Dad just went bonkers over this train ride! It was just a little steam engine compared to Grampa Howard's "Big Boy" but it must be in his genes...he was just like a little kid on this train! We did go through a fabulously beautiful forest including Fern Gully. At the end we met the cutest boy who is 21, works on the engines and then shaves his head and dresses up as the Fat Conductor? once a year when they have Thomas the Tank Engine. He just about died when he heard that Grampa had run the Big Boy. Last year he spent his life's savings going to the US and traveling from CA to NY on the Big Boy Express, the last one left in the world! A great time was had by all!
How about these roller blades?
Sunday we had a wonderful opportunity to see President Hinckley's funeral at big Stake Center in Melbourne. Here are notes that I've sent on email, but I wanted to put them here just for the record:
The funeral was astounding! I LOVED every talk for different reasons.This is excepts from a letter I sent a letter to Charity through dearelder because I knew she saw it. I assume most of you saw it via the Internet. Here are my observations, some of which won't mean anything unless you saw the funeral. If you didn't get a chance yesterday it will be in the archives on LDS.org soon so you can see it. It was just amazing:
I was moved to tears so many times (maybe fasting had something to do with it) as I heard his daughters and his best friends who just also happened to be prophets and apostles talking about him! I just have to write my favorite things and some thoughts about them before I forget!
First, I loved what his daughter Virginia said about the fact that he was really devastated when he lost Marjorie and again when he was diagnosed with cancer but he mourned quietly for a while and then, “Put on his shoes and went back to work.” So similar to those words of his father’s ringing in his ears when he was discouraged on his mission. Oh that we could all be just like that!
I loved the honesty and humor, from “You guys look like a bunch of penguins,” “I’m taking the stairs”, to “I know that I haven’t come along this path alone,” and especially, “Oh…things will work out!” and “Yes, I know there are 500 pieces of paper and I’m going to write on them…one at a time.”. I loved Elder Eyring's remembrances of President Hinckley (while thumping him with his finger, near his heart) saying at the end of the conversation, “Hal, have you remembered the person who is struggling?” and “How did you find the time?” as well as the best missionary one: “Get the gospel down in their hearts!”
Of course one of the best things was his constantly reminding the general authorities that, “We’ve never done better and the BEST is yet to come!”
I hope this doesn’t discourage you I just have to tell you about the greatest talk we heard in Stake Conference here today. It was from a regional authority who said he went to the Island of Papau New Guinea to check on the missionary work. He said “It’s a pretty dismal place for people to live because of the poverty. BUT because of the extreme poverty an amazing thing is happening. Instead of people having 30 people in their teaching pool which dwindles to 20 and then 10 and then if 2 are baptized it is almost a miracle, their teaching pools were working exactly the opposite way! They have 30 people in their teaching pool and 50 get baptized!
He told of missionaries teaching a sweet little family of six in their little cardboard house with a little lean-to tin roof and when they were given the baptismal challenge, “Will you be baptized on Saturday?” they all said yes! And then on the other side of the cardboard they heard another little group say “Yes!” and realized that another family of four had been listening and were committing as well!!! That’s probably the only place on earth that is happening right now. He said it was very much like when the missionaries first came to England. The good people there were also starving and desperate and joined the church in droves, largely do to their humility and willingness to change.
I thought that President Monson was astounding! He said just the perfect thing to include everyone…including people watching from all over the world. It just wouldn’t have been perfect without a reference to that fun little cane that President Hinckley always carried so that he could wave! The interchange with the doctor, ending with “YOU tell him!” was perfect! It will be so fascinating to see what will happen in the next few weeks. When we have the internet we can keep up pretty well.
I think the thing I will think of most when I reflect back to the funeral was President Hinckley’s passion for what he did! Lots of people set goals and go along for quite a while before they forget them. He never did! He ALWAYS REMEMBERED! That reminds me of the covenant we make every Sunday to ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM! It’s easy to say, hard to remember on the day to day. What a great and wonderful Prophet of the Lord! Shows what Optimism can do! Elder Maxwell says that Optimism is a big part of Hope! Faith, Hope and Charity, personified in one dear man!
That was a day I'll always remember, punctuated by at trip down the river in Melbourne. What a Sunday!