August 15, 2010
Hello friends and family,
I have lovely news. I’m a dad. At least, that’s what missionaries call it. In normal person talk, I’m training. I got the call from President last Monday night saying, “Elder Baker, I have a special responsibility for you. I want you to train a new missionary. I know you are an obedient and responsible missionary, and you can handle this responsibility. Will you do it for me?” Talk about putting on pressure. But of course I said yes, so here I am with my greenie. The picture attachments no workee here, so you’ll have to wait until later.
His name is Elder Bartle, from Perth. Our branch is happy to have an Australian. He’s tall, skinny as, and hunches over a bit because his back is a little crooked. His father’s side is English, and something about Perth Australians sounds so English to me. He says “Cheers,” and stuff like that. But he’s really good, especially being fresh out of the MTC. It reminds me a lot of what I was like out of the MTC, so I know exactly how my trainer felt when I would ask gun-ho questions about teaching people. That’s how you know the MTC does a good job.
So, because of the whole training thing, this week was much longer and tiring, because the routine was knocked out. I got to drive down to the city to Wantirna where the transfer meeting was, and say hi to Elder Peek, which was hilarious as always. I also caught up with Elder Vaiho. Joanna is having problems smoking, so she hasn’t been baptized yet. But she’s still seeing the Elders, so hopefully they’ll get her on track. She has good fellowship too. On Tuesday, we had the transfer meeting. Elder Faumui is in Melton, Elder Peek is in Tullamarine, and Elder Vaiho in Yarra Valley. Then, after the transfer meeting, I had all Tuesday to do whatever until the fresh meat arrived on Wednesday morning. So, I got in the car with another trainer, Elder Skipwith, who came in on my intake (he’s in Tazzy now) and drove down to Springvale for the day! I was so excited! I visited Tuvao’s friends who are members, and they said Tuvao’s sister and nieces are now baptized too! I was so happy! I didn’t get the chance to visit her though, which was a bummer, but I got to chat on the phone for a minute and say hi. She’s well. I also visited Anthony, and he’s as gleeful as ever. Gagan is doing well too. They probably have their Melchizedek Priesthood by now. I’m so happy for them.
The next morning, we had our introductions and initiatory stuff with President, which includes some GQ’ing in Dandenong station. How’s that? They throw them right into the fire upon arrival. I didn’t have to deal with that because I came late, but it was fun to be on the professional side for a change. I was happy to get to GQ in a real city. Shepp is small. Hah! At one point, I said, “Okay, we’re gonna go inside this store and GQ those people there.” He goes, “Really? We can do that? Wait, really?” “Yep, come on.” I pushed him in the back and walked towards the door. At the last second, I turned around and said, “Nah, just kidding. It’s illegal.” He nearly had a heart attack! Hahaha!
By Thursday night, we were back in Shepparton and made some rounds to see the members to say hi. I’ve been giving him an hour each day of finding so that he gets accustomed to it. He’s actually been able to start some conversations after a little push, which is good. We’ve even had one decent investigator come up, named Donna. So that’s been good. My plan is to be spending an hour or two of finding each day and then working with whoever comes of that, but otherwise focusing on strenthening the branch, as before. That way, Elder Bartle gets the experience he needs and the branch gets the strength it needs. The members have been starting to open up as well. Good things will be happening here. I just hope I’ll be able to make a strong difference here.
One of our members is in the hospital, Brother Peni. His kidneys are failing, and he has a stomach infection. We visited him, and just chatted for a bit. What I really like about Elder Bartle is that he keeps close tabs on the sports here, so he always has something to talk about with people. We shared Alma 7:11-12 with him and talked about it, and he felt much better. It was a powerful moment as we talked about the role of the Saviour to comfort us in our pains. The Spirit was strong. As we left, Elder Bartle said, “Whoah… that was really cool.” I replied, “Welcome to your mission.” It’s funny to see this missionary experiencing missionary moments like that for the first time. I think of my lessons with Anthony or Ellen or Tuvao, and he hasn’t seen anything yet.
Also, I sang and spoke in church yesterday. I think my voice is getting lower. Seriously. I sang Wondrous Love from Revels again like I had at President Lindley’s farewell meeting, and then spoke about Preach My Gospel. Elder Bartle bore his testimony too. And then we taught the lesson in Elder’s Quorum. Sundays are quite busy for us, but I suppose that’s the way it goes for the Lord’s messengers.
So, we have a big transfer ahead of us. I’ll be pushing Elder Bartle to knock on lots of doors and talk to everybody. He’s up for it. I’m excited to see how he does.
Tell Sylvia Pearce and Ray Glazier thank you for the mail! Does Ray get these updates? He’s been asking for word from me, and I think these updates would be good for him to get a hold of.
I love all of you! Things are good. I can’t believe I’m on my second quarter of my mission. Actually, I can’t believe August is half gone. What the heck?
Elder Scott Baker