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