Sunday, April 5, 2009

From Ellenbrook, WA

Richard has been on his mission for just over a year now. It seems He was transferred eight weeks ago to Ellenbrook, WA, a community in the Swan valley about 20 miles northeast of Perth. Richard has said that Ellenbrook is a lot like Stepford in that everything s perfect in Ellenbrook. What he means by that is that Ellenbrook is a fairly new planned community where the streets are clean, the homes well kept, and there are parks and water features at every turn.

His first companion in the area was Elder Bailey, one of Richard's companions while in the MTC, until two weeks ago when Elder Bailey was transferred to another area and Elder Ulu arrived. Ulu is from Samoa and, as with Elder Bailey, Richard seems to be thriving along side of a companion he enjoys and gets along with.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Richard's recent letters - these are classic Richard!

March 23rd: We had an interesting time last week altogether; Tuesday, I was reaching in my pocket for the garage opener (We really have a garage, like a proper house) while I was riding the bike... We were really close to the flat, but for some reason, I decided that while my left hand was occupied, I would slam on the front wheel brake. It was a very bad idea, and I wasn't even wearing a helmet. The brains are all over the road now.... Nah, my head wasn't even hurt. So I catapulted myself over the handlebars, ground myself onto the asphalt, and bled to death. No, I didn't. I only tenderised my left palm and my right elbow, as in stripped the flesh right off. Not to the bone, mind you, not badly, but the wound on my hand is pretty deep. Well, was. It's healing now quite nicely, and only a day or so ago, the infection stopped. That one isn't a joke. You should have seen how red it was around the wound. At least I don't need the bandages anymore, but whatever.

March 30th: Elder Ulu and I were walking past the shops, and we thought we'd use the very last of our money to buy some cordial, since Ellenbrook water is absolutely horrible tasting... It must be the relatively new pipes or something, I don't know. Anyway, we go into the shops, and we see one of the Members, Sister Lawrence, and her kids. Said hi, the formalities and such, and she asked if we were all good and everything. We said yes, because that's what we always say no matter what, and moved on. As we're about to pay, Luke (the oldest son) comes up to us with $20 and offers to buy that much worth of stuff for us, on behalf of his family. I was stunned, and we accepted the offer. It's very rude to a lot of people around here if you don't accept offers like that. So we did, with much thanks. We were planning to pay for the stuff we were originally getting ourselves, but as we went to pay for that stuff, a Member from Warwick Stake who neither of us knew came to us and paid for that stuff, too.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Australian fires - far from Elder Haskell's area of service

Several of Richard's family and friends have contacted Rick or Leslie recently asking about Richard's proximity to the fires and natural disasters occuring throughout Australia. We appreciate the expressions of concern for Richard and are saddened as hundreds of lives have been lost in what is now being heralded as the worst natural disaster in Australian history. Richard is safe and the area in which he is serving is hundreds of miles (or more) from those areas that have been hardest hit.

We’ve been monitoring the fires in Australia pretty closely each day by satellite imagery. You may hear about fires having broken out around Perth overnight, but the closest we can find at the moment is south and west of Richard by well over 100 miles, on the coast. He doesn't appear to be in any danger at this time, and it doesn’t look as though there’s much likelihood that he’ll find himself in harm’s way.

He was transferred this week to Ellenbrook, some 50 miles northeast of Perth (about 25 miles from his mission’s office). His area is developed enough that it’s not likely he’ll be threatened by wild fires, but I think it’s safe to assume that the missionaries are going to be called in to assist with humanitarian needs after any significant danger has passed. There may not be enough activity in the Perth area to warrant Richard’s mission to be called into service; I’m sure he’ll let us know.

We received emails from him earlier this week in which he wrote about the loss of life and the building fear of those around him. At the time, he was in Armadale, a more rural area much closer to the fires south of Perth. His move to Ellenbrook almost certainly had nothing to do with the fires, but I’m glad he’s just that much farther from them. His new companion, Elder Bailey, was in his district while he was in the MTC in Provo, so they already know each other pretty well.

Again, thanks for your concerns. He’s been away for just over 10 months now, almost half way through his two year assignment, we miss him terribly, but are proud of him and pleased to know he’s actively engaged in serving the Lord.

We love you all.

Rick and Leslie