I would be lying if I said that this week was great. It has been a rough week. I think the first week I didn't even have time to think about everything and just jumped into everything. But this week I have had a hard time adjusting to the culture and life here in Australia. Its all part of missionary work though and I know it will get better. I have learned how to rely on the Lord more fully in helping me in the work. I have shed many tears but I have also had so many great experiences this week as well. I have spent a lot of time on my knees this week asking for strength to help me through and I have seen countless tender mercies from the Lord as I have done so. I know that God is there for each and every one of us. He hears our prayers and He cares about us so much more than we can comprehend. That is why this gospel is so wonderful and helps me to keep pushing forward in the work of the Lord. I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Christ. My testimony has been strengthened greatly of the Atonement. I know that Christ not only suffered for our sins but also for our pain and sorrows. He understands us more than we understand ourselves and He will help us through every trial that we are given. So I would ask you all to get on your knees and pray if you are wondering where to go or are struggling at all. He will be there for you and the Holy Ghost will help you to feel peace and know that you are not alone. As we turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer he will poor blessing upon us and as you pay attention and slow down a little bit to listen and observe, you will see the hand of the Lord in everything that you do.
I want you to know that even though this week has been rough I also wouldn't have it any other way because I have also learned so much. I have been strengthened and my testimony of Jesus Christ and this gospel has grown tremendously. For without trial we cannot learn and grow. This life on earth is a time to learn and grow and become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. We can become like him as we learn of Him and study His teachings in the scriptures and also develop a strong relationship with Him through prayer.
I know that I'm here for a reason. I love it here in Australia, the people are so wonderful. They are so willing to do anything especially for the missionaries. This week was hard with my companion. We had several disagreements but we talked about them and worked them out. Now I'm learning to really love her more and more and as that love grows our lessons become better and we have seen so much more success.
This week we had several lessons with Anikka (pictured below) again and we invited her to be baptized. She said YES! Me being the new missionary I had to extend the invitation, I was so nervous because I haven't ever done that before but it turned out great. The spirit was so strong, we taught her about the Plan of Salvation and many tears were shed from all of us during that lesson. Then as I started to ask her if she would be baptized she said yes before I even finished asking. That is how amazing Anikka is she is so willing to learn. So we have set the date for November 16th so that is so soon! But I know she will be ready but we will be meeting with her several times this week and we pray daily for her so that we can know how to make sure she is ready. She comes to everything. She comes to mutual, church, firesides, FHE...everything! Yesterday we went to the recent convert fireside with her. That is a fireside for all missionaries in the mission to bring any investigators or recent coverts. That was such an amazing fireside. They had about 6 recent converts speak about their conversion story. It was so powerful to hear their simple but powerful testimonies of this gospel. Something that really stuck out to me was that anyone can teach and we can all learn from one another. We are all sons and daughters of God and we are all here to learn and help one another return to our Father in Heaven. I challenge all of you to reach out to everyone because we are all God's servants here on earth. We are ALL missionaries on the earth today and we ALL have a responsibility to spread the gospel to everyone.
They celebrate Halloween here but its definitely not as big as it is in the U.S. But we had so much fun on Halloween. We went to a baptism that night and we took Anikka and Ari (a member who is fellowshipping anikka). This was an amazing baptism because this lady has been investigating the church for about 8 years and FINALLY is baptized. It was such a spiritual experience and there were so many people there, mostly missionaries but still heaps of people. Its because she has had so many different missionaries that have helped her in her conversion and have taught her. It was such an exciting night for many of us and also an uplifting time. Even though I didn't know her we went and I learned so much because the spirit was there. The spirit is the ultimate teacher for sure. After the baptism President Manusso took us to KFC for dinner. It was so much fun we went there with heaps of sister missionaries and had a fun night together. It was also so good because we also got to know Anikka at a different level. We got to know her personally and now we have a better relationship with her.
I know I have super long emails but there is always so much to tell you because there are countless experiences daily. I love being on a mission! I want you all to know that I love you all very much! This gospel is so true, spread the gospel to everyone that you can.
|These were all of us after the baptism on Halloween|
|This is Anikka Welsh|
|This is my zone. They are all so fun we had zone training on Friday|
|These are the sisters we share our flat with. Sister Bretzing is my "twin" and Sister Tito. We have so much fun with them. We are in totally different zones and districts but we have the opportunity to live with them. I love these sisters!|
|The Sister Training Leaders came to visit us. We had a blast with them. Sister Paki and Sister Nunez. Sister Nunez is the short one and Sister Paki is the tall Kiwi.|