Monday, May 2, 2016

APRIL 30, 2016
TIME goes by ever so fast!!

We are so grateful for life and everything we enjoy!
We are very grateful our health and strength and for the health and strength of our kids and all our 
9 sweet grand kids.
We are grateful for the health and strength of our parents who have been blessed and sustained in their 80's and 90's.

This is my Dad in his mid twenties.

Verl W. Burt as United States Air Force Staff Sargent. 
He just turned 95 years young on April 17, 2016.
He just returned from Washington DC having been honored by
the United States Air Force Honor Flight.

 Verl W. Burt with Governor Gary Herbert

Congratulations, Dad, and Happy 95th birthday!

Dad Boyce and little Kate Boyce one of his great grand daughters.

It became necessary to close one of our areas in Cairns this past transfer.
With the creation of new missions, and the number of missionaries serving down, the missionaries serving in the Australia Brisbane Mission has been reduced.
It seems that when college's and the university terms end in the spring, numbers will
pick up again.

These two Sister (Sister Atuake and Yeh) are leaving the area and unfortunately their area is closing.
Sadness abounds as no one likes to leave Cairns!!!

On another note, the interesting fact is we did not coordinate our colors on purpose.

Look at the colors we see in the rain forest.
This plant has green leaves, notice the leaf on the left in the photo.
The leaf is green but is in the beginning stage of turning white and then red.
The red leafs are changing from green to red. Its beautiful!!

 More beautiful color in this country.  We saw this bird in Hartley's Crocodile Farm.
Vibrant red and blue in color!! Along with the Cassawary. (A huge native bird, about the size of an Ostrich, that runs wild in the rain forest of Queensland)

A Australian household Pet!
They are on the beaches in our area.

This experience has been one of the greatest blessings of our mission!
This is the Kelsall family.
Randall and Tiare
and 6 of their children.

When they got married, Tiare was a long time member of the church, Randall was not.
But Randall was a wonderful valiant husband and father.
Tiare was true to the gospel and patient with her non-member husband.
She had a strong testimony.
Time pasted and children were born.

Tiare heeded the sacred responsibilities as stated in
Tiare nurtured her children - that sacred responsibility.

Tiare, ever faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, her testimony continued to grow
stronger and stronger.

Randall watched ever so closely.

Tiare's example over the years sparked interest in Randall.
Three years of investigating and many tender mercies, that words can not share.
Tiare still ever so faithful to the gospel.
More tender mercies and Randall was baptized.
Desires grew from Randall and Tiare to go to the Temple and be sealed for eternity.
Our small part, from the day we got here in Cairns, Australia,
was to share, with this family, and teach the Temple and its preparation lessons with
Randall, Tiare and the family.
More tender mercies!
Months of spiritual learning.  Months of physical preparation.  Months of emotional preparation.
Desires grew and grew for  the Temple sealing.
Randall's testimony continued to developed and grow just as Tiare's increased in strength, as well.
Finally on March 24 in the New Zealand Temple their eternal goal was achieved.
Oh how great the joy when the Lord's work progresses
families towards Eternal Salvation.

Atherton Branch is a small branch in our Cairns District.  About 40 active members who attend church each Sunday.  It was their Branch Conference last weekend. One  of the branch conference activities was an outdoor movie along with invitations for friends and investigators.  We set up a tent and had a BBQ and then showed the movie "Legacy". What a great time and it was a wonderful missionary activity.  About 100 people attended, with many of them being less active members and 24 of them were non-member guests. 

As part of our responsibilities, in serving in  the District Youth Program,
we helped plan and carry out a Youth Pioneer Trek.

We researched on web site and the written instructions to duplicate a trek and
train Mas and Pas and the support group.
With the incredible stewardship from a great District Young Women's President, (Sister Luki) and the Atherton Branch President (President Bell) and other
dedicated Branch Presidents and faithful District Councilors,
we had an awesome "full on" Pioneer Trek!

The first Pioneer Trek ever in the Australia Cairns District!!
So exciting for everyone!!

 A 4 day adventure with the young men and young women.  President Bell made the handcarts and the kids dressed in pioneer clothes,
One family supplied tents for everyone.  Kids brought sleeping bags or bed rolls for themselves.
Food was actually donated by members. 
  We walked about 8 or 9 kilometers per day.
  We had everything from sickness rescues, to mob attacks and river crossings.
A very affective women's pull, and even a deaths and funerals.
It made for a very remarkable and eventful event for 44 young men and young women.

An experience that all participants will never forget!! 
All were tested, all were tired, and all were spiritually fed.
We even had 5 non-member kids attend and since the trek, 2 of them have joined the church since and
 the other 3 are preparing for baptism.

The above picture is the post trek fireside, where we re-inacted some of the activities we enjoyed on the trek. 
Great participation and great fun!

We were lucky enough to have some of our good friends visit us here in Australia.  Bob and Tammy Cope, Lisa and John Miner and Cam and Michelle Kelsch traveled the long distance to Australia and with President and Sister Henderson, we spent some time with them.  We all met in Brisbane, rode the river taxi's, saw the beautiful city and hiked the Story Bridge. (The Story Bridge is one of 3 bridge hikes in the world)  It was incredible and we had a wonderful view of the city at dusk. 

We then flew back up to Cairns and with our 6 friends along with President and Sister Henderson. We then hosted a fireside with the Cairns 1st and 2nd Branches. We all spoke on the Family and how we can build a "Culture of Christ" in our Homes and with our Families.
Talks and special musical numbers were shared by each, and then President and Sister Henderson concluded with their inspirational comments.

While here in Cairns we all took our P day on Monday and took a boat out to the Great Barrier Reef.  Some of our guests dove and some snorkeled.  The beauty is absolutely breathtaking.  A couple of pictures of how pretty the water is and what we saw.

Brett, your wharf is in Brisbane, Australia, along with a street in Atherton named after you.

Elder and Sister Boyce

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The weather here has been very hot and humid.  Its summer, here, in a tropical rainforest and we can definitely feel the heat. The weather doesn't slow the work, but we are thankful for air conditioning in our flat and in our car.  We've had very little weather events since we've been here in Cairns.   Much rain, but no cyclones. (yet, we are still in the wet and cyclone season for another few weeks, as you can see what happened in Fiji last weekend)   We continue to love what we do and the people we meet and and try to help.  At the first part of January we had the Australia Brisbane Mission FSY (For the Strength of Youth).  This was held in Brisbane and is our local Australian equivalent to the youth EFY back home.  There were 1400 young men and young women who stayed at a college campus in Brisbane (for 5 days) and were taught and instructed of the Savior.  We had 50 Young Men and Young Women attend from the Cairns District area.  They absolutely loved the experience they had.  Because both Sister Boyce and I work with the Young Men and Young Women, in our District, we flew down to Brisbane to be with them the last day.  They all had the opportunity to go to the Temple and do Baptisms and we assisted in that wonderful experience.  We then flew back with them to Cairns, heard their testimonies and wonderful experiences they had while attending FSY  Here is a picture of our youth at the Brisbane Temple.


We have had some very special missionary teaching and helping experiences here.  Attached are a couple of the special ones.  The first is the baptism of Tajuanna and Merwez Whaleboat.  They are a set of identical twins who were taught the gospel and baptized in Innisfail.  I had the wonderful experience to interview them for their baptism.  They are both 17 years old and two of the most spiritually prepared young women I have ever met.  They are already talking and preparing to serve missions of their own.   We have a special place to baptize in Innisfail.  It is in the middle of the rainforest between Cairns and Innisfail.  They call it the "Waters of Mormon" and it is so beautiful and peaceful.  Its a very, very sacred and a special place for those who have the opportunity to attend a baptism and especially for those who are baptized.

Below are pictures of Sister Boyce and I going into the dense forest towards the "Waters of Mormon".  Also pictures of the beautiful little stream where the baptisms take place.  The 3rd picture is of Merwez and Tajuanna.

Another wonderful event we had was the marriage and baptism of George and Lina Waianga.  This is a beautiful family from Holloway's beach here in Cairn's.  They have never been married (many people live like this over here, as it sometimes is too expensive to get married and also many see no need for it).  We testified of the importance and the sanctity of the marriage vow and that they needed to be married before they could be baptized.  We shared the possibilities of their Temple Marriage in a year and the knowledge that they can be with their families forever.    President Gardner (our District President) married them on Friday the 12th of February and I had the opportunity of baptizing them on Saturday the 13th of February.  

Here are pictures of the wedding and the cake (held at the Church)  Sister Atu'ake and Sister Yeh who taught them.  Two of the children were baptized previous to this.

We are also involved in a Missionary Preparation Class each Sunday evening at 6:00 for YSA and YM and YW who are16 and older.  This a picture of last weeks class.  We had about 20 YM and YW attend.  It is incredible training for these future missionaries (Preach My Gospel)
We love our Full time missionaries, there are 10 of them here in the Cairns District.  Last week for our Snap Gravity (daily vigorous exercise programs for all the missionaries via President Henderson) we hiked the Cairns Botanical Gardens.  Its a beautiful 1 hour hike through the rainforest.  Here is our wonderful group of missionaries.

Just outside of Cairns on the way to Innisfail and very close to our special baptismal font (The Waters of Mormon) is the Babinda Boulders.  Beautiful area where a small river runs though and huge boulders are in the middle of the river.  People love to swim and jump off the boulders.
These are banana plants (they are actually not trees, but large plants).  The blue wrapping protects the banana pods from birds, insects and anything else that wants to invade.  These plantations are just outside of Innisfail (about 60 miles south of Cairns)

Last Friday evening the Cairns 2nd Branch had a Cultural event where many of the diverse cultures with their food, customs, dances and music, were displayed, for all to enjoy.  Cairns is a very diversified with many different cultures and people.  (Torres Strait Islanders, Aborigine's, Polynesians, Maori's, Asians, and then there are the English Australians and New Zealanders) We love all these different cultures and we learn from each one of them.

We just experienced a Cairns District Conference last weekend.  we enjoyed two days of teaching and learning from President and Sister Henderson.  Amazing experiences and phenominal testimonies from new converts.  Treasures galore!

     Stressed strongly in our District Conference was the reading and studying of the Book of Mormon!      Everyday!   Everyday!  Everyday!!

"The Spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. 
The spirit of reverence will increase, mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow.
The spirit of contention will depart.
Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom.
Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents.
The pure love of Christ will abound in our homes and lives!"

First Presidency

Thanks for listening!!  We are having a great time!  Enjoying every minute of it!
The weather is beautiful here in Cairns!
We miss you all and St. George. . . . . . well . .
However, we really miss our kids and especially our grandckids!
Elder and Sister Boyce

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

We thought we better start another entry to our blog.  Its been awhile and we are sorry for the non-performance.  

Its just been very very busy and sitting down at the computer and writing about what we've been doing is really the last thing on our mind.  But we will repent, as we know its important to keep you all informed and please know we do love you so much.  Anyway,  we had a fun Halloween.  Its not celebrated to the extent it is back home, but it is definitely getting more popular here.  We had a branch Halloween trunk or treat party with a BBQ  and everyone dressed up and decorated their cars. It was outside in the parking lot and we had spook alleys, and activities for the kids.  We had many non-member friends who were invited and they thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  Here are a couple of pics. of the event.

Happy Halloween!

We also had a District Meeting, accompanied by a visit from President and Sister Henderson!  Everyone was excited to see them, here in Cairns.  President Henderson interviewed each one the missionaries, and we had a bake potato bar for lunch.  Here's a couple of photos.

                        Here's a group picture of all those involved in the October District Meeting.

                  We wouldn't want to miss out on any food - so here is Thanksgiving dinner as well!!
                                      Just 4 sisters and 6 Elders and Elder and Sister Boyce!

Happy Thanksgiving!! 

During November Cairns Branch 2 had a Culture Christmas celebration.
This took place inside the church and in the inner courtyard of the church building.
Notice the Palm trees. 

Merry Christmas!

  On November 22,  Elder Boyce and the District began a Mission Preparation Class.
He personally invited 22 future missionaries from the Cairns area, Atherton, Innisfail, and Thursday Island.  On Thursday Island, Innisfail and Atherton, we Skyped the participants so they were able to  interact with the teaching.
Mission Prep runs for 10 weeks and is very will attended.
It's quite an experience - we both get to attend each class on Sunday evenings for about an hour and a half.
The class is taught by a return missionary from the Brisbane Mission. (Elder Garry Talaia)
He's an amazing teacher because he was instructed by the best - President Henderson!!
Here's a picture of part of the class.

Here in Cairns we have an awesome member who is so generous to the missionaries and with service throughout the community.   She and her non-member husband know how to give and show the true spirit of Christmas.  She had all the missionaries, in Cairns, come to her home and helped them create gift baskets for their investigators or members who are in need.

           Here we are making the baskets, then taking them to those we choose to deliver them to.
She also had all the missionaries in Cairns to Christmas day dinner.   We were invited,
but were in Brisbane with Becki and Rich and our 4 little grandchildren!!  Sorry no pictures of the dinner.

                                           Here's a picture of this giving Sister's Christmas home.

On Sunday, December 20 we organized a Christmas music Fireside - 
"He Sent His Son".
We invited all members, friends, investigators and who ever would like to come and share in
Christmas music and songs of the Savior.
We also presented
"A Savior is Born,"
a Christmas message offered by the Church.
We also played a video of the
"Testimonies of Our Prophets and Apostles".

We had 10 Christmas musical numbers from members in the two Cairns Branches and the music selected was absolutely perfect.
It turned out wonderful, we had about 150 people attend and about 50 of them were non-member investigators.
This is a copy of the invitation.
      Two days after our fireside we flew to Brisbane to help President and Sister Henderson with the Brisbane Christmas Zone Conference.
Sister Henderson had been working on it for a couple of months and asked us to help her get the food organized.  She then took a short trip to St. George for Sarah's wedding and arrived back in Brisbane on the 22nd.  The Zone Conference was held on the 23rd.  It involved about 225 Elders, Sister Missionaries and  the Missionary couples.

We hope, along with the other couples, we made the Conference and the meal a little easier for President and Sister Henderson.
Below are photos of the lunch.

The best part of Christmas, this year, was that night after the Zone Conference - Becki and Rich and
4 of our grandkids met us in Brisbane!!
Richie (12 yrs)
Mia (10 yrs)
Georgia (8 yrs)
Ivy (5 yrs)

First excursion was to the Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo in Brisbane. They were able to hold live animals!
Aren't they cute . . . the kids!!!(Notice Georgia, she got a little more brave with the snake)

The day after Christmas we all flew up to Cairn's where we spent the next 4 days together.  Here we are in front of the Cairn's chapel.  We had the opportunity of "showing off" some of our family to our good friends here in Cairns.
On Monday we all hopped in the rented van and drove about an hour to Port Douglas.  We then caught a charter boat to the Great Barrier Reef.  Here we snorkeled and saw so many beautiful fish.  Even our little Ivy (age 5) got into the action.  The first thing she said,
"I saw so many Dory's down there".

Because the Jelly Fish are out this time of year, they require us to wear these beautiful stinger suits.  It was in incredible adventure and the kids will never forget it.

On Tuesday we hopped on a scenic train and took a 2 hour ride through the rain forest.  We ended up in Kuranda (a cute little resort town in the rain forest).  The kids able to see "bird world" and all the beautiful tropical birds in their habitat.  We then took a 90 minute skyride (It started raining on the way down)  back to our vehicle.  Here are some of the pictures.
Barron Falls north of Cairns.
Below is a photo of our kids and grandkids as they leave the airport from
Cairns, Australia.
We hated to see them go!

Happy New Year!!

As missionaries in the Australia Brisbane Mission we have 6
recitations and scriptures that we have been invited to memorize.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has explained: “Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change” (“The Power of Scripture,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 6).

This is one that we have been invited to memorize.
Helaman 5:12

 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

We wish you a belated Merry Christmas and a very
prosperous, exciting and growth filled 2016!!!
We Love You.
Ren and Debbie