Wednesday, April 27, 2016

They Call this Place "The Bush"

This past week has been awesome! So Monday was my last day in Harbord and Elder Flake and I got to visit a few families before I left on Tuesday.  It was a good day.

Tuesday was travel day, so we bussed to the nearest train station, from where I caught a 2.5 hour train to Newcastle.  Here's where it gets fun.  The Zone Leaders told Elder Faasipa (Elder from Hawai'i that visa-waited in Mississippi, but came to Australia with my intake) and I that we'd be traveling to our areas together, and hand me the keys. Haha! Haven't driven in 7 months, but we hop on Pacific Highway and 2 hours later, we're up in Taree! Longest drive of my life!

So that's where I am now, up in the Taree Branch with Elder Gualco! Man it's been sweet. Elder Gualco and I both graduated from an MHS Trojans school and we're heaps excited to get the work moving up here.

Taree is great, it's a small little country town, with a branch of about 20 strong on an average Sunday.  When I first heard I'd be getting transferred up here, I didn't know what to expect.  Everybody calls it the bush, but let me tell you, this place is not the Aussie bush you see on Crocodile Dundee.  The highways have kangaroo and koala crossing signs, which is pretty cool!

We've got some good things lined up this week and are way excited for it all!

Love you heaps,
Elder Muh

- D&C 3:3
"Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;"
I've started reading the Doctrine & Covenants this transfer, which is going to be pretty good.  This verse was pretty powerful.  The work of God will never falter.  It may slow down, but it will never stop.  It is simply up to us, His servants, to keep the pace and keep His work moving.  

Lunderbergs LLB, great drink!

 World Famous Fish Shop in Dee Why Grand.  Best stuff ever! 
(Did my son really just say that about fish?)

Oldfield Family

Gonna miss Piero.  He has such strong faith!

Dinner with the Wolfgramms

Transfer Day:  Waiting for early morning bus

Train Ride

Manning River at Sunset

Throwing up the Shaka in OUR CAR!  
New companion:  Elder Gualco from Morgan, Utah
(Elder Muh is the designated driver for now)  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

That Time I Got Transferred

This week has been so good.  Since our first week together until now, Elder Flake and I have seen so much improvement.  It's been awesome.  Things are really starting to come together in the area, and especially the ward.  

We had such an awesome visit this week with Mary.  She's read up to Alma 25 in the Book of Mormon, which is incredible!  We've been really working with her to pray to know if it is true, because if it is, everything falls into place.  That truly is the converting power of the Book of Mormon: if it's true, then Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, the fullness of the Gospel has been restored and is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  

After Elder Flake bore testimony of the First Vision, Mary said that she knew that to be true.  Such a spirit filled moment. We then invited her to baptism and told her that we had been praying for a date that she could works towards which was May 14th.  Coincidence or not, that's her birthday!  She wasn't set on a date, but the Spirit during that lesson was so awesome.  

On Saturday we had our transfer call, and I'll be headed to Coffs Harbor! It was a bit surprising to get transferred all the way up there, but the Lord has called me to labor in another portion of His vineyard! I've been so grateful for the opportunities that I've had the past 7 months to serve here in the Harbord Ward.  I've grown with all the members and those that we have taught and love them all so much.  I'll definitely miss them all, but the Lord has exciting things in store! Maybe He'll let me come back and finish my mission here.  :)  

It's been fun, it's been great.  Looking forward to continuously become a better Disciple of Jesus Christ! 

Love you heaps,
Elder Muh

- Revelation 21:7
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."
I was able to finish the New Testament this week.  Studying the Book of Revelation was definitely interesting, I borrowed an old Seminary manual they had in the library to make sure I understood everything.  Toward the end, John sees in his vision the Celestial Kingdom and all that's in store for us following the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  It's incredible to think that if we do what we've been taught, follow the Prophet, and live the Gospel, Heavenly Father promises us eternal life.  And that's something awesome to think about.

Elder Flake, Bishop Pukeroa and I

Brookville Opal

Temple P Day

Taronga Zoo P Day

 Elder Muh's Tutu passed away on Thursday, April 7. The picture above was taken right before entering the MTC.  He knew it would be his last goodbye to Tutu on this earth.   

He sent the meme and picture above and wrote the following to us a few days later...
"Studying and teaching the Plan of Salvation just makes you realize that literally everything is true.  I'm not worried if I will see her again, because I know I will.  Reminds me of that talk from Sunday afternoon, not only will we get to see her again, but when we do, she won't have any physical ailments."  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Happiest Weekend Ever

So General Conference was legit.  All of you learned that German is the language spoken in the Celestial Kingdom and that Elder Holland wants us to pay attention to his incredible message before we go eat ice cream and get eaten by tomorrow a week before I did, but boy was that a legendary conference.  The Conference Center seemed to be a very spiritual atmosphere all weekend, and we definitely felt it down under this weekend.
One thing that I've learned thus far into my mission is that the time really is at hand.  We are in the last dispensation, hence the General Authorities are bearing testimony of simple, basic Gospel principles.  They testify of Christ, the love of not only Him, but also our Father in Heaven, the fact that God has called a Prophet and Twelve Apostles once again in these latter days to lead and guide His children here upon the earth.  

How grateful I am to be a member of His Restored Church, blessed with the privilege and opportunity to gather His lost sheep and invite them to draw near to Christ and come back to the fold.  Out of my many favorite talks from this weekend, I would like to focus on Elder Mervyn B. Arnold's talk about how we must not be late to the rescue.  Each and every one of us can help rescue in our own way, whether it be with members or non-members.  Elder Arnold taught that we are all called to help rescue, regardless of our circumstances, that we must never give up, and as we do assist in His great work, how great shall be our joy.  

This weekend I had the marvelous opportunity to witness the baptism and confirmation of Sifa, the son of the part member family we are working with.  At 8 years old, he stood at the pulpit to express his gratitude and young testimony of the truthfulness of this Gospel.  He and his three other siblings also sang "Love At Home" with the third verse in Tongan during the program.  What an emotional moment that truly brought such great joy.  
I would like to close with the second half of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon facts that President Checketts has shared with us: 

"You must have:
16. Tens and hundreds of thousands (over 1 million missionaries with millions of members) must bear record to the world for the next 185 years that they know the record to be true, because they put the promise to the test and found it to be true, the truth manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
17. Thousands of great men, intellectual giants and scholars must subscribe discipleship to the record and its movement even to the point of laying down their lives.
18. Your descriptions of the cultures in these civilizations of which you will write about is not known when you publish your manuscript.
19. There can be no logical flaw whatsoever in the entire book.
20. Yet, you must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements.
21. Even so, many of the facts, ideas, and statements given us as true in your record must be entirely inconsistent, even the direct opposite of the prevailing beliefs of the world. Very little is even claimed to be known about these civilizations and their 1,000 years of history.
22. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care. You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose any flaw in it.
23. Thorough investigation, scientific evidence and archaeological discoveries for the next 185 years must verify your claims and prove even the minutest details of your history to be perfectly true.
24. After 185 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in the book is disproved, but all is vindicated. Other theories and ideas as to its origin, rise, and fall, leaving your claims as the only possible ones.
25. Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 185 years.
26. Three honest, credible witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record is translated.
27. You must call out of heaven the voice of the Redeemer to declare to the three witnesses that your record is true and that it is their responsibility to bear testimony, and that they do.
28. Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight and they handled them and felt the engraving thereon.
29. The first three and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony, not for the profit or gain, but under great personal sacrifice, persecution, and even to their death.
30. You must find someone to finance your book with the understanding that he nor you will ever receive any monetary remuneration from it. You must sell the book at cost or less.
31. Finally, after suffering persecution and revilement for 20 years after you finish the book, you must willingly give your own life for your testimony that the record is from God.

What a remarkable test. What a challenge. And yet the Prophet Joseph fulfilled each item. His testimony is so powerful. It is why we share his testimony of the first vision. Know my friends that this book and this work are true. It bears witness of Christ the Messiah like no other book ever written. It teaches basic Doctrines that support the Fathers plan clearly."

In Moroni 10:3-5, we find an invitation and a promised blessing, given to us by not only Moroni, but also by our Heavenly Father himself.  In Conference, we were invited to exercise faith in this promise as  if we were reading the Book again "for the first time".  I know that as we do, we will witness that same peace and joy we felt from the first time, only this time an even greater feeling with occur. And it can only get better.  

Love you heaps,
Elder Muh 

- 1 John 5:7
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
There is so much power in this simple verse.  In but a few words, we learn that the Godhead is real, that God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are ever present in our lives, and that they, although three distinct beings, will always work in unity, with one purpose.  

Sifa's Baptism!!

Elder Muh and a Kangaroo

The Giraffe Exhibit is Practically on the Harbor.  Such a Cool View!!

We Made Enchiladas this Week!!
A huge shoutout to our Moms for teaching us enough to cook this meal!

We Got a Huge Mail Delivery Today!  
Thanks to all those who wrote me.  I'll try to write back soon. 

Next Stop Conference

This week was alright.  We've been really trying to find new investigators to begin teaching the Gospel.  It's been crazy seeing how the Lord's Hand is always present in the Work.  We've seen a few tender mercies in a couple different referrals, getting appointments scheduled with people and especially an experience we had last night.  

We didn't have any appointments schedules after church so we did some finding at the bus stop and then did some street contacting on the way home.  A guy from South Africa walked up to us asking who we were and eventually, we got to teach him a bit of the Restoration.  Huge tender mercy after not being able to talk to very many people that evening.  

One thing that stuck out to me in Sunday School yesterday was when the teacher posed the question: "do I know Christ"? He let us all ponder about it for a bit and then explained that if we know Christ, then most likely our children will, and so on and so forth.  He compared this to Nephi and Jacob in the Book of Mormon and how they invite us all to believe in Christ and His words.  

I've gained such a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon thus far, and with that has come such huge appreciation for how it came about.  President Checketts sent us a bit of information on the marvelous work and wonder that has taken place.  He said this is the first half and the second half will be next week: 

Occasionally you hear someone say, “I could believe your Mormon Doctrine if I just didn’t have to swallow the story about Joseph Smith being a man of God and that he translated the Book of Mormon from some golden plates which he claimed he found on a hillside. “ It is even possible that you, yourself, have doubted his story. Well, let us consider some facts or conditions that must be complied with in order for you or someone else to produce a similar record under comparable conditions.

1. You must be between 23 and 24 years of age.
2. You cannot be a college graduate. In fact, you can only have three years of formal schooling.
3. Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you know.
4. You must write a book with 239 chapters; 54 of them about wars, 21 about history, 55 about prophecy, 71 about doctrines, 17 about missionaries, and 21 about the mission of Christ.
5. You must include in your writings the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.
6. Your writings must describe the religious, economic, social and political cultures and institutions of these two nations.
7. You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern of Christian living.
8. When you start to produce this record, covering a period over 1,000 years, you must finish it in approximately 80 days.
9. When you have finished, you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever.
10. After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer, you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you.
11. Your history or record must be long, approximately 522 pages with over 150 words per page.
12. You must announce that your “smooth narrative” is not fiction, but true, yes, sacred history.
13. In fact, it must fulfil the Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, and its purpose and accomplishments.
14. You must publish it to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, declaring it to be the word of God.
15. You must include with the record itself this marvelous promise: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask of God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

I know that the Book of Mormon was translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that is the only evidence we need for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  There is a living Prophet upon the earth today, as are 12 Apostles, just as in the day of Christ.  Way excited to watch Conference this weekend! 

Love you heaps,
Elder Muh

- 1 Peter 2:21
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:"
Christ has showed us the way.  It might not always be easy to follow in His footsteps, but I know that as we strive to do so, the Lord will bless us in so many ways.  

Easter Pass Along Cards (Follow Him and Find New Life)

Simplicity of the Gospel

We had an awesome training from the Zone Leaders this week about the processes of teaching by the Spirit and the importance of prayer.  I really felt like I was complicating everything instead of just sticking to the basics.  Alma 37:6 has basically become my favorite scripture because I can't accomplish anything great without working on the small and simple things first.  

Elder Flake and I got to go on trade off with the Zone Leaders, Elder Vaughn and Elder White the day after our District Meeting.  It was really great being able to continue to learn from their experience.  We got to see a few miracles throughout the trade off, especially during a lesson where the Spirit totally took over and allowed us to set a baptismal date.  Elder Vaughn helped me to reflect and set some goals and plans about how I can improve to become the missionary I want to be.  He asked me a simple question that really stuck with me: Are you living the Gospel of Jesus Christ? 

My first thought was, why would I not be? I'm a missionary, I teach people about His Gospel!  The more I thought about it, the more I saw room for improvement.  Am I really exercising faith in Jesus and Christ and His Atonement? Am I repenting daily for my shortcomings? Am I remembering my baptismal covenants? Am I seeking the companionship of the Holy Ghost to guide me in His work? Through it all, am I continuing to endure to the end? Throughout the week, I was able to furthermore study the Gospel, especially in 2 Nephi 31. I hope to really apply those questions this week to be able to accomplish more and see miracles in the work.  

Elder Nielsen's first General Conference talk is entitled "Hastening The Lord's Game Plan".  It's a really great talk, and I'd definitely recommend you read it.  I would like to take that title and look at the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In any sporting event, you enter with a game plan.  What are you looking for on offense? How are you going to neutralize players on defense? As a team, how are we going to win the game? Heavenly Father has established a simple game plan for us to "win the game" and return to live with Him again.  

It's the Gospel of Jesus Christ! As we (1) exercise our faith in Christ, (2) repent of our mistakes, (3) follow the example of Christ by entering into the covenant of baptism, (4) receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and seek it's guidance, and (5) endure to the end, we are preparing to return to Him.  There may be trials and challenges along the way, but it really is that simple.  And because we as brothers and sisters are all in it together, we can look to each other for support.  Christ carries the big load, and we as His teammates can help Him by grabbing some boards and fortifying the house on defense.  I know that as we do so, we will be ready when the day comes.  

Love you heaps,
Elder Muh 

- James 1:22
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
As disciples of Christ, we must go and do.  James chapter 2 teaches us that faith without works is dead.  We can have all the faith in the world, but the only way that we can progress is by exercising that faith.  We will strengthen our faith and become "doers of the word" as we act in faith follow Him.  

Found my Flat!

Pretty Cool View from our Balcony

Easter in Australia= Hot Cross Buns