Approaching Summer: Flood Flood Flood

Flooding in our area

September 12, 2010

G’day, mates!

Let’s see, how do I describe the week that went by?  Well, I’ll just say a few things that happened.

On the headlines all week was FLOOD FLOOD FLOOD FLOOD FLOOD, which there was.  Some of the areas like Wangaratta and Benalla got it pretty bad.  The Zone leaders were checking on us to make sure we were okay.  Shepp and Mooroopna are designed now to withstand flood, and we’re far enough away from the waterways that were were dry as always.  But it was weird seeing some new lakes appear on either side of the Midland Freeway between Shepp and Mooroopna, especially with the trees poking out.  On Tuesday, we tried to take advantage of it for street contacting, but folks were more interestd in the water than religion that day.  Understandable.  I picked up some lizards who were trying to find shelter up top and showed them to the kids to play with, so that was kind of fun.  It was exciting, though; the military was here, the news was here, but everybody in our concentrated population was fine.  Unfortunately, it cancelled one of our promising appointments though, so that was a bummer.

Then, on Wednesday, we got to go on companion exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  I’m not really sure how it happened, but I’ve realized it is possible to work like a machine while on a mission.  We worked so hard that day, with hardly any breaks or resting.  I probably should have been more vocal about how that felt, but I didn’t want to get in the way of diligent work.  When we got back from the exchange, both of us were so wiped out it took a while for us to recover.  I’ve discovered that I have trouble with consistent, speedy work all day long, but I am better at focused work once I get going.  I learned more about ways to find effectively, and Elder Bartle got a taste of a different area, so it was a good shift of scenery.

We’re still having problems with appointments not working out and people not being available to teach after we find them.  Gloria, who was at church twice, has disappeared.  Other folks that we tracted into are difficult to catch.  Our other frequent investigators are not progressing very well.  Basically, the week has been slow, and progress has been working against itself.  Even our power day with the Zone leaders yielded empty houses and zero names.  This is the rhythm you see on a mission, and while we are not to get discouraged, it does take a toll when you go to the effort to prepare and teach people who duck out at the last second.

The redeeming factor continues to be Lucinda and Daniel, with whom we have now established our Saturday visits as traditional and expected.  She had seen a TV show last week called “World’s Strictest Parents,” which is one of those reality shows where they take these uncontrollable kids and put them into a successful home to see if the parents can whip them into shape.  This episode had a Mormon family featured!  The standards of the house were perfectly in line with the church, including the modesty, chore responsibilities, no drugs etc.  The teenager coming to live with them was a 16-year-old mother.  By the end of the episode, this girl had discovered how much better she felt while in modest clothes, and that it isn’t all about her.  I didn’t get to see it, but I have been told about it by multiple members so far.

Lucinda had seen this, and it got her thinking about the standards in the church we have and the effect it has in families.  She said to us, “If I were to become a member, these would be changes I would have to make, and I think they would be good.”  She especially wants Daniel to stop smoking, and she wants to stop drinking tea if it’s harmful for her.  This was so funny to me, because we never said anything about being baptized and joining.  She’s considering it based solely on the spirit she feels at church.  At this point she knows it’s where she’d rather be.  Also, her daughter Claudia really enjoys church.  On Sunday, Lucinda came with Claudia and Abby (7-year-old Kim is going through a rebellious phase, and Daniel’s not quite at that point yet), and Claudia even brought her friend along!  Lucinda had to leave after Sunday School, but Claudia and her friend asked if they could stay, and they did!  We’ll be introducing the stop smoking program we have, and also pick up the slack on the lessons we’re ideally to teach.  Her comments about standards in the home brought us to talk about For the Strength of Youth, which she really appreciated.  So, while all other people are dropping and slipping through the cracks, Lucinda continues to progress and learn and see the blessings of the gospel.  She’s our saving grace.  I really can’t wait to meet next Saturday with her.

That said, this is week 6, the final week of the transfer.  I’m feeling that in order for me, Elder Bartle, and Shepparton to progress, one of us needs to ship out.  I don’t know what President has in store for us, but I think Shepparton needs a breath of fresh air.  Elder Bartle and I have worked well, but he needs to see more of the other missionaries and areas.

I have no clue what will play out this week, but it will be a wild ride if it continues in this direction.

Oh, also, it’s another huge bummer that we got our allotted kilometers for the month sliced in half, topped off with the car being taken away at the end of the transfer next week.  That will really slow us down.  But, Shepparton survived without a car before, so we’ll just have to make it work.  The district it’s going to needs it more than us anyway.

I managed to get a copy of the new Joseph Smith movie!  I have a feeling I’ll get sick of it pretty soon, because I want to show it to as many people as possible.  We watched it last Saturday, and there are more names of people we have who need to check it out.  It’s as exciting as getting a newly released DVD, even though the movie is like 3 years old and I’ve seen it about 5 times.

Anyway, we have more errands to run today, so we better get to it.  I love all of you, and I’m glad things are going well.  Keep warm, the summer is on its way over here.  It gets hot as in Aussieland.

I love you so much!

-Elder Scott Baker

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