Tuesday, October 25, 2016

All is Well in Zion

This week has been solid as.  Something I have come to learn on the mission is that by focusing too much on the numbers, we don't enjoy the work as much.  We do need to be accountable for our work, but at the end of the day, I feel the Lord appreciates the effort we put into His work rather than the number of lessons we actually taught.  

I'll start with our DTM on Wednesday which was simply legendary.  I think it was the best District Meeting I've had on the mission.  I chose Elder Haynie's closing prayer from the Saturday Afternoon Conference session as the topic and had each companionship train on a principle from his prayer.  There was so much participation and it was very enlightening.  

After that, we had a District service project for something called #SocialMediaSplit.  The Book of Mormon musical is coming to Melbourne, which creates a lot of publicity for the church.  President Checketts has been very inspired in introducing this hashtag to the mission.  So how it works is we have a member or investigator take a picture of us doing anything missionaries do and in their caption, they use that hashtag.  The idea is to get missionaries known in the area for positive things and not just as the Mormons from that musical.  It should be pretty exciting.  

On Thursday, we had our massive miracle.  So we're walking into the food court to meet up with a less-active and this lady walks by saying: "you can talk to me!"  Having someone come up to us is such a rare occasion, she had Elder Tito and I pretty shocked.  But that's how we met Erin.  It's interesting because people talk about being in the right place at the right time and that seemed to be perfect evidence of it.  She came to a baptism and church this weekend so that was way good.  

And that's us.  

Love you's heaps,
Elder Muh

Bowling with the Elders 

Man shoe game strong 

Looking out over Woy Woy and Umina 

I tried

 So in High School Musical, when Sharpay tells Zeke to "evaporate tall person" 
she's actually making a Bible reference to Goliath #wut

The District service project (forgot to mention that we have Fiji represented as well here in the PCC) 

Most of our District along with Tuggerah District for Winston's (white shirt in the middle) baptism

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Polys and a Beach Baptism

Since we have 3 companionships in the Ward, Elder Tito and I have been trying to locate less-actives in the further parts of the area that the other companionships can't reach easily (we are the only ones with a car).  We've also been going through the former investigators and had some fun with that.  Whenever we see a Polynesian name, we jump right on it.  This week, we got to meet a few really fresh Tongans which totally reminded me of Harbord.  Good times.  

The highlight of the week was probably witnessing a child of record baptism at the beach.  I think that's the first one I've seen since Keegan's back when we were 8.  It was at a place called Spoon Bay, which had some pretty awesome views.  That day was also Ward Council, so we went on a quick trade-off and I was with Elder Ta'ala.  See pictures below.  

On Sunday, we were asked to teach the Gospel Principles lesson on sacrifice.  As I got ready, I was thinking about how we'd teach the lesson.  Something that the Aussie's say came to my mind: "I can't be bothered".  That got me thinking.  What if the Savior "couldn't be bothered" to perform the Atonement?  That would really change things, wouldn't it?  Definitely grateful for all that He's done for us.  

After church, we had dinner with the Hutchinson family, who both are originally from Utah.  It was fun talking to them about things in America and what we miss the most.  They totally related!  Sister Hutchinson misses Cafe Rio, so she said next time they have us over, she'll make Tex Mex.  Cheee! 

It's been a pretty exciting week.  Looking forward to the upcoming week and the opportunities in store! 

Love you heaps!
Elder Muh

Does Anthony Davis live here??

Nice lookout over Woy Woy

Elder Tito and I with a view of Woy Woy

You can't really tell in this one, but other missionaries have said with my glasses on, 
Elder Ta'ala and I look alike.  We'll have to take another one like that. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Churrrr Gosford

So I've been out 13 months, Gosford is my third area, and Elder Tito is my fifth companion.  I feel pretty blessed to have stayed in areas for a while each time.  I actually quite like the 6 month stay idea.  I feel like it allows you to get to know the area well and then accomplish a lot more than you could if you were moving everywhere often.  

Gosford is a pretty big area with lots of potential.  There seems to be a ton of opportunities for finding, and for the first time in my mission, the train option is available as well, which is pretty cool.  Up until now, I've only been train finding on trade-offs.  Elder Tito is a pretty big fan of tracting, which works well, because so am I.  We had some pretty enjoyable moments tracting this week, just with all the people that you get at the door. 

I think the funniest experience we had was meeting a lady who told us to come back at 2:00.  So we get there, and there's a paper on her door that says "sorry can't talk".  I think that was a first for both of us haha.  Your loss sistah! 

As for the new District, I think this is gonna be quite the transfer.  We've had a lot of fun already just in our first District Meeting and Conference Weekend.  Elder Tito has dubbed us the PCC District because we have Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, and Hawai'i represented, with Australia and Utah as well.  Needless to say, it's pretty crack-up (Aussie for joke/laugh).  

General Conference definitely lived up to it's hype.  There were so many talks on basic principles of the Gospel, which seems so fitting.  It is becoming more and more evident that the time is nigh and we need to prepare such as not only knowing of Christ, but knowing Him.  There were a lot of talks that stuck out to me, but I think the one I learned from the most was Elder Juan A. Uceda.  He shared a story from his mission where they visited Machu Picchu and the experience he had there, but the section that hit me the most was: "we returned to Machu Picchu very carefully and in silence. On the return trip, I remained silent, and the idea came to my mind that He had paid attention to my voice but that I had not paid any attention to His. There was a deep pain in my heart for disobeying His voice and at the same time a deep sense of gratitude for His mercy. He did not exercise His justice upon me, but in His great mercy, He had saved my life".  

Something that I am trying to work on is relying on the Spirit more.  I, like Elder Uceda, can definitely say that Heavenly Father has been listening to my voice.  But, I don't think I can say the same for myself.  I've come to learn that God has often answered my prayers, but I either haven't noticed or wasn't listening close enough, which is why that is my biggest goal right now.  If I can rely on the Spirit always, I know there will be even greater opportunities in store.  

Love you heaps!
Elder Muh 

Leaving Hamilton Station 

Elder Tito and I 

Got to see Elder Gualco and the Priesthood session this weekend

Our Harry Potter closet

Sunday, October 2, 2016

God Be With You Til We Meet Again

Wow.  It's been a great 6 months up here in Taree.  It's interesting how rumors and stereotypes can create a perspective before you know anything about a place.  6 months ago, I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard I was getting transferred up here.  Yes, the areas are massive.  Yes, the Wards (and Branches) are way spread out.  And yes, the work does not move at the same pace as it does in the streets of Sydney.  HOWEVER.  There are so many things about serving up North that have been a blessing for me.  

First, serving in this Branch has been a very humbling experience for me.  I will never be complaining about the 10 minute drive to the Stake Center when there are people driving an hour to get the nearest chapel out here.  Also, if 80-90 year old peeps can come to church every Sunday, participate in the lesson, and attend the temple, so can we.  Hard to make excuses after seeing that here.  
Second, I've come to find that regardless of where we serve, the work is always going to be the same.  We're here to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel.  The way we go about fulfilling our purpose may change, but our purpose will always stay the same.  I've definitely enjoyed trying to come up with new ways to go about the work.  

Lastly, I've made some great relationships in this area and that's where this weeks' title comes from.  In areas like these, you're able to bond with members, less-active's and investigators so much more than you would in a fast-paced area.  Something I've learned up here that is so important is to be yourself.  I think what happens is we get so used to a certain routine, we start to lose ourselves.  We can see so much more success, and be a lot happier when we open up.  

This has helped heaps when with Christine and the boys.  When we were over for dinner a couple weeks ago, Elias said he loves when we come over bc we use sports to teach them about church.  At that point, I wasn't too sure what we were going to share, but it hit me.  So that night we talked about the triangle offense and taught about the Godhead.  It's funny how sports analogies make it so much easier for some people to understand things (i.e. me).  

I'm headed down to Gosford (on the Central Coast) tomorrow and my new companion will be Elder Tito, who trained Elder Kumar so that's pretty sick.  Heaps excited! 

So we got a lot of pictures this week, and I'll let them do the talking.

Love you heaps,
Elder Muh

Last supper at Fred's 

Brother Puru

Sister Vickers

The Turner's 

Currently (Packing my stuff)

Tryna' be artsy

Bruce gave me a "Trump Power Tie" last night haha 

Helped Brother Scott shear their two sheep today.  When am I ever gonna have the chance to do that again? 

 Here's your word of the week.  You'd think it would be brelly, but good to know 

This shot would make so much more sense if you could see the video, but I was bouncing it between my legs.  We were on trade-offs with the Zone Leaders, but haven't gotten those pictures yet 

Birthday Brownies and Reunitings

Man this week was pretty much incredible.  Full of miracles and great opportunities.  We started the week off helping the Cattell's and their friend in their yards.  At one point that morning, we helped pull some weeds out, including one they call a bindi, which has some pretty rough thorns.  I still have no clue if Bindi Irwin is named after it or not, so y'all can try to figure that one out.  

Anyway, the whole time, I kept thinking of one of Dad's favorite lines: "it's a weeding out process, son".  I remember hating that line, but now see how true it is.  Life brings us hard things, and in order to get better, we just gotta keep moving.  It's the same thing in the Gospel.  The only way we'll ever progress is if we endure.  

So I mentioned this week had some miracles.  I think we had three pretty big one's this week:

First.  You remember we visited a less-active named Sister Vanderkroft.  The older one with the massive Joseph Smith Bible?  Well, about a transfer ago, she disappeared.  We knew she got sick and her kids were cleaning out the house, but could not make contact with any of them.  Well this week, we finally drove by when one of her kids were there, got to introduce ourselves, and figure out what's been hap'nin.  

Second.  We were out tracting and it was the 5th door of the day.  This guy named Josh answers the door and we talked to him for two whole hours on his doorstep.  Mate had so many questions, we taught him different principles from all the lessons.  It was definitely a testament to me that the Lord prepares His people.  We just need to go out and find them.  

And third.  On trade-offs with Elder Bell, we hit up the river walk for some street contacting and met a dude who's brother had recently passed away.  He said he had prayed the night before for a sign.  He had no idea what he was looking for or what he was expecting, but was pretty shocked that "we turned up".  We gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and again got to testify to him about the truthfulness of that message.  

Zone Conference this week was awesome.  I've found that the longer you're out, the more you enjoy them.  I remember not knowing anyone at my first Zone Conference, and it didn't really excite me that much, but now, it's a totally different story.  President Checketts used Elder Bednar's April Conference talk for his training, which explains the connection between baptism, confirmation, and the Sacrament.  He used a spiral staircase to show the progression we want to make in this life.  Always moving forward and upward.  

On Saturday, Elder Kumar got to do some body work on Kate's car.  He sanded down the scratches, filled them and then painted it back.  It was pretty cool to see him so in the zone.  I spent the day painting some of the inside of her house and helping in Sister Vickers' garden.

It was Elder Bell and Ephraim's birthdays this week, so I made the oatmeal-chocolate-peanut butter brownies (is there a legit name for them?).  They turned out pretty good, but the heat source in our oven comes from the top, so it was a lot more difficult than I expected.  

Well, it's that time again.  Week 6.  I told President I'm treating this week like the 4th quarter of a crucial game.  I wanna come out with the big win and say that I gave it my all.  Got no idea what transfer call is gonna be like, so I'm expecting this to be my last week (as much as I'd love to stay here longer) and we'll see what happens Saturday night.  

Hope you all enjoy Conference Weekend and I look forward to hearing about your favorite talks that I should look for in two weeks time! 

Love you heaps,
Elder Muh 

 Kookaburra in our backyard 

Zone Conference was on the 23rd, our intake's one year in Australia mark.  Three of us are in the Newcastle North Zone (Sister Munoa, Elder Blake, and I) and Elder Ball is one of our Assistants 

Father and son reuniting (Meaning Elder Muh trained Elder Flake)

 Elder Kumar doin' work

Call me Picasso

The boys are headed to Utah, so this might be our last picture with them

Dinner at the Aitchison's 

Australia's Nutella- love you bae