Culture shock is real... it is weird. But It is fun! I am enjoying my time. I have never had to turn on a light switch before.. but I have now! So one thing that is interesting is people say as after everything. example. "That t-shirt is cool-as mate!" I hear the swear word that starts with an A almost every time I hear it! it throws me for a loop... but not as much of a loop as the driving on the left side of the road! it BLEW my mind! especially right and left turns. there are so many mental accidents it is crazy but fun!
My new companion is Elder Tsai, from Maryland . He is very nice and has been out for 18 months. He does speak Chinese however he grew up speaking English at home. We are in an area called Port Macquarie! It is a cool little surf town that has a branch of near 50 active members! It is a beautiful place! and I am loving it!
The flight was 14 hours on an A380 Airbus. so that was cool. it is incredible to think that such a massive thing can defy gravity and fly! I met a real nice couple named Sam and Beck! they were nice and told me all kinds of useful things and stuff about Australia!
This is the 1st e-mail I have ever sent a mission president. I thought I would tell you all of my experience...
My core experience with god this week was profound. I have NEVER received so much personal revelation as I have this past week. When I was on the plane flying into Sydney I was coming from a week of disobedience, and thought that I need to change my ways a bit.'I went to help Elder Gunderson (assistant) get carts for all of the luggage. I asked him to tell me about the mission, expecting something about the culture. He responded by saying "The more obedient you are, the Happier you will be." If that is not the Holy Ghost working through leadership to confirm my own feelings and revelation I don't know what is. Then you asked me what I would struggle most with I didn't even have time to think. I spoke instantly and told you with out even thinking about it, that I would struggle with obedience. It was almost as if someone had spoken the words for me... quite odd. But! Your words about "Free Obedience"moved me. I realized I indeed was in the wrong and needed to change and be better. The following car ride with you and Sister Howes proved to me that exactly as I felt like I kept answering the questions you asked wrongly. The next day we had several trainings on the mission rules and guidelines. Some of the rules were different from what I had been used to in Missouri, but with the revelation I had received the day prior I understood I needed to accept the new way and send a few items home. Gladly met that requirement. Then Sister Howes proceeded with her story about the "Joking Elder." I am sad to admit that I realized that in my loud and seemingly insensitive personality, that I had the same exact issue outlined in the story. I began to think of all the nice brothers and sisters I likely offended in St. Louis, as well as in my life at home. I began to feel very guilty... The training showing the gridiron coach learning the importance of always living righteously enough to give a priesthood blessing added onto the guilt as I had just 48 hours before come from the most disobedient time in my brief mission experience. I thought to myself that this mission was too much for me. I could not possibly live up the the great expectations President and Sister Howes have of me. It is NOT my personality and is not me. I am unfit to be what they need me to be... The I thought what else did we learn today?" We were taught, I believe by Sister Howes, how we must change to circumstances. We must rise to occasions, you can only change yourself! You have to change so You can do what is expected of you. I was amazed. This was the climax of my experience with god this week. It continued as I had the opportunity to spend time with the Baukham hills(?) Elders however, The counciled me on how best to adapt to the land and stressed the importance and sanctity of Missionaries and missionary work. I had not told them all of my experiences, but they still reached into my soul and helped me. Leaders are certainly inspired and chosen. I am so grateful for the lesson I have learned and hope I can become adequate enough to meet your, and more importantly the Lords expectations.
Thank all of you for your support! the lord loves all of us!