It feels like an age since I last added to this blog - probably because it has been! Where does the time go? It's already almost the middle of April, I never did get a letter written for March and I'm finding it hard to get a minute to write this one. Ah well, they say it's better to be busy than to be looking for things to do. I wonder what that would be like?!
Elder Rasmussen and I have been running like mad to keep up since our last post - or even last big letter - and we are loving it. Our work moves along quickly and well, thanks to our great volunteers and PROV staff. We only have about 200 boxes of probates to go and then we begin the inquests. Our Area Supervisor in Sydney thinks we might want a bonus trip to Tahiti for such good work - he would be right! But Tahiti will have to wait, we are excited to get our project all tucked in.
We have been able to fit in a few trips over the past several weeks, including one to Sydney, which was awesome. We met up with a cousin of mine I had never met except through email and we had the BEST time going around Sydney looking at places our ancestors had lived, as well as a visit to Rookwood Cemetery. Now, I have to say here, if you think you've seen big cemeteries, guess what! Unless you've been to Rookwood you have NOT seen a big cemetery. It is GIGANTIC! It would take days and days to get through even half of it - it is after all the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere and is still in use for burials. They have a lovely cafe too and we enjoyed a nice lunch in the middle of all the graves. Well, I suppose we really weren't in the middle. However, even through all this excitement, Caroline (my cousin) and I had the most remarkable and wonderful experience of all when we were able to go inside the home of our gggrandfather, Edward Lewin. He had lived there in 1845. The owner of the property, was so gracious and so interested in family history herself and when she said, "go on in and have a look" we almost died! As we stood in the two room with a shanty style kitchen home, with a little upstairs, we both were overcome with emotion and so grateful for the experience. I was surprised to find myself hearing Emma Ann, Edward's wife, explain that she tried so hard to make it a beautiful place and had "flowers out the front" a statement she repeated several times to me as if to reinforce the fact that she wanted us to know she did her best. I've felt a remarkable closeness to her ever since that day. Whenever Caroline or I think of those few precious moments we were given in the home of a beloved ancestor, we are thrilled beyond words.
Caroline's family (the living ones!) were wonderful to us as well. We all gathered for dinner at a Thai restaurant and had the best time visiting and laughing and crying and bonding. I'll never be the same again - my life has been touched by amazing people. We're having a BBQ next time we get together!
On our way up to Sydney we stopped in a small town called Holbrook and there in the middle of this quaint little spot is a huge submarine - only in Australia! Got a couple of shots and will share them below. We had a nice drive up and we enjoyed the scenery - it was really something to see how green it got as we drove closer to Sydney. They have had lots of rain and boy does it show! Everything everywhere was green and alive and seemed to even exude a different feeling. I decided it felt like hope and life. Victoria is so drought-stricken, although a little rain has fallen this past week, it's not even remotely close to what is needed. Still, true to Australian form, the grass has greened up and all the plants have perked up their heads and the roses are blooming again. In the fire devastated areas the new growth is already evident and flowers are blooming in the middle of blackened ruins. Gives a heart a lift and gladdens the eye. Heaven is taking care of things.
Coming home from Sydney we went through Canberra and really enjoyed most of our stay. The part that was hardest to enjoy was the part where we couldn't find our way out! We just kept going round and round and round and ... well you get the picture! Good thing Bob is clever with a map, we finally got on the right road at the right level and escaped. It is a very lovely spot notwithstanding. We spent a few hours at the War Memorial and found the tablets containing my two cousins' names - one from WWI and the other from WWII and got some photos. Drove around Parliament House and some other spots of interest before finding ourselves on the 'eternal round'. The one thing that really impressed (surprised maybe) us was that there were no restaurants, fast food or otherwise anywhere in the city. Parks and gardens and places to visit by the score, but I suppose you have to bring your own lunch!
We then went on to Tarcutta in NSW, a really lovely little hamlet in the bush and stayed overnight there. Had interesting visits with the motel owners and landlord, the Church is well known everywhere it seems and we enjoyed our conversations. Our most treasured time though, was sitting outside in the dusky evening, watching the sun go down and listening to every bird in the world settle in for the night. It was gorgeous and we had fun trying to identify the goodnight calls of each set of birds. We had to give up on a couple, but we felt pretty proud of ourselves for identifying so many. Nothing is like the Australian bush as it settles down for the night or as it wakes in the morning. It smells wonderful, it looks wonderful and it sounds incredible!
We were able to attend Zone Conference a few weeks ago and look forward to our next one in a couple of weeks. We have a general authority coming so that will be exciting to look forward to. Last zc was great and we really do appreciate our Mission President and his wife. We don't see much of them at all, they are beyond busy, I don't know how they get it all done and still look happy and sane. We've decided to close the office for these meetings so we can receive the blessings of attending and filling our cups. We are grateful for the spirit that attends these meetings and helps us come away refreshed and rejuvenated.
Went off to Heathcote, about an hour and a half from Melbourne, up toward Echuca (north) last Saturday and had lunch there with Mum and Dad. It was delightful and a needed boost to a couple of tired old folks - and I don't mean Mum and Dad - they are more sprightly and energetic than any 83+ year olds I know! Bob and I wandered through the town and little shops and just enjoyed the ambience of a lovely country town. The food was really good too. Love chicken schnitzel! Went through some beautiful country. Did our usual thing of one way up and another way back, makes for variety and gorgeous scenery.
Much as we love this work we do, it is nice to have a spot of change and we are looking forward to our four day weekend which starts tomorrow! It's General Conference here this weekend, and we look forward to that. We also have plans to go to Melbourne Zoo (just up the road a bit), the new and very beautiful Melbourne Museum actually called Museum Victoria I think, and on Monday we are going to spend the day in the city, go to the new Melbourne Aquarium and hopefully the State Library if it's open. I'm looking forward to seeing my best mate, Phar Lap at the Museum - ever since I was just a little girl of about 9 or so, Phar Lap has been my special memory of Melbourne and the time we would spend together, he in his glass case with his big beautiful gentle brown eyes watching me and me sitting on the ledge around the case talking to him. I loved those times and that horse and I look forward to seeing him again. And to think I met his trainer, Tommy Woodcock, when I exercised race horses so many years ago in Glenroy.
Well, before I continue to wax eloquent and lose myself in a world gone by, I will end this bi-monthly letter. We just want to say that the work we are engaged in is incredible and watched over by our Heavenly Father. We continue to experience very special moments (and sometimes that's just what they are - tiny moments in time)and we continue to know that amid the chaos and confusion the world finds itself, there is calm and peace and goodness. We felt it with our wonderful Lewin cousins, we felt it in Edward and Emma Ann's cottage home in old Sydney, we feel it in the temple, we feel it daily in our work and we feel it in tender mercies given by our loving Saviour Jesus Christ.
May you feel the special blessings of Easter, of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, of joy in the morning to know He knows you and loves you! We love the gospel, we love the church and know that it is true. We love our family and we are so thankful for their support and love for us and for the daily miracles in their lives. We love the Lord and we are grateful to be serving in a small way in the building of the Kingdom of God. We love you and thank you sincerely for your emails and letters and thoughtful acts of love you share with us. We need them and you.
Remember, as you keep your face turned toward the sun, the shadows will fall behind you.
With much love,
Elder and Sister Rasmussen
(Bob and Glenys)
Enjoy the photos below!
Caroline Lewin Beattie with family
Bob, Glenys and Caroline in the Lewin Home. Note the original fireplace behind us.
Lewin Home in the 1920's - car is outside the door.
Glenys and Caroline at front door of Lewin Home.