I Might Be Down Under, But I Haven’t Dropped Off the Earth
Spring is springing! It’s been a long winter for us leaving home in March and entering New Zealand Autumn! But September here means daffodils, cherry blossoms, lots of cute little lambs, and green everywhere. We find new and beautiful surprises every day!
We’ve been so busy I’ve failed to update this blog for a long time. But it has been a happy kind of busy. We go to bed every night exhausted and contented. Great way to sleep.
I am still teaching—this semester Old Testament and New Testament, and Elder Johnson is still over-seeing all the administrative work. Surprisingly there is a lot of that. WE also go out as often as we can to visit less active YSA and invite them to Institute. Just last night one of the young women I visited several weeks ago with Alison Kurene showed up at Institute for the first time since we’ve been here. That felt good after hearing that some of the people we tried to visit were now off living with boyfriends or had joined another church.
One of the great things happening is that the Institute Choir has presented the Sacrament Meeting program in three different wards now and have two more lined up in the coming weeks. They sing like angels and it is such a delight to listen to them. They also give two of the talks in the meetings and every one of them have done a fantastic job. One young man got sick the morning he was supposed to give his talk, but he emailed it to another choir member and he read it to the congregation. Beautiful message!
The choir is also working on a Christmas Cantata that will be presented to the entire stake in December. It is difficult music and songs they have never heard before, but they are doing it. They sounded so good last night at choir class. I am so proud of them. They have such mellow, melodic voices and blend so well. It is amazing.
I’m learning all about the food “delicacies” here from the young adults (10 to 16 every week) who come to home evening at our flat (apartment!). One of the favorites is the chip sandwich. We buy a huge order of chips (French fries!) and the young adults butter bread, put chips and tomato sauce (catsup!) on the bread so that the hot chips melt the butter and then they eat it. They also have a really good biscuit (cookie) called Tim-Tams. You bite off each end, put one end in a cup of Milo (similar to hot chocolate!) and then use the biscuit like a straw and sip the Milo through it. Much too sweet, but so fun to do! Home evening is never dull here and our YSA family give the best lessons. I’ve learned so much from them!
We continue to be blessed with miracles and tender mercies that astound us. This week we are flying to the North Island to attend Temple Week with our stake and are looking forward to that. It seems like half the stake is going and everyone is so excited about spending a week in the temple. The excitement feels like what I remember as a child during the weeks before Christmas! Everyone I talk to is overflowing with joy at the prospects of Temple Week! I’ll let you know how it goes!
In the meantime, we send out love and good wishes to all of you back home. We miss you, but we wouldn’t be anywhere else right now! God bless you all!