Sunday, November 4, 2012

Oh, Sydney!

Hello Family!

I have had the longest, greatest, most exhausting, wonderful, most spiritual week thus far on my mission. Where do I BEGIN?

The flight was good, but long. Elder Lewis and I talked to a lot of different people. We taught a young man from Australia for about 4 hours on the plane, he had just come from seeing the Book of Mormon play. Awesome guy, not really interested though, he teaches a scripture class at the high school. I met my mission president and his wife, they are wonderful, so loving and caring, but also so funny. Love them so much. We stayed at the mission home for a night, had some training and did a session at the Sydney Temple. My new companion/trainer is Sister Weeks. She is awesome and from America - Utah, in fact. I am the first American companion she has ever had, and she goes home in 3 weeks, so that tells you it's pretty rare. I am currently only speaking English, there aren't any Asians in our area. President said only for a short while then he'll put me in the city where I can use it every day. It's been weird teaching in English, I've only done it in Chinese for the past 3 months! I miss my Chinese, I never thought I would say that. Usually I would have the same companion for all 12 weeks of my training but I must be a special case, I'll have a new companion here in a couple weeks to finish my training. 

There is so much to learn, just getting familiar with everyone in the area etc. Oh I should probably tell you I am serving in Medowie, about 2 hours north of Sydney, close to the New Castle area. It's a smaller town on the coast. Looks nothing like what I pictured Australia to be. It's very green, looks pretty much like any other place, but it is beautiful, right on the water. Our flat (that means apt.) is......alright. Not exactly "cozy" but it does the job, we're hardly there so it's okay. 

You'll be happy to know there are about seven spiders in every corner. Everyone tells me not to worry, that it's "normal"'s not NORMAL! The other day I ran back to my room to grab my planner and a MASSIVE, SICK cockroach runs under my feet...........I about passed out. Sister Weeks came running in, grabbed the vacuum and we chased it, finally got it. A couple days later two more came out from under the fridge. So basically I don't sleep at night, I'm just sick to my stomach picturing the cockroaches crawling back out of the vacuum and into my bed. Sister Weeks says I'll get used to it..........ya right. 

Australia is so different, I wish I had time to tell you all the funny things they do and say. Everyone parks their cars in their front lawn...? Weird right?! I'll try to think of more things they do and say and write them all down so I can share.

Alright so now for the more important, super AWESOME things that happened this week:

Miracle #1 Friday night we had dinner at the A's home (I'm abbreviating for privacy protection) The dad is a non-active member and he lives with a woman and she is not a member. They have 6 kids all under the age of 9 with another one on the way. The kids all LOVE the missionaries, they say they want to be missionaries when they grow up. A few weeks ago when the missionaries first contacted this family, the dad didn't want anything to do with the church, he didn't want us to come over. But one day he randomly called and asked us to come over (this was before I had got here).  So, Friday night was the missionaries second time having dinner at their home. We technically aren't "teaching" them yet, we just shared a spiritual message. The dad tries to act uninterested and cracks jokes but the kids love our little lessons. The following day he called and invited us again for dinner on Thursday, we are so STOKED! They also agreed to come to FHE tonight and they are totally excited about it!

Miracle #2 We had a little bit of a discouraging day, I tracted for my first time, knocking doors, no one really wanted to talk to us, all of our appts had cancelled or when we showed up no one was home. So we came home and started cooking dinner after a long day, just as we're about finished we get a call from Brother and Sister ________, they are a young couple in the ward. They say "Hey are you busy?  We have someone at our house who wants to know more about the gospel...."...haha...are we busy....that's like music to our EARS! We threw  our dinner in the fridge and hauled over to their home. We met a young, 22 year old girl named ________. She is in Brother ________ class at college. She had come over to do an assignment when the home teachers came over, she found their message really interesting and she liked it so they got to talking and that's when they called us over. She's had a hard past 8 weeks and is feeling lost. We started talking to her about prayer, and Heavenly Father.  In the middle of the lesson, she started to cry.  She said, "I really wish I would have met you 8 weeks ago..." We keep talking to her and we had to get going because it was late but we asked her to say the closing prayer....she said she'd do her best. In the middle of her prayer, she starts to cry again. Afterwards we asked her what she was feeling, why she was crying...she said..."I feel peace, I finally have something to look forward to.." I still can't stop smiling, I was so HAPPY. The spirit was so strong. She wants us to teach her the lessons, we are having dinner with her at the Sparks home tomorrow night.

We visited a couple last night for awhile, they've been married a couple years and attend a Baptist church in town. There's only about two options, it's a small town. We had a really good chat, the husband has met with the missionaries before. I think they really like just talking to other people about Jesus Christ, they love us and invited us back over next Sunday. We are really excited about that. We've been talking to some other people is well but I don't have time to tell you all their stories, but we are working with them and are seeing progression. I love talking to people, it's so fun and I see the most amazing things. These are just the two major ones. 

I love being a missionary! We have dinner appointments almost every night next week, we're really excited.
Church was wonderful yesterday, we have a very small branch, not enough people to have a chapel so we meet in a really nice...hall. haha. I bore my testimony and introduced myself to the branch. We worked with the primary for 2 hours as they have a program coming up.  They're so cute in their little accents I can't even handle it. One of the older men in my branch is my teacher at the MTC, Brother Nightingale, it's his grandpa! Small world. Mondays are my Pdays. Today we are doing a district BBQ at a park, that will be fun. Most the Elders are from Tahiti, New Zealand or Australia. There's like 2 white Elders in my district haha. I love all of them, so funny and hard working. I'm running short on time, I'm sure I've forgotten lots but so much happens everyday I don't know how to fit it all in! I would love to get letters from all of you! This week's Christ-like attribute is Charity. We are studying and focusing on Charity as a mission and I invite all of you to do the same. We also read D&C 121 every single night, I also invite you to do the same. Missionary work is incredible, I can't wait to see what this coming week brings. I hope all is well in Utah, have a wonderful day at church tomorrow, remember the Savior and His Atonement. Love you all!

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