Sunday, May 29, 2016

Amazing Week Down Under!

Monday (4.25.16)
Today was the senior couples P-day! Elder Eyring and I had a lot of fun sharing the day with them and being their taxi driver! We drove our 12 passenger van and it was packed with 12 amazing senior missionaries! 

Happy taxi for the senior couples outing.

We started the day at a small town called Sassafras. We went up and watched the Anzac Day (sort of like American Memorial Day) parade and then ate a lunch at a place called Miss Marples. 

Standing in front of Miss Marples Tea Cottage.

The food was SOOO yummy! We got spiders ( which is an ice cream soda drink) and I ordered an open faced sandwich that was delicious! 

The ony spider in Australia you can eat....or drink!!!

Open face salmon sandwich... Yum!

Then it was off to a MASSIVE garden! I think this was the garden that Mark Dibb (Mark served in Australia Melbourne and gave Tag lots of good information about the mission before he left) was talking about! On the way there we passed the Cockatoo restaurant, Mark told me about. We didn't eat there but I want to check it out for sure  after my mission. We stopped at a beautiful park where you can feed tons of birds. Unfortunately, everyone else in Melbourne had the same plan today! It was packed with so many people that we could barely move! We ended up walking around the gardens with President Maxwell talking about mission plans and some possible transfer changes! Then it was off to the mission home for a dinner with the Senior Couples to give a last goodbye to the Latteiers. (The Latteiers are a wonderful senior couple who served with Tag in the City Branch for eight months). That was our Monday fun day with the Senior missionaries!

Tuesday (4.26.16)
Today was a super busy day too!  We started out the day with a trip to the office to talk with the Senior Missionary Couple in charge of cars. We are trying to go through the K reports (kilometer reports for the amount the missionaries drive their cars) and see where we need to increase the allotment of kilometers for missionaries to drive and where we need to decrease the allotment. As Elder Eyring and I were busting through that job, we got a call from President Maxwell telling us that instead of meeting him in the office today, we needed to go with him and Sister Maxwell to an appointment right away so we could ferry a car back down to the office. One of the sister missionaries needed some quick assistance and President needed to get there as quickly as possible. All ended well with the Sister missionary and Elder Eyring and I had to go and check out some other things on the west end of the city anyways, so the abrupt change in our plans really ending up working in our favor. I have found that to be the case so many times on my mission. Every time I have something planned and the Lord has something else we need to accomplish it always works out wonderfully. I have learned to let Heavenly Father know I am willing and able to do ANYTHING He needs me to do to serve Him and his beloved sons and daughters and the day always turns out for the best!  
To finish the night, Elder Eyring and I headed back to the city so we cound do an interview for a baptism! It was totally awesome and after that it was time to head back to the Mission Home. We met with President Maxwell for a couple of minutes and then it was time to call it a night ourselves.

Wednesday (4.27.16)
Our day was just jam packed full of planning for the upcoming months! There are a few missionaries staying at the Mission Home so President Maxwell's time is a little bit tight but we finally got some time to meet with him and we had a great meeting with him that lasted about four hours.  After our meeting we ate a yummy dinner with the Maxwells and the other missionaries and got ready for a seminary devotional that was being held at the mission home.

Serving up a selfie and a smile before our devotional.

Elder Eyring and I were really happy to participate and work with these awesome young seminary students. We talked with them and did some roleplays on how they can become more confident while sharing the Gospel with friends. It is so wonderful to see kids preparing to share the Gospel before they are called to be full-time missionaries. The Lord is definitely preparing His future missionaries!

Thursday (4.28.16)
Today was one of those days where we didn't accomplish anything we had planned! But that is pretty much how my life as an Assistant to the President goes. Elder Eyring and I are here to serve President Maxwell and whenever he says we are going to meet.......that is when we are going to meet! And that is just fine with us. We LOVE being with him and we have learned SO much about being a faithful servant of the Lord from him. He is kind, loving and he knows so much about the Gospel! I absolutely love every minute I spend with President Maxwell and so does Elder Eyring! 

We spent the first part of the morning with Sister Horne in the office doing work on the key indicators. Following that we planned with President for a couple of hours on MLC (Mission Leadership Council) and we also got some planning in for the coming months as that was huge bonus!  After we finished with President, we got a call from Brother Kumarnasamy and he invited us to their home to get some delicious donuts from them and we were able to share a quick message with their wonderful family! It was a great night being able to share a message again! I LOVE TEACHING THE GOSPEL!!! 

After we left the Kumarnasamy's we had a meeting with some STL's (Sister Training Leaders) on the East side of the city. When we were done with our meeting they asked us if we were hungry because they had some extra KFC!!! We are ALWAYS hungry...especaily for KFC so it was a huge blessing they were so kind to share with us!

Friday (4.29.16)
Lots of office work was on the schedule for today. However, when we got to the office we remembered it was a mission temple day today. So that meant there were a lot of missionaries in the office. We love seeing them and visiting with all of them but that means it is tough to get much office work done. So we shifted gears and helped shuttle missionaries to train stations and every where else they needed to go.  After all the missionaries were gone we helped the office staff recover from the bombardment of missionaries!  We all love having the missionaries visit in the office but sometimes it places us a few steps back! We also were able to meet with president after he finished some work. President, Elder Eyring and I met together and came up with our final plans for our MLC (Mission Leadership Council: a monthly training meeting with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders) this coming Tuesday:) After our busy day we were blessed to have an appointment with the Jonnasons for dinner! It was great to be with an amazing family, eating a yummy dinner and sharing the gospel with them! It doesn't get any better than that for a missionary! You realize how truly wonderful teaching the gospel is when you aren't able to do it every day anymore!

Saturday (4.30.16)
Because we didnt get hardly ANYTHING done in the mission office this past week with everything else that came up we were happy to finally have a day with the office to ourselves and the Linders (A wonderful senior missionary couple that Tag loves very much!) I had to make a few charts for the upcoming MLC and I also worked on a countdown for our baptism goal by the end of June! Elder Eyring and I are really just trying to think outside the box and come up with ways we can better help the mission:)

Rockin' to Motab... not really, just training.

The Linders were so kind to bring us lunch again (the Linders are so sweet to Elder Steele and Elder Eyring) so we took a quick break and had a great lunch with them and then it was off to Sister Horne's son's basketball game! We were able to go because he invited a friend who is not a member to come to his game too. His team won the game so that was a bonus and a great outing for us! 

Sister Horne's son after winning their game!

After the game, we jetted off to the city to attend a baptism with President and Sister Maxwell. It was such a great blessing to be able to see two baptisms in the city! This baptism was very special to me because one of them was the husband of a wonderful woman I worked with last May when I went back to the city the 2nd time. It was a blessing to help teach her last year as she was working to come back to church. It was an amazing surprise to see her husband be baptized!

So amazing to see the blessings the gospel brings to families.

It was also a highlight for me because I was able to see the the wonderful Goodall family!  They are doing great and it was soooo amazing! I was able to give Hannah a blessing and that was very special to me. She has turned in her mission papers and I am so happy for her. She will be an absolutely amazing missionary!!

 So happy to see the Goodall Famiy!!!

Sunday (5.1.16)
Another Fast Sunday has been put down in the books!! There are just not that many left! I cannot believe how fast my mission is going, I love serving in the Australia Melbourne Mission so much! Elder Eyring and I went to the office early today because now every Fast Sunday the APs are in charge of an fireside for investigators! It is a great opportunity and we love to see all the missionaries and their investigators. We worked on getting musical numbers scheduled and contacted recent converts to bear testimony! Luckily, we were invited to go over to a member's house for an early dinner before we had to shoot off to Deer Park to conduct the Fireside!  We spent about three hours in the car today completing all our duties. It was quite a wonderful Sabbath day and I was VERY HAPPY to be able to fast today!

Fast Sunday drive to our fireside.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Transfer Week!

Monday (4.18.16)
Even though it was P-day today, we spent most of the day working in the office doing logistics work and prepping for the day to come……tomorrow is TRANSFER DAY!  We did take a bit of a break and played a quick game of basketball in the gym. Only missionaries would play basketball in suits! It was a lot of fun though and gave us a much needed break from all the transfer work. Then we went to Deer Park to a Factory Outlet store so I could get a suit! I only have one suit that fits me and because I have worn it almost EVERY DAY since I started as an AP, it was really starting to become a little shabby looking. We found a good suit for a huge bargain price. I know the Lord always finds a way to provide for his missionaries!  After we got the suit we went back to city to "Stalactites", the Greek Slovakia place where Elder Eyring and I love to eat! We stopped by for Family Home Evening before we had to shoot off to the airport to pick up the incoming Tasmania missionaries that were coming back up to the main land for transfers.

Making a fashion statement in our bucket hats.

Tuesday (4.19.16)
TRANSFER DAY and that just really sums it up!  We started the day early by coming to the office to try and persuade people to not congregate in the office. President Maxwell, Elder Eyring and I decided we are going to have to come up with a new strategy because we weren’t very successful. Missionaries still packed up the office just as much but we love to see them so it is all good!  On transfer day, Elder Eyring and I just spend the day in the office in case anything happens or to answer questions from missionaries who call with problems. The most crazy and exciting thing that happened this transfer was a missionary who was only able to get 2 of his 3 bags on the train. When the missionaries dropping him off showed up back at the office with his bag we knew the missionary drop had only been partially successful! This missionary was now about two hours away from the office so we had to get creative and arrange another way to get the bag to him. After all the transfer excitement died down, we had a “Train the Leaders” meeting with President and Sister Maxwell and all the new leaders in the mission. It was my 2nd one and I reflected being in that meeting as a new leader myself last year. It doesn’t seem that long ago but I couldn’t help thinking….."Where has the time really gone?” My mission has been so amazing and I can’t help hoping for time to slow down just a little bit!

As part of the new leader training meeting there is time for questions and feedback and that was really great. After the meeting it was time for the dinner and testimony meeting we always have with the departing missionaries that are going home the next day. It is always great to eat with them and hear stories and finish with a wonderful testimony meeting. Today was amazing but Elder Eyring and I were beat by the end of the day. But I never mind being tired......I love doing missionary work until I am tired enough to drop. It is for the  Lord and I love to serve!

Wednesday (4.20.16)
We got up at the crack of dawn to get to the office at 6:30 am. We had to be there early so we could load up a 50 seater private motor coach with all the missionaries that were in the first drop of missionaries who are going home.

A 50 seater motor coach... now that's a missionary mover!

Their flights ranged from about 8:00 am which is the first flight out to about 12:30 pm which is the last flight out. When we got to the airport, Elder Eyring and I got everyone into the main terminal and then we rushed down to a different terminal to send the new Elders and Sisters who would be serving in Tasmania on their flights. 

Delivering missionaries to Tasmania.

After that we raced over to the international terminal to meet up with the rest of the missionaries who were going home. Elder Badger (from my hometown) was part of the departing group of missionaries... so it was a bit hard to say goodbye to him. He is an awesome missionary and I learned a lot from him! Now it is just Elder Feigleson and I holding down the fort from the 84037! (Kaysville/Fruit Heights zip code!)

The schedule works out that after we say goodbye to all the departing missionaries, it is time to welcome all of the Golden (brand new missionaries arriving in the Australia Melbourne Mission) missionaries. It is amazing but WOW!  It is a pretty fast turn around!! After we get all their bags and take care of everything at the airport it is time for the ride with the new missionaries back to the mission home. 

Precious cargo.... a fresh batch of Goldens (brand new missionaries)!

After we get to the mission home, we have a quick lunch with them and introduce them their trainers. After that, we take them back to the office where we do some training and assign their new companions. This is a great experience but the time crunch makes it a little bit of a stressful time. We don’t have much time and we want everything to be perfect. We had about 20 minutes to assign the Goldens to their trainers and there were about 15 new missionaries to assign!

In addition, if that was not enough pressure the Maxwells were catching a 7:30 pm flight to Tasmania with their son and daughter in law who are visiting for the week! It was a huge blessing that we got done with everything for the new missionaries at about 5:00 pm. All I can say is…..WOW! It was such a miracle getting to the airport! We weren’t able to leave until about 5:30 pm and that is rush hour getting into the city. I can honestly say it  was probably one of THE MOST STRESSFUL DRIVES I HAVE MADE IN MY LIFE!!!!  I am happy to report that with much faith and prayers we made it to the airport in time for them to catch their flight! It was such a huge relief because we all wanted so badly for the Maxwell family to make their flight to Tasmania. It was a HUGE relief!

Thursday (4.21.16)
Today started off with our fourth trip to the airport this week! This time it was to drop off a trainer and two Goldens (brand new missionaries) who were lucky enough to be going down to Tasmania! It was great to see them going and the excitement that were on these new missionary’s faces:) 

More happy missionaries headed for Tazzy.

After we finished at the airport we needed to deliver four bikes to an area that was about two hours away! It was a great errand because we were able to meet up with the Melton (Samoan) Elders and the Melton (English) Elders for a quick lunch and a great visit with them! After that we set off to do an exchange with the Zone Leaders! It involved a bit of driving but we had about two hours to be with these great Zone Leaders! First we talked with them about the zone and how we can help and support them and then we went out and tracted in the rain! I was lucky to be with Elder Jensen while we were tracting. I love Elder Jensen....I was his first Zone Leader last year at this time when I was serving in Narre Warren so it was really good to be back with him! He is a great missionary! It was such a satisfying feeling, knocking on doors in the rain knowing we were out doing the right thing! We found some success and then we went to dinner with the Zone Leaders at their dinner appointment with some members! It was a great experience. We ended up spending about five hours in our car traveling but it was totally worth it!

Friday (4.22.16)
It was a bit of a quiet day today. It was actually very welcome after the excitement and business of the week so far. We started off with a District Leadership Council meeting in Maroondah and then we headed back to the office to do some post transfer work. It took quite a bit of time because we did our work and then helped the flat, car, and finance senior couples with some things. We love being in the office and assisting in any way we can!

After we finished with our office work we went to the mission home for a quick lunch because the Maxwells are still in Tasmania! However, later this evening we made our 6th trip to the airport this week to pick up the Maxwells and their family from their trip to Tasmania! It was great to be able to be with them on the way home and hear all about their adventures down under......literally:) I love Tasmania and it made me really excited for the next time we go down there.

Saturday (4.23.16)
The day finally came when Monique and Jordan Matlock were finally baptized!! It was a wonderful day and I was sooo happy that I was able to be there for this amazing and sacred event!  The whole Mattock family was so happy to see me and that meant a lot to me! It was amazing being able to talk with Yvette after her children had been baptized and the gratitude she expressed to me as she thanked me for helping her children come to church was overwhelming. I simply responded,”It was a true honor for me that Heavenly Father chose me to be an instrument in helping your beloved children grow in the gospel". I want everyone to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true! I have honestly seen too many miracles and seen the hand of the Lord so much in HIS work to ever doubt its truthfulness!

Jordan and Monique's baptism.

After the baptism, we were able to visit the Uini family and share a short message with them. We were also blessed to meet with Geoff Mulipola! it was so great being able to share some time with them and feel how much they love having me around! I guess you really do not know how close you are to some people until you no longer have the option to visit them whenever you please. It really makes me appreciate all the people I dearly love even more! After that we were blessed to go to the Chinese Zone baptisms! They had four baptisms so it was really wonderful to share the joy of the missionaries, the ward members and especially the wonderful new converts! This was our tenth baptism for this week which was really exciting! The Lord is blessing the missionaries and He is trying to hasten His work here in Melbourne!

Sunday: (4.24.16)
We attended church and then we were able to go and visit with some families that I love and got to know when I was here in Dandenong for the first time last May. After that we met with President Maxwell for a little while and then it was off to a pot luck with the Thams and the Kumarnasamys! They are awesome families and both Elder Eyring and I love being with them!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Great Ocean Road and TONS of pictures!

Monday (4.11.16)
This was a wonderful P-day! Sister Almond is going home this week so President Maxwell gave us permission to take the Dandenong Zone Leaders and Sister Almond and her companion, Sister Tupu, to the Great Ocean Road for Sister Almond's last P-day. It took us about four hours because we kept stopping to see all the beautiful sights. Get ready for picture overload!

Nothing beats a road trip... Especially when it's on the "Great Ocean Road," which twists around the Aussie coast line.

The Great Ocean Road.

One of the many look out points on the Great Ocean Road.

They call this "The Grotto."

One of the amazing things to see on the Great Ocean Road is a place called the Twelve Apostles. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Melbourne and I can see why. 
This will definitely be a place I want to show you when we come back to Melbourne after my mission. 
Dandenong Zone Leadership
L to R: Sister Almond, Sister Tupu, Elder Eyring, Me,
Elder Wiser and Elder Ferris

These beautiful rock formations are known as the 12 Apostles
This has to be a contender for the most scenic "selfie"!

Hey... I'm finally taller than Elder Eyring!

Not the choke hold... I promise never to pretend to be taller than Elder Eyring again!

I'm on top of the world... I mean the bottom of the world?

Tuesday (4.12.16)
We had MLC (Mission Leadership Council – where President and Sister Maxwell, the APs, the Sister Training Leaders and the Zone Leaders have a monthly meeting) all day today! It was really uplifting. We were blessed to have Elder Dudefield meet with us to help instruct us on the transition that will be coming in July when the Maxwells finish their missionary service and the new mission president arrives. Peter Vidmar, the Olympic gold medalist, will be the Australia Melbourne Mission President starting July 2016. I love the Maxwells and I will miss them with all my heart but I will work my hardest to make sure the transition to President Vidmar is super smooth.

I have always loved MLC meetings because it is such a blessing to meet with all the amazing leaders in our mission. However, this MLC as an AP, I looked at it from a bit of a different perspective. I came to the realization that before Elder Eyring and I were Assistants we used to have zones that we looked after and uplifted. Well now, the MLC has turned into our Zone. Elder Eyring and I and President and Sister Maxwell are responsible for uplifting and edifying the MLC. It is a wonderful opportunity and I am grateful for every single missionary in the Australia Melbourne Mission. They are the best!

After the MLC, we went to dinner with the Maxwells and the three Sister Missionaries that were leaving for home the following day. The wonderful Sisters that have finished their missions are: Sister Tihoni from Tahiti, Sister Zhang from China and Sister Almond from Cedar City, Utah

Wednesday (4.13.16)
Today started bright and early! We needed to be at the mission home at 7:30 am to take Sister Almond to the Airport. It is a great thing I like going to the airport. I think we have been there at least 12 times in the past few weeks! We seriously go to the airport about three times a week! But it is great and I love doing the Lord’s work no matter what it is! Transporting missionaries on time and safely is very important!

Saying goodbye to three amazing Sister missionaries at the airport:
Sister Almond, Sister Zhang and Sister Tihoni

We miss all the missionaries that go home, but it was super sad to see Sister Almond leave. She is the senior Sister Training Leader in the mission and all of the Sisters in the mission really look up to her. After we finished at the airport we had to drop off President and Sister Maxwell at a lunch meeting in the city and so while they were busy we decided to go to the Chinese Zone Meeting. It was a really great zone meeting! It is a bit hard for me to understand gospel conversations in Chinese but when they are speaking normal Chinese I can still understand quite a bit of what they are saying thanks to the many years of Chinese classes I took in Junior High and High School... I'm so glad I listened to what my teachers were telling me all those years!

After the Chinese Zone Meeting, we picked up the Maxwells from their lunch appointment and we all went back to the office to finish some work.  The Australia Melbourne Mission office staff is the best in the world and we really like working with them and helping answer their questions.  When we finished at the office if was time for Round 2 at the airport! This time we took Sister Tihoni and Sister Zhang so they could fly home. We ate a bit of dinner with them at the airport and said our goodbyes. It was a great day, but a long day because we didn’t get home until about 10:40 pm.

Thursday (4.14.16)
Today we planned to work on the upcoming transfers for most of the day. We arrived at the mission home around 10:00 am to get started with transfers!!  Unfortunately, a lot of other unexpected things came up so transfers kind of got pushed to the back seat. President Maxwell had an unexpected meeting so we drove him there so we could use the travel time to talk about transfers. Once President Maxwell finished his appointment, Elder Eyring and I had the great blessing of taking him to a baptismal interview for a family of five that will be baptized this week! It was so amazing to see a family come into the gospel:) After that we picked up Sister Maxwell from an outing she was on with some of the Senior Sisters at a beautiful garden in Melbourne. We finished the night by picking up some KFC for dinner and going back to the mission office and buckling down on transfers!

Friday (4.15.16)
WE WORKED ON TRANSFERS ALMOST ALL DAY LONG!!! Wow! It is such an amazing process! We start by taking all the missionaries and we switch them around and we pray about things and it is truly amazing how all the missionaries just go into new areas. 

Looking forward to a GREAT transfer day!

I had no idea how we were going to do things and at times it seemed a daunting task but it was a miracle to watch. It truly seemed as the missionaries were reassigned to different areas everything just fit into the right place. It was a really special experience to witness the Lord’s hand as President Maxwell received revelation for the missionaries. Elder Eyring and I were really just there to give some suggestions and help with some of the logistics of the transfer. 

Saturday (4.16.16)
We finished most of the transfer work on Friday because the Maxwell’s son and daughter in law were flying in today. We wanted to make sure President and Sister Maxwell could spend lots of time with them and not have to worry about transfers. We went over to the mission office early in the morning so we could meet together and discuss transfers. We had all pondered and prayed really hard to know the Lord's will for this transfer and we wanted to talk about it one last time after thinking and praying about it overnight. We made a few last minute changes and then Elder Eyring and I were ready to figure out all the logistics of the transfers. This honestly took the whole rest of the day!!

We needed to figure out how missionaries were going to get down to Tasmania and then how the missionaries who were leaving Tasmania would get up here and who their temporary companions would be. After that, we moved on to the missionaries who were going to be training this transfer. We needed to figure out where they were going to stay temporarily until their new goldens (the Australia Melbourne Mission calls new missionaries…..goldens and not greenies) arrived on transfer day.

Elder Eyring and I working the phones at  "Transfer Headquarters"

After we finished with those logistics we moved on to making the flat changes, the phone changes and then finally on to the car changes!  Before being an AP, I had NO idea how many details there are to consider with transfers. Luckily, the Linders (an awesome senior couple) were at the office helping us. They were so nice to get us some lunch and we had a very enjoyable time with them.

We love the Linders! They helped us so much and even brought us lunch!

Finally, we had to make lots of phone calls to finish up the transfer.  We called all the zone leaders and informed them of the changes so they could call the missionaries in their zones the following night to get the transfer news out. We were also able to call most of the trainers and help encourage them that training a “golden” (brand new missionary) is a calling from the Lord and He had someone special coming to the Australia Melbourne Mission that THEY had been selected to train!!! They were the only ones that would be a perfect fit.

Sunday (4.17.16)
We had a great day visiting another ward today. We were blessed to have dinner with the Tham family from our ward and after that we went back to the office to work on some last minute transfer logistics. It was a wonderful week and I have learned you NEVER know what is going to pop up in the mission:) My life here is just PACKED with missionary adventures and I love it SO much!