Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Kyle has been serving his mission for...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sydney South Mission Week 3

Dear Everyone!

Happy Easter!! I hope the easter bunny arrived safe and sound and has delivered some goodies worth keeping. I have fond memories of running around as a child looking for easter eggs and being so happy to get all those goodies :) Too bad this year I just need to buy my own haha. This easter has been a great one and will continue to be I am sure! tonight we have a missionary Easter fireside that we will likely be attending, I am sure the music and speakers will do a great job, will let you know how it goes though :) 

Things have been pretty busy around the office recently, but all continues to go along well. Yesterday Elder Williams and I took a new senior couple out to Bathurst. With them only arriving and having very little experience driving in AU, we didn't feel it was wise to just send them out there alone all by themselves, so we drove with them and dropped them off and helped show them around and become accustomed to the good ol outback of Australia :) All in all, it was about 8 hours of driving to and from including some traffic, so it was a LONG day of driving. It is absolutely beautiful out where they live though. 

For my study this morning, I reflected upon the Savior's sacrifice and Resurrection. one of my favorite talks upon this subject is Elder Hollands address "none were with Him." 
I would invite you all to read it and apply his invitation that we "declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death,” 21  for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone."

I have seen in my life time and time again how having a strong belief in Jesus Christ and trust in Him has helped me. Life is hard, but following the gospel of Jesus Christ makes life easier and more enjoyable. Because of Him, we all will live again. At this Easter season, and hopefully at each Easter season I will reflect upon my good friend John Wang. Last year, I met John on the street in Sydney. Talking with him and helping him find directions to Chinatown, I asked if he had a belief in God. He replied that he didn't believe God is real. I asked if He knew why we were celebrating Easter that upcoming weekend. He also didn't know what the meaning of Easter was, and why we celebrated it. I invited him to come with us to the chapel, where we could explain to Him why Easter is so important for us in the world. Though it wasn't a fast process, this one question branched off into many others and many questions answered for John before he decided to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is and always will be an inspiration to me! Easter time is such a wonderful time to celebrate the renewal of many things, but most importantly, the resurrection of our Savior, and ponder upon our blessings because He Lives. There is a great video I would like to share with you all:

watch and enjoy! :)

I hope you all have a fantastic easter and truly enjoy the meaning of why we celebrate this wonderful holiday :)


Elder Shafer

Sydney South Mission Week 2

Dear Everyone,

Well, Transfer week is over! We had a hectic few days in planning everyone's travel to and from transfers, making sure new flats were open and ready for missionaries to move into, the appropriate cars were switched, phones and keys were assigned properly and all the other minor assignments were done correctly. I will admit there was quite a bit of stress in the air as I had many questions coming to me, and very few answers haha but it worked out okay! :) Then, after the inital transfer Monday, we had to prepare for the missionaries who were leaving on Tuesday, then had to organize and finalize details for the missionaries coming in on Wednesday, and the orientation meeting on Thursday. Needless to say that transfers week is a busy one, but that is also enjoyable as well :)

My Letter to President adds some more as well:

Sorry that this letter is getting to you a bit late. We just finished getting all of the sisters beds into their flats so they no longer have to sleep on the ground. Now we are just doing some more paperwork and preparation for tomorrows meetings. This past week has been a big step and increase for me I think. I will admit, it has caused, and will continue to cause some stretching in my life :) I really do not know how you and Sister Lew do it... you continue to inspire me with your hard work and diligence. I am very excited to work with you both and see you on a day to day basis. I know I will learn a lot. I am also very grateful for Elder Williams, he is a wonderful companion, and someone that I really enjoy being around. We have been talking a lot about what we want to accomplish, and how we feel both of us can influence the mission in a positive way. Thank you so much for the orientation that we had the other day, it helped me to realize what we can continue to do in order to be the best examples we can for the missionaries. I would like to set some new goals for myself and discuss the goals we can accomplish as a companionship in order to make sure we are meeting all of your expectations for us. I will try my best :) Thank you for the trust you have placed in me, I know that this position comes with a lot of responsibility and so I want to say thank you for the trust you have placed in me, I know that with the Lord, I can do what is required. I really enjoyed the experience of planning transfers. Though at times it was very stressful and exhausting, it made me understand the sanctity of transfers, and I now know on a personal level how inspired transfers really are. There were several times where the thought would come to me of who should be with whom, and feeling a little bit nervous or insecure because I was so new, I didn't voice my opinion yet, but held the thought in my mind, and thankfully almost every time, the idea that I had, was mentioned by someone else and it was done as well. That gave me more courage to voice my opinion later and I came to realize that the spirit is the one guiding us all, each of us may have different things that we know or feel, and impressions can come to us individually for the common good. For example, I felt strongly the impression that Sister Morales would be a great companion for Sister Levine. I thought this was quite odd since I barely knew sister Levine and had only a few interactions with sister Morales as well, but still, the thought came to me that they should be together and so I mentioned my opinions on it, and it came to pass! I think this was a tender mercy for me from the Lord, because prior to the transfer planning, I really did feel inadequate since I knew so very few of the missionaries. He knows my worries, and answers my prayers, I know that. 

This week from reading in the Book of Mormon, I came to appreciate more the value of a name. In Helaman 5, we learn of how Nephi and Lehi were named after their ancestors in order to help them remember their good works. My Dad once told me prior to my mission, that I need to remember BOTH of the names on my badge. firstly, and most important, is Jesus Christ. At all times I must represent Him. He also mentioned though, that I must not forget my surname which is also present on my badge. I have to remember the good deeds of my family, those who are supporting me, and remember that I will always represent them as well in a manner of speaking. 

So yeah, this week has been good but different for sure. I am starting to get to know many more missionaries and realy enjoy the power that they bring with them. It has been really great learning from President Lew so much as well. He gave me some great tips and instruction on how to properly conduct a meeting and make sure that I do a proper job. He is a very intelligent man for sure. 

Last night I had an awesome experience! I got to meet up with Andy (someone I had taught in my first two areas) and another great member friend from my first area in downtown sydney. We all went out and had some awesome chinese hot pot! It was absolutely delicious and was great to see some old friends as well :) I feel it a special blessing I can live and work in an area that is so close to all the people I used to teach and interact with. Being emergency transferred, I felt I didn't get a proper chance to say goodbye before leaving down to serve in Canberra, but I guess that is because the Lord knew it wasn't goodbye, it was just a "cya later!" I am grateful for the tender mercies He grants us. 

It is currently between the afternoon session and the priesthood session of General Conference. Since we have to hang around the chapel anyways, and the mission office is in the chapel, we wanted to use this opportunity to write some emails quick. I think (or hope) that we can get onto a more regular routine of things. Elder Williams and I have been talking a lot and he has mentioned he really appreciates that He and I have been able to do that. We have made a diligent effort to try and plan ahead and accomplish tasks when it makes more sense to, rather than just running about doing each task right when it comes. Instead, we have been able to step back and accomplish things in a more timely manner and it has turned out that we get more done! :) Yay! 
So yeah, since the computers normally are more available over the weekend since the senior couples don't work full days on the weekends, we are planning to email either on saturday or sunday if we can.... so you can keep an eye out for emails around this time I guess. 

From Conference so far I have learned some great lessons!

1) Everyone needs Love, Prayers, and a "thank you" (Elder Rasband)
2) Christlike love is the most needed thing on the planet (Elder Holland)
3) Daily Scripture study and Prayer Simplify, not complicate our lives (Sister Reeves)
4) The world will not glide calmly to the Second Coming of the Savior (Elder Andersen)
5) God makes it attractive to Choose the right by giving us consequences (Elder Eyring)

More to come from the afternoon session and other sessions, I need to go now :)

Have a great week!!
Love ya,

Elder Shafer

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sydney South Mission Week 1


This week has been a huge change for sure.... let's just say working in the office is VERY different from what I am used to haha. I am still getting used to it for sure and will be for quite some time I am sure, but some things I have learned so far are:
1. President and Sister Lew are AWESOME and super funny. I really keep feeling more and more like family with them
2. There are heaps of missionaries in our mission- 210 to be exact right now, and each and every single one of them is specific and unique. We definitely don't have any "cookie-cutter" missionaries here in the Australia Sydney South Mission
3. Helping President plan out transfers feels like studying advanced chemistry for 12 hours straight. Honestly..... my mind went numb with how many names we were talking about and where each should go and why and then someone else brings up another point and that whole plan you had just made is now changed and you repeat that process about 90 times before it is finalized who will go where with what companion, serving in what leadership role. Not to mention, while planning for this transfer you also have to keep in mind the future transfers as well- who will be going home soon, who looks qualified to serve in leadership in coming months and so on. There is a lot to talk about, and a lot of pressure as well because these decisions could greatly affect the next 6 weeks or more of someone's life. They don't get to choose where they go, President does, and he greatly depends upon us as assistants to give him proper reviews and good feedback, and asks us our opinion on each and every missionary. 
4. (I am still figuring this one out, and this is the weirdest and hardest one of all) We are not expected to maintain the same missionary schedule as regular proselyting missionaries. There are times where we have to stay up past 10:30pm in order to finish planning out travel details for transfers, create reports needed for the upcoming week, conference, etc etc.... We don't have an assigned P-day in order to shop, email, clean the flat, or do anything else to just relax for a bit, and so we have to just find the best time to do that throughout the week. It has been a really unique twist for me- we will be driving from one appointment to another and have to duck in to buy groceries, then the next day we had to wash the car, and clean the flat when we can. It has been a really weird switch going from being so structured every minute of the day to not being able to be structured out like that. I think this one I will have to keep getting used to because it is so foreign, but I am very grateful for Elder Williams and Elder Puriri. They have been the assistants for the past several months, and so I get to tag team with them until Elder Puriri goes home next week. I can sit back a bit and watch them and learn before I have to get thrown into it full on. I am glad that I can trust them as well, they are excellent missionaries!
5. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes to make a mission run. I think honestly my companions have gotten over 30 calls each day asking different questions, resolving people's problems, and finding out things that need to be done. Almost everything that goes wrong, needs fixing, or is in need of help goes through the assistants. It is a lot of work, but I am glad I can be of help... hopefully :)

That is all I have time for now, write more later when I can.... I plan to just write a bit and save it in a draft until I actually get a letter written up, so if the letters are a bit sporatic and random, I apologize. I am trying my best :)

Love you all!

Elder Shafer