Monday, June 15, 2015

preface
It is so difficult to leave your mission. This transfer I say would make top 3 of most difficult transfers. Everything has been so wonderful. We find, we teach, we invite, we baptise as befits our purpose. I think it helped that I kept the fact that my time was up on the down low so I only really got ... two days of people asking me post-mission plans? But I've been spending all this time like I'll be here forever and the reality that I will not be. 
I know I am going home, but I am leaving home as well - if you understand me. 
The people here, the experiences, knowing that today I made a difference, today I helped someone draw closer to Christ, today I walked the paths our Saviour would walk - one step after the other. It is a good feeling. It is so good focusing on the spiritual. 

buzzybriansbaptism

I keep asking - are we allowed to have favourite baptisms? Everyone's journey is special and I am privileged to play a part in it, but having been there from the beginning of the teaching process to the ordinance of baptism? Wow, that's special!
Dannielle and Brother Finau gave really good talks. Tears may have been shed. Dannielle spoke about repentance and baptism. She spoke about how repentance is a gift, repentance means change. And that even if you forgot to read your scriptures or did not pray that day, don't worry. That's what repentance is for. Just start again tomorrow. Brother Finau was really funny, he gave Brian baptism presents (and related it to his talk about the Holy Ghost) - chocolate - representing fleeting happiness and a Captain America figurine - representing putting on the armour of God. And some people that we met the day before attended also with his family! He was a Seventh Day Adventist minister. I'm glad he and his family came. His kids made friends with bishop's kids and he said he enjoyed the service. :) 

And then Sonny (his cousin) performed the baptism. And then Brian bore his testimony! Sorry Brian if you read this and for quoting you so exactly but he spoke about his spiritual journey. How he came from NZ for a fresh start to live with his aunty and uncle and soon Brother Finau came to live with them (Brother Finau had to finish his studies, so his family is in the US while he has to do one more course!) and as soon as Brother Finau realised Brian was not a member he started working on him. And Brian said he heard the word "repent" a hundred + times a day, he'd be making his coffee in the morning and everybody would say "repent" and he did not understand why they were saying that. But then the mormon message "men's hearts shall fail them" changed his perspective. And he also started crying - this 20y.o. guy, crying whilst bearing his testimony. His family crying in the front row - especially his aunt who had not been to church in so long
And he pulled out a heart note that we gave him with Mosiah 18:10 written on it to help him remember how he felt during that lesson. Now all that is missing which sadly I really can't capture or convey through the medium of blog would be the musical items. Hymns can really bring the Spirit. I have a firm testimony of that. 
This is one person's story. There are millions of members of the church. This is why D&C 4 says "and now behold, a marvelous work and a wonder is about to come forth among the children of men." This marvelous work is the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

conclusion
It would be so entirely impossible to sum up everything I've learned during my mission and all the many ways that it has impacted me in one sentence, in one paragraph - even a monster paragraph! So if you read, don't just read this entry! Search around to capture a more holistic mission experience.
3 Nephi 5:13
Who am I? I have learned on my mission that I am not just "Ellen", I am not just a comm/law student, a tutor, a reader, a romantic... All these things that I thought I was were stripped away. All that was left was my testimony. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I suppose I will once again slowly gather other labels again, but I hope nothing hides my true identity. I am a child of God. And so are you! Never forget it :)  

Sister Soh took a photo of me walking in front of her at the temple. It seems fitting. 
Goodbye Adelaide. Goodbye blog. Goodbye ZAAM.

Now the true test is whether I live what I have learned. Until next time

Saturday, June 13, 2015

big girl pants
Sister Carter (our mission mum) has a saying. When things are tough, she says in her American Mom voice "put on your big pants, honey!"
I'll tell you a secret - your last transfer requires big girl pants. I haven't really spoken about it yet because quite frankly I think I was in denial. But with less than one week to go, my companion says it would be unkind to not say goodbye. My mission mum told me a lot more counsel but I kind of feel like it will only relate when you are in that exact moment, otherwise it will distract you? The Carter's are finishing their mission too! I will be their last intake going home. We'll build beautiful zion again someday :) 

faith
Something I've realised lately is that faith is not what I thought it was. I thought faith was the complete absence of doubt, or maybe certain knowledge. I thought that if your faith wasn't unshakeable, then it wasn't faith. But I've learned that faith comes in all shapes and sizes. It is a gift from God. True faith is shown when one moves and acts and reaches upwards and outwards despite the doubt or questions which plague you and ask you to stop. 
I really feel like the world today encourages you to discount your faith. You can't prove it? It must not be true! Or science says this or the media said that. Or move on with the times. Even myself, when I feel an inkling of doubt and I feel so anguished because how could I doubt? How can I still have this question? 
I wonder if the things I am saying resonates with anyone. In any case, I've learned that it is okay to admit that there are some things you don't know. There are some things that mankind will never know, there are some things that mankind cannot know because our finite mortal bodies and minds cannot even grasp the concept of eternity. And when your crisis of faith comes, when, as Elder Briscoe put it, an earthquake runs through your foundation of faith, the worst thing you can do is cave into those negative thoughts! You know that God is there and that He loves you. This past week there was this man who was awful to us at the door. And Sister Soh said she knew the Saviour was with us. I asked her, how did you know? Could you feel it? She said she couldn't feel it. She just knew. 
Trust yourself! Trust that sweet spirit. That's my advice to you and to myself. And as you trust and you move forward, your faith grows. That's faith. 
There's so much more I could say and expound upon but I think I'll have to wait until next personal study or the next time I give a talk! 

This is so not what I intended to write hahaha. But maybe someone out there needs it? Until next time! :) 

PS


Book of Mormon class! ft. Brian who is being baptised this saturday!! and brother finau and brother tuigamala. 
And temple trip today with lovely Sister Soh :)


love you all! have a great week!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hello dear family/blog! 

OKAY this past week has been so great! Except for Friday, Friday was a hard day. Something about weekly planning seems to get me down, but we persevered and my companion was like I don't know what to do do you want to talk someone? And I didn't want to just yet I wanted to exhaust all the other avenues heavenly father has given us so I went into the room and I tried to lie down because I was tired but I was not sleepy (it is hard to discern sometimes what you need) so instead I just prayed and when I ran out of words (which I do, even in prayer sometimes) I just kind of meditated I suppose and I felt like that was really, really good for my soul. 
So I think I share this because a missionary will always share the highlights but i don't think you can appreciate really how special the highlights are unless you know that we suffer as others do, and we are under an extraordinary amount of pressure and as we learn to rely on heavenly father, that's what produces the miracles. 

But let's not focus on the negatives because as I said this week was really wonderful!
Our previous rescue had another Sunday off and came to church again! I love that family so much. She's Filipino and whenever we come over she cooks a FEAST. It reminds me of the Filipino parties you know with all the food on the table and it is kind of like a buffet and I forgot that that was what I was used to with all the western food I've eaten on my mission and how they give you your own serving.. it was awesome. I had ube again! Hooray! And lots of spring rolls.
Anyway, she had been struggling a bit over the past few, well, years... and almost losing her testimony and even considering going back to her old church but we knew she had a testimony, and so we tried to fan the embers of that testimony and she said she would try church just one more time before shutting the door and she did and it was a wonderful experience! And she just looked so happy. Sister Soh always says the gospel is so logical! You look at that face and that manner, and even if you were blind I'm sure you could feel her happy glow and you tell us that this isn't the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You tell us that something that so obviously benefits her is not from God. We've had too many experiences to doubt. 

And what else has been happening?
Our investigator Brian had an interesting spiritual experience. First off let me tell you about their family. They are Samoan + a Tongan family friend living with them and the islander culture is quite different to the Aussie way of life. it is similar to Filipino culture re food haha but ah I can't explain it. it's just different. Anyway, we joined them for Family Home Evening last night and our investigator was teaching us the lesson (role reversal, hey) and also we had just had lunch with that family at another family's home and we talked about standards (watched "Stay Within the Lines" it's a good one. I recommend it) and that was good! And then the father of the home turned the time to us and we talked about the b word, baptism and how his prayers were going etc etc. And then he shared with us that interesting spiritual experience - with the aid of Brother Finau. 
So, I wish I could draw this for you haha but he was running along the beach after work and the sun was setting and he was standing on some cliffs and he realised that the sun rays were pointing directly to where he was, on the cliff. He felt like God was speaking to him, giving him the signal but his reply was "I'm not ready!" 
Hahaha... so we talked about that and what was keeping him from entering into that sacred covenant with heavenly father and we used the Book of Mormon to allay his fears and we invited him to baptism for the date that we had prayed about and he accepted. 
Something else I love about teaching this family is that we seem to always begin and end our lessons with hymns. And they are so good at singing - any hymn we sing turns into a 4 part choir. And I love music and the Spirit that it brings. I told Sister Soh, who needs iTunes when you have a hymn book? hahahaha! 

I've been thinking about the favourite moments of my mission and like you hear missionaries say so many things but I wanted what i said to be real and from the bottom of my heart and not just some cliche. And I think that honestly the favourite moments of my mission have been when we have felt the Spirit in the room and in the lesson and then invited our investigator to baptism. Elder Holland described this in a talk "The Divine Companionship." The veil is thin, hearts burn, sometimes tears are shed and nobody in the room would rather be anywhere else. And then like that corny EFY song "I cry and say, this is what matters. The truth is calling to you." I used to think that song was ridiculous but I realised that it kind of is describing a true moment. And that moment is the best. I think glimpses of this also happen whenever we find someone new to teach, or we hear someone's very first prayer ever. But really something in common with all of these moments is the presence of God's Spirit. My dad's mission changed his life in so many ways but he told me something that I think I'll always remember. He told me that the greatest blessing of all from his mission (and mind you that's where he met my mum and boom 4 kids a house no dog later) was the testimony that he received that God lives and that this is His church. All he left on his mission with was the knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true - but that's all you need to start, hey? I'm really grateful for the rich heritage my pioneer parents have left me. 

Attached are some photos!

                                                                     district activity
some nice scenery from my pro companion except i think the resolution may be small, sorry
eating a giant marshmallow from kyle and kirsty. it seemed like a good idea but after 1/3 of the marshmallow i was kind of done with it. but i'm sure it would work great over a fire!! 
our lemon tree in the backyard - the colours are so bright and poppy 


oh yes and at sister rowling's house. with the cat. I've developed an interesting kind of relationship with dogs and cats on the mission. but in case of any cat or dog lovers out there, I think I'll refrain from explaining the nuances of it. But I'm really glad my family didn't get a little inside dog while I've been gone. Hehehe. 

This is the best work ever! Elder Holland says 'welcome to the work of angels'. It's true. This work and the change that the restored gospel can make in people's lives is nothing short of miraculous. 

Anyway, thanks for reading. Have a great week!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

TRADE OFFS
Trade offs!!!! I'm so happy I got to stay in my area - I love my area. Sister Funaki came and we had a blast. A righteous blast. We went tracting and there was this guy middle aged or so and he was drunk as and bless her heart Sister Funaki she couldn't tell and we were talking to him and he was like "I'm not interested" but Sister Funaki just got to know him and talked to him and then he started asking questions like "so how do you know God is real?" "what makes you come here to my door and think you can tell me what to do? I already live a good life, why would I need God?" and the words just flowed and we replied I was really grateful because I've kind of been struggling with loving people lately - if that makes sense as in if someone is rude I just say thanks have a nice day and nurse my wounds whereas a more loving missionary would see past the rudeness and still try to help and still give love - so I was really glad to be with Sister Funaki because she helped me see past the fact that he was a drunk lone man at 5pm who had the signs of an alcoholic and who had made some bad choices in his life. And I told him that I knew Heavenly Father loved him, and I was able to tell him that because I just knew. And I knew that this was what our mission was for. We aren't just sent to those that are ready, to those who welcome us in with open arms, we are sent to help and serve. And that man needed kindness that night. I asked him a question before we went (and he will still a little aggressive) I asked him "are you even really happy?" and then he almost started to cry and he said I hit the nail on the head and all this bravado about how rubbish religion is really was just a covering for his insecurities and sadness. It was so sad, I wish I could help more. He was pretty adamant about no more religious talk but that was okay, we told him we would say hello when we were in the area. I think serving in lower socio-economic areas is very eye opening because growing up amidst it in Sydney, near it, not quite in it, I was always taught to avoid, to hold your bag, not to make eye contact and hopefully not to live near any housing commission. Which makes sense but as a missionary ah you just start to love the people and you wish, you wish that you could do more to help. But they have their agency.
So that was one tracting experience. I've had so many on my mission it all just blends together.
And Sister Funaki is a star! She just radiates love. I wish I could be more like that but I think I accept myself for who I am and I try to give where I have. It's so good having the opportunity to serve with others.


LOCAL RADIO
Now this is another interesting story. So Sasha the one with the beanie has been running a local live radio for Ramsay Place outside of Colonnades and we saw her there right after lunch with Dannielle after an appointment in the library (SO many things happened this week! it's so hard just picking the choicest experiences...) and when we went over to see what she was doing with that huge microphone we realised that it was live and it all started when she asked me for my first name because that launched into discussion about "Sister" and why I gave up my first name and what else I gave up and why on earth I gave it up in the first place and what it is like being a missionary in Adelaide. And then I told her about my two awesome friends Sister Funaki and Dannielle and she interviewed Dannielle who has just come back from her mission in the Marshall Islands!!!! Dannielle is so awesome. RM shines from her. I hope to be like that also (:  and she was able to share a bit about her mission experience also and contacting I think has never been more fun! Haha!

POSH CHIP BUTTY
I'm not sure I told you about this but Marlene and Tom gave us a posh chip butty. It is posh because of fancy bread and being cut in quarters. It is Liverpool, England slang they said. It tasted really good and I am determined to remember it - haha!!
We had a lot of fun trying to say "butty" the way they do. Australia is so wonderful. So many cultures all in one!

MOSIAH 18:10
I love Mosiah 18:8-10. The words ring so true to me. And we had a really choice experience with it with Brian yesterday night. Everybody shared testimony to invite the spirit and then we shared Mosiah 18:8-9 and asked him what his "spiritual desires" are. After ascertaining that they were to return to live with God again and that they were very important to him, we asked him to read vs 10 out loud. And it stuck to him. Look it up! Read it yourself (:
I think watching him have a spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon - because it is spiritual, you know, when  you feel like these words written so long ago are talking directly to you - was so wonderful. We pray a lot that our investigators will have spiritual experiences. So that was really nice.

Okay I feel like I have so much more still to share about baptismal invites and stake conferences and other lessons and members doing missionary work and new people in our teaching pool but you are all probably getting tired so I will close with a poem our mission president sent us. Sadly I empathise with it way too much - especially the first two chapters? But that's okay! Christ helps us through :) He fills all sidewalk holes. I know that is true.

There is a Hole in My Sidewalk

Chapter One:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe that I am in this same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in...it's a habit...but, my
eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five:
I walk down another street.

Chapter Six:
I walked down the street with the hole in the sidewalk.... I kneeled down and filled in the hole so that no one could fall in.


Missionary work is the best! It is so fulfilling being able to do what is most important to me, my soul feels so full when I pray after a day full of work because I can feel that I am doing what Heavenly Father wants me to do. Often it is so easy to lose sight of the difference that one makes and it is so easy to get bogged down because of my weaknesses, my limitations, shortcomings and sin, but this is what prayer is for.
Serving a mission has definitely not always been easy, there have been many times where I can't see past through to the next day, or even the next meal break .... but the rapid ascents and declines I know are moving me upward. Because I look back at my mission and my life and I know that I am stronger for those experiences, I know that I am closer to Heavenly Father and my Saviour for those experiences.
Maybe one day I'll learn how to get closer with suffering hahahhaaha but I don't think so. Even our Saviour had to suffer to know what our mortal condition would be like, even He once was cut off from the presence of our Father - He who was without sin!
I know you may not be able to exactly know what it is like being a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, maybe not even ever, and perhaps if you have been, you won't know what it was like to serve in Adelaide, and if you served in Adelaide, you won't know what it was like to be me, serving in Adelaide. But my dad always says that a wise person learns from the mistakes of others so I hope that reading the blog helps you to learn heaps! And I hope even if I still accidentally use too much jargon you can trust what you feel and have that taste of what missionary service is like. But it is different for everyone! Testimony and conversion is such so unique. But I hope that the sharing of my experiences adds some flavour and colour to your own spiritual journeys, wherever you are on that path. Feel free to talk to me when I am back.
Love to all! Have a great week. (: 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

So last time I wanted to tell you about a recent convert couple Marlene and Tom but then I so rudely ran out of time! (we are all very blessed it went through last week because the computer started to shut down the moment I pressed send - but I suppose there's a lesson in procrastination or time management in that). Marlene and Tom joined the church maybe 18 months ago and they are working to get sealed in the temple. They've been married for more than 50 years and they are from Liverpool, England and I admire them both so much. When I was last in the area we visited Marlene a lot because Tom was in hospital and when we could we'd ask permission from our leaders to leave our area and visit Tom! But now Tom is back at home and recuperating well. I think around 3 years ago, after a morning jog, Tom had a stroke. And their lives changed forever. But then the sisters knocked on their door! I remember Sister Christensen telling me about the first time she taught them about prayer and how they could pray to God directly and didn't have to pray through any saints for help. They've come so far. And Tom has a talent for writing! I find his story really inspirational and I think that the message of hope that it shares really is the gospel message. I know that the Lord works in mysterious ways that we often cannot comprehend from our mortal perspective. So here is an exerpt:
"I've met some beautiful and wonderful, caring people since the stroke. I'd like to dedicate this story to those people, to my wife and full time carer Marlene and to those who are also struggling to recover. Don't give up. Don't give in to hopelessness. I know I want to get back to the way I was. Love is my motivation. This is a deep seated love for my wife. We've been married for fifty four years now...
My first attempt at walking holding onto a bar was actually a magical feeling. I'll tell you how that came about. One of the nurses came into my room one day and said, "Tom, how would you like to go for a walk?" I thought she was joking. I told her I couldn't walk. But she said, "You haven't tried it with me yet have you? I'm going to take you for a walk down the passageway, holding onto the wall bar. Don't worry about it, I'll be with you, you'll be safe." So she wheeled me out to the passageway in the wheelchair and positioned me next to the bar. She told me to stand and then took the chair away, came back and told me to start walking slowly, taking steps. I just felt so relieved when I took that first step. Then I took my second step, still holding the bar, strangling the life out of it. I was holding the bar so tightly. I took about ten steps and thought I was in some magical moment. I was moving but nobody was pushing me, and I wasn't in the wheelchair. It was then that I noticed the members of my family at the other end of the bar. They were watching with a look of surprise and wonderment. My daughter was crying with happiness. They thought they would never see me standing or walking ever again. I am eternally grateful for that nurse. I wish I could remember her name. She showed me how to walk. I think that maybe God sent her to me."
Something else that happened this week was weekly Book of Mormon class! A member came with our investigator, he's playing like a fatherly and mentor role for him right now as his family is in the States but he said something that stood out to me. He said he had many friends from many different religions and he asked them all, "how do you know your church is true?" And he said all his friends said the same thing! And I tried to guess what they all said but I couldn't think of it. And he said, they all say "I know my church is true because we follow the Bible."
And I thought - what a paradox! All of these different churches reading the bible and only the bible and purely the bible yknow and yet following so many different traditions.
And we were studying 2 Nephi 29 at the time (awesome chapter) and talking about how we know our church is true. The member went on to explain that we are the only church that does not base their authority on the Bible, but we use the Bible and go to the author of all truth Himself, we ask God the Father, the author of all truth, what is truth. And we get our answer. And we belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
I feel like this is something I understood as a child but something I had forgotten as I grew up somehow. The world beckons - you know? But if we heed the still, small voice, we will not be led astray.
So another wonderful week has passed in the ZAAM - full of ups and downs.
Until next time!
Have a miraculous week. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

NUTTY
During our doorknocking adventures Sister Soh saw a sign that said "no religious nutters." We thought that was fairly humorous but that it would be disrespectful to take a picture BUT later that day we popped by our investigator's house. His name is Keith. He is 85 but sharp as anything! In fact, he is doing some online studies right now! But also something that happened recently is that he got diagnosed with cancer. But he is facing the future with as much hope as ever. Anyway, whenever we pop by he gives us chocolate bars hehe but that morning he said he was out of chocolate bars and gave us nuts instead. So it is a photo of two religious nutters. Because who else goes tracting in the rain? We weren't quite nutty enough to actually take the photo in the rain. HAHA but close enough!


FIRST PRAYERS
I think that hearing someone's very first prayer is one of the most special experiences I've ever had on my mission. They met Anna on trade offs last week and we met at the library for the first time last Saturday. She comes from a church background where prayers are often done "speaking in tongues" which kind of has always made Anna uncomfortable so at the conclusion of the lesson when we invited her to pray she shied away from it. But then we taught her the true doctrine of prayer! And we explained to her how the spirit feels - that something of God will never make you feel uncomfortable but the fruits of the spirit are joy, love, peace, comfort etc. And she gathered her courage and said her first prayer and it was so sweet!! She's such a cutie pie. Her prayer went like this, "Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for being in our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen" but the spirit that was in the room was undeniable. Subtle, but undeniable. Personally I just felt a lift. And when we asked her how she felt, she said she felt refreshed which i thought captured the moment perfectly. And it really is humbling to know that that's basically how the church was restored, because of someone else's first prayer in a grove of trees. Humbly kneeling sweet appealing, twas the boy's first uttered prayer. (#26) First prayers are so wonderful.

GOOD CHEER
The other picture is of me and Sister Rowling! Sister Rowling is remarkable. But what is remarkable isn't just that she's survived cancer (and is making her way through another painful illness of sorts) - what is the most remarkable about her is her absolutely beautiful spirit. She truly is of good cheer. She does what she can. She is perturbed by the thought of death - and I know I just said that in one sentence but it is just so amazing. Like I can say it in one sentence "she isn't scared of death" but to truly not be scared, to truly know .... I feel like so many people go entire lifetimes not understanding this, even when death comes they still don't understand it. I would love for her to be there when I go through my own future experiences and illnesses. I would like to remember her spirit and attitude. And I love her conversion story!! But hers is a little sacred to her and to me. So perhaps another day through another medium. :) 

Monday, April 27, 2015

27 April 2015

It has been a really special week this week. My planner is covered right now with a picture I took from the Book of Mormon and it says
"... yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."
My sentiments very much echo Ammon's today. This week we put our heads down and worked hard. We tract everyday. We did our best to get the program put together, we prayed a lot a lot a lot. We had a few learning curves too I would say. We taught some people, we taught some lessons and then recommitted ourselves to do better and to teach people instead! A few people we are working with found out they've been diagnosed with cancer.... The Lord protected has protected us and those we are working with. And it all culminated this weekend with the baptism of Kyle and Kirsty!!

TESTIMONY
I felt the Spirit so strongly during their baptismal service, watching them go through it all, it made me remember my own baptismal covenants. And the testimony that they bore was so beautiful. Kirsty bore her testimony first - so brave! - she said that this had been quite a long journey but that she knows she is in the right place. And she talked about what a blessing their daugther Harriet is in their life - and that even her super friendly nature is a gift from Christ and that she knows that this is His church. Kyle started by saying that he was no social butterfly but then he just spoke from his heart. He spoke about how he was pretty agnostic for most of his life but that now he knows that God led him to Kirsty so that she could lead him to His church. And he spoke about how he knew for sure that God was there now and how a big part of his realisation of that was Harriet - because how could they create something so perfect? It must be from God. And Harriet is walking up and down the first row, throwing her arms in the air and smiling so hugely the whole time. He said he has no doubt whatsover that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that Thomas S Monson is a prophet today. Baptismal services are so special! I'll always remember it.

MUSIC
Also we sang a musical item - When I Am Baptised - and singing it reminded me of the time my little sister sang it for a solo in primary presentation and I was shocked because (1) she didn't tell us she had a solo and (2) she sounded GOOD! Not like she sounds when she used to wake me up by singing the Alex Boye and Carmen R version of "Have I Done Any Good in the World Today".... and the elder's investigator joined our musical item also with us. And primary songs are so great. Sister Soh was primary music leader before her mission and it sounds like so much fun! Thank goodness for her and for her experience. The lyrics are for the song that we sang are:
I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain (and it rained a lot last week)
and ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again
I know when I am baptised my wrongs are washed away
And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day
I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain
I want to be the best I can and live with God again
Isn't that such beautiful, simple, clear doctrine? Coming from the mouth of babes usually! I have gained a testimony of the children's songbook!
Also in case you were wondering how the other colourful people from Christies Beach if you recall previous entries...

SANDY
...is the same as ever! She has a solid testimony and is always telling us stories about when she gets the chance to share the gospel with others. She hasn't been too well lately after some surgery, and then a male redback spider bit her (! at least not female?) .... so we've missed her at church for a while. But perhaps this is part of the reason why I've been sent back to Christies Beach. Unfinished business! Gotta help out where I can. And Tiny, Thumbelina and Blossom her three saint bernard dogs are also the same as ever. Still big and furry and slobbery haha.

DESIREE
... and Paul are doing great too! Paul has been rebaptised which is awesome, and when I think of his story I can't help but link it to the Tad R Callister quote about things that you can live with and things that you cannot. He knows he cannot live without the gospel anymore. And Desiree is doing so well - she's back in Australia for a few years at least and she's studying and they are moving closer to the chapel soon so hopefully we'll have two new additions to the weekly Book of Mormon class!
PICTURES
- Kyle and Kirsty's baptism obviously. Precious family dressed in white! (:











- Sister Funaki and Sister Hartley. These are two awesome sisters! They found my camera which went MIA after the baptism. And when they returned it they returned it with a little bit extra! This was my favourite photo hehe.









- My mum sent me this photo. My brother has come home!!!!!!!! Even though I am not there with him, I still think words cannot express how happy I am that he is reunited with the family. He has come so far. We have come so far! (Ella is so tall!)







So, keep the faith! I'm so grateful to be a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life isn't always easy, but I've learned so much. And I feel so blessed. The Lord takes care of my family, he takes care of my area. Really, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men?

Keep praying! Keep going! Have a great week! (: 
20 April, 2015

CREATIVITY
Last Pday after emailing/shopping/etc. we went and did some art with Jenny and her pop-up shop on Beach Rd! It was super fun. Jenny is really cool - I know you'd like her. She's so bubbly and full of life and dreams. We made letter paper (the 3 pages of which I have sent off by now - I would use 3 pages just like that) using (okay forgive my terminology but I shall call it) stamps and watercolour textas and it was SO much fun. She told us, "just let go! if you make a mistake that's okay, that's just called art." And I love that!! There's no use in being a perfectionist. It takes a righteous desire to do good and turns it into something unrealistic and stressful (in my experience at least)... And what she said actually reminded me a lot of repentance. Not that it is "okay" to sin, but that in the grand scheme of things, we all sin, we all sin everyday, even the prophet sins, the only person who walked sinless on the earth is Jesus Christ. And so in admitting that, and working through your mistakes, learning from your mistakes, changing (i.e. repenting) .... that's what life is all about. And that mindset is so much more hopeful than I think what immediately comes to mind when somebody says "repent!" hahaha. 
I also admire how even as you "let go" a lot of skill in art really actually comes by a marvelous amount of self discipline. And I thought there was a lesson in that too. 

And final thought tangent is a quote for Tad R. Callister that I really admire. "I can live with some human imperfections, even among prophets of God - that is to be expected in mortal beings. I can live with some alleged scientific findings contrary to the Book of Mormon; time will correct those. And I can live with some seeming historical anomalies; they are minor in the total landscape of truth. But I cannot live without the doctrinal truths and ordinances restored by Joseph Smith, I cannot live without the priesthood of God to bless my family, and I cannot live without knowing my wife and children are sealed to me for eternity. That is one choice we face- a few unanswered questions on one hand versus a host of doctrinal certainties and the power of God on the other." 

This just speaks to my soul. Faith is a gift from God, and it is a gift worth praying for, asking for, fighting for the freedom to express.

K&K
One seemingly innocent Thursday after vising the temple, two elders walked into the newly opened Costco to go eat some pizza. Their daydreams of pizza were interrupted by, 'Hey Elders! Come over!' as a young family waved them over to their table. That was the start of how we met Kyle and Kirsty but their conversion story begun long before even that. 
Have you ever heard of #tumblrstake? I hadn't until a few weeks ago. I'd just like to thank all those who use the Internet for good. 
Their baptism is scheduled for this Saturday! We are so excited for them. They're such a beautiful family, and they've taught me a lot - about commitment and watching how excited they are about the prospect of entering the temple themselves, the prospect of finally joining the church that they have believed to be true for so long ... and also I've learned that Satan does not give up, he tries and he tries and in the face of it seems any kind of covenant or step forward you take to get closer to Heavenly Father, Satan is there to thwart that. But we know that he cannot win. The Book of Mormon (I'm up to Alma again! War chapters!) teaches it so, so simply that you can't misunderstand it. When you are righteous, you prosper in the land. Not to say that you don't go through hardship, see Mosiah 24 for that one, but the Lord takes care of His own. So if you are on the verge of something good, don't give up! He is there for you.  

WAITING FOR THE SIGN 
Brian was supposed to give us "the sign" when he was ready to investigate the church. Weeks pass, some progress is shown but mostly we're just like - we know he feels the Spirit when he goes to church, we know he feels the Spirit when we teach his family (he's staying with some family who are part of the church at the moment) why won't he just investigate?
And then we start plotting how to help him investigate and how awkward it is and hahahaa we realised probably we weren't helping the awkwardness because beating around the bush really doesn't ever help. So we just prayed and felt it was time to teach him, sign given or not. 
We come into the dinner appt and chat with his uncle who asks us what we'll teach. We have Plan A) light message, commitment to investigate next time Plan B) first lesson, commitment to be baptised. The uncle says he thinks Brian is ready for the first lesson. Good thing we become meticulous planners on our mission, hey? 
So we go with lesson 1. And it was so, so powerful!!!!!! not us. But the Spirit that was present as the family - whose conversion levels are all at different places - shared their testimonies, experiences with priesthood blessings and conversion stories. In the midst of it all, we asked Brian how he felt. He said he felt "buzzy" (what was that? I wondered) and then I realised he was feeling the Spirit and I remembered a story that somebody else told me when he joined the church. He said that his wife told him to pray about the Book of Mormon and he did and he felt so funny, like emotions churning inside and he didn't like it because he was a man and what were feelings? But his wife, being a returned missionary, knew better and explaining to him that that was how the spirit works with us oftentimes. 
And so we taught about the Spirit, using the handy restoration pamphlet and Brian bravely committed to prepare for baptism next month! dun dun DUN! Missionary work is so exciting :D 
To cement the feelings of the Spirit (and because the family is musical and I know music helps us to feel the Spirit), we closed with hymns. Love One Another and  #136 - I Know That My Redeemer Lives. I love that hymn.  
So I think morals from this story include (a) missionary work is awesome (b) trust the Spirit (c) you can spend your whole life waiting, sometimes, maybe, you just have to jump and trust in God. 

Also Sister Soh is awesome. She calls the animals I am allergic to away from me. She runs with me (and often ahead of me) and she has a powerful testimony that she can definitely say is her own. I think that's what makes a testimony powerful. You can have eloquence and awesome stories but if they aren't your own, then it isn't enough to get you through to the end of the day, it isn't what touches a sincere investigator's heart. I'm so blessed to be serving with her in Christies Beach. As our District Leader Elder Hefa says, Christies Beach is BURNING! (I totally did have a lot of unfinished business it seems.) 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015

 Chillin out in the beach with my Preach my Gospel...



Because we have to swim against the current in today's world. it's from this month's Ensign


Last week was really great! We had 3 rescues at church! Which means that somebody who hasn't come to church in a very long time has come and partaken of the ordinance of sacrament and renewed their baptismal covenants. It was so wonderful to see the ward members gather around these lost sheep now found. And they looked so happy to finally be back. Each story is so intricate I couldn't do it justice by describing it. How great is the glory of God, He watches over all of His sheep, and He beckons us to return to His fold. 

I was given the opportunity to share my testimony during the zone activity yesterday. And I want to share it again with all of you.

I know that my redeemer lives. And I know that because He lives, all is not lost. I know that hard times are a necessary part of life - it is so crazy, I've heard that for so much of my life but I really didn't come to a deeper understanding of it until recently. I remember when I visited Hiroshima in high school and I saw the devastation and horror and I asked why, why did this have to happen? The children really got to me. And I see it so often in the mission field. People trying their hardest and going through trials. I saw it in myself. When I've been giving all I've got and still had to face trials that I couldn't control. I asked, why Heavenly Father? Why is this burden so heavy, why is my cup so full?

But I realise now that I could've been praying for different things instead of asking why. We won't know why these things happen in this earthly life a lot of the time. But we can accept with faith that it is for our own good. That our Father in Heaven loves us and is mindful of us. And that although we may not receive immediate relief, we can receive the strength to bear well our trials and to learn the necessary lessons. I know that this is true. 

I know that a loving God allows pain and suffering in this world and that is because He loves us. If you have any questions, see the recent April 2015 Ensign! Some articles in there explain it really well. 


I love you all! Happy Easter! Have a great week!! :) 

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015

Unfinished Business

Serving in the Christies Beach area will be: Sister Magallanes and Sister Soh 
So, back in Christies Beach! Plot twist of the century. At first I was so shocked but then flashes of memories of Christies ran through my mind and I nodded and I could see that there was still a lot to do here for me personally. And I remembered how much I loved Christies. And I've been really blessed because Sister Soh is really great too! She is from Singapore and she did ballet - she was putting on her shoes or something and I asked her - did you do ballet???? and she did and I was like AHA I KNEW IT because she had really good posture and put on her shoes the way Tiff puts on her shoes which may sound slightly ridiculous but there you go. Anyway, she's much more than someone who used to do ballet. She has a powerful testimony and it is such a privilege to serve with her! Below is a picture. 


With Easter approaching, now, we don't do lent in our church but we do set aside Easter as a special time to worship the Saviour and remember not only his crucifixion but also his resurrection. And the church recently let out this new video about it. 
And I love the music in the piece and I love the personal relevance it helps make Easter and the Saviour has for us. He knocks at the door of our stiff, hardened hearts, just pleading for us to let Him in and heal us. I think just lately I've personally experienced a little more about what it means to be healed and what it means to be humbled and what it means to remember that we are unworthy creatures before God and how we need to call upon Him continually. I want you to know that I know that Jesus Christ rose on the third day, and He really does live today. And He has a living prophet, Thomas S Monson (who we will hear from soon during general conference!!!!!) and a living Church. I remember a quote from President Monson who says that God has always worked through imperfect people. He did so then and He does so now. This upcoming Sunday we'll have a special Easter program - I think this is for all of the Pacific region at least. I urge you to attend with an open heart, with questions in your mind. I know that as you do so, your Easter experience will be revelatory. And I am so excited for it! 


Love you all! Happy Easter! Have a great week!

PS - I missed Bec and Matt's wedding (I KNOW) but I must have known I would always miss it because I never let myself get too enthused about it. That's okay. But congratulations to them nonetheless! It is a wonderful time to be alive. Which sounds kind of ... what's the word.... maybe ridiculous but it is true. We were chosen to live in this time. This era. With these people. Let's go do some good!
March 23, 2015

The temple is a truly beautiful place. But I don't think beauty is what means the most. There's always a bit of a build up as to when you get to go to the temple on the mission. In our mission, we go once every 6 weeks generally if we are in Adelaide. And because we know when we are going, it gives me personally adequate time to prepare for it. And I think it is because I take that time to prepare that attending the temple is always such a revelatory experience for me. I don't always learn what I expect to learn, but in the temple, the veil of forgetfulness that we passed through on our way to mortality is very thin, and I feel very close to Heavenly Father. And I can taste and see a little bit clearer his vision for me and of me.
In temples families can be sealed together for eternity. Marriage is ordained of God and it can last much longer than "till death do us part" or "as long as you both shall live" or "as long as your love shall last" -> though hopefully for that last one your love would last hahaha. So, Sister Magallanes II (as we refer to her in our family sometimes) wrote a poem about our family before she went and I took a sideways photo of it and I thought it would be good to share her testimony of this great work as well as my own). 

My Family

I'm grateful for My Family
I should show it more, I know
So I've written this poem
To let them know before I go

I love Sister Magallanes
Her humour, dance moves and smile
When I see her I'll hug her so tight
Because it's been a while

I dream of hearing my brother's music
And of watching him play
It will be 3 years when I see him
And I look forward to that day

My little sister I am learning
is a lot more witty than I
Oh, she's cheeky, noisy and smart,
Yet around strangers, she's so shy!

I love my mummy bear,
I will miss her warm embrace
I'll miss her voice, kindness, massages,
I will miss her warm embrace

It makes me sad to leave my Dad
Behind with just one daughter
But I'm thankful for the neverending jokes
And the neverending laughter.

I'm thankful for my family
With all of my tender heart
Their names are engraved in here
So I'll have them when we're a part

My Saviour, you see, has given me
More than I deserve
And because He has blessed me so
It is Him I want to serve.

Eliza Joy Magallanes Nov 2014 
This week our testimony of planning has grown! We learned from Elder Bednar that there are kind of three aspects of faith. 1) assurance 2) action 3) evidence, and that as you gain assurance it leads to action which creates evidence which reinforces your assurance and the cycle of faith goes on and thus your faith grows! So this past few weeks we received an assurance from the Assistants about how to make weekly planning better, we implemented the action and we have seen evidence and reaped the rewards of our efforts! And thus a testimony is born and faith grows. It was my companion who pointed that out to me.
She's always told me that she kind of admires how I always have a game plan. Even when I'm sick I have a game plan on to how to get better. I suppose I didn't realise it either but setting goals and making plans are acts of faith in itself. I really admire Sister Reola's quiet devotion if that makes sense - like her testimony isn't shouted from rooftops or displayed powerfully in public speaking - although she may do quite well at either of those endeavours hahaa! - but it is more fully revealed, to me at least as her companion, in the ways she conducts herself in life. That soft glow or light that comes from personal worthiness and belief in a cause. It is evident in how she reacts in times of crisis - much better than I do I feel sometimes.
So today draws the conclusion of her training in the mission field. And I've also been told that I am moving areas, although I will find out where I will go tomorrow. And I know that Sister Reola is ready to take care of Mt Barker and the people I love here so much.
I'm excited for the change, for what will most likely be my last area in the mission field. I've learned a lot from my 6 months here. If I could share an excerpt from my letter to my mission president:
These experiences over the past few weeks or months have taught me a lot about myself and about what it means that heavenly father loves me and listens to my prayers. It has also taught me about why heavenly father allows bad things happen to good people, why there is evil in the world, how is someone who is going through a hard time feeling..... it has taught me compassion and empathy and more patience with myself for my shortcomings, and thus a little more patience with others. it has also taught me humility, as I know that as for myself, I am nothing, but if God wants me to accomplish something, I can be His mighty instrument. Also if the lesson to be learned is just to endure well, then I have learned for myself that I can do that also.
So, I love you all. Not sure what exactly you can take from this week's entry, but I hope there is something that you learn by the Spirit as you read.
Have a great week!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 11 2015

Today is a Wednesday because on Monday all the libraries were closed for Adelaide Cup day! Who knew? And that law that makes all public holidays that fall on a weekend move to Monday was great as a regular person but it happens like every transfer as a missionary and you begin to see why Australian culture is so laid-back…
In any case, we did a few exciting things this week! I made my first pavlova ever (thanks Sister McKellar!) and I went strawberry picking at the Beerenberg farm which was amazing… It took me ages to fill my tray because I kept getting excited by each strawberry I picked… And it is true. Not all of them even quite made it into the tray.


A few things happened this week. We had the opportunity to work with this elderly sister who has a lot of health issues and also suffers from depression and we made her smile and started a puzzle with her! I've always wanted to do a humongous jigsaw puzzle. It took us an hour to do the border. And even though some parts were pretty dodgy hahaha! But watching her was like staring in the mirror and what I've been like the past few weeks. And it scared me. And that, in combination with many other things to be honest, has been the start of a turning point again in my mission! I gotta work on that missionary glow again - and that really only comes from personal faith and righteousness.

This week I wanted to share with you something that Sister J shared with us  - even though we were the ones who were supposed to be giving the message. Maybe there are many people out there who read this and who spend all their time giving that they start to get tired and start to forget these simple truths so key to happiness and strength. Maybe you have even started to forget who you are, I did. I hope that as you read that what stands out to you might not even be my words, maybe the Spirit will be able to teach you something different than what I learned from Sister J. But Sister J said this
(1) She quoted Brigham Young - if you don't feel like praying, get on your knees and stay there until you do. Not wanting to pray is a very dark place.

(2) Second last thing to end your prayers with? If it is wisdom in thee - accept His timing. She prays 'don't let my whinging change your timing. this is just an expression of my heart's desire' and truly, knowing a little about Sister J's life.. she is someone who has waited. And how beautiful was that I thought. And it is funny because even though we feel like we are whinging and tiring Heavenly Father with our endless petitions for help, it is still a commandment to pray, and to ask. I know because for a time all I turned to or opened or flicked to was reprimanding me and telling me to pray more. And this is getting a little sidetracked here but I had this mental image sometime last night in between sleeping and not sleeping of like this protective web around me woven out of the prayers I have said constantly and dutifully. A missionary prays more than a dozen times a day - much more than the morning and evening and food prayers I said at home. And I thought of all the times I have been a careless driver (not purposefully! I'm picking up such bad habits. I realise I drive as much as my neighbour driving instructor does. Dad, I promise to make more of an effort to hold the steering wheel with both hands, but I always keep the speed limit at least) but how we've been protected. And biking. Biking is a dangerous endeavour sometimes - especially in a skirt. And again, protection. And just the little things. And then I thought of all the prayers that the world says for missionaries. My sister told me that my family prays for us when we are gone which surprised me because sometimes I feel so alone. But I think those family prayers add another layer to that protective web. And then there are the prayers by the temple, prayers by friends, prayers by wards everywhere. ANYWAY. I digress. This point was about waiting for the Lord's timing. Sister J also counseled us to be careful for what we wish for, because sometimes the Lord grants it to us. I hope you can understand the meaning behind that. That's why we end our prayers with asking for these things only if it is wisdom in our Heavenly Father. 
(3) discouragement is the last thing Satan throws at you. She said when he throws discouragement to say Ha! Is that all you've got? Then to rejoice and know the end is nigh. She tells this to all departing missionaries. She tells us not to believe the discouragement! Satan knows we have a strong testimony and this is the last thing he throws.

And that's what she said. And it spoke right straight to my soul.
I feel very blessed to be serving as a missionary. And I want to leave you with my testimony. On Feb 28th 2015 I finished reading the Book of Mormon again! And I know that that book is from a loving Heavenly Father who has again reached out in love to His children. And this is our message to all the world. 

Have a great week!
Sister Magallanes

February 15, 2015 



So I should have taken a picture of the grand piano as well but I was really fascinated by the hugeness of the bunny rabbit. What I wanted to share this week is the power of music. D&C 25:12 talks about the song of the righteous being a prayer unto God. And I truly have a testimony that it is. Music teaches you so much - it teaches you patience, diligence, humility.. and it rewards you so richly. 

 
And there's a photo of roses because we've been offering a lot of service lately and working in a lot of gardens and I've come to realise that .... gardening is fun! I mean I still intensely dislike bugs and manure still isn't very pleasant but there's something about the hard work and being in nature that helps me to feel the Spirit. And Adelaide is a city of roses... and they all bloom until June. 


And also a quote by Richard G Scott that stood out to me!
he said (and this is for you too especially Anneliese) " to memorise a scripture is to forge a new friendship. it is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort and be a source of motivation for needed change. " and these are some scriptures that stand out to me:
 
2 Nephi 2:2 (Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.) - this stood out to me because actually my dad shared it to me once on my mission during a time i was struggling. and I've found the promise to be true

Mosiah 27:14  And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come... - I love this scripture because it really highlights the power of prayer and as I shared before, sometimes it can be hard to pray especially when you don't feel like your prayers are being answered... but pray anyway! pray with faith.... trust in the lord's timing

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  Charity suffereth long, and is kind ; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly , seeketh not her own , is not easily provoked , thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity , but rejoiceth in the truth ; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 


of course. if anyone knew me before my mission it wouldn't be hard to see why this scripture means a lot to me. honestly,scripture in general ... it means the world to me. i love the flow of words, i love the motivation it gives me, i love how i am getting to know my scriptures better and being able to relate it to everyday life. i love how scripture comes to mind when i am in need of guidance. the words are so comforting. truly, they are 'friends' but I suppose I always knew words were friends, I just hadn't stopped to consider it like that before.



And to close, I wrote a poem Eliza! I was asking myself, why are people so rude to us? And instead of being upset or hurt or angry I... wrote a poem. Now my poem writing honestly isn't very good but it is an enjoyable enterprise. And I tried to branch out of my normal limerick and haiku hahaha!

The world is so busy with life flashing by
it's easy to get caught up in the cunning one's lie
that you don't have enough time to stop for a minute
to smell the roses or to smile for the sake of it
kindness is lost in this culture of me, me me
people are so self-absorbed they can't even see
that today God splashed the sky's canvass with pink
or that in your friend's smile, there was a chink
although lifting a soul does not increase your pay
your own sorrows flee as you make someone's day
and the wise ones know that helping another
is a great way to echo Christ's love to each other
Because He once said in His mortal ministry
what you do unto others, ye have done unto me. 

So please, be kind. honestly. people's kindness have made my day. an angel in disguise helped us get home at night, we had pulled over with hazard lights and we were lost and we were able to follow him back to Mt barker. 
and people being kind at the door too.. it lifted my soul. and so, i want to be kind to others, because i know that it makes a difference!! 

PS sorry frazzled but hopefully you feel the spirit of it :) 
love you all! have a great week!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

26 January 2015



Hello!

I apologise for not writing, but I see what has actually happened that in the mad rush it is to prepare for a mission, my sister neglected the two most recent entries I sent her but now she is safe in the Manila MTC and my dad is taking care of the blog! (If you'd like to write to her, because she is pretty awesome and I'm really excited for her new step in life - her email address is eliza.magallanes@myldsmail.net

There are so many things to share I don't know where to start. 

Serving as a trainer on the mission field really refines you, is something I've figured out. 

Remember when times are tough, my examples are: only teaching two investigator lessons the whole week (which is draining on you spiritually sometimes when you aren't as productive as you'd hope and I really love teaching too), or when you don't feel well, or when you have to drive all across southern Adelaide, right through the Adelaide Hills and you're starting to feel dizzy (hahahhaa) OR some life examples of people I know this has happened to, you're moving out or there is contention in relationships or life is getting really, really hectic as you begin to plan your wedding and you realise that you want to do everything yourself but you have less fingers than weeks to do it all.... 
 then remember that after the destruction of entire cities, being swallowed up by water, or buried in rocks, or burned with fire and after the loss of many lives and much mourning, after all that a still small voice was heard from heaven, and Jesus Christ visited the American continent. 

So, plough on! Carry on! We'll be alright. let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power (and just like the serenity prayer goes, have the serenity to accept the things we cannot change) and then, may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed. (D&C123:17)

Hope everyone had a happy Australia day! 

Love to all! 

              My companion Sister Reola mowing a lawn for the first time!! Service project (:


Beautiful McKenzie family! They are moving from our ward :( but we know that they will be a great blessing to the new branch they move to :) They are from Sydney and I love the story about how they got together. it is all about following spiritual promptings, and not being afraid to make hard choices. And also about the great mercy our heavenly father has for each of us and how he truly does want us to be happy. They inspire me! Lots of love to them! and mum, dad, I said they could visit when they came back to Sydney! 

District activity on Pday. this photo wasn't the best one but it showed all of our genuine laughter because the camera was on timer and on the boot of the car and we hear this noise and all of the cameras have fallen down so we all try to duck to stay within the camera shot.