June 27, 2010
Hello all friends and families!
Well, after a long run of three months in the land of Springvale, my reign of spiritual terror is at an end. The streets are being flocked with people once again, relieved from the Golden Questioning (GQ’ing, i.e. street contacting) power that was Elder Baker and Elder Vaiho. Not really, but that does remind me of a funny story.
Some weeks ago we got a referral from the assistants for a man named David. Elder Vaiho and I knocked on his door and talked to him for a bit. He told us, “Well, actually, I’m not really looking for a religion right now.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Well, there’s just so many, I don’t feel comfortable just picking one.”
“Exactly! That was Joseph Smith’s concern too! Because you would think there would be one church for one God, right?”
And from there, we taught him about Joseph Smith in about 15 minutes. By the time we introduced the Book of Mormon, he seemed interested. “Oh yeah, I’ll read it, that sounds cool! I’ll give you a call.”
That was about 3 weeks ago. Fast forward to Saturday, Elder Cutting and Elder Marurai said they visited him, and he was saying, “Gah! I’m really not interested, but that missionary was just so pushy and I couldn’t say no!”
“Was it Elder Baker?” they asked.
“Yeah! That’s the one!”
It’s strange how people interpret sharing as pushing. When I spoke to him, I was just being friendly and explaining where we came from. It’s the Spirit that testifies of the truth, not us. He seemed interested when we talked to him… it’s funny how people think the better thing to do is to lie or make excuses. It’s like what Reuben said. They say they don’t have time, right after they say they’re sitting around just for fun.
For example, on Saturday night, we got dropped off at our flat by Brother Sita in the bishopric (awesome guy, he does jiu jitsu!), and there was this woman dancing to her iPod on the footpath. I talked to her, and she told me she was busy. Yep, I could see that.
So, back to the main news: I’m getting transferred! So are Elder Cutting and Elder Marurai. They were only here for three weeks. We’re wondering why they were sent to Springvale. One member, Albert, thinks I’m going to be a District Leader, which would be weird. It’s strange now that I’ve been here for three transfers, I officially “know what I’m doing,” but I’ve only really learned the basics of missionary work in one area. In my next town, the rules will be different. The people may not be as polite or permissive. Luckily, the message is the same, and the message works pretty well. There’s a reason it’s the same throughout all the world.
Tuvao's Baptism Day
So, you wanted an update on Tuvao? Well, you can see the picture there! She got baptized! She chose to be baptized into the Dandenong ward just next door in the assistant’s area, so lucky us– they arranged everything, from the programs to the food. Elder Vaiho and I got to speak together. Unfortunately, the water wasn’t heated, but hey, Jacob got baptized in the ocean, so… A lot of her family came too! Her mother was there, and a whole bunch of siblings and cousins. It’s incredible to see the emotion of finding the church that just all makes sense, and how personally powerful it is. She had some trouble croaking out her testimony amidst the tears, but it’s there. I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to teach somebody as proactive to learn as she was.
Joanna is also still on track to be baptized, despite the date getting bumped back. Unfortunately, she and her husband have separated after being married for 2 years. You can guess how that’s affecting her right now. It had nothing to do with her interest in the church, and she is still keen to follow through with her date. I’m so glad she has the Sitas as fellowship to help her out.
On Thursday, we had an appointment with Umu at about 11 o’clock. That morning, I had just gotten back from exchanges with the Chinese Elders, because I spent Wednesday in Moorabbin. As we were packing things up at the Springvale flat, the doorbell rang. There was Umu (he knew where we lived because he drove us home once), standing there awkwardly but wanting to see us. I didn’t really know what to say or do, because I didn’t know why he was there. “We have an appointment at 11… did you want us to teach you right now?” “…Yeah.” “Okay then, one sec. Let me get my scriptures.” We taught him the Plan of Salvation on our porch. We explained the significance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that to accept it we must be baptized. We asked if he wanted to accept the sacrifice by being baptized. He said yes! Unfortunately, he needs to get married before he can be baptized, and so we’ll have to teach his partner as well. He says she’s supportive of his learning, but we need to arrange for her to learn as well. But, we can tell Umu is excited about the gospel. He said he would be at church. Unfortunately, he wasn’t, and we don’t really know why, but we’ll catch up with that later. Well, Elder Vaiho will.
The sad thing is, Springvale has become my new home. Anthony is here. He was my first convert. He looks so happy at church these days. I was sitting in the back looking over, and he caught my eye, smiled, and just waved to me. He’s going to the temple for baptisms on Friday with the ward, I’m going to make sure I’m there with him. Gagan will be there too. It will be sad to say goodbye to him. I do have his address, but unfortunately he can’t afford a phone line and he doesn’t email. I won’t get to see him again for a long time. I’ll have to make some rounds today to say goodbyes.
This is also the last week of President Lindley. On Tuesday, all the Elders are going to do the Maori Haka for him. Have you seen that before? Slapping your legs and arms shouting “KAMATE KAMATE KURE!!!” I think I sent a video of that home, eh? Yep, that will be all 160 of us. I’ll try to record it. It will be a real upheval in lifestyle when President Lifferth steps in. Remember how tough it was for Mr. Landers at BHS? He’s got nothing on a mission president. Also strange will be the combined missions, with double the Elders. Think of what it would be like if high schools all of a sudden just mashed together. It will make for some interesting dynamics. I’m excited though, because soon we’ll be able to have Vietnamese and Cambodian missionaries in Springvale, which will add a lot to the work here. All Elder Vaiho and I can do is give those folks a pamphlet and pat them on the back.
Next week, I’ll let you know what my new area is like. I hope I’m in the same zone as Elder Peek for a change. I miss that Elder to death. Keep sending me the updates on what’s up! I’m so glad to have all of you to help. Talk to you again soon.
Heaps of love,
Elder Scott Baker