Wow.... where do I begin?! The work here is SO intense! So for my area.... it's absolutely tiny haha :) I'm actually not in Corene's area, but we are in the same stake. I traveled to her stake to attend the First Presidency Christmas Devotional broadcast with one of my investigators, Noy. That is where she came up to me and we had a slightly awkward moment where I had no idea who she was because it has been so long since I've seen her! But then we were able to have a nice chat afterward.
My area is only about a 15 minute walking radius. This whole experience has been WAY different than I was first expecting. The city here is SOOOO busy! Everyone is working or in school or both and is absolutely busy all the time. I literally, have to walk next to every single person I talk to because not a single person will ever stop if you say hello. You have to just start walking next to them and talking. It's somewhat humorous actually the kinds of reactions people will give, I've literally had people start to jog so as to get away from me rather than just kindly asking me to not talk to them haha! People are normally pretty nice and friendly, but very very few have time to say more than "good mate, gotta go!" in response to my question of "hello! how's you're day going?" of course I've gotten a number of less-kind remarks but that's okay. There was one person though who is absolutely amazing! Her name is Mamata. She is from Nepal. I was just about to go into the Teaching Center (because we live in the City, we have a floor underneath the chapel where we teach our investigators) but then felt that I should talk to her as she was rushing up the street. I received the thought that I should talk to her even though I needed to enter for my lesson, and after asking her a few questions and inviting her to the Christmas Party, she informed me that her and her husband have only recently moved to Sydney and have been looking to make more friends. Later, when I talked to her on the phone she made mention that she often feels "spiritually low" and that she really looks forward to meeting with us and attending our Monday night weekly activities. She is extremely busy finishing work before Christmas, but she seems to be very anxious to meet with us and said she could "feel positive vibes" when I talk with her. I was so excited to see this miracle!! It proved to me that there are people who are looking to gain more happiness in their lives and are curious to learn about Jesus Christ.
My trainer, Elder Wan, is from Hong Kong. The other two flat-mates are Elder Au, and Elder Haeata. Elder Wan and Elder Au actually studied English in Oregon, and then Studied at BYU Hawaii together! Elder Haeata is from Japan (He is STOKED Anika is going there!!) Almost as excited as I am! But more to come on that later :b Anyways, so I live in the most Asian apartment in the Zone! We eat asian food every single day and I love it haha! :) They are all very good cooks so it's been nice to experience some authentic Chinese food. Hopefully I will learn how to cook like them and can whip up a dish or two.
For my language....... A little discouraging because in this zone there are very few Cantonese people. Outside of my companion and Elder Au, there are 2 members that speak cantonese, but most of our investigators either only speak Mandarin, or Korean, or Thai. And English is almost always the second language for everyone in the Branch. The senior couple serving here are from Moses Lake, Washington! So that's kind of cool :) Cantonese, I use it to speak in the flat (for the vocab that I have) but I dont know how much teaching I'll use it for until I get transfered maybe to the Cantonese branch. Every morning for exercise we play "touch" It's basically touch rugby and it's a lot of fun! It was a little weird at first getting used to the feel of a rugby ball instead of a football, but im starting to get the hang of it.
I'm surprised how many people know of the Missionaries here actually. Almost everyone that has been here for a year or two has heard of them and they get a little embarrassed when I ask what about it they've heard. But I guess if they are walking to the same area for work that is right past our zone they would have seen the Missionaries because there are 12 missionaries assigned to this one branch of about 100 Members here. That's pretty crazy when you think of the fact that most wards are lucky to have a set of missionaries to themselves!
Anyways, I only have 6 minutes left, so I want to say just a bit about Anika's mission Call, please let her know How very excited I am she got her mission call!! I was going to write a message to forward on, but I don't feel the best about that, so I'd better stay clear of the line and just ask you to pass on some words in this same letter. Anika will be the best missionary to hit the field this century, I'm sure of it. She's so very prepared to serve and it's so awesome her and Miles (her brother) can serve at the same time! Tell him congrats as well!! :)
The work is so tough, but it is absolutely worth it. Loving people regardless of their past, and helping them become better people for the future is something that cannot be adequately described by saying "it's the best feeling ever!"