Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Great Week with Office Work, Golden Review and Baptisms!

Monday (5.9.16)
After our office meeting today we were able to play basketball for a couple of hours. It was a blast and gave Elder Eyring and I some much needed physical exercise. After we finished our basketball game much needed haircuts were on the agenda!  We got our hair cut at a place called Phresh. It is a barbershop owned by some members of the church. It is a great place because most of their clientele are Islanders! We love to go to the shop and visit with all the great people getting their hair cut too. The best thing of all though is they love missionaries and they cut missionaries hair for free! Another reason Elder Eyring and I love getting our hair cut at Phresh is they are so creative that EVERY time I go there they cut my hair a bit differently but it always looks great! After our haircuts we raced home to shower and then we met with President Maxwell for the rest of the night.

Tuesday (5.10.16)
Today was a great day because we were able to go back into the city for a city district meeting! It was great to be back and it was a blast from the past to be back in the District where I was blessed to serve as a District Leader. It was a great meeting and as a huge bonus we were able to spend some time with two of our amazing new Goldens (new missionaries are known as goldens not greenies in the Australia Melbourne Mission!)  Because both Elder Erying and I were privileged to serve in the city for so long we tend to find ourselves gravitating to the city. Don’t get me wrong, as Assistants to the President we both LOVE and revere all the areas in the Australia Melbourne Mission but we both have a soft spot in our hearts for the City. 

View of Melbourne City...I love it!

Following the District Meeting we got a call from President asking if we would be able to drive to Shepparton with him and Sister Maxwell. We love to spend every minute we can with the Maxwells so we jumped at the chance to go on a long drive with them. So we raced back to the office and we finished up some last minutes things and then it was off to the mission home to meet the Maxwells for the long drive to Shepparton. President Maxwell was going up there to set apart a missionary who was leaving the following day from the Shepparton District. We had a great time driving up there and we were able to talk about the new Guideline books that we are working on. After we were finished, we listened to conference talks all the way home! Since we all love listening to conference talks it was a great way to end the night.

Wednesday (5.11.16)
Golden Review day today! This is when all of the Goldens (brand new missionaries in the Australia Melbourne Mission) and their trainers come to the office to meet with President and Sister Maxwell and the APs. It is a great day because we reveiw and test them on the commitments that we gave them on the very first day they arrived in the mission. We also give them some trainings and they give some  practice trainings too! These are outstanding missionaries and it is truly great to be able to be with all of them! However, because we have so much to cover it always ends up being a SUPER long meeting. Today it went from about 1:30 to 5:30 pm. After the Golden Review, Elder Eyring and I got caught up on some office work. 

Elder Eyring and I found a map of our mission area in KFC!

When we were finished our office responsibilities, the Maxwells invited us to come to the mission home and share some dessert with Albury Elders and them. The Albury Elders are are staying at the mission home temporarily. Dessert was delicious and spending time with the Maxwells was wonderful. I know I say this all the time but I LOVE to be with the Maxwells. I have learned so much about Christlike love and devotion from them.

Thursday (5.12.16)
Elder Eyring and I went into the city again today to meet with the Chinese District Leader Council. It was great being with these faithful and amazing Elders and Sisters!  We had a wonderful meeting as we all discussed how we can achieve our goals and how we can continue to build upon and increase the faith the Australia Melbourne Mission already has. It was heart warming to hear a Chinese missionary comment to Elder Eyring and I, "Ever since you two have been together as APs the mission has really picked up and the Chinese missionaries are seeing an increase of faith which is bringing an increase of success!” We thought that was really kind of him to say but both Elder Eyring and I know it isn’t from us. Heavenly Father is blessing the Australia Melbourne Mission as we all work together to be 100% obedient.

Following the meeting, Elder Eyring and I took the Chinese Zone Leaders, Elder Lee and Elder Deng, to a spicy Chinese restaurant called Flaming Temptation. We laughed about four missionaries in a restaurant with that name..ha ha! It lived up to its name. We had the spiciest noodles I HAVE EVER EATEN!! We were all just sitting there sweating together as we ate those flaming spicy noodles! It was great though! 

Smiles before the flames!

After lunch, Elder Eyring and I were able to GQ in the City the rest of the day! First we started out  GQing (GQing is street contacting near large public areas in Melbourne where they ask “golden questions (GQs) …usually Tag GQs at the public library in Melbourne. He loves to GQ!) with the Chinese Zone Leaders. Next we grabbed the City English speaking Elders and the Golden Elder Chen and we finished up with the awesome City Sisters! 
IT WAS AMAZING TO BE BACK IN THE CITY!!!! :) I was blessed to have a wonderful conversation with a man I met while GQing. His name was Song and he has been investigating the church on and off for about three years. He told me he had regularly attended church at the branch in China!!! He was so prepared to hear the gospel again however, he was leaving to go back to China tomorrow! I was so glad I was able to talk with him for a while and replant that seed and the excitement of the Gospel back into his heart. He told me he would go back to the church in China and talk about meeting me in downtown Melbourne! I have so much respect and love for the Chinese saints. They are truly modern pioneers!

After our wonderful afternoon of GQing we raced back to Pakenham and had dinner at the Gourlies, Elder Eyring and I love the Gourlies! They are a senior missionary couple who work in the office and take care of all the issues with cars. We have gotten really close to them and it was great to be with them in their home. They fed us a yummy dinner and we shared a message with them!

We call Elder Gourlie the "Mad Hatter" because he has so many cool hats!

Friday (5.13.16)
We went to the Narre Warren District Leader Council today. This is the District Elder Eyring and I are in now so it was great to be with them. We got some really exciting news during the meeting. We found out a family of nine is going to be baptized in the Samoan Ward on the 28th of May! Wow! The Lord is really blessing the mission. After the meeting we spent most of the day in the office doing office work. This week has really been heavy on work in the office. It is necessary because we are trying to get everything prepared for the Vidmars (the new mission president taking over for President Maxwell) arrival on July 1st. After we finished with our office work we met with President Maxwell. Sister Maxwell invited us to have dinner with her, President, and the Albury Elders. It was really fun because we made home made pizzas!  It was good to be able to spend time with Maxwells and the Albury Elders! :) 

Saturday (5.14.16)
Today was wonderful because we had Baptisms to go to! As a mission we had nine baptisms this week. Statistically speaking, that puts us at 18 baptisms for the month and 130 baptisms for the year. We are starting to see an increase of success in the mission. But don’t get me wrong….people aren’t statistics and most importantly those numbers represent 130 people who now have the joy of the Gospel in their lives!  

We started out the day by joining the Lynnbrook area’s baptism. It was incredible because this was the first baptism in this area in over two years!  While we were waiting for the baptism to start, we were able to give a chapel tour to an investigator while the Elders were running around doing last minute things to prepare for the baptism. After that it was off to the Hampton Park area's baptism! It was so wonderful to see a Less Active Part-Member family come together and witness the baptism of their daughter! We finished up the day at Toko's house. We had a great lesson with them and taught Norirora and Elizabeth about Faith and why it is so important. 

Saying goodbye to the great Elder Lavaka! On his way to serve in the Philippines!

Sunday (5.15.16)
It was a great Sabbath Day! Elizabeth came to church and that made us so happy. She seemed to enjoy it and stayed for the entire three hour block and got to know some more members of the ward. After our own church was over, we were able to go to the Doncaster Ward. So you might be asking yourself ……. “Hmmm, why would Tag go to another ward after just getting finished with his own?” Well, let me tell you…..I  got a call from John Rouche (Tag baptized John when he was serving in Doncaster and dearly loves him!) asking if I would be able to go to his ward after my church got over to give him the Melchizedek Priesthood!!!! I was SO happy! It was amazing to see him John and participate in the sacred ordinance of his advancement in the Priesthood! John is so happy and doing well!  

John Rouche received the Melchizedek Priesthood!

It was also touching to me to see how excited the ward was when I was able to meet with them again! It is amazing to see the people you love so much when you have been gone and the impact that you make when you are blessed  to come back and see them. I love the Doncaster Ward so much and it was heartwarming to be with them. They said I was a great impact on their ward but I told them THEY had the greatest impact on me as a young missionary!

After we left Doncaster, we raced off to two other baptisms on both the East and West sides of the mission! We finished up the day with dinner with President and Sister Maxwell and after dinner we ran back to our flat to get our stuff because we had to spend the night with the Maxwells at the mission home. We stayed with them because they had an 8:00 am flight to catch and we had to leave by 5:30 am to get them to the airport on time. Elder Eyring and I always love staying at the mission home, so it was really nice to be able to sleep there tonight and then drive them this morning!  

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