Monday, July 12, 2010

Day to day details

I am over Referrals, which means logging into the computer, the names and addresses of those interested in learning more about our Church. It is my responsibility to assign them to the appropriate missionaries (2) in that area, and provide them the address and phone information. I then check back on a regular basis on the progress, updating the computer with that information. I also coordinate the medical needs of the missionaries. By the way, those missionaries are young men, ages 19 - 25, and young women, ages 21 – about 25. They come from all over the world, with a high percentage from other areas of Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the Pacific, but also quite a few from the United States. The young men serve for 2 years, while the young women serve for 18 months. We also have about 5 or 6 senior missionary couples, along with 2 single senior women (senior meaning past retirement).

Just one interesting story of a young lady missionary from Mongolia. She had difficulty getting her visa, which took 12 months! So she worked as a missionary in her home country of Mongolia for 9 months before coming here. She has a beautiful voice and has entertained us a number of times with acapella renditions of our hymns in her native language. Absolutely beautiful!

DeVon is over the finances for the Mission, and is responsible to see that all the bills get paid. This consists of the rent and related expenses for over 40 apartments (or flats as they are called here), as well as all the other costs associated with running the affairs of the Mission throughout all of Western Australia (comparable to nearly all of the western part of the United States).

We also attend many meetings scattered throughout the Perth area. By the way, Perth and its associated suburbs have a population of around 2 million people. So far we have never driven far enough to go beyond the reaches of this huge city. We are at the mission office from 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday. Saturday is our Preparation Day, or the day when we do all our chores, clean the apartment, go shopping (because all the stores close at 5:00 every night but Thursday), and any extras we want to cram in. On Sunday we attend Church meetings and do some studying from the scriptures, and have some personal time.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sites Around Perth

We want to share with you some of the scenic sites around Perth .
The Mission President has assigned us to attend the Doubleview Ward for church activities. After attending several times, we discovered why they call it Doubleview. As we left the Sunday meetings, walking toward the parking lot, we looked out toward the southeast and saw this amazing view of downtown Perth.

Later a member of the ward explained why it is called Doubleview. If you turn around to the west, you have the second view…the Indian Ocean . We haven’t yet found just the right view for this picture.

Several weeks later, we drove up the coast, viewing the beaches. We had heard about Hillarys, a large boat harbor with shopping and food courts. We made several stops along the coast highway, enjoying the view and the beautiful “winter” weather.

At one stop, we noticed a large rock formation that looked like a shipwreck.

Last Friday afternoon we attended zone conference in Thornlie (about 30 minutes south of Perth ). DeVon has always wanted to drive at high speeds and he was even able to legally travel up to 100 (kilometers per hr). On the way back Judi talked DeVon into getting off the freeway (outside his comfort zone) and see the nightlife in Perth, which is only open late on Friday nights. DeVon kept taking the wrong exit (three times) causing us to double back, right along the Swan River . The view was so beautiful that Judi took a picture right out the car window.

We have gotten into the habit of taking a picnic lunch to enjoy on Sundays following church. We try to choose various locations to enjoy while having our lunch. Jackadder Lake has become a favorite and is very close to the Doubleview Chapel. Many of their lakes have walking trails around them. Jackadder also has 6 or 8 activity areas along their trail where they have installed colorful exercise equipment which is used by young and old alike. 

Last Sunday we discovered another lake, which is actually a reclaimed swamp area. Herdsman Lake is quite large and famous for its “black swans” which are one of the symbols of Western Australia . Today, Sunday, we did catch a quick glimpse of some black swans while driving, but not where we could stop and get a picture. Winter has truly hit here, which means we have had lots and lots and lots of rain for the last three days, and colder temperatures.

We will try to get some pictures of the black swans in future visits (and sunny weather) at the lake.

We love the unique malls here in the suburbs of Perth . This mall is entirely underground, with parking tents being the only portion visible above ground. We found this candy shop and had to share this taste of their British heritage with you.

We are really enjoying our work here, and as you can see, we are truly taking advantage of every opportunity to see the sites. We try to include our sightseeing attempts during our assigned travels, to keep our mileage (as well as the cost of gas!) down. Hopefully, sharing our adventures makes you feel closer to us. We think of each of you often and include you in our prayers. Love to all, Elder and Sister Nielsen, Judi and DeVon, or just Mom and Dad.