Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The scene from the top of Buninyong Hill, about 50 kms from Sunbury, almost due north. Some of Glenys' ancestors settled this area in the 1850's and in many ways it hasn't changed much. Yes! That is water you can see down there – if this was a normal rainfall year (and the 10 before had also been normal) the fields would be so green they'd be hard to look at.

We had a wonderful trip to the areas of Ballarat with our good friends the Broome's. Cliff and Carolyn took us everywhere, including, you guessed it – cemeteries! We knew there would be people we knew in the small country ones, but it was fun to find some in the Old and New Ballarat Cemeteries as well.

We also spent a great day at Sovereign Hill where we panned for gold – and found some – rode on a stagecoach and had a 'back door' tour of all the venues. Cliff and Carolyn have been docents at SH for years so they could give us lots of info tourists normally don't hear or see. Glenys opted out of the mine tours, dark, narrow places are not her thing, so while Bob and Cliff did that, Carolyn and Glenys went through all the great shops and places of business. Fantastic!

This is a view of Lake Wendouree in Ballarat – as you can see – not a drop of water in the whole thing. People walk across it now from one side of the city to the other. It's where the Olympic Rowing Team practised a few years ago. The really weird thing is to drive along the road and see all kinds of rowing sheds and club buildings, sailing sheds and bath houses, now all sitting high and dry and very forlorn looking. Ballarat is down to 6% of it's water supply – very critical, yet the whole area sits on a huge underground freshwater lake. Perhaps it will be tapped into someday.

Here's the Olympic Rowing Team's practice area – the rings used to sit at water's edge and people could walk out on a pier to watch them row.

Roses from a very thoughtful husband for our 40th wedding anniversary! There were 20 of the longest stemmed roses I have ever seen. We had to cut off about 10” to fit them in this very tall vase. They were lasting well until the temp. went to 96 degrees a couple of days ago and boy did they wilt in a hurry! We don't have air-con at our place so it gets almost as hot inside as it is outside. Still, they were beautiful while they lasted and we really enjoyed looking at them.

The launch of the PROV'S wills and probates online celebration went off really well and we had a great time. They also launched another 10 year section of the passenger lists from Australia to other ports, and it was exciting to hear about that as well. Many really nice things were said about GSU (FamilySearch) by some very prominent speakers and Glenys was chosen to demonstrate the online launch in real time to all those on computers joining in as well as those in the audience. Other than a slow connection because someone had leaked the information to all the genealogy lists and so thousands of hits were hammering the site every minute, it went well and it was very amazing to see images we are responsible for on the web! It's remarkable work and we are so grateful to be a part of it all. I think all were very satisfied. The Director of the PROV had much good to say about everyone's work – almost all of our volunteers were able to be there and so we got some good photos. Will share one below:

Sorry it's a little grainy – it's a scan of a scan. Okay let me identify some folks:

Back Row L-R: Elder Rasmussen, Mark Kelly (Church Area Supervisor), Elder McCann (full time missionary), Sister McCann (full time missionary)

Middle Row L-R: Sister Rasmussen, Lesle Berry (President, Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations), Lesley Southall (volunteer), Juiseppe (Joseph) DeLuca (Volunteer), Gisella Eisenmann (Volunteer), Colin Kemp (Supervisor of Media Images PROV)

Front Row L-R: Daniel Wilsch (Supervisor of Project for PROV), Joyce Trimmer and Keith Trimmer (Volunteers and Glenys' parents), Gordon Lee (Volunteer).

Not shown are: Cliff and Carolyn Broome, Julio and Inez Cannon, Paula Collett, all also GSU Volunteers. Elder and Sister McCann have since been released due to serious health issues, leaving us with a total of 11 volunteers and Bob and Glenys. So, between 13 and 15 people have imaged almost 5 million images in a year for FamilySearch and PROV. We were impressed!!

Well, now that all the PROV celebrating is over we found ourselves with lots of work to catch up and some meetings with Mark Kelly our Area Supervisor. We have lots to look forward to in the New Year and we are anxious to get going. It's hard to be on holidays, so we are working with the full time missionaries a little bit and visiting some folks here in Sunbury ward. Our dear friend, Rose, gave us a couple of buckets full of ferns and succulents to plant so we've done that, our potatoes, beans, tomatoes and onions are up and doing very well, even on their extremely rationed amounts of water – it's because we pray over them, we know that. We've cleaned the house and Glenys has done several batches of baking, including two pumpkin pies (from scratch!) for Christmas dinner. The weather has been incredibly beautiful and it's made even more so by the forecast for rain over the weekend. We will hope and pray it really happens. We are off to Glenys' sister, Julie's house for Christmas after we have Christmas Eve dinner with our amazing friend Paula Collett who is brave enough to invite all the missionaries over for dinner every time she has us! We love Paula! Julie and Drew have invited us for a sleep over, so we will head there after dinner tonight. It will be fun to see their kids (now young adults) open their pressies and join in the excitement. It will be nice to be with family for Christmas. We are a bit lonesome for our girls and their families, but we know they are looking after each other and that is a great blessing to us. Glenys' sister Ruth, has invited us to her home on Monday following Christmas – that will be really fun – we love to be with Ruth and Rob.

Just for fun, we decided to take a half day yesterday and go back to the Trentham area and explore some of the back roads. Talk about going off the beaten track!! It was magic and we had a ball. Meant we had to fill the gas tank an extra time this week, but not such a painful thing these days with the prices dropping to 94 cents a litre. We found a couple of small, out of the way cemeteries so had to go and wander through them. No-one we knew residing therein. We also found a great place called Wombat State Park and followed the road through it, from lovely smooth made road to gravel and dirt to almost a track in the bush. But it was fun and very beautiful. Signs everywhere to watch for wombats, but we never did see one. Probably because they are nocturnal and we were there in the middle of the day. Saw some kangaroos from the distance, and that was fine with us, so many of them around these days with the lack of water and feed, they are being hit on every road and they can cause considerable damage. However, in the middle of Wombat State Park, guess what we did see?? You would never guess in a million years. It was this: (wait until you get there!)

In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Safe and Healthy New Year. We appreciate your prayers and support on our behalf. We love the work, we love the Lord and we love you. Missions are great – we highly recommend it!

Elder and Sister Rasmussen (Bob and Glenys)

In the Wombat State Park – biggest wombat we've EVER seen!!!!



A few extra pictures:

Glenys with her baby sister Ruth

– isn't she gorgeous!!

Ruth and son Adam – this guy is an incredible surfer and has won several State and I think National Championships:

Cliff Broome, a Chinese gold miner display, Glenys. Bob and Carolyn Broome – at the Chinese Gold Museum in Ballarat.

Elder and Sister Rasmussen at Trentham Falls. Looks like Glenys needs help learning how to button up her cardigan!!

At Sovereign Hill posing with a redcoat constable – a very unpopular fellow on the goldfields!! This fellow was very versatile – he also portrayed a fiery minister in a street brawl, a blacksmith and one of the miners in the Eureka Stockade re-enactment. Pretty clever!

Our wonderful volunteer and probably one of the happiest people on earth, our good friend Gisella Eisenmann. She's incredible!!

Niece Maree with one of her slithering friends – the kind Elder and Sister Rasmussen stay as far away from as possible. Called Bob (wonder why?) this Children's Python is reputed to be gentle and happy. Good – we will be just as happy on this side of the camera thank you!!

A stand of magnificent ghost gums – scenery this beautiful is at almost every turn – such a gorgeous place.

And last, but not least, is the official invitation to the launch of the Wills and Probates online at the PROV site. If you want to have a look go to www.prov.vic.gov.au and click on Access the Collection then Wills and Probates then choose your time period and off you go!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

27 November 2008 - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Let me see if I can remember the order the photos are in and identify them:

1. The view of cockatoos from our kitchen window
2. The front of the house in Sunbury - imagine green!
3. The front side view of one of the surviving plants
4. Harley the famous featherless cocky - and a virtual chatterbox!

Things here are fantastic! We are preparing for our Thanksgiving feast tonight with all the other senior couples and really look forward to it, even if they are serving kangaroo! That could be a stretch for me, but I'll give it a go. It is a very warm day today - 30 degrees celsius - about 90 fahrenheit. And summer hasn't even started yet. The weather is still terribly dry and any prayers you would like to send heavenward for rain in this parched land would be appreciated. It was supposed to rain yesterday and today, but sadly that's how the weather forecasts always are, however it never quite happens that way. Bush fire danger is already very high and I hate to think how bad it will be when summer comes in full force. Still, we hope for the best and especially we hope for rain!

Our assignment is very satisfying to us and we love the work we are doing. Our volunteers are extremely capable and helpful and we have formed friendships with all of them. We appreciate the staff at the PROV and keep finding out about more and more projects underway at that incredible facility. So many things are slated for online use in the next 12-24 months it will be great for any researcher using Victorian records.

We love working with the young missionary elders here in Sunbury too. They are very dedicated and keep very busy. Elder Nelson from Murray, Utah is so tenderhearted and caring and Elder Gremmert from Washington state is a wise young man. Our association with Rose, the sister we are teaching is very rewarding. She has had some severe health problems but keeps battling on. We met her fiance last night and he is also a very kind and good man. He was particularly interested in eternal families as he lost his 30 year old daughter last month. Please pray for Rose and for those the elders are teaching - the world is such a confusing and chaotic place and the gospel brings the peace people everywhere seek.

We had a wonderful time last night too with one of the sisters from Sunbury ward - Paula - she's a real card and a truly caring woman. We love it when she asks us for dinner. I took a picture of Harley, her unusual and featherless cockatoo. I will put it on the blog for you to see. She is also taking care of an orphaned magpie, as well as kookaburras, other cockatoos and galahs and of course, their dog Milo. He's a real softie and I love him.

Our train trips to and from Melbourne every day are fun - good thing we love train travel - because we get a lot of it! However, country trains are very nice to travel on, much cleaner and no grafitti to deal with. It takes about 35 minutes to get to Melbourne from our place and then a 15 minute walk to the PROV. It's even fun in the rain - the one morning it was misting, pretending to be rain. The one thing we have noticed a tremendous increase here is the horrible grafitti - it's on everything. Even on high chimneys and air-conditioning units on top of buildings. Someone must be very anxious to get his message across - but it is so ugly and much of depicts violence. The ethnic mix here in Melbourne has also increased a lot in the last several years. Lots of folks from India, Pakistan, African countries, the Middle East, and the Islands like Vanuatua, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, etc. Makes for some interesting times.

Prices here are quite high. Of course, income is very high and the quality of life is very high too, but sometimes it makes it tough for us older missionaries on fixed incomes. One of the new sister missionaries from America thought it would be nice to get a turkey for thanksgiving - imagine her surprise when she saw that a small (about 5lbs) turkey cost over $AUD29.00! Obviously, it's not eaten here much! However, you cannot get better bread anywhere in the world and I happily pay $2.50 a loaf at the local hot bread shop. Eggs cost between $3.60 - 6.00 a dozen, butter is over $3.00 a pound and milk is around $3.75 for 3 litres - that's full cream milk of course. Fresh vegetables and fruit are extremely plentiful and tons of variety. We love being able to buy fresh mangos, passionfruit, avocados, etc. etc. etc. and those prices are very reasonable. It's a great place with great people and we feel privileged and blessed to be here serving.

Well, with that said, I have heaps of potatoes and sweet potatoes to attend to for the 'do' tonight. We think of you all often and keep you in our hearts and prayers. Let me just close by saying that we are grateful again, for the miracles and tender mercies of a loving and gentle Heavenly Father in His blessings to AmyLynne and her family. All of her tubes are now out and she may even be home by the time some of you read this. Her surgery was long and difficult, but best of all it's over and deemed successful. Her next steps are Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City for the high dose chemo for five or six days, then a day to recuperate and then re-introduction of her stem cells. When that is completed, she will be there for an additional 3 weeks while she is monitored. Hopefully by the first part of January she can go home to stay. Next spring she will receive radiation to her lungs to make them inhospitable places for cancer to grow. She is cheerful (what else!!) and positive and a complete delight to all around her. She's very excited to go home and be with her family and I know they are very excited to have her come home. Your prayers, your concern and your love and support mean the world to us. Thank you! I wish I could say more, but please know just how much it means to us and to our family.

Isn't the earth glorious?! The beauties around us, the birds, the trees and flowers, the variety and granduer makes one pause and reflect and give thanks. The technology made available to us to help make contact so effortless and fun, and to make family research a ball. All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. How thankful we are. God bless each of you, we all can celebrate Thanksgiving for we all have much to be thankful for.

We love you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Our friendly Kookaburra having a little taste treat right here in Sunbury.
Bob, Lesley and my Dad all working hard at the PROV (Public Record Office of Victoria). Bob is indexing, Lesley is digitising and Dad is preparing a box of Probates ready to be digitised.
Hopkins Falls in Warnambool, Victoria.
Cocky comes to visit our bird feeder now and then, right on our back deck. He chatters away while he eats. Quite the entertainer!
A scene from our trip to Warnambool and the Otway Ranges. This was taken in the Otways, a beautiful rain forest along the southern coast.

Our experiences here in the wonder Down Under - the land of Australia - are incredible and we want to share them with you. So, from the moment of arrival at the MTC right up to the moment, here are our thoughts, pictures and times. We are very grateful to this opportunity to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to help in the most important work of preserving records for the State of Victoria. Our digitising efforts move forward, the volunteers we work with are terrific and hard-working and very diligent. The staff at the PROV couldn't be nicer and are always ready to assist us in any way. We have a new missionary couple joining us and we will start their training tomorrow (Monday).

Each day is a new wonder and brings its own set of adventures, challenges and joy. We hope you will enjoy reading our updates and browsing through the pictures we post here. For those who are just joining us, welcome! For those who have been with us from the beginning, thanks for your support and prayers and now for your patience as you begin at the beginning.