Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

"It could have been worse"

"It could have been worse"

I don't think I've heard this so many times in one week! In Newcastle, we had a Category 2 Cyclone! (I have no idea what this means...) But there were strong winds, rain, and floods around the area. We were instructed to stay in for the day (after we had already been in the rain for 30 minutes). Trees were falling, power was lost, homes were washed away and a few people drowned. It was a very scary time for some, but we were really blessed. Lots of debris everywhere, but the whole community was so willing to help each other; providing places to charge phones, take a hot shower, cook meals for those who can't cook, etc. It was pretty crazy. We actually had a ward clean up activity because the chapel was a mess. So that's how we spent our ANZAC morning! The weather cleared up very nicely for that. 
We got a little bit of cabin fever as well. We made phone calls all day, cleared the Area Book, then baked muffins and made french toast for dinner. Then we had movie night by watching the Emma Smith movie. She is so amazing. Everytime I learn about her I am mind-blown! So that was an adventure. Also that night at 2:45-3:15 in the morning, the fire alarm in our flat went off over nothing. 

French Toast Night

We had special training with President and Sister Howes last week as well! It was really sad because they started talking about the transition from them to the Checketts, which I'm looking forward to, but devastated that they're leaving us.  The spirit was so strong in that meeting, especially as we reflected on the countless lessons, blessings, and miracles we have learned on the mission. I know that I received much revelation on how I can let the mission change me, not just for the next few months, but for eternity. 

This week was a week of miracles, despite the storm. We have been very blessed. 
The peaceful spirit is what allowed me to have my core experience with God last week. As we studied Elder Bednar's talk, "Therefore They Hushed Their Fears", I better understood how to overcome my fears with those three simple steps. 1) Look to Christ 2) Build upon our foundation of Christ and 3) Press forward with Faith in Christ. It is only through Christ that all things are possible. This brought me great peace, and that peace carried on throughout the rest of the day.
It's made me reflect on the whole experience over the last 3 weeks between having the courage to drive, getting certified, receiving the car, and driving carefully. There was a lot of fear involved, but I think I had to go through it to understand that by focusing our lives on Christ, those fears are gone. It reminds me of something I learned earlier in the mission. "Peace is not the absence of trials, but it is the presence of Christ". My testimony of this has never been so strong until now. 

Here's the talk! Take a read, it's really good. 

We also had a training on extending commitments. I was able to use what I learned the very next day! We were teaching our investigator, Billy. He has a baptismal date for next week! We taught him the 10 commandments and included Keep the Sabbath Day Holy and the Law of Chastity. The following day, we taught him the Word of Wisdom. We were able to be bold and specific when addressing these commandments and that allowed us to find concerns he had with them. When he presented these concerns, we created a plan with him and kept the lesson Atonement centered. As we did so, we were able to feel the spirit so strongly and increase his desire to repent and keep the commandments to prepare himself for his baptism. It was amazing! 

I think this all ties into one of many important lessons I've learned since being on the mission. That is to be an "Atonement Centered Missionary". When we are Atonement centered, everything falls into place. I sometimes have a hard time opening up to people and loving them right away. I can be very judgmental and cynical as well. But when I'm Atonement centered, I understand and realise that we are all children of our Heavenly Father. We all have flaws and faults. We all have the same privilege to use the Atonement in our lives so that we can all become the best version of ourselves. The Atonement also allows us to move on. It allows us to forgive ourselves and go forth with faith so that we don't miss out on opportunities by holding back. 

I can't believe it's already the end of the month. I can't wait to call you in 2 weeks!!!!! 

I hope you have a great week! I love you heaps

Sister Lew

Wednesday, April 22, 2015



So big news...

As of today, I have a car! I got certified on Saturday!! And surprisingly, I feel okay driving! The power of the Priesthood is real. I was freaking out after watching the Driving Safety DVD because it was scary. I was nervous and was thinking, "I'll suck it up, take the bus, it's a good finding tool" (because it is).  Then Elder Nielson, my zone leader, asked if I wanted a blessing, and that was the answer to my prayers, even though I hadn't thought about it (always think of getting a blessing, it's one of the greatest solutions). Christ always blessed the people, and especially during times of discomfort. Elder Watts gave me a beautiful and simple blessing, reminding me to put my faith in Christ. Obedience to the mission rules and the laws of the land are important. I felt HEAPS better afterwards, then I took my test with Elder Finch and I felt so good on the road! Very alert and aware of my surroundings, but not driving nervously. The Elders were kind enough to wake up at 5:30 to get my car from the other elders who aren't driving but it's in their area. BLESSINGS AND MIRACLES. I know that the priesthood is the real authority of God. It is a blessing to have worthy priesthood holders around. 

Sister Uitu and me.
This week has been a very trying week. I think training has brought out the worst in me, and I am learning my weaknesses way faster than I would have liked to. But that's okay. I know I'm in this situation to learn. I feel bad for Sister Uitu sometimes because she has to deal with my faults, but she can learn from them as well. She is a great missionary, I just need to learn patience and how to give feed back in a love way. I realised that I have more of a 'tough love' approach, but I guess I can give feed back with love. We're all still learning... It's also hard for me to determine when to let her grow and learn, or when to just do it myself because it's more efficient. 
Working with Sister Uitu has taught me so much. I've learned the things that I'm lacking to help our investigators feel the Saviour's love for them. I've also learned the things that have helped me be successful as a missionary. I'm starting to see my potential as a representative of Jesus Christ because I've seen it in her. 

Our investigators are progressing well! Billy has been coming to church and we've been able to meet with him heaps. He's super keen and wants to come closer to God. Miracle! His sister has been investigating the church in Mongolia, and they had no idea that each other was learning about the Gospel until last week. I know that Heavenly Father is really wanting to bless their family. Please pray that he will be set to be baptised on May 2nd, and continue to progress. 

We've also met with Chris & Jason, who are progressing as well. It's kind of hard with language barriers, but thank goodness I can kind of speak Chinese and we have a RM who served in Korea. 

Effective finding has been our struggle this week. Although we've been able to talk to heaps of people, it's hard since many are very atheist. We've met a lot of people that have relatives or friends that are LDS, and they're very nice! No return appointments, but they're willing to take a pass-along card and pamphlet. That's always a blessing. Planting seeds at its finest. haha. 

The mission is the best thing that's happened to me so far. One thing I've really learned is how to use the Atonement in my life. It is central and key to everything we do. I absolutely love it. It's a beautiful gift that God has given us so that we can have everlasting happiness. 

I hope you all have a good week!! Keeping you in my prayers :) And please pray for me that I will be safe on the road. 

Alofa atu,
Sister Lew

More Chinese food!!

9 down, 9 to go...

I hit hump dayyyyy. That wasn't terribly exciting. Just kidding, I lied. It was so good! It was the first day I was with my new soa (Samoan for companion), Sister Uitu! We had a miracle day! Two new investigators and one of them accepted the invitation to be baptised!

Me and Sister Vaovasa
Last week was CRAZY. On Monday, I was companions with Sister Vaovasa, and we just had a nice, relaxed, and rainy p-day. Tuesday morning, we headed down to Sydney for our Train-the trainers meeting with President and Sister Howes. There's 22 of us training! It was cool to be down there and see everyone, including Sister Ah Fua and Elder Dean, missionaries I served with in the city. It was heaps fun. We talked about how trainers are one of the most important leadership roles in the mission. Terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. How you train someone has a large impact on the success of the missionary and the mission in the future. We stayed the night at the Normanhurst sisters' flat for the evening and then went back to Carlingford the next day. Down there, I got roasted duck and crispy pork rice...sooo good. I missed Chinese food. Then we were hanging out on the Temple grounds, so pretty!! After that, we met our babies!! The room was PACKED! We had a great meeting with them and had a testimony meeting where all of the new missionaries bore their testimony. The spirit was so strong and it was really neat. I loved the training, because it reminded me how important this work is and how privileged we are to be called as the Lord's missionaries. It reminded me of my purpose in being here. One thing that stuck out to me was that 'commandments are blessings'. We don't keep the commandments in order to receive blessings. Commandments are blessings to us and provide us the way to return to our Heavenly Father. About 3/4 into the meeting was when President announced the new companionships! I'm with Sister Uitu from American Samoa. She's really sweet and keen on doing the work, so I'm super pumped to be working with her! Greenie fire! :) 

My new "greenie", Sister Uitu!

Yay!! Chinese food in Sydney!

So, serving in Newcastle while living in Charlestown without a car is pretty dang difficult. The bus system here is pretty bad. It could be worse, but it's just not efficient. If we miss the bus, we have to wait an hour. Also, it gets dark at 6, and some areas are pretty dodgey, so it's not super ideal to be taking the bus back after dark, which limits our finding. The first day I was training, or maybe the second, I was super stressed. During studies, I freaked out in my head a little thinking, "Heavenly Father, WHY AM I IN THIS SITUATION???" I was about to call president to tell him to send a more qualified trainer who can drive so Sister Uitu doesn't have to suffer. I'm not looking for pity compliments to make me feel better, this is honestly how I feel. I know the Lord needs me to learn something from this situation, and ultimately, I know he has a purpose for his children in Newcastle by me being here, but it's so hard to remember sometimes. We did end up having a miracle first day though. Jason brought his Korean friend, Chris, and he was super keen! They both ended up coming to General Conference and loved it! We also met a really nice girl who knew a little bit about Latter-day Saints because of the Book of Mormon musical! She said she liked the way she felt about the Joseph Smith story and how there are prophets to carry on His 'legend' today! She wasn't super interested because she's not religious, but I think there's potential there. Teaching with Sister Uitu has been really good. She's a powerful missionary and she listens well. The next day, we met some of our recent converts and they already love her. So that's good!! 

Miracles happened that day as well... we missed the bus and I got stressed, so I prayed at the bus stop, thinking what we should do, and I felt prompted to go finding while waiting for the next bus. After about 3 minutes of walking around, I ran into a girl that's on the same rugby team as Janet Parkes' sister...we met her one time and so I stopped her and said Hi! She offered us a ride to Jenni's place which was sweet! Then afterwards, we stopped by the Metcalf's to introduce Sister Uitu to some members, and they invited us to stay for dinner, which was take out Thai and Chinese, so yummy. Then they drove us home. On the way, S. Metcalf asked if we wanted to stop by the Mooseman's, some other members, so we did and ended up having a really spiritual lesson with them. We shared Alma 26:12 and Sister Mooseman said that that's exactly what she needed to hear. For with God, all things are possible. It is so true. Without God, we are weak. He lifts us up to accomplish the impossible. 

General conference this week was awesome! I didn't take heaps of notes, but I did take some. The whole conference being on marriage didn't seem terribly appealing to me as a missionary right now...I understand that everything said is super important and applicable, and I'll need to follow the counsel of our leaders, but it just gave me weird vibes. I can't believe there's a temple in Bangkok! That's awesome! I love listening to conference. The spirit is so strong and I know that they truly are called of God. 

This transfer is going to be one of challenges, trial, learning, growth, and miracles. I can feel it. Just keep praying that I'll be alright :) 

Have a great week. alofa atu :) 

Sister Lew

Me and Sister Ou.  We had the same trainer so we are "sisters".

Monday, April 6, 2015


Central Coast & Newcastle ZC March 2015

That's right, I had the ultra-sound and everything, and it's a girl! Well it's been 9 months since being on my mission and I'm due on Wednesday! :) Perfect timing.  I found out on Friday night when we had a mission-wide conference call…nine missionaries are leaving and 26 missionaries are coming in this transfer. Sister Weiss is a travelling sister in Harbour City (Jealous!!) and I will be training a greenie starting Wednesday! Ah! Scary!

This week has been hectic! Especially the last few days with Easter and transfers.

Last Monday, we went out to Shoal Bay to hike with the Medowie sisters and Charlestown Elders. That was fun! I haven't hiked in heaps long. The view was gorgeous and I just keep thinking how amazing the world is. I look at how beautiful nature is and I can't deny that there is a God. 

Hiking Shoal Bay with the Medowie sisters.

June got baptised on Saturday!! We met with her almost everyday this week to finish teaching her so she could have her baptismal interview. It is amazing how prepared she was to receive the Gospel. She has such a great understanding of it and wants to share it with her family. Her sisters came up for the baptism and it was really cool. She's so cool! She's really independent and I admire how she's willing to rely on members. Her baptismal service was really nice and simple, just the way it should be. 

June's Baptism
We have a new investigator, Billy, who we met at English class and came to church for Easter Sunday! He has a little bit of a Christian background and really wants to learn more about Jesus Christ. He accepted the invitation to be baptised on May 2nd. He's from Monglia and is super keen to learn more about Christ and to follow Him. 

We met with Laura and she's still pretty keen. She's younger than me and it's amazing that she's so interested in learning about Christ and His Gospel...to be honest, I wish more of my friends saw the need for it in their lives. Understanding how Christ and His Atonement can help us in our lives makes it so much easier to live our lives and go in a direction that will bring us happiness. Who doesn't want to be happy?
We still haven't been able to meet with Jason, which is a shame, but this week hopefully! Everyone is on holiday, so it's kind of hectic. 

Jenni is doing really well and so is Tori. They both had us over for dinner this week, and it was nice to be with them. We were with Jenni and her daughter, Kelsie, and her son, Sammy. Kelsie is hilarious…she's 17 and has an 18 month old. I just can't imagine how hard it would be to be that young and have a kid...I look at myself 2 years ago and I had no idea what I was doing. I reflect back and think, 'woah, I've grown up heaps since then'. and at that time, I thought I was grown and mature. She is an amazing young woman who is very mature and I know that she's in this situation because God knows she can handle it very well. 
Tori and mark are doing great, they're super cool. I love hanging out with them. They've already started talking about when and where they want to get sealed!

It's been rainy all week, but we did have a beautiful Easter Sunday. 
We had meal appointments pretty much every day and we got heaps of chocolate. and by heaps, I mean HEAPS. 

So many things are happening in the mission! There were a lot of transfers made, especially with so many new missionaries coming in. I received the call to train the day after transfer calls and I am nervous as. I'm super excited, but super terrified to lead this area. Sister Weiss was an amazing companion and set the bar really high. The members absolutely love her and she is a very good missionary. It's not that I feel inadequate by any means, but it's just a lot of pressure. I'm grateful for Newcastle ward because there are so many members who are willing to help, so that makes it a little easier. Four missionaries from Newcastle are leaving: Elders Brimhall, Wheatley, and Parker, and Sister Weiss :(  They're the missionaries I was closest to in the ward, but that's okay. Their talents and skills and wisdom are needed elsewhere. I loved having Sister Weiss as a companion. Even though we're so different, we got a long really well. She's helped me grow in so many ways, especially to be more confident and bold in myself and in the missionary work. I'm really going to miss her, but I'm excited for the greenie fire that's coming to Newcastle 3!! 

Gonna miss Sister Weiss
Right now I'm working with Sister Vaovasa and we're both training, so she's staying with me and we'll go down to Sydney to get trained then receive our new comps! :) I'm so excited! Terrified but excited!! 

Easter was really good! We had a great sacrament program on different aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how Easter is all about the fact that Christ lives! He truly does live and because of that, we all can as well. We taught sharing time, which was a lot of fun. I love being in the primary. We didn't have any appointments for Easter until after transfer calls and we scored a lunch and dinner appointment with the Metcalf's and the Boeree's, then we hung out at the Parkes'. They're such great families and I love being in their homes. The spirit is very present and it feels so good when you walk in, especially when things are hard on the mission, being in a member's home where you can actually feel the spirit is the best thing ever. 

Easter morning sunrise walk

Easter morning sunrise walk

Easter morning sunrise walk

Easter morning sunrise walk

Easter morning sunrise walk
We watched the General Women's conference all about families and that was pretty cool, I'm stoked for General Conference this weekend!! It is so great that we have a living prophet today to warn and guide us and to testify of the living Christ.

Elder Brimhall's light coloured suit for Easter!
I know that my Saviour and Redeemer lives. Because of Him, we can learn, grow, experience love and joy, and we can have eternal life with our loved ones. It's that simple. Accepting Christ into our lives brings us so much joy. It always troubles me when I find people who aren't willing to experience that joy for themselves. It's actually heartbreaking. We come to love people as Christ does, and we get rejected and persecuted, but we keep going because the message that we share needs to be offered to everyone. 

If you haven't already checked out the video, watch it! helives.mormon.org
It's beautiful!!

Anyways, I hope you all have a good week. I love you!

Sister Lew