Friday, February 6, 2009

Enjoying Australia

This week we took a trip to Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Tamworth. We enjoyed spending time with Elder Frank and Sister Connie Abplanalp and with Elder Dee and Sister Frances Doney. We Left for Port Macquarie on Monday Morning.

The Abplanalps & Sallenbachs at Port Macquarie

Beach on Lakes Way

We took the Lake Way Scenic Route and saw many tidal lakes. The ocean and the lakes were very beautiful. Sister Abplanalp had a wonderful dinner waiting for us. She makes yummy potato salad.

Beach Near the Lighthouse at Port Macquarie

The Abplanalps showed us around Port Macquarie. Each beach was really beautiful.

Julie Moremon and her children Jasmine, Ben, and Tara

As part of our outing, we visited Julie and her children. They had just moved to Wauchope from the Blue Mountains. We were happy to see the family and encouraged them to keep learning about the gospel.

Looking Out Our Car Window at the Roos

We really enjoyed seeing a mob of kangaroo on the way back from Julie's. These are the ones we saw up close but we also saw a bigger group of about 25 a little further away. They were very tame and several climbed under the barb-wire fence but then got shy when we drove up closer and moved back to the other side.

Glenn Enjoying a Crock Pie

Yes Freddo's Makes Real Crocodile Pies

President Scruggs, our Mission President said we had to stop and buy a Crock Pie at Freddo's. It wasn't bad but I do think that my favorite is still beef pie.

Overlooking the Dorrigo Rainforest

We enjoyed getting to see another of Australia's Rainforests on our way to Tamworth. We went for an enjoyable walk and Dee took mega pictures.

Dorrigo Rainforest Vines

Ferns in the Rainforest

Goanna in the Picnic Area at Deorrigo

After our walk in the rainforest, we came upon two goannas. They just walked around and didn't seem the least bit afraid of us. Their bodies were about two and a half feet long and they were 5 or 6 feet long with their tails.

Freshly Ploweded Field Outside of Dorrigo

Ebor Falls

We enjoyed visiting Ebor Falls which is between Dorrigo and Armidale. The Owens who served in Armidale for two years recommended a visit to the falls when we spoke with Elder Owens before making this trip. The Owens have returned home to Utah.

Sallenbachs and Doneys

Elder ande Sister Doneys are serving in Tamworth, the country music capital of Australia (and also one of the hottest places in the country). They told us all about the concert which they attended about a week ago. The Golden Guitar Awards are such a big deal that people come from all over Australia to participate. They close up the main street and make a mall out of several blocks. People do stay in motels but a lot just pitch tents.

We enjoyed visiting the Doneys in their flat in Tamworth and then we all went over to Nundle which is about an hour from Tamworth and toured the Old Wollen Mill and Mount Misery Gold Mine. Most of the machines in the mill were made in the 1800's. Who says machines aren't made to last. They had all sorts of beautiful fine woolen sweaters and so forth but it was so hot we couldn't even imagine wearing wool.

Elder Doney and Elder Sallenbach
"Wanna Be Miners, not!"

Mount Misery Mine

We did enjoy our country drive back to Springwood and were thankful for the air conditioning in our flat when we arrived home since it was about 98 when we arrived home. It was as hot inside as it was outside. We did have a wonderful trip and were glad that we got to see more of Australia. It is a beautiful country.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Eve at the Sallenbach's

The Sallenbachs with 11 of the Elders from the
Penrith Zone (Elder Heslop is taking the picture)

Christmas Eve was fun because we had twelve of the Elders from our Zone over for dinner and a nice evening together. We might have called it a Christmas Eve Party.

Elder Jensen (from Far West Utah) and Elder Heslop
(from New Zealand) work with us here in the Emu Plains Ward

We were planning for part of us to eat on our deck, but since it was sprinkling we decided to all eat inside. Luckily we have a big coffee table so we just put a tablecloth over that and we had two tables.

Elder Cooper (New Zealand) & Elder Nolin (New Jersey)

Elder and Sister Sallenbach by our Christmas Tree

Last Year we got this tree because we knew we would be here for two Christmases. It has been fun to have a tree with decorations from St. Vinnies and a few that be bought to take home with us to remind us of Australia

Elders Stott, Vernon, and Bybee relaxing before dinner

Elder Bennett, Elder Lynch, and Elder Hall

We had crackers again with fun hats and jokes to make our dinner and evening a little more festive. We had a few appetizers and then had steak, baked potato, salad and rolls.

Align Center
Elder Sallenbach with the twelve elders from the Penrith Zone
We are so proud of these missionaries - they really work hard

Back to our Christmas Eve Dinner: We ate and then had a couple of Christmas Quizzes (can you name all of Santa's Reindeer?) and taught the Elders the Aussie Christmas Song “Six White Boomers”. (Google this song and you will find that it has a catchy tune and is really quite fun.) We exchanged gifts and everyone got something they probably didn’t want. Everyone seemed to want a wallet and Rubik’s Cube which was traded around quite a bit. None of the Elders who are mostly from America or New Zealand wanted the Vegemite. So I guess we will bring it home for people to taste. It actually is pretty awful. Some of the Aussies will admit that you have to be brought up on Vegemite to like it.

We enjoyed watching the movie Emma on our 18” TV. We had popcorn and brownies with ice cream, whipped cream and hot fudge while we watched the movie.

Everyone left around 9:30 that evening excited for Christmas Day because they would be calling home and talking with their parents and would enjoy the one day each year where missionaries in the Australia Sydney North Mission get to sleep in. We have such dedicated missionaries - they truly inspire us.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sydney North Christmas Zone Conference

Hey Aren't These Missionaries Wonderful?

We all had such a good time at the Christmas Zone Conference. We started with a temple session made up entirely of Elders and Sisters from our mission with President and Sister Scruggs. The Temple President spoke with us before the session and it truly was a spiritual experience. Then we had a wonderful dinner followed by a talent show and movies and carols. It was lots of fun. Here are a few of the photos we took of our group.

Sister MccLaughlin Enjoying Appetizers at our Zone Conference

Beautiful Dinner Served by the Relief Society

Here in Australia they enjoy serving more than one kind of meat at a meal. This Christmas dinner had ham, turkey, and beef. It was beautiful and we all enjoyed it. The gold crackers on each table also were fun. We opened them and inside there was a crown hat with a joke to keep us amused.

Sister Shirley Scruggs and Emma Scruggs

We had three groups of bell ringers for some of the carols. Sister Scruggs and Emma led us by pointing to the corrrect color of bell to be played for traditional Christmas carols. It was lots of fun.

These Missionaries had been out more than six months

Here is the bell choir made up of missionaries who have been out less than six months.

Elder Lynch, one of our Zone Leaders is helping with the
Christmas spirit by handing out red hats to everyone.

Sister Botchemeg and Sister Yang (pronounced Young)

Sister Botchime (from Mongolia) was a new missionary last year and now has been out for a year. Sister Yang (who was baptized in mainland China) has been out about six months. We have been privileged to work with both of these lovely sisters.

Does anyone want a present?

Elder Nuttal, Sister and Elder Sallenbach
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Christmas at the House

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas because it's getting really hot.

Here we are at the park in Glenbrook with Santa

We have tried to be good this year but Santa says we still need to work on it.

The Emu Plains and Leura Wards had a fun Christmas Barbecue at Glenbrook. We had barbecued sausages and great fellowship. Some of the younger group played cricket. We haven't figured this game out yet but the Aussies seem to understand it.

The Sallenbachs at the Opera House

The Sallenbachs with Anne & Jim Green, Harbor Bridge in Background

Our newest (Green) missionaries are the Greens. They have been here in Australia about two weeks. They are from the Seattle Area and have been assigned to the Hebersham Stake. We are enjoying getting to know them and their optimistic and energetic enthusiasm.

We went to Christmas at the House with the Cases and the Greens. We enjoyed a wonderful day in Sydney together. And especially the performance at the Sydney Opera House which was put on by the opera company and symphony orchestra with wonderful soloist performances by five well known artists from Australia.

The Stage for Christmas at the House

The stage was beautifully decorated with yellow flowers all around the skirt of the stage. Many of our favorite carols were sung. We joined in on several of the carols. The encore was "Six White Boomers" which was sung with enthusiasm by all the Aussie audience. Many of the children who were at the performance were invited to come on the stage and they jumped like little kangaroos as everyone sang the song.

Glenn with the Cases

Our friends Shirley and Lewis Case serve in the Orange District. They live about three hours from us. They visit four branches and usually visit with each member of each branch once a month. They are great people with lots of enthusiasm for the gospel and sharing it. We enjoy having them stay with us for Zone Conference.

Here we are with Brother Case

No photography was allowed during the performance but they did allow us to snap a few pictures before the performance started. It really was exciting being in such a wonderful place with great friends.

The Christmas Tree at the Queen Victoria Building

After the performance, (did we say that it was wonderful?) we trained over to the QVB where we were totally amazed by the huge Christmas tree which was decorated with thousands of Swarovski crystals and lights. You can view the tree from the three levels of this upscale shopping center.

Can you imagine how long it would take to assemble and decorate this tree?

The Sallenbachs, Greens, and Cases at the Queen Victoria Building

Here we are with the fantastic tree in the background. Our grandchildren especially enjoyed this clock. It has a ship that goes around the clock once each minute.

Town Hall - Decorated for the Season

The Greens and Sallenbachs at the Nepean River Overlook

On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) we took the Greens for a ride to Glenbrook Park. We enjoyed this overlook of the river but unfortunately we didn't see any kangaroos. We had been very fortunate to see them on all five occasions that we had visited the park. There were lots of people in the park on that day so that is probably why we struck out. It was a fun time anyway.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Our Family's Australian Adventure

One of the true highlights of our time in Australia was having Tiffany, Robert, Trevor, and Ethan visit us. They came on Tuesday October 14th and left on the 27th of October. They did fly to Cairns for 5 days in the middle so we had them for about 8 days here in the Blue Mountains and Sydney.
Here are some of the pictures from their trip. They are not in order but hope you will get a flavor for some of the things we did together while they were here.

We really had a great time. We went to Glenbrook Park where we saw kangaroos in the wild the very first day they were here. On Wednesday we went to the Three Sisters. It was a very foggy day and at first we could only see about 10 feet and couldn't even see the beautiful canyon or the Three Sisters, but the fog lifted and we had a beautiful view. That day we also went down into the rain forest at the bottom of the canyon.
We went into Sydney three times. And while we were there we took a tour of the Opera House; we looked at the city from the top of the Sydney Tower. We also rode the red double decker bus around the city and got a real feel for this beautiful city. The boys especially liked the big clock in the Queen Victoria Building.
Trevor and Ethan really loved going to Featherdale Wildlife Park; petting the koala and seeing a kookaburra up close. We had a wonderful time with our family. Grandma Sandi took care of Kevin in San Diego so that Tiffany and Robert and the big boys could concentrate on sight seeing and enjoying Australia. We thoroughly enjoyed their visit.
Well I am running out of time to post all these pictures. Hope you can see that we truly had a great time. Australia is a wonderful place and we are really enjoying the beautiful scenery and the wonderful people. It is great to be able to share the adventure with your family.