Just kidding. No one actually says g'day here (though mate is alive and well). The updated correct greeting is actually "How ya going, love?"
Can you believe I'm in Australia?!!?!? The weird thing is as soon as I stepped onto Aussie soil, I was like "Whoaaaa, this feels so right." I love it here already! The first thing Sister Howes told us when we got here is "Nothing is weird. If an Australian hears you calling something weird they will get offended. It's not weird, it's different." So let me tell you, a looooooot of stuff is "different" here. Sometimes I feel like I'm on that other world from Guardians of the Galaxy which is basically just like Earth but every once in a while you'll see a purple person or two moons in the sky. (Yes I'm still a nerd.) But instead of purple people it's driving on the wrong side of the road or talking funny or everything being INSANELY expensive.
(Arriving in Sydney looking super gross!)
Okay, now before we get too far into Australia I just want to say I loved the MTC so much. So much happened there that I just don't have the time to email about because I only got one p-day there. But I loved it. I loved my district. I loved my companion. I learned SO much. I grew a lot and I wish I had time to tell you all about my second week. It was wonderful/magical/very humbling. Moving on!
(Last MTC pic, I promise!)
Okay so the flight over here was not actually that bad. I slept a lot and got to listen to NZ accents for the majority of the time I was awake so no harm done! We came over in a big group with a bunch of missionaries from the NZ MTC and they were so fun! Two of them accidentally introduced themselves to me as 'Sister' instead of 'Elder' which is always hilarious.
When we arrived, I got to meet my amazing Mission President and his wife. They are incredible. President Howes is the kindest most in-tune with the spirit person I've ever met. When he interviewed me he said a prayer and expressed so much love for me and he told me exactly what I needed to hear to calm my fears that I didn't even tell him I had. He's wonderful! I've gotten to see him and Sister Howes three other times this week and I fall more in love with them every time! They are also absolutely hilarious which I love!
So my companion is the lovely Sister Hosea. She is like Poly, Mormon, royalty. She knows everyone! (Including Elder Groberg from The Other side of Heaven!!!!) She is Tongan and from Utah. She is so fun! As soon as I met her I was like, "Okay I really hope she's my trainer."
So President assigned us trainers by having them stand up and introduce their area and then he would announce who they were going to be comps with. So it came down to me and one other girl, and then the two trainers. He had Sister Hosea stand up and she introduced our area and it sounded just fine. And then tricky President, had the other trainer stand up and introduce her area before he assigned us. She talked about her area (which I found out now is the kinda the gem of the mission) having tons of baptismal dates, unlimited poly food from the members who they live with, and heaps of support from the ward. And I was like "wow that sounds amazing but I still want to go with Sister Hosea to Emu Plains for some reason."
So when I was assigned to Sister Hosea I knew it was inspired! We have what other missionaries would call a tough area. The members have lost faith in the missionaries, we're basically shotgunning (two missionaries being new to an area), we're in the rich part of the mission, and we cover 11 suburbs with no car. But, WE ARE SO EXCITED TO BE HERE! I love Emu Plains. The people are lovely and I feel so passionate about sharing the Gospel with them. The ward is a little skeptical but they are such great people and it is an honor to earn their trust. The area is huge and neither of us can drive here (yet) but we get to ride buses and trains and talk to everyone everywhere we go. It's a wonderful place to be. I am so blessed! But more than that, I know this is where I need to be. I know these people need me and I need them.
(This is us just a few minutes ago as we walked from our flat to the Church to email :))
Australia is gorgeous. It's like being in a tropical rain forest mixed where there are a bunch of old English homes, haha. I adore the people! It's so diverse. Turkish, English, Poly, Asian, ect, ect, ect. I'm in love with the work. I have found that when you are scared and have walls up, missionary work is exhausting. But when you submit fully to the Lord and are letting Him lead and guide your words and actions, missionary work is the best!
- On my first day out, we were going door to door doing surveys and setting up return appointments. We went to this one door and talked for a while with this guy named Anthony. We found out that his mom just died 3 weeks ago and he is so ready for the Gospel! He was really interested in our message and I think he could definitely feel the spirit as we taught him the Plan of Salvation. We'll see him again tomorrow. I am so grateful to HF for leading us to him!
- Trying Vegemite. The first time I had it I HATED IT. But then I talked to these people from the ward and they were like "No you seriously can not use much at all." And I was like "I barely used any!" And they were like "No like put butter on your toast and then put like half a pinky of vegemite." So I trusted them and tried it again and it is magical. I've had vegemite toast for the last couple days for breakfast. I am converted.
-Hearing Elder Quinton L. Cook speak twice! He did an adult fireside which was amazing and he also did a mission conference and I got to shake his hand! He is a wonderful person. The mission conference was incredible.
-The ward here is full of absolutely hilarious people who are deeply Australian. I got hazed a little bit because they ANNOUNCED FROM THE PULPIT that I was a greenie. Not cool, but I can handle it. They are all so great. I'm so excited to get to know the ward better!
-Being around missionaries all week! So many conferences! Everyone is great and we have such a diverse group.
-Teaching and finding! So much fun!
Well, I love you all so much. Sorry for writing a book but I just have so much I want to share/remember. I hope everyone is doing great!
You are all in my prayers. Please stay close with Heavenly Father! I can promise you, that when all else fails He will ALWAYS be there for you. Please lean on Him in everything you do. Remember the covenants you have made! Keep an eternal perspective. Being on a mission has really caused me to feel the weight of the work. It is so important because it is REAL. The spirit bears witness to me every time I teach Gospel principles that they are true. Please always remember what is really important: making and keeping covenants with God in this life so we can live with Him in the next.
Love and miss you HEAPS!