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!
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.
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!
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.
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 :)
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.
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!