It was interesting to see no furniture but 2 beds (neatly made) in the living area.

I am happy to report that I did NOT need my cleaning gloves or have to demonstrate how to clean a toilet.  We have 8 more flats to inspect in the next 10 days.  I hope we find all of them in as good of condition as we did these 3 flats.  It is really enjoyable getting out and putting names with faces of the missionaries.  Such outstanding young people.

Driving the hour home from Central Coast we got a phone call from an Elder living in the City on the 27th floor of a building.  He called to report a flood they had in their flat.  Another story for another time.  Stay tuned.