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!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Kangaroo Christmas!

This week was the BEST WEEK OF MY MISSION so far for one reason!! I got to see and talk with all of you! It was so rejuvenating!  As for the week, as a missionary it was okay. Unfortunately, around the Holidays, people really don’t want to take the time to hear a message about Jesus Christ. It’s sad people are to busy with other commitments they forget the true reason for the season. But I’m sure the coming weeks will be good!

Tuesday (12.23.14):
We went to the branch at 9 AM this morning. With travel time that means we had to leave our flat at 8, and that meant missing out on personal study!! I HATE MISSING THAT TIME to read, ponder, and study the scriptures. We had to go early because we had a lesson with an investigator named F.. Unfortunately, he didn’t even show up.  So it was really frustrating and sad. Luckily the day got better. Like I always say, “you just need to keep a positive out look and you will always feel happy.”

Later in the day we taught G, from India.  His dilemma with religion is basically that he thinks all religions are good and there is no true religion. Our lesson went really well and he is really sincere so I feel once he starts exercising some faith and begins living the commandments God has given us, he will be home free and down into the waters of baptism. We taught N (the girl we baptized last week) a new member lesson. She is doing awesome but she is going to Perth for the Holidays. Then we taught K (the juicy burger and NY pizza guy). He LOVES deep doctrine. Which isn’t bad, but sometimes it is hard to testify of the simple truths of the gospel with him.

Wednesday (12.24.14):
It is really weird celebrating Christmas Eve in the mission field… honestly, I just missed being home with my family and our Christmas traditions. But I know it is just the sacrifice I have to make for these two years.

We taught C another lesson about the Plan of Salvation. It was awesome! She was a little unsure about the concept of a premortal existence, but we gave her some scriptures so she can read and study up on it! She is KEEN, but she works HEAPS and can only meet 1 time per week! That is a real BUMMER.

On the way home a tender mercy miracle of Christmas happened.. We didn’t have anywhere to go for Christmas Eve dinner because as missionaries in the city the only family we know are the G’s (part member family with the car museum). But as we were walking home from the train station, a member from out of town, who just happened to be in the city, saw us and took us out for a Christmas Eve dinner at a Malaysian restaurant! The Lord really does look after his missionaries! It was an incredible testimony builder!

Thursday (12.25.14):
BEST DAY EVER! I got to Skype my family and it was magical! That is all I could even think about the whole day! Afterwards I opened up all the amazing Christmas gifts and the letters! Thanks to everyone who made my first Christmas as a missionary a wonderful experience. 

I never thought a stocking could be bigger than a Christmas Tree.

Joy to the World!

It really turned out to be a great day. The G’s invited us over for a KANGAROO dinner. Complete with potato wedges, and a traditional Christmas pudding. You really can’t get much more Australian than that on Christmas Day!... and by the way, kangaroo does "not" taste like chicken. Ha Ha.

The G family made Christmas dinner extra special. 
I can't wait for you guys to meet them.

Friday (12.26.14):
In Australia, the day after Christmas is Boxing day, and EVERYONE was out shopping and hitting up all the sales! NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, wanted to talk with us! They were all determined to just mob the city and be on the look out for good sales. You know how much I love shopping for a deal, and truthfuIly, I kinda wished I could have been shopping right there with them :)

However, I did get to have a really solid GQ with a kid traveling from Indonesia! He was so interested in the Book of Mormon and said he had been wondering the other night if there was anything he could do to get closer to Jesus Christ. It was interesting, at the time I GQed him we were on Burke St. This is shopping capital of Melbourne so there were thousands of people rushing around; and as I walked past him I had this urge to stop and talk to him. At first I didn’t stop, but then I felt strongly that I needed to turn back! So I pretty much stalked him until I caught up with him. I invited him to sit down on a bench with me and taught him about our Savior, Jesus Christ! Even though he is going back home to Indonesia, I know he will contact the missionaries.

Saturday (12.27.14):
It seems as though everybody we have been teaching has decided to leave the city for one last trip before school starts again. For some reason the only people left in the city today were a bunch of cold hearted Aussies. haha  There must have been some convention going on or something, like the “Bah Humbug… Christmas is Over Society.” Oh well, as a missionary you just have to keep doing the Lord’s work.

Even the public restrooms smelled of Bah Humbug!... don't light a match!

We did teach one lesson to a guy from China named J. He had heaps of good questions and I really enjoyed discussing with him the facts and truths of the gospel. We also received TRANSFER NEWS tonight.....Drum Roll.... Elder N and Elder O will both be leaving! I will be getting a new companion and staying in the city.

Sunday (12.28.14):
I guess the Lord and President Maxwell really do know what they are doing. During personal studies this morning I received a call from President Maxwell. He said, " Elder Steele, you have done such an amazing job training your Golden, Elder O these past 6 weeks. Thank you so much for all that you did for him with training in a Trio. However, I was wondering if you would be willing to train another Golden who is coming in this transfer." I WAS SO SHOCKED! So that is the exciting news. I will be having another Son (remember missionary genealogy). I hope he is as awesome as Elder O, my first Son, because we had a BLAST together! More details will come next week!

Christmas is Right Around the Corner!

It is so crazy that Christmas is right around the Corner! It doesn’t really feel like Christmas here in Australia… remember, it’s summer down under, and I definitely miss all of our family’s great Christmas traditions. But then I think of the sacrifice our Savior Jesus Christ made for us, and it makes me feel better. He knows what we are going through; He knows the righteous desires of our hearts; He knows our needs; and He will never leave us alone to navigate the many challenges we will face in this life! What an incredible gift from a loving Father in Heaven.

I'll have a Blue Christmas without you... Sorry I couldn't resist!

Tuesday (12.16.14):
The day definitely started out a bit frustrating. Our investigator named P confirmed with us Monday night that he would be at his teaching appointment on Tuesday morning, and then didn’t even bother to show up! I hate it when people do this because it’s kind of like they are wasting the Lord’s time!

On a more positive note, we did get to teach a girl named C from Columbia. I had GQ’d her a little while back after recognizing her from somewhere. Turns out she went to a Baptism back in August and loved it, but then got busy! Anyway, after teaching her a couple of missionary lesson, she now has a baptismal date set for the 17th of January! Everything leading up to C’s acceptance of a baptismal date was pretty amazing. We taught a really rad Gospel of Jesus Christ Lesson incorporating the "He is the Gift" message ; (everybody needs to watch this video about Christ's birth. It is amazing) and then asked her what gift she thought she could give back to her Heavenly Father this Christmas season. Without hesitation C replied, “Baptism!” You can’t answer any better than that!

Then we taught K the Plan of Salvation. K is the really smart guy that reads the Bible in Hebrew… we taught him last week. Our discussion went awesome, except for a little part regarding our premortal life! Having grown up in the gospel, we take for granted the understanding of those gospel principles we posses.  Sometimes, people need time to let the gospel “sink in.” However, with a couple of scriptures we are going to show him this week, I have no doubt the Lord can help K understand and accept our belief in the premortal existence.

We also met with L again tonight to try and build up his faith. Remember, he is trying to quit smoking this week as his Christmas gift to God. Our discussions with L are always encouraging and at the end of our conversation he gave each of us a nice Christmas card.

Wednesday (12.17.14):
This morning was a little rough. We taught P again, but by the end of the lesson it was obvious he didn’t want to accept the gospel so we had to part ways... It is really hard for me to watch people turn away from the truth. I develop such a love for them as I work to bring them closer to Christ; and I know their life is going to be more difficult without the Savior in it.

When your day starts at the bottom of the barrel, there’s nowhere to go but up. Our day definitely got better!  We taught C today and that’s always a good time :) He is so prepared for baptism… we just need to get him to his 18th Birthday. I so love building his faith through Book of Mormon stories and videos! Today we showed the video and read in the Book of Mormon about the time Nephi shocked his brothers through the power of God. C thought that was so amazing! After C, Elders N, O and myself (sorry about the alphabet soup… but privacy is important for the people we meet) met with N to review the questions she would be asked during her baptismal interview tomorrow… what a testimony she has gained :) YES!!!!

Thursday (12.18.14):
N passed her baptismal interview! After the interview, she asked if I would baptize her because I was the one who called and invited her to come to the Church to talk with the missionaries :) That made me feel really good:)

Do you remember D (the Jewish girl) who we taught when I first arrived in Melbourne? She was so golden, but struggled to make it to church on Sundays. Well, she actually called to see if we could meet with her! Unfortunately, she just hasn’t changed yet. She says she wants to follow God, but she isn’t willing to take time off work to attend church on Sunday. It’s really sad because I feel like she is just nervous and scared… Faith definitely has to precede the miracle. We will definitely keep praying for her.

So here’s something really cool…  C (the guy waiting to turn 18 so he can get baptized) is already doing missionary work! He brought a SUPER KEEN Chinese girl to the branch today. She actually said she wanted to follow God! So we started teaching her the lessons. C is so cool… He is practically a member! He already refers to the Mormon Church as "his Church."

Friday (12.19.14):
We taught some good lessons today!... Not really to many investigators, but to some recent converts, and less active members of the church! It is important to find a balance in the work so we can still help everyone come unto Christ; whether they are a member or not.

We taught a less active girl named J. She is from Virginia and is backpacking around the world for 5 years! She has a pretty crazy life with the backpacking and all, but has made the decision to  come back to church… which is AWESOME! We were scheduled to teach “I” a lesson today but it ended up being a venting session. He just sometimes needs to meet and talk out loud to us which I am happy to do! He always has some funny stuff he says:) Like this time he was talking about how he taught some self defense to some other homeless people and how it is a way to control his inner peace! He is definitely a character! 

Afterwards I GOT MY REAL FIRST EVER MEMBER FEED! This was amazing! It is a part member family named the G’s! The wife is a member but her Husband isn’t… but he is soooo smooth! He actually built a yacht and spent 10 years sailing around the world. 

Mr. G and I quickly found we have a lot in common... we love nice cars!

They also converted a HUGE Pub into their house! Man it was awesome. After dinner the husband and I started talking about cars, and he said, "I actually have a car museum down the road if you want to check it out!" It was just an awesome night at their house! Even though I love doing missionary work in the city, tonight made me excited to be in a family ward whenever that might be :)

Check out Mr. G's sweet ride in the middle of his personal museum. 

Saturday (12.20.14):
I had my 4th Baptism today… it was so great:) I love baptisms. When I baptized N, she just started laughing when she came out of the water. You could really tell she was feeling the joy the spirit brings, big time :) The baptism kept us busy for most of the day! 

N's Baptism. What a wonderful day for all of us.

However, I did find time to drop into a Catholic Book store and buy an Apocrypha to start reading. I’ve been asked about it while GQing and I want to be able to answer intelligently. But, the look on the nun’s face at the counter, when I walked up with my Name Badge on, was PRICELESS. 

Sunday (12.21.14):
We had a nice sacrament meeting today. But I also realized no matter how many of our contacts actually make it to church, as long as we are obedient and truly trying our best that is all God expects of us! 

All in all an awesome week!

Another Super Missionary Week!

Tuesday (12.9.14):
It was a pretty good day today! We had the normal canceled appointments but we taught a new girl named S from Nepal! It was a really good lesson and she was really accepting of what we were teaching her. Unfortunately, she is going home for the Christmas holiday… BUMMER. Then we taught F and it was really cool. At first, we weren’t sure if he truly had a desire to learn from us, but as the lesson progressed, he told us he really wanted to learn about the gospel, to know for himself whether or not it is true!

Then out of the blue, an investigator from when I first arrived here in Melbourne texted us. Her name is N and she said she wanted to start back up with the missionary lessons! SWEET! That really is the power of the light of Christ with people who are investigating the church! As a missionary it’s always hard to have people tell you they do not want to learn about the gospel anymore; but then they realize they are truly missing something, and come back because they want to again feel the warmth the gospel brought into their lives!

Wednesday (12.10.14):
We went on another Exchange today with Elder P (the one from Vietnam). We taught an ABV (Australian Born Vietnamese) named A that has had a lot of Trauma in his life. We taught him a really simple lesson on the love of God, and it went pretty well. Anytime people feel the Spirit during a lesson, I consider it a success.

Would you believe it if I told you I almost got to perform a wedding ceremony today! hahaha An Afghani and Vietnamese couple came into the branch asking to be “religiously married”! Well I figured “I can do that!” So we got to congratulating them on their decision to get married, and how marriage can extend beyond this earth life… well, come to find out, they actually had come to the wrong church! hahaha and were looking to be married by a Father! I was like, “Sorry, I’m not a Father, only an Elder!” Funny thing is, somewhere in Melbourne there was a Father wondering where his bride and groom were.

Thursday (12.11.14):
Today was just a normal missionary day! We taught L, and he said he was going to try to give up smoking again… this time on Christmas, as his Christmas gift to God! I’ve got to hand it to the guy for his persistence in trying to quit smoking. We will definitely exercise our faith, once again, that he can quit. Later as I was GQing (Golden Questioning… street contacting) in downtown Melbourne I had the opportunity, while sitting on a park bench, to teach a Chinese man about prayer. I love teaching the principle of prayer. The Spirit is always so strong when a person prays for the very first time!

Later in the day we taught a Persian man named Farhat! The first time I met him was on a train. When I introduced myself, and asked him his name, the noise from the train, along with his strong accent and limited grasp of the English language, led me to believe he had said his name was “Fart”. How do you appropriately respond to that?  I’m just glad we were quickly able to clear the air (no pun intended) and teach him about the gospel! Ha ha ha.

We also taught an awesome Australian born Indonesian named K. He has been coming to our institute class for a little while, and reads the Bible in Hebrew! Over the past 3 weeks, he has also read the entire Book of Mormon! He is so nice and very intelligent! We shared the Restoration of the Gospel lesson with him to support the importance of the Book of Mormon! Our discussion went super well. In fact, it went so well that K took my companions and I out for dinner afterwards! Man, what a sweet trade… the gospel for goodies! :) For dinner we had NY style pizza and BIG juicy burgers all around! It was DELICIOUS!!! Nothing like being both spiritually and physically fed! Ha ha ha

K took Elder O, N and me out for an AWESOME meal of pizza and burgers!

Friday: (12.12.14)
Today was the Melbourne Mission Christmas Party! It was actually really fun! The whole mission, except for Tazzy (Tasmania) was there so there were HEAPS ( 300+) of missionaries! We had a missionary talent show that was definitely entertaining, and then they actually let us watch “How to Train a Dragon 2”! It was awesome seeing a movie! However, it made me a little sad because the last time I saw that movie (in June) I was Cruising the Caribbean with the family... Oh well, to cope with the intense sorrow, I just thought of the next cruise we would go on when I get home! After the movie, we had a dinner that was very nice, and then we got our presents! HOLY COW!!!!! Thank you so much for all the packages! I definitely felt like I had died and gone to heaven. You guys are the best!

One of my Kaysville Homies, Elder G, at the Missionary Christmas Party.

I couldn't believe my eyes... Christmas down under looks GREAT!

Saturday (12.13.14)
I can’t believe I’ve been out for 4 Months! Dang, where did the time go? Well, Christmas miracles do happen. Tonight N showed up at the branch. She was the young lady that we taught on Tuesday who said she wanted to start back up with the missionary lessons. Well, N said she had prayed about what we had taught her, and that DECEMBER 20th is the day she needs to be Baptized! AHHHHH!... another Baptism’ and it is NEXT WEEK! It is amazing how the Lord works!

My 4 month mark! CRAZY!

Sunday (12.14.14)
I still have mixed feelings about Sundays because I am always stressed about whether our investigators are going to show up! I guess I just need to take a deep breath and do like mom and dad always said… “dude, chillax”… (the combination of chilling and relaxing). We had a good turn out to Sacrament though! We had 5 people show up! I guess I need to “chillax” more often. I also got to bless the sacrament! It was a really cool experience being able to performance this ordinance as a missionary! After church I went to the Stake Center to prepare for our Heidelberg Stake Christmas Devotional! It was a great night of singing, and spiritual messages! It was also really fun to be able to sing in the Choir under the direction of President Maxwell’s wife. Before coming to Melbourne Sister Maxwell sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and is a very talented lady.

Well, another super week as a missionary. Definitely looking forward to seeing the family (literally) during our Christmas Eve/Day Skype! Thanks for everything you are doing to support me on my mission! Families are the greatest!