Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hello from Australia

Hi everybody!

Well, so usually my p-day is on mondays, but on transfer weeks it'll move to Tuesdays, so if I don't email you a week, it'll probably be because of transfers.  Anyways.  It was a lot of fun talking to you on the fphone the other day! After we got off the phone, We tried talking to some people in the airport to practice our chinese and stuff.  We're not allowed to proselyte in the airport, but we just thought we'd kinda practice talking to people. Plus, if people ask about our tags or our purpose we can tell them about the church.

Well, we talked to 3 different groups of people.  First was a family from Taiwan.  That was a lot of fun! They were going to Hawaii for vacation and had one of the funniest kids.  we also talked to a guy from singapore who came to america to do some trading in medical supplies.  He was pretty cool too.  My favorite experience was a family from hong kong.  They couldn't speak english and they wanted to confirm their flight with the person at the desk (who was black and couldn't speak chinese) Well, they only spoke cantonese and a little bit of mandarin.  When we went up to talk to them, we just talked about being missionaries and what they were doing in LA.  We said goodbye after a few minutes but theyn they came looking for us because the figured out that the flight lady couldn't speak chinese.  So we translated for them :). They spoke a very cantonese-like chinese so my companion and the other missionaries couldn't understand what they were saying, so I just did all the talking.  It was so cool! The Lord does love His children and helps them in their time of need.  I don't think I would've been able to understand a single word they said without His help.  hahaha.

Well, we got on our flight to Sydney where we said goodbye to Elder Brown.  He went to his mission office in Sydney with a senior couple that was also going to Sydney.  We waited in the Sydney international airport for four hours and talked with Elder Staples, then left him at his gate when his plane was boarding to Melbourne and got on our plane to Brisbane.  On the flight my companion and I just shared pick-up scriptures so we'd feel ready for our missions.  Airport security in Australia is very different from Airport security in America... just a thought hahaha.  Well, our mission president and the AP's were at zone conference so we got picked up by Elder Able, a senior missionary incharge of the finances in the Brisbane area.  We got some Subway (they have that here! but it's really weird... cucumbers aren't called cucumbers here... something that starts with an "s")  Anyway.  Afterwards, we went to the mission office to wait for President Langeland.  We learned all the stuff we needed to take care of our flat and stuff also, we have cars.  Lots of cars.  The fleet usually has 1 car per companionship.  (They drive on the left side here! Gah! scary, plus tickets range from 500 to 1000 dollars! the last ticket a missionary got was 1000 dollars... yikes).  We met with our mission president and had an interview with him so that he could decide which trainer to put us with.

I got paired up with Elder Shi, an elder from Mainland China.  His chinese is very good as you could imagine, but I have been teaching him many ensligh words.  Elder Bellingham is now in the city of Brisbane and I am in Eight Mile Plains.  Also known as Sunny-bank.  very chinese area hahaha.the first day, we went to ward council to discuss problems in the ward and stuff (I cannot understand what they're saying half the time) and they say I'm as green as green gets :).  That night, I unpacked and got ready for proselyting.

The next day, we went finding in our area.  President Langeland opened up a new area for me and Elder Shi.  It's called Rochdale and none of the Elders I've talked to have heard of missionaries in that area... It's a REALLY nice area.  A lot of really big houses with pools and gated front yards.  Very intimidating.  And not very productive to go tracting in.  We've tracted for a long time and we ran into two houses who are now potential investigators.  We also can't tract in some of the areas because it is right next to a big baptist thing.  I'm not sure what it is, but it looks like a warehouse.

We also went Street contacting which I LOVE.  It is so much fun.  We stay near a bus stop and talk to people about the gospel!  I guess I was blessed with the skill to do this quite well hahaha.  In an hour I found 4 potential investigators!!! The cool thing is that all the people here are students attending either griffith university or the university of queensland.  They are mostly Taiwanese or Chinese immigrants that just wanted to get out of home.  The Chinese students haven't really ever heard of religion or anything.  My favorite experience though was when I talked to a sister from Shanghai.  She was christian already, but when I asked her some questions about her thoughts, she said she didn't know and I told her that we had a modern prophet on the Earth today that has told us these things.  She became really interested and asked me to share more of our understanding of our purpose on this life, resurrection and stuff.  It was super cool.  The church is true! I love it so much.

One of the coolest people I talked to is an elderly brother from Taiwan.  He only went to kindergarten and did very well and is very successfull.  He has 3 children all grown up and two of which are christian but he wants his questions answered before he learns more about the gospel.  Some of the questions he asks were perfectly answered by prophets, but I'm not sure of some maybe you could help me? One of the ones that is killing me is "if we all come from adam and eve, where are there so many different races?" I've never thought about this question because I didn't really think it was extremely important, but he thinks it's very important and won't learn more of the gospel until we answer his question.  Well he's super awesome because he doesn't drink tea, coffee, alchohol, and he doesn't smoke because he read a lot of books that told him that those things weren't healthy for him.  He's very talented and I hope he gets baptized one day.

Oh man, there is so much to tell you and so little time.  I actually unfortunately forgot my camera in the flat! NOOOOO! i wanted to send you some pictures.  but here is an extremely accurate portrayal of my companion.  He is a bigger, older version of Kevin Lin.  He also wears the same sun-glasses too.  It's hilarious.  haha, When we work out in the morning, it's a lot of fun. :)

OH! I met a young brother going into the MTC January 2nd! He's going to Panama on his mission and he said he's scared of the winter cold because he can't buy any jackets here that are warm enough for the winter and in panama he won't use the kind of coats required for Utah winter.  I told him he could probably borrow my winter stuff and send it back home when he's headed for Panama.  I'll try to get him in contact with you before he leaves.  there is no way I can spell his last name though :) they all have really weird last names here.

Vicky! you're going into the MTC!!!! WAHOOOOOO! are you WAY excited! you're going to have so much fun in there! My advice is to LOVE it.  Many people want to go out and get into the field as fast as they can, but really, I kinda miss the MTC.  I loved it SO much there, you're always on a spiritual high.  I was on that spiritual hgih for 12 weeks so wehn I came out here and felt my first spiritual drop, it was kinda depressing.  But you can find the spirit in EVERYTHING.  you've just gotta lose yourself in the work and forget yourself.  President Uchtdorf once said: "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself but thinking less about yourself."  I can testify that this is true!  The Lord uses small and simple things to do His work.  As soon as we think we're strong and smart, He has no more use for us! So we must be humble! and when we're humble, we think less about ourselves and more about the people we're serving.  Only then are we lost in the work! Everything falls into place if you think about it! THE CHURCH IS TRUE! Oh man that was probably SUPER confusing, but it made sense to me :).  hahaha, You're going to be such an amazing missionary Vicky!

I bet your Musical number was AMAZING Verina! haha, by the way, some trunky missionaries are coming home soon and every missionary goes nuts when they find out taht I have a younger sister.  Stay in the HFAC! For your own good.  hahaha.  Funny story about that: Our AP is going home next transfer (evidently they call it dying out here) And we were talking in the car about our families and stuff.  He went crazy when he found out I had a little isster in college hahaha.  Fortunately for you, I knew his girlfriend from back home so you're ok :).  I'm sorry I keep telling you about these guys, but missionaries are crazy out here haha :). Don't worry, I'm not like them, when they talk into the night about girls I'm asleep.  (they took a picture of me asleep on my camera so I'll have to send that to you next week, I'm SO sorry I forgot my camera.)

Jon!!!! You'd be so killer out here! I know you're such a stud and I keep running into little asian kids about your age who don't like to talk to us cuz we're old and weird haha.  They're all into beat boxing and breakdancing and stuff just like you, so when you go on your mission you'll be prepared to talk and relate to these people.  it's the bom!

Good to hear Jeff is doing so well! You're moving out of Anatomy and into Biochemistry? that's awesome! you're so smart! one day, I'll be like you haha.  plus biochem is your thing! you're only going to do better from here right? haha, I hope you and kara are doing well ;P haha.  Sorry I don't have anything to say about that.  All the advice we've gotten from general authorities are about avoiding girls and locking our hearts hahaha. We did get a lesson on etiquite during one of the devotionals though.  So I could tell you.  Fork is spelled with four letters and so is left.  So your fork is on the left.  Knife and spoon have five and so does right so they go on the right.  Also, hold your drink(water of course) in your left hand so that when you shake someone's hand your hand isn't cold.  First impression wants to be warm. hahahaha.  I'm just kidding.  You're the man! You know how to do things better than I will.

Mom! Thank you so much for preparing me for the mission! there are so many instances when i want to write home and thank you for preparing things for me, but I can't remember any of them right now.  Maybe I'll write them down when they happen.  Most of the time, I'll be doing something and another missionary will have a hard time, but because you and dad prepared me so well, I feel so prepared and don't have a very hard time! Thank you so much for that.

Thank you dad for being such a good example to me.  Whenever I get down I think of how you always get up so early in the morning and always put up with us at home and never complained.  It had helped me be that much better of a missionary.  We learned that many of our investigators will come not because of what we say but rather from what we do and how we act.  It's very true.  I've learned so much from how you've acted.  Thank you!

Well, concerning mail, we usually get mail from the mission president every week, so don't worry about sending me mail.  I don't really have time to read it anyway :P.  Every night I'm usually too tired to do much other than eat, plan, prepare for bed and write in my journal.  I'll probably just write emails. haha, you can warn my friends that I won't write back too often too :P to send a letter is a very long and painful process here hahaha.  Also I wouldn't be sure what to do with mail.  I'd proabably just read it on p-days.  Also, we get a lot of money here so you don't have to worry about sending me things.  I'm very well taken care of.  Plus the members give us dinner very often.  hahaha.  We just need to find members in our area because ours is new :P.

Well thanks so much for being SUPER supportive in everything.  But I promise you don't have to send me mail on a regular basis.  You can probably just send me a quick short email and it'd be fine.  I need to get lost in the work :)


Elder Chen

Ps.  The bugs and lizards here are SOOO big!!!! hahaha, There's a spider outside our flat that has remade her web every time we knock it down.  She's the size of my hand! hahahaha SICK! Fortunately we have the blade of inventory (companion inventory, only to be used when you have a problem with a companion).  It's one of those wooden swords.  Some elders left it here with some weights.

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