July 4, 2015 Homeward Bound!

"Where we love is home--home that our feet may leave, but never our hearts."         Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Our home away from home.

People and things I will miss:

Young Adult Family Home Evening:

Oh how we love these people, each and every one!

Scarlett and Xavier

Elder Jin my favorite missionary from China!!

Office Staff:

This is Losa, the director of Family Services and the greatest champion of Self-Reliance. She is the person who taught us the most about Island culture, specifically Tonga and Samoa.

This is Leslie, she is the receptionist for Family Services. She is another friend and someone who has taught us a lot about Maori culture. 

Ian and Sofia. Ian has been a great help to us in the office during his school breaks. Sofia was our first successful graduate of Self-Reliance who got the job she wanted. She works at the Service Centre (Dave actually has to turn in all his receipts to her, she's in charge of him!) 
This is the last Morning Tea we attended. We have a monthly tea to celebrate all the birthdays for the month.

Cultural traditions

This is Leslie's son on the day of his graduation. He is wearing a feathered cape that is common among the Maori of New Zealand and also common to Tonga and Samoa. 

Self Reliance friends:

Our boss, Johnny Leota and the Joses, the Self-Reliance couple in Melbourne.

Mission President:

President and Sister Howes. They finished their time as mission President two days before we did:)

Saturday adventures with friends:

These are our friends, the Allens. We will miss Saturday adventures with them!

I will miss the random artists out on the streets of downtown Sydney.

Good-by parties:

Leslie and Losa gave us a great surprise going-away party. We will treasure our green stone necklaces and our haka warrior picture.

Enjoy the Maori song they sang to us. This is a good-by song the Maori sang to their loved ones going off to war:


Our office staff and friends (sorry Sofia, I just realized you are cut out of this picture)

Faalenuu and Brittany 

We had a super fun farewell dinner with our neighbors. We love these guys, they made the neighborhood fun! Our little dinner party lasted 6 hours, that's how much we enjoy each other!

Farewell dinner with Johnny and his wife, Betty. We will miss these guys a lot!! We learned so much from Johnny.

The Temple:

My favorite day of the week was Thursday morning when we got to work in the temple.

My 'support staff' from the temple. These women helped and loved me so much!

President and Sister Barr, the temple president and matron. We love them so much!

Look who surprised us by coming to the airport to say good-by, Elaine and Jody!!
Good-by Australia, we love you and will miss you! 


June 20, 2015

This past week we spent four days in Melbourne. We left Tuesday afternoon and returned home to Sydney Saturday night. The reason for the trip was to do training for the Joses, the senior missionaries in the Self Reliance Center in Melbourne. We’ve done quite a bit of background work with BUU Hawaii and Johnny wanted us to pass on what we do as well as to teach them how to give the Michigan Language Test. We also scheduled some time with the mission president and his wife to instruct them on the Companionship Language Study program for ESL missionaries learning English. I’ve done quite a bit of work lately sorting out and re-structuring the Companionship Language Study program used in the missions throughout the church and changed the format to where it’s a little more user-friendly and concise. All the missions in Johnny’s area (New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania) will use this format from now on, so we will meet with the Sydney missions this week, but we met with the Melbourne mission president and his wife while we were there. The Melbourne mission president is Neal A. Maxwell’s son. President Maxwell worked for Deseret Book as senior editor. His wife was an English teacher and majored in English, so I was a little worried when I found that out, but they were gracious and wonderful with everything we presented, so it was all good!

The Melbourne temple.

We met with some students on Thursday night and, as always, I was so impressed with how brave some young people are. Everyone we talked to was female, two were from Vietnam, one was from Indonesia, and one was from Tonga. Two of the girls left home for Australia when they were 16 (they don’t know each other, just met recently at church). They completed 11th grade in Australia and are now completing a bridging class so they can get in to university. Their parents apparently have enough money to fund this venture. One of the other girls left Indonesia and came to Australia and has worked and taught herself English by attending free English classes (that’s how she ended up in the missionary English program). She worked hard to become fluent. I didn’t get to talk to any of them in depth, but I’m guessing that these girls will follow the pattern most do and work to get their citizenship here and then will bring their parents over. When I look at the pattern most immigrants followed when coming to the US, it seems like the routine is the same hasn’t changed much over the past 150 years:)

Friday morning we took some time to do a little family history activity. Since Dave has such a passion for all things related to searching out his dead ancestors, he asked the Joses to see if they could work it out for us to be able to visit the state archives and see the digitizing project the church is working on with the state of Victoria. There are two senior missionary couples and two single missionaries working at the archives. The church is providing the workers and in return, the state archives will receive a copy of all the records that are being digitized and the church will receive a copy also. This will be very beneficial for both parties. 

Dave got interested in Australia family history when researching his Gordon line from Scotland. John Gordon and Isabella Wester (his great-great grandfather and his first wife) Isabella died following the birth of their fifth child, and John married again two years later to Jessie Bissett (Dave is descended from this marriage). A few years later, in 1859, John and Jessie left Scotland for America. When the family migrated to America, the two oldest sons didn’t go. The oldest son, David, chose to stay in Scotland. The second son, Joseph, didn’t go to America and was just ‘lost’. No one knew what had happened to him. On a hunch, Dave started searching Australian records, and sure enough, Joseph showed up in Victoria in the gold fields in 1852. He had taken a ship to Australia when he was about 15 years old. Australia had a huge gold rush in the 1850s, and many people flocked to Victoria to seek their fortunes and he was one of them. He arrived in 1852 when he was 15 or 16 years old. Can you imagine leaving your homeland to go to a new country where you didn't know a soul and just starting a new life with the few things you could bring over on a ship? That would be hard at any age, but at age 16 seems quite remarkable to me. Joseph apparently started out working in the gold fields, but moved on to other things. He married 10 years after arriving in Australia. At that time he was hauling groceries to the gold fields. He eventually ended up working as a boot maker. Dave has spent quite a bit of time researching Joseph's family here in Australia and therefore, was very interested in the project the LDS church is working on in Australia.

The project the church is working on now involves digitizing wills and probate documents. The missionaries spend the day unfolding wills and placing them under weights so they will flatten out flat enough to copy. Once they are able to remain flat on their own, they are copied. The photo equipment is quite specialized and does a great job copying.

Ready to be digitized

Digitizing equipment

This project involves copying wills

This will may be one of the shortest wills ever recorded!

The digitizing crew in Melbourne. The Roberts in our mission did something like this also only they did gravestones. 

We got to go on a tour of the archives while we were there and it was very interesting to see what they have on file. All state archives have stuff like this in them, I just never knew about it before!

This is one of the oldest books they have containing the court records of the law-breakers. This book is from the 1890s.

The archives have copies of all the arrests and court proceedings in Victoria. This is the same guy throughout the years he lived in Victoria. He was a frequent offender as you can tell!!!

I thought you might like to see the size of some of the record books. Each of these books weighed 27.5 KG, a kilogram is 2 1/2 pounds, so these books are pretty heavy!

The records stored in this area are catalogued just like a library. The shelves are movable too, just like in large libraries. The room is temperature controlled as well as humidity controlled. They keep the room at about 72 degrees and 50% humidity. 

Friday night we had dinner with all the senior missionaries in the Melbourne area at the Maxwell's home. Elder Gifford Neilson was there as well as our boss, Elder Johnny Leota. Johnny is still training for his new calling, that's why he was there with Elder Neilson. Elder Neilson is a counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency. He and Elder Leota are in Melbourne to do a Stake conference. After dinner, we had a little fireside with both Johnny and Elder Neilson speaking to us. All in all, it was a great evening!

Elder Gifford Neilson, us, Elder Johnny Leota, and Elder Dudfield (the Area Authority 70 for Melbourne)

Saturday we spent sightseeing in Melbourne. It's a beautiful city and we enjoyed the sights. The weather was cold, remember, it's winter down here and Melbourne is much closer to Antarctica than Sydney is, but it was sunny and beautiful, so it was a great day!

St. Pauls Cathedral in downtown Melbourne.

The interior was beautiful, 

We went to the Queen Elizabeth Victoria Market in the afternoon. It's a huge, huge outdoor market. As you can see, some stands carry inventory we don't see in Idaho!

There are also lots of vegetables I've never seen before:) All the 'different' food types are Asian. We Americans as well as the Aussies, have a very limited scope of vegetable possibilities.

This poor pig had it's bum on display for all to see.

This is what happens to hanging meat in the market. You can't get meat much fresher than the meat you get here.

After the markets we visited the Shrine of Remembrance. As I've mentioned before, the Australians do a wonderful job of remembering those who have fought for their country.

This is the Australian flag. The five stars represent the Southern Cross. I never realized until I came to Australia, that the Big Dipper and the North Star are only visible in the Northern hemisphere. You can't see them down here. The southern hemisphere uses the Southern Cross and two other pointer stars to navigate by.
This is the Australian Naval flag.

This is the New Zealand flag, it only has four stars because New Zealand is so southern in it's location that the fifth star in the Southern cross is not visible, the fifth star is too low on the horizon to be visible.

This is the center of the shrine. It is located in the floor. There is an opening in the domed roof, pictured below, that is calibrated to have the sunlight cross over this square in the floor on November 11 at 11 a.m. in commemoration of the end of WW I in 1918.  If you aren't already aware, WW I ended on the 11th day of the 11th month, at 11 a.m.                                Every November 11, the skylight is opened and, if the sun is out, takes 11 minutes for the sun's rays to cross over the square. All other days, the crossing is completed by a computer generated light. We were able to watch this because we made sure we were there at 11 a.m. 

This is quite impressive to see, it goes a long way up! The stone is directly below the center of this dome.

After the Shrine of Remembrance, we went to the Old Melbourne Gaol (pronounced 'jail')  Parts of this old jail were used clear up through 1994! It's odd to me that they still use the old spelling of gaol rather than the more common 'jail'. It used to be that all English used the spelling 'gaol', but America changed to the more phonetic spelling of 'jail' in the early 1800s. Most English speaking countries have made the change by now, including Australia, but it is still used at sites that are quite old such as this one.

Obviously, this is a dummy, but it gives a good perspective of how miserable confinement in this jail was.

This is the hallway of the main corridor. 

This gives you a perspective of how boring the day would be inside the cell. There would have been a mat for a bed on the floor and a bucket for a toilet and that's about it. Not a great place to be.

We watched a play about Ned Kelly, Australia's most famous convict from the early days. He's very well known, kind of like Butch Cassidy or Jesse James in the United States. 

If you are interested in learning more about Australia's most famous convict, check out this:


There is still quite a bit of discussion as to whether Ned Kelly is a hero or a villain, if you are interested, you can watch this video and make your own decision:

This is a mock-up of the actual armor Ned Kelly made, the original set is worth $7 million!
One aspect of WW I that is not often acknowledged, is the horses that served and were such a vital part of war up through WW I. The Australians Waler breed was the perfect horse for the job because the conditions in the area the ANZAC armies were sent mimicked the harsh conditions of the Australian outback so these horses were a good fit:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waler_horse

The sad part of the story of the Australian horses in WW I is the ending; the government decided sending the horses home after the conclusion of the war was too expensive, so they were all killed. Only one horse out of the 135,000 sent from Australia, made it home.

We have the movie this clip is from. If you can get the movie from Netflicks or wherever else you can find it, I highly recommend it:
Here's a short video that gives a visual of horses in the war:

If you haven't had enough yet, this video is about the use of horses, donkeys, and dogs during  WW I:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRN45tje2X0
 The war heroes here, as in many places in the world, are honored by red poppies. I'm happy to see the horses who served so valiantly are honored as well. 

Our weekend was very enjoyable, but it's always good to get back home. It's weird to think that two weeks from now, we will be home in the USA. I do not like good-byes and I'm not looking forward to saying good-bye to all our friends in Australia.