Thursday, August 11, 2016

A week filled with joy.....Mason's baptism!

Monday (7.18.16)
We started the day with our office meeting and after we emailed we took off for our trip to Finley! It is located in New South Wales and it is about a four hour drive from Melbourne. However on the way up we were able to see a KOALA! It was a MASSIVE miracle because we were able to see it walking across the road and then climbing up a tree. This is unique because you hardly ever see koala’s moving around. They are usually stationery for 18 hours or more!  

Amazing to see a koala....I love Australia!

We enjoyed our drive to Finley and we got President Vidmar dropped off for his interview. Because Finley is a district, the mission president is the one who holds the keys over it. As we were waiting at the chapel for President to finish, a member noticed us  and kindly invited us over for dinner. It was really nice we were able to spend some time with them because they are a part member family. We had a great time and we were really able to connect with the kids and the dad who isn’t a member. After dinner, we headed back to the branch and waited for President Vidmar to do another interview. Finley’s population is 2,100 and I really love it because it truly is a bush town! They told us in Finley that the way you classify a “bush town” is if there is one stop light and either KFC, Maccas, or a Hungry Jacks. Finley definitely fit the bill!

The branch in Finley. It is a converted mortuary!

Tuesday (7.19.16)
We started the day by going for a run with President and Sister Vidmar this morning. It was a really great experience. We ran through a sort of nature reserve and we saw a kangaroo! I sometimes can’t even believe how blessed I am to serve in Australia! In just two days, I saw a koala and a kangaroo!!! After our run we participated in the Wangaratta Zone Interviews for most of the day.  On  Zone Interview days, while the missionaries are waiting for their turn to chat with President Vidmar, Elder Jensen and I talk withe them about the importance of setting inspired Weekly Goals and being able to achieve them by being mindful of them ALL WEEK LONG! As a mission we are struggling a bit to achieve our Goals. We also talked about how vital the Area Book is and how it is a tool we can use to gain ultimate trust with the Lord. We promised them as we keep it updated DAILY, the Lord will bless us with people He has prepared for us to teach. Following the missionary interviews, we held a the Finley Branch Question and Answer session with the Vidmars and Elder Jensen and me.  It really helped us connect with them and people mentioned they were becoming more confident with member missionary work in the branch.

The traditional hotel picture!

Wednesday (7.20.16)
We woke up a bit earlier today and headed back down to Melbourne for our interviews with the Chinese Zone! On the way down we stopped for some Maccas (McDonalds) and then we got right back to driving! We had a lot of ground to cover and we didn’t have any time to waste. 
Maccas (McDonald's) on the run!

The Interviews were great.  I love how diligent and obedient the Chinese Zone is. They are truly an amazing group! We got finished with interviews and left the city around 6:00 pm to drive the Vidmars home. After we dropped them off at the mission home, we raced to Mason’s home to teach him about the Law of Tithing and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is so ready to make the step of Baptism. Mason is amazingly faithful. He really understood the power behind why we pay tithing and the blessings that will come! Mason is really a massive miracle!! :) 

Thursday (7.21.16)
Today the Gippsland Zone Interviews today were scheduled from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. 

Incredible Zone Leaders from the Gippsland Zone!

I received a big miracle today because at the end of the Gippsland Zone interviews the Devon Meadows ward started to turn up for a correlation meeting with their missionaries. I was blessed to see some of the members from the ward that I love so much! It was so nice to see them and  catch up for a few minutes!

Devon Meadows Ward - Samoan Sister Missionaries!

I love how the Lord really does provide SO MANY tender mercies to us. He knows exactly what we need each and every day. After the we got back from Melbourne, we went to Mason's house again and gave him a Priesthood Blessing. He is working hard and has been smoke free but he started feeling a bit dizzy and sick. After the blessing, you could tangibly see his body calm and relax and he was ready to hear what he had to teach him. We finished our lesson by going went over the Baptismal Interview questions with him and and he did really well! I love asking these questions because it brings out their testimonies and it is inspiring to see the awesome faith these investigaors have! Mason is amazing and is he is VERY prepared!!! :) 

Friday (7.22.16)
Narre Warren Zone Interviews were on the docket for today! Sorry it is a lot of the same thing every day. Interview month can be pretty repetitive! But it is all good because it is a great time for us to be with the missionaries! And that is great for me because I absolutely LOVE being with Missionaries and hearing how the Lord is blessing their areas!  Following the interviews, Mason came in around 4:30 pm to have his Baptismal Interview with President Vidmar and HE PASSED!!! President was really impressed with Mason’s preparation for baptism. It made us happy to see Mason SO happy! After we finished with Mason, we had the sacred blessing to attend the Va’a's sealing in the temple. Elder Kim and I absolutely loved working with them in Cranbourne.

So happy for the Va'as! Another Forever Family!
Saturday (7.23.16)
We started the morning by playing some basketball with our Zone and I was just ON TOP THE WORLD!! The Lord is so good to me and I have NO IDEA WHY HE HAS BLESSED ME SOOO MUCH! After basketball, we went to the Chapel and prepared the font for MASON’S BAPTISM! It was a wonderful service! He was so happy and you could really tell he felt the spirit VERY STRONGLY after he was baptized!!! I love to see the instant change when a brand new member comes out of the waters of baptism. It is truly an amazing experience. Mason is so happy and proud to be a member of the Savior's Church! 

Mason's baptism! I just couldn't stop smiling!

After Mason’s baptism we rushed to Heidelberg to do the Heidelberg Zone Interviews! We skipped out of the interviews for a bit of the morning so that we could attend Mason's baptism! For lunch today, the Zone Leaders and Elder Jensen and I surprised the Vidmars with a special lunch because it was their anniversary! The Heidelberg interviews were fantastic and we all loved them! As we were driving back to  Dandenong around 8:00 pm we got a call to go to the hospital to give a blessing to a little child from another ward. That was a great experience. I always love to see the power of the Priesthood in action. We finished off the night at the Afghan restaurant.

Sunday (7.24.16)

Mason was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today and it was awesome! He is going to be a GREAT member!  We spent the rest of the day going to various appointments with members! We had a fabulous meal with the McLeans and then got we got smashed with yummy food at another Spanish couple’s home. We finished up the night by going back over to the McCleans so we could share our message and they gave us leftovers and a yummy drink that they call Coco!  It was a really great day just being with the members. It is so gratifying to see how much they love and serve the missionaries. We are blessed beyond measure! It was fantastic too because we were able to get referrals of a couple of people that we can go and visit when we have a bit of time:)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Transfers, Departing Missionaries and Goldens!

Monday (7.11.16)
We were caught at the office for a bit after our regular Monday office meeting. As soon as we could we shot off to Phresh, that great place owned by members that gives missionaries free haircuts!  They always do a great job and try to make our hair look as good as our stylin’ brothers from Tonga! After we finished with our hair cuts we went to an office staff Family Home Evening at the Mission Home. It was great to have dinner and share a spiritual message with the office staff. They really are like my family and it is such a blessing to be with them. When the Family Home Evening was over we jetted off to the airport to pick up the Tasmania Missionaries who were coming back up to the Mainland for transfers. And that was that for a very nice P-day!

Tuesday (7.12.16)
We were able to start off our morning today in the house of the Lord. It was super special. We are just SO LUCKY to be able to attend the temple as missionaries. I cannot wait to be able to go to the temple WHENEVER I want to when I come home.  As missionaries we don’t hear about too many current events but the bits and pieces I hear from people seems to me that most people feel the world is slowly deteriorating around us. I don’t despair though, I know the Lord will give us peace as we keep our covenants and I find it such a blessing to be able to seek refuge in the temple which is a literal Heaven on Earth! It was a special experience to be in the temple with those missionaries that I love so much who are going to be departing tomorrow.

After we finished at the temple we were off to the “Train the Leaders” and “Train the Trainers” meeting and the continued transfer madness! As APs the best way we can serve the missionaries and President and Sister Vidmar during transfers is to be available in the office most of the day working out logistical problems. We deal with missed trains, lost luggage, and this transfer we also experienced a few missing Elders! We didn't lose them for long though! On transfer day we wake up in the morning really just wondering what adventures and problems we will have to solve later that day! But it is all good and everything works out because this is the Lord’s work and He is in the details. I have seen evidence of that many, many times on my mission!

Meet the newest Tasmania missionaries!

We worked on transfer issues in the in the office from about 1:00 pm until  5:00 pm and after that we had the Departing Missionary Dinner! It was a bit of a surreal experience knowing this was my LAST departing dinner before I will be going home in August. However, as soon as that thought hit my brain, I quickly pushed it out and thought of something else! I love my mission SO much it is really going to be hard for me to leave it. After dinner we finished the night with a wonderful testimony meeting. Following the testimony meeting, Elder Jensen and I got the departing Elders and Sisters to the various flats they would be staying at for the night and then we hit the sack in preparation for an early morning. 

Wednesday (7.13.16)
Today’s airport run with the departing missionaries was a bit different from what we usually do.  Normally, we rent a 54 passenger bus so we can get all the missionaries and their luggage to the airport but we just didn’t have as many missionaries leaving in this group. There were only six of them so we just took both of our vans. It turned out to be a mess parking at the airport BUT because this is the LORD’S work he ALWAYS provides a way for us to get done what we need to get done. We got everyone to the Airport and then we had to say our goodbyes to Elder Eyring, Elder Lee, Elder Xiao, Elder Eilers, Elder Kelsch and Sister Wairepo. 

Elder Eilers was my MTC companion!

So hard to say goodbye to missionaries I love.....but so glad I am staying! 
Can I be a missionary forever?

I have served closely around each of these missionaries my whole mission and I love them all. It was quite the sobering thought to see them go! It was actually pretty hard to say goodbye to Elder Eyring (my first companion as an AP) but he was super excited to go home so that made things not quite so bad for me. 

After we got the departing missionaries to their gates, the Vidmars, Elder Jensen and I took a little Maccas (McDonald’s) break while we waited for our new batch of missionaries to come in! It was great to be able to see them and it dawned on me that this was the last batch of Goldens (brand new missionaries are called goldens not greenies in the Australia Melbourne Mission) that I would be picking up. Another sobering thought that I hurriedly pushed to the back of my mind. We loaded up the tired Goldens in both our vans and took them to the mission home for some lunch. After lunch we all went back to the mission office so we could complete the Golden Orientation. Normally after taking departing missionaries to the airport and picking up Goldens we have a bit of time where we regroup and ponder everything that happened.  But because we had a departing Chinese missionary with a later flight tonight we went BACK to the Airport in the evening to drop him off!   There was certainly a lot of back and forth time at the airport today but it was all worth it because I am serving the Lord by serving and taking care of His beloved missionaries! 

Thursday (7.14.16)
Today started bright and early so we could take Elder Elkin to the Airport. He is a super lucky Golden because he is starting his mission in Tasmania! Elder Jensen and I counted up and it was our fourth time at the airport in four days:) Right after we got back from the Airport we went right to the Maroondah Zone Interviews. I love Zone Interviews! They are a great way for us to talk with all the missionaries and see how their work is going! We were able to train them on the importance of keeping our Weekly Goals in our Minds for the the WHOLE WEEK! In addition, we really stressed the importance of Updating the Area book DAILY! These simple things will help all missionaries with their success. Zone Interview days are always pretty long days because the interviews last ALL DAY LONG!  But we had a wonderful way to end our day. We had an appointment to teach Mason! Thank you so much for all the prayers and fasting for him because he is doing GREAT! He is so ready to be baptized and is he really just loves EVERYTHING that we teach him. Tonight we taught him the Plan of Salvation and he LOVED the doctrine behind being able to live with his family forever and be baptized for his ancestors. I want to make sure I always remember (even when I am not a full time missionary) how blessed I am to have Gospel and the understanding and peace it brings to my life!

Friday (7.15.16)
Today we had the Braeside Zone interviews scheduled for about half the day. Braeside is the smallest zone in the mission. There are only 13 missionaries in it and it still took from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm. After the interviews were finished we went back to the office to discuss missionary car issues with Elder Linder. When we finished with Elder Linder we went to the Afghan Restaurant to track down Rahmit. We found him there and it was so great to see him!!  He was so happy to see us and he even bought our dinner!  He still really wants to be baptized but he has just been so busy and the adversary is working on trying to fill his schedule with so many things to try to prevent him from meeting with us or going to church. But we will overcome the adversary!  After we left Rahmit, Elder Jensen and I went over to the Danielsons for another yummy dinner! We always love to visit them and spend time in their home so it was a wonderful way to end the night. 

Saturday (7.16.16)
We went on exchanges with the Maroondah Zone Leaders today! They told us they have been struggling to find people to teach so we just joined forces with them and went and found for them people for them to teach and it was a great day! I LOVE GQing and it was so great to be back in the Box Hill area that I love! 

So happy to GQ in Box Hill today with the Maroondah Zone Leaders!

We were there for about six hours and then we went to the Goodalls again to have dinner with them and Sister Goodall’s nonmember Sisters and their families. We were there to help them understand what Hannah will be doing when she begins serving her mission in Perth next month. We sang a of couple hymns and explained a bit about how they can relate Hannah’s call to be a missionary to when the Apostles were called by the Savior to be His Apostles. They seemed to understand Hannah’s mission call from that perspective.

Sunday (7.17.16)

We had a great day at church today. It is the best feeling to bring people to church! Hopefully everyone remembers that and invites their friends to church! Mason is going to be an amazing member. He had to work the night shift last night and he got done with work around 8:00 am and then he was at church at 9:00 am, He had not even gone to bed but he KNEW he needed to be at church to get baptized and he was ready to sacrifice sleep for church and to take the sacrament. After church, we went to Toko’s house for a lunch appointment and were able to talk about the Armor of God with his family. I love them and they are doing great. After lunch, we went to get some baptismal clothes for Mason and we rushed to a baptism in Footscray with the Vidmars. Following the Baptism we stopped by the Deer Park Stake Center so President Vidmar could meet someone for an appointment. Another great Sabbath Day in the land down under!

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Week of Craziness!

Monday (7.4.16)
We started the day by taking Elder S to the Airport. This is the missionary whose father unexpectedly passed away. It was a very sad ride but he was grateful he would be home to to help his mother during this very challenging time! After we got back from the airport we worked at the mission office for the rest of the day! 

We were so busy at the office we barely had time to stop for lunch!

This is normally what happens the day before MLC (Mission Leadership Council…a meeting with President and Sister Vidmar, the APs, Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders) and MLC is on the agenda for tomorrow! After taking a short break to email my family, it was all about planning for MLC. It takes a bit longer with President Vidmar because this is his first one and he has basically just jumped into deep water. However, President Vidmar is an amazing, capable man who is filled with the Spirit and he is swimming flawlessly! Elder Jensen and I are SO blessed to learn from him and the entire mission is extremely blessed that he is our Mission President!  We took a break from all of the planning in the office around 7:00 pm to go pick up our Tazzy (Tasmania) Zone Leaders at the airport for the MLC that they are attending tomorrow! After we got them situated, Elder Jensen and I headed back to the office to finish up our trainings for MLC.

Late night smoothie break!

Tuesday (7.5.16)
Today was our first MLC with the Vidmars and it was GREAT! The MLC loves them so much! The Vidmars are energetic and they have a clear vision of how and where they want to lead the Australia Melbourne Mission! We all felt so uplifted by the time the meeting finished! I know the Vidmars were placed here to help the work continue to move forward!  Following MLC, we raced off to the office so we could get ready for our flight down to Tasmania with the Zone Leaders who came up for MLC. We planned it this way so the Tasmania Zone could meet the Vidmars. Unfortunately, our flight was canceled and by the time we finally made it to our hotel in Tasmania it was midnight! It was a crazy night but a blessing because I was able to talk to a man named Dean the WHOLE flight down to Tazzy and he was semi-interested in the message of the Gospel!  I am going to keep in contact with him. He definitely has some potential.. but this might be a conversion to the gospel after I get home and work on staying in contact with him.

Candid shots at our hotel in Tasmania! What can I's a tradition!

Wednesday (7.6.16)
Today on the agenda was our “Meet the President Meeting” in the morning with the Tazzy missionaries and then we were able to stay with them and attend the Tasmania Zone Meeting also! It was a fabulous day being with the great missionaries in Tasmania and they were VERY excited to finally meet the Vidmars!  But I mean, who wouldn't be???  THE VIDMARS ARE SO AWESOME!

After the zone meeting, we hurried down to the city of Hobart so we could grab a quick bite to eat before we headed to the Airport to take the trip back to the Main Land. However, we had a four hour delay at the airport and and we didn’t end up getting on the plane until 11:00 pm.  We finally arrived in Melbourne around 12:15 am.  Unfortunately, we had to go straight to the hospital because three of of our beloved Senior Missionaries, the Gourlies and Sister Mangelson, were in a severe car accident. Sister Mangelson was hurt the worst. She has a broken sternum and pelvis. We were so happy to visit them, pray with them and pray for them. We finally got back to our flat around 3:00 am. I absolutely LOVE President Vidmar! He is so loving and always wants EVERYONE to know they are important in his eyes. I have watched him always go the extra mile and do a little bit more than expected so people can know and feel the great love he has for them! This is an amazing lesson that I have learned from watching him just in the short time we have been together!

Thursday (7.7.16)
Because we got home so late this morning, President Vidmar gave Elder Jensen and me permission to sleep in a bit this morning. Once we woke up we jetted back to the office to start our preparation for the upcoming transfers. The Vidmars were still at the hospital visiting the Gourlies and Sister Mangelson so Elder Jensen and I went to work setting up transfers. We got as far as we could without President Vidmar’s input so we decided to go to KFC (remember how I told you that KFC fixes everything??)  

If KFC fixes everything, then slurpees (Aussie style) are a close second!

After we got back to the office we went to work on the “K” report (the log and tracking for how many Kilos missionaries drive each month). After we finished with the K report we had an appointment to teach Mason again! HE IS TRULY AMAZING!! Mason has so much faith and he really believes in the church! We taught him the first part of the Plan of Salvation along with the Word of Wisdom. He has been able to gain a strong testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He has a bit of a smoking problem but nothing major and he is DETERMINED to stop smoking so he can still be baptized on the 23rd of July! Thank you for all your prayers and fasting because it is WORKING!!! 

Friday (7.8.16)
This was the buckle down and work on transfers day!! We basically went hard on it from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm. We didn’t even come up for air until we all went to the Hospital to check on the Gourlies and Sister Mangelson. We were able to visit them and they are doing better. Sister Mangelson is still in the ICU but she is improving bit by bit. 

Don't worry Momma, I'm not hurt! I just couldn't resist a spin!

Elder Jensen and I ended up taking Sister Vidmar home while President Vidmar caught a taxi from hospital later. He wanted to stay back and talk with some of the doctors regarding Sister Mangelson’s options with all her surgeries that are coming up.

Saturday (7.9.16)
We went hard again on transfers from 10:00 am until about 3:00 pm. Then it was time to jet to the office and work out the logistics for the transfer. This consists of flat, cars, and phones for the missionaries being transferred. Elder Jensen and I worked on the logistical stuff for about two hours and then we drove to Goodalls for dinner! It was SO great to be with them again!  We taught them a lesson about the Armor of God in Ephesians. We showed them it doesn’t matter if we are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or a non member, ALL are given the Armor of God. However, It is up to us if we strengthen our Armor by keeping the commandments and doing the things the we know are right or if weaken our Armor by allowing the adversary to beat at us. I have found if we give the adversary any room in our life it is so much easier for us to end up succumbing to the temptations of Satan. It was a great lesson and it was good to be back "Home" with the Goodall family who I love so much!

 Not the Missionary mariachi band...just guitars that some missionaries tried to sneak under the radar! We packed them up and we will keep them safe at the mission office!

Sunday (7.10.16)
We went to Church today and Mason was there! He is nervous but he is getting excited for his baptism! He told us he really feels at home when he comes to church. He even allowed us to announce his upcoming baptism in Priesthood Meeting so we are cruising right along.  Following church, we raced to the office so that we could catch up on some additional office work. After we got finished, we went to a great feed and lesson with the McLeans. A little while later the Kumarnasamys called and wanted to feed us as well! We are so blessed that so many wonderful members want to feed us but we were STUFFED with amazingly yummy food by the end of the night! The last part of the evening was spent calling various missionaries that had new assignments as District Leaders and laying down some new expectations we want them to focus on in their new areas.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Week of the Vidmars!

Monday (6.27.16)
P Day! After emailing the fam jam this morning, we played some basketball. After we finished our basketball game, we had to take the train into the city so that we could pick up the Man Van from the Chinese Branch! Elder Eyring needed to borrow it so that they could get all of the Chinese missionaries to and from a devotional last Sunday! It was great to see Elder Eyring again and it is ALWAYS such a special treat when we get to go back to the Chinese branch. After we picked up the van, we drove back to the mission home so we could have a small dinner with a departing sister from the mission! 

Look out everybody....Elder Jensen's behind the wheel!

Tuesday (6.28.16)
We started the day early with a run to the airport! This time, it was to take Sister Tripptree to the Airport. She has been waiting for her USA visa in the Australia Melbourne Mission. She is on her way to the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission! She will be a great Temple Square missionary and have a great time in Utah!  

Farewell to Sister Tripptree! Look for her at Temple Square!

Then we raced back to the mission home, after a quick pit stop for a Krispy Kreme donut, to make it back to a District Meeting that we were planning on attending! This District Meeting was being held at the Maroondah Stake center which was very convenient for our schedule. After the great District Meeting, we raced up to the Knox Shopping Center to grab some lunch! After lunch, we came back to the mission office because there were some last minute things the Maxwells wanted us to work on so we could further prepare for the Vidmar's arrival! I am truly amazed at just how much planning goes into the transition of a new mission president! And now that the day for the Vidmars to arrive is coming up so quickly it is very exciting! But here in the Australia Melbourne Mission we are all in Power Drive just trying to get all the last minute things all wrapped up!  

The office staff whipped up SUPER sour lemonade....we'll be puckered up forever!

Later in the afternoon we went back to the airport to pick up an Elder who is going home. On our way back to the mission home we made a quick pit stop to KFC for dinner and we took it to the home to eat with the Maxwells. We finished the night by eating and chatting.

Wednesday (6.29.16)
My last full day with the Maxwells! Today was the second day of early trips to the airport! Elder Jensen and I took two Elders who were on their way back to Tasmania to the domestic terminal while President and Sister Maxwell took Elder W to get checked in at the International terminal. After we got the Elders who were returning to Tasmania settled, we raced back just in time to say goodbye to Elder W and be with him for a short couple of  minutes and snap some photos! We were all really sad to see him go! He is a great and obedient elder! I have come to know that sometimes the Lord needs some of his valiant servants back early from the mission to help in ways they otherwise might not have been able to.

Coming home from the airport there was a MASSIVE traffic jam!! It took us about two hours to travel what normally takes us 30 minutes!! The Maxwells were so kind and took me out for a Birthday Lunch on the Yarra River! It was nice to slow down and just talk and visit for one of the last times that we will be together!

 The city I love, with the people I love!

 My birthday lunch on the Yarra River with the Maxwells! 

After we got back to the office we had to jet off to our TWO lessons! This was pretty much the highlight of the week!!! The first lesson we taught was to Rahmit! WOW he is so HUMBLE!!! He loves learning about Jesus Christ! We taught him the Restoration and he believes EVERYTHING!! He still seems good to be baptized on July 23rd! It was amazing to see that when we talked about the Savior, Rahmit’s heart hurt when he found out that Christ died for us and how the people killed him! Being a Muslim, he hadn’t ever heard about the details of Christ’s crucifixion. We had a great lesson and it was a truly a miracle we made it through the entire lesson because the only place available to teach him was in the library. Normally, when we try and teach people in the library they have recently started kicking us out. But I know the Lord knew how important this lesson was for Rahmit and He provided a way for it to happen!

Then we were off to our second lesson! It was with Mason! This was the friend that came with Javad to church last week.  We were able to teach the restoration to him and it really just hit home with him! He is so eager to learn because he told us he truly felt something that he liked at church! The Spirit touched his heart!! Can I just say that we are so blessed to be part of God’s church on this earth!!!  I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!! Mason really wants to follow Christ and we set a baptismal date with him for the 23rd of July also!  It was so amazing to watch Mason making all of the connections in the Gospel and really understanding everything! Plus to make things 1,000 times better.... HE LIVES WITH A MEMBER!! :) WE ARE SO BLESSED!!! After the lesson with Mason, we drove back to the mission home and we did a final conference call with the Maxwells to all the missionaries! It was a wonderful call…as a mission we have been so blessed to be led by President and Sister Maxwell!

Thursday (6.30.16)
We started out today by going to the airport for the 3rd day in a row this week! However, this time it was a bit different then I had EVER done before!! This was the trip to pick up the President and Sister Vidmar! Talk about the UNKNOWN! We did our usual tradition of going to Maccas (McDonalds) in the airport with the Maxwells for the last time and then we waited!!

Wow! When I saw the Vidmars for the first time as they came through the gate... a flood of excitement washed over me and I KNEW the Lord needed them here in Melbourne Australia at this time for the next three years! I was so glad the Lord blessed me with that experience and at the opportunity I had to gain that vital testimony of their calling!  We drove straight to the mission home and dropped off the Maxwells, the Vidmars and all their luggage. 

Meet the wonderful President and Sister Vidmar!

After we got the Vidmars settled, Elder Jensen and I ran to the Toyota dealer to pick up Sister Vidmar’s car. They were just putting the finishing touches on getting it detailed. We wanted to make sure the car was in tip top shape for Sister Vidmar!  After we picked up her car we went back to Dandenong to pick up some things for the Maxwells and we rushed back so we could spend a few more minutes with them. It was the dinner with all the Stake Presidents and the Maxwells and the Vidmars tonight so Elder Jensen and I stayed at the office working on some pictures to give to the Maxwells before they left. All of a sudden the Maxwells returned from their dinner and it was time to say goodbye. This was really touching but it was a VERY hard time. There were lots of tears, lots of laughs and finally even more tears! We have all bonded so closely together! I love the Maxwells! They really are my second parents! I am so grateful for the opportunity I had that in the evening after we said goodbye to reflect on all the wonderful times I was blessed to spend with them and everything I was able to learn from them! 

Friday (7.1.16) Happy 20th Birthday Tag!
This was a different type of Birthday for me this year but I was so happy to spend it with all the missionaries!  We did both of our “Meet the President Meetings” today. We started with the East side in the morning. Let me just say, “The VIDMARS ARE AMAZING!!!!”  They remind me a lot of my mom and dad. It is so strange! President Vidmar is a smaller sized version of my Dad! After we finished the East side meeting, we hustled out the door for the West side “Meet the President” Meeting. They both went extremely well and everyone loved the Vidmars! The last one got over around 4:00 pm and then the Vidmars surprised me by taking me into the city for my birthday to eat at one of my favorite restaurants…..Stalactites!

The best birthday dinner in all of Melbourne!

After a great birthday celebration, the night got pretty crazy. As we were driving home from dinner at about 7:30 pm, President Vidmar got a call that one of our missionary’s Father had just passed away. We were all so sad for our dear missionary and his family. We drove straight to his flat so we could tell him. It was such a heart wrenching experience to be with him as he grieved. I am so grateful for the knowledge we have that Families truly are Forever. I know Elder S will see his father again. I have spent the last 23 months of my life teaching the Plan of Salvation to people and it was so comforting to all of us as we talked and cried with him. We packed him up and took him back to the mission home to sleep over with Elder Jensen and me.

Saturday (7.2.16)
Today was all about getting the Vidmars adjusted! We spent a good deal of our time planning with them for their first MLC (Mission Leadership Council…where the APs, Mission President and Sister Vidmar, the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders have a meeting to discuss ways to help the mission), getting them situated at the mission home and getting thier phones up to date with all the contacts and all those administrative things we had already planned for but now it was time to just do them! 

Don't let our kicked back posture deceive you...we are HARD at work getting President and Sister Vidmar's phones set up!

Elder Jensen and I went to dinner again with the Vidmars and then we took them to the store. They are a bit scared to drive but everyone is worried the first time they get into a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side! We don’t mind being their chauffeurs for as long as they need us. I love being with the Vidmars! They are so energetic and they are both so full of faith! They are truly amazing and I know I am blessed to be able to spend so much time with them! 

Sunday (7.3.16)
It was a great day today!  We had some great church meetings today! Sadly, Rahmit was unable to make it to church but Mason came and he loved it!  He is really looking good for joining the church on July 23rd!  We really wanted to teach him today but he was too busy to meet so I committed him to watch the Prophet of the Restoration DVD. He is so amazing! This is the text I received from Mason later on that evening, “Hello brother, I was crying tonight and I have an amazing feeling and I believe Joseph. thanks for Beautiful movie. I hope Jesus save your life!" This was a great text that we received from him and it made us so excited for what the future holds for him!

Another Crazy, Busy Week!

Monday (6.20.16)
This was a good day because Elder Jensen and were FINALLY able to get haircuts! We still go to the good old Islander hair cut place – Phresh! They are so good to all of the missionaries because they never charge missionaries for haircuts! 

Elder Jensen and I rocking our new haircuts!

We finished our haircuts around 4:00 pm and then we RACED to play some basketball for the last tiny part of P-day! We had a really great night though! We went to a part member family with the Zone Leaders and we taught them and ate yummy pizza with them! We were able to play some Book of Mormon Basketball and the whole family was just pumped and VERY competitive! It was a total blast. It was just a massive blessing for me to be with a family and teach them about the gospel! Then it was off to President and Sister Maxwell’s house to talk about some of the things that had been going on in the mission... and what we were going to do about it during the week... we also went with the Maxwells to one of our favorite go to restaurants called Keystone!

Tuesday (6.21.16)
It seems the adversary is working VERY hard on the missionaries in the Australia Melbourne Mission. We have had an amazing month of teaching and growing and Satan knows that and he wants to do anything he can to derail the momentum we are building. I want everyone to realize that it really is by the flaxen cord that the adversary is able to get to us! For example, in a missionary’s life things start small...maybe with not being obedient to the missionary schedule and sleeping in, then maybe some phone misusage, then getting home late at night a couple of times, and then BAM! the adversary has us and we are put in a big situation and we cannot seem to find a way out. That is why we all MUST be so careful when we are dealing with choices to break the commandments! The Savior’s atonement is complete and we can always be forgiven but if we can choose to avoid sin in the first place our lives will be so much happier and we will have peace! 

Today was such a crazy day that we never got a chance to eat dinner. The Maxwells came to our rescue and gave us some much needed food!

Dinner on the run....we think we will start with that yummy dessert! 

Wednesday (6.22.16)
We dropped an Elder off at the airport in the morning who was going home and then made our way back to the mission home to have an early lunch with President and Sister Maxwell to talk about other ways we can help and serve the missionaries.

We love going to the airport!

Then it was time to prep for Golden Review! This was definitely a highlight of our week. We were all so excited to visit with our group of Golden missionaries and see how much they have grown in the short time they have been here.  This group did not disappoint! We have been super blessed to get such amazing new missionaries! They are on fire and are ready to just explode with sharing the gospel! It was great to be with them and feel of their special spirit! The Golden Review got over around 6:00 pm and then we played missionary taxi again as we raced around getting them to the various train stations! After we got everyone back on their way home we jetted back to the mission home. We had a nice dinner with the Maxwells and a missionary who is going home tomorrow. We ran back to our flat so we could pack for an overnight at the mission home so Elder Jensen and I could be his companions for his last night.

It is always nice to have missionaries with us at the mission home!

Thursday (6.23.16)
We dropped our departing missionary off at the airport bright and early this morning.
When we got back from the airport we sat down with President and Sister Maxwell, ate an early lunch and discussed ways we can serve the missionaries better! Then we ran some errands for President Maxwell. We booked his car for service at the Toyota Dealership because he wants it to be just perfect for President Vidmar when he arrives here next week. We also drove to Craigieburn to pick up two Elders for an interview with President Maxwell. 

When the Elders were done with their interview, we dropped them off at the train station and as we were driving away I saw the Afghan restaurant we eat at quite often. As we passed by I received a prompting to stop and go into the restaurant. I had no idea why because neither Elder Jensen nor I were hungry. But on my mission I have learned to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost no matter what. So we stopped the car and went in. There was an Islamic party going on and it was TOTALLY packed.  We looked around and decided to order some food that we weren’t really hungry for.  Even though the restaurant was so crowded, our food was delivered to us speedy quick!! And when our food was delivered we knew exactly why we were prompted to stop at a restaurant and order food when we weren’t even hungry. Here was the miracle……. the man who brought us our food looked at our badges and said,  “I knew you would come. I asked God to help me find the Jesus People!” Elder Jensen and I looked at each other and thought WOW! His name is Rahmit and he is from Afghanistan. We got his number and set up a time so we can teach him. It was truly a miracle that the Lord would send us to a little Islamic restaurant to meet one of his precious children looking for the truth! This experience was a GREAT testimony to me of always following the Spirit. It was clearly a miracle! 

Friday (6.24.16)
We had a great morning! We attended the Gippsland DLC (District Leadership Council). Following the DLC, we went back to the mission home to meet with President Maxwell for a few hours to work on some mid transfer moves that we had to make.  

I think I ripped my pants!!! Sweet Sister Naylor to the rescue.

We went on a couple of errands for the office to figure out some last minute things we can do to prepare for the arrival of the Vidmars on July 1st. We are all trying to get everything super organized for them so it will be a smooth transition. We ended the night with the last senior missionary gathering with the Maxwells! It is always great to be with the amazing senior missionaries. It was a pot luck and we all had a great night!

Saturday (6.25.16)
We had to pick up the Maxwells very early this morning so we could take them to the Airport. They needed to fly down to Tasmania to check on a missionary who was sick. It was a quick trip for them because they just flew down for the day. After we dropped  them off Elder Jensen and I raced back to Maroondah so we could attend a Baptism up in the Yarra Valley ward. It was a great occasion because it was the first baptism there in about a year. It was wonderful to see the Elders having some success up there! After the baptism we went into the office to work on some mid transfer logistics. Elder Jensen and I picked up the Maxwells at the airport and once we got them back to the mission home we were super excited to head out to Cranbourne! We met up with Geoff Mulipola and we had a fabulous dinner and visit with the Terremates! It was so good to be in their home, which has always felt like my home here in Australia!

So great to spend some time with Geoff! 

As we were leaving Cranbourne, I had a strong prompting to call Rahmit and invite him to church! He picked up and said he would be there!

Sunday (6.26.16)

This was a great Sabbath! A member brought his friend to church today and we were so excited to meet him. His name is Mason and he is from Iran. Church as really great today and Mason really enjoyed it! We were able to have some great discussion with him and we are looking forward to teaching him. I was a bit sad though because Rahmit didn’t come to church. As soon as church got over I was able to give him a call. When he answered, I asked where he was and he said,  "I am here!” We walked outside and there he was!!! We were able to give him a chapel tour and introduce him to some members and we were able to teach him! WOW!  He was SO keen! He was really feeling the spirit and he kept telling us that all he wanted was to change, repent and START FOLLOWING JESUS! We were able to set a BAPTISMAL DATE for him for July 23rd!!!!!!! I was SO happy! I am so amazed the Lord allowed us to find this man in a restaurant and now he was at sitting in church and wanting to prepare for baptism! Heavenly Father loves all His children and He wants us all to return to him! I had been feeling just a little bit down because since I have been an AP (Assistant to the President) this is the longest I have gone on my mission without baptizing someone! I know missions aren’t about numbers and I am serving with all my might in a different way now as an AP. I have been so happy to see other missionaries baptize people but I really wanted to teach and baptize at least one more person while I was here in Australia and the Lord provided! Now we just have to teach him and help get him integrated into the ward! Following this amazing spiritual high we went to a member’s home for a wonderful lunch!  We stopped by the office to finish a bit of preparation for a special last devotional for the Maxwells! The devotional was wonderful and we had a great turn out!and that is how the day ended at this devotional for them! it was great and we were happy to see a great turn out!