G'day, g'day, g'day!!!
Well, I got lots of emails this week (huzzah!) and most of them voiced "displeasure" at my turning 20. XD To be very honest, I really don't feel much different, but that may be because my birthday was lacking in any kind of partying or outing this year. I was very well looked after by the members though- Sister G baked me a chocolate cake that was quite nice, and the P's dropped off a big box of assorted chocolates and I actually received that birthday package from home when we got back to the flat after emailing. XD THANK YOU FOR THE AMERICAN CANDY AND FOOD!!! Speaking of that, we were at the Q's yesterday (a very solid member family) and Sister Q had some Kool-aid left over from when she came to America. She made it up and dished it all out and basically the Aussie's (and my Kiwi companion) treat Kool-aid like I treat Vegamite. As they struggled to get their glasses down, I decided to show off some American and downed my first glass in one fell swoop before going for seconds. XD So here's something for you to think about- all the food here is about 50% less sugary and sweet than anything in America (which may be why I'm finally starting to lose my appetite and eat just because I need food and not out of a desire to eat...). Anyway, that's off topic!
I still have to answer more questions, so I'll do that. I got my hat while we were walking to South (which is about 3k's from the section of our area known as North- haha) and I stopped in an outdoorsy shop and bought myself a Barmah. I know Akubra is the "Aussie hat" but they're also for dressier occasions and I wanted a hat that I could work in and beat up and throw around, so I went with the next best thing. Also, it is getting hot around here. I think dry heat is worse than the humidity we had up in Darwin- in fact, I think I was more comfortable when I was bathing in my own sweat all the time. We haven't been suffering from the wildfires down here in Broken Hill -haven't even seen any smoke- but the dust is still brutal, and the flies... I hate all the flies in the world... Anyway, when I wrote and said that it gets up to 50-55C I wasn't kidding- I was actually just spitting back what I heard the locals saying, but I suppose it stays around the 40-45C realm in Broken Hill, which we haven't had yet (thank goodness) but yeah... it's a bit toasty down here. I never once got sunburned in Darwin but I'm getting over a mild one right now... dry climates are worse than wet ones, that's all there is to it. But it hardens you up, and as all the Americans like to say down here, "Cowboy up, Elder!"
Oh, I also maybe have seen a little bit of Rugby Union and I maybe saw the New Zealand All Blacks play against South Africa and Australia (Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!)... President P did it!
So this week was a pretty neat one. To be honest, being in Broken Hill really teaches you to rely on the Lord- all of the good things that are happening have been by His hand alone, believe you me. We were able to teach M again, and a former investigator that the P's had been teaching for awhile -DJ- is interested in learning again (he had to hit rock bottom before he came around). Anyway, they're both progressing just fine- M is on top of everything, and DJ has already had all the lessons so it's basically just checking for his understanding and helping him to get off the cancer sticks. M has really turned it around though- he went from chain smoking 3-5 packages a day to smoking none all last week and hopefully he won't smoke any this week. He was briefly tempted to drink some rum too (it was the only thing in the 'frig and it was hot), and after opening and closing the 'frig three times, he was about to go for it when he dropped his cellphone. He's dropped it many times, but this time the screen cracked. I don't know if that was just coincidence or the Lord, but he took it as a sign and didn't go for the rum (huzzah!). They both (DJ and M) came to church Sunday and sat together, which was awesome. Sunday also found Elder P and I blessing the Sacrament and we both gave talks as well. President P told us that the talks were open subject, so we had some time to prepare them and pray about them and whatnot. Elder P smashed missionary work; I went for becoming truly converted. It wasn't my best talk though, despite the praise I received- I wrote every word down which hung me up (should've stuck with bullet points) and actually hindered the Spirit's direction, so I felt pretty yuck after giving the talk. I was kicking myself too- public speaking isn't something I'm foreign too, but I suppose it was just my turn for a humility check, and those are always good to have. Only a handful of the people I wanted to hear it also showed up, but maybe that's a good thing, who knows?
Serving in Broken Hill is really strange, and it's very easy to feel isolated and alone. The missionary work is different as well- adapting to the Broken Hill-style has been a bit interesting, but it's the only way we can get anything done. I suppose the Lord is trying to teach me that there is more than one way to do missionary work, but it's still an interesting adjustment to make. He really has been helping us out though- there have been days when we haven't had any investigators to go visit (M is a sheep shearer so he works away a lot, and DJ is just new so we don't know his schedule, just that he doesn't have a solid location that he's staying at), and we haven't really known what to do. We make some rough plans though, decide which less active's we should visit and at what times, if we should go tracting or not (which is, in all honesty, the least effective thing to be doing in Broken Hill), and then we head out. I've lost count of all the little miracles the Lord has placed in our path, whether they be an opportunity to serve someone, a member calling up and asking for help, or suddenly a member has set up a lesson for us to teach. Whatever it is, the Lord really has been looking out for us and it really has helped me to know that -after you've done all you know to do- the Lord has your back and will make up the rest. But anyway, that's my story- simple week full of LOTS of tender mercies.
I love you all and I hope all is well for you!
Now I know missionaries shouldn't be holding any kind of child, BUT this was situational and my companion took a photo. Here's the story: President P had been finishing cooking tea, and Sister P had just finished feeding her baby, Patience, when President had to go and pick up an investigator for the tea date. He took off (one of his workers [over 18] was still at the home so it was all goods), and Sister P rushed to save tea from burning. As she rushed, she asked, "Elder, want a hold?" and without waiting for a reply, passed little Patience to me. The funny thing about this is that just the previous day, I had been talking with Elder P about how infants intimidate me- you can't clearly communicate with them so you don't really know what they want, you have to make sure everything's all good with them food wise and temperature wise and you just have to monitor them all the time and they're so fragile. Anyway, he was just laughing at me because I guess he's around babies all the time in his household. So when Sister P handed her little one to me he almost died laughing and couldn't resist but to take a photo. So that's my story.
The other photo was of me and Elder P after a service project we did for one of the older members, Sister R (everyone in the branch is old, what am I saying?). We thought we'd be there for an hour or two and get whatever it was that she wanted done fairly quickly. We were wrong- the service project took us about 3-4 hours instead. Needless to say, when we finished we were a bit tired and we decided to take our "shell shocked" photo.