We never know what we will find when we knock on the door the first time of someone who hasn't been to church in a while. It is always wonderful when the door is opened by someone happy to see us. That is how we met Maria. She is so pleasant, but more than that, she is a saint. When her mother died she took the responsibility of caring for her 48 year old handicapped brother that she bathes, dresses and feeds. She would never think of placing him in a home. We hope to visit her often and invite her to come back to church. Whatever happens, she is a joyful giver and God is blessing that home, and we also have much to learn from her.
On a more worldly note, we finally moved into our permanent apartment in the same building, but on the 11th floor. It is the same design and size as the other, but has a nice view of the east and south parts of the city and a wonderful breeze. Our other view on the 2nd floor was the west and north roofs of the parking garages. We bought our own bedding and giant-sized towels AND we now have a decent sofa! Because mold is a problem in NZ, we have a heated towel rack that dries and and warms our bath towels. Never seen that before. We also scored with a better parking space underground.
We actually serve our time in a place 10 miles north/west of Manukau, called Mangare and it has a few interesting places we took the Senior couples to on Saturday for P-day. The first was Ambury Regional Park, where we walked on a trail along Mangare Bay through fields of sheep, cows, Clydesdale horses, pens of bunnies, and roaming chickens. It was lovely but we had to watch our step from all the sheep poop. The rest of the park is for camping, picnicking and BBQing.
There was a Blue Heeler herding the sheep. Their bleating was all different pitches and we even heard a funny falsetto bleat.
Our next stop was Mangare Mountain, which is more like a mound, but was a volcano that blew 18,000 years ago and was once home to a Moari tribe. It provided a perfect lookout for other marauding tribes coming to pillage and enslave them (and eat them at a cannibal feast). There is a winding trail to the top and it is a popular hike and piece of history.
Down below was inside the volcano. It's hard to get a clear perspective, but it is a lovely place. After all our walking, we were ready for food so we drove a mile to the little Mangare Village to a yummy cafe we like to eat at. They serve a variety, burgers, pasta, and steak, but I like the curry dishes and Hokey-Pokey ice cream!
We are thankful to be able to communicate with our kids and loved ones through What's App, Facebook, Skype, emails and this blog. We can stay connected and it doesn't seem like we are far away. We are thankful for Wifi!! We don't get any informative news on TV here, but I'm ok with that.
I want to end with this great quote from Elder Dale G. Rebound from the April 2015 General Conference. It is great!
"My invitation to all of us is to evaluate our lives, repent, and keep on trying. If we don't try, we're just latter-day sinners; if we don't persevere, we're latter-day quitters; and if we don't allow others to try, we're just latter-day hypocrites. As we try, persevere, and help others to do the same, we are true Latter-day Saints. As we change, we will find that God indeed cares a lot more about who we are and about who we are becoming, than about who we once were."
May we lift ourselves and others by doing all we can, and then leaving the rest up to The Lord!