September 26, 2010
G’day all you blokes ‘n sheilas,
Elder Solomon was talking to us last night and said, “You know, you Elders are always looking ahead and sometimes you need to look back and see what you’ve done.” So, looking back, I am in a very good mood, especially this week. We started the week with 3 investigators with baptismal dates. Now we have 5. There are yet more less active members returning to church, and I can tell how the members have grown since I first arrived.
We had an activity on Saturday that was huge. It was a culture night performance. Each auxiliary prepared songs, dances, and items from different cultures within the branch. The result was a 2-hour showcase that was entertaining and at times hilarious. A trophy was awarded to the best presentation. What was really cool, was that the members brought enough nonmember friends to double our normal size. It was gigantic. Also, since the missionaries were assigned New Zealand, that of course meant that we had to do that Haka. So we did. I got it on video! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to send it digitally, but when I mail the SD card you’ll be able to see it. Sister Pele came up to us afterwards and said, “I don’t know how to thank you enough. The video of your performance is something I will treasure forever.” It was especially funny to see Elder Solomon sticking his tongue out acting vicious. I wish I had a picture, but you’ll just have to wait for the whole thing.
We also were graced with a visit by Albert Weir, a member who lives in Patterson Lakes. He took the train up to visit and help out where possible. He even spotted us for Nando’s which is like Portuguese chicken grill deliciousness restaurant. There is a fortune to be made in the States with that restaurant. But yes, he came to say hello, and he met some of the branch. We helped a member move into her new place. He’ll probably be coming up again later. He likes to check on us and see how we’re doing in our areas and offer help. He’s a convert, and has lots of experience in helping missionaries teach. He’s also a lot of fun to have around.
Our service project for the week was gardening for Michael, so I sent a picture of us chopping up the ground with a pickaxe. Looks pretty cool, eh? Tears right through everything. We chopped up an aloe vera plant he didn’t want. That was fun.
Okay, so I bet you’re wondering who those two other baptismal dates are for? Well, one is Sa, who we were working with a couple months back because his records had been lost, and we’ve been given the go to baptize him now, and he’s all set, so that is a blessing. He’s dying to get a calling and help out more. The other date is with Claudia, Lucinda’s 10-year-old daughter. We taught her about the Restoration on Wednesday, and she feels good about everything. We’re planning to baptize her the same day as Lucinda, which is also Sa’s date. But, the more notable progress has been with Daniel. On Wednesday, we spent more time with the couple. Remember how last time Daniel was still a bit reserved? Well, he was opening up on Wednesday. They’ve been studying the Gospel Principles book, and it’s been helping them a lot to answer questions. They’ve noticed how the restored gospel has been helping them more than any other type of spiritual source of strength they’ve tried, which included angel cards, which are like fortune telling. Those things are dangerous, stay away. Daniel talked about how he noticed a change in the house since we’ve been coming and teaching. As we explain more specific doctrine concerning our life on Earth and agency, it’s lining up with all of his ideas. That was very rewarding to see. At the same time, Lucinda is gets better every week. She’s participating in church, and she also came to the activity on Saturday.
Then, on Saturday, at their request, we brought our Stop-Smoking program, which is a 7-day program with 15 steps. The great thing about it is that it does work as you follow every step. The first step, which Daniel agreed to, was to crush all of his remaining cigarrettes. It was a tense moment when I told him he needed to do it. After about 5 minutes, one by one, he squeezed each pack down. He knows he needs to quit. So we taught him the steps. Unfortunately, at the moment he is having trouble following all the steps specifically, but we are going to be supporting him each day and he’s okay with that. We’re really going to attack it. He’s lucky to have such good support. One of the steps is to post paper signs everywhere around the house, so it was a cute moment when I explained to his little daughters that they got to cut them out and put them everywhere. They were so excited. Haha!
The leaders are very happy with us. Currently we’re leading the Zone, statistics-wise. Elder Born, our district leader, called yesterday and said, “I love talking to you Elders. Every time, there’s always some miracle happening up there. ‘Oh, we set a date. Oh, we got 8 investigators at sacrament meeting. Oh, we saved a baby’s life.’ All the time.” Haha! He’s in a new situation now because he’s training a brand new missionary who came all the way from China, and just learned English.
So, we’re keeping the finding going, and good things are happening with the members too. It’s nice to be on the paying side of the work we did last transfer. This is the first time I’ve spent more than 2 transfers in an area, and it’s nice to be with familiar people with a familiar companion for a change.
I’m so glad you’re all doing well too! Hope the new school season is off to a good start. You know what else is funny? I’m now the same mission age as my trainer was when he trained me. That’s humbling. Hope it doesn’t get too cold, too quick! It’s the opposite here. It’s warming up! Great for bike riding.
I love you!
-Elder Scott Baker