Wednesday, August 30, 2017

MISSION  "NEARLY" IMPOSSIBLE!

A SORE but NOT SORRY, grateful Elder Yates & Companion!!

Hello to our amazing family and friends,
What a way to get a day off!  The public ER? 

We still can hardly believe it ourselves, but the following is a VERY TRUE story which we never expected to experience, especially on a mission!  Early in July following a cold/flu illness, Elder Yates wasn't feeling very well.  He wasn't able to exercise strenuously, so we took it easy.  He complained mid-July of a little tightness in his chest when we took our morning walks in the forest. Thinking it was left over from his flu cough, he ignored it.  Asking if we shouldn't go get it checked out, he quipped, "No, I'll be all right!  I don't want to deal with an international medical bill." The same conversation was repeated with other walks where he felt slight 'tightness" in his chest with Sister Yates asking that we PLEASE go to a doctor.  On July 25th just when we began our walk, he had some pretty hefty pain in his chest which scared us both!  "Now will you go to the Doctor?" I begged.  

Elder Yates heads to his angiogram-- a short procedure, yes?
Yep, we called mission doctor who ordered us to head for the nearest ER---Logan Hospital. After 12 hours and several standard tests, they concluded it was NOT a heart attack, but there had to be some reason for the pain. ER doctor hooked us up with a notable cardiologist at a private hospital and told Elder Yates to go home and take it easy and not even think of flying home! Elder Yates had a Priesthood blessing by two Senior Elders who pronounced that all would be well, he would heal, and we could finish our mission.  Relief! Peace! In conferring with our experienced mission doctor, he assured us that if an angiogram was required, we could be confident Drs. here are very skilled and capable with a great cardio record. He added almost parenthetically, "And if you happen to need bypass surgery, I would trust them implicitly with that as well!"  We called the next morning for Dr. Chua's next possible opening, At our Monday, 30 July appointment, the EKG (ECG here) showed a strong beating heart with no structural problems. Dr. Chua needed answers by looking inside the vessels with an angiogram, which he scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 3rd. He said we would be permitted go home if no stents were needed, and stay overnight in hospital if 1 or more stents were needed during the angiogram. 
Tim and Jen's sweet twin girls!

August 3rd turned out to be a very paradoxical day. Our son Tim and his wife Jennifer's precious twin daughters were born healthy and happy!  Joy of joys!  What a relief that all is well after a tough pregnancy. Now Mom and Dad's arms are full of beautiful heavenly newborn babes that we've long awaited!  Their names are Madison Amelia Yates and Adelyn Claire Yates and grandma's arms will have to wait a few months to hold these angel babies! Each child is such a sublime blessing from above, and we count these fraternal twins as evidence of Heavenly Father's love and trust that we mortals can raise His innocent and perfect children well.  Now siblings Brayden, Austin, Landon and Katelyn will be extra big helpers!  Adelyn and Madison are our 26th and 27th grandchildren, and it makes our arms almost ache to hold them and to give hugs all around to each one of our incredible grandchildren whom we adore!  

Back to the not-so-sublime part of the day.  Elder Yates was wide awake through the short angiogram and could see the stark evidence in the arteries that all was not well!  The procedure was short because it was very clear that the blockages discovered were too bad to be rectified by stents, so Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery was needed ASAP!  Shock of all shocks!  Not just bypass surgery, but a triple bypass!  Three important arteries were badly blocked---the left main 70%, the right coronary artery 60%, and the circumflex artery, otherwise known as the "widow-maker" was 95% blocked! The circumflex is called the widow maker because it usually gives NO SIGNS of a heart attack before doing massive damage and often causing immediate death.  Doctors feel Elder Yates was fortunate because he had enough symptoms, probably due to the blockage in the other two arteries, to seek medical attention! They said he was a "walking time bomb" and we were very lucky he hadn't had a heart attack already!  The nurse frankly told me, "It's not a matter of months or weeks, but of a few days or hours before the 'big one.' You should be glad he made it here in one piece!" Dr. Chua had the surgeon, Dr. Wall, come to our bedside and explain the bypass surgery.  Our heads were swimming with a million thoughts!  A triple bypass?! You could have knocked us both over with a feather, we were so shocked at the news!  This angiogram was going to be more than a "three-hour tour," as Gilligan's Island theme song declares!  
Aug.5th, just before surgery: Butterflies in tummies, but peace filled the day!  Pathway student Aggy visits us.
The "Dream Team" supports Sister Yates during surgery: L to R;  Miss. Pres.; Clydes, Osbornes, Briggs (new mission Dr.) 

Together, we "can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth" us!  This "health mission" is possible, too!

Elder Yates was admitted immediately into Holy Spirit Hospital and plans were made for surgery ASAP.  Dr. Wall had to put a team together and book an operating theater in this premiere heart hospital.  We were reassured that it was the best in Queensland, by far! Glitches popped up but Dr. Wall pulled some clout and the surgery was performed Saturday, Aug. 5th. That was about the longest 5 1/2 hours of my life, but finally came the good news from surgeon Dr. Wall that all went well.  David was still unconscious and intubated, but I was able to see him briefly.  By morning, they brought him out of unconsciousness and the slow recovery began. His pain was off the charts, but able to be controlled soon.  Within a very few days he was only on mild Panadol. He is our champion, and a patient, tolerant patient.   
Elder Yates in ICU where he had his own nurse 24/7.  Success is waking up!

Where does one find a good artery?  In David's left arm!

   We feel so blessed to have had such marvelous doctors and nurses throughout the whole 9-day hospital stay.  Though each day and each task was a challenge, small baby steps forward were observed daily!  If you're squeamish, skip the next part.  However, bypass surgery is NOT FOR WIMPS!  Three large arteries had to be harvested from David's own body to use for the 3 bypass grafts.  Since he's had trouble with his leg veins, the doctor elected to use an artery from his left arm and two from his own chest. The arm picture was what prompted one of our children to reply with the "tattoo" man.  


What?  No rest?  1st Walk 3 hrs. after becoming conscious! The sooner they are up and moving the better the recovery. No post-op pneumonia in this hospital. What marvelous care Elder Yates received throughout this whole experience!

Babies Madison and Adelyn go home from the hospital the same day Grandpa Yates moves from ICU to his own very private room at the end of a hall with big view of eucalyptus trees. Now sleeping can begin for everyone in earnest.   

This surely doesn't look like a missionary tie!  Dear Elder Yates and Sister Yates hung on to the beautiful words given to him in a blessing before his bypass surgery.  Elder Watts and Elder Briggs (brand new mission doctor)  pronounced that "this surgery will provide the means for the prolongation of your life." That unusual word 'prolongation' stood out to us like a beacon of hope and a promise that things would go fine and he would be sustained during and after surgery. Prolongation, after all, means "to make something continue or last longer; an added part."  How truly grateful we are for this precious blessing of being preserved until proper help was available.  It surely makes us appreciate the wisdom of the Lord in not sending us to a 3rd world country on our mission!  Wouldn't that have been disastrous? ! :( We see the hand of the Lord very plainly in the timing of this unexpected event.  He truly does know the end from the beginning at all times. Humbly we acknowledge His mercies and miracles in this experience!

Amidst  the tubes and hospital sterility inside, outside late winter Queensland beauty continues--a cheery azalea delight!


"Create in me a new heart!"

There might be many questions floating in your minds that will remained unanswered.  But people here keep asking us the same few questions, so perhaps you'll like hearing a couple of those answered:  

#1) Why didn't you just fly home for the surgery? Answer:  From the get-go when we went to the Emergency Room, David wasn't allowed to do anything strenuous.  I began driving, hauling the loads of projectors, etc. as he was not to exert or be stressed at all.  A heart attack was imminent, but we DID NOT know that!  After the surgery, we asked Dr. Chua, who said, "I expected to find something of this caliber in the angiogram when you described your pain."  Also, flying with the stress and sitting so long can contribute to bringing on a heart attack. 

What's the best way to stop the chest pain?  A nice foot massage! We await word that we're free to go HOME!

#2) Will you be able to finish your mission?  A resounding and happy YES is our answer!  We felt all along from the blessing David received in the ER that whatever  was going to happen would not prevent us from finishing our mission and that David would HEAL!  That is proving to be true. :) The Mission President said to me during the surgery when he visited in the ICU waiting room that  Salt Lake Mission  Hdqtrs. had indicated that we should fly home as soon as he was able to fly after the surgery. " Well, "quipped President McSwain, "why do they need to go home to recover after he's recovered enough to travel?"  SLC agreed that by the time he recovers sufficiently to fly, he'll be able to resume most of his Self-Reliance Missionary duties.  

Home at last! A sweet service was the loan of the big recliner from a dear ward member so Elder Yates can relax and keep his sternum straight! No bending, lifting, twisting, reaching nor pushing off!

 #3) How long will the recovery take?  Many activities he can do by 6 weeks, and most all activities can be resumed by 12 weeks.  Sedentary work he can do 4-8 weeks out.  We're fortunate that lots of our missionary work is preparing lessons for teaching PathwayConnect (Pathway's new name!) and other assignments.  Even now, he works on his computer more each day. We have been holding our team Self-Reliance meetings at our flat to keep him in the loop!  Doctors want him up and moving and not just sitting----blood clots are still a danger.  He has exercises to do and starts physical therapy next week.  By 6 weeks out (Sept 16th) doctors' goal is walking at a good pace at least 1/2 hour twice daily!  So each day we take walks which started out at a snail's pace, but are picking up nicely!  

What does the future look like for keeping healthy?  No more deep fried fish and  chips, but EAT YOUR VEGGIES!  The darker the color and the bigger the helpings, the better!  Above is the beautiful dish of Libyan Lamb curry and fresh salad made by our awesome Libyan neighbors, Sallah and Najah.

#4) Didn't Elder Yates have a good physical before the mission?  Yes, of course he did and passed the stress test on the treadmill with flying colors!  Then why could this happen so quickly?  Stress tests don't show everything, and David is very healthy overall there was no reason to require further testing.  We learned from the cardiologist here that up to 80% of having hardening of the arteries is due to genetic predisposition.   David's Father had similar troubles at about age 83--a heart attack and subsequent stroke.  Also, his Father's mother died of a massive heart attack at age 80. Still, 20-30% of factors are dependent upon diet!  Therefore, all with ears to hear and a heart that you love, always consider the far-flung effects of what we put into our mouths!  Ah!  We are what we eat, for sure! 

This blog needs a little nature to cheer the month of medical issues we've encountered.  Elder Yates and I have resumed small neighborhood walks which started as a stroll.  Being early springtime, insects and creepy crawlies have begun to emerge!  In the last few days we've seen two huge lizards in our back bush---about 2 feet each!  Walking on a short trail in the Karawatha forest yesterday, we were greeted by a surprising BROWN snake baby---with a greenish cast!  He was about 2 feet long and just a foot off the path on some leaves!  WARNING:  They are the 2nd most deadly snake in the world and even a newborn has enough venom to kill 20 people.  Respect it, we did and took a wide berth around it.  No post-op snake bites allowed!   The birds are out in massive numbers this early spring. Yet another innocent- looking bird turned out to be a menace to Elder Yates' HEAD! This cute but evil-eyed Noisy Miner tried and very effectively let Elder Yates know exactly how she felt as we apparently walked into its nest territory while on our neighborhood walk!  

These cute birds feed in our bottle brush trees (right) and are usually very nice.  But they have turned into mobsters the past 2 weeks as they defend their nesting territories.  They form temporary coalitions for specific jobs like mobbing a predator! Noted as being very territorial and aggressive, they'll target initruders---which they thought we were!  Three times now in the three times we've walked by a certain area on the public sidewalk, this bird has dive-bombed Elder Yates' head!  Making a screeching noise like none other, it flapped him in the head with its wings and tail creating a big smack.  Obviously I didn't catch it on camera, but someone caught the above picture of a Noisy Miner attacking their pet who wandered into its territory.

Our hearts and prayers go out to those people in the Houston area who are so badly affected by the unprecedented downpour after Hurricane Harvey.  How wonderful to see so many volunteerw working together to relieve the suffering of so many in dire need.  What a beautiful world it would be if we all gave so freely of our time, resources, and loving concern for our earthly brothers and sisters at all times. 

 We send our love to each of you, our sweet neighbors, family, and friends all!  How fortunate we are to know you and we celebrate our cherished relationships with you. We thank each of you who have been so kind to exercise faith through your prayers and fasting in behalf of David.   Again, we give thanks to our dear Father in Heaven for His kindness in guiding us through this medical emergency with the peace and comfort that comes from Priesthood power.  We have witnessed  many blessings and miracles as a result.  

With all our love to you and yours, 

Elder and Sister YatesDad and MomDavid and Marsha Grandpa and GrandpaThe happiest,  most blessed missionaries in all of Australia!  


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Christmas Blooms in July? & Hellos and Goodbyes!



Hello from Australia to our dear family and friends,

 Sandy likes poinsettias low enough to see the blooms in this 60 x 30' patch!.
You might be sweltering as you hit the heat of summertime in the USA. We hear you have had some very high temps and a dry spell interrupted  by some stunning, dumping rainstorms. Be assured, we're not suffering in our "winter" here. We grab a few more layers for the evenings and mornings, but sunny and sky blue are the norm. Even the poinsettias are in full bloom---a bloom like we've never seen before!  Poinsettias are really TREES, as we San Diego girls remember from seeing our Grandmere Allen's 25 ft. tall poinsettia tree in her yard.  We drove out to the real "countryside", about 1 1/2 hours southwest of Brisbane to a beautiful valley called Korralbyn to train a new Ward Self-Reliance Specialist named Sandy Williams. Little did we dream we would be witnessing a mini self-sustaining piece of property of about 3 acres.  This lady is 72, dynamite and a recent widow who has taken charge of the property for the last several years when her late husband became ill.  She grows about everything possible and has a horticultural background so propagates most all of her plants. Fruit trees abound from banana and star fruit to papaya and passion fruit. Her vegetables are Texas size and her chickens do very well under her careful feeding and breeding routines.  She was getting ready to incubate a few more chicks to prepare for the next generation of roosters and hens.  A few of the "oldies" are ready for the stewing pot! Then came the surprise of her food storage---the size of a 2-car garage, she had this shed insulated, shelved and organized to a T. Bottling and preserving are her passion and, in summary, she did not need a lesson on physical preparedness!  How we enjoyed the day away from the city and in nature, with huge gray kangaroos lounging in the fields right alongside horses!! She was as excited to hear about the other aspects of Self-Reliance as we were to see her ingenuity and resourcefulness.  We felt blessed by her kindness, and she even fed us lunch.  Elder Yates was then able to give her some computer help to get her up and running again so she can resume her Family History work and begin her new role as ward self-reliance specialist!    

Star fruit and passion fruit! Yummy!
Gidget guards her domain with puppy teeth.

   Sandy with a rare iris cultivar she propagates.      This land's beauty just gob-smacks us daily!

Sisters Evans & Tahloobah enjoyed mission & goal setting!
Our Self-Reliance work continues to advance through the stakes in Brisbane and beyond. Working with the missionaries as they prepare to leave the mission field is a special treat for us. This last group to leave included 17 elders and sisters.We teach a class on goal setting and the Osbornes, the other SR couple in Brisbane do a class on getting them ready to reenter the workforce and/or school. So many of the sweet missionaries DON'T WANT TO GO HOME, for they don't have the opportunities to advance that they would like. Lucky are the ones who have goals and a plan that is doable from the get-go.  Many have to still improve their language to be able to be accepted into a site or program of their choice.  We love the spirit of the work and the hope it brings for them to set achievable goals and outline a plan to make it happen. In our mission alone we have missionaries from 34 countries!  When we gather at the mission HOME for their last day or two, we have a fun time seeing all their luggage piled up in the garage, having their last few classes, and then a lovely dinner---their "last supper" before their flights home. Then President McSwain gives them their exit interviews, directives about airport schedules, visa info, and all the particulars.  The evening ends with a marvelous testimony meeting which has such a spirit as to make each one feel of our Father in Heaven's love and appreciation for them as they've labored in the kingdom to bring many beautiful people the happiness of the gospel!  Each weekend we average about 8 baptisms throughout the mission.  The Mission has set a goal of 500 for the year...we're a bit shy, but gaining speed as we all fast, pray, and work to our potential!   
The "Kitchen Help": AP's, office Elders & Yates drew kitchen seating this meal for 50! We love to serve & bring dessert!
Squeezing as many as can fit in dining room w/ Pres. & Sr. McSwain. About 15 more are fed on beautiful deck...chilly!

Our backyard's blessed w/ "pets."  Mamma kangee naps FLAT while  baby kooka nibbles meat.:)

Wahoo!  Last Hour of the Last Pathway Class!  We're Successful "uni" students, and proud of it!
Since September 15th we've been teaching a BYU-Idaho Pathway class.  Actually, we teach the Institute portion, 2 lessons per week at our weekly gathering on Thursday evenings.  Then we launch into another 70 minutes of academic work led by a lead student.  We supply the moral support throughout the evening and the week. Our last class was July 20th, and our 8 students did very well in their English 106 class.  Last evening, July 29th, we had a big completion ceremony to celebrate their year of studies.  Believe us, they spearheaded the WHOLE THING, and it was a beautiful evening with a dinner for the grads, full program, testimonies, and celebration in song with information to inspire others to join Pathway.  Have you heard, Pathway is now under the Church's umbrella education program called BYU-Pathway Worldwide? The university portion is now called PathwayConnect.  It's an inspired change which takes the program to Salt Lake so BYU-Idaho isn't swamped with it!  It's growing so quickly and there are about 500 in the Pacific Area alone currently enrolled! We are so proud of our graduates and have built such a bond with each one.  Our cute Lisa quipped at the dinner last night, "When you guys go to the airport,  I'm going to be there like a little koala around your legs!  We're NOT letting you go!!"  Another, Tepepe, said we were like the Grandparents she never had!  They are in our hearts forever!!! We begin another cohort mid-Sept. and certainly have a testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost to teach us all things. What a journey!
Grads being "sashed" with their well-earned ribbon of victory.
A remarkable and spiritual woman, Cecelia Ngere draped in her Maori Tribal Robe poses with family. 
As we approach our year mark of the mission, we marvel at the many opportunities we've been blessed with.  We are busy and happily engaged in the work of building  the kingdom in whatever way we can.  Today, for example, is the 5th Sunday.  Our Bishop called us 1 hour before Sacrament meeting to say his program speaker for 3rd hour called him and was very sick and couldn't present. He asked if we would share with the adults and youth what has been happening in our ward in regard to Self-Reliance and in Self-Reliance as a whole!  Would we?  We've been praying for an opportunity!  Yesterday I also spoke at a Women's Relief Society Conference along with our Boss, Brother Carl Maurer.  Since it was a women's conference, he gave David a pass.  He was our fearless tech guy. Our hearts are thrilled when we can testify of the way the Lord desires to provide for all of His saints, both spiritually and temporally. We've been out long enough and participated enough in these inspired initiatives to see miracles happen all around us. It's a joy to be 100% engaged in this work!  Hey, anybody considering serving a mission---get on with it! Wherever you serve, it would be the delight of your life!  Besides, we'd love to have someone to replace us when we leave!  Senior missionaries are so needed everywhere, and there are marvelous assignments all over this Earth!
  
Yes, Sister Yates is tightly hugging a stately grey eucalyptus gum tree on a forest walk. You can't walk these beautiful forests without feeling of their majesty and LIFE-giving energy!  Elder Yates reminds her to always check the back of the tree before the hug!  Truly, you don't know what or who is lurking on the other side. Photo on right is the huge goanna (monitor lizard) who is about 6 feet long and frequents the woods right over our back fence.  She is stealthily hiding between two trees, hugging it tightly for several hours at a time awaiting an unsuspecting bird or lizard to present itself to her as DINNER! She's another forest delight who is now in winter hibernation. How do we know she's a she?  Well, her name says it all---Go Anna! 😄
 Along with hugging trees, we pass our hugs and love on to each of you at home.  Our hearts are always reaching out toward home and ALL of YOU, our dearest family and cherished friends.  We miss you and our association, but it will be all the sweeter in the end!  Bless each of you for your strength and dedication to all that's good and right in the world.  Carry on joyfully, for we're on the winning team!!

Sending all our love to you,
Elder and Sister Yates      Dad and Mom     Grandpa and Grandma     David and Marsha
Australia Brisbane Mission                       We also love Snail Mail: 14/30 Allingham St.
Self-Reliance/Education Missionaries                                               Kuraby, Queensland  4112
0424 351 854                                                                                     Australia


Friday, June 30, 2017

June Blooms While the Mission Zooms!


A different floral wonder around every corner, every week!

Greetings to Our Family and Friends Far and Away...

May this "Temple" "Bird of Paradise Fly Up to your Windowsill!

Another month has flown by and we're hanging on to the last few hours of JUNE! Who would have thought that a mission could fly by fast enough to break the speed limit!  Whoa!  Slow down, please, for we now know what we're up to and can be of real service.  We opted for an 18 month mission, and already nearly 11 months have whizzed into history. Considering this, we put our shoulders (it takes two) to the wheel as each lovely new wintry morn dawns and happily we go about doing as much good as we can in a day.  Today we saw a hilarious sign on a shop front:  "Winter Doesn't Exist in Brisbane, so Let's Eat Ice Cream!" And it's true!  June average high temperatures are 70 degrees, and lows are 51!  Tough duty for mid-winter stats, right? We're happy with a sweatshirt on our morning walks, and the day always warms our hearts.  

Brisbane Temple Morning shared with Jodee and Alison, two awesome single moms with kids who love the Lord greatly.  
Two "Rays" of Sunshine in our lives at Temple with Elder Yates
Fellowshipping Ray Griffiths & Ray Peddell,at Temple Outing

Four months ago, we began working in the Brisbane Temple as ordinance workers on the Friday AM Shift. We love the Temple and all the eternal blessings it affords people on both sides of the veil.  Being only 1/2 hour away in downtown Brisbane, this miniature temple is perfect in every way!  Jodee, a Personal Finances Class member, did her service project on looking up her genealogy.  A recent convert of only 18  months, she had a clean family history palate on which to paint all the info. she could find.  And boy, did she go to work finding ancestors and simultaneously catch the spirit of Elijah.  Deciding that she wanted to be the one to do the Temple work for her own ancestors, she went to her Bishop and prepared to go to the Temple to receive her own endowment,which occurred last month.  Since that glorious experience, she has been attending the Temple regularly to do work for her loved ones, and we were privileged to be with her to share her excitement.  In her enthusiasm, she invited another class member, Alison, to also attend the temple with her.  Alison had not attended for years, and was reawakened to the strength and power found in the temple which is available to all who prepare to enter this Holy House.  We went 2 weeks ago with both of these fine women to share an endowment session, and it was a red-letter day for all of us!  

Scary "Boo Radley" house hidden in bushes adjacent to Temple
Smaller same Vintage QLD  house on stilts  kept up with pride

Considering the Brisbane Temple has some of the priciest real estate in the whole city because it overlooks the gorgeous Brisbane river and the city in full splendor, it has some interesting buildings for neighbors.  Right next door is a classic old Queensland house which is in desperate need of some TLC!!  Beeler girls, we would call this a "Boo Radley house," from To Kill A Mockingbird.  It's downright neglected, scary, and inhabited...yes, by humans, but who knows what else!   But up the block is a similar house which has been cared for and renovated---a delight to the eyes.  Let's all get out the sand paper and paint and give the "Boo Radley House a similar makeover, yes?  It's a powerful reminder that "A Stitch in Time Saves Nine," as Grandmere or our Mother would say.  Take care to keep ourselves in good shape, not allowing subtle deterioration to enter our lives in any way. A little TLC every day can keep the cobwebs of life away!  The third house with fence in front is on the street behind us---a typical small 60's type house on stilts, but with an immaculately manicured yard.  Keep it up, good neighbor!

Also down the street from the Temple is the biggest bonsai tree in the world!  Well, to our imaginations, it appears to be a perfect specimen.  We don't know its type nor history, but it stands proudly along the roadside of a busy road teeming with traffic and only a small patch of dirt around it that isn't cemented nor asphalted.  Its gnarled, beautifully curved bark has a story to tell, no doubt.  We salute its stout will to live and thrive, no matter its surrounding circumstances.  Truly, we too should determine to thrive where we're planted.  Good on ya, massive masterpiece of a tree!

Christian Refugee Choir from the Congo sings at Kangaroo Point Chapel, Stake Center on Temple site.


The day we took the two "Rays" down to see the temple, we attended a community "Afternoon Serenade" where choirs and participants from all around Brisbane and beyond offered their talents. An impressive venue was the refugee choir of young people from the Congo and other African countries who have come here for a a better life. Their songs were  traditional and heartwarming as we considered how blessed we are with freedom and choices to make our way in life.    Likewise, a few weeks later we had a Samoan Temple Choir perform at our Temple Devotional.  This choir was started to enable Samoan immigrants to celebrate their culture and love of the Lord in song.  They sing all over Queensland and their harmony is beautiful as only South Pacific Islanders can create!  Note most males are in lava lava's as is typical for Sundays.
Samoan Temple Choir poses before singing at our Temple Devotional.

Though winter is in full swing here, flip-flops, shorts and t-shirts still dominate as the dress of
No matter the weather, spiders abound year round!  This is a golden orb variety right in our back yard.  They grow quickly, spin webs like champs and we have a "live and let live" policy in the garden. 
choice for warm afternoons.  Winter doesn't mean that things stop blooming either!  Mother Nature has a knack here in Australia for playing her colorful hand of blooming things throughout the whole year!!!  Each display is a surprise which lights up the whole city in colors so intense that you'd think they'd been photo-shopped!  Just as one begins to fade, another surprise arises overnight, enticing our eyes and our senses.  This is not lost on the animals and birds who head for the latest bloom to taste the sweet berries or gorge on the clear nectar of a blooming flower. This past few weeks it's been the lorakeets loving the golden pendar tree's yellow nectar-filled flower clusters.  The lorakeets are plentiful in our backyard now because we have a small golden pendar  tree which they LOVE!  It's like watching kids on an Easter egg hunt run as quickly as they can from one place to the next, gathering eggs or candies until their baskets are full to overflowing.  Still they run, trying to fit more in as the sweet candies in the eggs entice them. The "lori's", as the locals call them, come to the tree in pairs and sip the nectar, hanging like acrobats onto the spindly branches of the pendar tree while they drink their fill.  When another pair tries to get in on the action, the dominant pair tries to chase them off!  Hey, lori's,  there is plenty of nectar for all of your little birdie bellies!  All's good in the end as throughout the day everyone gets their chance to sip the sweet nectar until they're totally satisfied! 

Brisbane North's BYU -Idaho Pathway Class, 3rd Semester ending July 20th!!  Graduation's on July 29th!

We continue to teach, coach, find, support, shadow and move the Self-Reliance work forward however we can.   It's rewarding to see lives change.  We're about to finish our FIRST YEAR of teaching BYU-IDAHO PATHWAY---three semesters of college credits for these fine students.  It's the highlight of our week because these talented students have become our dear friends.  We laugh, learn, share, and celebrate together.  It's a big deal for these people who are finishing, many for the first time, a year of university studies!  Semester 3 has been English 106---the toughest for some as Math is exact, and English is NOT!  But we've seen much growth and they're all passing with flying colors!  We are planning a graduation in about 3 weeks' time. Then we'll begin with a new cohort again in September!  

This week we inspected flats again which is a joy and interesting.  An UNHEARD OF TRUE STORY we encountered with the Logan Zone Leaders, Elders Tenney and Demke,  yesterday.  When we asked about their stove, they said they had to get a new one because the old one didn't work.  They "blew" their food budget having to eat more fast food because of no way to cook. When the landlord and repairmen came in to replace the stove,  they pulled it out from the wall.  Immediately, about 50-100 roaches flew and scurried about in all directions!! YUCKY!  Yes, there had been a cockroach problem in their flat, but this topped it all--it was the mother-lode, the main NEST!  The roaches had eaten through all the WIRING and ruined the oven.  Thus, Elders Demke and Tenney never to this day dare to open their stove without a defensive weapon in hand for protection from these monstrous and menacing Aussie roaches!!

We managed one over-nighter north to Coolray with the Osbornes and Sister Mead, the other Self-Reliance missionaries in Brisbane, to celebrate Sr. Osborne's birthday. We love the Emundi markets there.  Then last Saturday a fun picnic at a park for celebrating Elder Osborne's 69th b-day.  We are blessed to have like-minded friends about us share experiences with.  Interestingly, our ages are now consecutive and ascending:  67, 68, 69, 70. Yes, Sister Yates is the 'Baby" and Elder Yates the 'Senior.'  

For your final consideration, a mystery picture. Another forest wonder found on a
morning exercise walk, what might it be?    Gladly, though some might eat this, we would not dare.   The sun has gone to bed and so must we!  As Senior Missionaries we have to use common sense for our rule book.   Thanks for being wonderful, supportive people in our lives.  Each day we picture you and pray for your well-being and progress in your individual lives. Mortality is a huge blessing not to be squandered, for we value the time we have on Earth to show our allegiance to our Heavenly Father and His dear Son, our Savior.  This we do through our daily quiet acts of obedience and service.  We feel it an honor to serve Them in this Australia Brisbane Mission. We hope this finds all well in your corner of the world, and that you are feeling healthy and confident in your lives and where they are leading you.  How we love you all! 😊😃

As always, with love, ❤
Elder and Sister Yates
Dad and Mom!
Grandpa and Grandma
David and Marsha                 (PS:  Mystery picture is a mushroom!  A 'brainy one'.)