He's also looking out for his missionaries by feeding them heaps. Basically everything that involves food here is called a feed. And boy do they feed. I've never had so much steak and fried chicken in one week before in my life. One of the families in our ward, the Komene family, called us last night to see if they could drop off some food. We had a dinner appointment at their house earlier in the week (they had already given us leftovers) so I thought they were just gonna drop off something small for dinner. Nope. Two bags of groceries and a box with containers of rice and a platter of barbecue chicken to last us til' Friday. WHAT A BLESSING.
So I totally forgot that the seasons are flipped here, which means the kids are on Spring Break right now. Everybody is on "holiday" as they call it, even though there aren't any actually holidays during this time. The students are going into their Term 4 before summer break, which is weird because a new school year has already started in America. They also refer to grades as years, so basically the schooling here is like Hogwarts, which is pretty legit.
With summer just around the corner, the weather has started to warm up. It's getting pretty hot, especially when you're walking around with suit coats on at 1 in the afternoon. With the heat, literally everybody in the Northern Beaches (the area I serve in is a lot of the coastline with the popular beaches) is at the beach. Either that or watching the grand rugby final so they're too busy to talk to us. Rugby is basically life here. Most people call it footie, so last night, we got a lot of people telling us: "Sorry, we're watching the footie final".
Tax is included in most of the prices so that makes things a little easier, but it's also a little weird. They have dollar coins and two dollar coins, but no pennies, and the lowest coin is a five cent coin. Sometimes, they'll round the price up a couple cents because otherwise you wouldn't get your exact change. So that's awkward.
One of the members took us to McDonald's this week, and the menu is pretty much exactly the same, except it's called Macca's here. And sorry Jaren, no McWallabies. Maybe it's on the secret menu haha. However, eating kangaroo is a thing. I haven't had it yet, and I'm not sure if I want to...
There's 7 Eleven's everywhere, so that's pretty cool. One weird thing though is a lot of people refer to the Polynesians as Islanders, which is what all the Utah kids called them too. You'd think in a place with so many Polynesians, they would actually be called Polynesians. Speaking of, we had dinner with a Tongan family last night and the mom made this drink called otai. It's basically like a fruity watermelon juice and it was amaaazing. Greatest drink to break a fast ever.
So as you all know, last week was a little weird for me. I wasn't stressed or anything, I think I just really missed America. I loved the MTC, and even though I missed my family and friends, I was still in America. I tried to break it all down, and I really was just struggling with the transition. This was the first time I've actually had to move somewhere and it was a struggle. I spent the week trying to figure out what my purpose was. I knew my missionary purpose was to help others come unto Christ, but why was I, Elder Muh, called to the Australia Sydney North Mission, to have President Checketts as my mission president, Elder Lamipeti as my trainer, and to serve in the Harbord Ward of the Greenwhich Stake in an area five minutes from the beach?
As I studied, my mind was brought back to something I learned from Elder Holland in the MTC: everything on the conversion pathway needs to happen to you before it can happen to your investigator. That was exactly it. I was there to experience a transition, to feel a change. I was comfortable in the MTC, and a big city put me out of my comfort zone. We all know the famous quote that you can only grow when you step out of your comfort zone. So that's what I've been trying to do.
Tuesday was the first day I felt like a legit missionary. We went tracting in Collaroy and the first few houses felt really awkward. But as we kept going, I felt it get a little easier. Some of the houses, I didn't know what I was going to say, but when the time came, the Lord put words in my mouth. Talking to every random person you see on the street is something missionaries just have to do. Last week, it was definitely tough, but with effort and prayer, that has gotten a little easier as well. Now I'm just going to say, I've never met so many "aethiests" or people who don't speak English in a week before. So many people are in a hurry, late for something, or just "too busy" to hear our message.
This can be discouraging at times, especially when people open the door and then promptly close it before you can even say good afternoon. It's definitely sad because it is in these times that we need the Lord the most. We need to recognize that Christ is our Savior, that He loves us and is always there for us. But rarely does anyone want to hear that. It feels so good just to have someone open their door and talk to you for a couple minutes. They don't have to even accept the gospel. Just to share a little bit of our message or giving them a picture of Christ feels so rewarding. It makes you feel good inside, that you did your job, and that sooner or later, the Lord will let that person know that the message we shared with them is true.
This week has been great. Every week has it's ups and downs, its' good times and bad times. Dad told me that even the greatest missionaries have a hard time with transitioning and that has been very comforting. It's good to know that what I've gone through is normal. But what's even better to know is that I can keep progressing. I can continue to learn, grow and become a more effective missionary. And this is just the beginning, I still have tons of time to become better. With the help of the Lord, all of that is possible. And that, is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Love you heaps,
Words, Phrases, & Side Notes of the Week:
- "Cheers" and "no worries", This is basically like saying "shootz" in pidgin
- "The bush", The country side or the boonies
- "Carpark", A parking lot
- "Footpath", Side Walk
- Phone numbers here are like 75 digits long
- We had interviews with President and Sister Checketts this week and dang it felt great to speak to Americans. They knew exactly what I was going through and could totally relate. But I forgot to take a picture with them AGAIN!
Elder Lamipeti and I with a coastline view of our area
Some of the goods the Komene family brought over
Pizza delivery bikes