Sunday, April 26, 2015
Week has been crazy! SO many Experiences!Floods, rain, hail, special zone trainings, and the results of it all! The week started with like 4 days of straight non-stop rain! SO ridiculous! The rain went down the wal and under our wall to come up into our carpet! Yikes! It started by the wall in our study room on MY side, so it's the joke that I must not be righteous... ha. ha..ha.. It quickly (by morning) had spread to the other side of the room, then that afternoon it was into the hall way, then the next day it had wrapped around the kitchen and was into the living room! We had to move our stuff into the other room, anything on the floor was soaking in water. Our apartment has been getting al humid and dank smelling! They (the office) gave us some stuff to vacumm it all up and take away the smell. It is getting better now that the weather has stopped and it has had time to dry! DOo not worry, we are healthy and the mission office is n to it! On a brighter note, and better smelling, we were able to take a recent convert to the temple for the first time to do some family files in the baptistry! It was great! He loved it and was quite humbled and awstruck! Great man! Bro Lazarus always buys stuff for us and gives us gift cards to Coles (grocery store) and meat platters he wins at his golf cub! ha Great man! We also went on exchanges with the Leura Elders, up in the Blue Mountains! Pretty sweet. Great Elders! It is really setting into fall up there so I took a picture for yous! (don't worry here that is proper to say. haha) Also, Elder Stockman (a Maori Elder we live with) and I went out of our way last p-day just to find Peachee! One of the greatest things australia has to offer! Bundaberg Peach flavored soda! SO good! Highly recommend it. What a week! SO busy! Didn't even mention Preach My Gospel studies with the sisters and ur meetings! Oh! We went to the mission office to pick some stuff up when one of the office couples says you're coming with us right? "uh.. what" We had to help drive two smashed cars to the repairman deep into the south mission! Crazy! The cars were parked at the Normanhurst chapel during a zone conference when the rain and wind caused a tree to snap in half and the top half fell on the cars! Smashed the bonet (hood), front lights, and door handle of one car, While it broken the back window in another! Nuts! Took us a huge portion of our day.. unplanned! But when you're in the service of your fellow man... you know the rest ;)
My core experience with God this week was simple. I had the chance to be in various teaching situations. I noticed the inexperience of some of the missionaries I was around. I could see myself in them. I am where I am now with more knowledge and capability. I can do things more powerfully than before in my mission. Skills like introducing the Book of Mormon using the introduction in the front of the book, the commitment pattern, reciting the first vision, etc. A these things that the Lord has been able to help me to learn. Now I see these missionaries learning the same thing I learned in the earlier stages of my mission. I now know why the Lord has called me t be here, serving in this capacity, when before I did not understand it. The Lord puts us and calls us where we are needed, to help those we need to help and teach those we need to teach. A simple but powerful reminding experience
Teaching as Jesus taught. With all these things I have learned it is great to see how the spirit can work and bring back t u memory the right thing at the right time! All the zone conferences and trainings are paying off. I feel great, being able to see and feel the spirit working through Elder Moore and I, giving these people exactly what they need. The Savior was the Master.He knew what was right at the right time, the spirit can help us to realize the same.
Something I have learned in my mission is obedience. Not just following the white hand book and mission rues. But listening to what your leaders tell you. Doing the small things even if you disagree. Not having district lunch every week for example. I fought it, but it wasn't until after we had made the change and been living it for a while that I saw the blessings! It applies to trainings and keeping commitments as well. It is not until I practiced what we were trained about, as invited and committed to do, that I gained the skills I have spoken about earlier. When we do what we are invited to do we grow, That simple.Not just going to a meeting to go to it, but apply it afterwards, instead of just saying "Oh, that was nice and uplifting!"
I testify that the Spirit of God changes us to be what is best and what will end up making us the Most happy!
I love you all! I hope you can feel that. I really do! Thank you for the support! I pray for you all.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
WOW! What a Birthday response! I opened my e-mail this morning and had 22 emails from all of you wishing me a happy birthday! Then my mom sent 2 more of yours with her e-mail! Plus I know a couple of you aussies sent a text. Thanks HEAPS for all of your wishes! Didn't know I was so loved.. haha. It was a good week. Super busy! 2 Preach my Gspel studies, a DL exchange, a district meeting, and birthday with a companion that likes to make things known! was good! I forgot about this sunset till i saw the picture! was fantastic! Beautiful sunset.. beautiful! For my birthday we went to "The Village Hotel" were you can get a big rump steak for $8.50 and a big ol' plate with unlimited chips (fries) and veggies and stuff. it is the place to go when you serve in Penrith! So we went there for my birthday meal, Elder Moore was kind enough to buy me a fancy steak. 415 new York strip! So good and got SO FULL!!! it was ridiculous! Oh and did I say you cook it yourself?! It was good. that night we went to a nice ol' aussie couples house for dinner, they were so kind and made a cake for my birthday! What sweet souls! The stake presidents parents.. have to be on you BEST behavior! ha, as if we aren't normally.. I know the Thompsons and Evans are busting up laughing right now! ha. It was a good day, Elder Moore told al the missionaries so they had a "surprise" at he chapel.. totally saw it coming! ha. Our Tongan District leader has a huge heart and likes to celebrate and eat any chance he can get! haha LOVE him! Then he told the right members on sunday so EVERYONE knew before church was over.. ha. Was alright though. may have gotten us soem better dinners this week.. haha. jk.. Well... onto the next paragraph!
My core experience this week is Our Purpose and mini miracles! Near every training we heard this week was on our purpose. It was a great reminder for me personally and the zone generally. i felt inspired. I also felt a sense of purpose as I was reading some old miracle books one night after planning. The kept thinking of all these stories and miracles we always here about missions and missionaries. For some reason I felt like I hadn't had an experience like this in a long time. It weighted on my mind a bit that night. Then 10:30 arrived as it always does. The next day continued as usual. Our plans fell through we didn't know what to do... we thought of one of our perspective elders that said he is usually home this time of night. So "why not?" we asked. We headed over. The family was grateful or our visit. The father was sick and just a moment or two before our arrival they had been talking about contacting some priesthood holders to give him a blessing. The priesthood blessing we were able to give provided the father and the family with comfort. We were also able an inspiring lesson with George (the perspective Elder) after the dad, who had been laying on the couch upon our arrival, jumped up and drove the kids to mutual. It was simple. No changing water to wine. But it was a simple miracle that, combined with the trainings we had received, filled me again with purpose. I was grateful for the opportunity I had to be an instrament for the Lord.
Teaching as Jesus taught. With all the lessons on our purpose we read a lot about teaching with Power. I knew the concept. But I have decided to focus on it now. We can teach with authority all the time, cool. We are missionaries we are set apart we have the authority. But the setting apart can also give us power. Keeping covenants and commitment give us spiritual power that transforms lessons. This week we have been trying to teach with real power! Just as the Savior of the world did. We pray that we will be able to do so.
Since my arrival in the mission have my expectations been realized? I would say my expectations were different and unrealistic. I would also say my expectations have been exceeded as well however! I never thought that I could do the things I have done. The lord can do amazing things with us if we let him! No one could imagine the great friendships and love that would be created and forged through spirit filled lessons learned! Missions are miracles! Everyday is a miracle. It is cliche, but it is true. I don't think I could have realized any of this before my mission, at the start of my mission, in the middle of it, or even a few weeks ago. Serving a mission has been Nothing like what I had expected thus far... it has been greater! Definitely harder and more extensive than I imagined, surely life changing and much more worth it than I expected! The greatest experience of my life. I understand the saying that has been said before, "The Best 2 Years." Not meaning the 2 with least trials and most comfort, but the most learned the best experiences and closest friends. I am grateful for every day.
You do not understand my gratitude to you all... I thank the Woodruffs for helping my mom with the floor! Also, i am excited for the rising generation of missionaries, you all will be so ready.
LOVE YOU ALL HEAPS! I am grateful to being serving. I am grateful for you and your love.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
What a week it has been! Enjoyed it! Conference was good as always, it seemed a bit weird, also we didn't see Richard G. Scott speak.. Did I miss it or did something a happen? odd not to have an Apostle speak. Good conference though! Sad that people want to oppose just to oppose.. Darn Satan! Well, on a lighter note, Earlier in the week it was a new transfer as you saw, so we had a bunch of missionaries studying and working with us for a bit on Thursday morning. From Penrith and Hebersham zones. The Mt. Druitt Elders we live with are in the other zone.. weird, hey? So some of their missionaries got dropped off then their real companions came back to pick them up after their District Leader Training, I used to attend. I got to see Elder Nathan and since he is training I got to meet his trainee or "Son!" It was fun to see the posterity and to see the Line of Tsai continue! I have a weird missionary family tree... I was born to foster parents thus being part of the line of Duke/Wickham, then coming to my promised land to my ASNM trainer or father Elder Tsai! ha. Weird missionary humor most of you probably find weird and peculiar.. but it makes us laugh, so I hope you et some sort of joy from it. ha We did a lot of driving this week as well so I took a picture of Elder Moore and I in the car, I have a lot more free time in the car since I am not driving this month, ha. DO not worry I am still making sure I fulfil all my co-driver responsibilities! We have a good record in the mission right now for avoiding accidents. We hope to continue that in the Penrith Zone! So I was also able to take a picture of a funny truck we pulled up next to. ha. Top Gun! This one is for you 2 Mayson and Peter! I was feeling bad the other night about my miracle entry and felt it was a bit lack-luster and too made up on the spot. So I asked if I could re do it and do something better. I submitted the following:
1. I had the fortunate experience of Visa-waiting as many missionaries do. Sometimes it is frustrating, disappointing, or even depressing. Luckily, for me, I was able to LOVE my experience and all the people I was blessed to meet in the Missouri St. Louis Mission. The first thing that changed my mission was a small Mormon message played to entertain us while we came back from lunch at a Zone conference. I was filled with peace and happiness as Elder Joseph B. Wirthlins life motto became my own: "Come What May & Love It!" It means a change of attitude. An attitude of Faith and Humility. Two things I believe every new missionary must learn in order to have a successful mission. Letting "Come What May & Lov[ing] it" is accepting the Lords will and being faithful no matter what happens. Knowing that, as the finding faith in Christ DVD tells us, good things will come to us whatever outcomes come, IF we are faithful. An example: Accepting and loving the companion your are given, the area the Lord places you in. Knowing that no effort is wasted in finding (as Preach My Gospel tells us), even when the contact was rude, abusive, and full of anti-Mormon harassment. Instead of calling President and complaining about your new companion before you even work with them or in your new area, or losing faith in people because of the rude contact... Remember: "Come What May & Love It!"
2. Once you are accepting the Lords will and humble enough to move forward, the lord will continue to shape you. Through an inspired Process of Purification. For me it was the "40 Day Fast." It starts with a day long fast all leading up to you allowing the Lord to make a list of all the things you do that hold you back and poke at your spirit. Then for the next 40 days you "Fast" from these things and start doing better things. I was hesitant at first a did a watered down version first and saw watered down blessing. Once I finally put away or sent home all the distractions (football cards, pictures of home, flat brimmed hats, mirror tint sunglasses (all the small things or small rules we break)) I was finally able to be lead by the spirit and CLEARLY understand and follow nearly every prompting that came my way! I was truly able to be "an instrument in the hands of the Lord." It takes sacrifice and spiritually minded discipline. We truly give it all to the Lord and stop holding our small acts of disobedience or our favourite sins. For those little things are what cause, to some extent, the spirit to cease to strive with us. Making this work, this spiritual work, even the Lords work, Impossible.
3. All of this Change lead me to have effective and revelatory studies and days, but even more importantly... A testimony that Jesus IS the Christ. That Joseph Smith IS a Prophet of God, and of course that the Book of Mormon is a true, God inspired Record. I testify that the That all of that is true. I have felt the Spirit guiding me by the hand, I have felt the forgiving power of the Atonement, I know that the Lord cares for and Loves us more than we can imagine!
4. Now this would be a great ending point wouldn't it? But that is the Thing. It's not all sunshine and rainbows once we get a faithful attitude, a sharper behaviour, & a testimony. Life moves "Onward Ever Onward," as we sing so often, and so do Satans temptations! That s Why these changes within us HAVE TO be Lasting! The mission is supposed to have changed our lives forever, not just for two years or 12 weeks! ("The First Great Commandment" Elder Holland, Oct. 2012 General Conference) We must keep going, enduring to the end. Despite our good works thus far, you may find yourself at rock bottom. A transfer has occurred and perhaps you don't have the best or most Booming area or the most supportive companion. Maybe you haven't gotten mail in over a year.
So do we just give in and let our "Rolling Waters" stagnate and become impure?
Do we forget Our Purpose?
What happened to "Come What May & Love It"?
What happened to those 40 days of purification and clear promptings?
What happened to that testimony of Jesus Christ?
Again, what happened to our sense of purpose?
Elders & Sisters Please! Always Keep our Purpose in your heart! Do all you can to stay faithful and true! (Hymn no. 248) When satan tempts remember "You are doing a great work & cannot come down!" (We are doing a great work & cannot come down" President Uchtdorf April 2009 General Conference) If you are ever at your spiritual "Rock Bottom" Maybe even your own personal Gethsemane or Golgotha... Don't quit. Turn to God! He uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible! (Elder Nelson) What helped me was Hymn no. 100, "Nearer, My God' to Thee." Seeing the example of Jacob, sleeping on rocks far from home...yet in his dreams he'd be nearer to God. So he ACTED as an agent unto himself (Elder Bednar). In the seldom sung 4th verse it shows us how we can turn to God in our trials. "Out of my stoney griefs Bethel (The house of God) I'll raise!" Because Jacob had a Faithful attitude, was purified enough to be lead by the Holy Ghost, & had a testimony of The Lord, he was able to make a complete turn around! From the stoney griefs of rock bottom to raising the house of the Lord and Building the Kingdom of God. ... So by our woes we grow Nearer to God. By turning to God we are filled with Eternal perspective and realize our grand potential! "Sun, moon, and stars forgot Upward [we] fly, guiding our tribe up the Holy mountain into the presence of the Lord!
My dear friends, Elders & Sisters... Please! Let your Missions CHANGE you! I ask...
Will You let "Come What May & Love It?"
Will you purify yourself through the "40 Day Fast?"
Will you receive a testimony of Jesus Christ?
Will you come nearer to God?
Will you be changed because of your missions?
I promise you (PMG Ch. 11) that if you do these things you will NEVER lose sight of your purpose. You will endure many things (Article of Faith no. 13). Your promptings will be Clear. And you will Quickly develop those Christ-like attributes that will allow your confidence to wax (or grow) strong in the presence of God, and the Holy Ghost shall shall be thy constant companion. I so testify in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
I love you ALL.
"Come What May & Love It!"
-Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
"Out of my stoney griefs Bethel I'll raise!"
-Hymn no. 100"
that is my miracle entry.
I Love you All SO Much! I hope you can feel it. I feel your love and prayers. Thank you!
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Monday, April 6, 2015
Hello and Good day to you all! Happy Easter Tuesday! I don't think that is a thing.. but might as well be right? Things have been good this week! It was Penrith Zones turn to host the monthly Missionary Fireside. We lucked out and got Easter! The theme was "He Lives!" It was great. The spirit was strong. We had some amazing musical items! Amazing! For the closing hymn we had all the missionaries come to the stand and sing the 1st 2 verses of "I know my Redeemer lives!" and then the congregation joined with us for the last 2! It brought a few tears and made everyone happy! Yesterday we went on a hike to Wentworth falls, in the Blue Mountains! Pretty sweet! Elder Moore has a good member friend that came and visited and took us so we had a great preparation day activity yesterday! We had to end early though so we could e-mail today. Before the hike though we had to drive some missionaries around for transfers. Some good friends and even better examples "Died." One of them being one of my favorite companions and missionaries, Elder Chin Ah You! Will miss him. Do not worry, Elder Moore and I are staying together in Minchinbury!! Very Grateful! Great Companion! Love him!
My core experience with God this week was the Penrith Missionary Fireside. We had worked hard and dealt with some dramas leading up to it. We knew that we had followed the spirit in planning the meeting as best as we could. It was great to see the inspiration behind all the promptings come to fruition! As well as to feel the spirit in attendance. It made all the effort worth it. I was grateful to see the spirit work upon the congregation. You could see investigators and members from various places around the area crying and smiling. You could see the spirit up lifting them. A great reminder at what we are here to do, to invite others to come unto Christ. To help Everyone feel the spirit and desire for themselves to come closer to the Lord and to know that their Savior lives! It was great. I was thankful my companion and I could be the instruments in the Lords hand for that occasion!
Teaching as Jesus Taught. Elder Moore and myself have been able to have some great teaching moments lately! We have found ourselves doing what we have been trained to do (How to begin teaching, the commitment pattern, etc) and how it naturally developed into a great love for the investigators we were with and teaching. As we loved them the inspiration was clear what they needed. It was great to see and feel the spirit work with them! Their hearts were softened! We even noticed a man after at eh end of our visit say "Man, I was having a bad day! And I don't usually let people into my house... but I feel good right now!" He recognized the spirit, something he likely has felt very seldom in his life and it softened him. It helped him to feel Peace, joy, long-suffering, patience and all the other gifts that the spirit brings to our lives! How incredible. I know God is there. I know he loves us, his children. I know we can be changed by the spirit. I know Christ Changes our lives!
We are so grateful for the new zone members, will miss the old ones but grateful for the new! We are excited to have the missionaries we do and to have so many fresh ones! 6 training! We believe it will give us some great miracles and great teaching opportunities! Very Excited! The zone started to have a YSA attitude recently, so we are already working with the District Leaders to turn it around. We want to be fully aligned with inspired focus of the Assistants, Our Purpose.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Been a good week. Busy Busy! We had Temple P-day today, thus we e-mailed today not yesterday! MLC or Mission Leadership Council last Monday was good! Always enjoy a training from President Howes! Always. So the Mount Druitt Elders get all this Islander stuff from their members. So they tried to scare us with their... outfits the other nights! Ha. It was pretty funny! Speaking of the Mount Druitt Elders... They came home one night... noticed a light was on in their room. (now, Elder King is a neat freak (in good Way) and locks up and turns off all the lights before he leaves so this was weird.) He walked over to see what was going on, fully expecting us to be up to something in their study. All their clothes were on the ground and it looked a bit off... So Elder Stockman goes to see if our room is thrashed too... he goes and opens the door, but it doesn't open all the way! So he pushes it again. There was a man hiding behind the door with a bag full of stuff! Long story short... he gives all the stuff back, the Elders teach him a lesson about the atonement, give him some food (he said he was homeless), tell him they love him, and invite him to church! haha. If it were ANYONE else but missionaries he would be beaten and in jail! haha. Craziest thing! haha. So now we are taking a bit more precaution in our Flat safety and lock down.As one would... There are moments here in Minchinbury where I can actually see a sunset. I had a Hotel California flash back! Thought I'd share it with you.
My core experience with God this week. We did go to the temple today, it was revelatory. However, I do not feel compelled to share that today. Perhaps another time. Other than that, I LOVED the chance we got to watch "Meet The Mormons." It was great, filled me with the spirit and thankfulness! Many different aspects of why we do what we do as Latter-Day-Saints. I LOVED seeing the missionary son serving. It strongly reminded me of my purpose and what we are doing here. I just wanted to talk with everyone! I kept thinking..."Man... I love the Gospel and the church!" I felt a great connection to my Brothers and Sisters as I was able to see how the gospel connects us all, and gives us all a purpose and sense of being. I often question how anyone could not or would not even try to read the B.O.M. or to believe in The Lord our God. It fills us with purpose and love one another! Watching that filled me with Th Spirit and Joy!
Jesus taught people wherever he went. We have been focusing on trying to not only teach when we find and find when we teach, but also always teaching in every visit to a members home. Not that we ever plan to stop by without sharing something. But even in short unplanned visits we can still teach something life changing! I am reminded often of a quote from a great old leader and friend of mine: "Every moment with someone is a teaching opportunity!" We have been striving to have a lasting impact by making every moment a teaching opportunity.
If my companion could have 1 Christ-like attribute I would chose Patience. It helps in countless settings! I do lots of weird and potentially irritating things by nature so they would have to have patience with me. Also, if you don't have patience in teaching... it can turn very bad very quickly, and make it very difficult to recover from! Patience is responding well to everything that comes and moving forward. Not just holding your tongue when you are angry. In a very real sense it is living "Come What May & Love It!" If I could help any missionary out with or chose a companion to have 1 strength or Christ-like attribute it would be Patience!
Thank you all for your love. I feel it. You are all an inspiration to me! Truly. You do so much good, you don't even know! I Thank you!