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'.)



Friday, May 26, 2017

Bringing to Light Bedraggled Brisbane, Baptisms, Big Birds & Birthdays!

Hello to our Wonderful Family and Friends Scattered Abroad!

Hibiscus reveling in our cool fall weather!
The extended lapses between blogs is not intentional but because we are so blessed with exciting missionary opportunities each day that keep us hopping and purposefully engaged in our calling. How we love, Love, LOVE our mission and serving the fine people of Brisbane and beyond! We hope your transition in the States from winter to full-blown spring has been delightful though we read and have heard from some of you that it's been a muddy, wet spring with snowfalls lasting even past Mother's Day. Maybe your spring cool weather plantings will mingle right in with the tomatoes and budding fruits! 


Our walks become a hurdling effort to get over  downed trees blocking our path!
Debri up 28' up in trees showing depth of flood waters.
Last month Cyclone Debbie wreaked devastation with her initial strike up north but heaped destruction and intense flooding upon us here in the greater Brisbane area several days afterwards.  If you recall from our last blog, the cyclone was downgraded and moved slowly down the coast where it collided here in Brisbane with another monster storm front moving north from Sydney.  The result:  intense flooding of all the rivers, some areas experiencing flood levels of 30 feet and beyond!    

The Logan River near our home flooded badly and left massive evidence everywhere. The clean-up goes on as people who were under several feet of water try to reclaim their lives. Now we know why typical Queensland houses are built on stilts---literally!  The floodwaters can then just rush on by going right under their homes!  

Our missionary work continues to involve us in many Brisbane wards and stakes.  We support our own Logan ward in as many capacities as we can while tending to our Self-Reliance main calling. Brother Maurer, the regional Self-Reliance manager over nearly all of Australia, is our true "boss" and we meet often to plan and prepare for our many responsibilities.Our loyalty to our mission president, President McSwain, is full and engages us in interesting work with the mission. We support the full time "younger" missionaries in their areas and needs---from inspecting their flats, feeding them and other office and senior missionaries, to helping them set goals and make a plan for "life after the mission when their mission is drawing to a close. We love to meet and hear about their investigators and further the work in the mission. This month we've been blessed to attend many sweet baptisms in various wards and stakes. Many of the converts we've worked with for months, and some are newer acquaintances. Each brings a joy to our hearts to watch them take this most important step on their journey back to their Heavenly home.  
Ana Loma's baptism evening with member hubby Sioni.
Children in white in other picture are Emma,9, and Eli, 12, from
a part member family. Dad has yet to join.  Below is Yvonne Collins,
62, who is only member in family.  Sisters Day and Sutuwan taught this
talented and happy woman, who is so excited to become a Latter-Day Saint!
    
 Today we witnessed a beautiful ebony man, Denis Gahutu, from the Congo be baptized,  He has taken great care to study the gospel and gain a deep testimony before committing to be baptized.  What a fervent testimony he bore at his baptism. Another baptism we attended today was of a fine young woman, Shaleeze Dawes, who is a single mother of two.  She has made many strides forward in the past few months and feels strongly her decision is so correct. These are more of the joys we experience nearly weekly!  Sweet is the peace the gospel brings!



Who among you can guess Australia's largest land animal?  No, not a kangaroo.  Not a koala.  Nah, not a dingo, their wild dogs.  It's a bird!  With no tigers, moose, or elephants to grace this continent, their largest land animal is the cassowary bird.  No messing around, you'd best take a 4-letter clue from its name---"wary!  One should be very careful and wary not to encounter one, for they are mean and very aggressive for apparently NO REASON!  With only about 1500 cassowary birds left in existence, they are endangered so your chances of meeting one in the wild are scarce.  We saw one in the koala sanctuary, and it's bigger than the emu or ostrich!  The males are thoughtful enough to hatch the eggs, and life expectancy is about 60 years.  The word comes from the New Guinea Papuan word 'kassa" meaning long-legged and 'wieri' meaning horned head. They attack with their heads or feet, can't fly but run like the wind.  Yep, they're closely related to the emus.  If you saw the movie "UP" that's a cassowary bird that causes such a ruckus!  Emus, on the other hand are docile and approachable. How about a pet Python? We met a lovely one on our bush walk lately!   

Emu, AU's 2nd largest land animal Do birds qualify as land animals?  Yes, when they can't fly like emus and cassowaries.
Beware the Cassowary Bird, my friends, and shun its horned head and clawed toes.  If attacked, climb the nearest tree! 

On our morning bush hike, this Eastern Coastal Carpet Python (OVER 6 FT LONG!) was sunning himself on the trail.  

Now here's a face everyone can love!  These baby koalas have the ability to capture  hearts of  young and old.  Notice its two opposable thumbs and three fingers for grasping branches.   I'd be so pleased if I could import just one pet koala and one pet kookaburra.  See below the latest kooka baby about 3 months old now. She hasn't yet learned to eat from my hand.  But the cutie will eat the meat morsels I leave on the fence and now lets me get within 2 feet of her!  Such fun wildlife! 



"Aussie Hot" Brisbane River Trip on City Cat  for Sr. Y's B-day!

Elder and Sister Yates are now both a year older and wiser, and clever celebrations made our days cheery and bright. At our age, birthdays are just 'another day' which pass quickly enough.  David turned a big 70 this year, so we had to have a bit of a razz for his 7th decade of life!  Easter Sunday was the day, so we were busy with Church, teaching assignments, and lots of music that Marsha was involved in for the program.  In addition, we both were the main speakers for our Easter service.  Our sweet friends and fellow Self-Reliance Missionaries invited us over for Easter/Birthday dinner later that evening.  Sister Yates'  birthday fell on another work day but was preceded by a holiday.  So our Self-Reliance crew decided to take advantage of the holiday to take a ride down the Brisbane River and see the sights before heading to Sister Dianne Mead's place for supper and games.  We are blessed with kind friend and loving people around us.  We so enjoyed and appreciate  the well-wishes from family and friends  and even got real snail mail to grace our mailboxes.  My fridge front is looking rather homey with more pictures of and drawn by grandkids.  Thank you all for your thoughtfulness in taking time to fill us in on your lives and things of importance to you.  We may me out of sight, but you are never out of our minds!  

You'll see a shot from our excursion down the Brisbane River .  Truly, this is a beautiful city and its surroundings are green and lush.  When you look at us on google maps you'd think there was nothing much outside of downtown Brisbane because everything is so heavily forested.  We took a speedy water taxi called the City Cat, and enjoyed getting off at various places for lunch  and  little hikes in the rain forest.  

Who spoiled Grandpa?  Not Grandma!  

People come and go in our lives, and it's certainly 
true in the mission field.  18 months is SHORT to 
do what we feel we need to accomplish.  We 
are blessed to meet wonderful senior and junior 
missionaries from all over the world.  Working 
with them is a pleasure, but parting is "such sweet
sorrow!"  We said goodbye to 12 elders and sisters
this month alone, and 16 more arrived, just waiting
to be known and loved!  We've worked with the 
Nichols, a fine couple from the Sunshine Coast
who are local Self-Reliance Missionaries.  At 
least they are still "local"--only a couple of hours'
drive.  Mary and Auston, this pic's for you!  Then Elder 
 Avock (right)is from Port Villa, Vanuatu and is returning home
to make a good life for himself and his nuclear and 
future family.  He's got higher education plans that
are going to be a boon to him.  He has been a dear.   So,
Heather and Glen, this pic's for you!  

And the above smiling adults made history by completing the FIRST "Personal Finances for Self-Reliance"  course in all of Queensland!  One fine member is not present, but completed the course. We met each Wed. evenings for 2 1/2 hours for 12 weeks to complete a comprehensive and enlightening NEW Self-Reliance Initiative which has been piloted with great success in the US and Canada.  We were asked to be the facilitators for this fine group and the class was so well-received that two more classes are already running in the same area!  About a dozen are going throughout Brisbane as we speak!  So, all you US main lander's---go  find out about one being offered in your area.  Truly, the  members of our group are singing the praises of this informative and inspiring class all over!  One even talked to her family in Canada, and they've begun a group there!   
Sister Yates' arms are always happiest when filled with little people.  She can't get enough of these darling babies born with a mop of thick black hair, and shiny brown eyes that melt her heart! Substituting in Primary is another good antidote for the "empty" Grandma arms syndrome! No fooling, of course we miss our beautiful grandchildren and our whole sweet family!  You'd think us cold-hearted if we said otherwise!   En route home from Church this Brisbane fall sunset lit up the sky with rays of light shooting heavenward! The clouds literally were haloed with brilliant light that dispelled the on-coming darkness.  Let's all be a a light to the world as we go about our daily lives in joy and gratitude for all the blessings we enjoy---including knowing and loving each of you!   Oh, we were so hoping the photo would be as stunning as when our eyes beheld it, but it will give you an idea of the tall eucalyptus trees which surround us and the blazing sunrises and sunsets that are bookends to nearly each day!    

Speaking of "ends," this is long enough for even the "hearty" blogger readers to choke on!  It is written with the hope that you'll feel a bit of the joy of our labors and learn of the culture and beauty of this special spot of paradise!  Take care of yourselves, and we''d love to hear from you soon!.  With much love from our hearts to yours,
                          Elder and Sister Yates, Dad/Mom, Grandpa/Grandma, David/Marsha 
      Oh, we love being missionaries now! Why don't you think about a mission, too?  Yes, YOU! 😊