Sunday, March 27, 2016

The First Week of a Whole New Experience.....Life as an AP

Monday (3.14.16)
Most of the day I was packing to move to the AP flat in Dandenong. It was a good chance for me to sort through my things and figure out what I was going to leave for other missionaries and what I was going to keep and take with me.  The highlight of the day was when Iain took us to a golf driving range! I was finally able to hit a golf ball properly and dang it felt really really, really good! :) 

Golfing in the land down under... I think I've still got it!
Then we were able to go visit some families so I could say goodbye. I wish there would have been time to see every single family before I left but we only had time to go to a few. We started with the VaiVai family and then we went to the Uini family and our last stop was the Browns. It was hard to say goodbye to these people that I love so much but I know I will be able to see them again before I go back home to the 801. I have truly loved every minute I have spent in Cranbourne. A piece of my heart will always be there.

Tuesday (3.15.16)
Today was a wonderful day because we had the privilege of going to the Temple with the missionaries who were going to be departing tomorrow and President and Sister Maxwell. It was an awesome experience being in the temple with all the wonderful missionaries and I always feel so peaceful and happy when I am blessed to be in the House of the Lord.  
Missionaries leaving for home.

After the temple session we drove to the AP's flat to drop off my stuff and the drove back and waited for our Train the Leaders meeting to start. 

Meet my new companion: Elder Eyring!

I was asked on the spot to give a training about Companionship Exchanges. Following our training we had to get things organized with the departing missionaries to make sure they AND all of their things were ready to go home the next day. Next we went to what is called the Departing Missionary dinner. It is a really wonderful event where President and Sister Maxwell, the APs and all the missionaries that are leaving have dinner together. The evening ends with a testimony meeting. It was an incredible night and it lasted until about 10:20 pm so it was a bit of a late night.

Wednesday (3.16.16)
This was airport day for the departing missionaries! We had to wake up extra early to start all of our journeys to the airport. We started at the mission office at about 6:30 in the morning to drop off Elder Nillson (he is a missionary who is on his way to Tasmania) Next, it was Elder Su’s turn. He is going home to main land China!  I love the Chinese missionaries, the faith and courage they have is incredible!  

Uber, missionary cabbies... ha ha ha 

While we were waiting for Elder Su’s flight to leave we picked up a new sister who was coming into our mission from Tahiti. Once we picked up the new sister we had a little bit of time to wait at the airport so I decided to make the most of it!

I was just walking around GQing (golden questioning….asking people if they wanted to hear a message about Jesus Christ) and talking to whoever I could. I loved GQing again and it was wonderful because I was able to meet a family who was visiting Melbourne from Jerusalem. They were very interested in learning more about the Gospel because they know about the BYU Jerusalem Center. They live very close to it and they told me they like to go walking there on Sundays. After I GQed for a bit it was time to send Elder Long off to his home to America.

After that we were able to meet up with the former Elder Bennallack for lunch. He is from Australia and he was the transition AP when President and Sister Maxwell came into the mission three years ago. I have been called to be the transition AP for the Vidmars. It was a really great meeting and he will be a really great resource for me as I prepare for the time when the Maxwells leave and the Vidmars arrive in July 2016.  

Elder Eyring (my companion) Sister Maxwell, Elder Bennallack and his wife, 
and President Maxwell at the Airport.

Next, we had to race back to the mission office for our Golden Review (the new missionaries are called Goldens (not greenies) in the Australia Melbourne mission. After they have been in the mission for about six weeks they all meet back at the mission office for a conference to talk about their experience and we see if there are additional ways we can help them as new missionaries.)

It was really great to be with the missionaries and I especially loved being able to meet some of the newer missionaries! Then we went to the mission home and we waited till about 7:30 pm when we had to go BACK to the Airport to drop off Sister Wang to go to her home in Taiwan. Her flight left around 11:10 pm so we got home fairly late again:) We ended up going back to eat dinner at the exact same place in the airport as we did for our lunch meeting with Elder Bennallack. I have noticed that we are going to be eating a lot of our meals with the Maxwells which is AWESOME!! It is such a special pleasure to be with them. I love every single minute I get to spend listening to them and learning from them!

Round two for dinner at the airport with the Maxwells.

Thursday (3.17.16)
Today was a very wonderful day! We were able to go to the Temple sealing of an Elder’s family here in the mission. Elder Lan has just finished his mission and his family from China came here to pick him up so they could be sealed in the temple. It was a great opportunity to see this family be sealed for eternity by the power of the Holy Priesthood and see how much it meant to them. I felt so honored to witness the joy and comfort they felt as a family in the Lord's Holy Temple. Then we had a little luncheon and we went back to work in the office till around 4:00 pm. We needed to run President and Sister Maxwell back to the Airport so they could fly to Tasmania for some interviews. By the time we got back from the airport it was about 7:30 pm and then we went back to do some more work at the mission office!

Friday (3.18.16)
We were able to go out and do missionary work today! The only bad thing was it wasn’t in our area of Dandenong. But it was all good because we went on an exchange with the Heidleburg Zone Leaders back in the city! But first, we had to take a stop at my very favorite Slovakia place:) 

Lunch with the Heidleburg Zone Leaders...
you've got to love those stalactites (Slovakian style subway sandwiches).

Then it was all about GQing!! Following our exchange we had to go to the Airport again to pick up President and Sister Maxwell and then they took us out to dinner to talk a bit more about what happened in Tasmania and what more we can be doing as APs to help the missionaries. We finished up the night doing a bit of planning for some upcoming Zone Interviews.

Saturday (3.19.16)
We started the morning out by meeting with President Maxwell. The meeting consisted of talking about possible transfer changes for some missionaries and discussing what else we need to put on our agendas to talk about at interviews. We had a very yummy lunch prepared by Sister Maxwell! She is so wonderful and she takes such good care of the missionaries! 

One of the sisters who works in the office was having a birthday so we helped her celebrate.....

......This was the screen saver we left on her computer (check out the computer screen in the picture above). This screen saver would make me happy :)

Later Elder Eyring and I went to our Dandenong Ward Pot Luck and it was AWESOME being back in the ward! I haven’t been back there since I was transferred back to city last May. It was so wonderful seeing all the people I grew to love during the amazing time I served there with Elder Gines. After the pot luck we met with Aaron Edwards and we were able to teach him a lesson. It was so nice to meet up with him again. I first taught him when I was in Dandenong in May and he still seems really good! He wants to be baptized but he wants to wait for his wife to be baptized with him! So now we know we are going to change our focus and help get his wife ready for baptism so they can both have the blessings of  he Gospel! We finished the night with a baptism in the Deer Park Zone with President and Sister Maxwell! It was really great and one our goals as APs is to try to support our Elders and Sisters more!

Sunday (3.20.16)
We had church and it was absolutely GREAT!!! I loved being able back in the Dandenong ward that I loved so much before. There were lots of people that told us and they were really excited to have Elder Eyring and I come to their home! I love Dandenong!! :) After church we went back into the mission office so Elder Eyring and I could prepare some trainings and brainstorm ways we can motivate the missionaries to hit some of the goals for our mission!! Then we went to the Lavakas for dinner and it was time to call it a night!!

I have learned after my first week as an AP (Assistant to the President)… as an assistant is pretty different and we are busy with lots of things other than traditional missionary work but it is AMAZING being with President and Sister Maxwell so much and learning from their outstanding examples!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Week of Big Changes!

Monday (3.7.16)  After a great P day of resting and bowling, we went to the De La Cruz family for an awesome Family Home Evening and a fantastic meal! 

Great time bowling with Elder Kim for our P-day.

It is always so nice to be with them. They are a GREAT missionary family! Most of them have served missions and they have been able to maintain their passion for sharing the gospel with their friends and neighbors! We shared a message on how the understanding and the knowledge that we have regarding our Saviour, Jesus Christ, is such a blessing and it provides us with so much peace and comfort. This knowledge is so very important and it is necessary in the life of everyone on this earth.  This knowledge makes us happy and we really need to share it with EVERBODY! We started a family missionary challenge with them and I am excited to see how it goes! :) 
Tuesday (3.8.16)
This morning we had Zone Meeting and sometimes it is just a crazy mess before it starts trying to get everyone to the chapel without cars! Our zone is really spread out and it requires lots of logistical planning, but somehow we always manage and everything turns out just fine. Just another testament to me that this really is the work of the Lord and He will take care of things. We had a great zone meeting. We based it off of the mission tour and the special MLC we had with Elder Haleck last week. It was all based on all the discussions and counseling  ogether on what we can do differently to start seeing more and more success. Elder Haleck’s training was so awesome for the mission and I know as we implement his ideas we WILL see more and more success!
Following the zone meeting we were able go do service for an investigator named James. He seemed pretty interested and he even read the pamphlet that we gave him. Unfortunately, we had our SMCM meeting to get to so we only had time to help him with painting the front of his house. We had to leave for our SMCM meeting before we could properly sit down and share a lesson with him. However, we are going to meet with him next week as soon as possible. He had some really great questions and I feel he has serious potential! Then we went to our Stake Meeting. We were able to meet with our new Stake President. His name is President Phillips and he is amazing!  He is very business oriented but I feel that it is just what the stake needs at the moment! Following the meeting with President Phillips it was getting late and we were on our way home. But as we were driving by we were able to help a guy on the side of the road that had run out of gas. We had to go fill up his can two times at the petrol station and he was late for a flight at the airport but he was so happy and he was VERY thankful. We were able to give him a Book of Mormon and said that he wanted to meet with us after he got home from his trip!

Look at the surprise I came home to today!

The only thing more scary than the spider I found was Elder Kim in his Korean facial wrap... Now that's SCARY!

Wednesday (3.9.16)
We had scheduled a day FULL of lessons today which was great but then the Lord changed things drastically and ended up prompting us to visit other people that were part of our 2nd and 3rd back up plans. It all turned out great though because we were able to teach Monica’s son Tafa and he really seems pretty interested. We taught him the lesson about the Restoration and he seemed to understand it. We invited him to be baptized but he declined because he said he didn’t need to be baptized again because he had already been baptized in another church. However, as we continue to teach him and he gains an understanding about the Priesthood he will be able to see that he needs baptism by the proper Priesthood authority. Then I had a strong impression to visit a family named the Molimaus. They are so awesome. Their names are Rennie and Andy and they are the only members of the church in their Catholic and Baptist family. We were able to really connect with Renny and he shared that he was just thinking about us because missionaries hadn’t stopped by to visit them in over eight months. He shared with us that he wants to come back to the church and he knows that it is true! :)
After that we went over to Naomi’s house. She is Heather’s daughter and Alliyah’s (the cute little girl who was baptized last month) mom. It was really good to be with them. We had dinner with them and shared a message about the Holy Ghost! Alliyah is doing great and she loves having  the gift of the Holy Ghost! I know that her non-member father is seeing a difference in her as well and it is softening his heart a little bit to the missionaries and the church.
Thursday (3.10.16)
We had DLC (District Leadership Council – a meeting with all the District Leaders in the Gippsland zone) in the morning and it was pretty effective! We were able to have good discussions about the challenges and competitions that we have going around the Zone to help get our missionaries excited about missionary work so it was really good to brainstorm together as a council. After that we had a lunch appointment at the Asiatas but their plans changed and they were not going to be home so shifted our day and focused on our weekly planning and Elder Kim worked on his English language study. By the time we finished all that that it was time to go to the Mattock’s home for our weekly lesson with them. We watched the DVD Meet the Mormons with them and also ate dinner with them! I love this family and now when I go over to their house I sometimes feel just like I am walking into my own home.
After that we went to tract on Yammerbrook Way because a less active former Bishop lives somewhere on the street but we don’t know where yet. We are determined to find him though! While we were tracting, the Lord directed us to a home where we were met a man from the Middle East! He was so nice and has two great kids. He invited us inside his house and we were able to teach him a lesson. He has a lot of ideas and is bit of a free thinker but it was a miracle that we were able to get in to him and teach him. As we were leaving he took a look at my well-worn brown missionary shoes and he told us to wait for a minute before we left. When he came back he had a $100 bill and gave it to me to buy new shoes. I refused many times and told him they were still good shoes and I like them because they have become well worn in the service of Heavenly Father but he kept insisting I take it. He finally just stuffed it in my pocket and said we had to leave. It was humbling to see that someone who isn’t a member would sacrifice for the servants of the Lord.
Totally blown away by the kindness of a complete stranger...
What a great opportunity for me to pay it forward.

Friday (3.11.16)
We were called in to the mission office to have another MLC (Mission Leadership Council where all the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders and the APs meet with President and Sister Maxwell) pretty much all day. It was really good being able to reflect on what was said in the mission tour with Elder Haleck and of course I always love to spend the day with President and Sister Maxwell and the other leaders in the mission. Following the MLC which always gets over around 5:00 pm we raced to the Young's home because we were scheduled to have dinner with them. We were able to share the Restoration of the Gospel lesson and we asked Brother Young to be baptized.. sadly he declined but he told us that he would be baptized in his own time! I thought that it was AMAZING progress considering that he really was not interested in our messages or meeting with us before he started going to church.  After that we went around and invited some members to the Elders Quorum BBQ that was going to be held the following afternoon.  After we finished with that we raced over to the Pattisons and we were able to get into their home AGAIN!! :) They are really starting to warm up to us! We were able to share a quick message with them on faith in Jesus Christ and how it helps us in our lives! It was a miracle because Brother Pattison even had his sons come in for the lesson. We didnt even ask he him to just went and got them!  And then he had Branden say the prayer and it was just amazing! They are on the verge of coming back to church! I can just feel it! :)

Saturday (3.12.16)  (FYI this is the day that changed the rest of my mission!) 
We had Correlation meeting this morning just like usual! It was awesome because we had two pages of people to discuss that we have visited and we are working with. The Lord has really blessed us with a lot of people to teach and visit and help. Anyways it was a fantastic meeting. The only down side is Geoff and Elder Kim for some reason were joking about me being called to be the AP (Assistant to the President). Geoff is a joker and he has said things like that sometimes. I always just brush it off because I just want to serve wherever Heavenly Father wants me to and I am a missionary and that is good enough for me! However, after the meeting and before the BBQ we had to run home to get some stuff for the rest of the day. When we got home I was feeling a bit weird for some odd reason, I thought my stomach was upset so I went to use the bathroom. The next thing I knew, Elder Kim was knocking on the bathroom door and told me, "the phone is ringing and it is President Maxwell!" Instantly my heart just felt like it stopped! Elder Kim answered the phone and President Maxwell asked to talk to me... I went into the other room and then President said, " Elder Steele your service has just been remarkable as a Zone Leader, I know that you love your area, you love the missionaries, and you love your companion. But then he told me he was calling me to be one of his Assistants. He said, “Elder Steele, I feel you are the one the mission needs at this time, especially with the change to the new Mission President (Peter Vidmar) coming in the near future. I was honestly SHOCKED and I had really no idea what to say so I said, "Are you sure?" Then President and Sister Maxwell just started laughing at me and said "YES we are sure!" It was pretty mind boggling to be honest. I was just in a daze for the rest of the day. We went to the BBQ and then over to the Baldwin’s home but they had company over and we needed to reschedule.

 Someone dumped sugar, protein powder, and soup mix on our car. So when we woke up early in the morning this is what we saw.

I guess windshield wipers were never designed to remove protein shakes.

Ward Mission Leader (Geoff) to the rescue! 

Sunday (3.13.16)

President Maxwell told me I really couldn't tell too many people that I was leaving Cranbourne and that I couldn’t tell anyone I was going to be the AP.  S it was pretty strange at church knowing that it was my last Sunday but no one else but Elder Kim really knew about it! That was okay though! We did tell some of the families we are working with and then we set up times to meet with them on Monday! We went to the Uini family and had lunch with them after church and that was great! Then we went to Iain and Suzie's and let them know. They were really sad that I was leaving but they knew it was going to happen eventually. We finished off the day at the Va'as and it was great having dinner with them.  We were really excited because they went and got all they need to go to the temple! We are excited because we will be able to see them be sealed as a family soon which is sooo awesome! 

19 months as a missionary... everyday's been a great adventure!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lucky Leap Year!

Monday (2.29.16)
Because it was Leap Year I was lucky enough to enjoy an extra day on my mission! That phenomenon only happens every four years so I was pretty excited about it!  P-day was really nice today. Elder Kim and I have been working our hardest every day so we took an opportunity today to just rest and chill out. 

Then in the evening we were able to meet the Havili family in a massive park and have an awesome family home evening with them! It was a lot of fun and it is so exciting to see how the Spirit can make things better for all families! They seem so much happier with everything! They have definitely experienced some challenges since they have made the effort to have the missionaries over and come back to church but they are doing amazing with what the adversary is throwing them! :) Then we went over to the Sili's and had a family home evening with them as well! We showed them a video about how through "Faith in Jesus Christ we can Achieve Anything!" I love this video because it does a great job of showing that when times get hard and we choose to act on the particle of Faith that we have that amount of faith WILL be enough to get us through the stormy times in our lives. It was a great night and we were blessed to be able to be part of two wonderful Family Home Evenings with two great families that we really love!

Tuesday (3.1.16)
Today we got off to a later start due to language study for Elder Kim. Heavenly Father is blessing him for his obedience to language studies because he is doing really well with understanding English. By the time he finished with study and his lunch it was about 12:30 pm and we had to head straight to the library to do our K-report (report for President Maxwell detailing the kilometers we drove on our car) Our K’s were pretty crazy on the February report. We actually drove about 3,000 K's! If you remember from the last few weeks we had to spend a lot of time in the car with all of Elder Cook’s Eye Dr. appointments but it was totally worth it because his eye is fully recovered now! What an awesome miracle! We are so happy his eye was spared and he is back to being an great missionary full time now! 

Following our time at the library we had a feeling to go over to Monica’s house.  On the way to her house, as I was driving along I saw a Less Active Member that I met about three months ago. As soon as I saw her I knew it was my chance to connect with her again and quickly pulled over the car and knocked on her door. Sadly, she is still not too interested but just as we were finishing up talking with her, her mother drove up and said that she lived there as well! Her mom’s name is Sister Inu. She is a member also, and she is trying to get back to church. She kindly asked if we had a dinner appointment for that night. We let her know we didn’t have any dinner plans so she arranged for us to meet her at Food Star, an all you can eat place in Narre Warren, a bit later in the evening. We were super excited to do missionary work and chow down at a buffet!  

By this time we were really close to Monica’s home so we stopped by and we were FINALLY able to meet and teach her 19 year old son Tafa. He is really shy but he seemed interested in our message and I think we have the potential to really help him out!  So that was a HUGE miracle! He also trains at an MMA (mixed martial arts) gym that is owned by a member of the church so we are super excited that we already have a friend lined up for him when we decides to come to church! :) 

Then it was time to go to Narre Warren for our feed with Sister Inu. It was awesome because we found out that she works at the restaurant, Food Star.  We ate and talked and she would come and go (a great excuse for missionaries to eat a lot without being embarrassed…haha!) but it was great evening with her and she told us that she knew she needed to come back to church. She said she just needed a little  push because she was finally able to get work off on Sundays:) What a miracles that we showed up at the right time! I bear witness to you that God is Good ALL the TIME! 

All you can eat buffet.....for a missionary, that's like dying and going to heaven.

Wednesday (3.2.16)
We had our Mission Tour Zone Conference today. We were privileged to have Elder Hallek tour our mission. It was a great session with him and I was able to receive specific revelation from the Holy Ghost for some of the people that we are working with. It took most of the day but it was great being able to see about 1/3 of the mission and the missionaries! Then it was time for the drive back and we had to drop off some Elders on the way home!

Everybody's happy when you're rolling down the missionary highway.
We then were directed to Durnoch Place for the rest of the night! We were able to tract the street and give away two Books of Mormon! It was really amazing because we were able to secure return appointments with each Book of Mormon we placed! We were also to visit a Less Active Part member family that lives on that same street. They are the Elmer family and they are amazing. It was nice to be able to break the ice with them and have them feel comfortable with us.

Thursday (3.3.16)
We started the day by driving into the Mission home for a Special MLC (Mission Leadership Council – Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, APs and President and Sister Maxwell) with Elder Hallek. It was only just a mini MLC because Elder Hallek, the AP's and President and Sister Maxwell had to fly to Tasmania for their zone conference the next day but it was a really great follow-up from what I learned the previous day at the Zone Conference Tour. Elder Hallek really tried to help the MLC  start to think outside the box. I couldn’t help but thank Heavenly Father for placing me into a home where I was taught this principle from a very small age. SO THANKS MOM AND DAD:) I was able to share a comment in MLC with Elder Hallek about how I have developed an idea to spend a good part of our time tracting on the streets where Part Member families live. I decided to do this so that when we find someone who would like to investigate the church, we can call on the Less Active Part Member family to help friendship and fellowship them and this will help them in their journey into the church. In addition, it also brings the Less Active family back to church as well. Elder Hallek commented back to me saying, "Elders and Sisters... did you hear that?  Elder Steele knows exactly how to think outside the box!" It thought it was really nice of him to say that but I can’t take credit, Heavenly Father guided me to try it and it has been working really well!  I was able to leave the meeting really excited about missionary work and right after the meeting we were able to meet two really good people that we set up appointments for later in the week! 

After that, Elder Kim and I were able to go over and teach the Mattocks about the Spirit and help Jordan figure out that he really has been feeling the Spirit all the time we have been over teaching him. It is so amazing to help people understand the workings of the Spirit.  We finished up our night by visiting the Sauvao family.  They are a wonderful islander family. They are American and they have also lived in Utah! It was awesome to be able to talk with them.  The father is returning to activity and he has a very strong testimony! I am hoping that we will be able to find someone for them to fellowship very shortly:)

After leaving our apartment for appointments, Elder Kim said he couldn't find our cell phone. Further investigation discovered he had accidentally thrown it out with the trash... I guess thats how you trash talk in Korea :)

Friday (3.4.16)
It was another day of miracles!! I really want everyone to remember that EVERY DAY WE LIVE HAS MIRACLES! We started the day with DLC (District Leadership Council) and after we finished we went to follow up with one of the appointments we had set on Thursday night. It was crazy because a different lady answered the door and she said, "Elders! I love the Elders….. they always come into my life when I need them the most!" So that was pretty incredible. We then went around to the back and found out that she was a friend of the lady that we had talked to the previous day. They were both a bit drunk but they were so happy we were here! The one we talked to the most was named Maria. She was not the really drunk lady that made the comment about the Elders. Maria said to us before we started the lesson that she had NO idea who we were but she just knew when we came to the door that we had answers for her so she said: GIVE ME THE ANSWERS!! I have to admit I was a bit taken back by this but I just said a prayer and started teaching her the Plan of Salvation. We were able to answer some of her questions and she kept saying over and over that she knew we were sent from God because she had NEVER let any strangers into her house and especially in her back yard before.  It was really great because her husband came home near the end of our lesson and we invited them both to church and they seemed pretty keen on having us back over. (Sadly they didn’t make it to church but we are going to keep trying). Then we went over to the Clark's house because they live semi close to Maria and Sister Clark ended up cooking us lunch as well! Bonus! 

Members take great care of the missionaries here in Cranborne

Then we tried Matt Thompson but he wasn’t home and it really looks like he is probably moving. To finish the night we had an amazing visit with the Havilis and taught them a quick message. As we were leaving, I felt a VERY strong impression to go to Brother Pattison’s home. Wow! it was amazing because he was home and we were able to teach him about the Restoration and the spirit was so strong! He could feel it as well! He really likes us coming over now so that is just amazing! He even said that he can see himself coming to church in the near future!!!! :) It was a great way to end the night! :) 

Saturday (3.5.16)
It was a busy day today! We had correlation meeting in the morning and they fed us and we talked about the ward and how we as missionaries can help serve the ward more effectively. Then we went over to Iain and Suzie’s house and had lunch with them. We shared a message about Faith in Jesus Christ during hard times. Then we were able to follow up with one of our new contacts from Thursday night and we found out that the wife works with a member and sometimes she gives him a ride home! You just have to know that Heavenly Father is setting everything up for his precious children to hear the Gospel. Please talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with your friends, neighbors and co-workers. Heavenly Father WILL help you!!!  We are super excited because we set up another appointment to visit them next week! After that the Levaos took us to KFC, ordered the food, we sat down and……….they left! We were really grateful for the food but we love to visit with people while we eat! But it was all good!  

KFC puts a smile on me!

To finish the night we went out to Jackie Ann’s house and they were not home. They have a putting green at their house and they said we could try it out so I found a right handed golf club and I was FINALLY able to hit the first golf ball of my mission! It was an amazing feeling! I didn’t think I missed hitting a golf ball but it was really awesome. I don’t mind sacrificing golf for two years though, I have my whole life to golf.


Sunday (3.6.16)

This was the 19th Fast Sunday of my mission!  It was truly a great Sabbath. The Mattocks and Brother Young came so it was great! :) We were able to finish our SMCM report after church and Elder Seiuli (the AP who I loved when I was a newer missionary who finished his mission a while ago) came BACK to Cranbourne!! Then we went to the Suli family for a feed and they SMASHED us with food! It was so delicious and one of the most filling times of my mission. Then we had dinner with the Mattocks and taught about them Temple! It was a great lesson and it made Yvette excited about the temple as well! :) 

19 months down... loving every minute of it.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Transfer week and a lot of administration work!

This week there was kinda a lot of administration so I am sorry if it is a little boring... but there were still miracles this week so here it is!
Monday (2.22.16)
We were able to go over to Mauigoa family! It was great to be with them. They have a son who is preparing to go on a mission and is 17 years old. We are excited for him and want to help him get ready. We were a bit late to their house because pretty much all day we were with Elder Cook at his Eye Doctor appointment. We are so happy because his eye is doing much better. It was okay that we used our missionary time at his appointment because it was important and I know as we sacrifice we will receive blessings:) Anyway, we were able to teach about the Mauigoa's the First Vision lesson and WOW it is just so powerful when we teach and testify about the Restoration of the Gospel! If you are EVER feeling a little low on the spirit just read some of Joseph Smith History.  Especially verses 17-19:) They are amazing!!!!

Tuesday (2.23.16)
Today was transfer day and everything was going super smoothly until about 9:00 am.  Ha ha! That is just my optimismic attitude which is always kicking in:) As a missionary you just expect good things to happen and MOST of the time they do! But this time the train from the Bush that was coming into the city got canceled and replaced by buses so it threw everything off... haha! But missionaries are good at improvising and we went to our backup plan.  Elder Eilers was transferring to Wantirna so we got him to the office around 10:00 am and after that it was really just a waiting game so that we could get the other Elder who was coming from the Bush District and take him to his new area.  

Saying goodbye to Elder Eilers! 
We will miss him but he will do good work in Wantirna!

One really nice thing happened as we were waiting for our Bush missionary to arrive on the bus.  I was able to see Elder and Sister McFaddenat the office on the last day of their mission because they are LEAVING!  They have finished their mission and they are going home. I was so shocked and I will miss them so much! I loved working with them so closely when I was lucky enoungh to serve with them for eight months in the Melbourne 2nd Branch in the city. It was also a little weird because the Sisters that started their mission with me (Sister Bradshaw and Sister Gilbert were in my district in the MTC and started their missions on the same day as me....August 13th, 2014) were leaving as well! It made me happy that I get to serve six more months.....I'm not ready to finish my mission yet!

Elder and Sister McFadden 
(Small world fact.....their son is my hometeacher in Fruit Heights!)

With all the transfer delays we ended up getting into our area to start our missionary work a little bit late and it was time to race to our appointment to teach the Clarke family. They are the best little old couple but they have the unfortunate habit of arguing with each other a lot. So it is really nice when we begin to share our message because the Spirit goes to work and peace is able to come into the home:) We shared a message on how we must do the small and simple things to progress and help others progress in the gospel. :) Then we were able to go over and teach Jason Harmon. He is an awesome guy and he is still battling with some of his addictions but it will be okay. We are just trying to help him build up his spiritual armour so he can get the strength to come back to church. 

Wednesday (2.24.16)
I have been able to form a very close connection with the Young family and the Robin family. They are the Mom and the non member dad and then the Grandma and Grandpa. It has been such a blessing to get to know them and have them see how much we love them. Elder Kim and I were so happy today when Brother and Sister Robins asked us to go with them to one of their other daughter's house. She is not a member and they wanted us to just talk with her. She has a lot of trials right now and she is also struggling with confidence and anxiety issues. We drove a little while up to her house and ate a great Subway lunch with her. I just felt so honored to be a representative of Jesus Christ and that the Robins would ask us to come and share our spirit their with her. It was a good visit. We really wanted to give her a blessing but unfortunately the circumstances didn't work out for that but I KNOW she felt the Spirit and just like it always does, it calmed her down.

After that we went for another feed at the Teremates. I love them very much! They are always so generous and kind to us! They truly make me feel like I really am one of their own children....which is so amazing! :) We weren't able to share a message with them but we got that in the following night because that is really the reason why we are here! Then we went and taught a lesson to Iain and Suzie. They are doing really good and we love to spend time teaching them more about the gospel  We just wanted to go over the program for Aaliyah's baptism and help Iain (Aaliyah's uncle) memorize the baptismal prayer:) Then we picked up Sio and went to Heather's house to basically just teach Aaliyah they same thing:)  We are so excited for her baptism on Saturday and so glad that her Uncle Iain will baptize her. After that we went to visit the Sili family and we were able to watch the Restoration of the Church DVD with them and help them feel the Spirit again! They are a semi less active family that we are trying to help come back to the gospel:)

Thursday (2.25.16)
District Leadership Council (DLC) was on the schedule for this morning and after that we had a baptismal interview to do! Our zone fell short of our goal of five baptims for the transfer but we did achieve three out of the five which is still great!  The Gippsland Zone is really improving a lot because last year January and February were really slow months for the zone.  After that we headed home so Elder Kim could finish his language study. It is really a requirment that we make time for his English language study. He is doing really well and he has good English skills but he finds it easier to understand people even better when he is really important and Elder Kim and I are committed to being 100% obedient to all the mission rules.  

Elder Kim studies English I study arachnids...Check out that spider!

At 3:00 pm we were able to get out and start doing missionary work and VISITING
PEOPLE! I was so antsy to get out today that I felt almost like I was escaping jail and I was finally free:) haha!  First, we went to see Monica. She is doing really well but she is just struggling to get to church because she is so tired from her work... but she is still so good and she knows the Gostpel is true. After that we went to visit with Melissa. We were working with her ages ago and right after we stopped visiting her she had a really hard experience because her kids were taken away from her by her ex-husband. So when we came around this time she felt like Heavenly Father was giving her a sign. She needs some help and we are really excited to help her and let the Gospel and the Spirit work miracles in her life!

We finished up by teach the Mattock kids, Jordan and Monique! They are sooooo ready for baptism and they are SET IN STONE for the 9th of April. Monique even has her dress and everything! :) It is so exciting!!! and then that was our day.

Friday (2.26.16)
Elder Kim and I decided that it would be best to go up to the Bush District meeting today instead of doing it on the phone because they only have them once per month. It turns into a road trip day because it takes about three hours round trip to get there. The missionaries are so isolated up there in the bush that when everyone does get together for meetings we all have to make sure to stay focused and on track because it can easily morph into a social event after the meetings are done. They are all amazing missionaries and I really love each one of them!

Selfie with the awesome Bush District!!!

It was about 3:00 pm again, when we were able to finally get down to the beloved land of Cranbourne and start our work. We had scheduled to visit Melissa but she was asleep so we took the opportunity to talk with her partner. He is really starting to warm up to us which is really nice:) We were scheduled to have dinner with the Falealo family which turned out to be a bit of a crazy thing because unfortunately there was no male in the home when we got there.She really wanted to have us come in and eat because she had made tons of yummy food. But as much as we wanted to and we didn't want to hurt her feelings....rules are rules and we as missionaries have to follow them. I said, "I am so sorry but we just can't"  She was so awesome and said it was fine and went in the house and brought our two massive trays just full of food! It ended up working out really great because it helped us meet up with brother Fesolai. He has four kids who are not baptized and he really likes us. It seems that he hasn't liked most missionaries so that is really good:) We are hoping to start working with him soon:) After that we went out to Daniel Angus' home, he is Heather's nephew, and he has a daughter that is ready to be baptized also so we are going to try and get her baptized in March! I know that through the LORD it WILL happen:)

Saturday (2.27.16)
We started out with Correllation meeting and an invitation for brunch and then it was time for Aaliyah's baptim!  You can always count on Satan working overtime when there are baptisms but he really went crazy with this one. There were soooo many things that tried to stop the baptism. But he can never win against the Spirit!!

We got there around 2:00 pm to fill up the font and it was pretty dirty so we had to clean it first and then fill it. So that was fine but then 3:30 pm rolls around and there is no Bishopric member! We had to wait another 40 minutes for someone to show up. Finally, by the time the baptismal ordinance was ready to happen....we found out someone had accidentally pushed the drain button and the font had drained about 3/4 of the way down! Then when there was finally enough water for her to be baptized her Uncle Iain actually had to do it three times because first, her toes and  then her dress came up and out of the water!!! The third time was the charm and Aaliyah was so happy to be baptized and it was great! The Lord makes everything work out in the end.  
Aaliyah's baptism day!!!

It was wonderful to have President and Sister Maxwell at the baptism!

After the baptism, our ward had an activity and it was GREAT!!!!!

Hanging out with some of awesome kids in our ward!

Missionary approved haircut......?

Elder Kim and I at the party! I just LOVE this ward!!!

Sunday (2.28.16)
For church today there was a multi-stake broadcast which was really great! It was really awesome because the Mattock kids (Jordan and Monique) came and Brother Young came too! Following the broadcast we prayed and told Heavenly Father we wanted to go visit to the Pattisons and if He wanted us to work with them at this time to please have them let us in and guess what????? THEY WERE HOME AND THEY LET US IN:) It was truly a miracle:) We taught Brother Pattison a great lesson and we are feeling very hopeful with the family:) After that we followed up with an African family we had met awhile back and they were home also!! We did a bit of How to Begin Teaching from Preach My Gospel with them and after that we were off to the Brugess family for a fabulous feed! We were so happy to be able to share the message of the blind man being healed and how it relates to baptism. There were some nonmembers there and it went really well with them!