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The beaches in Australia are stunning. Here it is 24 December 2015 and we stopped in Wollongong as we delivered Christmas presents to missionaries.



1 January 2016-The pictures below are of Cronulla beach, one of our favorites. It is only 20 minutes from our flat and has plenty of free parking. We see many families there with their children. It was really crowded because of the New Years holiday.



13 February 2016 – These pictures below are also a Saturday at Cronulla Beach. Dave wanted to swim in the ocean one more time before it got too cold. We walked far north on the beach to watch the kite surfers.


Mix and Match

This entry is a mix of unrelated pictures I wanted to include.

What do you when you arrive home late from the office and are very hungry? Breakfast for dinner. With not time enough to make his pancakes from scratch, Dave made the next best thing, Krusteaz pancake mix from Costco. (The Thompson’s alerted us they had found the mix at Costco.) Paired with the nice fresh fruit in Sydney it made a lovely dinner .

One afternoon we walked to the Mortdale memorial park that honors war veterans. It is a large block surrounded by big trees on all four sides. Especially pretty are the enormous gum trees all in a row along the street. Their white trunks spread wide. Dave noted that they wouldn’t last in our Utah climate because the weight of snow would break the spread out branches.


On the 11 April 2016, we joined with the Sydney North Mission for their Monday night Seniors Family Home Evening as they honored Elder and Sister Williams before they went home. They both helped answer many of our office questions. Elder Williams helped Dave in finding flats. We really wanted to be there to thank them personally for their help. President Checketts is very tall and standing near the center  with his wife right in front of him. On the left are Elder and Sister Williams. Right of the Checketts are the Leishmans, who helped us a lot setting up an flat for Elder and Sister Mackay (far right). The MacKays are in the Sydney South Mission as Education Specialists helping the missionaries plan for college. Elder and Sister Ellis are Self Reliance missionaries and are in a different stake or ward every week doing training. We had a delicious pot luck dinner together, then heard lots about the Williams hard work and good humor as an office couple. (The other couples had assignments such as public affairs, legal and public relations.)


Queen Victoria Building

13 May 2016

We decided to do some souvenir shopping Saturday and went by train to the Queen Victoria Building in downtown Sydney, which Ilene really wanted to see. On the left you the exterior. It is a large older building that has been restored and turned into an upscale shopping mall.  Vaughn and Christie had first mentioned it to us over a year ago when they visited.  When you exit the train at Town Hall, you come right up into the mall.

We looked in several of the shops but things were a bit too pricey for our liking. We did buy one greeting card. It was fun to see the building though. The top floor has several restaurants and seating is along the railing with the nice view down into the mall. We saw some meals served on beautiful patterned china. The stained glass windows are stunning.

This beautiful dome is in the centre of the mall. The spiral staircase at left is going up to the dome.

This amazing clock is one of features in the mall. It includes the day of the month, the day of the week, and the month of the year and more.

On the left you can see that we were there Saturday, 14 May. In the picture on the right you can see the skylights on the top floor.


We were looking for some simple souvenirs since we had yet to buy any.  We went on out and walked down George Street stopping in the Apple Store.  We soon came to some specialty souvenir shops and got a boomerang and a tie with aboriginal designs and some other typical stuff.  Here we are ready to get back on the train at Martin Place. We walked there because the train goes straight to Mortdale with no need to change train lines. It was another beautiful day.

Farewell Party

17 July 2016

Last night, President and Sister Fung hosted a goodbye party for us in their home. They really treated as guests of honor. President Fung had new simple slippers for us to wear and got down and put them on our feet! (They were very comfortable.)


The Branch members each brought a dish and we had a Chinese feast.They use portable cookers that keep the food warm like the white and silver ones you see in these pictures. Sister Fung is a really good cook and prepared salmon and also barbecued wings.

It was especially nice because Sofia and Ian were there with baby Isaac, and Sofia translated for us. I so enjoyed hearing funny Brother Lee’s jokes translated. On the right you see Brother and Sister Lee singing a Chinese folk song. Then they said it was our turn, so we sang I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. They were delighted and clapped along.

In their thoughtful way, they showered us with gifts!  (How much does extra luggage cost?) On the left, Brother and Sister Kwok stand behind us. (Sister Kwok was so sad when she got Bell’s palsy. It slowly got better and better, and now she has most her smile back.) Right you see Blake Tatchell and Mei Ng.

John and Vickie Hill are on the left. John gave us a little jar of vegemite, which we really should bring home and have (make) you each try! Brother and Sister Lee, right, made us the framed picture with cartoon drawings of most the Australian animals. Did you notice how most of us are wearing our jackets or sweaters? Electricity is very expensive in Australia, so even if a homeowner has ducted heating, it is not turned very warm. Everybody just rugs up, which means dresses warmly.

President and Sister Fung and their son, Kevin are on the left. President Fung gave me the watch, necklace and earrings. I was so glad Kevin stayed for the party. Right is dear Sister Xiu. She frequently gave us food, her own good cooking or sometimes crackers, chips or cereal. On the right you can see a little of the fancy cake garnished with strawberries someone brought. They had me cut the cake and then everyone clapped, like at a wedding celebration.

Left you see dear Sofia, Isaac and Ian. We met them soon after we arrived in Sydney when they both came into the mission office. Sofia works in finance at the church regional office in Carlingford. Right are Brothers Yang and Lin, who you will find quietly serving others. Note that Sister Lee is already in the kitchen cleaning up.


Here we are, full and happy to be together. Sister Fung, Mei, Blake, Elder Kinghorn, Sofia, Isaac, Ian, President Fung, Sister Kwok, and Brother Kwok. (Note on the shelf behind them the model of the Hong Kong temple, where the Fungs served.) It was a really fun party with people we have grown to love!


Your Leaving This Month?

5-6 July 2016

We had a Mission Mental Health conference in Mortdale on Tuesday and Wednesday. 200 missionaries came in, half the mission each day. On Tuesday, Sister Thompson worked in the office and I organized 6 Sisters cutting fruit and making green salads and cutting brownies to go along with 60 pizzas. The lunch went really well. It was nice to spend the time with the young sisters. I was so tired I ended up sitting and eating in the kitchen during clean up and just answering everyone’s questions.

I forgot to take more pictures until the missionaries found out we were leaving the end of July. We realized we might not see them again! The Elders we knew who served with us in the Chinese Branch all asked for pictures. Left is Elder Xiao, right, Elder Ross. Elder Ross served in the military and was very organized and courageous.

Elder Lee, left, worked so hard on learning English and really improved. Right is Elder Cheuk, who also plays the violin.

Elder J Lee is left and our fun, cheerful, Elder Soon, on the right. He is an artist and hand made us beautiful cards.

Left is Elder Chen and right, Elder Cui. Sister Thompson and others worked many hours on a visa extension for Elder Cui so he could stay his full mission. It turned out to be a very long and expensive process.


Here is special Sister Kapu from American Samoa.


On Wednesday, we got to attend the conference. This picture is from early Wednesday when Sisters Ulese, Iuli, Fotu and Sofele helped carry the food to the kitchen.

This is after the conference and our last hug. From the left, Sisters Sofele, Fotu and Iuli. You can see my red nose from crying. I love them all and was so sad to say goodbye.





Taronga Zoo

7 May 2016

After Jeff and Shelley told us how beautiful the Taronga Zoo is, we decided we had to go. The ferry ride itself is beautiful. We bought our zoo tickets right at the ferry entrance, so once we arrived, we were able to take the cable car up to the top of the hill. Above you see me just after we exited the cable car. The zoo is built on a rocky hillside just across the harbour from the opera house and bridge. There are stunning views of the city from many parts of the zoo. It was a little hazy the day we went.

The zoo is spread out with large enclosures for the animals. Here the giraffes are gathering to be hand fed carrots by patrons who paid a little extra. We saw a small platypus searching for the live little crayfish in its private river. It was a very dark display where the platypus could not see us. We had to wait for our eyes to adjust. The male platypus has venom in his hind claws!

Before the bird show, we sat in the shade in the amphitheatre eating our packed lunch enjoying the lovely view of the harbor. The show was excellent with the birds swooping right over our heads. The trainers got them as close to us as possible.We saw an Australian type of eagle and vulture, both with very large wing spans.


The black cockatoo was particularly beautiful.

img_0518Note the striking black birds with the red on their tails on the right. The flock of white birds above the trees were also part of the show.  A small grey with red bird took a 2 dollar coin out of boy’s fingers and later returned it to his palm!  Clever trainer, clever bird!

They showed off the sharp ears and excellent eyesight of the owls.

We also saw a big lizard and the birds in an aviary being fed live tiny caterpillars. I think it would take a bird lover to put her hand in and grab all those little crawly things and fling them out on the rock.

I especially enjoy seeing the animals that are so Australian. The kangaroos come in every size and color.

How about a kiss? Ahhh, it feels so good to scratch!

The cute koalas we saw were quiet and shy. The echidnas look a little like a fat waddling porcupine. I had hoped to see another wombat, but they were hiding. Elder Kinghorn calls them furry rocks because they cause so much damage to the mission cars. It is like hitting a deer or a kangaroo at night.

We were really close to the monkeys.

Can you see the sea turtle on the left? We also saw the excellent seal show. But they were all California seals!

Look for the garden clock on the left. Lots of sailboats out in the harbour.

Look what else we could have done at the zoo. What clever marketing to build a ropes course through the trees. The young people on the course were having so much fun.

Here are the views taking the ferry back to Circular Quay. We wore ourselves out spending 4 hours at the zoo, plus an hour each going and returning on the ferry and train. But it was worth it!

Leaver’s Dinner for Six

30 May 2016

Here we are around the table in the Mission Home after enjoying another delicious dinner for those who have finished their mission. Most the time we would use all paper goods, but these six ladies got fancy glasses and real silverware. Left, Elders Kinghorn and Thompson and Sister Thompson. Right, Sisters Tuapola, Mauga and Bogidua, all three really fine missionaries.Sister Tuapola was serving in the Sydney South Mission while waiting for her visa to enter the United States. It takes a long time to get a visa to our own country!

Left, Sister Albano, from the Philippines, Sister Eddie from Soloman Islands, and Sister Chi from Taiwan. Sister Albano is already a nurse. Right, Elders Simon and Murphy, assistants to President Back, are on each side of Sister Chi.

We have finished the songs, testimony meeting and prayers. Above left, President Back is putting pictures on a thumb drive for each leaving missionary. Sister Albano is on the left, Elders Simon and Murphy, right. President Back takes many pictures with his nice camera while they visit Circular Quay, the harbour and the Sydney Opera House. Then he gives each missionary copies of all the pictures. Often, the missionaries want pictures with us seniors. Here Elder Kinghorn and I are with Sister Eddie.

Above, Elder Kinghorn and I are with Sister Albano, then Sister Chi. (Sorry, the lighting is not very good. We are on the platform for the formal dining table.  It is between the family room and living room and is a platform raised 2 steps above them.) Why did we not get pictures with everyone? They are downstairs weighing their bags, choosing what they can take home.