Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kooba Staion Bush

We drove througth thousands of grasshoppers, poor little Camry needs a bath.
Elder and Sister McGrath. Elder McGrath is modeling his fly repellant idea. It seems to work. The rest of us were doing the Aussie wave and none of the flies were bothering him.
Sister Nielsen at the Murrambugee River, it is really low this time of the year.
Elder Nielsen out in the bush near Kooba Station.

Kooba Station Service Project

The museum is now spic and span. We had fun cleaning the museum for our service project.
Sister Solomon and Sister Nielsen clean up the museum.
Elder and Sister Racine working in the porch at the museum.
Dinner at the beautiful Kooba Station.

Senior Couples Conference

We visited the Hermit's cave in Griffith again. It is such a beautiful spot. We are constantly amazed that someone could live in a cave for thirty years.
Dinner in Echuca at Antonio's Italian Restaurant. Good company and good food, and a great evening.
Elder and Sister Nielsen on the EmmyLou on the Murray River
Paddle steamers at the Port of Echuca. The first boat and the EmmyLou were featured in the TV series, All the Rivers Run. We watched the movie and it was fun to see places we had just been that day.

Senior Couples Conference Camel Ride and River Boat

The Senior Couples getting ready to ride the paddle steamer, EmmyLou. Elder McGrath's left arm, Elder Nielsen, Sister Solomon, Sister Nielsen, Sister and Elder Racine.
Reji and Roman cooling down after their practice race. They are racing Camels. Reji has won 46 or her 49 races, Roman is just beginning his career.
The Senior Couples on our camels at the Cosgrove Camel Farm
The Racines, McGraths, Solomons and Nielsens
Shepparton, VIC
President and Sister Nielsen riding "Colorado."
We had a great time riding this beautiful "ship of the desert."

The Albury Chapel
We found this wonderful little Bookstore...Books on Dean
Terrie Klepiak was baptized on April 10, 2010.
We are so happy for her and her family.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Golden Horseshoe Days in Beechworth, VIC

April 3, 2010 Golden Horseshoe Days Parade in Beechworth. It was a beautiful and delightful event.
Ned Kelly himself showed up to ride on the Beechworth Bakery Truck

Beautiful butterflies in the parade.

Elder and Sister Nielsen in our Aussie Bush Hats! Beechworth Golden Horseshoe Days Parade. April 3, 2010
The missionaries and the members from Wangaratta and Benalla march in the Parade with a float about Family History.
Elders DeMann and Cook carry the banner for the float.

Filipino Night

Mar. 28, 2010 was our Filipino Night. We learned about the customs, dress and dances of the Filipino People. We had a wonderful time and the event was attended by over 90 people, many of whom were not members of the Church. We all had a great time!
Several of us made a Filipino Dish called, Adobo. The assignment was to find out what it was and prepare it. Then it would be judged by our Filipino guests. Here are the judges. Our dish did not win, but it was an interesting experience.

We were entertained by several beautiful dancers. Zandra Williams performed both the Hawaiian and Tahitian Hulas. She is amazing. Zandra is the daughter of Helen Williams who was recently baptized.

Cope Hut - A ski refuge on the high plains

Bushwalkers and cross-country skiers enjoy visiting this place, and others like it across the Victorian Alps. It is great to rest near a hut and enjoy the tranquility of the Alps.Brian and Erin Peacock and Elder Nielsen check out the inside of the hut. It would be welcome shelter in the cold winter. With evidence of possoms and other critters, it could be an exciting place to stay.

The Cope Hut was built in 1929, was the first purpose-built tourist structure on the high plains. It was a new kind of hut for the Victorian Alps, with hot and cold water as well as two bunk rooms designed to sleep eight.

Wallace Hut Falls Creek, VIC

Mar 22, 2010 Brian, Glenyse and Erin Peacock took us up the mountain to Falls Creek to see the Huts. This is Wallace Hut, which was built in 1889, was used in the summer time when the Wallace family drove their cattle to the Bogong High Plains.
The hut provided welcome shelter after a long day in the saddle.Elder Nielsen at Wallace Hut and the beautiful Snow Gum tree.

Wallace Hut, built in 1889. In 1993 a bush fire swept through the area. Miraculously, the hut was not destroyed!

Relief Society Birthday and our wonderful Elders

Mar. 17, 2010. Our Relief Society Birthday Party. We had fun and dressed as pioneers. It was a challenge to find Pioneer clothes in Australia!
Elder Okamura and Elder Stone at the Murray River near Wahgunyah, VIC-Corowa, NSW

Elder Okamura and Elder Stone visit with "Cookie" at oz.e.wildlife.
Mar. 15, 2010. Cookies likes to talk and ask, "What's your name?"

Dedication to Missionary Work and Relief Society Retreat

March 12-13, 2010 The Wangaratta District held a Relief Society Retreat at the Homestead in Ovens, VIC. It is a beautiful place and we had a marvelous time.
March 11, 2010 The Missionaries of the Albury Branch Rededicated the Albury Area for Missionary Work.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baptisms and beautiful places

February 27, 2010 was a wonderful day in the Albury Branch. Sister Helen Williams was baptized! She is a good friend of Rose Velilla who was baptized last month. We are so blessed to know her. She was baptized by Brother Naldo-Rei Casanova, who just recently returned from his mission to the Philippines. He has been a terrific help to these wonderful Filipino Sisters in teaching them the Gospel. L-R Elders Justet and Nielsen, Bro Casanova, Helen Williams, Sister Nielsen and Elder Watts.
Nicholas Cutler was also baptized on the 27th. He is the younger brother of Jesse Cutler who was baptized last March. It was very special that Jesse was able to baptize and confirm his little brother. We are thrilled with the miracles we have seen in this wonderful family. We are looking forward to the baptisms of his sister and his Mum. L-R: Elder and Sister Nielsen, Nicholas O'Brien, Wendy O'Brien, Jesse Cutler, Elder Justet and Elder Watts.
We went out to Wahgunyah to teach the Temple Preparation Class to Alfred George and Robyn Williams. We pass through one of the most important wine producing regions in Australia, so as we went through Rutherglen, noted for it's wine, we stopped to snap some pictures of the beautiful vineyards laden with sweet grapes. Perfectly straight rows go for miles and miles, over and around the rolling hills. Truly a lovely sight.
Elder Watts and Elder Justet overlook the city of Albury. They were both transferred out of our area and as has become the custom, we went to Huon Hill to look at the valley and have a picnic. Shortly after this picture was taken it started pouring rain, so we had our little barbie in the rain. Elder Watts went down to "the city" Melbourne and Elder Justet is now one of the Assistants to the President. They were able to return for the baptisms. We will miss these delightful and dedicated Elders.
February 17, 2010 we were in Wahgunyah. We love to stop by the Murray River and enjoy the beautiful scenery and listen to the cockatoos. The Murray River really is that color. It is the longest river in Australia and winds its way 2500 kilometers through the south eastern part of the country. It is quiet and tranquil and we enjoy stopping to visit it whether we are in Wahgunyah, Echuca or Albury/Wodonga.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baptism, Bush fire 1 year later and a reverent koala

On February 15, 2010, the Wangaratta District went to Oz.e.wildlife animal reserve. You have probably noticed that we go there often. So often, in fact, that they never charge us to go in anymore. This little koala had just been given fresh leaves and took time to "give thanks."
Exactly one year after the fires of Black Saturday, we happened to drive through the area. Notice how the regrowth on the trees grows all around the tree like soft green fuzz.

Last year this very spot was nothing but black.

January 23, 2010 was the day our beloved Hungry Jacks burned down. We had just had our lunch in there three hourse before and the Elders had only left the building 20 minutes before the fire broke out. A vent grill above the broiler grill fell causing the fire to leap up into the ceiling area. There was nothing anyone could do it spread so fast.

January 23, 2010, was also a very happy day. Our dear Rose Velilla was baptized. We all love her so much. Here she is with (L-R) Elders Watts and Nielsen, Helen Williams, Rose, Sister Nielsen and Elder Justet.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Thursday, January 14, 2010, we took the Elders with us to visit with members in Colac Colac and Cudgewa. We spent a little time in Corryong and visited the grave of Jack Riley, the man said to be "The Man from Snowy River"
We visited the Holland family in Cudgewa. They have a wonderful swimming hole in the creek behind their house. We walked out to see it and watched as their girls played and splashed and had a great time. Elder Justet and Elder Watts (L to R) would sure like to have gone in as well.
It was a scorching hot day!
On the second day of our flat inspection trip we took another ride down the Murray River in Echuca. We rode the same boat, the Emmy Lou, that we rode last time. There has been more rain this past year and the river is considerably higher than it was last May. Notice the house boats docked along the bank. People just tie up their house boats and stay there for their vacations swimming in the river and fishing from the boat or the bank. The river used to be the main way goods were taken to Melbourne from the farm lands, vineyards and ranches. The once bustling port in Echuca was the third largest port in Australia. It is inland, nowhere near the ocean.
After we inspected the flats of the Missionaries in Griffith, we took a few minutes to visit the site of the Hermit's Caves on the bluff above the city. The caves were once the home of an Italian immigrant named Valerio Ricetti who lived the life of a hermit in the caves during the 1930's. The flowers painted on the rock to the left of President Nielsen were painted by Valerio. This was his living room. The kitchen area was to the right in front of the rock on the right and the sleeping area was behind President Nielsen. Mr. Ricetti had created lovely gardens and rock walls painstakingly stacked as terraces. Most of those things are gone now.
We took Elder Justet and Elder Watts to oz.e.wildlife on January 4 to see the kangaroos, koalas, black swans, wombats, emus, and so on. Elder Watts was new in the country and thrilled to see these fascinating animals close up. While we were watching the koala bears I noticed this stringy bark gum tree. It struck me that this is a beautiful representation of repentance. When we strip off the sins we have committed and remove them from our lives we are left clean, white and beautiful like the bark on this tree. As the tree grows it continues to shed the stringy bark. Like the tree, we must continually repent every day so that we can stand pure and clean at the last day.