G’day from down under

August 1, 2010
G’day from down under!
I have learned a lot this week, and things have been going much smoother.  Elder Faumui and I re-checked our priorities, and that has included a lot of families that need our help.  One thing is definitely true about a mission: you get a new perspective at the world.  Since our job is to strengthen people, that involves talking to a lot of people, which requires a place to talk.  So, I get to see a lot of homes of families all over Melbourne, rich and poor, big and small, country and city, happy and sad.  This week, I saw some sad homes.
One family we saw was a referral from some neighbors.  They are from Samoa.  The father answered the door when we called, and he was drunk.  He told us he’s happy with his church at the moment, and didn’t want to hear our message, but in following the Samoan culture, he welcomed us in, got us some food, and chatted for a while.  Very friendly, lots of laughing, but also completely drunk.  You know how drinking affects your confidence?  He was a bit too confident in his freedom of speech.  He wasn’t bashing the church or anything, but he was very rude.  I could see also how his kids were avoiding him.  Of course, I really can’t judge him because I don’t have any perspective, but that peering in that segment of their lives taught me a lot.
Also, there was another family who we saw for dinner.  They are all inactive, and haven’t been to church for over a year.  They’re still happy to have us come over for dinner.  Upon walking in, you can tell immediately how the missing gospel has affected them.  They have a really nice two-story house which are quite rare out here, but inside it is messy.  This is mainly because the mother is an animal breeder and works at a pet shop, so there are about 20 cats and dogs EVERYWHERE of all shapes and sizes.  But, the family doesn’t communicate well, and they don’t seem to make any effort to help or care for each other.  The father made us this really nice meal in about 30 minutes that I absolutely loved, and they were complaining about it.  I was tempted to rebuke them all, but that would not help, and it’s not what I’m sent to do either.  It’s just so sad to see.  I’m hoping that as they continue to invite us, we can eventually find a way to influence them into a healthier unit.  But it will take a long time.
I got really sick this week with the stomach flu.  On Tuesday night, I got out of bed around midnight and heaved my guts out into the toilet and passed out in the corner for a couple minutes.  It was a rough night.  The next day I couldn’t keep anything down, even water.  The Solomons were freaking out because I was supposed to sing a solo on Sunday.  After a whole day of sleeping on Wednesday though, I was feeling better.  They weren’t too happy that we were out working on Thursday and were saying to Elder Faumui “don’t you think he needs to rest?”  But I couldn’t wait to get out the door again because a day of sleeping is boring as, and stayin in too long drives you crazy, especially on a mission.
The musical fireside!  It was beautiful.  Despite having a small branch, most of the members are in the choir, and they do a good job!  A lot of less active members came up for it, so that gave us a chance to reconnect with people, and members in the branch were also making connections again.  We’re lucky to have the Solomons here as a senior missionary couple to strengthen the branch like this.  They do so much.  Also, President and Sister Lifferth even came to the fireside, which I was not anticipating, so their presence added a lot as well.  But, what I’m most grateful for is that I was able to perform my solo well, despite not being an active singer so much.  Earlier that day my voice was cracking like a young teenager, but it loosened up by the evening.  I sang “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked.”
The only picture I have for you this week is some service we did for Michael, an investigator.  Well, it’s just Elder Faumui wacking grass with a whippersnipper.  I was too sick and tired to be of much use.  So there ya go.

Elder Faumui doing good with a "whippersnipper"

I can hardly believe July is almost over.  It feels like just last week I was brand new in Shepparton.  There may be lots of time to go, but time is always moving, and it never goes backwards.  Pretty soon it will be Christmas, just you wait.
I love all of you!  When you get the chance, let me know how things are going!  Let Ray know thank you for sending me the Belmont Ward Newsletter.  🙂
-Elder Scott Baker

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