Things You Should Never Do On Your Mission – Part 4

The ‘Memory Lane Series’ follows some of the more unusual experiences I had on my mission over 30 years ago. These stories are meant more as a light hearted view of one missionaries life, but I am sure that there are some important principles locked away in one or two of them somewhere…


7. Never let your new companion (fresh out from the USA) ride the streets of Australia ahead of you.

Here’s another companion/bike story. This one will forever be etched in my mind as a true miracle.

I was blessed on my mission to train one of the most amazing missionaries I have ever known. When she was passed into my care, I often mussed that I should be in her care more than she in mine. Her preparedness as a missionary was outstanding. She literally hit the floor running and had such an enthusiasm for the work that I was often fed and motivated by her.

For the uneducated, in Australia we drive on the ‘other’ side of the road. I am tempted to say the right side of the road, but that would confuse even more as we actually drive on the left side of the road. But for me that is the right side of the road.

So when new missionaries arrive on our shores down under, it is often a challenge for them to adjust to this new order of things.

I remember on several occasions explaining to my greenie companion the importance of taking care as we rode the streets of our area. I suggested that, when riding our bikes, it would be best if she remained behind me for the first little while – at least till she got used to it.

For the most part she took care to do this. But for some reason on this particular day there was a real enthusiasm on her part. As I laboured to pedal up a fairly steep main road I noticed that my companion clearly had a bit more oomph than I did and she very quickly pedaled past me. I wasn’t too concerned as I knew that we were headed for a right hand turn up ahead, and she would have to stop to wait for oncoming traffic before proceeding across it. I knew I would catch her up before then.

I have heard that when someone is close to sudden death that their life flashes before them in lightening speed. But in this case, as an onlooker, it was quite the opposite. It was like everything was being played out in slow motion, and I was watching it all unravel before me.

I watched as my companion made no effort to stop before making the right hand turn. She maintained her momentum up the hill and swung out across the road. She clearly didn’t see the wall of cars that was heading down the hill towards her at considerable speed.

There was absolutely nothing I could do. By all calculations that wall of cars was going to hit her head on. The distance between the center of the road and the road she was turning into was only slightly less than the distance between her and the oncoming cars. If she had been driving a car, then I think she could have made it. But on a bike, her speed was much slower, and therefore logic stated she had no chance.

Stunned and paralysed, I braced for the worst possible outcome.

Words cannot convey my astonishment as I realised that she had somehow, miraculously reached the other side without connecting with any of the oncoming cars. By all reasonable calculations there was no way that those cars could have missed her.

I still can’t explain why, but I don’t need to. I know that the Lord was truly looking out for His missionary that day and that a miracle had just occurred. It was also at that stage I knew she had a great future before her – both as a missionary and a future mother in Zion.

<<Back to Part 3 of Memory Lane<<

<<Back to Part 2 of Memory Lane<<

<<Back to Part 1 of Memory Lane<<


Get the Guff…Aussie Lingo 101

Australia stub

Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day mate!

A couple a sheila’s, through the bush telegraph, asked me to give them the guff on some Aussie lingo. There are lots of sheila’s out there with missionaries who are in the outback and have gone walkabout. They want to gobsmack their missionary when they get home with a real Aussie g’day.

It’s here that you will get the guff on some dinky di Aussie lingo. There are some bonza words and sayings that will definitely impress your mates. So, if you are within cooee of someone, sheila or bloke, and you’re not out the back o’ Bourke somewhere, then ‘ave a go, because she’ll be right once you practice a little. You may want to use the bush telegraph to let your cobba’s know about this, because it’s fair dinkum! But be careful you don’t get too ocker and come off sounding like a yobbo.

Did you get that?

If not then here is the translation:

This post was prompted by a couple of requests on the LDS Missionary Mums Email Group, to share some of the more common Australian terms – the lingo. Many of the missionary mums I talk with there have missionaries serving in Australia, and love to be able to welcome their missionary home with banners and signs with Aussie sayings on them.

So I thought it would be fun to share some of these sayings here. I have broken them down into two groups. Sayings that are more commonly used, day to day, and sayings that are used less, but are iconic in nature – unless maybe if you come from the outback.

However, let me preface this by saying that it is all purely in my opinion.

For those of you who don’t have missionaries serving in Aus, then you may just get a kick out of reading some of these. If you have an Aussie friend somewhere, you could even try one or two out on them.

More commonly used lingo:

Bloke – male, man, guy. “He’s a nice looking bloke”
Aussie (pronounced Ozzie) – An Australian. “I’m an Aussie”
Aus (pronounced Oz) – Australia for short. “I come from Aus”
Mate – friend, companion. “He’s me mate”
No Worries! – That won’t be a problem, all is good. “No worries mate, I can do that”
G’day – Hello. “G’day mate”
Buckley’s – You don’t have a chance. “You’ve got buckley’s”
All good – Everything is ok. “It’s all good here”
Arvo – Afternoon. “I’ll come over this arvo”.
Crook – sick or ill. “I am feeling a bit crook”.
Ear bash – talk too much. “That bloke can really ear bash”
Relo’s – Relatives. “All the relo’s are coming too”
True Blue – the real thing. “That story was true blue”
Dinky Di – the real thing. “He’s a dinky di Aussie”
Avos – Avocados. “I love a bit of avo on my sandwich”
Back o’ Bourke – a very long way away. “It’s way out the back o’ Bourke”
Bingle – car accident. “I got into a bit of a bingle today”
Gobsmacked – stunned, amazed, in awe. “I was totally gobsmacked by what she said”
Chook – chicken. “We’re having chook for dinner”
Crankey – angry, upset, annoyed. “He made me really crankey”
Footy – Australian football. “Let’s watch the footy”
Good on ya – Good job, well done. “Good on ya mate”
Macca’s – McDonalds. “Let’s go to Macca’s for dinner”
Shonky – a bit suspect, a bit dubious. “That car looks a bit shonky”
Snag – Sausage. “Snags for dinner tonight”
Barby – A Bar-B-Q. “Put another snag on the barby will you?”
Sunnies – Sunglasses. “I need my sunnies, it’s too bright”
Thongs – Cheap rubber backless sandals, flip flops, jandals (not underwear). “Will they let me wear thongs?”
Get the guff – Know what is happening, what’s the latest news. “If you want to get the guff, then ask me”
Togs – Swimming suit, swimmers, bathing costume. “I’ll just put my togs on”
Outback – The rural or country area. “He comes from the outback”

Less commonly used lingo:

Sheila – female, women, girl. “She’s a nice looking sheila”
Bonza – Great, fantastic. “I met this bonza sheila today”
Beauty Mate (ripper, grouse) – That’s fantastic, good job! “Beauty mate, all good”
Cobba – Friend. “He’s a cobba”
Fair dinkum – that’s the truth. “Was he fair dinkum about it?”
ave a go mate – Why don’t you try it out. “Just ‘ave a go mate”
She’ll be right – Everything will be all right. “She’ll be right once we get going”
Bush Telegraph – local gossip network, grapevine. “I heard it on the bush telegraph”
Gone walkabout – lost, or can’t be found, taken off. “I can’t find her right now, she must have gone walkabout”
Within cooee – within hearing distance. “Try to stay within cooee of me”
Ambo – Ambulance. “Someone call the ambo”
Galah – stupid, silly person. “Ah, ya silly galah!”
Hooroo – Goodbye, see you later. “Hooroo, see you soon”
Ocker – Someone so Australian that it even embarrasses an Aussie to be around them. “He’s real ocker”
Yobbo – an uncouth, sloppy, rude, person. “He’s a bit of a yobbo”

I finish this list of sayings with the suggestion that there are many more Aussie colloquialisms. I have not included all of them as you would probably get bored by the end of it.

If you have any others that you would like to add here then feel free to do it through the comment box below. If you think I got it wrong somewhere then I would be happy to hear about it too.

Standing for Something

My husband, daughter and I spent some time late last night watching the re-run of a program that was aired in Australia on the Four Corners program yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, Four Corners, in the past, has been recognised as one of the most even handed current affairs programs available on Australian TV. So it was with some disappointment that I viewed their take on Mitt Romney’s US Presidential Candidacy, and his Mormon links. Which I might add, failed to make a connection between what they started out reporting on, and what they actually ended up reporting.

I was a little loathed to talk about this here, as the program, ‘The Mormon Candidate’, is a highly biased representation of the Church. Why promote something so biased? But I was so exasperated that the program, like a broken record, stooped to rehash the age old question of polygamy and the church, as well as rely almost solely on the word of disgruntled ex-members of the church who have long since left it, to justify our so called ‘cult’ status.

I just felt that I needed to make some comments here that might inspire each of us to take a stand for something.

The Australian people deserve much more than what was dished out to them last night. The Four Corners producers showed little respect for its audience when they sensationalised something that has not been in practice in the church for over 100 years. Indeed in one part of the program they went into the home of a practicing polygamist, and held it up as a measure against the church. A family who were clearly breaking the laws of the land were determined to be more ‘normal’ than faithful, law abiding, community contributing, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I believe that each of us has a responsibility to make it known that we are tired of this kind of sensationalist reporting.

There is so much good being done out there by our members. The sacrifices they make daily to serve each other, to serve in the community, and to contribute positively to a very unhappy world that has mostly lost its way. We need to allow the world to be able to understand us with the correct information.

So, while I stop short of urging you to go and make a comment on the Four Corners website, I would certainly encourage you to take every opportunity to ride the wave of conversation that will be out there this week, to demystify the Australian public view on who we are as individuals, and a community as a whole. Don’t be afraid to speak up. We should be proud of our contribution to the world, and we should allow others to recognise that.

Let’s be passionate about it, but calm. Let’s be forthright about it, but show restraint, love and respect.

For those of you who are interested, yes I did post a comment on Four Corners‘ message board. It has not appeared on their website yet, so here is what I wrote:

Four Corners, where is the balance in the reporting? I have to say that at times I felt like I was watching one of those trashy “10 Worst…” television programs that kept getting stuck, like a broken record, on the first two over and over again (for those Millennials out there who don’t know what a ‘record’ is, it is another of those antiquated things of the past that get talked about at boring parties, just like the issue of polygamy and Mormonism).

There is so much more to the religious faith of Mormons than the tiring issue of Polygamy. For future reference here is something that I would be more interested in hearing about:

  • Who were the two men who took time out to visit that young single mum to minister to her after the birth of her child? Even tho’ they did not know her well, and that she was ungrateful. Bearing that same priesthood power that both the Saviour and Bishop Romney bore.
  • Who were the group of men (all married with their own family and work commitments) from my congregation who, for three months, spent several hours a week each, transporting another elderly member to his dying wife’s hospital bedside so he could read poetry to her each night before she went to sleep?
  • Who are the women (many who have children of their own) who volunteer two hours every Sunday to care for 14 small children so their young mothers can have some time to worship and find spiritual nourishment to face the coming week?
  • Who is the young 19 year old who feels so passionate about her religious beliefs that she spends two years saving every penny (while also studying fulltime at university) so that she can finance herself for 18 months on a mission for the church, teaching what she believes?

Please, next time, can you not patronise Australians with the same old, same old, unbalanced reporting and give us something worth viewing? 

Mormons in Australia

From MMM I would like to wish each of you a happy Easter, and hope that you can take time over this weekend to ponder on the significance of events that took place over 2,000 years ago. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of our Saviour, who has allowed us the opportunity to live again.

I have  included a video here on the 2012 World Report on ‘Mormonism in Australia’. So if you have some time please have a look at it. Missionary work here in Australia has come a long way, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Some of those people highlighted on this video are personal friends, and my families associations with them have extended back to well before my childhood.

Thanks for visiting…and I look forward to reading your comments.

Carry neither purse, nor scrip…

The suitcase of Faith

Our missionary outside the MTC with her suitcase of Faith

It was almost 12 months ago that our family crammed into the family car and drove out to the airport to bid farewell to our daughter, the newest missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Preparing for that day involved, not only concerted spiritual readiness, but also foresight into what clothing needs she would have. Gone are the days when missionaries were expected to embark with, “…no purse, nor scrip, nor shoes…”(Luke 10:4)

For us, that preparation took on quite a unique nature.

While our missionary daughter was already well prepared with much of her personal clothing needs, coming from the fairly temperate climate of the pacific, she was not ready for the possible sub-zero weather conditions of mid-western USA.

As all mothers do, I panicked. My daughter was going to die from hypothermia on some quiet Utah street. Four months out from her departure, and from our humble abode in Sydney, Australia, I could not imagine how we were ever going to kit her out with enough warm clothes to avoid this outcome.

Typically, my daughter seemed to think that she could survive on what she had…

This was probably the first time I had to contemplate the principle of ‘faith’ as the mother of a missionary. But, desperate times require desperate measures…well that’s how I saw it anyway.

Coincidentally, my husband and I were heading out on a trip to General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah just three weeks before she departed. So a plan was hatched…

With shopping list in hand, my spare time while over there was spent ticking off each item. With the help of my husband, and lots of size guessing, I managed to fill one middle size suitcase with winter-ready clothes. Part one of my plan was complete.

Part two required that faith I was fast acquiring…I left the suitcase there. That’s right, I didn’t take it home with me.

My daughter had a total of one day, upon arrival in Utah, to try the clothes on and make any exchanges or adjustments needed. How’s that for an exercise in faith? I say, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).

I am pleased to report that I not only managed to please her with my design choices, she actually survived the freeze of her first winter in America.

I am sure many of you were faced with similar decisions when helping your missionary prepare for their adventure. I would love to hear your story here.