It is a damp, cool, dizzily, morning in Melbourne. I am bummed. I bought a new rain gauge a few weeks ago and attached it with a couple of fishing nails to the 2x4 railing atop the fence near our entry door. I had one that I brought from home in the same place and it blew off one night and did a Humpty Dumpty on me and you know the rest of the story. The new one is or at least was working fine until I found it lying on the side walk the other morning. It is not broken but I am not putting it back up there without proper nails or screws that have large enough heads that the gauge will not slip right over them and go plop or splat or whatever again. We were at Bunning’s yesterday, (Australian version of Home Depot).
Actually, better than Home Depot in the area of customer service for sure and I think they have all of the (Home Depot) stuff that one would ever want or need. My problem is I am such a tight wad. Sharla wanted to buy a little pack of nails with heads on them. It was over $5 and I said, no do not spend that kind of money for two little nails. Of course then it would rain overnight. What a dilemma!! It is even more complicated because we were looking at Big W (Australian version of Wal-Mart) right after we got the new gauge and I was too tight to buy nails that day.
They were laying loose in the bottom of the display case. We took, borrowed, or stole them. They did not do the required job as I have described. Then on Sunday I was in the Member Janitorial Closet at the Branch and I found a couple of nails and a couple of screws that I put in my pocket to bring home and try. It was a hot day and I had my jacket off many times and in a couple of different trunks (boots) of cars and Sharla carried it a couple of times for me when we were walking to or from the train or tram. Very long story short, I am still looking for those nails or screws. I will get this project finished somehow. It is raining quite hard right this minute and I am going to go out and put it in a temporary spot. Perhaps you will hear more about this sometime in the future. Probably not much more.
We are doing fine. Most of the time well, and once in a while not very well. The not very well is associated with times when we are missing our family, like Thanksgiving which of course is not celebrated in Australia. ( We did a P-Day dinner on the 19th for our Zone. Total of 28. Turkey and the trimmings, 2 11# whole birds and a boneless roast that was dozens or more pieces all neatly rolled in and placed in a net, all for a total cost of $194.49. It would have cost $194.50 had I not paid for it on the credit card, since in Australia they round all transactions to the nearest nickel. They do not have pennies. They have 50, 20, 10, and 5 cent coins, as well as $2 and $1 dollar coin; no one dollar bills, just 5,10,20,50, and 100 dollar bills. Someone said the other day that they have a $500 bill. Probably, I will not carry one of those around any time soon.
Back to our doing fine, We are about as settled into our efficiency flat as we can get. There is no room for any more stuff. There are at least a dozen things that we complain about regarding the flat, but we have come to accept that our complaining is not going to change any of it, so if we want it changed we do something about it (at least Sharla does) and otherwise we have limited most of our complaining to each other.
We are accustomed to the fact that we rely 95% of the time on public transportation. The newness of that has worn off, and a few Sundays ago when we walked over 60 blocks doing all of the stuff that we had to do that day (we also rode the tram a few times and even rented a Taxi) we complained to each other that it was too far, too much walking.
We actually rented a car a couple of weeks ago for a day and went on a beautiful drive down to Inverloch and visited a woman and her son who I met nearly 50 years ago in my first area. We felt so liberated to be able to stop along the way at a travel plaza and go buy a map or a diet coke or whatever we wanted. It was a beautiful drive, The ocean there was spectacular. We also borrowed a missionary car on Friday and drove to Costco, mostly for supplies for all of the Branch feeds. (paper plates, flatware, cups and that sort of stuff).
The amazing, truly amazing part of being here is the Chinese and Vietnamese people and the missionaries. (the young ones, not us) I will never cease to marvel at how hard the missionaries work and how dedicated and obedient they are and how they are blessed to learn the language that they are assigned to learn and then speak that language almost exclusively for two years. Think about the challenge of being a missionary and teaching the gospel to someone you have never met before and then throw into the mix that you are going to do it in a language you know nothing or very little about and you are going to be teaching people, many of them who know nothing at all about Jesus Christ or his Church. That is what is going on here and we are privileged to be on the sideline taking it all in, or at least as much of it as we can.
Most of the students have completed their finals. Summer vacation has begun for them and many of them will return to China for 6-8 weeks. We are anxious to see what that means regarding participation in the various activities. We are having more than 100 in Sacrament meetings; often a dozen or more first time investigators. At “English Class” a couple of Saturdays ago there were 19 people there that had not been there before. (Sharla has them eating out of her hand.) Last night at FHE there were over 50 people there. We had 5 baptisms this week; three Chinese and 2 Vietnamese.
We are touched with the testimonies spoken and the accounts that we are hearing about how these people were guided to come here. One young man told us he was trying to find a job in China and also applying for his Australian Visa concurrently, and that he had decided he would enter the door that opened first. They both opened the same day but the Visa was first and he has simply stated that God brought him here to learn about Jesus Christ, and the Restored Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ. We are so impressed with them, their faith, and how willing they are to step into a brand new world with Jesus Christ being at the very center of it. Hopefully, we (all of us) can be of some worth in our lives and hopefully we can keep Him in the center also.
PS: the rain gauge has measured .96 of an inch since I put it out. Just thought someone might want to know. It isn't as big as it looks. Sharla had to stand on a chair to take the photo.