This was a glorious week, one we will always remember. On Monday, Lisa, Shawn, Keely and Benjamin flew into Alice Springs with President and Sister Quinn and the Assistants for “Zone” Conference. What a thrill it was to see them. Keely ran up and gave me (Sister Shumway) a hug and kiss and I was choked up. We were so happy to be able to enjoy the long awaited arrival.
Monday afternoon, Elder Collet brought over a real live kangaroo that was gentle as a kitten. Keely and Ben got to play with the “Joey” for a little while. Fortunately, it survived Ben’s adoration. Keely loved it. Ben always definitely has a plan. Now that he can walk, he explores everywhere he goes. He went exploring with Grandpa.
That night we went to Dinner and a Show, where we enjoyed Aboriginal culture and some of the local food. One minute we were petting a Kangaroo, and the next minute we were eating its dad. (Only in Australia!). Elder Shumway did an impressive job of playing a didgeridoo.
Tuesday was District Conference and Lisa and Shawn gave inspirational talks that made a huge impression on all of us. President and Sister Quinn blessed us with their wisdom and spirit as well. The Assistants gave us great advice and food for thought. We all went away uplifted.
That afternoon basketball was on the agenda with Shawn and all the Elders, along with members of the community. Elder Shumway was allowed into the game long enough to commit a few fouls, but before he destroyed the Church’s public relations he was invited to leave for another “pressing engagement”. That night we all put on a special dinner for Alison and Chris, some investigators the Elders have been working with. Everything went great.
Wednesday morning we went to Desert Park, after which President Quinn and his wife flew off for Darwin to catch up with the Assistants, who had left earlier. Ben was thrilled with yet another place to explore walking, in a stroller, or on a grandpa’s shoulders. Keely has a most inquisitive mind and kept busy seeing everything she could. The weather was perfect and so was the morning.
Here is the other acceptable way for Ben to explore, on the shoulders of a cooperative grandpa.
Wednesday night we threw together a pizza party for Mark and Karen, and Yvonne and her son James. We loved getting a chance for them to get to know our family. Yvonne, one of our investigators, struck up an immediate friendship with Shawn, Lisa, Mark and Karen. And Keely and Ben got along great with James. They entertained each other all night (with some help from Elder Brons and Elder Shumway.) Yvonne seemed to really enjoy herself, as did Mark and Karen. Mark (our branches newest member) ended up being the pizza chef, and a good one he was!
The Reptile Museum was the first thing on the agenda Thursday. Keely and the rest of us got to experience lots of the local animal life. The snake Keely never got to hold, but did get to pet, kept looking at her as if she was just the right size for his monthly meal.
Like mother, like daughter, like granddaughter. We all love the creepy crawlies.
Early Thursday afternoon, Shawn and Keely came with us to meet and teach some investigators. Shawn shared a beautiful testimony as he taught and Keely really added to the spirit by her perfect behavior. Later that afternoon the men played racket ball and yes, Elder Collet beat Elder Shumway 15 to 13. Elder Collet was truly thrilled and has vowed never to play Elder Shumway again. Justifiably feels he can now return home honorably. (Since then, he has consented to bowling and pool, but lost to Elder Shumway. Later they golfed with Mark and even though it was his first time, Elder Collet had a respectable showing, almost beating Elder Shumway.)
Karen came over after racket ball and Shawn and Lisa had a chance to get to know them a little better. Lisa and Shawn were very impressed with Mark and Karen, (as are we all). Mark was just baptized and Karen joined the Church when she was sixteen. They are an amazing couple who have come through life strong, wise, determined and madly in love, after the many the trials they have faced.
Thursday late afternoon we went to the park. Ben was thrilled to get yet another opportunity to explore and Keely got to play on park equipment that was a little different that she had in the U.S. We topped the evening off at McDonald's. (They're everywhere.)
Friday morning we were off to Adelaide. We felt sad for the Elders we left behind. Lisa and Shawn and Keely were already quite attached.
(All it takes for Sister Shumway to fly well is a few drugs and a two gallon container of water. She spends a lot of time going up and down the aisle. Could someone please give her a clue?)
Adelaide is a whirl of great meals, great company and spiritual experiences. That will be the topic of the next blog.