Thursday, August 13, 2015

I Love the English Language!

Monday (1.26.15):
Check out my latest work of art...
Found this great wall of graffiti while exploring the city on P-day.

Tuesday: (1.27.15)
I went on an exchange with Elder M the Zone Leader! We had a really great time and it was really nice once again to have nice English conversations:) I never thought I would love the English language so much:)  But when you aren’t able to speak it to it’s full capacity you really do miss it! I really need to apologize to all the English teachers I had in school…..sorry I moaned about English, I have learned my lesson!

However, I am so grateful for the time I have with Elder L (my “golden” companion from Moldova). He is a convert himself of only two years and it is wonderful for our investigators and new converts to see his example. Like I told you last week, the Viet Program is leaving our International Branch so we are inheriting a couple of recent converts that Elder M (the zone leader I went on exchanges with) has been teaching! I loved meeting with all of them. One of them, I, is from India and he is really awesome! He is struggling a little bit but I am excited to help him get involved with the Gospel again. Next, we taught a guy from Turkey! His name is M and he has a very special spirit about him! The lesson was the restoration and the Spirit was very strong during the lesson! It is very powerful when we testify about God’s love for us through a modern day prophet! People who have never heard that Heavenly Father speaks today are amazed by it. It is so exciting and rewarding to be able to share this knowledge.

Wednesday: (1.28.15)
We started out the day by teaching our investigator, C. She is doing really great but she is just not sure about baptism. Unfortunately, she isn’t feeling like she is ready!  So we are taking time to really work on building her faith with the Book of Mormon and I KNOW that God will speak to her through it and she will be Baptized sometime next transfer:) Next we we taught the two Iranian investigators, M and R! They are doing SO awesome! A few days ago we committed them to follow the Word of Wisdom and when we checked with them about their progress with it last night we found out they are still going strong! IT IS AWESOME:) I love teaching about commandments! That is where you are truly able to judge how much faith an investigator has! :) We taught C (the young Korean man we baptized earlier this month) more about the Book of Mormon and he told me his goal is to read it TWICE within the year that he is baptized:)

We also experienced a FINDING MIRACLE today!!! I was at the State library GQing (street contacting) and I saw this lady a little ways in the distance and she really stood out to me but I was busy chatting with other people so I ignored the feeling for a little while. But then the Spirit finally got my attention and I knew I needed to contact her. Even though it seemed a little awkward when I was approaching her I just decided to follow the promptings of the Spirit. I thought  to myself, "Hey every missionary’s middle name is AWKWARD so why not" Well It was so great to chat with her. It turned out that she is from Finland and has been seriously investigating the church there for about a YEAR!!! She knew where the church and she told me was she was just waiting for missionaries to approach her!! My jaw seriously DROPPED when she told me that! One of the few times so far on my mission that I have been speechless….ha ha! Her name is T and I am SO excited to meet with her at the branch later this week!

Thursday (1.29.15):
Elder L and I decided that for the final week of the transfer we are just going to GO HARD!! So our goal for total lessons is 25! With 19 of those being Investigator lessons! It is definitely going to be a stretch! But it is going to be such an amazing experience whether we hit the goal or not! I know the Lord will bless us tremendously as we work hard and are diligent. Later in the day we taught I (our new convert that is struggling with health challenges) I had the feeling that it might be nice to teach him outside the branch in the sunshine but  I didn’t really know why until after the lesson. It turns out a man from Punjab, India was watching us the WHOLE Time.. I was not aware until after the lesson and he came up and talked to me. He told me he was surprised that I was showing so much love in my character as we talked to I, our new convert. The Indian man told he has never seen a person radiate so much light in his whole life and he asked me what it was!  I humbly  replied that I was a representative of Jesus Christ and I diligently try to follow His commandments every day  and because of that I was blessed with the light of Christ. We set up a meeting with him later this week and I am excited to teach him about our Savior.

Friday (1.30.15):

The Melbourne Temple.

I love that wonderful primary song and I love the temple! It is amazing to experience the blessings of the temple as a missionary! I will always treasure my time in the temple. The wonderful, peaceful feelings that come from attending the temple can get you through hard times you have in the week. The strength you receive in the temple is real and tangible.

After we finished at the temple we went and got Pizza. Then Elder L and I just hit the city hard core trying to find people! The Lord has blessed us HEAPS this week and we even though we didn’t find any people today it is alright We are doing what the Lord want us to do and He knows what He is doing!

Elder L, myself, and two of the Vietnamese Elders from our Branch.

Saturday (1.31.15):
English is a really hard language to learn and that is teaching both Elder L and I the virtue of patience. He has language study every morning and sometimes it is super frustrating for him with all the crazy rules of the English language that don’t always make sense. I don’t really have a good explanation for the I before e except after c stuff that we learn in elementary school. I will just keep on trying to help him make sense of it. Times like these I wish I had paid better attention in English class……ha ha!

Once we got to the city we taught some good lessons today! C(our young Korean convert) expressed the desire to serve a mission in the future!!! This was REALLY cool to hear! My companion, Elder L (from Moldova) is a convert of only two years himself so he is a great example to our investigators and new converts. Next we taught M! He is living the word of wisdom and everything he just has SOO MANY Q's that it is hard to get the spirit in if you know what I mean. ha Then we had Saturday stake conference! Which was my very first Saturday session every! haha it was really good actually:) 

Sunday (2.1.15):
It was stake conference today and It was a good meeting! P came with us and it was really nice for him to hear from our stake leaders.  i am know he enjoys learning the gospel and we are doing our best to teach him and build a really strong foundation of testimony and friendship. To end the day we taught a recent convert who is Vietnamese. His name is C and he is actually someone I found and referred back to the Vietnamese Elders so he could be taught in his native language. It was really exciting because he was baptized a couple of weeks later! I would love to get a referral someday so I am happy I could help the Vietnamese Elders!

Missionary, Trainer, and English Teacher... Didn't see that last one coming

Tuesday: (1.20.15):
Today I gave a training in District Meeting. My topic was "Why Do We Preach the Gospel?” I decided to use an acronym for PREACH. We need to Prepare, Educate, Awaken, Cleanse, and then we can get to Heaven!  Everyone in my district really seemed to like it, so I was feeling pretty good about the day but then out of the blue... ALL our appointments canceled!  A missionary’s nightmare! BUT, C (our barely 18 year old Korean investigator with the mom that doesn’t want him to be baptized) was interviewed for baptism and he PASSED!!!! So I figured that was the price of all our teaching appointments going up in smoke…….a set in stone Baptism!!!! I love to teach the gospel but I would rather have a confirmed baptism ANY day!

Wednesday: (1.21.15)
We had Golden Review ALL day. My companion Elder L, from Moldova,  is a brand new missionary (we call new missionaries “goldens” instead of “greenies” in the Australia Melbourne mission) and so after a few weeks in the mission all the “goldens” and their companions meet at the mission home to see how things are going. I have been lucky enough to attend 3 out of the 4 golden reviews that have been held since I arrived in Australia the end of August.  I went to my own golden review in September, then Elder N (my trainer) and I went to golden review with the first golden I trained, Elder O and then today I went to Golden Review with the second golden I have had the privilege of training, Elder L. One great thing is that I got to drive all the way to the mission office and back and that was super awesome!!! Don’t worry…..I am getting better at driving on the “wrong” side of the road!!! I LOVE visiting the mission office because I get to be with President and Sister Maxwell. It is so wonderful to be with them! With all the travel time though it took up our whole Wednesday.

Thursday: (1.22.15)
This was a finding day today.. WE had HEAPS of success thanks to the Lord. We did weekly planning and that always takes a long time but as we were working through it I had this strong feeling to go through our area book. That was truly an inspiration from the Spirit because we were able to set up appointments with some former investigators that seem actually pretty keen! So that made me super happy!!

However, as usual we had our share of the people who say "Ya i am coming to meet with the Elders and then they never show up!!! Aghhhhh that is the most annoying thing about missionary work! I know the Lord is teaching me patience though and I am determined to learn it as fast as I can…..ha ha!!!! On a good note, we did teach M, (he is the minister we baptized from Kenya) and another African man named G. They are both awesome!  G has been a  member for about a year. He recently returned from Africa. Soon after he was baptized, he went back to Africa to do missionary work in his home town! I LOVE how bright the fire of testimony burns in new converts! It was awesome to see M and G really build each other up with their excitement and love of the Book of Mormon! 

GQing while GQing.

Friday: (1.23.15)
Days tend to start off a little slower with a companion that is learning to speak English. We do Golden study for an hour and then Language study for another hour and by that time it is 12:00 PM and I have heaps of cabin fever and I just want to get out and start doing MISSIONARY WORK! But usually by then Elder L is really hungry so we have to eat lunch. It is all good but it means we don’t get to the city until around 1:30 pm. But then we just HIT IT HARD!!

Taking advantage of a "Golden" opportunity.
Elder L stepped out onto the balcony of our apartment for some fresh air during our language study time, and I "accidentally" locked the door on him.

Something really cool happened today, Elder L found a Chinese member who was looking for the location of the Church. As we talked to him, we  found out he had a friend from Moldova. He went and got his friend and brought her to the church!  It was cool to see Elder L be able to finally teach a solid lesson in his native language.  He really knows his stuff he is just struggling with English. Unfortunately, the lady from Moldova is leaving Melbourne soon to go to work for a couple months so that was really sad. But the important thing is…….we planted a seed!

Next, we had Zone Interviews with President Maxwell:) So I got to see him two times in 72 hours! IT WAS AWESOME!! He is happy with my work in the city and what I have been able to accomplish while training a language missionary. It is not easy but Tag NEVER gives up and with the help of the Lord we are able to perform miracles! :) President Maxwell talked with me a while longer and I felt so honored to learn from him. He is the best mission president in the world!

 Then to end off the night We taught C again. She is really great but she is having a really hard time getting off work to go to church. Elder L and I just keep praying for her, I know Lord will provide a way!

Saturday: (1.24.15)
C GOT BAPTIZED!!!!! AHHHH man this was probably one of the BEST days on my mission so far! We have been working with him for SOOO long! And he has been able to be such a strong member of the church so far even when he wasn’t yet a member! He has a real desire to serve and keep learning more as well! So that is just awesome!

C's Baptism. Left to Right Elder L (my companion), C, and Me.

After the baptism, we went GQing which I really love but GQing with an Elder learning English can be challenging. Elder L is still struggling with the language so we have to GQ together. I really want to achieve the goals we set for ourselves during planning so we will just keep working together and having faith. I know Heavenly Father will bless us to be effective missionaries and find the people who are ready to hear the sacred message about His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is called a Bubble Cup (kind of like a fruity herbal tea smoothie, only  with those popping boba in it)... they are alright. A very thoughtful member bought them for us as we were out GQing on this warm January day...
you know, it is summer down under!

To end the night we went to G and K’s  (the Russian family we found on the train) for some Russian Pancakes! They were delicious and I loved being in their home. We also taught them a little about Baptism and that was awesome! Sometimes it feels like a slow process with them but I know it is important to build a good and solid relationship with them!

Sunday: (1.25.15)
Today was a bittersweet day... It was sweet because “C” was confirmed a member of the church and became a Priest. However, the bitter part was an announcement  that the Vietnamese program would be moving out of the International Branch in the city. They will be attending church in another  building in Footscry.. It is really sad because it was super fun to be with all the Elders during Sunday meetings.  But we will still see them at the Branch during the week so it will be okay!  The Vietnamese members are amazing and the leadership in the Branch wants to do the best thing for them!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February 3, 2015

Tuesday (2.3.15)
We had a great lesson with "P" to start the day off. We are so glad that he is keen (Aussie for "really likes") to meet with the missionaries,  however we would love for him to progress a little faster so we can teach him even more! After our appointment with "P", we taught "I and C" together.  They are really close friends and it was awesome to see them learning about the Savior together. "C" has some issues she is working through but we talked about Temples and set a goal for her to make some changes and go to the Temple with "I" when he is ready. Then two of the investigators that the sisters have been teaching came by the branch and asked if we could teach them. Elder Lungu and I aren't missionary poachers but I will never say no to someone who asks for a lesson! ha ha!  To finish off the night we taught Tina. She is the girl that I GQed a little while ago who has been an investigator for 1 year in Finland! Man she is sooo KEEN! She knows pretty much EVERYTHING! She is just waiting for the right time to be baptized! Which is understandable but I just really want her to commit so she can enjoy all the blessings of being a member of Christ's church. 

Wednesday (2.4.15)
I went on another Exchange with Elder Ngyuen! It was really good! Because he teaches in Vietnamese I didn't understand anything he said during the lessons:) haha but I guess i am not too bad at smiling and nodding my head:) It is  hard to leave my area because there is so much to do in the city but it is important for missionaries to visit other areas too. I just wish I had more time in the day to do exchanges and work in my area too! I don't get worried about it though because I know the Lord knows everything and He is happy when we work hard.

Thursday (2.5.15)
Every Thursday we have Weekly Planning. It takes a little more time now that I am training a Golden who doesn't speak English.  Unfortunately, today we didn't get out of the flat until 2:00 pm! AGHHHH I go so crazy while we are planning and Elder L does his English and new missionary training.  I just want to go out and FIND people! But i know that if we are diligent with Planning and all other study sessions that the Lord will bless us! We did teach C today! Man he is great! He is actually talking about serving a mission quite often:) I mean it is way to early right now because he can't serve a mission until he has been a member for a year but it is just exciting that he wants to work toward that goal! Then we talked about exercising his Priesthood by Passing the sacrament. He told us he wants to do it and he is committed to pass on Sunday! Later that afternoon, we taught "P" again! It was an amazing experience. It was probably the most spiritually in tune I have ever been during a lesson. I was blessed to be able to tell what he was thinking and the things I was inspired by the Spirit to say were able to answer all of his questions and as a result he accepted a Baptismal date for the 21st of February. I am hoping that date will stay solid!  To end the night we went over to a member's house who is having some struggles. Her name is "A" and she is super nice! She called us and asked if she could have a blessing and then a little lesson! When I got the call I was like, "Yes! We would LOVE to give you a blessing!!! We went over and gave her a blessing and then taught her about the importance of Church. She said she was going to Sacrament meeting this week because she KNEW she needed to go back to church.  

Friday (2.6.15)
We had a setback with "P" and his baptismal date today. As soon as I saw him I knew that something was off. He came in and told us that he was just caught up in the moment and that he would not be able to follow some of the "Harder" commandments. This made us sad but we are going to keep working with him and hopefully be able to help him.  Then we taught another young man also named "P" and "J" They are both awesome. But they are the ones who are the sister missionary investigators though.. Soooo I still do not know what is going to happen. We might just have to tell them that we cant teach them because I don't want there to be any problems or upset feelings.  But both P and J  are super Keen and whoever gets to teach them is  sooo LUCKY! Then we taught "C" Man, she is sooo close to accepting a date for baptism! She still has a few concerns that we need to work through but then it will be smooth sailing from there! She really just needs to come to church more. It is getting nice and HOT here in Melbourne. Unfortunately, our flat doesn't  have any AC either. But we will be fine!

Saturday (2.7.15)
I think today was probably one of the hardest days of my mission so far. It just seemed like today that NO ONE wanted to talk to us and unfortunately that means no new people to teach.The companion I am training, Elder L, is struggling to make new contacts and now he has developed a habit of standing behind me...and saying only the occasional "Hello". I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to learn a new language on a mission where you HAVE to speak it all the time. I love him and I will continue to help him in every way I can. It was just a really challenging day because we set a really high Goal for the last week of the transfer and we didn't hit it! So i was just disappointed because I LOVE hitting goals! oh well! The Lord will bless us as we continue to to be obedient and serve him with all our heart, mind and might! 

Also the big news came about transfers tonight...... Drum roll please.... Yup you guessed it right I will be staying here yet another transfer! hahaha It is crazy! I will still be training Elder L and if you do the math, now i will be up to about seven months in my first area by the end of this transfer! It seems long but the Lord knows what he is doing though. So I put my full trust in him!

Sunday: (2.8.15)
It was just an awesome day:) This was my 6th Fast Sunday! Wow! I can't believe I am 1/4th done with my mission!! It seems crazy how fast time has passed.  Also "C" passed the Sacrament for the first time since he has been baptized!! I could not stop smiling:) It was such an awesome feeling to see that! To make it even better, I  got to bless the Sacrament too so I got to give it to him to pass. Yeah, you could say it was an amazing experience. As hard as yesterday was, today more than made up for it!

This week had its ups and downs for sure! It is very difficult to be a missionary that is learning English! I know Elder L is trying his hardest. I am trying to do everything I can to help him and keep our district running smooth and that can get hard too. However, I know the Lord has commanded me to do this and He knows I can do it! So I am going to do it with my head up and I will always look towards the positive! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Another Week Down Under Mates!

Monday (1.12.15)
Today was a kicked back P-day as we hit St. Kilda Beach. It is Melbourne's most famous beach, located 6 kilometers (which is approximately 3.7 miles) from Melbourne.

Kickin' it like an Aussie! In Australian slang, 
everything good ends with "As".... Funny As, Keen As, Great As!

Tuesday (1.13.15)
Today I hit the 5 month mark on my mission! It is pretty crazy to think I have already been serving for 5 months! I miss my family but my mission has been an awesome experience so far!

It's been 5 amazing months in the land down under!

Today we taught “I” (the Australian guy we baptized in November) about Priesthood responsibilities. He is a great guy and I feel so sad for him because he can’t pass the sacrament due to some health problems that cause mobility issues. Later “L” came into the branch to see us. I love seeing him but it is really becoming sad to teach him. He wants to stop smoking so badly so he can become a member of the church, but overcoming his 20 year smoking addiction is really hard for him.  We also taught C (the 17 year old Korean boy) more about Joseph Smith and how much hate and persecution our prophet truly went through.

Wednesday (1.14.15)
I went on Exchanges with Elder N.(A Vietnamese elder from my district) He is such a funny missionary and time FLEW by when I was with him! It was really nice to have a real conversation with someone that actually understood English. We also did some tracting door to door. Tracting is a new experience from me because in my area we only GQ (street contacting at the library or train station) but I don’t mind it. We did teach some lessons... however they were all in Vietnamese so I had NO idea what was going on. It gave me a little taste of what Elder L (my companion from Moldova) is going through!

Elder N and his signature peace sign... You've gotta love it!

NOTHING stops me when I'm tracting....

....not even Satan's favorite sticker!

Thursday (1.15.15)
We taught a girl named A about the restoration.  She listened intently and seemed to have some pretty serious questions. Hopefully that is a good thing. After teaching her I found myself praying that she would turn and ask Heavenly Father those hard questions so she could feel the comforting power of the Holy Ghost in her life.

Then we taught N (the girl from Perth we baptized a few weeks ago). She is doing awesome and she really loves coming to church. We taught her more about Joseph Smith as well. We are helping N build her testimony of the Book of Mormon. L also came by again and told us he was going to stop smoking, however it did not last long. I am so impressed that he keeps trying so hard and I really think some day he will find the strength to quit!

Then it was time for C’s baptismal interview. Unfortunately, he didn’t pass the interview. As I talked with him after the interview I found out Satan had been working on C SUPER hard this week. (As he does with everyone investigating the church). C told me he had not done well on a test in school that he had been working really hard on, AND he was saturated him with lots more anti-Mormon literature about Joseph Smith. I think it will all turn out fine and he is planning on getting baptized this week on the 24th! But it was a really scary and heart wrenching experience. We are praying fervently and humbly for him to have strength to resist the negative things he hears about the church.

Friday (1.16.15)
It was Elder Pearson’s (a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, and President of the Pacific Area of the Church) mission tour of the Australia Melbourne Mission! It was such an amazing time learning from him. Sometimes his words were very direct. I am not perfect but I am so glad I have made the decision to be strictly obedient on my mission. I am sure some of the missionaries that struggle with obedience came out of that meeting feeling like CRAP! Some of the things he taught at the conference really stuck with me:

When you loose yourself for HIS sake…you gain yourself for YOUR sake

When people change the Plan you have made... DO NOT change the goal.

Love HAS to be the motive in missionary work.

Do not be discouraged in yourself when someone uses their agency in the wrong way… be disappointed that they are missing the bigger picture.

Constant yearning is an attribute of a TRUE disciple of Jesus Christ. "I need thee every hour."

The meetings with Elder Pearson took most of the day. However we had just enough time to meet with J. (She is the member who wants to become more active). We taught her another great lesson about the millennium and Second Coming of Christ. I would encourage EVERYONE to study and become familiar with these principles that are so special to the Mormon faith.

After my 30 minute daily morning workout, I'm starting to look like an 
Aussie surfer dude. Good thing I wear a suit and tie at my day job :)

Saturday (1.17.15)
It was sad not being able to have C’s baptism but it was promising that we know it will happen in a short time! J, one of the members of the branch, actually brought in a friend named A and we had a really good lesson about Christ and the Great Apostasy. Then we taught a lady from Thailand named Y. She was super nice but she had no understanding of Jesus Christ whatsoever. There was a very special spirit in the room as I bore testimony that I KNEW our Savior lived and atoned for ALL of our muck ups.

We taught M again. He is awesome and has HEAPs of questions. The only problem is, he doesn't believe in God…. yet! Once he has that belief it will be an amazing journey for him and us as we teach him and introduce him to the Book of Mormon! 

Then to end the day we went to visit the Russian family we met on the train last week. The lesson and the meeting were great! They are really starting to open up to Elder L and I, and we are making some good progress! We talked about how important families are in the Church. We told them how families can be together for eternity and how that is very unique to our faith as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Sunday (1.18.15)
It was a normal, wonderful Sunday! For C’s 18th birthday I bought him a shirt and a tie and he showed up to church in it! It was great to see that even though he couldn’t actually get baptized on his birthday, he is still working hard to build his testimony! God truly does know everything!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Love Mondays!

Monday (1.5.2015):
So for P-day, after my weekly email to President Maxwell and home, Elder L and I went to take our monthly money out of the ATM... Well, to our surprise Elder L’s bank card had somehow gotten locked out of the banking system! Luckily I had plenty of money to cover both of us for the week :) hahaha When we went shopping it was a TOTAL culture shock for poor Elder L... it made me wonder what I must have looked like on my 1st shopping trip as a missionary :)… it just made me laugh. After shopping, we went home and I built the Lego you guys sent me for Christmas. It was nice having a Christmas tradition to do even though I was far away from home:)

You've gotta love Christmas traditions... 
even when you're halfway around the world.

Tuesday (1.6.2015):
It was a super solid day! But I’m not going to lie... training a missionary who is having to learn a language can be super boring sometimes.... a lot of the time he doesn’t know what to say, and when I try to say something he doesn’t understand me…but it’s all good:) I am just looking on the bright side and making the best of it:) As for the day we actually taught a lot of lessons. We taught a guy named E from Italy who speaks very limited English. It is really hard to teach people like that, but it is nice to break the Gospel down in to such simple terminology!

Having a little fun while Elder L is studying his English.

Then we taught a Filipino named A. He is very intelligent and he seemed to really like the idea of the restoration! Then we taught K. He is from Japan! We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ because he didn’t know who Jesus was. He was amazed to learn all his past sins and guilt can be forgiven through the atonement. We set a baptismal date with him for the 7th of February… But we will know more as we meet with him.

To end the day we taught a Indonesian Christian named M. We went straight to the Restoration because that is what sets us apart from ANY other Church on this earth. I love when people naturally understand we need the Priesthood here on this earth to help us return to our Father in Heaven! It’s exciting to teach so many 1st lessons and I will look forward to seeing how each of them progress in their search for the truth.

Wednesday (1.7.2015):
We had a Miracle happen today! First off we missed our regular train into the city so we had to take a different train. We found out that train wasn’t going where we needed to be  so we had to switch trains once again! So after switching two times to two different trains, on the last train I heard a little girl speaking in what sounded like RUSSIAN! Low and behold there was a small Russian Family sitting right behind me! All of a sudden I saw Elder L become the happiest person I have EVER seen. Suddenly he starts speaking fluent Russian to them! While on the wrong train, we miraculously found a Russian family who lives in the city, that only by the Guidance of God we were blessed to be on! I KNOW THAT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER LIVES!

The rest of the day was great. We taught C another SOLID lesson on Joseph Smith! He is 100% for Baptism this Saturday:) I am so excited! L told us he was going to stop smoking again... but later he called us and said he only lasted 5 hours. It is really sad, but I can only imagine how hard it must be for L to give up his smoking addiction.

Thursday (1.8.2015):
We had Zone meeting today. I really enjoy these meetings because we get to come together as missionaries to visit and build each other up through trainings! I always get super pumped by Zone Meetings and I just want to do some work afterwards so we went out and GQed (Golden Questioning is street contacting in downtown Melbourne). GQing has been a little stressful for me lately because Elder L still has a hard time talking to people and expressing himself. So the new people we find to teach predominately comes from my GQ's; which is totally fine! The Lord blessed us HEAPS today and we got 7 new contacts!... which made it a great day! Also, the Russian family we met on the train, came to English class and then they invited us to their house for dinner. They wanted to get to know us better… THEY ARE AWESOME!!! They are the sweetest people I have ever met. The dads name is G, the mom is K and their 4 year old daughter is S. It was so nice to be with a family.

Friday (1.9.2015):
The Lord is really blessing our area! I think it is because Elder L is a Golden (new missionary from the MTC) and he is spreading some Golden Magic around Melbourne:) haha. We met with C, the lady from Columbia and taught her about the Church and the Word of Wisdom! She said she wants to be baptized and has set her date for the 24th of this month! The lesson went great and I hope she continues to feel the spirit as we rapidly teach her the gospel.

Then we taught a girl named A! She is awesome. I actually GQed her about 3 months ago and then she randomly texted us and said she wanted to meet. I think she has some real potential and I’m excited to teach her more about the gospel. Then a Miracle happened... I ran into D (the Cambodian man we baptized after my first two weeks in Melbourne) at the state library! He is back from the Holidays and I am so excited!

Saturday (1.10.2015):
Me and Elder L finally started understanding each other. At times the simplest of conversations have been challenging, but this experience is really blessing me with patience. We met with a guy named M from China who is an Australian citizen. He has lots of questions so it was really hard to get a flow in the lesson. But he is diligent about prayer and I feel he has real intent in wanting to learn about the gospel… so that is all that matters!

 Good times with Elder L outside our flat.

To finish off the night we went to the "Russian family’s" home again. They fed us dinner and K, the wife, said we are a part of the family now, and they love having us over! :) They seem semi interested in the gospel, but for now we are just enjoying spending time with the family and getting to know them better.

Sunday (1.11.2015):
It was just a normal Sunday! It’s always nice to go to church and feel the spirit of the members. Tonight I made a wonderful bowl of pasta for dinner.  As I was carrying it over to my desk the bowl exploded and I lost all of it. The pasta landed all over the floor and on my shoe... Oh well, that's the life of a missionary.

It looked so good I wished I could eat it off my shoe!

This week was SOLID. We actually got 21 total lessons! This tops my busiest week of 20 lessons during my first month here! I have found the harder I work the faster the time goes :) So all is good!

I love you all so much! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A New Year and A New Golden!

Family and Friends, Happy 2015!

I have a feeling this year is going to fly by just like last year did:) This week has been great but pretty crazy with Transfers and my New Golden.

Tuesday (12.30.14):
It was Transfer meeting today and that basically takes up the WHOLE day... My very first companion and trainer, Elder N, got transferred to a place called Deer Park and he is now companions with Elder W, who was in the MTC with me! And then Elder O, the golden we both trained, was transferred to Mornington which is down near the tip of Melbourne! I was temporarily assigned to another Elder for the night as we both waited for our Goldens to arrive the next day.

Wednesday (12.31.14):
I received the "Golden" that I will be training!!! Golden Orientation lasted all day long because there were some missionaries who had flight delays. It was a long wait, but it wasn’t too bad because I really like being with other missionaries and hanging with the office staff!  They are awesome! Anyway my new companion’s name is Elder L. I will give you three chances to guess where he is from……1. America?….no, 2. New Zealand?……no, 3, Africa?……no! Elder L is from……..drum roll please………the Republic of Moldova!!!! HOLY FETCH were my words when I was told I would be training a missionary in the city that has only been speaking English for 8 weeks in the Provo MTC! President Maxwell and the Lord must have some serious trust in me or something! But I am blessed because Elder L is super nice and he is trying super hard with the language so that makes me happy:)

I would like to introduce you to my new Golden... Elder L!

Background on Elder L: He is 23 and is from Moldova (it is a small country between Romania and Ukraine)! The missionaries found him when he was 21 years old, and so he has only been a member for only 2 years! He has an awesome testimony and we get along really well:) He is the youngest and the only member in his family! He truly is an inspiration to me!  It is awesome to see the result of missionary work in people’s lives!!

Tonight was New Year’s Eve and I heard Melbourne has an amazing fireworks show. However, Elder L and I are committed to being 100% obedient so we went to bed at 10:30 pm when we are supposed to.  I know when we are obedient (especially in hard times) the Lord blesses us a lot. So I consider that an alright trade!

Where's the PARTY... but I got to be in bed by 10:30 pm!

Thursday (1.1.15):
HAPPY NEW YEAR! were my thoughts for this day! 2015 is the only full year that I will spend away from my family and that is a good feeling! I have to say that training a golden that does not speak English in the City where you HAVE to talk to people has proven a bit difficult. However, I know the Lord will bless us as I call on him for help! I am really humbled by Elder L’s valiant attempt to speak English and proclaim the Gospel! I know the Lord will bless us for his efforts!!

We met with C, (our 17 year old investigator that is waiting to be baptized until he turns 18). Elder L really helped out with C’s lesson. We taught him more about Joseph Smith because unfortunately his mom gives him lots of anti-Mormon information about Joseph Smith. Next, we had a really hard lesson with a lady who was super disrespectful to us. She said she didn’t want to be taught by us because we were just kids and we didn’t know anything! It was weird and made us feel bad but we just had to shake it off. On a positive note, we finished by teaching, G again! (He is the guy from India). We taught him about the commandments that Heavenly Father has given us. It really seemed to expand his belief in God, and how He know us and helps us every day:)

Friday (1.2.15):
Well now that Elder L needs to learn English we take an hour every morning and I turn into an English teacher! Ha Ha, imagine that... Even though I got a 4.0 in school every year, English has always been my hardest subject. I have been thinking that Heavenly Father definitely has a sense of humor!  One thing that I thought would help Elder L is to Post-it-note the whole flat with the English names of the household objects that he needs to learn. And just so I wouldn’t left out i Post it Noted myself!

Bed, Door, Desk, Chair.... Elder Steele! I hope this doesn't leave a mark!

While Elder L is still working on his English skills we have to GQ together and I am not feeling quite as productive… But I KNOW this is what the Lord wants for Elder L and me so I am happy to do it. With my other companions in the city we taught lots of discussions. Because Elder L and I have to team up to GQ the number of lessons we teach will go down a little bit but that is okay.

Today we also taught J (she is the re-activating member who wants to learn more and come back to church) and it was a really great lesson! It is good because Elder L feels more comfortable talking to people who are already members of the Church. It is really nice because it helps build up his vocabulary and increases his confidence with speaking English. Tonight I also took on the Crazy Wing Challenge!!! I must say it was so HOT it made tears pour out of my eyes!!! I know missionaries are protected every day, but apparently it doesn’t make you immune to spicy wings!!!


Saturday (1.3.15):
It turned out to be a really great day with Elder L! Even though sometimes we have trouble communicating it doesn’t really matter because he is trying his very best to speak to me and I am trying my very best to understand him. I am truly learning the Christ like attribute of patience, and I am super grateful for it :)

We taught C (the 17 year old) today about "The Stick of Ephraim" in Ezekiel 37! This was the moment where “C” KNEW this Church was true, and it was really cool to be there to experience that with him! He is doing awesome and he is still planning on being Baptized on the 17th of this month. Please pray his mom’s heart will be softened and she won’t be angry with him.

Then the G family (they fed us the kangaroo Christmas dinner) invited us over for dinner. Sister G made AMAZING CHICKEN BURGERS! Mmmmmm they were so good! Sister G found out that I sing and now she always makes me sing for my food…..ha ha! I don’t mind sharing my talent with them because singing in their home is a good way to give a spiritual message with Mr. G (he isn’t a member of the church) because he really enjoys music! It is funny how the Lord helps us connect with different people! He truly knows us and loves each one of us. Also, the G’s grandkids were there too and they really enjoyed talking to us about the Book of Mormon so that made a wonderful night even SWEETER!! :)

Sunday (1.4.15):
OUR 5TH FAST SUNDAY DOWN!!! WE ARE NOW IN THE TEENS! That is a really good feeling:) It was a really great day with Elder L. I am being blessed so that my ear is slowly adapting to the way he says things so I can understand what he is trying to say. The language barrier does make for some really funny stories though. Tonight when we got home Elder L enthusiastically said to me (In his Romanian/Russian accent), "Today was a Super Pooper day" HAHAHAHA, I just started busting out laughing and thought to myself... Man after a day like this I could probably use a "Super Pooper!” I am just having fun with Elder L and making the best out of what we have:) I know Heavenly Father has put us together so we can teach his children.

High Five!