We were able to sleep quite a bit during our 15 hour flight to Sydney. Despite arriving with fuzzy brains, we filled out our declaration cards and make it through passport control and customs. They have an automated system that takes your picture and recognizes if it matches your passport! It felt so good to be off the airplane and to greet President and Sister Back who picked us up from the airport at 8:30 am. They took us to the beautiful mission home in Oatley, New South Wales. President Back insisted on carrying our 50 lb. bags up the 2 flights of stairs to the guest bedrooms. (The Mission Home is full of stairs, beautiful, but not practical.)
After a little breakfast, they took us to the Sydney South Mission office, Where we met Elder and Sister Tolman, who we will be working with us in the office, and The Petersons, who we are replacing. They immediately began training us. Sister Peterson typed out detailed notes for my training, which has been very helpful. I forgot nearly everything she showed me on Monday, our first day in Sydney.
The office is in the Mortdale Stake Center right across the hall from the Family History Center and is very comfortable. Mine and Elder Kinghorn’s desks are adjacent, so I ask him computer questions all the time: “How do I set the print area in Excel?” or “How do I set up this formula to add these cells?”
It has been great to meet the young Elders and Sisters as they come into the office. I love that age group. They all welcome us, the elders with a firm handshake, and the sisters with a big hug!
We quickly felt at home with President and Sister Back. For example, Wednesday, our last day of training by the Petersons was so packed, even though we didn’t get back to the mission home until late, we were the first ones to arrive. We were very hungry! I had heard Sister Back talk about fixing spaghetti, but that the hamburger was frozen. So Elder Kinghorn and I rummaged through the kitchen and house to find hamburger, marinara sauce, onion, garlic and spices and started cooking. We had fresh beans cooking and hamburger defrosted when Sister Beck called to say the Tolmans were coming and would bring bread. Soon all six of us were sitting down to a hearty meal of spaghetti, salad, beans and crusty French bread. The Tolmans are on the left and President and Sister Back on the right. Yes, that is the pan of spaghetti sauce right on the table!