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!