Monday, January 16, 2017:
This week has been pretty good. Sister Nilsson and I are still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't in planning and working with people. I think we are getting a little better every day though. I am trying to work harder to make good relationships with ward members and investigators, instead of just jumping straight into the lesson. Sister Nilsson and I have a great relationship and we are trying to help each other understand what we need to work on, as we are both new. Overall, things are going good! We are trying to get our investigators progressing, so that is one of our goals this week. We also have some potentials that seem really golden that we are excited about! I am still trying to figure out how I can really lose myself in the work and be as happy and positive as I can be, but I am praying for those blessings right now and things are already improving.
That is what I sent to my mission president this week, to give a brief overview of how it went. But to add a few more details:
-On Monday night, after p-day, both our appointments fell through which we were sad about but it was ok because we got to meet Mohsen and Jason! Two different occasions, but we gave each a Book of Mormon. I invited Jason to be baptized if he ever found out for himself that the Book of Mormon was true, He said " sure I'd be baptized again!" haha, apparently he has already been baptized twice in to two different churches. He's a character, but he's so nice. Mohsen was really cool. He said that every Christian religion claims to have the truth and the only way to salvation. It was really cool to be able to testify that the Book of Mormon is proof of the true restored gospel of Jesus Christ!
-On Wednesday, we visited the Vuki family, because sister Vuki just got out of the hospital. Sister Vuki is Samoan and Brother Vuki is Tongan. They have 8 kids all 13 years old and younger, 1 boy and 7 girls! We went to see if she needed help with anything. Turns out her kids are all well trained in their specific roles and jobs so they ended up serving us. They gave each of us a huge bowl of watermelon and we had a good chat and spiritual thought. We got to talking about missions, all the girls were saying what year they will serve their missions in. It was cool to see that they were all planning on going and already being missionaries to their friends. It made me re-appreciate how cool it is that I get to be serving my mission RIGHT NOW! Every minute of my mission is precious and I need to be using all of it as productively as I can in doing the work of salvation.
-Thursday President and Sister Back came down to Canberra for interviews. It was so good to get to talk to them, know them better, and talk about how we are feeling. It was so good to get motivation from them, to recenter on my purpose as a missionary and the joyful part of the work. They are so encouraging and kind to us! I will be sad to see them go back home to Sandy, Utah in July.
-Friday we had trade offs with the Sister Training Leaders. Sister Whaanga (pronounced Fanga) came to my area. She is from Auckland, New Zealand and she's really cool. All the islanders eat a lot and not a lot of healthy foods. Sister Whaanga kept asking me "do you ever eat?" or "are you on a diet or something?" haha I always thought I ate a lot but I guess not. It was cool to learn from her. She is really natural with people and she always knows what to say. We had an interesting experience following up with a potential, Stuart. His roommate Jeremy was there and he immediately started telling us about all of his "spiritual experiences" a.k.a. his exorcism practices and how his friend is a shape shifter... It was hard to get a word in, but eventually he was just talking at Sister Whaanga while I gave Stuart the briefest overview ever of about the Plan of Salvation. I'm not sure how successful it was because it must have been really hard to feel the spirit. Hopefully Jeremy will be sober next time.
-Sunday we got to teach young women's in the Ginninderra ward! It was really fun, we taught about setting meaningful goals that our Heavenly Father wants us to set. I think I'd like to be a young women's teacher someday.
I don't know if I mentioned, but Sister Nilsson, my companion is from Raymond, Alberta, Canada. We work well together and I love her! She is super sassy and we have a lot of fun.
We weren't able to have lessons with our investigators Steven or Elwyn the past week, but this week we will and we are excited about them!
I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Remember to put the Lord first, then everything else will fall into place.
1&2- The district Ginninderra and Belconnen wards. Sister Nilsson and I are in both and the Elders are split between the two. Front Row: Elders Ross (Washington), Whitlock (Utah), Miller (Utah), and Smith (Utah)
Back Row: Me, Sister Nilsson (Canada), Elders Lee (New Zealand), Dereag (Utah), Flandro (Philadelphia), and Farreira (Brazil)
3-Our sweet ride
4-me, trying to take more pictures
5-Sister Nilsson is the cutest
Monday, January 23, 2017:
This week was super good and super-fast. It’s amazing how fast time flies when you are trying to work as hard as you can. I'm sorry the email last week didn't send through, I have no idea why but I sent it again so hopefully you will be getting double this week.
We got to have another lesson with our new investigator, Elwyn, finally! His girlfriend Bindy was there but we still sat on his back porch steps because he just moved into his house and doesn't have any furniture yet. He has a lot of super deep questions and sometimes we don't know what he's talking about but we do our best to answer by the spirit and he's always satisfied with what we give him. We wanted to teach the plan of salvation, but ended up only talking about the atonement. We talked about how Christ has experienced every trial and feeling, so he can help and comfort us in every situation. It was really good. Bindy participated too. We are hoping we can keep teaching her as well. He always jokes with us and sends us really sketchy and confusing text messages, but he just reassured us that he just likes to tease like an older brother. In his prayers, he refers to us as "my sisters here".
We also had a good lesson with our investigator, Steven, this week and his mom, Elizabeth, who is already a member. She is from Papua New Guinea(if that is how you spell it?) We started teaching him the first couple commandments and he received them well. We tried to emphasize keeping the Sabbath day holy and helping him see why coming to church is important, as that is the only commitment he is having trouble doing. He still didn't come on Sunday. We think he has some sort of social anxiety. But Brett, our ward mission leader said that he is going to try inviting him to his house and hopefully their friendship will help Steven feel more comfortable coming to church. I think the lessons are good for Elizabeth too, as she is a convert of 4 or so years and struggles to understand the Book of Mormon, which we read and discuss a lot.
As for our "investigator" Jason, I was flicking through the ward list after we had a really good first lesson with him on Tuesday, and right there on the Belconnen ward list, I see his name! We were flabbergasted. After talking to Brett about it later, we found out that he was baptized into our church 15 years ago but had disappeared soon after. He has a few mental problems and it might involve his memory. We are sad that we don't have such a solid investigator anymore, but we're happy that we found him and will hopefully be able to reactivate him. He was at church on Sunday:)
Another Miracle was, our long-term investigator Bree came to church on Sunday! We have family home evening with her and her partner's family, the Amosa's, a Samoan family in our ward, every Monday night. Her partner is not very supportive though and we think that is what really holds her back. We had a really good FHE last week where we talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and encouraged them all to find something they could try repenting of. Usually, no matter how hard we try, she never comes to church, so that was a miracle. We have another good lesson planned for FHE tonight so hopefully we can keep making progress with her.
I am really trying to be more bold and loving with those we teach. Sometimes the things missionaries invite people to do can be hard for them, but I still need to invite them to make commitments with the Lord, because that is what will bring them closer to Him, and bring them greater happiness and peace than they have yet experienced. I am usually way too apologetic in my invitations but I shouldn't be because it really is simply what the Saviour would invite them to do out of love for them. This is the work of salvation, so we don't need to be apologetic or scared!
Lastly, this week, I am grateful for the scriptures. Especially the Book of Mormon. Our new schedule allows us more time to ourselves in the mornings and in the evenings. President encouraged us to use a little of that time reading a chapter of the BOM in the morning and before we go to bed. He thinks this is way more likely to develop into a life-long habit than just 3 straight hours of scripture study in the morning ever could. I am not perfect at it yet, but already, I see the benefit it brings my days. The Book of Mormon was written by prophets called by God specifically for the challenges we would face TODAY. We can learn so much from it if we take it slow and pray for the spirit to teach us what Heavenly Father wants us to learn. I love the BOM!
Thanks for all the constant support and love, Its what gets me through the rough times!
The pictures are of last p-day when we went to the Australian war memorial in Civic (the Canberra town center)