Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25, 2016: Australia Week 34

This week Shanara finally got baptised! She was pretty nervous about getting dunked under and having to hold her breath, as I imagine most kids are, but she made it through alive and is doing well. Shanara is loving primary and has been making strong friendships in the ward. The only obstacle is that her mom, Lisa, is still less active due to work on Sundays, but Shanara gets a ride every week from members.
In Brahma Lodge things have been going fantastic as usual--this week I had the chance to go on a trade-off with my MTC companion, Elder Baker.
We have an interesting member here who loves to tell stories that may or may not have happened, including his dreams. Last Sunday he said the closing prayer in Elders Quorum and at the end, instead of simply saying "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen", he said, "in the name of the Great I Am, the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, the Annointed One, the Messiah, the Double-Edged Sword, even Jesus Christ, amen." 
Other than that, things have been pretty normal--we found a few new Chinese investigators this week who are going to teach us Mandarin while we teach them English. We're also going to be starting an English class here soon.
Here are some photos:
1 and 3. Shanara's baptism
2. Us and the Rileys, Shanara's close friends in the Church.

April 21, 2016: Australia Week 33

This past week has been fantastic as usual. Shanara, our 9 year-old investigator who is the daughter of a less active member is getting baptised this Saturday. I also found out this week that one of the investigators I taught with Elder Duabe in Katherine got baptised recently. We have been teaching nonstop in this area, which I have been loving. We teach people from Nepal, Mayanmar/Burma, Cambodia, Taiwan, China, etc. etc. I'll keep you updated when they get baptised.
One of the different aspects of being a zone leader is ministering, which includes sitting down with contentious companionships and sorting things out. I'm not the best at emotional support so it's been great to have Elder Boyd around to lead the way with those kinds of situations. The things I once thought of as being gossip are now our business to know and discuss amongst the district leaders and assistants, so it's been quite a change.
1. From last week
2. Where we live--the view from our balcony.
3. The temple today.
4. Our son's first day at the Adelaide temple.
5.The temple

Friday, April 15, 2016

April 10, 2016: Australia Week 32

It seems like we have no time to do any proselyting in our area since we're constantly taking in bikes to be fixed (one missionary has broken his bike 3 times in the past week) and always going to meetings, but we've been blessed with people to teach every day. Right now we are teaching Shanara, a 9 year old daughter of a less active member. Shanara is getting baptised in two weeks. We do a lot of object lessons with her, such as making a boat out of alfoil (aluminium foil) and floating it in the pool to teach "Follow the Prophet" through the story of Noah's ark.
We are also teaching Shanty and Julie (Shanty is Maori and Julie is Cambodian), a couple with a baby daughter. We have a few more investigators as well. In the Brahma Lodge area there are heaps of international families from all over--African, Nepali, Indian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, etc.
Things are going fantastic here as usual. Here's a photo for you:

Our companionship: Elder Boyd, Elder Angelo, and me

April 3, 2016: Australia Week 31

Hey Mom, I'll try to respond to your email a bit at a time. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you as much recently. No mass email this week--not enough time.
Quick update for you: Our 3rd companion is Elder Angelo (the g is pronounced as an h), from the Philippines. His English is pretty solid for how long he's been out. Elder Boyd and I are teaching him as much as we can to help him become a solid missionary. Elder Boyd is the man and might as well be the father of 2 kids with the maturity level he has. I'm lucky to have him training me as a zone leader. Things are going great in Brahma Lodge, and we're smashing the work. 
1. What is something you feel the Lord is teaching you right now or since you've been on your mission?Probably humility and selflessness. Before my mission I remember always wanting myself to have the best day ever, making sure I was taken care of and having a good time. I've been doing my best to mature in that way though: doing simple things like washing my companion's dishes or making sure other missionaries' or members'/investigators' needs are a higher priority than my own. Also listening to the Spirit--you can't hear it if you don't listen for it.

 2. What do you feel has been your greatest area of growth since serving a mission?
Probably the next couple of transfers will be. I think the difference between me going in as a young missionary relying on others to tell me where to go, what to do, etc. and having stewardship over 23 other missionaries--helping them know where to go, what to do, giving trainings, etc.--is like the difference between teenagehood and adulthood. I hope to learn as much as I can from Elder Boyd since he's leaving in a couple months and I want to have the same level of confidence and competency that he does by the end of my mission.

 3. What has been the hardest thing about serving a mission/what do you find most challenging on a daily basis or overall?
Companions. Each companion is your friend and makes you laugh in a different way, but it's challenging to get along with them sometimes. In a way, a companionship is like an arranged marriage. One of my companions was extremely messy--he would spill food everywhere and walk away from it, he would never flush the toilet, etc. and I had to be his mom, teaching him basic life skills. It was extremely frustrating. But I think you learn something from every companion and you teach them something as well.

I'll answer a few more questions next time. I love you Mom!! Tell the rest of the family I love them too even though I didn't get a chance to respond to their emails this week.

March 28, 2016: Australia Week 30

This week we've had a lot of changes: I have been transferred out of Mt. Barker after being there for only 5 weeks, and I'm pretty cut. The members there are some of the best I've ever been around including a spot-on YSA. I've been transferred to Brahma Lodge, an area in the city (Adelaide). I will be serving as one of the Modbury zone leaders, and my fellow zone leader companion is Elder Boyd. He's 25 and is from Idaho and will be going home in a couple transfers. Elder Boyd is the man--he's a very knowledgeable and mature and relaxed missionary, so I will be learning as much as I can from him before he goes. We will be getting a third companion later on this week who we will both be training.
I'll keep you updated and give you some photos next week.
Spiritual thought for yous: When you hide from the truth, you hide from progression.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

March 22, 2016: Australia Week 28-29

Hello everyone, this week we had p-day on Thursday for our temple trip, so this email covers the last two weeks. This transfer is a 5 week transfer, so I may be getting a new companion in a few days.
I'm out of time now, so here are some pictures for you:
1. We found a nice chair on the side of the road so we took it home with us.
2. Adelaide Hills
3. Remember the Anzacs
4. Adelaide Hills
5. Service at the Christiesons
6-7. The Adelaide temple