Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Great Times Down Under!

Monday, November 3rd - Sunday, November 10th

Monday (11/3/14)
P-day was a lot of fun today. We headed down to the ocean as a District, and hung out by the sea.

The sun, the sea, the District, and fish and chips on the wharf... livin' the dream!

And the verdict is... Thumbs up on the fish and chips!

Run for your life... the star fish are attacking!

District selfie... Is that a train I hear coming down the tracks?

Tuesday (11/4/14)
We started the day by doing service for our stake in the stake basketball tournament. That was fun because we got to keep score for the games in the tourney. However, after that ALL 5 of our appointments canceled so we GQed like always :) I always seem to attract WACK JOBS when I GQ! Take today for example. This guy came up to me and stuck his middle finger right in my face; and was saying F this and F that to me... It didn't really faze me. I just remembered what Dad always said about people who give you the finger… “They’re just showing you their iQ level by holding up ONE finger.” :) However, I did feel super bad for the guy. He’s missing out on the True Church!! Oh well, I guess the truth for some people is hard to swallow:) haha

Wednesday (11/5/14)
Damn, (pardon my Australian....but "damn" is not a swear word in Australia; you even hear it over the pulpit in church!!) but there must be a Bug going around the city of Melbourne because 5 of our 8 lessons called in sick!  However, we did teach L, (our investigator who has smoked for 30 years) He was supposed to stop smoking but he wasn't able to kick the addiction yet.  So we just tried to build up his faith in Christ! We know that through the power of Jesus Christ nothing is impossible. Later that day we taught M! He is the one who was a minister in Kenya! It is such a miracle that we found him. I am amazed at the amount of faith he has!  For today's lesson we taught him about Tithes and Offerings and he said, "Once I get a job I will for sure pay my 10% to God!" He is definitely getting baptized next Saturday when the Branch President can be there.

Thursday (11/6/14)
Our Zone had Zone Meeting and it was super great :) I always enjoy the trainings there and seeing all the other missionaries. But, the only bad thing is it takes time out of the day for teaching people…. which makes me kind of sad. However, we did have time to teach a man named J who is from Chile. He is here in Melbourne trying to support his family back home in Chile. He knew the Church has some employment services he could use! He also really enjoyed the message about the Restoration. He loves his family and it was so awesome to teach him how this Gospel blesses families in so many different aspects!

Later in the evening we taught a girl from Malaysia named A. She is a very smart international student and had some VERY interesting questions from her research on the Internet. I WISH PEOPLE WOULD NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING THEY READ ON THE INTERNET! THERE IS A LOT FALSE INFO ABOUT THE CHURCH! :)  Anyway she describes herself as a Buddhist Christian… if that is even possible! Only time will tell where this goes. I think I’m going to hop on the Internet and research Buddhist Christians :) hahaha

Friday (11/7/14)
We taught a very BOLD lesson today to C (our 17 year old investigator whose Mom won't let him be baptized) and his friend K because C was thinking about going to a different church! So we told him THIS IS THE ONLY TRUE CHURCH on the earth today. We reminded him of the restoration of the Lord’s church, the priesthood and a living prophet who receives revelation directly from God.

Later, we were able to teach a man named M from mainland China! Man, it was so cool to even just plant a little seed in his heart about the gospel so he can take it back to China:) As much as we wanted to keep teaching him we referred him to the Chinese elders so he could be taught in his native Chinese language. I loved learning Chinese and visiting China when I was in high school so it was a really cool experience for me to have this brief teaching experience with him!

We also taught a man named H from West Papua... unfortunately he doesn't want to get baptized because he feels his previous baptism (different religion) should be enough.

Then in the evening, we taught a guy named J who came up to the branch. He wanted me to tell him the EXACT steps he needed to take in order to be baptized! I swear I heard angels singing the Hallelujah chorus… That is the question every missionary dreams about answering, and LOVES to talk about!!! So basically I told him to come and let us teach him, and then he would be ready to be baptized in early December. 

Saturday (11/8/14)
Today was a little bit slower than usual. Believe it or not, missionaries have slow days sometimes.  Time slipped away from us because we were waiting for appointments that never showed… super frustrating!  Because we are missionaries in the heart of Melbourne city, we can't go to investigator's houses; all our appointments have to come meet with us at our branch building. I hate feeling like I’m wasting any of the time I’ve committed to serving the Lord as a full time missionary. Oh well, I guess it’s helping me learn patience (maybe it’s not time wasted)!

On a happy note, we went to a Convent in Abottsford for lunch, to meet with that philosopher guy I met awhile back! The discussion was as healthy as the food… It was vegan food and it was really good (not good enough to eat everyday, but good enough) :) The convent was super trusting because you paid for your meal with a donation at the very end! So when we went to pay, we asked the cashier how much our meal should have cost, and we gave a donation of 10% :) Just kidding. We paid for our meal in full.

Me and Elder C enjoying a little "V" (Vegan). 

The whole Zone going vegan... at least for one meal :)

When we got back to Melbourne we taught C from Malaysia. Man he is doing so well but he just isn’t seeing it :(  He is feeling the spirit and getting answers, but he wants answers all the time!  We are trying to teach him that salvation does NOT come easy and we have to do our part for blessings of the Spirit.  Fortunately, in contrast to our discussion with C today, this evening we had the amazing experience of seeing three people from our branch receive the Melchizedek Priesthood after much preparation. That was really cool :)

Sunday (11/9/14)
Before Church we were able to teach a guy from Columbia. His name is J and he is a really humble man. He was instantly fellow shipped by some other Colombians in our branch and he stayed the whole time at church!! Right before Sacrament meeting started, L (our investigator who is struggling with smoking) turned to me and said "Elder Steele, I have been praying for the will to stop and now I am down to my last box of Chops (smokes, cigarettes, cancer sticks). I will be finished with them tonight and I am NOT buying anymore!!!!" Lyall is going to try to give up smoking!! That is a miracle!! Please keep praying for him! He has smoked 30 cigarettes a day for 30 years!! I testify that Heavenly Father is a God of miracles!!

I Love you all so much! Thank you for all of your prayers! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Spring is in the air!

Tues. Oct. 28 – Sun. Nov. 2, 2014

Hola! Spring is in the air (not to rub it in or anything.. ha ha ha). Hope everything is all good in the hood. Thank you all so much for your support on my mission! I feel your prayers on my behalf every day!

Now for the down beat!

Tuesday (10/28/14)
C (the 17 year old who wants to get baptized but whose mother isn’t crazy about him becoming a Mormon) brought a friend named K to our lesson today. He is also from South Korea and is learning English. We had a good discussion, but still no change in C’s mom’s attitude towards him getting baptized. We just keep praying that her heart will be softened, and that C will continue with his interest in the gospel.

We also taught L today about how God gives us commandments to help us (L is the one who we’ve been trying to help stop smoking). We told him he needs to set a goal for this coming Tuesday and give up his smokes!!! He knows he needs to give up his 30 cigs a day, and wants to, but it’s tough… we just keep praying for him.

Then we taught H, he is from Pakistan, and is one of the most humble men I have ever met in my life! I don’t know that anything will ever come from our discussion, but I sure got a first hand view of true humility.

Had a teaching appointment near the beach... was nice to smell the ocean again!

Wednesday (10/29/14)
In the City it is Exam Period.... So the university students are super focused on their tests, and they really don’t want to talk with us much on the streets.  It’s like they are all in their own little "study trances!! Hahaha (sorry if I ever looked or acted like that during finals Mom and Dad). We did have 2 good lessons today. The first one was with C and his friend K (the ones we taught yesterday). We showed them a movie about the Plan of Salvation in Korean. It is really building C’s faith to be able to translate what we are saying to his friend K. It’s a blessing this is happening for him.

We also taught C, the one from Malaysia.  He is still trying to believe there is a God... he says the peace he feels when he prays, is the same peace he feels when he meditates. That’s a tough one. I know the Lord will help him figure it out… just another hurdle the Lord will help us as missionaries jump over:)

Thursday (10/30/14)
I was on exchanges today with Elder N (not my companion, but a different Elder N). He is a really fun Missionary to be around, and I learned so much from him! He told me to come up with object lessons that will involve my investigators more; so I have been thinking of ways I can do that! I think it was a really wise suggestion!

We read in the Book of Mormon with L today and told him to start praying for the will to stop smoking! It’s going to be tough... He has been smoking about 30 cigs a day for about 30 years! BUT, like we taught today, if you have sincere faith in the Lord, He can help you accomplish anything!

Next we taught a guy from Thailand named A. His English is quite limited so it’s pretty hard teaching him. However, the language barrier definitely forces you to teach really simple doctrine… which is sometimes very hard to do! haha But he is KEEN! He just wants to learn everything about the gospel!… he definitely came to the right place :)

Friday (10/31/14) 
IT’S HALLOWEEN!!!! My 1st big holiday on my own... I’m not going to lie, It kinda stunk really bad!!! Haha. It was just super different. We always had such fun as a family; and to make it even harder, the Aussies don’t really celebrate Halloween… double whammy!  Oh well, grateful to be a missionary, even with all of the sacrifices as well as the blessings.

I think I can safely say that I own the only Halloween tree in all of Australia...Thanks Mom and Dad for making my Halloween great!

In between reminiscing about past Halloween Holidays, Elder N (my actual companion) and I taught M, the Kenyan minister. It was such an amazing lesson that I literally forgot about my Halloween woes. He is soooo ready to be baptized, but we are going to wait until the 15th of November so the Branch President can be at the Baptism. When we taught M the Word of Wisdom today, he just said “ya I need to change, and I will change!” He has really accepted that Elder N and I are servants of the Lord, and the things we are teaching are from God! That is the power of the Spirit testifying of the truthfulness of the gospel!

Saturday (11/1/14)
I went on another exchange today. This time it was with Elder C. He’s from Orem and is soooo awesome!! Man, I had a blast with him! We were able to joke around and have a great time while keeping the Spirit alive and happy!! We taught another lesson to C (the guy from Malaysia)... He still feels there isn't a God because his prayers aren't being answered... It was kind of a tough lesson, but I feel at the end he came out feeling closer to Christ, which is our main goal as missionaries! We will be meeting with him again next week so we’re hoping it gets better :)

We had a Culture night activity at the Branch this evening! It was my first ward party as a missionary! It was pretty fun. A bunch of the US missionaries represented America. We scrounged around our flats to find things that represented our culture. So if you summed up our US culture based on our awesome display portraying life as an American, you would have walked away thinking that Americans are Gatorade drinking, Pop Tart popping, Froot Looping, Mac and Cheese eating, Frisbee throwers, that love their flag, Sour Patch Kids and brand new boxes of Crayola Crayons… oh ya, we threw in a stack of Book of Mormons and a Joseph Smith Restoration pamphlet because that’s what we Americans (with a black name badge) here in Australia are really all about. Over all, it was a pretty fun party:)

Come on and sing it with me... "I'm proud to be an American!" 

Sunday (11/2/14)
Just your everyday normal Sunday... BUT, L (our friend who’s trying to quit smoking) did bring a friend to church! It was really cool to see him enjoy coming to church so much that he wanted to bring someone else! And not only did he surprise us by bringing a visitor with him to church, but he was also in a SUIT!!!! I mean this was a shocker to be honest! I think he has worn the same shirt every single lesson we’ve had (not that it matters). It was just totally an AWESOME surprise! It ‘s amazing how people react to the Spirit :)… And to make matters even BETTER, I got to wear my Fast Sunday Tie today! Hope Dad and Talmage enjoyed their ties as much as I did :)

Holy cow! My 3rd Fast Sunday in Australia!

A good week overall! I feel really blessed, and I am excited to see what next week will bring!

Monday, November 3, 2014

"I Come From the Land Down Under"

Mon. Oct. 20 – Sun. Oct. 26, 2014

The Down Beat

Monday (10/20/14)
Today was another fun P-day. I know you guys have been wondering when I would be sending some pictures of sites around Melbourne to you. Well, it’s your lucky day; because today we went and toured some places around the city cause we really had nothing else to do… so I hope you enjoy the pictures :)

Just a little P-day fun outside the Melbourne Exhibition Building.

Tuesday (10/21/14) 
Today went really well.  We taught 3 Lessons. One was to C, the 17 year old Korean who has been trying to muster the courage to ask his parents if he can be baptized. So today we helped him find the courage to call his family and ask if he could be baptized. Unfortunately, later that night he called us and said his Mom really hates the idea of him being baptized... Bummer :(  The only thing we can do now is put our trust in the Lord.  He will be able to perform what truly needs to be done! Even if it is not what we are expecting! 

Wednesday (10/22/14)
I went on another exchange today with Elder P. We go on HEAPS of exchanges because Elder N (my companion) is the District Leader! It’s fun to be with other missionaries though!

We taught C about the Restoration again because he got a little “antied” by his mom about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. On a good note, as we taught C today, and as the spirit testified to him of the restoration, the lesson became very powerful when combined with our testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel! Elder N and I are just trying to keep C’s faith up during this challenging time!

Later tonight, we went over to a member’s home for my 1st MEMBER FEED OF MY MISSION! (not counting all of the times we’ve gone out to eat with D… he’s the bomb!) hahaha! Anyway, we went over to eat at a Vietnamese ladies house. In all honesty, I had no idea what I was eating or what was being said… but who cares! I was in a real home, at a real dinner table, eating a home cooked meal.  What an incredible experience. Not knowing the language or being able to understand the conversation around the dinner table, put me more in-tune with the spirit that was in this home. Definitely a testimony builder of the power families have in controlling the spirit that resides in their family and home.

Thursday (10/23/14)
This morning I finished the Book of Mormon for my 1st time on my mission! :) If any of you have not read and studied this book, YOU NEED TO START NOW!!!! This scripture is here in our lives to help and bless us!! USE IT!!

Today I got to go on an exchange with Elder J from my MTC district because all the Zone and District Leaders were having a meeting by the temple! I actually got to TRACT MY VERY FIRST HOUSE!!!... and it was soooo fun! Later in the day I taught my very first lesson to two kids who were both super eager to learn! Man, it was such a fun day of firsts for me! It kinda made me excited for the day when I will be able to serve in a real family ward :) However, for now, I know the Lord has a work for me to do in the downtown Melbourne Branch.

The very first house I tracted on my mission (notice the cool Lego mailbox)... placed a Book of Mormon.... it was a success! 

Friday (10/24/14)
I went on ANOTHER exchange today with Elder M, my Zone Leader :) We were in a suburb called "Footscry." While at the train stop I ran into this guy whose name was T. He was from East Africa, but now lives in Werribee, which is out of my area. Anyway, we got talking, and I introduced him to the Book of Mormon! As I was talking with him about different parts of the Book of Mormon, I began to tell him about Alma and how he baptized multitudes at the Waters of Mormon. As I told T about Alma, he stopped me and said, "I have been trying to find a place where I can baptize my 4 Children!" WOW… miracle! He is keen As! So we referred him to the Elders in Werribee!! I love those kinds of impromptu conversations!

Later we GQed a guy by the name of G. Apparently he lives on some remote island that I have no idea where it is! Hahaha. However, we sat with him on a park bench, and taught him about the Restoration of the gospel. After our lesson was finished, the three of us still sitting on the bench, ended with a prayer. Missionary work is so great! At times we break away from every social code known to man, and it doesn't even cross my mind twice anymore:) The Lord definitely has a work for us to do at all times and in all places.

Son (me), Father (Elder N), Grandfather (Elder N's Trainer, Elder S). The missionary trainer lineage continues. Missionary family reunion at its finest.

Saturday (10/25/14)
This morning during my personal study time I studied how to be a successful missionary. In the Book of Mormon, HEAPS of prophets suffered discouragement because they felt they had failed in successfully delivering the Lords message… when in fact, as the Lord would later reveal unto them, they had been very successful in His eyes because of their obedience to His commands. This is why obedience in the mission, and in every day life is so key! No matter what happens, we must always be able to look back and know that we have been obedient to the Lord; and in return, he will grant us blessings when we need them most!

We taught P today, she is from Columbia and needs a Spanish translator badly!... either that or I need to learn Spanish J What was so cool about our discussion was that even with the language barrier, we were able to introduce her to the Book of Mormon. P said she liked what we shared with her, and is excited to read the Book of Mormon and be taught in Spanish with a translator (probably easier than me learning Spanish).

We also taught C again today. He is the young man from Malaysia who I GQed last week who didn’t believe in God. Well, this week we talked with him about the Plan of Salvation and how it can help his life as he chooses to follow our Heavenly Father. Sooooo he is going to pray to see if there is a God and to see if Baptism is something he needs to do. If he is truly searching for the truth, he will receive his answer and be give us a call to begin his lessons :)

I borrowed this stylin' vest from the kid in the black. He's a member and a great kid. I strutted my stuff around the branch :)

Sunday (10/26/14)
By far one of the best Sundays ever!  We went to North Richmond to pick up K for church. K is a less active member who is currently in the Hospital. Because of transportation timing we got there a little early and so we waited for her to get ready. While in the waiting room a Doctor came up to Elder N and I and asked us what church we were going to. We told him “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” He replied.... “ya know this is interesting.. I was baptized into that church 15 years ago in the UK, and I just saw my baptismal picture, and wondered if I needed to go back to church.” His name is A and he is an amazing guy! He came to Australia, got busy with life, and stopped going to church! So we got his number and we will see where that goes! But K LOVED church! She hasn't been in about 10 years, and now wants to come and change her life for good! I love this work so much!!

Challenge for everyone this week! Find someone who you think needs the gospel in their life and invite them to church this Sunday!
If you fail, try again!

Pray for opportunities to do missionary work!!

I Love you all so much. Thanks for all of your prayers and support! 

Elder Steele

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Another Great Missionary Week!

Wow, I can’t believe its already been another week! I hope all is well in the 801! I love all of you so much!

Down Beat for the Week:

Monday (10/13/14)
What a great physical p-day. After the usual writing of weekly emails to the family, a bunch of missionaries from the zone got together and played some basketball and then one touch rugby! It was all way fun…. Especially the rugby! Who knows, maybe I’ll look into playing some rugby after my mission :)

Tuesday (10/14/14)
J, the young man I mentioned last week who had recently awoke from being in a coma for a month because of a car accident is being transferred to other elders. Apparently he lives out side our area so we are referring him to some elders who are closer to where he lives! 

We taught C again with a follow up to our Word of Wisdom lesson from last week. I’m happy to say he kept his commitment and didn't drink coffee ALL WEEK!!! What a HUGE answer to prayer! Now he just needs to get his parents permission so he can be baptized!!

L has also cut back on coffee and cigs! We gave him the stop smoking program and he said in time he really does want to stop! I know that with the help of the Lord, and a little sacrifice on L’s part, he can do it :) Sometimes we have to first show our willingness to sacrifice to the Lord in order for Him to pour his blessings out upon us :)

Later in the night we followed up with M from Kenya. Our first lessons with M went really well. Unfortunately, because he has been busy moving into a new home, Elder N and I haven’t been able to teach him the necessary lessons to prepare him for baptism; so we had to move his baptismal date back to the 8th of November. It’s sad, but it is what the Lord would want us, and M to do!

Wednesday (10/15/14)
All of our appointments canceled today... I was on an exchange with Elder P. He’s one of the Elders in the Vietnamese part of the Melbourne mission. It was fun going on an exchange but I LOVE talking with people and teaching them about the gospel and we didn’t do ANY of that today! Oh well, the Lord tests and tries our faith. I sometimes feel He does try us to see how we will react to a challenging situation! As long as we rely on the Lord, and really truly understand He tries and tests us for our own benefit, it is much easier to have a positive outlook on everything life throws at you! 

After Splits with Elder P (he's the missionary on the far right with the cucumber... I have no idea why he is holding a cucumber), we all had to try out the new elevator at the Branch... nothing beats a selfie in the elevator mirror.

Thursday (10/16/14)
There was NO WAY this day could be bad! NO MATTER WHAT! Why? Because I got a special privilege today… I got to go to the Melbourne Temple with my Zone! Man, the Melbourne Temple is such a beautiful temple!! I love The House of the Lord! Everyone reading this who is able to attend the temple, I encourage you to go as much as possible! Escape the world through temple attendance… it literally feels like Heaven on Earth!!

My first temple day in Melbourne... what a beautiful place here on this earth!

After the temple, our Zone all went to Domino's and got pizza. Temple and pizza, like I said, heaven on earth! :)

Elder N and I didn’t teach many lessons today because of the temple trip... But it was soooo worth it :)

Friday (10/17/14)
We taught C again today! He was supposed to ask his parents for permission to be baptized but he couldn’t get the courage to ask them; so we taught him about fasting, and how it is a powerful tool when we truly need the Lord's help! He said that he would fast and ask his parents! Now it’s just a waiting game! Unfourtunately, this pushed his baptismal date back to the 25th of November. He will be baptized soon! I can feel it :) haha! We taught D and her friend as well! D was the Jewish girl that we’ve been teaching since I arrived in Melbourne. D is so ready to be baptized BUT... She just has a hard time coming to church and is worried about asking her boss for Sundays off! Ughhhh! Satan is soooooo annoying! Oh well, just another hurdle we need to get over :) She will be baptized soon… I just know it.

Saturday (10/18/14)
Today looked super promising for teaching lots of lessons, but apparently the Lord had other plans for Elder N and I ! Most of our CONFIRMED appointments canceled… aghhhhhh! At first it was so frustrating, but then we got a call from P who’s from Tassie (short for Tasmania) and he needed help moving to a new government house! It’s amazing how the Lord cleared a path, by canceling our appointments, so we could help someone who was really in need! After helping P, we did however get to teach a new Investigator named C. He is from Malyasia, and is really nice! At the beginning of the lesson he acted like he did not believe in God whatsoever. However, by the end of the lesson you could see how his attitude towards God was slowly changing from disbelief to belief. I love seeing those tiny little miracles!

Sunday (10/19/14)
Sundays in the mission field are definitely not the same as Sundays back home... Now that I think about it, NO day is the same in the mission field as it is back home :) Take today for example. Church used to be so laid back. I’d bless the sacrament; hang out in Sunday School and Priesthood (listening and learning of course); and then home for a little R & R; but today, before church even started, one of the visitors to the branch had a seizure… talk about scary! I’m glad the guy is OK, but like I said, you truly never know what is going to happen from one day to the next! 

Overall, mission life is great, and I am great! I’ve definitely learned when you keep a good attitude about everything, you will never feel down or depressed! ALWAYS, no matter how hard it is, look at the glass half full, not half empty! Most importantly, trust in the Lord at all times, in all things, and in all places. He truly knows what each and everyone of us are going through! He knows how to help... we just need to ask for that help through prayer!

Love you All

Elder Steele