Sorry you didn't get an email from me yesterday. It was a public holiday so none of the libraries were open so we had to wait until today to email.
This week has been a great one! On Monday after I emailed you we went to the shopping centre. I bought some boots at Payless because it is cold here. After we went to the shopping centre we went grocery shopping. Then we had to leave to drive up to the Bishop's home. He leaves clear up at the other side of the ward so it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get there. We had dinner and FHE with the bishop's family and with the Elders in our ward. Then we met with Bishop to talk about the ward mission plan and to set goals for how we are going to move the missionary work forward in the ward. We are really focusing on getting the members involved with the work because that's how missionaries are most successful. It is a much better use of our time if we are getting referrals from members than if we have to go out and knock a bunch of doors of which only a few actually open. It was good to be able to meet with Bishop and get his idea of direction and goals for the ward.
Tuesday morning we had a district meeting. We really focused on the Book of Mormon and its role in our work as missionaries. The Book of Mormon really is the keystone of our religion. It holds everything together. I've already seen how the Book of Mormon truly has the power to change lives—especially with Ronesia. After the district meeting we spent the afternoon doing finding. Then we had dinner with a Filipino family in our ward. They were so excited to have us over since Sis. Gonzales is Filipina. I was praying that they wouldn't make some crazy, weird Filipino food and I guess prayer really works because it was just rice and chicken and veggies. I can handle that. :) After that we felt really prompted to visit a less-active couple in the ward. We had never met them before but felt like we were supposed to go there so we knocked on their door. At first the wife said it wasn't a good day and that we needed to call ahead of time but her husband said we should come in. Her heart was softened really quickly and she opened up to us. She had been having a really hard day because that was the day that her 8 week old daughter had died 20 years ago. We were able to share the plan of salvation with her and it was exactly what she needed to hear. She said she wanted to make changes in her life and make the gospel part of her life again. I am so grateful that we followed the prompting to go there that night.
Wednesday we had exchanges with the Coordinating Sisters. I worked in our area with a sister from Samoa. She is so awesome! I really felt like we needed to tract a particular street so that's where we went to start off. It is a LONG street with tons of houses so it took us a solid two hours but we ended up meeting five people who were willing to set up appointments with us. After that we went to see a man that Sis. Gonzales and I met while tracting last week. He was getting ready to go so we didn't have much time but we were able to teach him about the Book of Mormon and give him a copy to read. Then we went to see a family that has been pretty in-active for the last 4 years but recently they have started coming back to church. We have tried to see them several times but haven't been able to ever catch them at home. They pulled in the driveway right as we got there on Wednesday so we were able to go in and get to know their family. They have a son who is 9 and has not been baptized. Our goal is to teach their family the lessons and prepare him for baptism at the end of this month. Then we had dinner with some members in our ward. They are a younger couple and are super awesome! They made chicken cordon blue which was so good! And we had raspberry cheesecake for dessert. It was probably the best meal we've had yet.
Thursday, after studies we went to the mission office for Golden Review. They call all the new missionaries here Goldens because it is our Golden opportunity to decide how the rest of our missions will go. Basically it was a chance to go over rules and do more training with us. I love hearing from President and Sister Lifferth. They have HUGE hearts and are so kind. It's too bad I only get to work for them for a little bit. The meeting was super good and I learned a lot about how it is my time right now to decide what kind of mission I want to have. They stressed that we make sure that we are serving the Lord and not just serving a mission. You can do missionary work all day long and do a lot of great things but if you're not serving the Lord then it doesn't matter.
|The Beautiful Melbourne Temple|
Friday we spent a lot of the day tracting. It was a people day and the sun was shining which made tracting a million times better. We were able to meet the cutest 84 year old man. We were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation. It was really huge for him because his wife died just a couple of months ago. We have another appointment with him this week. Friday night for dinner we went to another Filipino family’s home. I'm not kidding, all of the Filipinos want to feed us because of Sister Gonzales. They made this noodle and pork dish that was different than anything that I've ever had before but it was good. This family is an interesting situation. The mother has been a member for 25 years and is in the Relief Society presidency in the ward. They have a son that is serving a mission in the Philippines. Her husband comes to church every week and even pays his tithing but he isn't a member of the church. I don't know exactly what the reasons are but this sister told us before we came that we should try to "convert" him. We decided to teach about the temples and about how our families can be together forever. We asked if that's something that he wants but he wouldn't really answer. We ended up committing their family to visit the temple grounds together and for him to pray about what he should do to make his family be able to be together forever.
Saturday morning after we did our studies we went out tracting for a while. Then we went to an appointment with Craig. We were able to teach him the first half of the Plan of Salvation. He really has a real desire to learn and understand. We asked him to pray about what we had taught him and to read Alma Chapter 34. He came to church on Sunday which was great. We are teaching him again tonight and planning on extending a baptismal invitation to him. I really feel like he can be ready for baptism by the end of the month.
Sunday we were at the church for almost five hours going to church and ward council and missionary coordination. After church we did finding for a few hours before our dinner appointment with the Evans family. They have our investigator, Jessica, living with them. We were able to eat dinner with all of them and then we had a lesson with Jessica. She has been taught by the sisters that were here before us. She is pretty much ready for baptism. We are teaching her again tomorrow and are planning on committing her to baptism on June 22.
|In the Train Station|
|On the train into the city|
Like I said, yesterday was a public holiday. All of the Sisters in the mission traveled into the city [Melbourne] to spend our P-day together. We scrapbooked a memory book for President and Sister Lifferth and just spent time together. It was a super fun day and it was fun to see what the city is like. We got to ride the train in which was a new experience for me. I loved the city feel. I would love to serve there at some point. My MTC companion is serving there right now.
|In our Houston T-shirts|
|Sisters from my group at the MTC|
I feel like time is just flying. We are so busy all the time which is great! I am learning so much every single day. It sounds like you are all glad that it's summer now. I'm slightly jealous. I have winter now. But it's good because it is really not too cold and I'd rather have it slightly cold than to be sweating bullets like I was in Texas. You can always put on more layers if it's cold.
I'm getting used to driving around my area but I definitely still have to use the GPS sometimes. Driving on the left seems pretty normal to me now which is good. The grocery stores here are definitely different than at home. But I'm figuring it out. I bought Cherrios last week but they are nothing like our Cherrios. They are all sugared and sweetened. They taste like honey-nut Cherrios which is gross. Usually I just make toast and a scrambled egg for breakfast. Lunch depends on the day. I usually make a quick sandwich or something easy. We are getting fed by the members a lot for dinners which is nice. Each member cooks differently but I haven't had anything too strange.
We get to go the temple once per quarter here. Our zone’s temple day is next Thursday so I will get to go then unless I get transferred for some reason. Transfers are on Tuesday
I don't think I have a favorite part of Australia. I pretty much love all of it so far. I really want to see a kangaroo soon. There are tons of birds here. Luckily I haven't been too close to them or else I'd be nervous. There are colorful parrots in the trees and last week we saw a flock of like 20 cockatoos out on the grass at a park.
Anyway, that's about all I have time for . I love you all so much! Enjoy your summer.
LOVE YOU HEAPS!
LOVE YOU HEAPS!