Saturday, September 17, 2016



"CAN' you believe it,  Edgels?
Oh, dear! They've poisoned our name!
In the same week we found double evidence that we, you Yates/Edgel clan, have fame here down under.  Driving along the motorway (freeway), we saw a big YATES sign for cement products.  The Yates brand is also big in plant and nursery items.  It's like Scott's would be here.  Fertilizers and all kinds of gardening products bear the big name YATES on them.  Then there are the EDGELL vegetable products.  When we were in Cairns in 1998, we noticed all the canned vegetables had the name EDGELL on them.  Since the name has undergone many morphs since its original Edgehill spelling in England, you can see why it still might have two l's here.  Just a fun bit of trivia for the family!
Moroni Atop  Brisbane's Lovely Temple

By the looks of the blog, one might think all we do is take river and boat trips, and take pictures.  Not so!   We are so involved in a great work that is changing lives so incredibly.  The Self-Reliance initiative has so many facets that we could never do justice to them all.  So we have been assigned 2 stakes in the Brisbane area---the Logan Stake in which we live, and the Redcliffe Stake which is an hour northeast of us on the ocean.  Both are far-flung stakes and we are to spend 80% of our time in helping people in these areas.  The other 20% of our time will be in the other 11 Brisbane stakes, 2 of which are assigned to the only other Self-Reliance couple, the Osbornes, and the other 7 stakes both couples will work as best we can.  Since each stake has about 9-11 units or wards, and about 4 buildings, we have a lot of traveling to do.  This week alone, we traveled to Redcliffe on 3 different occasions--Sunday AM to meet with Stake Council, Wednesday for Stake SR Council meeting, and Thursday for us to teach a group of 15 students in the BYU-Idaho institute program and to support  their academic pursuits as well in their gathering meetings. So, for a year, 3 semesters, we will travel to the Redcliffe area to teach and support these students in a 2 1/2 hour WONDERFUL program.  Some are just beginning their college studies, some are returning after a hiatus, and some have 1 or more degrees and love learning.  They range in age from 19 to 56.  We are very excited about this opportunity.  
Helping people makes us happy!

When Bishops identify people who need more education, better work skills, or better jobs then we can assist in getting them the help they need.. Also, anyone who needs help in learning English, we organize those study groups and get them rolling.  It is surprising how the Tongan and Samoan people have flocked here.  They can't get immediate entry into Australia, but move 1st to New Zealand.  After the required time (not sure how long), they can apply to get permanent entry into AU.  New Zealand's economy is not strong, so the families often struggle mightily during their stay in NZ.  Australia's economy is much better off, but they still find that getting a    job can be tough, especially if you have few skills.  The older adults often don't feel the need to learn the language, and the middle-aged men realize their days of hard physical labor are numbered, and they want to gain skills  to qualify for better work before their bodies give out.  They are a gracious and humble people, and so loving and willing to share.  We are humbled by their genuineness for they are without pretense.  

Another big push here in the Pacific Rim is getting children ready for school with the skills they need.  When a need is made known, we can assist in setting up neighborhood Mum's Preschools and facilitate them as they get up and running.  Also Study Buddy programs wherein students of all ages, and even adults needing tutoring help can receive the support they need. And a new Initiative is just being rolled out this month--called "Success in School Begins at Home."  It's a great aid for parents, grandparents or anyone involved in a school-aged child's life, to learn in a group setting with other parents how to specifically help their children.  It is done in a collaborative group setting with a facilitators who are also group members.  Topics vary from how to set routines at home to how to prepare for test-taking.  These are inspired programs, and the ones which have been around for a few years now are proving to really change lives.  We have now been
Spring is Bursting Out all over--in our own back garden! 
able to see several of these groups in progress and be a part of their groups. We then hear the stories of how they have achieved their goals by stepping it up and gaining more skills, education,  or ability to present themselves as employable, etc.  One little Oriental man I talked to has a lunch food stand in an open mall.  The course you see above, "Starting and Growing My Business" he has been attending for 10 weeks in a 12 week course, meeting once a week.  Already, he said, he has increased his business about 50 % just by implementing the principles he has learned in the course thus far.  He is so thrilled and sees such potential to grow now as he has improved his business practices.  These courses work!  We have much to learn, especially as we go before Ward Councils, Stake Councils, and teach how these principles can help the people in their wards and communities.  Then being able to facilitate
Backside of Industrial bldg. we passed on freeway--YATES!
these courses demands some worthwhile time spent learning their offerings.  We love that these principles can assist all people in becoming more resilient and able to provide for themselves and their families both temporally and spiritually.  So these are the growing pains that I referred to in the last section of the blog!  Oh, we've got a lot to learn, and today marks 4 weeks since we arrived in Brisbane.  It's been a glorious and humbling month!

That's the long & short story.  Hope all is well for you and yours.  We pray for each of you and wish you well in your daily endeavors that we may all be growing in positive directions.  Hold your children and family members close to you, and know of our love and respect for all you are--the wonderful people who enrich our lives.

Always with love, 
Elder and Sister Yates, David/Dad & Marsha/Mom, Grandparents Yates 
Self-Reliance/Education Missionaries
0424 351 854

September Splendor brings Growing Pains

Says Wally B: "Okay, I'll pose for you but just for a second!"

Words of Wisdom from a Wallaby:  Eat, drink, and hop to it merrily when a human comes near...

Hello to all our dear family and friends!  Again two weeks have flown by and we've been hopping from go to whoa every day. (Aussie for "from beginning to end.")  We love the work, the people, and the many and varied opportunities we're experiencing.  This wallaby was out on Stradbroke Island, an outing we took with

 the other Self-Reliance missionary couple, the Osbornes.  It's off the coast and a beautiful ride away from the city in a "water taxi," which was a speeding ferry and the views were stunning. Gorgeous ocean and crashing waves, beach heads with plunging cliffs, and plenty of wildlife. The pictures can't hold a candle to the real views we inhaled! When the weather warms up, we're going back to get in those body-surf able waves.  Too tiny to see are the guys in wet suits doing just that--see...?  

Last Friday night at our church building, the Young Single Adults 18 and up had a lip sync competition between the stakes.  Our "boss" and Regional Self-Reliance Manager, Carl Maurer, casually said Friday morning that he needed a couple more judges for the evening.  He is also the YSA coordinator for all of Queensland---such a busy and amazing man who wears many hats.  Did we want to  help? When we arrived, each of the 11 Stakes had been assigned a room to "warm up" and polish their lip syncs in.  Yep, there were  happy kids from many nationalities all working together to pull this off!  The competition was fierce, and just as we were about to begin, the fire alarms in the building went off! Yikes!  500 young adults in the building.  Nobody evacuated, so the next phase of horrid air-horn like noises started sounding with
The Fire Marshall should have seen this crowd! 
commands to evacuate, and we did--- out into the rain!  In rolls the biggest and fanciest firetruck we have ever seen, and the truth came out.  One group had decided to jazz up their lip sync a bit and brought a smoke machine.  They were practicing with it in a double classroom, but it set off the alarms!  Oh, boy!  Who thought of that idea?  Of course, Carl was in charge, so he had to do the explaining as the fire crew scoured the building for the facts.  Unfortunately, there is a $2,500 fee for such an uncalled for use of taxpayer money.  Yep,  Carl still doesn't know the outcome, but he's hoping the fine won't come out of his pocket!  The lip sync was amazing.  A large percentage of people around here are Polynesian, so the dancing and moves were incredible, costuming fun.  After there was a dance until late.  I never dreamed there were such a fantastic and huge group of YSA's here.  Party on, YSA's!  

A little glimpse of our flat (apt.) for you all.  We live in the suburb of Brisbane called Kuraby, and are surrounded by a preserve--- Kuraby Woods.  Thus, 300 yards from our flat is the greatest woods to hike in, and we enjoy it at least every other morning before work begins.  The flat is small, but so serviceable, clean, and has all that we need and more.  Everything is so close here that you can hear your neighbor sneeze 3 doors down if he is outside and you are inside.  Windows are always open because the weather's PERFECT right now!  Just wait until summer, we keep being warned.  Truly, we love this little
14/30 Allingham St.  Kuraby, QLD  4112   AU
home away from home!  Yep, we've an extra 2 bedrooms--one an office, and one has two twin beds for guests!  So, come, be our guests!  The picture shows that we live in a duplex, have a teensy garage which has about 2 feet on each side more than our car's dimensions are!  Can't fully open a door to get out, but it's great.  Last Wed. in the middle of the night we were positive we were being robbed!  Banging, clanking, and big noises woke us up.  Bravely, David ventured downstairs to hear much commotion in the garage.  It took much courage to "face the dragon" as he opened the door to the garage.  What?  Our garage door took on a life of its own and was jerking up and down, not completely, but in spasms.  A short in the switch, perhaps?  It remains a mystery, but we don't trust it to stay shut
Two of the kookas that make us a steady stopover. 
and must find a new switch.  Mary and Auston did a fine job planting some pretty flowers and bushes, which makes for our own little oasis!  We love eating out on our little patio and watching the lorakeets, kookaburras, and other cool birds.  Marsha loves feeding the kookaburras as often as they come, begging for a morsel of meat.  They love chicken livers, gizzards, giblets, and whatever she can find on sale for them.  Their bills are powerful, but I feed them with an open hand, and they are adorable.  One is very vociferous and coos and makes happy  sounds that must be his way of saying, "Oh thank you for giving me something BONELESS!"  They swallow their food whole! Note the woods right behind our flat. We're close to the Karawatha Chapel where our office is, and love the quiet little area we live in.  Our neighbors are mostly Muslim, and have such darling children and are kind and thoughtful toward us.  We are excited to get to know them better, but we've hardly been HOME in the month we've been in country!

Two weeks ago I worked on the blog in two different sittings.  I guess the second time, I forgot to save the last HALF of the blog!  Silly me.  Too much hurrying.  Thus, I'm sending this now, and will add more VERY soon.  Let us hear from you all.  What's up with you?

With love and best wishes to you all,
Elder and Sister Yates, David and Marsha, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma
Self-Reliance Education Missionaries



Saturday, September 3, 2016

How Ya Goin'?

"I Spy" the Brisbane Temple! The white spire with angel!

How Ya Goin'?

That's just a normal greeting, on the phone, or when you meet someone!  We are so enjoying the delightful accent and idioms of the language here.  I hope our accents are as interesting to them as theirs are to us.  I'm afraid to ask!!  So, here's a  blurb for you to translate:


A bingle at broady. Towies on site; it's chockers out that way!

Shimmering Brisbane City from "City Cat" Catamaran

It's a true report my friend Sister Tarr, pronounced Tah, told me about at dinner last Wednesday as we were all together at a Senior Couples Conference with the Mission President and our Area Authority Seventy, Elder Walker.  The translation is: There's a wreck at Broadway.  The tow trucks are there on site.  Watch out because traffic's crazy there!"  Case in point:  We finished a lovely full day of meetings and activities on Thursday, highlighted by an evening ride down the beautiful Brisbane River which makes a huge "W" meandering through the center of downtown.  Our river cruise was over at about 9:30, and we thought surely we'd miss the horrible traffic on the motorways (freeways) en route home.  No such luck!  The side roads and motorways were jammed because of a huge soccer (football) game letting out at the same time! Roads are TINY  and narrow here as well.  Why not welcome another post-midnight retiring time and enjoy the views!  David's doing so well adjusting to the backwards driving.  I'm the navigator, along with our mute GPS.  Don't leave home without a map! So, another clever senior Elder Richins coined a new word, stating that his wife was the "NAG-I-Vator!   Well, sometimes we  "nagivators" just have to holler, "Turn right here!" or we'd be toast! 

Brisbane is truly a beautiful and well-kept city.  They have done a magnificent job capturing the sites of the city and the river at night.  Our boat ride in the evening of Thursday was breathtaking.  Bridges are lit up like candles in the night, and all the skyscrapers cast their glowing lights shimmering across the water!  We took dozens of photos and one winner is: 

Appropriately named, the splendid "Storybook Bridge"

The gorgeous STORYBOOK BRIDGE! Hey, granddaughters, how would you like your princess carriage to carry you across this dazzling bridge?  The local people told us as we were on the boat that the bridge often changes colors! They will decorate and light it up 
differently for different holidays and occasions.  I can hardly wait to see what they do for Christmas!

We were told that we'd not need a coat at all in Brisbane.  Hmmm.....
Who said we'd not need a coat? Pass another layer, please!

Friday, September 2, 2016

First Two Stunning Weeks in Brisbane

Elder Yates on Brisbane River Walk below Temple
Our  days have been filled with purposeful activities,challenging our brains and opening our hearts too the many needs of these beautiful people in Brisbane. Our nights settled into a routine in which we actually booted the jet lag and are enjoying living in 'your future'.  Just getting internet in our flat last  evening, we are happy to greet you all from our home instead of squeezing in quick contacts from the office.  Now a quick test for us: we'll do more shortly!