I'M IN AUSTRALIA!!!!!!!
The flight was pretty long....especially because I couldn't sleep due to some crying babies right in front of me :) but all is well! I am almost over the jet lag. Every night I am so exhausted. I lay down and fall asleep within 7 seconds everytime.
So you know the Sister Baker whose blog we read for months? Guess whose companion she is now? Yep, MINE!! HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!
I am in the Narre Warren area and cover the Churchill Ward. Not that that means much to Americans... :) I LOVEit here! We live in a little flat with two other sisters, and it's always a party.
Australia is crazy. From driving on the other side of the road, to having the grocery store in the middle of a mall, many things are very different.
We tract a LOT. Saturday we tracted for 5 hours. The homes in our area are all very small and old, but almost all have cameras by their front doors! THE PLANTS IN AUSTRALIA ARE AMAZING! Everyday I see the most exotic flowers and bushes I have ever seen! Most people here take very good care of their lawns and I am constantly seeing new varieties of plants. And birds!!! Oh my goodness! They make the funniest sounds! There is a type of magpie here that reminds me of a flying skunk! It sounds like a combination of a parrot/lamb. Yep. The majoirty of people whose doors we knock immediately say "Oh I'm busy" and then shut the door. The people of Ausrtalia are quite occupied with their time apparently! But that's okay, we have found a few people who we have made appointments with, and that makes everything worth it :) I can see how missionaries could get very discouraged though. We will knock on 100 doors, and get maybe 2 appointments. But cheerfulness is the key!!!
The diversity in Australia is so cool. Multifariousness to the max! There are so many islanders and asians! On Saturday morning we had to do something at the church, we went inside and the stake basketball tourn was going on. Have you ever seen big Samoan men play basketball??? It's so great!!!! They had loud happy music playing and everyone was just laughing and socializing, and when someone would score, the gym would ERRUPT!! They are such loving, happy people.
People here are ENTHRALLED when they hear i'm from Texas. We were at a family's house the other day and the mom said "are you just terrified everytime you go outside?" hahahahahahahaha! I guess guns are illegal here, so the thought of people being allowed to have guns in america is associated with aboslute danger. Others have asked me if i have seen shootings. You know what else is illegal? Riding a bike without a helmet. Missionaries have gotten $200 tickets from it! You cant get your liscense till 18, and drinking is allowed at 18...weird.
The ward (congregation) here is QUITE a bit smaller than our ward in Texas. Most people were very welcoming to me! By the end of the day I'm pretty sure I had lipstick all over my cheeks from all the women that kissed me. I am afraid that my area is not thought of as a "high baptizing area." It makes my heart ache. But coming into the mission I refused to let that thought effect my mindset. Mindset is key!! I have put up a sign in our flat that says "We live in the highest baptizing mission in Australia!!!" I know that if we increase our faith and dilligence, God will bless us. I am not here to just plant seeds, I want to baptize. On Sunday the msisinoaries taught the 3rd hour with the men and women combined. We talked about how essential it is that the members and missinoaries work as a team. We met a few days before and I expressed to the missionaries ...2 elders and sis baker, the recent sucess of the Carriage Hills ward, and my testimony of the importance of the missionary-member relationship. I told them that we MUST UPLIFT all the auxillaries, and develop a genuine trust. We must feel an URGENCY for this work!!! ....They listened to me!!! our lesson was based off of it) President Maxwell has organized this next fast Sunday the entire mission, both members and missionaries to fast that we will be able to find those prepared to hear our message. Then in a few Sundays, we are having a special sacrament meeting in every ward where everyone brings their nonmember friends. We are hoping to have 125 people invited per ward. Our message to the members was very bold, but full of so much love. A change has to be made if we want success. And a change there will definitely be :) We announced the fast and the big upcoming Sunday, and everyone seemed willing.
Apparently a family from the Churchill ward moved to the Austin Tx stake and EVERYONE asked me if i knew them....can you see if theres any Felts in our stake?? Also, what is Bro wrights first name again?? haha I know I should definitely not already be forgetting things!! Will you PLEASE tell Sis Wright that everyone is obsessed with my watch and I dont know what i would do without it??
I AM SO SOSOSOSOSO THRILLED FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! Family! Before GC, read in Mosiah 2:1-9. Talk about how it relates and let me know your thoughts!! Yall get to watch it a week before us! Everyone send me your fave quotes!
Today a family in our ward took us to a koala park!!!!!! I saw kangaroos and the most darling (And lazy) fat koalas!
I love being a missinoary. It's seriously the greatest. Thank you so so so so much for your prayers!!!
I love you all so much! Or as they'd say here "I love you heaps!" I know that the family is central to God's plan for us, and I'm so grateful for y'all! I know that Jesus is my Savior and Redeemer, and I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.
This picture is from the MTC....Trying to send pics of Australia but i don't know how and sis baker is busy :( next week hopefully!!!