Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Hello from Hot and Muggy Australia! :)
This week, set an all time record for the hottest it's ever been at midnight last..... Tuesday here. It was pretty insane haha! Our last pday we went out and saw the Giant duck. It was literally the hottest I've ever felt in my life last tuesday. It got up to 43 degrees celcius which is around 112 farenheit and was HUMIDDDDDDD!!!! For lunch, we decided to stop into a vietnamese restuarant, and guess what I ordered?? Spicey beef noodle soup. What was I thinking?????? Spicey while it's over 110 outside? Obviously my brain wasn't working because I was sweating like no other eating my lunch hahahahahahah! But all is good now. It's cooled down quite a bit and even though the nights are still pretty warm, I'm able to sleep pretty well.
So I need to say thank you to all who have sent me money for Christmas and at other times. I'm very bad at writing personal thank you letters because postage is pretty expensive (2 bucks for one letter to the US from AU, but only 1.05 for US to AU??? Not sure how that works out...) but thank you for the money because I actually needed to buy something this week with money from home. My athletic shoes I had in the MTC were destroyed by the end of the MTC and so I left them there. When I arrived here in AU the previous elder had left his and they worked okay for a little while, but it was time for me to get my own pair instead of old, stinky, hand-me-down shoes haha :) So I went to the cheapest place you can around here and still get good shoes and I bought some nice Puma's that remind me of Mark everytime I put them on for my morning run to go play touch. So thank you for the donations for Christmas from family (Jay and Sharon and Linda and Jim) and others, because things here in the City are a lot more expensive than I'm used to, and even though the shoes were 50% off, they are still the most expensive shoes I've ever bought haha :) But I really like them and they are MUCH more comfortable than the past shoes I was using to make due. I forgot to bring my journal for this week, but I will try to think back on specific experiences that happened:
- I'm not sure if my street contacting is getting better or worse.... This last week I was contacting people and talked to one person who must have been an ex-sailor and currently worked as a plumber from Texas (Evan may be the only one that get's that specific reference :)) because not even joking, every third word was a cuss word. But anyways... I was talking to him for just a minute and then He invited me to have a beer with him and his mate haha! So I don't know if I'm getting better in the fact that I'm willing to talk to everyone and invite all to learn, or if I'm getting worse because people aren't able to see my role here as a missionary lol! I'll need to do some more thinking on this. But I really do try to talk to everyone because I've had 2 different people talk to me and ask why we as missionaries "target the Asians." I'm always nicer in my response but I want to say its because they are pretty much the only people who ever stop and talk haha! The natives here usually either just cuss you away, are too busy, or are a mixture of both :) But I still love being able to go and talk to ALL people so that It cannot be said of me that I target a particular group because the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn't have any familiarity to race or ethnicity.
- Not sure how much I told you all about Simon. He's the Underground Christian from Pakistan. It's very interesting to meet with Him because He has such strong faith in Christ, yet he lives with 7 other people who most likely would persecute, and maybe even physically harm him if they knew he was christian. I am so grateful that we have religious freedom in our country.
- This saturday after the baptism of Jin (another missionary companionship's investigator) we all decided to go to "3 mamas" a really good thai restaurant in the City and I honestly ate HEAPS of food haha! The chinese people we were with were so suprised at how much I ate because for some reason, I was just absolutely starving and couldn't get full. I had 2 servings of pad thai, and 2 servings of masmun curry, 1 of red curry and 1 of green curry! hahaha, I was stuffed when I was done, but it was so worth the 15 bucks I had to pay for that feast! that's the nice thing about eating in larger groups is that everyone just pitches in the same amount and then you all just share dishes.
I am able to see more and more how awesome my companion is. The more he has gotten to know me, the more willing he is to open up and talk about Himself as a person. A lot of times we are able to share very cool experiences together and this helps to bring us together so much. We do speak Cantonese with each other as often as we can, especially when it's just He and I. He keeps helping me learn and keeps the laughing to a minimum when I say something really wrong and sometimes embarrasing in Cantonese. He's a very good companion to have and He's very patient which makes him a great trainer as well.
Love you all!!
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
G'day mates! :b
Wow, I have a lot more time to write today :) woot! :) Sorry I don't have any new pictures this week. I am going to have some new cool ones next week though because today we are going to see a massive artificial duck that has been shipped into the harbor here. Not exactly sure why, but it's gotten quite the attention, so I figured I had better be part of this historic event of seeing the world's largest "rubby duck in the water." lol! So for this week, I decided I would bring my journal and share some excerpts from there because I often can't remember all that has happened over the past week. Heres a couple:
1/2/13- Best day of the mission by heaps! Witnessed tons of miracles today! First off, Elder Wan pulled off a golden investigator from the street and we were able to give him a tour of the chapel and talk to him about our special message. His name is Simon and he's and underground Christian from Pakistan. His family is Christian, but Christianity is a pretty scary religion to practice there, that's why they have to worship in underground churches and stuff. Pretty crazy, but President Howes has said that we are able to teach HIm since his family is Christian (because of some religious barriers, those of certain other faiths- particularly Islam and Judeism- have to obtain specific consent before we are allowed to teach them, because people that learn of Christian beliefs when belonging to some faiths are honestly faced with death threats) So we were able to meet with him and get to know him better and he wants to continue to meet with us and attend church with us. Also, I set up an appointment with someone who speaks Cantonese! Her name is Donna and she is from Southern China where they speak cantonese. I have been praying for someone to teach in Cantonese for some time now because I really want to use my language ability in my lessons.
1/3/3- Something really cool happened today. I was kinda frustrated at not knowing where to focus my attention on studying Cantonese. I decided I should pray again and ask for help and guidance, and the thought immediately came to read "Preach my Gospel" out loud in Cantonese. After doing this, I have been able to see how much it has helped me. I needed this answer to prayer!
This one is my Favorite :) this is literally the whole thing I wrote that night:
1/5/13- I'm flat out exhausted today. Lots of finding in the heat has tired me out a lot. Write more tomorrow, but a pretty good day.
^ that day was especially HOT. I honestly felt like my feet were on fire when walking on the street haha! It was good though, all part of the experience
Hopefully you'll enjoy some of my excerpts from my journal that I write home, because there is a lot that happens during each and every day, and it's hard to remember all of it when I sit down to write. We started a new reading goal for the whole mission at the beginning of this year. Our mission President wants us all to follow a plan to allow every missionary to read the Book of Mormon again by April. As we do so, He wants us to use a fresh new copy and to only mark references to the Savior and to His ministry and Sacrifice. This has been SO cool to do thus far! I have known since I started reading the Book of Mormon how much it talks about the Savior, however, I was able to see it more starkly when the MAIN thing I'm looking for is references to Him. I'm able to see how many "1-liners" there are that the prophets use to talk about Him. It has allowed me a much greater and broader view of how many times Prophets in ancient times and modern have talked about the Savior.
So regarding Transfers- something crazy happened this week. EVERYONE stayed in our Area. all 12 Elders except the Mini-missionary, who is done with his 6 week mini-mission. Everyone was so surprised because it rarely ever happens that all the missionaries stay in their assigned areas in a zone. But it's very cool because all of the training we have received particular to this zone and how to improve here will be able to be used in full force by everyone here. The longer I am here, the more I realize how special and specific this area is. People keep telling me that the work here is so different, but it didn't all set in at first how different it is. One of the things I love most to be honest is teaching English Class. I love this opportunity to help others with something that is really important to them and to provide community service for other people. I love teaching and helping people come closer to Christ first and foremost, however, English class is also very enjoyable to teach because it is an area where I can see people's quick improvements and I am able to help people a lot. It's really funny to try to explain some of the idioms that we use and that people want to learn. Also, setting the record for tongue twisters is pretty enjoyable too! :) Everyone in the class tried to say "don't put the bitter butter in the batter or the batter will be bitter and the butter wont make it any better." And after everyone had tried, the other teacher, from Japan had me be timed and I said it in..... I think 3.87 seconds? something like that.... so mabye ya'll can try it at home and see if you can beat that record :b you probably can, but it was really funny to hear everyone applaud and roar and be amazed at me saying the tongue twister haha!
I love the Chinese people here. All chinese people are especially funny in their mannerisms and just the way they express things. Part of it is because English is their second language so they use really funny words to describe things sometimes, it makes me smile though not only because of what they say, but because I know how hard it is for them to learn. It makes me think of how odd my Cantonese must sound to other people. My companion and I keep growing closer and closer together over the course of knowing each other. It's been interesting to learn and grow for myself as well. Everyday I feel that I'm learning more about myself- how I learn, how I act, what my true character is. Overall the experience of the mission has continued to get better and better with each and every day. It has been really cool to see how I have been able to continue to distance myself from the world, while everyone else seems to just dive deeper and deeper into it. So many people here talk about the "current trends" the new technology that will come out, new movies, new videos and all these other things. I see more advertisements here on buses, bilboards, trains, and street posts than I think I have seen my whole life LOL! But each and everyday I find that the more I see these advertisements, the less it takes my mind away. Not going to lie, the first time I saw all "The Hobbit" ads I was pretty intrigued and I was wondering what the movie would be about. Or with the new Wii that is coming out. Ad's for Iphone 5 and other new tablets and phones were all over the place, and being the curious person that I am, it often would take my mind off of my task at the point in time for a minute, but as I have continued to try to avoid these things and turn my thoughts, I have found it increasingly easier. I read a talk given by President Packer about how each of us has a "delete button." that we can create. I tried it and it absolutely works! What you do, is you take a common and unnoticeable movement, for instance, adjusting your glasses, scratching your head, maybe even blinking your eyes, and make it your "delete button." So that way when ideas/thoughts come to mind that you want to not focus on, you do that movement and think of something else and it becomes a lot easier for your brain to switch ideas!!! I promise it works. It takes a little while to program in, but now I've actually been able to see how well it works! Whenever a bus passes by and I see the ad- make my sign, and I dont think about that movie, new technology, or book and I can just keep going on practicing cantonese, looking for people to speak to, or thinking of how I can better teach my investigators. It's been really cool. Try it out!! Gotta go, love you all!!!!
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Just so you know, today was my P-day and next week Tuesday will also be my p-day because it's transfer day. I highly doubt i'll be transferred, but I'll let you know sometime next week when I find out. Just dont want you wondering why p-day is normally Monday, but for this week, last week and next, it's been Tuesday haha!
So Mom, Mark Gardner told me some pretty great stories about you! :) Maybe a couple you could tell to the fam because you sure never told me these ones! :) I'm sure you could tell them better than I, so I will just give you a couple key words to remind you so you can retell it. He told me about the sweet little lady you and your companion approached thinking she'd be the nicest little old lady but then she stood up and said "Oh, will you just cut it out!" surprised huh? :) He also told me about how you got the nickname Elder Rust.... something about an Ed Murray haircut?? :) enjoy family! :) It was really good to finally meet them though. They are wonderful people and Marc Gardner showed us a lot of stuff from his mission book. Gave me some pretty good ideas of how I should keep little souviniers and experiences marked by just taping or gluing some stuff to a notebook.
This week has been pretty scorching, but you know.... just makes the phrase "blood, sweat, and tears" more realistic! :) Especially because I got some nice blood when I slipped when it was raining and kicked the curb while in flip flops.... Just a little bloody toe and it's healing up nice and well. Sure looked pretty narly walking into a Korean BBQ restaurant for Christmas with a bleeding toe in my flip flops haha! For Christmas, we decided we'd go out for something special... so my Asian companions picked Korean because most Korean people don't celebrate Christmas, and thus it was a really packed place. Gave me a little different meaning to Christmas, but it was an interesting experience :)
I've loved being able to just dive into the culture here and take it all in. I've especially loved the people that I mistake from being out of the country because they are of Asian ethnicity but then tell me they're Australian because they've lived here all their life. Cat got my tongue the first time I heard that one for sure! :) Normally it's been good to ask people where they are from and then say hello in their own language, but I've learned rather than asking "where are you from?" I need to first ask, "how long have you lived here in Sydney?"
There's also heaps of backpackers around here. Is that a big thing in SF Michelle? People from all over- mostly europe- just pack up their belongings in a backpack and go travel around for 3-6 months and see the world. It's gotten pretty big because I see a lot of people walking around with hiking backpacks here in the parks and on the streets and with a map in hand like they are going camping, but realistically they are just looking for the next tourist site. Pretty interesting in my opinion, but a lot of people really like it. For example, a couple on the train today just have been here for about a month and are just planning on just touring up and down the coast for the next month or so, then jump over to New Zealand, then maybe another island or two, then go back home to Germany..... Not sure I could have a vacation like that, but to each their own! :) They just have the money/time to travel for a long time because all of them still have homes back in their home coutries. For example, Edward, is a backpacker we met from France. He is planning on being here for a couple more weeks then going back to France where He will be able to get a job again. Just came backpacking for the summer holiday here.
Lets see... what else happened this week?? It's so hard to remember the specifics of each day because I feel like so much has been jammed into each day. I had a really cool experience while talking to someone in Belmore Park here. She is going out of town for the next week, but afterwards was really interested to see the church because she just couldn't believe that I, as a missionary, left school for 2 years, am not getting paid, and actually paid money from my own pocket to come here for two years. She was really funny to talk to because each new thing I said- Leaving school, learning Cantonese, not being paid etc- made her eyes go wider and wider haha! So we will see what happens, but in the least, I was able to leave a good impression for our desire for this work. There are a lot more people here than I would have thought who are negative to the Church. Tons of people I think have been introduced to a lot of false things about our church because whenever I introduce myself and say I'm a missionary they say something that's completely not true about our faith, but then when I try to explain they tell me to leave and literally, RUN away a lot of the time. It's very sad but very interesting to see how many false things have been spread about our church. I guess there always has to be opposites, but it does make me sad when I see people that believe things that are completely not true and don't allow me to explain. However, I also have had many experiences where I was able to clear up some things people have heard that were wrong. This makes me happy because even though they are not interested in improving their relationship with Christ, they at least now have a better view of our beliefs and what we stand for. Only have 3 minutes left, so I will share one cool experience. Her name was Emma. One day while contacting, I saw a woman crossing the street who I was planning to talk to, but before her, I saw a Chinese family, and so I walked up and said hello to them and introduced myself. They shooed me away, but when I turned around, there was Emma! She told me that she wasn't interested in attending my church, but wanted to talk to me to know more about our beliefs. She also told me "If you had walked up and talked to me first, I would have cussed you out and told you to leave, but I'm trying to be better, so since you didn't talk to me first, I thought I'd talk to you." As you can imagine I was blown away hahaha :) But we had a nice chat, she's got a very rough life, and although she made it clear she didn't want to learn more or see the church, I think she left being uplifted just a bit. Time is up, Sorry if I didn't answer all your questions or satisfy your desires for this week :) Love you all!!