I have had the most wonderful week thus far on my mission! I don't even know where to begin... Well, we had a lovely meal as usual with the A family Thursday night, everything was normal. They said they wanted to give a "crack" at going to church every Sunday this year. We had to postpone the 8 year olds baptism because some of the kids were sick and they weren't able to make it to church. Anyway, after dinner we were driving home and Brother A calls us to say, "Oh, by the way, I've given up coffee and smoking...and ________ and I are just deciding on a date to be married so she and ____ can be baptized together, and I can be the one to baptize them." ........um.....come again!? Haha, this is so typical Brother A...loves a thrill factor, and he knew if he told us this in person that we would cause a scene and be doing back flips off the wall. Sister Bambrough and I were speechless! We had fasted just the week prior for this family.
But wait..that's not the end. As you know, Sunday was fast and testimony meeting. I got up and bore my testimony and then guess who gets up to bear their testimony! Yep, Brother A. He is AWESOME! He talked about how he hasn't been to church in over 15 years. He was funny, he said, "...and then these Sisters come along and they had a new tactic, they went for the kids first! Now the kids won't let me go to bed unless we've had a spiritual thought." He talked about there being a huge difference in his home when we leave with a prayer and the nights when there isn't a family prayer. He bore a strong testimony of the Power of Prayer. I was crying, just in pure shock and the spirit was so strong, I know EXACTLY why I was sent to serve in Medowie, where there isn't a single Chinese person, but I was able to watch this family of 8 (one on the way) make a 180 turn in their life. I have, however, been transferred, but I hope I will be able to somehow get permission to come back and see the baptism. Brother A also told me they have a goal to be sealed in the Salt Lake temple and would like me to be there, I told them I don't care where it is, I wouldn't miss it. SO amazing, I couldn't think of a worse, yet better time to leave an area. I am so blessed! And my testimony of fasting and prayer has skyrocketed.
We had a sisters conference on Saturday in Sydney, there are only 17 of us right now and 3 mini missionaries. Basically, President wanted to get our input as to how on EARTH we are going to manage with 15 sisters coming in at once in March. Meaning, all but 2 of us will be training, meaning...we all have a lot to do before March to prepare ourselves. At the conference meeting, President said in front of everyone, "Sister Raitt, can I see you for a moment?" Of course, my heart sinks...What'd I do...what'd I DO!!?? Haha...he tells me I'm being TRANSFERRED!! Not only that, but I'm TRAINING!! I just barely finished my training and he's having me train. I was so excited.
On Monday, we woke up at 5:00 a.m. to be to the transfer meeting by 9:00 a.m. I met my new companion! Sister Nauta! She is from Tahiti! Just started learning English about 2 months ago, bless her heart :) I have to talk really slow...which is hard for me, you KNOW that. But, she is awesome, so much fun. We are serving in Richmond!! About 45 minutes outside of Sydney in a country area. Not a Chinese area, but President assured me I will get there soon, just figuring everything out. But I've already met a less active member - she is from China and speaks Mandarin! And I've seen a couple around town, so we're already way ahead of Medowie, haha. It is RIGHT next to the Air Force base, planes are literally taking off right over our head. I haven't seen a cockroach yet....cross your fingers. And our apartment has airconditioning! I feel like i'm in a luxurious suite!
So after the transfer meeting, we drove out to Richmond (yeah I'm driving...it's terrifying! I'm constantly thinking, "okay, we drive on the right so that means I should be to the left. Wait, is that right?" Haha...so dangerous, it's fine.) I just dropped off my luggage and we headed out to do service and cleaned this lady's house. There is a NASTY heat wave coming through Sydney right now, around 44-45 C - which is around 106 F and humid. It's terrible, but everyone feels bad for us so they give us drinks and invite us in :) haha. We went to FHE, I thought she said it was a young single adults family home evening, but when I got there I quickly realized it's a senior single adults FHE haha, everyone is at least over 70. But, there was a whole group of us, around 12, I would say. The best part is they have this bell that they ring if ____ starts talking too much, hahaha they ring the bell to hush him up! Then they have a "joke segment" where they read jokes from the newspaper, I was dying...I couldn't believe this was real. But, they are all awesome, strong faith, good insights. It was fun, and they all LOVE Sister Nauta, they just can't understand her haha.
This morning we had a Zone Pday, my zone is AWESOME. Love them all so much, it's so fun. We woke up at 5:00 a.m. again this morning and took a train into Sydney to do a session together at the Temple. So good. There is just only one other American other than myself in our zone, everyone is from Tahiti, Guam, Samoa, New Zealand, etc. They LOVE my sassy attitude. They roll on the ground laughing because all of them are super sassy and sarcastic, and I swear they are all related. Sister Nauta is like, "Oh, he's my cousin.....and he's my cousin, too", so I always joke with her whenever we meet someone - "Oh, is this your cousin?" Haha She punches me on the arm, "NOO, Sista Raitt", with a big smile. She's so cute. Love her. We are going to have the best time! I've heard great things about Richmond and I know I'm exactly where the Lord needs me. May not be speaking Chinese, but that doesn't matter to me. It's all the same work, and I love it!
Book of Mormon reading this week is 1 Nephi Chapters 13-20!! I hope you're all enjoying it, I love 1 Nephi, so much is happening and they are all relying strictly on faith...well...all but Lamen and Lemuel....those dinks. But it's wonderful, I have loved spending time with the other missionaries, I learn so much, and we are all so united. Also I've been pondering the Power of Prayer, especially thinking about the A family and how it's changed them. I have found that my prayers are ten times more sincere after I have had some type of spiritual experience. And one thing - I'm trying to work on is improving my prayers, so for me, I've decided to try to invite the spirit with a hymn or...a little scripture just to get the spirit flowing and then say my personal prayers, it just helps me focus in.
I hope you are all having a wonderful week, you are in my prayers always.
Sisters Bambrough, Raitt, Wang & Bailey at the Sydney Temple,
giving tours at the Art Exhibit
All the current Sister Missionaries in the Sydney Mission