News from Shepparton

July 11, 2010

Talofa Lava!

Scott with President Lifferth

Zone Meeting

This was quite a tiring week.  We had our Zone Conference, Zone Meeting, and “Meet the President” meetings all last weeks.  It felt like a convention.  For these meetings to work out bush, we have to all drive at least 2 hours to get to Wangaratta (I just love the crazy town names in Australia), have our meeting, get fed, and then all spend the night at the huge flat there, to wake up in the morning and have more meetings until the end of the day, when we drive back to our areas.  So Thursday we drove up, met President Lifferth, had our interviews, and then had our long-as zone conference and didn’t get back to Shepparton until Friday at 7.

President Lifferth is completely different from President Lindley.  Pres. Lifferth is warm, quiet, friendly, and steadily wise, like a blanket.  Pres. Lindley was direct, loud, bold, focused, and powerful, like a laser beam.  The Lindley Laser.  But these are the kinds of changes you feel in any kind of authority shift, and while the differences are jarring, I can already tell he’ll be an excellent leader.  I just hope he can manage this gigantic mission okay.  He has 150 Elders to watch over that are all over the Melbourne city and its suburbs, the country, and even in Tasmania.  It will depend much more on the missionary leaders to keep them in line.  But, this also gives more flexibility to the mission, as the West mission had Vietnamese and Cambodian Elders that can get into Springvale, and the East has Samoan missionaries that will probably be useful somewhere in the West territories.  Exciting things are a-comin’.

So, what are some things that happened this week?

Elder Faumui and I did some service for a sister named Sister Licciardo.  Her family is 3 kids that she adopted with down’s syndrome.  They’re all so funny.  It’s interesting to see how caring for people in that condition would normally be a challenge, but for her it is a delight.  She also is into crafts and gardening, so she had a project for Elder Faumui and I to help her with.  We put some sheet metal around her garden boxes.  This entailed cleaning the sheets off, cutting them, and drilling them onto the sides.  I got a good look at some indigenous Australian wildlife.  The sheets were covered in daddy longlegs, huge Australian cockroaches, and redback spiders.  Have you heard of redbacks?  They’re menacing-looking spiders that can actually kill you if you aren’t careful.  We made sure to flatten them out and swipe them off.  This was also my first chance to try using an angle cutter, so sparks flew everywhere.  It was wicked fun.  I feel bad though, because I didn’t bring my camera, so I don’t have any pictures!  But I’ll make sure to get a nice close-up of a redback at some point.

A lovely Australian spider to greet us on a doorstep

Sister Licciardo then gave us heaps of groceries in return, including two gigantic steaks.  For them to be any good, I had to figure out how to cook them, so that was quite an adventure.  I found the grill, cleaned it up a bit, turned it one, put the steaks in, turned them over a couple times, and next thing I knew, they were done!  I had to get a feel of how to cook them so they didn’t get too rare, but I figured it out!  I can officially grill steaks.  Yet another amazing ability I have gained from my mission.

The members here are so generous to us, we frequently have too much food given to us, that I have to be careful not to buy too many groceries or I won’t get to eat them.

The country feels much different, because the smaller population makes finding less effective.  Most people have seen missionaries before.  That slows us down.  We also don’t have a car, and Elder Faumui’s bike has been out of commission, so we’ve just been walking everywhere.  It’s tiring.  But I know that our efforts are helping the branch, and I am growing to love the members here.

Love you all, miss you.

I think this is where those steaks came from?

Elder Baker


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