How are you all doing? thank you so much for your email to me! I love getting updates from all of you! It always helps me remember you guys are always there helping me and supporting me! I know this sounds weird, but when you get lost in the work, you totally forget about everythin in your life. I can't even remember how some people look :P. When I'm out contacting or teaching lessons, I totally forget about myself and am constantly thinking about the person I'm teaching. How the gospel could bless their lives and how I could help apply the scriptures to them. Some of the people here are so well prepared it's nearly impossible to even consider that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn't true.
Well, we have two new Progressing Investigators. They're such awesome people! They're both so prepared to recieve the Gospel and I just hope that I will be a good tool in the Lord's hands to bring them into the Church.
One of our investigators is from China and is finishing her Masters in International Business at the University here. We ran into her at the bus station and started talking to her about the church. She's talked to missionaries before, but has turned them down every time until now. I'm not sure why, but she told us that the Missionaries are somehow reading her life. Everytime she has had an incredible trial in her life, missionaries have talked to her. This is the third time it has happened. We met her on Saturday and she came to church with us on Sunday. What an awesome person!!! After church, we taught her a lesson where she talked to us about the trials she had been facing. We had brought a member along to help us teach her and it was perfect. They clicked right away. After the lesson, they kept talking about girl stuff, so Elder Shi and I left to go to a meeting. We also have a ward missionary (she used to be relief society president so you can picture what kind of person she's like :P hahaha) who has gone through the same trials and challenges as our investigator. Oh how true this church is!!!!!! The Lord put the right people in the right places for her so she would be able to better understand His love for her. I never really understood what they said in the MTC when they said: "The Lord has been preparing people since before you were born." It's true. We just need to be in the right place at the right time, follow the guidance of the spirit, and we'll be able to help them recognize the Lord's hand in their lives. This investigator reminds me a lot of Mom. She is such a wonderful sister.
The other new Investigator is AWESOME too. He looks a lot like Uncle Joe haha. Usually, tracting (I'll tell you about that in a sec, awesome hilarious stories, I promise tracting isn't usually this successful :P haha) isn't very good, but this time, we tracted into two amazing people. The first one is here in Australia because he couldn't get into a university in China. He's been through a lot of trials and already understands the concept of repentance. When we knocked on the door, we asked him how he was doing (President Langeland told us not to refer to ourselves as missionaries because they already know that) and shared a little bit of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He Immedietly asked us if we had time and if we could come in to teach him RIGHT then. I was kinda shocked because people usually just slam the door, but we said that we definitely could. When we were learning about his religious backround, we found that he doesn't actually believe in any religion, but he's sure there's a God. And he practically recited 2 Nephi 28:30 so I HAD to show it to him. He said that he didn't care what we believed, but if it helped HIM learn little by little, and he came to an understanding that he knew that our church was true, he'd be baptised (they spell it "Baptized" here) We then had a discussion about the restoration. When we recited the first vision in chinese, we could feel the spirit so strongly. It was like getting hit with a brick. All of the little bits of information that he believed were in harmony with teachings of the Book of Mormon. I showed him Alma 13:3 because he knew that we all had a calling in this world, but he wasn't sure of it.
Anyway, he has changed so much from what he was in china. He was a gangster who got in a lot of fights and got hit on the head with a brick. Crazy huh? I hope he gets baptized. He has such a great base, and he knows that Heavenly Father is watching him and loves him. This work is going forward without any hands!!!!
About Tracting... Tracting is the least liked method of contacting here in the mission. We discovered why this area has been closed up till now. In the middle of every neighborhood is a big baptist community meeting house. We're supposed to avoid the houses directly next to it, but we knock on those doors sometimes if there's a street between the meeting house or a field or something. My FAVORITE story is when at one house, A girl opened the door, said: "How can I help you?" saw our tags, said: "I can't help you" and closed the door. hahahahaha. Another time, it was just like that Jesus Movie where They're knocking on doors and our sentences kept getting cut off earlier and earlier until one time I said "Hi" and they closed the door. I couldn't help but laugh between houses. I'm a real missionary now! Sometimes though we get really weird people... one time, A guy wearing short-shorts opened the door (without a shirt) and we talked with him for a while, then some other guys walked past the door all wearing the same thing... bahahahaha. My companion had to finish the conversation for me.
Oh yes, we just had a baptism (we've had one every week I've been here... crazy) Tania and Mandoza. It was awesome.
Well, those were some of the stories this week, if I have time in a bit, I'll tell you a few more, a little less exciting, but still awesome. Though, I did receive two packages from you guys! peanut butter, pork sung, mochi, those weird cracker things, and... man, I can't remember...your letter, and... yeah... why can't I remember?! Gah. I'll tell you later.
I'll put a whole new paragraph for this one :)
I REALLY don't need packages!!!!!! :D (Smiley face so you know I'm not mad :) kinda :P )
I promise I'm taking really good care of myself. I can get everything here and they give me 240 Australian dollars a month for food, hygeine, and stamps. They pay for our bus passes, rent and everything else. I really can get anything I want here. I've spent roughly 20 dollars a week on food so If I keep this up, I'll have an extra 90 or so every month. The money also rolls over so I really don't need to you to send me stuff. I can feel your love through your emails! plus When I focus on the work, I totally forget about myself and everything so yep. :) You're the BEST family in the world, and I love all the support you're giving me, but you should send more stuff to Vicky instead of sending to me. I won't know anyways :P hahaha. But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't send any packages. Letters are just fine!!! Love you though! You're all too nice to me. (OOH as punishment, if I get packages, I'll spend time writing a paragraph just like this :P hahahaha so my emails will be a bit shorter because a part will be dedicated to telling you not to send me packages and not to worry about me :) the Lord takes good care of His servants as long as they're willing to work hard for Him, just read Isaiah again... Still very hard)
Well, to prove that I'm eating very healthy ( need to take a picture of this and show you) I've been eating salad a lot recently! :D I've come to love salad a lot! I buy peppers, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, nuts, cheese, and dressing (it'll probably expand) and just throw it in a bowl and munch on that for a while. We get so many member dinners here that If I eat normal food, I'm going to get super fat hahaha. Also, my companion cooks a lot, but every time he cooks, he adds SOOOO much oil. It's so funny. Everybody in the zone knows that he cooks with an incredible amount of oil. When he cooks eggs, he adds as much oil as he adds eggs... bahahaha. The other night, I cooked some eggs and tomato (CHENG GONG!!!!) and he was curious why I didn't add any oil... I DID! you just couldn't see it.
NO! I was going to take a picture of it, but I guess I'll just tell you about it. In the MTC my teacher told us about some graphs of progress that mission presidents made, so I decided to make a personal progress graph for myself :) I"ll take a picture of it and send it to you next week. Plus it'll have another week on it so it won't look so empty. Well I"m just graphing out contacts, potentials, lessons, pages of the Book of mormon read, PMG, Goals, etc. It makes me want to work harder just so I can see the lines keep going up :P hahaha. but they've been steadily climbing as I get more comfortable talking to people, and as I learn chinese. :) I know I'm a nerd, but I had an extra hour on P-day and decided to graph my progress to motivate myself. It's fun because you can always tell which days are P-days and sundays because we have much less proselyting time on those days, though we still talk to people every day.
Ok, random fact: guys here are named Violet, and Jupiter.... weird... I can't spell the others, but as soon as I can, I'll let you know, just fun facts about Australia. Also, Fairdinkum is an actual word, so is buz, it just means bus. and if anybody says that they're from "N Zed" to you, it means "NZ" which means New Zealand... yep. I'm trying to learn chinese AND relearn English at the same time. I keep telling you new words so it's a lot of fun :)
OH yes, well since we have so many chinese missionaries now, my companion and I bike A LOT! and the hills here are worse than the hills in Utah. Cool thing, my thighs are getting bigger, and I can feel my pants are a lot less baggy now. :) yay! I'm no longer too skinny bahaha. Also, one of the Elders I live with. Elder Monsen, has gained 10 kg's (20 pounds) and he's been on a mission 1 transfer (6 weeks) longer than I have! bahahaha. His baptismal pants don't fit anymore and neither do his belts, so I let him borrow one of the belts jeff gave me before I left. This is why I'm eating salad now :D
Well, I guess I'll explain some of the pictures now.
The lizard in the picture is one of the smaller lizards here. They're awesome because they eat all the spiders and cockroaches so we were thinking of getting one and just putting it in our flat in case of an insect infestation. Evidently since the flood, there've been more bugs. I haven't actually noticed, but I guess some of the other Elders who have been here longer really don't like the bugs here... good thing mosquitoes don't like me :)
Yes, they have the wall urinal :P (Don't worry, I made sure the bathroom was empty when I took this picture) basically, they're all about saving water here so they have two buttons on every toilet. just to save water. bahahaha. this kind of urinal is pretty common too. VERY awkward to use though.
This is the plane we came to australia on. it was GIGANTIC. I don't know if this picture describes how big it is, but it was HUGE!!!!! It took half an hour to get everybody out of it with six exits.
Bathroom signs here are pretty weird. Sometimes, they're just hidden. This was the one in the basement of the mall... the most obvious, but they call the bathroom the toilet and the shower the bathroom. They're separated in homes. So don't ask for the bathroom when you need to use the toilet or they'll think you're really weird.
they have really cool trees here that make me super excite when I'm tracting or contacting.
Sorry I don't have too many exciting pictures. We really don't go out on P-day, and I never have my camera on me, I'll probably have to change that. Just for you guys!!!! :D
I just realized I don't have a picture of our flat! I'll have to send that to you at some point. though you saw our bed-room in that one picture that I sent you.
Well, my time is up, so I'll bid you all farewell! kinda.
Love you all and thank you SO much for all the support you've given me, but PLEASE!!!!!!!!! don't send me any more packages. I promise I'm fine. Girls need more love than guys (don't tell vicky I said that) so you could send her two packages to her instead of one to me and one to her. I promise I'm fine!!! :D