Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Week of Wonderful Meetings!

Monday (6.13.16)
The reason why we emailed so late on Monday was because as a mission we were extremely blessed! We had two general Auxiliary Leaders visit our mission, Sister Linda Reeves and Sister Carol McConkie!  In addition to these awesome sisters Elder Dudefield and Elder Nielson of the Seventy came too! I was given the opportunity to conduct this special missionary meeting. It was really an honor to have that opportunity! It was a great experience to meet with them and get to know them a little bit. I sang in a missionary choir in the meeting and then after the meeting a few of us were selected by Sister Maxwell to sing to a small group of Australian Public Affairs officials, the General Auxiliary Leaders and the Seventies and their wives. But before I get ahead of myself, because I was conducting, I got there early to run through the program with Elder Nielson before everything started. As I walked into the room, he looked me right in the eyes and gave me a huge hug! Then he went on to say to everyone in the room, “We are looking at a future leader in the church. I am so glad I was able to meet you, Elder Steele!” His kind words made me feel warm and happy from the tips of my toes to the top of my head! After his wonderful greeting to me we reviewed the agenda and started the meeting! It was a great meeting and I know all of the missionaries in the Australia Melbourne Mission felt extremely blessed to be part of it! I really was inspired at all of their words and I felt so fortunate that Heavenly Father sent them to us. Anyway, as the meeting concluded during the closing hymn while we were singing, Elder Nielson leaned over and whispered some very nice things to me. I will never forget his words and I will spend my life living up to the trust he has in me. It was an amazing experience and I am so humbled he took the time to share his thoughts with me!

The special missionary meeting with Elder Nielsen, Elder Dudefield, Sister McConkie and Sister Reeves. I was blessed to conduct the meeting. You can see the back of me in the gray suit, sitting next to Elder Nielsen with Sister McConkie at the pulpit.

Tuesday (6.14.16)
Today was the Gippsland Zone Conference!  It was great to be back in the Zone that I love so very much! 
The Gippsland Zone that I love so much! My old companion, Elder Kim is on the left!

 It was a great conference and I was able to see a lot of members from the Devon Meadows Ward because they organized the lunch for us! Lets just say I have really missed the wonderful Islander way of feeding missionaries!  It was so delicious and we got SMASHED with food. I honestly can’t remember ever being SO STUFFED! The only bad thing was after lunch it was a serious battle to stay awake during the remainder of the trainings! Not really.....just kidding. Following the meeting, President Maxwell had some interviews so Elder Jensen and I played taxi cab for the missionaries that had to catch trains back to their areas. 
The Taxi Van! We smashed eight Elders in the should have seen some of the looks we got when we unloaded them at the train station!

After President’s interviews were done we had to quickly drive the President and Sister Maxwell to the Blackburn chapel where they were giving a presentation to an interfaith group. It was a great opportunity because there were all sorts of different religions attending the meeting. It will be great exposure for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!  While they were in the meeting, Elder Jensen and I went to visit Dawn Watson. Elder Sifuentes and I used to visit her all the time when I was in Doncaster. It was great to see her. When she opened the door she was super surprised and she said, "Oh my goodness... you are actually here! Out of ALL the missionaries I have met I think of you the most for some reason. Elder Steele, you are one special person." I thought that was really nice of her to say. I really love being with her and I was so happy I had the chance to teach her more about the Gospel today. After we finished visiting her, we picked up the Maxwells. 

We couldn’t believe we were hungry again after our amazing lunch but somehow we all were. So President and Sister Maxwell took us to a place called Sofia's. THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD!  The restaurant easily had the biggest portion sizes I have ever seen here in Australia. So by the end of the night I had reached my limit and I was stuffed beyond measure!

This was a pasta dish we ordered to was MASSIVE!

The delicious food at Sofia's! This is a restaurant that is definitely on the list for  when we return to Melbourne as a family after my mission!

Wednesday (6.15.16)
Today was the Maroondah and Melbourne City Chinese Zone Conferences. It was GREAT again to be with another Zone that is dear to my heart. It was also amazing to be with Elder Eyring again. We were just so happy to be with each other again! He hasn’t been gone from being my AP companion very long but I have really missed him! 

 Maroondah Zone!

Chinese Zone. Steele and Eyring back together baby!

A fun picture of ALL the Chinese speaking missionaries except for the three that are  currently serving in Tasmania!

Most Zone Conferences go about seven or eight hours but this one went for a very long time! It was a good thing we were super close to the mission office because that meant that we didn’t have a long drive ahead of us when it was over. When we got back we needed to meet with President Maxwell on a few issues that had come up. After our meeting with him, Elder Jensen and I called it a night!

Thursday (6.16.16)
It was the Heidelberg and Craigieburn Zone Conference today. It was GREAT again to be with another Zone that I have loved so much! I truly love all the Zones but I just love being with the Zones where I have been a Zone Leader!  It is a real treat and a gave me a very special feeling. This was a VERY long conference. We have found that this round of Conferences are going much  longer because this is the Maxwell’s last zone conferences. Really it is the Maxwell’s last time seeing all thce missionaries. So we take lots of pictures and there is lots of visiting and hugging our wonderful Mission President and his amazingly wonderful wife, Sister Maxwell!  

Craigieburn Zone! 

The happy Heidlberg Zone!

We didn’t actually leave the chapel until around 7:00 pm.  After we dropped off the Maxwells at the mission home Elder Jensen and I went over to the Gourlie’s house for some Fish and Chips so we could talk about some urgent car situations. I love being with the Gourlies. They are a great couple and working with them in the office has been wonderful. I have really been able to form a great relationship with them and learn a lot from them!

Friday (6.17.16)
All I can say is, “This week was awesome!” Every single Zone Conference we went to was one where I had been a Zone Leader over one of the Zones. Today it was Braeside and Narre Warren and it was OUR LAST ONE!!!  

 The Narre Warren Zone.....that is the zone Elder Jensen and I are in!

Last but not least....the Braeside zone!

It was awesome to see two Elders I love very much...Elder Wiser and Elder Theurer!

I really love Zone Conference but by the very last one it can get a tiny bit tiresome giving the same training. But the spirit is ALWAYS amazing and I really am able to get so much out of EVERY meeting I am blessed to attend! This Zone Conference got over relatively early because the Maxwells had a prior commitment that just could not be rescheduled. This was TOTALLY fine with Elder Jensen and I. We were so happy to use the unexpected time to actually visit with a family! We went over to the Danielson’s home and they gave us a referral of a Cook Island family that we can start working with AND a Less Active Part member family! We came away from their home absolutely PUMPED! We are so grateful for members that assist us with missionary work! It truly is the best way to teach people!

Saturday (6.18.16)
Last night we arranged for one of the nephews of the Danielsons that gave us the referral to come with us to the less active, part member family!  It was great because we were able to meet Carlos. As we chatted with him and invited him to church we found out that about going to church is that he didn’t have a shirt and a tie to wear. Carlos and I are about the same size, so I GLADLY donated one of my white short sleeve shirts and some ties to a great cause! I am really hoping he will come to church tomorrow! Then we went to the west side to GQ with the Deer Park Zone Leaders for a bit! It was great to be with them and finally do some finding! I was able to find a really awesome man named Marcel. He is from the Congo and he had heard about the Book Of Mormon. He told us he had  come to the station asking God to help him know what he needed to do next with his life. That is when we met him and he recognized that by meeting us he had received an answer to his prayers, telling him that meeting with missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is what he needed to be doing! It  was a real miracle and I am glad that the Deer Park Elders will be able to start working with him. He is an amazing man, he has previously been a pastor in the Protestant Church! After we finished with the Deer Park Elders we raced to Dandenong for a baptism the Zone Leaders were having! It was sp great to see  another baptism in Dande. After that we went out to see the Zone Leaders in Gippsland to pick up some stuff and be with them. They just happened to be at the Teremates so it was AWESOME to see my Australian Mom and Dad that I love SO much!  Following a short visit with them, we jetted off to dinner with the Maxwells to talk about some possible mid transfers. That was the end of a great and very productive day!

Sunday (6.19.16)
First off ,I want to just tell my dad HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!! I love you dad!! Thanks for being the BEST IN THE WORLD!!!! This was one of those days when you really just NEVER know what is going to happen! All our plans for the day changed immediately when we got a call from President saying he needed our help. But first off, Elizabeth came to church and that was great! However, we were sad that Carlos wasn’t able to make it to church. Anyways, some of our missionaries had a phone that broke so we didn’t have any way to get in touch with them. President asked us to find them and get a new phone to them so they could be in contact with the mission office.  So because we couldn’t call them (their phone was broken) all we could really do was sit outside their flat to wait for them until they got home. That lasted from about 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm! They were at church and then they had a dinner appointment. When they got home we were able to have a really good talk with them and deliver their new phone so we could get in touch with them in the future whenever we needed to. This all happened on the West Side of the city. So by the time we got home it was about 10:00 pm we only had time to eat a quick bite and go to bed.

As you can see it was a great week and I LOVE my mission!

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