Yes, we wear name tags. The name tags identifies us as set apart missionaries serving in the Addiction Recovery Program. Wearing name tags on Sundays and when we attend the temple enables us to be identified to local members and missionaries in our calling. Each time we attend a Church meeting wearing our name tags we are availed of numerous opportunities to share more about the Addiction Recovery Program with local members. In addition to giving brief answers to members’ questions, we also endeavour to refer them to the Church’s new website https://addictionrecovery.lds.org/?lang=eng It is a brilliant resource that enables individuals to receive details relating to the helps available for those who suffer from addiction, and many first hand accounts of individuals who have found recovery and healing through the Atonement of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. You may want to check it out!
This year was the hundredth year commemoration on Anzac Day throughout Australia and as such was a landmark year throughout Australia. We enjoyed the many activities in our own locale, including attending a beautiful concert in Perth, the opening of the Curtin University Exhibit of the 11th Battallion Photo, and our local Anzac Day Celebrations in Mandurah. Each activity brought with it feelings of quiet reverence for those who have sacrificed so much in defense of freedom.
The concert was so uplifting. All the musical selections as well as multi-media presentations from World War I were inspiring. The program featured the Symphony Orchestra, Army Band, Violin soloist and Vocal Solos–the entire program commemorating the heroism of those who fought for freedom and in particular those who died on the shores of Gallipoli. As an audience we were invited to sing along on several numbers. We were particularly touched as we sang the lyrics to “Abide With Me” and contemplated the Lord’s watchful care over all of His children in times of war and peace.
Keith served in the Australian Legal Corps Army Reserve as a a Lieutenant Colonel for 25 years and as such is a member of the local RSL Club (Returned and Services League) which spearheads all patriotic commemorations throughout the country. We enjoyed participating in our local celebrations in Mandurah, hosted by the Mandurah RSL Club. Our local celebrations included a traditional dawn service, followed by a breakfast at the RSL Club, a parade and a Memorial Service. The day was one of reverent remembrance of those who have served their country in the defense of freedom. We were uplifted and edified throughout the commemorations, grateful for the many sacrifices that have been made to defend the liberties we now enjoy.
This year marked the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day–April 25, 1915–when the combined forces of New Zealand and Australia landed on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey. Because of tactical errors in the location of the landing, there were heavy losses at the time of the landing and in the campaign overall. Keith’s uncle Joseph Ernest Stannard was one of those of the first landing in Gallipoli on April 25, 1915 and fell wounded that same day. He was evacuated to the base hospital in Alexandria, Egypt where he passed away May 3, 1915. He was buried at the Chatby War Memorial Cemetery in Alexandria.
A special exhibit has been created this year at Curtin University in Perth with an impressive wall size version of the famous photo picturing the 11th Batallion on the Khufu Pyramid in Egypt taken in January of 1915. As family members of a soldier in the photo we were invited to the opening of the exhibit last week. We have felt a sweet spirit of appreciation from Joseph for our efforts to remember him. We have been touched to see the strong family resemblance in his photo. He was Keith’s Mum’s older brother whom she dearly loved.
It has been an enriching experience to locate and contribute photos and other information to his profile on the memorial website http://11btn.wags.org.au/photo-id-grid/. In the grid provided he is pictured in J-9, ID #567.
We started out the summer thinking that we would just put in a few veggies and little by little decided to get the garden in full swing. We are now on our second planting. We have extolled the virtues of sheep poo to some of you. It is a magical fertiliser that is sure to grow beautiful, healthy vegetables. If you look closely in the photos you can see the little pellets. We eat from our garden every day.
Grandpa and I spent my birthday beginning with breakfast in bed, special gifts and cards from loved ones, visiting with family on the phone and by Skype as well as in taking a lovely coastal walk in the Halls Head area just south of where we live. What a blessing to be happy and healthy, to have the gospel and the love and support of family and friends on this special day.
It is Easter Sunday today and has been one filled with beautiful blessings. Following an uplifting sacrament meeting which centered on the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, we had the privilege of being set apart as Church Service Missionaries, having been called to establish the Addiction Recovery Program in our area. We have been called to serve for twelve months. When our Stake President extended the call we felt a strong confirmation that the Lord prepared this opportunity for us to be able to complete our second year of missionary service while Keith continues to heal. It is the perfect fit.
While our papers were being processed this past month we have been studying the program and have developed a testimony of both its power as well as its purpose. It is designed to assist individuals in breaking the bonds of addiction through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we have listened to the true accounts of individuals who have experienced recovery and healing from the bondage of addiction, our understanding of the power of the Saviour’s Atonement has been increased. In addition, we have come to a better understanding that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” Every child of God is born with intrinsic worth, and each has unlimited potential.
Christmas time provides us all with an opportunity to reflect on those things that matter most in life–our families, the gospel, and our natural feelings of love and generosity toward our fellow men. The collective memories of Christmases past bring with them feelings of love, joy and peace.
Over the years, one of the simple joys of Christmas for me has been decorating the house with lights. There is something about a house glowing with lights that brings with it feelings of warmth and joy–a sense of contentment and happiness. Lights on the house, lights on the tree, and candles all bring those feelings of peaceful reflection and for children feelings of joyful anticipation.
However, there are other, more practical memories of Christmas lights, and those not necessarily associated with peace. The frustration of trying to get the pre-strung lights on the artificial tree properly connected and the burned out strands replaced–and the patience required as we waited nearly twenty years before being able to purchase lights for the exterior of our home. Then there are the hilarious moments associated with trying to get the outdoor lights properly attached along the roof line of two story houses.