Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 7, 2016: Australia Week 26

This week we've been doing an insane amount of riding around on bikes and finding. I'm not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but the mission has reduced kilometer allotments significantly in an effort to encourage missionaries to ride their bikes and talk to people on the streets. Since we have a massive area it's been a challenge, but we've found a couple new investigators from it. 

Last week we found Daniel, a man walking on the street. We taught him a bit about the Restoration on the street and he invited us back. We've had a couple of lessons with him since then and he's super excited about the gospel--he says he feels greater happiness when we come around and when he understands the things we teach him, and he's always had a great respect for God and Jesus Christ but until now he's never had anybody to give him direction. We invited Daniel to be baptised and he accepted. One challenge we face with him (and many Australians) is that he is living with his girlfriend so he will need to be married before he can be baptised. Daniel is the man though, and I have confidence that he will be able to do it. 

This week I went on a trade off with Elder Kelese (from Samoa) from the Naracoorte area (5 hours south from here). We went finding on this one street and had a couple good conversations with people but no one was keen, so we were about to head back for dinner. I thought we should knock a couple more doors, so we started walking up the street when a random guy with a big black beard came out of his house and said, "Hey! Do you guys wanna come over for a barbecue?" Elder Kelese and I looked at each other like, Did he say what I think he said? The bearded man said, "You guys looked hungry, so I thought we should have you over for dinner". So Elder Kelese and I had dinner with him and his family and church friends (from a pentecostal faith), and they said we could come back again.  

A challenge we have in Australia is that so many people are atheists. I can't tell you how many people say, "If there was a God, then why do terrible people murder others and why do babies die, etc., etc." The foundation of Heavenly Father's plan was agency--the ability to choose good or evil, the ability to act for ourselves. The Atonement made it possible for everything to be made right in the end--no injustice we suffer will be left unjust in the end. Every trial, pain, and challenge we face offers an opportunity for growth and increased trust in the Atonement and Heavenly Father's plan. Mortality is meant to be imperfect. Ether 12:4-6 and Alma 60:13 helps us understand why this is. 

Another related spiritual thought:

People with no concept of how faith works say seeing is believing, but if you really understand God, believing is seeing.

Here are some photos for your enjoyment:
1. There are heaps of these birds in Australia--they're everywhere.
2. What our area looks like from above. 
3. The view of Adelaide from Mt. Lofty.
4. The Mount Barker area--our area isn't just one main city: we live in Nairne (pronounced "Nan"), but all of those highlighted places are little towns we go visit and see members in, so it's a very unique area.

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