This week has been amazing! So many miracles and lessons learned...
I'll start off with some highlights!
Monday (Australia Day!)
It was rainy, so our ward activity got cancelled. We played an intense game of monopoly with all the Newcastle & Charlestown missionaries, which was so fun. Then we went to the OsmoPad (Charlestown Bishop's house) for a BBQ. Good food, salad, and pavlova. Heaps of fun!!
|Monopoly with Newcastle and Charlestown missionaries|
A family member of a few members in our ward was visiting and had a heart attack and ended up in the hospital. As soon as we found out, we immediately dropped to our knees and prayed, just as all the other missionaries did. PRAYER WORKS. He was in a coma and now he's slowly coming out of it. The whole family has been praying and fasting all week. It's amazing how the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ help people through hard times like this. It's really beautiful.
Anywho, we were on our way to stop by and see them at the hospital. As soon as we walked out the door, we realized we left the keys inside. Normally, that wouldn't have been a problem since there's another set of Sisters living with us, however, Sister Hu was in Sydney to pick up her new companion and stayed the night at Presidents...so we were locked out. thankfully our neighbor let us use her swipe and I had a spare key for the car, so we went to the Toronto sisters flat and spent the night. No shower, no problem.
Lesson learned: When President tells you to get a spare key to your zone leaders and companion, DO IT! (I actually didn't know about the rule that every missionary was supposed to have a key...)
That was quite the adventure.
We had an AMAZING Zone Training Meeting!! It was on being 'spiritually minded' and creating sacred space, something I've been trying to work on. I'll be honest, creating sacred space is so hard!! and so is being spiritually minded 24/7. But when we're spiritually minded, making sacred space gradually becomes easier. Change is a process, not instantaneous. "to be spiritually minded is life eternal" = S.M.I.L.E :) Sister Weiss and I have tried to make our car, flat, and companionship a place where the spirit can reside. Sister Howes likes to say that our mission is a role play for life. If we're not centering our lives on the Gospel or inviting the spirit into our lives now, then it's going to be so much harder when we're not set apart as missionaries.
We were also trained on resolving concerns, which is always a hot topic. There are SO many concerns as to why people won't accept the Gospel...most of them are social, meaning we prioritize others in front of our Heavenly Father. Which is why it's so crucial to clearly explain the role of Heavenly Father in our lives.
All the Newcastle Missionaries headed to a yummy Malaysian restaurant for lunch.
That evening we had such an amazing lesson!
The testimonies of reactivated members are SO powerful!!!!!!!! So the family I was talking about earlier, the Tarawa's, are a HUGE Maori family..like hundreds and thousands of them. The small fraction of their family that lives in Newcastle is big enough to be a ward. Many of them are active, inactive, and are non-members. Recently, quite a few have been reactivated and they're encouraging the rest of their less-active family to come back to church. We were teaching two of the children who just recently got baptised about a scripture and then asked the parents for their thoughts. One is less active, Travis, and one is reactivated, Lades. Lades started bearing testimony on how living the Gospel by keeping the commandments has blessed her life. We were all in tears when she shared her experiences of Heavenly Father answering her prayers. It doesn't sound like much, but the spirit that was in that room was so powerful. It honestly was one of the best lessons I've been in. By the end, Travis and his partner wanted to come back to church. They knew it was the right thing.
We finally were able to get into our flat that night. The Howes' dropped off our new sister, Sister Yu!!! She's from HK :) So that was exciting!
I studied a lot about the Temple, especially since that is the most sacred space of all, so I figured by studying the temple prep book, I could find ideas to create my own sacred space around me. Ah I just love the temple so much. It's so beautiful. I miss it :(
That evening we went back to Toronto for tradeoffs with the Sister Training Leaders!
I was with Sister Sopo!!! She's awesome :)
I had my first tracting experience!! So weird...but pretty cool. Miracles along the way as we talked with everyone on the streets and bus. We did heaps of walking in the hot sun since both of us dont' drive. An absolute miracle happened though. We were so thirsty and out of water, trekking along the road with no sidewalk, and then a car pulls over on the other side of the road and it's the bishop from Toronto and his wife! They're the sweetest Samoan couple. They picked us up, bought us heaps of water, then dropped us off at our appointment. Afterwards, they invited us over for dinner, so I had a nice samoan feed. Prawns, fish, corn beef, rotisserie chicken, taro and cocoa samoa. So yum. It was a nice evening. We shared a message on being perfect, which ,according to the footnote, means the potential to become like Heavenly Father. it went perfectly with our training from the STL's on Becoming a Consecrated Missionary, one of my favourite talks!!!! It's so smash. Along with becoming spiritually minded, becoming consecrated is a process that very few master on a mission. However, as long as we are willing and we try our best to become a consecrated and spiritually minded missionary, through the grace of God, we can achieve our goals.
We decided to do some former finding...turns out all of our formers moved, however we met some great people and were able to share a message with them. Some even became new investigators! And they were Chinese!!
We walked around some of the suburbs, followed a guy onto a bus, got off at a random bus stop when the convo ended, got lost then recognized a members house, so we went over for water and found our way back to the car. It was an exciting day!!
Sister Weiss and I decided we were going to act on the promptings of the spirit...and it worked! Duh...
We'd see someone on the sidewalk and feel prompted to talk to them, so we'd pull over and start talking to them haha... you do what you gotta do
My days of 6 hours of church are over for now :) church was so good. Testimony meeting was powerful, Gospel Principles was great with our new WML teaching it, and then Relief Society was so good. We were given a moment to ponder on what heavenly father wants us to do next in our lives to prepare us spiritually to go to the temple. I had fasted to overcome certain weaknesses so I can become a consecrated missionary and I got this feeling that I can do it and I will do it. It was really empowering. Heavenly Father knows how to comfort us when we need it most.
We had a cottage evening that night at our old WML's home with some investigators. Jenni came and that was really good! It was like FHE, a lesson, game and some yummy food.
Jenni is doing really well! She was in the hospital and called us at 3 am... but other than that she's progressing. She will make such a great member. Her testimony and belief in God is so strong. It's incredible.
I have never come across so many people with so many problems as I have since being in Newcastle. People trying to get off heroin, prior prostitutes, people with families and the parents are still on drugs,.... There are so many problems that all lead back to drug and alcohol use. It's really heartbreaking because you see how many people are affected by it.
Life is good. Newcastle is beautiful as ever, and I love being a missionary, no matter how hard it is. The church is true and miracles happen. I love you all heaps :)
|G'day from Newcastle!|