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

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