Monday, April 3, 2017

2 weeks of posts

PICTURES AT BOTTOM. There is no order. The blog puts them in as it sees fit, which I haven't figured out yet. I also can't move them around.

Two weeks ago I caught up my posts for two weeks. I did multiple blogs. This time to catch up two weeks I am going to do it in one post. See how this works for you. I am going to make it shorter as well. Pictures are difficult to post in the blog in the right positions. I will probably write the blog and then add all of the pictures at the end. The pictures are the best. I will add comments under the  pictures.

19-25 March 2017:

One of the first things about Australia, besides driving on the left hand side, is that they list the date different than we do. So, I will be doing it day then month from now on.

I believe I mentioned before that Linda had bought a new phone. After struggling for a couple weeks I followed her example and bought one. They are Samsung Galaxy J1 mini phones. They are great compared to the antiquated phones that were provided us. I have entered in all of the mission areas in my contacts. That was a big job. Now it is much easier to make calls and send out texts. Text is the default way of communicating here. I break down every so often and call to have just a simple phone call. I need my grand children here to do my texting for me. I could keep them busy full time. Maybe not because they are so fast.

We had new arrivals this week. 6 missionaries. 4 sisters and 2 elders. Sister Ellison and I taught them about how we would help them. I did a handout that said: "If you have a problem with your flat, car, or bike, I AM YOUR MAN, call me. We each talked with them for only 15 minutes each. They were all very tired from traveling and in shell shock from their new experiences. Don't know how much they retained, if any, but hopefully my paper will be there when they need it.

On Friday I got a desperate call from Sister Cookson and Sister Young Yen. Sister Young Yen was one of the new arrivals. Sister Cookson was her trainer. They were taking over an area. They call it shot gunning when the previous missionaries leave and a new set take over. Almost in tears Sister Cookson said their flat was unhygienic. We talked for a few minutes. She said she felt they should be moved out to a better flat. There were cock roaches all over the place.

I felt I need to act immediately. Linda went with me and we went to checked it out. It was bad. The previous sisters had done a rotten job of keeping it clean. It looked like cock roach droppings were all over the place. The back door wouldn't even close! There was no door knob on the bathroom door. The shower had mould along the caulking. Plus other items. Linda probably would have been happy to douse it in gas and set a match to it.

I came back to mission headquarters and started a "lets get them out campaign". I talked with the President. He likes the location. A problem also is that the landlord is a member. I talked with the landlord's wife as we left. She said the previous sisters hadn't said anything. I had a hard time believing that. I guess it is possible. I suggested to the President that I go and do a full inspection and list what needed to be done. It was the next week before I could get back.

The flat is called a granny flat here. In the US we would call it a mother in law apartment. It is associated with a main home. A lot of Australias will do a granny flat.

When I got back in a couple days it was amazing what had changed. The landlord had put in a new bathroom sink. Redone the caulk in the shower. Fixed the back door. Fixed the bathroom door. The sisters had cleaned it up. It was amazing how much better it looked. The sisters now wanted to stay because the family need missionaries there. I still need to work with the landlord to get some items done, like fumigating. President Checketts recommended doing self bombing. He did it when he lived in Hawaii and said it did the job, versus getting a professional.

This was good news. The president had decided to change the sisters with some elders. So, he didn't have to do that.

26 March - 01 April 2017:

This week is MLC, Mission Leadership Conference. It happens every 6 weeks. Linda is responsible for putting the orders together that the zone leaders give her. It is a big, big job. I help her get the flat items together like dishes, vacuums, and fans. She had to also put all of the teaching materials together like B of M and pamphlets. Especially tough with the foreign languages. She did it, but with a lot of stress. I hope in the future after doing it once it will be easier for her.

Last Sunday we went to the Greenwich Ward. After church we drove down to the shore line of the inlet. I was surprised to end up at the place that all the missionaries get their picture taken at. What the mission has actually done is made a large picture that all new missionaries stand in front of and have their pictures taken at the mission home. We had our taken. That will be our picture for the missions organization board.

On Monday, 27th of March, I went to a flat were that landlord had complained that the sisters were not maintaining the grass in the back. I took them a weed whipper. All of these sisters were from the islands and had never cut grass before. We had the job done in no time. It was fun. They were so appreciative. See the pictures. While there I also put on a new hose faucet that was dripping and fixed a light fixture up stairs.

I learned a little about wiring here. Remember that it is 220 volt. The light fixture had 4 connections. There were three sets of wire coming to the fixture. Two of them had  a black, a red, and a green wire in the outer wrapping. The third group had only a black and a red. The part that held the bulb in had broken off. I took it apart and put it back together again, the same way. Oops, I didn't note which connection the sets of wires went into. I had them bundled together correctly, but not sure which connection to go in. So, when we turned on the power the light came on. But, when we turned the light switch off, the light stayed on. Dang it. So, after multiple attempts I finally got lucky and it worked correctly. Did I tell you I am not an electrician, and this 220 V wiring doesn't help! Ooh, I did learn something that is the same with 120 V. If you don't turn off the electricity you can get shocked, just like 120 V. Yes, I got shocked.

I wish I had more pictures of my projects. Maybe in the future.

Many fires this week. One the elders had been out of lights for 4 days. Another one A/C out for a month. Couple flat tires. Shower heads broken. And the list goes on.

MLC went well on Wednesday. I mentioned it earlier.

On Thursday we had Senior Missionary Conference. It was good and motivating to get together with all of the senior missionaries. We each had to do a 2 minute presentation on something we thought others would find interesting. I did it on the Appalachian Trail. Linda did a presentation on the Air Force Academy.

On Saturday we had a senior couples outing. It was so good to get away from the office. I needed the break from 10+ hour days. I still got in the office before and after our activity. We rode a ferry down the channel. It was about an hour ride. We got off near the Opera house. We shopped in the street market and walked around. It was a beautiful day. We then had lunch. There were about 6 couples, one senior sister, and the mission president and his wife. It is neat to associate with the mission president. As a young missionary they are on a high pedestal and you never got to know them personally. See the pictures below.

Well that is it for the last couple of weeks. Hope you enjoyed it. I know you will enjoy the pictures.

President Checketts on Senior's outing to downtown  Sydney.
Elder Cox and the Harbor bridge. Elder Cox is the other couple in the office. Great guy. He has been so much help.
Sydney Opera House
The missionaries. Our first time away from the office. It was a good get away.
Harbor Bridge.
My ware house / shed. It is as cluttered as it looks!
220 V wiring. 3 sets of wires. 8 total wires. 4 connection points to socket.
Broken socket.
Here is one of the great finds of my cleaning out returned calls. I think it is a real keeper. :-).
I had mentioned in a previous blog about all of the stuff I found when I cleaned out cars. Over $10, a camera, several umbrellas, several sun glasses, many pens. Most of it was trash, but some was good like this hat - not.
Sister Antenorcruz, Sister Williams, Sister Quitalib, Sister Vega. Helping get their back yard cut down. They are full of life and joy!
From the side entrance of our office looking at the temple.
This is a tree in front of our building. Linda calls it the tree of  life from Lehi's dream. 
Road to our flat.
Famous Harbor bridge built in 1965. Famous Sydney Opera house showing under bridge built in  1984
View at 5 am walking to work. Office in front. Temple, angel Moroni in back.
Fortunately, going to the office at 5 am is the exception.
Look who is driving. "You say what? Nothing to this driving on the left side of the road."
Bukling House. Our office is on the upper floor. My office is the furthest to the left. One of my windows is covered by the tree branches on the left of the picture.


  1. I loved the pictures!!! But I also really enjoy hearing the details of what Elder and Sister Ellison are experiencing!! Eewwwwww, the cockroach flat!!! Poor sisters...hooray for getting things taken care of!!! Keep up the good work!!

  2. Love your blog and the photos. Throw away the hat!

  3. Great post and pics. The pic w/ a fourth of a car is impressive. Glad you were able to break away from the office for a little bit and see some landmarks. Your mission home looks incredible. Sure wish we had a couple like you in our mission. I guess times are changing and missions are getting easier. Unlike the old days when we had to walk uphill in the snow to get to the mission home!

    Have you enjoyed the food? Any cultural differences that have surprised you?

  4. I really enjoyed your blog. It looks like you guys are really settling in and doing a great job. I absolutely love the pictures. We miss you all a lot but no you are doing wonderful things.