7-month update: This is a very fast mission.

Elder Bartle & Elder Baker looking sweet

Hello everybody!

And that was a very fast month.  And this is a very fast transfer.  Actually, this is just a very fast mission.  That’s the way it goes.
But this week felt like we had just jumped a huge hurdle but tripped and crashed with scrapes and bruises.  We didn’t quite get back on our feet until Sunday.  Remember how we had 4 teaching appointments scheduled on Tuesday, and also a couple service projects and other promising findings?  Those were pretty much all scratched.  We hit cancellation after cancellation.  Nothing takes the wind out of you faster than an appointment fizzling and sputtering away.  By the time Thursday and Friday came, my countenance had lost its vigor and the Spirit could find no place with me.  I attempted to talk to people and work on Friday, but it resulted in some of the most feeble and awkward conversations I’ve had on my mission yet.  My energy felt wasted if the results would fly away.  But time continued and the sun is still in the sky.  We were redeemed on Saturday when we got to visit Lucinda and her family again.
We brought with us a member named John Liddy, who is a convert, and a fun bloke to talk to.  He teaches Sunday School so well, which was what made church that much better for Lucinda her first time coming two weeks ago (three emails ago).  What I loved about having him around was the same reason I love having Elder Bartle with me: they talk to the locals so well.  Sometimes, the meaning of their conversation disappears from my understanding because they’re talking about Australian things regarding its history or sports, and since I don’t know the words, the slight change of flavor from the accent shakes my grip away.  But I just let them go and I can see these friendships building between everybody there.  Then, when the time came for us to talk about church and her, we asked about her experience from last Sunday.  On Tuesday, we caught up with her and she said she attended a different church which she described as “full-on.”  They had a drumset and guitars playing Christian-themed music, and she said her daughter Claudia, who is 10, really liked it.  This may or may not have contributed to my sour mood throughout the week.  But, on Saturday, we talked more about it.  In truth, Lucinda said she could feel a different spirit, and there were things done at that church that made her uncomfortable.  While the themes were still there, it felt more entertaining rather than inspiring.  The more we talked about it, the more she acknowledged the difference.

Lucinda & her daughters

Then Brother Liddy talked about his conversion, and how he could feel a different spirit when the Elders were at his house.  Lucinda quietly mentioned that she likes having us over because she feels comfortable to talk about religious things, and misses that when we’re gone.  Brother Liddy said his baptism was the best choice he ever made, and that the callings pushed him to do more than he ever thought he could, and that there is no doubt in his mind that it’s true.  Lucinda said she’s been asking in prayer to know if it’s true.  I was shocked.  I still am shocked.  I can see that she’s getting it.  It makes sense to her.  Her husband Daniel

Daniel (Lucinda's Husband) with their daughter

still seems reserved, but he’s listening, and he’s not throwing any pitchforks, so that’s a very good thing.  The whole family then came to the branch’s Fathers’ Day dinner activity (it’s in September here), and they had a great time!  I took heaps of pictures, I’ll try to send you the good ones.  They had a great time.  Lucinda and Claudia also came to church the next day for Testimony meeting, which was perfect.  I am so excited for this family.  They are the headline of my excitement here so far.

Also, Gary and Dichelle Newvine came to church as well.  Gary bore his testimony with a full heart.  This was only his second time at church in years.  It’s incredible to see his testimony reawakened.  I can’t wait to catch up with him after the next few weeks go by as he attends church.
So that is the main report of this week.  Elder Bartle is doing well.  We make a great team.  We poke fun at each other all the time about how my country is better than yours etc.

Elder Bartle, the amazing cook

Oh!  That reminds me!

We also taught seminary this week.  Twice.  We have 5 students.  It was really odd to be on the teaching end for once.  I can truly appreciate the efforts of my seminary teachers.  You have to be creative to keep them interested, but they’re smart and deserve the effort so they can learn the priceless material.  I taught the first lesson, Elder Bartle taught the second.  We gave them lots of chocolate. 😉
We have some more findings to catch up with this week, including the ones who fell through, but we also have more less-active members scheduled to work with.  There is still lots of potential here, and I have seen a change in this branch since I first arrived.  It feels great to contribute to this branch.
I’m amazed seven months have passed now.  I really miss all of you, but I’m glad things are okay.  I’m in my own world over here, but it’s a world I only get a short time in.
I love you!
-Elder Scott Baker

Elders everywhere love rice crispy treats

Aussie Father's Day Celebration

Polynesian refreshments

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1 Comment

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One response to “7-month update: This is a very fast mission.

  1. Chris Bartle

    Elder Matthew Bartle is my son, thank you for some more feedback on what’s going on in his world at this time.
    He is indeed a good cook, a real fitter-and-turner, he can fit almost nothing into a pot and turn out good food. We miss him. Elder Bartle speaks highly of Elder Baker in his letters and e-mails home.

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