Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December 14, 2015: Australia Week 14

We had a whopping 2 people at church on Sunday (we're working on it) and both my companion and I gave talks. This place is quite an experience. We had a baptism date for John, our long-term investigator, but he fell through...again. He's in his early 20s and has said he's felt the Spirit with us before and can tell that we're telling the truth, but he's one of those people who says he has visions all the time and thinks that every one of his dreams has some massive significance, like they're all a puzzle and his future depends on whether or not he can figure them out. He misinterprets a lot of things, so I think the likelihood of him getting baptised in the coming year is sketchy at best. 

On the bright side, we have Jared and Sherry, who are in their 30s and have a solid family. They're open to meeting with us but Sherry always tries to smash us with questions, especially about Joseph Smith. So we're reading the Book of Mormon with them and helping them understand what it's actually about. 
Our days are hot, hot, humid. If you want to know what it feels like being here, just imagine getting out of a hot shower without drying off and immediately putting church clothes on, and then biking through a steam room for miles.

The Farrers are our senior couple missionaries in Darwin, and they are the BEST. They came down a few days ago, brought stuff for our flat, and then just said, "You get to have a P-Day while we're here! Where do you want to go?" We went to Cutta Cutta Caves, which is this underground cave made of limestone and it's pretty amazing. I'll send you pictures next week because I forgot to bring my camera. Katherine has some pretty awesome places to visit like Cutta Cutta Caves and the Gorge.

That's it for this week. I'll send you a heap of photos next time. 

December 7, 2015: Australia Week 13

I am now serving on the other side of the continent, and I love, love, love it up here. I got on a plane Wednesday morning without a companion and flew from the bottom of Australia to the very top, the city of Darwin. It was so strange getting on a plane in the middle of my mission by myself--it felt like I was going home early for disobedience haha. I am serving in Katherine, a small, small town in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by bushland. 
I met my new companion, Elder Duabe from the Philippines, at the Darwin airport. He is 26, is learning english, and loves to play basketball. When I stepped outside the airport, it felt like I was in one of those steam rooms--you can almost drink the water out of the air it's so humid. I got a little tour of Darwin and met some of the missionaries there. Elder Pitama (from New Zealand I believe) and Elder Seru (from Fiji) drove Elder Duabe and I down to Katherine (3.5 hours from Darwin) and dropped us off. We don't have a car--just bikes. And we're pretty much stranded out here. 

Katherine is about half aboriginal and half white Aussie. The people here are nice here--they're always keen to have a yawn with you, even if they're not interested in the gospel. We have about THREE active members. At church on Sunday, which is held at this playgroup centre place, we had a whopping 5 people present. It was testimony meeting, so my companion and I bore our testimonies along with Brother Friday, an aboriginal man baptised 2 years ago. And then church was over--it lasted 30 minutes. As a regular person, you would probably be yipping with joy if church was that short, but as a missionary here, it means 2.5 more hours of riding your bike in the hot humidity. So I really wish church would last 3 hours.

Up here in the Northern Territory we don't have a winter and summer so much as a wet season and a dry season. We're now in the wet season. It rains every day here for about 15 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day. We're also cleared to go back to our flat at 7.00pm instead of 9.00 because there are too many drunk people out at night.

We've done some door knocking and people are pretty nice for the most part. Every now and then you'll knock on someone's door who says, with a scowl on their face, "What do you want?" And I'll just say, "Actually, can I have a glass of water?" Then their facial expression changes from angry to really confused as they say, "Um...okay...'' Then they'll bring you and your companion a glass of water. And they can't slam the door in your face anymore because you have their glass, so you make sure to drink real slow so you can talk to them. It's the best haha. 

We've been looking for a place to baptise our investigators, but our biggest obstacle is finding someplace without crocodiles. I'll give you an update next week on our success. 

-Elder Koch
1. Getting off the plane and meeting Elder Duabe
2. Darwin beach
3. Katherine Gorge