Friday, September 5, 2014

Spreading the WORD in Melbourne

Aug. 27– Sept.1, 2014

Family!!! How is everything going? Wow, what a week! It was soooooo nice to talk with all of you (on the phone :) on Monday while I waited in the Airport for my departure to Melbourne! It was VERY much needed!

I am glad you got the EXTREMELY short e-mail on Wednesday telling you I had safely made it to the Melbourne Mission Home. I didn’t have much time but wanted you to know I MADE IT and survived the 15 ½ hr flight from LAX to Melbourne! It was exciting to finally meet President and Sister Maxwell. They are such loving people! I can tell they work hard to keep all the missionaries focused!

Besides the small package waiting for me (thanks Mom, you always seem to know what I need) I did have another nice surprise when I got to the mission office. I met two senior sister missionaries, (get this, they are not only sisters in the gospel but also sisters by birth… how cool is that) who are Christy Wagstaff’s cousins. They say I will be seeing them all the time! :) I love being 8K + miles away from home and meeting people who know the same people I do.

My very first area of service is Richmond! I’m sure you’re wondering, "Where is Richmond?" I AM IN DOWNTOWN MELBOURNE. Richmond is a suburb of Melbourne, about 2 miles south east of Melbourne's Business District. English speaking missionaries NEVER serve in the city! (Don’t ask me why, that’s just the word on the street). But hey, I’m here in the city! It seems from what I’ve been told, missionary work in the city is a little tougher than normal! But I will talk about that later.

Melbourne City Business District from the top of our church building.

I’m sending this e-mail from the downtown library. That’s where we go on our P-day to send and retrieve e-mails. We’re limited on computer time to an hour each P-day so my fingers are smokin’ (not really… smokin’ is against the Word of Wisdom :)) . Thanks to everyone for all of your emails! I always LOVE hearing about what is happening with friends and family! 

My companion’s name is Elder Newell (You might know his dad, Lloyd D. Newell, He’s the voice of “MoTab” and the Spoken Word), Elder N. graduated from Lone Peak in '13 and he is pretty chill! He has been out for about 7 months and will be my trainer. He is very outdoorsy (some how the Lord just keeps pairing me with people that like camping, fishing and outdoorsy stuff). Don’t get me wrong, I love the outdoors as long as I’m sitting in a beach chair, by the ocean, soaking up the sun with a Miami Vice in one hand (non-alcoholic of course) and a bowl guacamole in the other) hahaha, but it’s all good because Elder N is really friendly, easy to get along with, and loves being a missionary!

Me and Elder Newell outside our flat on my first day in Australia!

Missionary work in the city is really fast paced. Because we don’t have a car or bikes we use mass transit to get around. We are either hopping on or off buses or trams as we cruise around the city spreading THE WORD. Sometimes we get so busy we don’t even have time to stop for lunch. I guess I better start packing a PBJ in my bag. ha ha! It’s all good though, the Lord is blessing me to get through the days on a low food tank!

 When I'm low on fuel I fill up with Chips and Schnitzel... Where's my Siracha?

My Flat (that’s what they call apartments in Australia) is interesting. Because Elder N and I are both new to the area the apartment is new for both of us. Although it’s nice, it’s a little dirty... OK, a lot  dirty, but nothing a good p-day cleaning can’t fix. I will try and send you pictures later :) But ya know, the Lord doesn’t give us challenges we cannot handle… so I am just plugging along with a happy spirit and relying 100% on the Lord!

A selfie at my desk in our Richmond apartment.

Our Chapel is in the city. It’s on the first level of a downtown skyscraper and the view from the roof is amazing! It is soooo cool! I am in the International Branch that primarily consists of young adults and university students! In our Branch, Elder N and I are the only English speaking missionaries. The rest of the missionaries in the city speak Vietnamese. So I really consider myself blessed to be able to serve in the city.

Missionary work in the city is definitely a little different than what I expected! We hang out on the city streets by public places like the library, Melbourne Central Station, or anywhere there are lots of people walking around, and we go GQing (golden questioning). GQing is basically street contacting! It is pretty righteous! You know me, I love talking to people. We just go up to perfect strangers and start talking with them and try to incorporate the gospel into whatever we are chatting about! It’s sometimes a struggle, people don’t always want to talk to strangers (even if we do look GQ :), but the Lord works in AMAZING ways! I’m sure I will have some CRAZY GQing stories to share in the future.

We have had a couple of regular teaching appointments this week, but very few because Elder N and I are both brand new to the area. I will fill you in about teaching in next weeks e-mail because I am feeling a BOMB (that’s a good thing) of appointments for this upcoming week!

I did have a really cool experience on Saturday. Some other missionaries were having a Baptism and I was asked to sing as a part of the program. The Spirit was definitely present and it felt great to share my singing talent with people from all over the world. Our branch is a melting pot of nationalities due to the universities in the area. We have members and investigators from Hong Kong, Iran, Mexico, Malaysia and Vietnam to name a few.

Inside the Melbourne 2nd Branch on the 1st floor of a downtown building. 
Elder C is one of the Vietnamese speaking Missionaries.

I’m not going to lie, a mission is a very hard thing! However, with faith in the Lord, you can do anything… move mountains, perform and witness miracles, and be an awesome missionary!

I love you guys. You mean the world to me!

PS: The mission wants all mail sent to the mission office. They will then forward it to me.

Elder Taggart Steele
Australia Melbourne Mission
76 Cathies Lane
Wantirna South VIC 3152

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