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