Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thankful for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24th - Sunday, November 30th

Tuesday (11/25/14)
I brought a man named D up to the Branch in the early afternoon. He is from an island in the Caribbean. He is struggling with a really bad alcohol addiction! It was a good lesson though… I’ve come to realize that our Heavenly Father loves everyone in spite of their weaknesses.

Then we taught another guy named B! We taught him about the restoration and he LOVED it! After we were done teaching him he said, "Elder, that was magical!" Then we taught a less active member named D from Brazil. Elder N and I have been working really hard to reactivate him. He always says, "Me likey" and it reminds me of my little brother.

Wednesday (11/26/14)
Man oh man, I totally had the weirdest lessons I have EVER taught so far on my mission! We were on exchanges with Elder C so that was AWESOME! But to start off we taught D! Remember, she is the lady who showed up drunk to church… twice. It wasn’t by chance that we taught her the Word of Wisdom lesson… because obviously this is a recurring issue for her! The lesson was going really well and she was accepting the things we were sharing, but then she exclaimed... "I'm gonna throw up!!!" AHHHHHH!!! I looked at Elder C and then we both go sprinting to the kitchen to get the garbage can! Elder C grabs the garbage can (which was at least 30 yards away) just in time for D to LET LOOSE and literally EXPLODE!!! Even with the barf extravaganza, it was actually a good lesson.

Elder C and I feeling BIG after our Barf Extravaganza Lesson.

We taught C again today (remember, he’s the boy who’s mom doesn’t want him to be baptized). Man i love this kid! We taught him the Book of Mormon story about the Brother of Jared when the Lord touched the stones. As we told Chen that Jared literally saw Christ because of his strong faith, C looks at us and says, "Can I say HOLY SH**! " I looked at my companion, and we just started BUSTING up laughing! Obviously, English is not C’s first language. However, he now knows that SH** is a pretty bad word!

Thursday (11/27/14)
Our 1st Thanksgiving is in the bag! It feels really nice to cross holidays off the list :) It was a super nice day! They obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia because the pilgrims didn’t land down under :) However, we had a nice Thanksgiving dinner for lunch at the Branch! It was pot luck style, and tasted really close to home cooking :) It was the most I have ever eaten on my mission! The only thing missing was my family, football, and a nap! It was a great break, but then we got right back to work! We taught B the Plan of Salvation today! He has a baptismal date for the 20th of December... But... He is from China so we had to pass him off to the Chinese Elders! DANG!! Oh well, at least he will be able to now understand the lessons 100%. We taught “I” today, and he completed his baptismal interview so this was the day we KNEW 100% he was getting Baptized.

Thankful for Thanksgiving!

Friday (11/28/14)
Today was actually really slow. We taught L today... and he hasn’t been able to stop smoking. It’s frustrating, but he wants to stop so badly. We will just keep praying for him. We also taught a member named Sister A! She is really lonely but we were able to spread a little missionary cheer with a really nice message about accountability.

Saturday (11/29/14)
Today was I’s Baptism :) YES! I have been truly blessed on my mission to be able to participate in the sacred ordinance of Baptism. If you work hard, and are obedient the Lord will definitely bless you! It was nice seeing him make the first step of Baptism! He has been diagnosed with MS, so we are not really sure how long he has left on this earth, but now he has Eternity! 

"I's" Baptism. What a wonderful day! 

Something amazing happened today. About 2 weeks ago I got cussed out pretty hard by a homeless man on the street! I went back and told him I did not appreciate that kind of language because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. He listened to my message and then he walked away. Today, I was walking on the street in the afternoon and I saw him again! I had this feeling of someone pushing me towards him so I went and talked with him again! His name is P. He is 51, homeless, and an alcoholic. He wants to change his life, and now he has found exactly how to do it! I brought him up to the church and showed him a really powerful Mormon Message about someone who had the exact same problem! Anyway, he now knows exactly what to do, and he really wants to change his life! Moral of the story… EVERYBODY, follow the promptings of the Spirit! The Lord is preparing so many people for members to find! We ALL need to go find them!!

To celebrate the Baptism we went out to eat. I got the Bay City Bomber!
It was so BIG it took me two days to finish. It cost $18 but it was worth it!

Sunday (11/30/14)
Not many of our investigators showed up for church today! It was really a bummer, but it’s impossible to expect thousands of investigators every week :) I went to choir practice for the Stake Choir Christmas Festival! I am in the missionary choir and it is great! It makes me really feel the Christmas Spirit even though I am not home with all of you!

Well that is my week:) I love you all sooo much! Thanks for all your prayers!  

Unexpected Surprises!

Monday, November 17th – Sunday, November 23rd

Its definitely been a crazy week of unexpected surprises here in Melbourne; but I guess that’s what a mission is all about… the unexpected!

Monday (11/17/14) 
After our P-day was over we taught a lesson to a guy from Indonesia. It was a really powerful lesson, but not in the way you might expect. While the spirit was trying to convert him, he was trying to convert Elder N and I... you can probably imagine what happened next. This guy gets in our face and tells us that we’re going to hell because of our beliefs. Well, I didn’t see that one coming… apparently neither did Elder N, because not knowing what to say, he turns to the guy and says the same thing back to him!! I guess this means we won’t be having a follow-up lesson :) . Oh well, it was sad the way it ended, but this dude really wasn’t willing to accept the truth.

Tuesday (11/18/14) 
I attended my 1st Transfer meeting today for Missionaries going home. It was actually kind of sad… for me :) . There were 24 missionaries going home this month, and all of them got to bear their testimonies at the end of the meeting. They were all strong testimonies, and it gave me a comforting feeling to hear each of them express how great of an experience their mission was; yet at the same time express how their mission was the hardest thing they had ever done. A mission really is a pretty tough experience for everyone! But at the same time it’s a great experience!

Wednesday (11/19/14) 
Well, I didn’t get transferred, but I did get another companion. Today marks my 1st official day as a Missionary Trainer! I am the youngest trainer in the whole mission! haha (scary and humbling). Seriously, it is actually really humbling that President Maxwell has put that much trust in me, with a new missionary, as I have just recently finished my own training! Anyways, Elder N and myself had to be at the mission home at 12:45 pm to meet the Goldens for lunch (a Golden is a brand new missionary from the MTC). Well they didn’t get there till around 1:45 so we got to just sit and talk with all the other trainers… that was fun. Our new Golden’s name is Elder O. He is from around the Denver area and he seems to be a really nice guy! Our meeting with the Golden’s and orientation took up the whole day so unfortunately we didn’t do any work in the vineyard today. 

1st time driving in Australia! Different side of the road, 
and different side of the car! It was great! We borrowed a car so we could
go pick up our new "Golden."

Thursday (11/20/14) 
We taught L to start off the day today! This was Elder O’s 1st lesson as a missionary! Apparently L thought it was SUPER hot outside so he wore like these super short shorts and a “wife beater” tank top! I LOVE THIS MAN! He is so funny and so laid back… He is still trying to stop smoking, but he did tell us that he is done with all his coffee! YES! Then, later in the evening we taught a guy named F. He is really nice but has a lot to talk about. I think it is because he feels the Spirit and is really comfortable with us; which is super cool for missionary discussions!

Now we are a trio! Meet the new Golden, Elder O! (he's the one in the middle).

Friday (11/21/14) 
It was a little bit slower of a day today in the city... sometimes this kind of day just happen. We did teach a man named “I”. We actually taught him a JUMBO lesson because he is getting BAPTIZED on the 29th of November! He is so solid. He told us his goal is to be a Mormon by the end of the year! His girlfriend is a less active member and he loves how as members of the church we live our lives! So even though the day was kind of slow, it was a GREAT day to be a missionary! What’s even more amazing is that our investigator “I” already has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Joseph Smith!... Pinch me I’m dreaming!

Saturday (11/22/14) 
We played a little joke on Elder O today! :) When we found out that we were going to be training a new missionary, we told J (he has been a member for about 8 years and is a pretty funny guy!) to come and have a lesson with us, and pretend to be an investigator. We had J ask some super hard questions about the church that left Elder O kind of stunned!... In the end the joke was sort of on Elder N and myself because Elder O did a pretty good job of answering most of the question VERY well! It was great to see that “Golden Spirit” jump out and accept the challenging questions! We all had a pretty good laugh! Then we taught J again. This time we had a member from Mexico join us for the lesson. We watched the Restoration video together! I have found that if investigators can gain a testimony of Joseph Smith then they know this is the only true Church! K, the member from Mexico, was a life saver as she bore SOLID testimony, in Spanish, to J!

Keeping the brotherhood strong!

Sunday (11/23/14) 
Whoever said Sunday’s were relaxing must have gone to church on Saturday J. Elder N, O and I (I mean me… sorry, for the alphabet soup but we been asked to be sensitive of people’s identities for privacy reasons) started our day by teaching a lesson to a man from Nepal named B! He seemed pretty solid but he wouldn’t give us another time when could meet.. Kinda interesting... Anyways YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE WHO CAME BACK TO CHURCH!!! hmmmm lets try to think back in the past!! If I say the name D, does that ring a bell??? Yup... Ding, Ding… you got it right! It was the Drunk lady that fell asleep/passed out during sacrament meeting! She was still a little tipsy today, but thankfully not enough to have her pass out! HAHA :) The real miracle is that even though D had passed out stone cold the first time she attended our branch, she remembered where she came that day, and was drawn to the Spirit of our Sunday services!

As if our Sunday wasn't exciting enough, check out the giant spider in our apartment.

On an exciting note, Sister Maxwell (the Mission President’s wife) called me on Monday and asked if I would be in a choir that is singing at our Stake Christmas musical event on the 14th of December. Of course I said YES! We had our first practice tonight. It’s going to be a lot of fun and bring some extra Holiday cheer to the Christmas Season.

Things are really going great! There are hurdles everywhere you go on the mission.. But the Lord is just testing us to see exactly how we are going to jump over them:)

A Miraculous Baptism

Monday, November 10th – Sunday, November 16th

Monday (11/10/14) 
We went fishing for P-day. Then in the night time we taught D from Indonesia. He is an arguer and only believes in the Bible. However, WE taught the restoration in a VERY VERY VERY bold manner. The Spirit was the strongest I have EVER felt in my entire life! During the hour lesson there was probably 20 minutes of silence just because we were all feeling the Spirit, and he was communicating to all of us! We told D if he were to pray with real intent, then he would KNOW this is the only true church here on this earth today! MAN THIS CHURCH IS TRUE!!!

Just a super great P-day fishing on the Yarra River!
I caught a fish mate... Oh wait... Just a dirt clump... haha!

Tuesday (11/11/14) 
We taught C a super good lesson about Temples, and the qualifications we must meet to be worthy to go in! He expressed to us he still wants to be baptized BUT his mom HATES the idea of it! So, it looks like we are going to have to wait until January when he turns 18! Then we taught a guy that is struggling to recognize the promptings of the Spirit...He decided to stop the lessons… Give him time, and I’m sure another set of missionaries will find him. L didn’t stop smoking after all. He called and told us he only did it for 11 hours. Oh well, 11 hours is definitely better than 11 minutes J ha ha. He is such a great guy, and keeps giving it his best. We just keep praying he will triumph over the smokes. Then we taught a guy named J and his friend J. The lesson went great and we will just have to wait and see what happens.

Me and L! He loves to play ping pong after the lessons! He is actually pretty good!

Wednesday (11/12/14) 
Today the whole day was Zone Conference! It was my very first one and I LOVED it! It was super great. Basically the APs gave some training; and then President and Sister Maxwell gave some training; and then some other missionaries gave some training…. I know, a lot of training! But something President Maxwell said stuck with me, "When trials come... Big or Small... Force a Smile! Look at it as a strengthening period from God." I have learned to ALWAYS keep a positive attitude about things! Everything happens for a reason!

Thursday (11/13/14) 
This was my 3 Month mark! WOW! 1/8th of my mission gone. It’s been GREAT! We taught C again today (he’s the one who has to wait until he turns 18 to be baptized). He is always way fun to teach because he is still trying to learn English! :) WE are always able to have great lessons with him! He is really progressing in his testimony of the gospel. Then we taught a lady named J. She is Aussie, and is a mortgage laywer... HOLY COW, probably the most awkward lesson ever. We would ask questions and she wouldn’t respond.. HUH? I am not quite sure how to explain it, but it was just one of those super awkward moments. We gave her a Book of Mormon, she didn’t say anything J, so I guess we will see what happens!

Today on my 3 month mark, I found a pair of sweet Oakley sunglasses on my morning run. It was a pretty grand day :)

Friday (11/14/14)
I am really getting sick of people canceling! It is like the story of my life here in the city! I think it is God’s way of letting us know He is in charge and knows exactly what He is doing! Even if we are not crazy about the direction the day is taking. We did teach a guy from Korea named M. That was a really good lesson! He had been in contact with some missionaries while living in Tasmania, and he is now in Melbourne for a couple months :) Hopefully he will choose to be  baptized!

Saturday (11/15/14) 
It was a GREAT DAY!!! We got another baptism! M, the Minister form Kenya, was baptized! After he was baptized he told me this is the true church! He said he wished he would have known about this church when he preached to over 1,500 people in Denmark!!! HOLY COW, Elder N and I literally just baptized a Preacher! How cool is that! Then tonight was TRANSFER NEWS..... Elder N and I will be staying in the City for another transfer! Man, I am sooo happy to be staying here in the city! I love the variety of people I get to meet and talk to everyday. It is a great place to be a missionary.

M's Baptism. What a wonderful day!

So after getting the call telling us we were not getting transferred, to our surprise, the phone rings again, and it was President Maxwell telling us… WE WILL BE TRAINING A GOLDEN (a golden is a new missionary straight from the MTC) IN THE CITY!!!! Man, now I am soooo stoked! We are going to be in a trio companionship and both Elder N and I will be training him! What an honor to have just finished my own training, and then be blessed with the opportunity to be a trainer :) I am really excited for this transfer!

Sunday (11/16/14) 
Sundays can be a really super stressful day for missionaries! I am always worrying if my investigators are going to make it to church; and then I am super bummed if they don’t come! Oh well, I’m definitely learning to live with the Sunday stress! And then there are those Sundays when you meet a crazy person at church, who proclaims he is going to come and see you again, so he can give you a Sony Walkman, so you can listen to the inspirational Christian radio channel while you’re GQing… What’s a Walkman?... What’s a cassette?.. hahah.  Yep, it was a good day with some good laughs with that MATE! :)