Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hopped Off the Train to Ball Up!

The past few weeks have honestly seemed to be flying by.  I can't say that one specific thing has changed how this transfer is going compared to previous ones, but I cannot complain.  We've been having so much fun, the work seems to be a little bit easier, and the tender mercies of the Lord are very evident in His work.  

We enjoyed a lot of small moments this week, nothing massive, but small enjoyable miracles for missionaries. We followed up with a guy named "J" in the Area Book who had been taught the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, but nothing else so we thought we'd give it a try.  He was born Catholic, but is now trying science and had a lot of questions.  In the end, we invited him to pray and he did.  Man, it was crack up as!  "Heavenly Father, g'day mate!  It's been a while."  When he finished, he said that it felt good.  The power of prayer is real, people.  

I've never actually had a legit door "slammed" on me.  Until this week.  But straight up it was the funniest experience EVER.  So the door had one of those new Samsung Smart Door things on it and we were pretty stoked to ask whoever was inside how it works.  The guy comes to the door, looks at us for a good 7 seconds and then slammed it.  We walked to the next door dying laughing.  Sooo funny.  

Elder Heu and I really been working on stepping up our street contacting game, especially while waiting for the trains.  We met a Lithuanian girl this week, which was pretty cool cuz I've never met anyone from there before.  Normally we try to get to know the person before bringing up our message, but she starting asking questions pretty quick and we got to teach her about the Book of Mormon.  So that was a good experience for us.  

On Friday night, we planned to work in Gosford city, thinking there would be heaps of people.  Psych.  Well, maybe there were heaps of people and there were all in the pubs.  Or it could've been the pouring rain that came down haaard.  We were headed back into the train station car park when we met Greg who asked us for a lighter, but said he already knew what our answer was.  Haha.  Good guy living a rough life.  We told him about repentance, set a return appointment, and were able to give him a book of Mormon this weekend.  

The Zone Leaders referred us to a single mother named Bec who moved into our area last Sunday.  Turns out she's like 30 seconds down the street from us, so that's a second miracle in itself.  We helped her set up their trampoline this weekend and her two kids (almost 10 and 7 years old) were so happy.  She's pretty keen to learn more once they settle in.  Very promising.  

Sacrament meeting yesterday was solid as.  Bishop Dumas invited Sister Jeffree (who used to be our Gospel Principles teacher) to speak without notes.  It was cool to see how the Spirit helped her to convey the message that needed to be shared yesterday.  She loves AFL (Aussie Rules Football i.e. Scott Harding from UH) and used a sports example during her talk, so I was locked in.  The theme of the meeting was ordinances, and the sacrament in particular.  In talking about how the young men prepared for the sacrament, she said that a testimony isn't something that can be poured out of a cereal box which is sooo true.  

I'll finish where I started.  Life's good.  Very good, actually.  I hope yours is too.  

Love y'all heaps!
Elder Muh 

Here's that mini Coke from last week

There's this Tex Mex place near our flat that's been tempting me ever since we went last transfer.  Not quite Cafe Rio, but the best burrito I've had out here.  

Nothing can stop us from eating cereal after planning.  Not even a power outage.  

I'm actually really happy on the inside.  Haha.  I promise.

 Heading to a service project

 We had a Saturday night feast made of lamb, stuffing, carrots, and potatoes.  Dessert was cheesecake with Snickers cream topped with grated white chocolate Tim Tams and sliced Snickers.  Pretty fun. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Would Yous like a Drank?

The spirit of last week definitely carried over into this one.  Two great weeks in a row.  I'll start with the statistics which you might find quite humorous.   2 glasses of water, 1 bottle of water, 1 can of Solo (Australian lemonade tasting soda), 1 can of Kirk's Lemonade, a glass of ginger beer, and a tiny bottle of Coke Zero that I forgot to take a picture of this morning.  So I'll email that next week.  The weather has been providing some good opportunities for missionaries.  And our straw hats help even more.

We have been really trying to build the teaching pool (as they call it) because at the moment, it's more like a small puddle. The Area Book got us moving a bit and this week we were actually looking for a former investigator and met Daniel instead.  We taught a bit of the Restoration at his door, how our message can help his life, and set up a return appointment for this week.  Which is pretty big.  Because we haven't picked up anyone new since the first week of last transfer.  Good stuff. 
Trade-offs with the Zone Leaders were pretty sweet.  I got to work with Elder Lamb and Elder Heu went with Elder Sloan, so it was the Americans and the Kiwis.  Elder Lamb came in a transfer before me and we both served in the Harbour North Zone at the same time, so it's been pretty fun to be in the same District as him.

We mainly worked on finding during our trade-off and has some pretty cool opportunities street contacting and finding in the train stations.  Street contacting is probably my least confident aspect of missionary work, so it was really good to boost my confidence.  Elder Heu got to do a lot as well, so hopefully we can continue to build off of that and hit up Gosford more often. 
As we were wrapping up our companionship study yesterday, we heard a knock at the door and it's this Muslim guy doing some survey.  Now I'm not too sure what led us to do this, but he noticed our badges (at first he though we were Jehovah's Witnesses) and wanted to know more about the Mormons.  So we took three chairs outside, took his survey and taught him the Restoration along with some other Gospel principles.  He told us that he agreed with everything that we said, but the one thing Muslim's believe is that Christ wasn't actually crucified, he was just taken up to heaven.  So that was interesting.  Learned something new this week.

I've really been enjoying church the past couple of weeks.  The lessons we've had have been hitting home and I've taken something away each time.  Sister Coulson (the one who gave us the ham) is teaching our Gospel Principles class and she does a really good job.  Most of the members in there are semi-recent converts or returning less-actives and she definitely caters to their needs.  The lesson yesterday was on families and how they can be eternal.  She shared different ways we can strengthen the family and how raising children in the Gospel is the way to go.  I've said it before and I say it again: how grateful I am to have been raised in the Gospel, especially in such a strong ward and stake.  The blessings and effects of it are unreal.

Yup, this is getting pretty long, so I'll try to make this as short as possible.  The Elder's Quorum lesson yesterday was about the Restoration and we had a real good discussion about it.  One of the doctrines cleared up instantly through the First Vision was the true nature of God.  We teach the Godhead to Primary children, but yet much of the world dwindles in confusion about this topic.  Elder Lamb and I visited a former investigator who is a very devout Catholic and she was a very nice lady.  We didn't want to bash at all, but he simply asked a question about as the Savior is performing the Atonement, who is He praying to?  As you know, there are many other examples you could frame this question with.  Anyway, the lady spent a good 20 minutes looking through books and trying to answer the question.  She came to the conclusion that the trinity is unfathomable and that one can't truly understand it in this life.  Now this was quite a funny experience for me, but I truly did feel bad for her.  Despite her incredibly strong faith, she was literally confused at the topic and might never come to understand the truth of it.

So we have interviews with President and Sister Checketts this week and those are always fun because we get to bring questions we have for President to answer.  We also placed a Book of Mormon each of the three weeks so far this transfer.  So it's become a goal of sorts to keep that going.  Please pray that we are blessed with future opportunities to do so!  We need Heaven's Help in placing these great Books.

Not the end of the world yet, but very hot nonetheless
(40 degrees C = 104 degrees F!!)

We held a trade-off challenge of who can get the most selfies with the people we meet.  Here's one of a Samoan-Kiwi family we met in the park.  Uncle has heaps of member relatives and is keen to feed.  Solid potential for the Zone Leaders (he lives in their area)


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Blessings on Blessings on Blessings

Straight up this was probably one of the best weeks of my mission.  Some weeks seem to have a lot more flow to them, and this was one of them.  I feel like we not only planned effectively, but also executed well.  Solid game plan.  There was a good balance between finding and member work and it just felt good to be out working.  
We received two Book of Mormon referrals in a span of about 5 days, which typically never happens.  I think I've gotten maybe 5 or 6 of those types of referrals my whole mission, so that was pretty big. We placed a Book of Mormon with both of those people, but unfortunately it doesn't seem like much will come from it.  All good.  At least they have the Book in their homes.

Since we're the only companionship in Gosford right now, we've been going through all the area books and following up with those people.  That's where most of the finding work we did this week came from.  We did meet a former investigator named Graham who we scheduled a return appointment with, so we'll see where that goes.  

Tracting in Australia (at least in my experiences) is always pretty amusing.  You never know who will answer or what their response is going to be like.  We've gotten some pretty funny rejections this week.  I think the shortest one was a conversation that lasted less than 5 seconds.  We also knocked into a Jehovah's Witness family who were very nice and we had a pretty positive conversation with.  The conversations that seem to occur the most is what I like to call a positive rejection.  If the person isn't interested, but we're still able to talk with them and let them have a positive experience with missionaries, I feel like it was productive.  Here's a few random statistics for the week: 4 glasses of water, 2 glasses of orange juice, 3 rejections within 5 seconds, and 5 positive rejections.  

Our biggest miracle during the week was tracting in Killcare Heights.  We had a little over an hour before our next appointment, so thought we'd tract near our Ward Mission Leader's house.  We ended up only knocking 3 doors, because we met this lady named Annie who gave us a drink and talked to us for a good while.  She is what they call spiritual here.  No specific religion, but pray daily and feel very connected with God.  She's moving up to Brissie, so we won't get to meet with her again, but she does have a Book of Mormon, so you never know.  

Lastly, the Sabbath.  Yesterday, was just a really enjoyable day.  I feel like I'm beginning to appreciate Sundays a whole lot more.  Elder Heu and I are really trying to focus on obedience and 2 returned missionaries spoke about that topic in their testimonies.  And then the Gospel Principles lesson was on it was well.  Great motivation for us.  As a class, we came up with a pattern for obedience.  We begin by doing things because we have to, then because we know we should (sometimes there is a bit of guilt involved), and finally because we want to.  When we obey because we want to, it becomes a habit or something natural.  Also, we become more like Christ.

I know I say this often, but this week really should be a good week.  I feel like we have set goals that will really help us to keep progressing.  In District Training Meeting, we'll get to discuss what makes a successful missionary, and we have trade-offs with the Zone Leaders this weekend as well.  So good it should be.  

Love you heaps!
Elder Muh 

Elder Heu and I at Avoca

Elder Lamb and Elder Sloan trained on how we can use the members to help investigators to come to church.  They likened it to Captain Moroni and how he fortified the Nephite cities.  We as "modern Moroni's" need to prepare our armies (the members) to protect our investigators from the Lamanites (Satan).  

The down under equivalent to a snowman

Elder Heu loves cereal and so do I, so we stocked up today.  I think the Lord is very inspired.

The District last transfer

Power washing service from last transfer as well 

Blessings From on High

So this past week was pretty cool.  I served with 3 companions in the past 7 days.  Some cool stuff.  After Elder Usua headed up to Narribri, I got to serve a day and a half with Elder Gibb, who's from Bountiful, Utah.  It was pretty sick to serve with an American and chat about US things.  He's called to speak Mandarin, so we visited the lone Chinese man in our Ward and I got to sit while they spoke Chinese.  Talk about embracing my culture.  Haha.  

On a different note, he plays ball, so we had some nice 2 on 2 for morning exercise one day this week.  And from there, the basketball just didn't stop.  Because... 

My new companion is Elder Heu (pronounced Hugh) from Hamilton, New Zealand.  And he loves basketball as well.  So life is great.  Talk about inspiration from the Lord.  I found out on our first night that he's a Southpaw, so it's gonna be #TeamLefties against the Zone Leaders this transfer.  Alright, back to the spiritual stuff, sorry couldn't contain my excitement.  

We learned at the Trainers/Trainees meeting that a part of the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast later this month (can you believe it's actually 2017 like wow)  is going to be a big change in our schedule.  I'm not quite sure why, but I am wayyy stoked to find out what the changes are gonna be.  But President did say it will make us more accountable with our studies.  Good stuff.  

Elder Heu and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting yesterday on sacrifice and service.  It was a pretty good topic because actually we had resources that talked about those principles in our flat.  I prepared what I thought would be pretty good, but I learned once again that I'm not the best at trying to fill time.  Haha we'll get there.  We also taught in Elder's Quorum about goals and were able to get a decent discussion about the importance of them and some positive experiences we've had setting them.  The Tyler Haws Mormon Message helped to top off the lesson.  

Excited to have a full week in the area to get things going!  Also, the weather forecast says it's supposed to be cloudy with light rain all week and it shouldn't get higher than 26.  Talk about tender mercies.  

Love you's heaps,
Elder Muh 

Ballin' with Elder Lamb, Elder Sloan, and Elder Gibb

Elder Usua playing with the Wilson's snow dog.  His name is Lorenzo

Train station transfers 

Elder Heu!