Tuesday, June 10, 2014


It has been just over a month since Mum left for her mission. It is hard to believe that she is in another hemisphere enjoying warm summer days while we usher in cold wintry days. She has been busy training at the family history centre, going to the temple, playing a game of cricket with a few fellow Aussies, partaking in a few touristy tours and enjoying the beautiful gardens of Temple Square.

Here is a photo of her entire mission. The photographer had to go up on a cherry picker to get everyone in.

Here is an excerpt from her first email home.

"Hi Everyone, As I have not sorted out wifi in my apartment yet so this will be a big block mail.
The trip was pretty good, Melb to Sydney to LA to SLC but when I arrived I only had one case instead of 2. Lucky the one I had had underwear, shoes and toiletries in it. I got here about 5 pm on Thursday and my other case turned up at 5.30 on Saturday.
My apartment is small but comfortable. The beds is in the lounge room plus 2 drawer things, table and chairs, and 2 lounge chairs. Then there is a a small kitchen a separate bathroom with bath, shower and toilet. And 3 cupboards for storage, clothes etc. I look out onto a garden and lawn so it is nice. Pretty quiet.
My days for the first 2 weeks are pretty full. We start at 7.30 am each morning and finish by 3.30-4.00. An hour for lunch. I have a personal trainer and she is just taking me through everything to do with family history using.my family. It is pretty exciting. At the end of the two weeks I will be assigned a zone which just concentrates on one aspect of what I am learning.
Early in the week the weather was quite warm. But it has turned a little today and I believe it is going to be colder for the next few days. 
As I flew from LA Utah looked very sandy and flat but the closer we got to SLC I could see lots of beautiful mountains with snow on them. I can look out the door and see mountains still capped with snow. The lake is also quite big. Many of the houses are built up the mountain sides."

Mum's desk in her apartment.

Mum's one bedroom studio.

Looking across the street toward Mum's block of apartments. She is on the bottom level.

outside in the backyard of Mum's apartments.

Outside Mum's place of work. This was where she did her training before being assigned to work in one of 22 different zones.

Mum's work station.

Mum's mission president, President Workman and his wife with Mum.

Mum was very excited to catch up with one of her closest friend's Cathy Reeve, who came to the same mission just 6 months earlier. They are going to have many wonderful experiences together.
(check out her apron. It has all the grandchildren's hand prints on it)

Mum also got to catch up with my nephew Jayme's girlfriend, Jen who is serving her mission in Temple Square. It is such a small world.

One of the first holidays Mum had over there was Mother's Day and she sent us photos of how they              were all spoiled with lovely presents from her branch. Mum and Sister Reeve made dinner for the other two Australians they had over for Mother's Day dinner. 

This is where Mum went on Mother's Day for a beautiful Mother's Day programme. How amazing is that.

This was part of the Mother's Day programme. Every week there is a different Spoken Word that Mum says is always very good.

These are the beautiful gardens that Mum gets to see around her when she walks outside for lunch.

These are the pretty flowers Jessica sent Mum for Mother's Day, sitting on Mum's work desk. After two weeks of training in the family History centre, Mum was assigned to one of 22 zones. 

The zone she was assigned to is the call centre, called Worldwide Services. So if anyone has any questions about their ancestry and wanting to find out about where they come from (for me… mostly convicts) and trying to find this out by navigating around the family search website, then you might get Mum on the phone if you ring up!! We do have local family history centres (one right here in Deloraine) that you can visit in person if you are stuck on something or just want to get started on your family tree but ringing Mum would be fun! ;)

"I have been assigned to Worldwide Services. This is where all the phone calls are answered. I will be working in the JSMB, 3rd floor, not far from the training zone. 4 of us were assigned there out of the 23 of us. They must think I can talk okay!! Yesterday was a lovely day. We had a special breakfast with our trainers and mission Presidency and after a pep talk and assignments we all went to the temple. The endowment section is huge. 24 people can move through at once. We ate lunch in the cafeteria and then finished for the day."

 This was the welcome dinner for all the new missionaries and farewell dinner for all the ones going home. They call it a "Hail and Farewell" activity. All the missionaries in Mum's branch (300 all up) come from 12 different countries.

The branch includes 95 young ones, so not just all senior missionaries.

This is a photo of the missionaries that came to the mission in Mum's intake.

Mum gets to attend lots of devotionals by our church leaders. This one was by Quentin L Cook. The family history department head, Alan Packer (son of Boyd K Packer) is sitting next to him.

This is Mum's trainer, Sister Guemaelis.  Here is an excerpt from an email about what she has been learning during her training. So for the 2 weeks of training Mum started at 7.30am and worked through until 3.30 pm.

"I have learnt how to merge, delete, recognise mistakes and search records and put in sources. The Tasmanian Archives are quite good. If you go onto portal.archives.tas.gov.au and look under colonial family links you will see lots. The first week has been full on but good. I went to the Lion House for lunch today, that was Brigham Young's house. My trainer is very nice. Today we were all given a long stemmed rose for Mothers Day, my trainer gave me hers too. Everything here is so clean, fresh and beautiful. Everyone in the street says hello and smiles."

Mum  has been taking lots of pics for us, of all the buildings on Temple Square.

 the conference centre.

This is the Church History Building with the dome in the background, the Capitol Building (Parliament House)

 Church Museum.

Joseph Smith Memorial Building. (Mum works on the 3rd floor) (I think there are 10 floors)

Church Administration Building.

Church Office Building.

 Lion House (Brigham Young's house)

Beehive House.

Mum has also found time to do a few touristy things.

Inside the original church office… some very steep stairs.

the old post office inside the original church office.

Brigham Young's old tool box.

Some pics inside the Beehive House which has 40 rooms.

a school room in the Beehive House.

the tour guides.

A bit of shopping!

Deseret Industries.

I can't get over how beautiful the surroundings are. This is the view just from the bus stop.

This was a special Memorial weekend programme. There was a BYU father and son camp weekend so the Tabernacle was filled to overflowing. The Tabernacle holds 3000 seats. In summer they move to the conference centre which holds 21,000 seats.

Outside the tabernacle… still such beautiful flowers everywhere.

The dome of the tabernacle.

And looking down between the Tabernacle and the temple to the conference centre.
Mum said there are touch screen information screens dotted everywhere to help people out along with all the missionary tour guides.

A pioneer log cabin.

 Mum also went to visit "This is the Place". Here is her group of companions getting ready to go there.

A native American dance display at "This is the Place".

The bank at "This is the Place".

Utah's first department store.

The view from the train driving around "This is the Place".

"This is the Place" monument.

One afternoon, a few of the missionaries got together to play a cricket match. There were 6 Australians and 2 Scottish that knew what it was all about. The rest… not so much. :)

 This is at the back of their chapel which has a huge park which is great for Mutual activities. (and cricket) And the cultural hall inside is HUGE too.

Hi, well I have been here a month, it seems longer than that in a way, but in another way the time has gone quickly. Today is Friday and we played our game of cricket after work, started at 6.00. Some left early because it started to rain, thunder and lightning. But it passed and we had a lovely time, finished about 7.30. I'm starting to do some different emails at work now, today I had one in Portugese and I had to get it translated before I could answer it. You do this through Bing. Then I answered and sent it back to Church Headquarters and they translate it back. Pretty neat. Yesterday we had staff meeting ..they call it team meeting, about 30 people all up. Over half of them are online in their own homes. The Supervisor is an employee. We still open and close with prayer and before he signs off he says I love you all, you do a fabulous job!! A bit different to the meetings I am used to.
Went to the Temple Wednesday and will go again tomorrow, I think we are going to Bountiful tomorrow. Have found all Norman Blacklow's family. He was in South Africa on active duty and then was sent to France. He and Granny were only married about six months before he was KIA in France, he is buried in that famous cemetery in France and has a memorial plaque in Canberra. He got a medal of honour. He was 37 when he died, so she was a widow for a long time.
Life is very routine here really, much the same every day, the difference is it is such a lovely place to be in, everything so clean and beautiful.
My feet and legs don't like it even when I wear my outdoor walking shoes they still swell. My eyes are very dry, they warned us about our skin going dry because it is so high and dry here..."

We can't wait to hear how the next month goes!!


Carli said...

Thanks for sharing your Mum's mission! What a great experience.

The Kings said...

It's so good to hear how she's going. I bet her and Cathy are loving being over there together.

Anonymous said...

So there is the place I want to go on a mission, but as a tourist guide.
I would go absolutely nuts in an office all day.
S.L.C sure is beautiful and clean, and it is so good that your Mum is happy and seeing Cathy every day.
Love Lorraine.

melandpeter said...

Just sat down to catch up on blog posts and really enjoyed reading all your mum's experiences and photos. Makes me want to go to Utah again and think I'd enjoy it more next time around! x

Collette said...


Wheeler Team said...

Well done Simone, that was huge! It certainly is beautiful.