Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7, 2015

Okay so its  time to write again about our extra ordinary mission adventure.  Today is September 7th 2015.  Labor Day back home, but just another Monday here in Cairns, Australia.  Its our P day today and we usually take a couple of hours in the afternoon, so we decided to blog again. 

We love the work and have jumped in with all 4 of our feet. (Ren's size 13's keep us more stable).  Let us give you a little semblance of what we are doing.   Our responsibilities with the young missionaries are not quite as time consuming as they were with the Elders in South Africa.  We support 6 Elders and 4 Sisters in our Cairns District.  We try to help them as much as we can with any issues that arise. Example, the Sisters had, in their flat, a real cockroach problem. These critters being the size of small rodents. (we thought they were big in South Africa,  but these are like 3"long. We couldn't get their pictures, as they move too fast). We also attend and participate in their district meetings, zone meetings and all trainings.  We are very far away from the mission office (1100 miles), so much of the training is done through conference calls and conference video.  We also teach and fellowship with the Elders and Sisters in our district.  This is very rewarding.  They work very hard and are obedient with exactness and thus they have incredible success.

This is a sister we taught with the Elders here in Cairns. Elder Pitts and Elder Murdock (Elder Murdock is from St. George) Her name is Ansile and she is from Rwanda. She and her 2 children are refugees from that country and escaped the turmoil that existed there.  All her family were killed by the terrible conflict.  She is wonderful and so loving and sweet.


We teach Temple Preparation classes to those who are preparing themselves to go to the Temple.  We also teach post Baptism lessons to those new converts who have recently joined the church.  We also minister to many members who are less active and or struggle with life and it's challenges.

         We have found it very helpful to have a card with our info on it for all the people we meet. 
                                               We used one in South Africa as well.  

 The weekend of August 28-30, starting on Friday, we had our  Cairns District conference.  We started with a dinner/dance on Friday night at the church.  It is such a beautiful setting. This photo was taken inside the courtyard looking above the roof of part of the chapel.  The trees are in the front yard of the chapel and in the courtyard.  This was a few minutes after sunset.   The rainforest covered mountains are in the background.
                                    See how beautiful it is!!!  Don't you just feel so sorry of us!!

This photo is Olga.  She is a member but seldom comes out of her home except on some Sundays.  She lived with her parents till they died, she was 34 at the time.  She now lives alone and has since her parents died.  She has 2 brothers and a sister but has not seen them for years.  She has no idea where they even are.  We suspect she last saw them when her parents died.
                   As we took her home she said, "That was the best and only party I have ever been to,
                               I will remember that the rest of my life!"  We had talk and persuade
                                                      to even get her to go with us.

                               Young Single Adults with Elder Leota after a Fireside on Sunday night.
                                 Elder Leota of the Seventy, was our visiting General Authority.

Ren serves in the Cairns District Presidency.  This district has 5 branches (2 in Cairns, 1 each in Atherton, Innisfail and Thursday Island).  We travel quite often to each of these branches to assist, speak and support.  Atherton is about 2 hours to the west, and Innisfail is about 2 hours to the south. Thursday Island is a 2 hour plane ride north of Cairns at the very tip of the horn of the Australian Continent.  It is an small island that is 3 1/2 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide.  It is inhabited by about 2600 people most of them being indigenous Torres Strait natives.  Thursday Island is only about 40 miles from New Guinea. (If you get a chance look up Thursday Island online and research it.  Very interesting).  This little branch has about 30 active members, but could grow immensely.
Debbie serves in the District Young Women's Presidency. Most of the work done in our church callings is served with the Cairns 1st Branch and Cairns 2nd Branch.  We meet with their Branch Councils each week and their Missionary Correlation Council each week. We train, support, visit and minister to their members.  We also home teach a couple of families.

Last week we had an assignment to fly to Thursday Island and visit and support this small branch. We left on Thursday and returned to Cairns on Sunday evening.  What an incredible time we had up there getting acquainted with all the members and trying to help them with their needs.  We visited and invited many.  One adventure we had was visiting a family on Hammond Island.  This is an even smaller island than Thursday Island.  The Branch President loaded us in his little dingy (small boat) and we traveled about 10 minutes and met the Petero family. We had a wonderful experience with them and after our visit, the Branch President picked us up at the dock and returned us to Thursday Island.  Below are some pictures of our journey.

                                       This is the plane we took from Cairns to Horn Island.
                       Leaving the mainland of Australia and approaching the Torres Strait Islands.

Getting on the ferry to Thursday Island.

On the dingy going over to Hammond Island.
Visiting and eating lunch with the Peteros.
                                This is under their home, quiet a typical setting for company.

Here's a peaceful end to our busy month. This a video of a sunrise on northeast coast of Cairns, August 27th, 2015 at 6:40 in the morning.  The ocean is lapping on the sand and the birds are singing in the trees behind me.  We miss and love you all, but we'll stick it out it here if we have to!!

Our most love goes to Luke, Richie, Landon, Mia, Brock, Georgia, Annie, Ivy and Kate!!!!!

Gadday mates,
Elder and Sister Boyce