Sunshine in Sydney, Sunshine in my Soul

Well somehow another week has been and gone!
For me it has a been a wonderful week, probably the laziest yet most relaxing I have had since returning. I know for others this has been a week that will have leave a memory on the rest of our lives. I hope we all choose to do something weekly that will impact our future selves for the better!

The week started for me bright and early about 2:40am monday morning, getting dressed, eating, and bustling into the car to the air port for a 4:30am check in! It was a wonderful flight, I enjoy Flying with Qantas airlines. Their fruit platter breakfast option is honestly my favourite thing I ever eat on planes along with orange juice and water. As the plane first lifted into the crisp monday morning air we were greeted by the most gorgeous sunrise.  One of those breath taking moments, where if only time would stand still. Where in that moment you can feel  the Love of the Lord whispering ” I created this for you” wellington sunrise
I love these moments, natural, unchanged by man, the Glowing deep orange of the sun sending playful rays along the purple and blue sky. Reflecting and bouncing off the deep green of the mountain ranges. The lakes as though liquid gold nestled among the emerald forest floor. No camera could ever fully capture the beauty of this view.
I arrived to wonderful 33 degree Celsius weather,  not crazy sunny but nice and warm. The first view I had of this wonderful country made me insanely happy! just the cliffs all around vaucluse, watson’s bay, and malabar. the city sky lines and even the industrial areas! first after going through customs. I went and got myself an Opal card for all of the public Transport in NSW. Now I love the Opal card system… unless you want to access the airport, then the price is ridiculous! (seriously $16.50 for three stops is pricey) Well after a train from the international air port to Central station, transferring to the T1 line form central to Hornsby. I finally made it to Thornleigh station. Where my wonderful friend Rachel was. That hug of finally being reunited without a serious 5/10 minute time limit was the best. We went to her house and just sat on her bed for a bit and talked. Ate lunch and laughed. Followed by a trip to the mission Office!
It was almost like i slipped back through into another reality, climbing between two worlds. That of home life and the things that New Zealand holds, and the of the rest of the world. Into my place and the city the became my playground. I may not know all of it yet, but these streets feel like home!  It was great to stop by the familiar temple grounds, see the wonderful office couples that I was so blessed to serve alongside. The blessed opportunity I had to stop by and visit President and Sister Checketts!
Then when leaving the grounds I saw none other than the Bishop of my last Area who came up and hugged me. not going to lie this was the strangest thing ever, we always saw Him there as missionaries so to attempt to shake His hand and to be greeted with a hug, almost felt like I was breaking rules… But hey I am not a missionary. How lovely it felt to be back!
Family home evening was great, we all talked about General conference! then Played a quick round of UNO… guess who lost, yes that is me!

Tuesday consisted of a nice quick get ready for the day and out of the door by 7:40am to catch the train into Central, get lost trying to find the address for a Job interview and find ourselves down the dodgiest looking alley way! Just completely dead and empty except two men chilling having smoko! After running late and getting in contact with the company. Having everything sorted we decided to make the best of our situation.. laugh, have fun p1100996and then find our way back to the station. I love this, getting lost and find my way to the insides of the city. Not the clean polished streets of the CBD or the busy building lined streets of people in impractical fashion and the suits, where the pace involves a hidden Jog and the hum of the streets become ingrained into you veins. But the back streets, the naked undressed up side of a city, where people seek solace from the pace, to become an enigma. This is backstage, the side of the show that others don’t often see. Without what happens here, the show would never perform. The pace would break and things may possible stand still. (Heck maybe occasionally this could be a good thing)
We made our way through the concrete jungle back to the station and headed out towards one of my favourite places for finding whilst a missionary. Bondi Junction!
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Here I introduced Rachel to the Mall (somewhere I had only been briefly) and the outside shopping area. We Picked up a few Items, browsed and had Lunch in the food court over looking the water and the city. seeing in view the Harbor Bridge and the Opera house.
We spent time just enjoying that which we had, and doing those things we haven’t done in a long time.. Like fussy Jean shopping 🙂

p1110016After a nice lunch and obtaining all that we wanted we caught the 333 bus to Bondi beach!
Where I had sorbet and Rachel had a savory scone! I enjoyed the fresh ocean water for a lovely refreshing swim, I may have got wiped out by a solid wave, much to Rachel’s enjoyment as she watched.

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We discussed many things from missions, the Gospel and just how great God is throughout the day! we read emails from those we love and we laughed. We enjoyed the side of Just living and having a friend to share it with!
Then the nice hour and a half journey home began. Arriving a little before 8pm to find the missionaries having correlation … Elder Bush whom I served with out in penrith Zone looked around to say hi and i swear He saw a Ghost “Hi! wait?!? what?! how?!” hehe
funniest moment, so after eating and them finishing their meeting I got to say hello to all four missionaries  that I had been blessed to serve alongside.
Rachel and I then sat on her bed with food and watched The errand of Angels and the beginning of the fellowship of the ring! stopping at 2am realizing we should probably get some sleep!

Wednesday Rachel, Her wonderful Mother, and I all went and did the 10am temple session! How wonderful it is to be in the temple with those we love, to be blessed to take through some of their family names as well was such an honor! I wish I could just talk all about this. But just the Joy of being there again, not Just at the temple of the Lord but at one I love so dearly with people I love as family is an absolute blessing.
We all then had lunch at home, went to the mall to pick up a few things. followed by dinner together and Then getting ready for institute.
I have never been to institute outside of the Wellington region. So it was almost a giant culture shock! A huge amount of YSA all gathered together. We talked about prophets and their role and how we follow them, it was amazing ot be somewhere where the YSA  engage and respect their teacher. It felt so good, it felt like the first lesson in a while where i was able to enjoy and ponder personally on a fer aspects of the Gospel.
Afterwards we Just hung out till about 10:40pm I met a lot of lovely people and enjoyed it very much. On the way home Rachel and I decided we were hungry so drove by Maccas to grab a snack. so we sat in the car and ate. Discussing different experiences we’ve had on missions and even a rather lengthy discussion on specific Gospel topics.
The feeling of complete peace I felt in the car home that night was amazing, the feeling of being in the right place with the right people. Another one of those raw moments, where it doesn’t need the catchy background music or even sound at all, no makeup covered photograph moments. Just those pure raw special moments where it feels like everything finally has aligned and the puzzle pieces are coming together. It just feels … GOOD!

Thursday Morning We woke up and Rachel and I headed off for another temple session, stopping by the mission office yet again to say farewell to the couple in there.
This session again was just lovely being with my best friend within those walls. Know what although 3 years have past, we’ve lived in different countries. served different people and spoke different languages. There is Joy in being united as Sisters, as Daughters of God! The friendship that although was once built upon mutual ground has grown deeper as our love o the Gospel has grown. our Friendship now has more of a base upon the important principles of eternity than that of the World!
Afterwards we went home, packed my luggage all up, had lunch and headed off!
However sitting at Thornleigh station a tradey came and sat beside us, so out of habit I ask how he was, he had the thickest accent I had heard in a long time, clearly from by liverpool England area … So we started talking, all three of us, asking about all my luggage and explaining  about how i had served a mission here and was taking it back home. So conversation grew and changed, He asked what is different about our church… GOOD QUESTION! SO next thing we know we are explaining prophets and who Thomas S Monson is, The Book of Mormon and inviting Him to read it. testifying. The flow was pretty good and the ability having never taught together in our lives to fall into a good pace was incredible. As we departed ways at central station we even obtained His contact details!
Accidentally claiming a new investigator as RMs? oops why not! we made a friend 🙂
Getting on the next train to the Airport and saying “see ya” so soon and yet again made me feel as though my heart was getting torn yet again. When you dont see someone for a long time you learn to live life with just the online contact you almost find it hard to remember any other way but you remember the fun with fond memories! But when you finally are together you realize how much you missed it. You realize when face with separating again how life maybe was missing an important person from it. Let alone the country itself I love and the place I feel at home!
I cried, no denial!
Then arrived nice and early for my next flight, waited and checked in. Hung out in duty free for about an hour and got there perfectly in time for boarding!

Thursday morning after being p14724414_542021089330905_8970125121781464311_nicked up by my wonderful mother and driven home. I cut off about half of my hair length, due to a series of unfortunate events! That lead to it needing some serious health fix!  fell asleep around 3am and slept through mostly until almost 10am. feeling rather sickly. i unpacked luggage and did the things in needed to.
Saturday again feeling rather unwell slept in and did chores before taking the niece and nephew down to a sports activity at the stake center, followed by an epic ward Quiz night, where our team was just our small family… guess who won!!! woohoo familia!

Sunday, well happy Sabbath!
Seriously this is by far my favourite day of the week every week. However it is competing with an amazing time in sydney!
But the talks in Sacrament were wonderful, I found myself asking and reflecting on how i can improve spiritually and again continue to further consecrate myself to the Lord, to refine who I am and become more of who He want’s be to be as His daughter. The woman He needs me to be as a future wife and mother, to aid my family and the community around me!
My CTR lesson went great! and I committed them all to do something special for someone else this week.
After Church we had ward lunch, where I was claimed by one of the cutest 3 yr old’s ever at church who ran up and told me she had been looking for me so she could talk to me, then she proceeded to sit on my lap and tell me about nursery and what she did at church. Honestly these small moments make my heart so happy, the sweet pure love of a happy little face running to hug me makes my soul literally soar, the cuddles, the hand holding the fun little games. They are priceless moments!  As Jesus Christ said “Behold your little ones”
They are precious! But then if we turn that relationship between Heavenly Father and ourselves, we are his little ones and we are so precious in His eyes, every bit of interaction between us and Him is pure treasure to Him, He Cherish’s those moments . However unlike this wonderful little girl at church we may not run and hug Him physically or sit and talk face to face. We kneel before him and talk, we pour out our heart and in return sit and listen. He does speak to us! through our feelings and thoughts. We can feel His embrace and all encompassing love encircle us as we turn to Him and strive to not only know of Him, but come to Know him!

I pray we all will be able to strengthen That relationship with our Heavenly Father and our Saviour Jesus Christ, through sincere prayer and study! Paying attention to our feelings and being ever grateful for all that He does daily!

I love you all so very much, I don’t say this lightly!

~ C.A. Priston-Turner xx

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