Sunday, February 1, 2015

January gone already

January gone already

As we got back to work after the new year, we found out it was Marilyn Freeman’s birthday.  We had been so impressed with the hamburgers at Grill’d in Sydney, that we found one not far from the archives in Melbourne.  Since hamburgers are a favorite meal for Marilyn, be all decided to celebrate her birthday there.  We sure do have a fun time with these seniors.

I received an email from our daughter and she said it looked like we were doing mostly traveling.  I figured the day-to-day work in the archives is not the most exciting, but I had better let you know that we are there Monday through Friday, working harder than we have ever worked before.  Kay does most of the document preparation work (since that is Marvin’s least favorite job).  The documents are stored, folded in quarters and tied with ribbon, in these boxes.  Kay must unfold them, remove any brads or staples, cut the strings or ribbons which are sewn to keep papers together, flatten the documents, and then let them sit for a few days to flatten out before being digitized.  Marvin then takes each stack to the camera table, and takes the picture of each document, checks for any errors and then restacks the files.  Kay then refolds each group of documents and puts them back into the boxes.  Each box contains an average of 65 document groups.  A group would be the documents of one person who is deceased.  We average more than 10,000 images each week.  So with the other missionaries here doing the same thing, we are adding over 40,000 images each week.  OK.  Enough of work.

Ksy busy unfolding and clipping

Nice pose

Click that camera

Boxes waiting to be digitized

Boxes to be done and completed

When we first moved to Melbourne we had the back property full of very tall trees and lots of birds.  The owner has now cleared the property, as he is planning on building two flats back there.  I wondered what would happen to all the birds.  Gratefully our next door neighbor has a few tall trees and the parrots have taken a liking to that tree.  There can be several hundred which congregate on the top of that tree in the early evening, and they make quite a racket.  Often we have to close the doors because they are so loud.  The picture doesn’t show off their colors very well but they have blue, red and yellow marking.  They are beautiful.

One warm Saturday afternoon we decided to drive up into the Dandenong Range (about a 15 minute drive from our house) to the William Ricketts Sanctuary.  We were greeted in the parking lot by a kookaburra.  He did not laugh for us though.  The sanctuary was built by Wm Ricketts who had become ‘one with nature’.  His statues are of the aborigines and many of the forest animals who lived there.  His statues are ceramic but made to look as if they were carved from trees.  It is a very beautiful place.

Quite a tame bird

What a handsome guy!

Kay's two new mates


While there, we drove to the observation point where a chainsaw carving contest was finishing up.  We got there in time to see the awarding of the prizes and the auctioning off of the pieces.  There was one (we didn’t get a picture) that we particularly liked and would have bid for it if we lived here.  There were eight carvings in total.  The artists started with one log and had 5 days to create their masterpiece. An American woman won the participants favorite prize, but the overall winner was an Aussie and he carved a beautiful dragonfly which was amazing.

Crocodile Dundee 
Dinosaur with eggs

Overall winner

Observation Point overlooking Melbourne

Last Saturday we had dinner with Daisy and Ashley from China.  Daisy is a friend of Marv’s brother, Harold and his wife Pat, from when they were teaching in China.  She is now in Melbourne studying bio medics and Ashley is a classmate of hers.  It was so fun to get to know them.  We served an authentic American picnic, hamburgers, BBQ beans, potato salad, and root beer floats.  They were so funny, taking pictures of huge hamburgers and root beer floats which they had never seen.

Daisy, Kay and Ashley

Monday was Australia Day, so another holiday.  We celebrated by having some of the senior missionaries over to our house for a BBQ.  We got to know the McFaddens (Orem, UT) and the Jose (Perth, AU) a little better.  Sis. and Bro. McFadden work in the city with the international branch, and Sis. and Bro. Jose work with the Stake Presidents with self-reliance, employment training especially for returned missionaries and young single adults.

The evening finished with a very cold concert in Whitehorse.  The main attraction was Bjorn Again, who sing the ABBA songs, and they were great.  They had been on tour some time before in Australia and Marvin had looked at getting tickets, but they were so expensive.  So, this was great as it was a free concert.  The concert ended with fireworks at 10pm which we saw as we turned back to look while we made a quick dash to McDonalds for hot chocolate.  Marv had brought a light jacket but it wasn’t heavy enough to keep him from chilling.

Gas drops below $1.00 a litre

Town hall concert on a very cool evening

On Jan 15, we had the pleasure of having the new Pacific Area President and his wife with us for a mission conference.  It was an outstanding conference and I have included my notes so as not to forget where they are.

Notes from Pres. Kevin Pearson, Pacific Area President                            

Am I a person who Heavenly Father can trust to do what He wants me to do?  The more we feel without acting upon it, the less and less we will feel.  When you pick up one end of a stick, you pick up the other.  Choices have consequences.

“I want____, but not yet,” really means “never”.

Do we ‘act’ or ‘become’ the person we are supposed to be?  God knows our potential and what He wants us to become.
1.       Have faith in yourself and your calling.  Rely on the Lord for His help.
2.       Obedience and personal sacrifice is required.  What is your attitude toward being obedient?
3.       Seek and ask for the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

If you are happy, notify your face.

If you want more revelation, you need to ask questions.  Ponder, reflect and meditate on what you read for more revelation.  Often it’s in the pondering that we receive revelation.  Revelation comes when we are ‘doing’.  Pray out loud for increased revelation.  A person is more focused when praying out loud. 

Feeling the love of the Savior and Heavenly Father is revelatory.  When we feel the love, we know we are forgiven.  The Spirit knows all things about us.  2 Nephi 31, we need
light from Heavenly Father in order to understand.  The Holy Ghost knows what we need
to know.  True doctrine understood changes attitudes and behaviors.  Don’t focus on what
you are not, but what you need to become.  There is no revelation without thinking.

Alma 13 – we are the ones who have been called and set apart to teach.  Everyone on this
earth has a complete knowledge of the truth when they come to earth.
Mortal amnesia – at least a partial inability to recall immortality.
After resurrection amnesia is gone and we have a perfect recollection.
The only power that can lessen the amnesia, is the power of the Holy Ghost.
Your testimony is the tool which allows the investigator to feel the Holy Ghost.

This is about HIS mission, not my mission.  A mission is about doing HIS work.  
You BE what you are BECOMING.
The harder you work, the more Heavenly Father reveals who we are.
The more you do, the more the capacity expands.
In order to become something, you have to let go of what you are.

Quoting Elder Holland, “The spirit of this work is urgency.  NOW.  Move more rapidly
in your personal growth.  Live up to your potential.  God is easy to please but hard to

Spiritual self-reliance – focus is outside of self and aimed at service.
There is no power is misalignment, only in aligning what we do with the will of the Savior.
Your identity depends upon your values and beliefs which depends upon your attitude and behavior which depends upon your actions which depends upon your reality.
To change your destiny you need to change your identity.

Obedience is the first law of EVERYTHING.  Purpose of obedience is faith.  Faith in Christ is the first principle.  Purpose for repentance is to be able to qualify for covenants.

The word ‘trying’ holds no commitment.

Feed faith by increasing obedience.

Consecrate – to do something whole heartedly
Sacrifice – to do something begrudgingly

Missionaries have more rules because obedience to them gives them more faith.

Faith has a very short shelf life.  It needs to be fed daily.

Sis. Pearson – Stand up, Stand out, Stand firm

So, today is Jan 31 and the middle of summer, but it is overcast and very cool outside.  This part of Australia gets the cool fronts that come from the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.  We will still get some hot weather next month, but this seems like a summer without a summer.


  1. Hi Marvin & Kay,
    I have enjoyed your remarks and pictures so much while you have been on your mission and I'm glad that you explained more what your work has entailed. You two have been very busy! Kay, I copied the notes from Pres. Pearson. They were so good, thank you for sharing them. My last V.T. lesson was on Obedience. I could have used them then. I can't wait for you two to return. It seems like you have been gone forever. I'm glad that you have enjoyed your mission and it is coming to an end soon. Looking forward to see you. Joyce

  2. As always, a great report. Joseph and Suzanne