Sunday, March 19, 2017

Goodbye Gossy, Wassup West Side

G'day, g'day.  So I'm headed to a place called Claremont Meadows.  It's in the Penrith Stake in Western Sydney.  Out West, they say.  So this will be my first area completely away from the beach.  I think I'm ready.  The new comp is Elder Maea, who is from New Zealand (two Kiwi's in a row yo!) but he's Cook Islander and probably Maori too.  I've heard he's a pretty big baller, so that'll be exciting.  Oh yeah.  I'll also be serving as a Zone Leader this transfer... 

As for the week, nothing major, but cool little experiences and opportunities.  Zone Conference was awesome. The Missionary Department is adapting so much to this day and age and technology use.  We don't have iPads, but some missions do and there are some way cool ways to use them.  We, however, can help the members use their devices to do missionary work, which is what the push will be here.  We've also learned some great ways to work with the Primary, Youth, and YSA aged groups, who fall into Elder Andersen's target age group.  Areas that have lots of friends and many opportunities.  

Our experience of the week came train finding.  Pretty much all week, we got the older trains, which makes it slightly harder to find when just going one station down because the carriages are different.  However, we hopped into one of them and it had the most ideal missionary situation for those types of carriages, just us and the guy.  After saying hi to the guy, he asked if we were from the Gosford Ward, a question which pretty much always signifies that person is a member.  And he was.  He's been inactive for a very long time, but grew up in one of the other Wards in our Stake.  He told us that every time he tries to find God again, he runs into missionaries.  Coincidence?  Naw.  Anyway, he wants to teach his two daughters about God and was interested in getting some material for them to watch.  We did as much as we could in that 3-5 minute train ride, but it was an awesome experience to have.  

And then it was time for my last Sunday in Gosford.  Man it's gonna be hard to leave this place.  I still haven't figured out why I love this place so much, but I think it has to do with all the young families and how close we have gotten with them.  One of the Jeffree's sons brought a neighbor friend to church and there were two inactive members there as well.  Pretty good Sunday to finish on!  Definitely gonna have to come back and visit this Ward one day.  

Well, this should be an interesting week.  Looking forward to it though! 

Love you heaps!
Elder Muh

Elder Blake and I hit that #18 a couple weeks ago (weeks ago)

Us with the Assistants (Elder Ball and Elder Lamb) 

When your package was searched by customs... They must've wanted Grandma's gummy bears

Took me 6 months to realize there's a sick mural on the far side of Woy Woy Station 


The Hutchinson's, my American family.  Their girls remind me of the DeMille's so much 

The Newling's.  She is the funniest ever and he's a legendary WML

The Jeffree family!

One of the main roads in our area

Stance sock Sundays

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Eternal Perspective of Cheese

Alright.  I know you're already wondering what I mean by that title, so I'll explain it first.  Visiting with J is always interesting.  Fun, different, and enjoyable.  He's a very intelligent dude that has been through a lot.  In short, he installs large internet connection circuits for universities, businesses, etc...  He's technically retired, but would every once in a while get called in to help on a job.  Due to his background in science, God has slowly been pushed from his view, but he is ready to bring it back.  In the past month, he's worked nearly 3 weeks (coincidence?), and feel that it MAY be God's answer to his prayers.

Normally, we try to avoid real deep discussions and those types of lessons because they really go nowhere and in the long run don't help the investigator understand the basics of the Gospel.  I wouldn't say I'm extremely intelligent myself, but I do feel quite confident in analogies.  Somehow, someway, we got to this analogy of cheese, specifically looking too closely at the holes in the cheese.  In order to understand the holes in the cheese, you need to take a few steps back to see the grand perspective or, the entire piece of cheese.  Sometimes we focus so much on the holes, what's not perfect, what doesn't make sense, that we fail to recognize the beauty of the piece of cheese in front of us, namely the Gospel.  

J was all over this analogy.  He feels that sometimes his prayers feel personal and other times not.  Also, that he has been peering into the holes for too long.  Whenever we visit, he says he feels something different that he wants and that we're helping him opening doors that he doesn't want to close again.  Sorry, that was a lot, but he is slowly getting there.  It's incredible to be a part of the Lord's great work.  

The rest of the week in summary...  There truly is an opposition.  It is clear and evident.  Oddly, people seem to think we believe in Satan.  Which is completely false.  We acknowledge that he is against us, trying so hard to stop the work.  We saw two instances of that this week.  A potential investigator texting us that she, on second thought, doesn't want to meet anymore and people knowing the church is good and right, but not ready to act on that answer.  It's disappointing to see, but helps you understand agency so much more.  It's really quite amusing that agency can be the answer to many of the world's questions.  We also got a very positive text from Daniel yesterday morning that he was coming to church.  And he did!  Partook of the sacrament and stayed all 3 hours.  Complete polar opposite or the exercise of one's agency earlier in the week.  

Week 6. Zone Conference tomorrow.  Gotta give my all to Gossy, and we'll see where the Lord wants me next transfer.  Would not complain if He keeps me right here though! 

Love y'all heaps!
Elder Muh

We talkin' bout' motivation

Outdoor courts this morning

Bowling with the Zone Leaders today 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

What is Faith?

So we had two appointments with Daniel this week, read 1st Nephi chapters 1 and 2 with Brother Jeffree on Monday, and then taught the Plan of Salvation with Brother Newling later in the week.  He seems to be comprehending it well, but we couldn't contact him after that so he didn't make it to church.  Next week.  

Visited Mama T, who was so excited she went to church the Sunday before.  She made it two weeks in a row yesterday.  Awesome to have her there.  The road to the temple begins.  

We prepared to share a bit of the Restoration with the Coulson's after dinner and it turns out that a few less-actives were there when it came time to share the message.  The power in the First Vision is unreal.  Them sharing their testimonies only added the the great Spirit that night.  

We've been playing the follow-up game for a while now, and the follow-ups continue.  I feel like there's so much that can be done here in Gosford.  We have a couple appointments set this week and many that need followup visits so they can become new investigators.  The work is good.  

I started the Book of Mormon at the beginning of last transfer and a couple of weeks ago go into the Book of Mosiah, which is where the "story" begins, so to say.  Even though I know most of what's going to happen, it's so exciting reading about the wars and teachings of the prophets.  Yesterday, I studied Alma 32, the legendary chapter on faith.  I actually studied it again this morning because it's that good.  

We use verses often from that chapter, but I don't think I truly understood the context of it until now.  Alma and his brethren visit the Zoramites, essentially "very less-active members" of the church.  As they are preaching, a small group of them approach Alma asking how they can worship.  Due to their poverty, they were not allowed to worship in the "chapels" they had built themselves.  And the first thing he teaches them is faith.  So much good comes from the analogy of the seed and merely trying the experiment.  

A couple quotes came to mind as I studied that chapter, and a portion of a talk by President Uchtdorf from the study manual that really intrigued me.  

1. “Brothers and sisters, all the Lord expects of us is to try, but you have to really try!” (President Hinckley) 

2. "It requires a little faith. But do not despair. If you cannot muster faith right now, begin with hope.  If you cannot say you know God is there, you can hope that He is. You can desire to believe. That is enough to start.  Then, acting on that hope, reach out to Heavenly Father. God will extend His love toward you, and His work of rescue and transformation will begin."  (President Uchtdorf) 

3. Alright, I realized after I pasted this one in that it's very long.  I apologize.  It's very profound and said in the best way possible.  The President Uchtdorf way.  

"A friend of mine recently wrote to me, confiding that he was having a difficult time keeping his testimony strong and vibrant. He asked for counsel.

I wrote back to him and lovingly suggested a few specific things he could do that would align his life more closely with the teachings of the restored gospel. To my surprise, I heard back from him only a week later. The essence of his letter was this: “I tried what you suggested. It didn’t work. What else have you got?”

Brothers and sisters, we have to stay with it. We don’t acquire eternal life in a sprint—this is a race of endurance. We have to apply and reapply the divine gospel principles. Day after day we need to make them part of our normal life.

Too often we approach the gospel like a farmer who places a seed in the ground in the morning and expects corn on the cob by the afternoon. When Alma compared the word of God to a seed, he explained that the seed grows into a fruit-bearing tree gradually, as a result of our “faith, and [our] diligence, and patience, and long-suffering.” It’s true that some blessings come right away: soon after we plant the seed in our hearts, it begins to swell and sprout and grow, and by this we know that the seed is good. From the very moment we set foot upon the pathway of discipleship, seen and unseen blessings from God begin to attend us.

But we cannot receive the fulness of those blessings if we “neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment.”

Knowing that the seed is good is not enough. We must “nourish it with great care, that it may get root.” Only then can we partake of the fruit that is “sweet above all that is sweet, and … pure above all that is pure” and “feast upon this fruit even until [we] are filled, that [we] hunger not, neither shall [we] thirst."

Discipleship is a journey. We need the refining lessons of the journey to craft our character and purify our hearts. By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept God’s will rather than ours.

It is not enough merely to speak of Jesus Christ or proclaim that we are His disciples. It is not enough to surround ourselves with symbols of our religion. Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessings of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not a primary way of worshipping.

Ours is not a secondhand religion. We cannot receive the blessings of the gospel merely by observing the good that others do. We need to get off the sidelines and practice what we preach." 
 (President Uchtdorf)

Everything we do and say is centered on Jesus Christ.  He doesn't want us to be idle.  The only way anything will ever be accomplished is when we go and do.  He taught us that Himself and through numerous Prophets and Apostles, past and present.  I am grateful that I don't have a perfect knowledge of everything, which therefore gives me a reason to exercise faith.  

Love you's heaps!
Elder Muh 

I realized that we didn't take any pictures last week.  I saw this at Rebel Sport this morning and had to get it.  Thank you to those who contributed.  Pictures of shirts two weeks in a row.