The missionaries in the Mortdale area surprised Sister Hansen, from Denmark, with cakes and cookies to celebrate her birthday. They shared generously with those of us in the office. The 2nd picture includes all the beautiful sisters in Mortdale area. We see them often in the office and have grown to love them.
Elder Beary has become a kind of mission mascot. The Zone that reached their goals celebrated with a big barbecue and a picture taken with Elder Beary. Here he is sitting at President Back’s desk. Sister Lee was delighted to see him because she loves Teddy Bears. Elder Fischer wants to take him home. That is a challenge that impacts the entire mission. Most Elders and Sisters want to take home more than they can. Some fly on airlines that allow only 1 suitcase. Everyone has some sort of weight limit. The islanders have to give their own weight before their tickets are booked. Those of us still serving in the Sydney South Mission end up sorting through all that is left behind. The last 2 transfers, we in the office have been given heaps of candy the missionaries receive from members as going away gifts. We share it with all the missionaries that come into the office. Elders Kinghorn and Tolman also really like the Cadbury chocolate.
We had a meal that was more like a feast after Sacrament Meeting. We eat just outside the building, so are very happy when the weather is mild. We were honoring Sister Pang before she leaves to serve her mission In New Zealand. There were big platters of pot stickers, spring rolls, and delicious beef dishes. (Usually the vegetables I take are completely eaten. But this time, I had leftovers that I took to the office.) Here Sister Pang is with her parents and tiny grandmother who is 94. Her grandmother comes to church every week. I love the sweet smile she gives me when I give her a hug.
We celebrated Independence Day at the Sydney Opera House. I found an all Bach concert featuring all 3 of his violin concertos played by amazing Gill Shaham and his wife, Adele Anthony. The program began with the 6th Brandenburg Concerto that includes 2 viola soloists. It was a superb concert! It was a pleasure to hear the concertos performed so well. I have taught and played the very difficult A minor Concerto, but this was by far the most beautiful performance I have heard. The 2nd movement of the Bach Double Violin Concerto is a favorite of mine. Except for the cellists and harpsichord player, the musicians all stood. They played as a chamber group with no conductor. The quality was stunning!
President and Sister Back had purchased tickets to go with us, but were needed elsewhere. They generously offered the tickets and Ian and Sophia were delighted with the chance to see inside the Opera House. They are good friends from the Cantonese Branch. Sophia is very important to us each Sunday. She knows both Cantonese and Mandarin, so translates our Sabbath meetings into English for us. It was so nice to have an evening together and learn more about them.
On our way back home we drove over the Harbour Bridge and saw the beautiful view from the bridge. But we did not want to be there! Leaving the Opera House, we turned too soon and ended up heading north instead of south. We had to drive quite a distance before we were able to turn around. Coming back, we went under the harbour through a tunnel. (While on the bridge I decided it is amazing and crazy that our daughter in law actually climbed it!)