December 20, 2010
Good morning for me, evening for you,
After sailing around the solar system in the Wangarratta zone, I have now crash-landed back to the city. I’m in Dandenong! Remember Tuvao, the investigator I taught when I was back in Springvale? She got baptized into this ward! So now I get to see her. She’s doing really good. She’s in the Young Women’s Presidency. Her sister Jules also got baptized, as did a few of her kids. She’s working in Primary. I was so happy to visit them in the week to see that they were still going strong. It’s really cool.
My companion is Elder Savelio, my third Samoan companion. He is so cool. He reminds me a lot of Reuben with his energy and sense of humor. He makes me look like a sloth sometimes, but we’re getting along. He’s been on his mission for 20 months. His name looks Italian, like saVELio, but it’s actually SAveLIO. People get it mixed up at first glance, but he doesn’t care.
While I’ve been adjusting to the buildings, cars, trains, shops, lights, noise, etc., he’s helped reorient me with how things work in the city. I forgot how different it is down here. In the country, you work very closely with individual people, befriend them, and work them to improvement. Here, you’re visiting, finding, and teaching all the time. There’s now so many people at church! I’m still getting used to it. But I remember now why I enjoyed being in Springvale so much. It was sad to go, but it’s good to be back.
Elder Bartle has also moved to the city, although he’s right in the center. The area is called Ivanhoe, and it is directly in Melbourne. He’s most likely in more shock than I am.
Elder Peek has ricocheted past me, because now he is up in the outskirts of the Wangaratta zone at Griffith. Pluto.
Elder Savelio and I were doubled into the area, so we’ve been spending the week trying to get to know the member and investigators taught by the previous Elders. It’s difficult however, because I have no sense of direction and we have no clue where the people live. My GPS might as well be supplying me oxygen. You work blind. However, we still get to talk to people on the street, which always yields interesting experiences. Some Jehovah’s Witnesses got fired up at us, that was interesting. Elder Savelio served in the Hampton Park ward before coming here, so he knows a lot of the Samoan members nearby, and he also knows his way around better than me. It’s nice having a Samoan companion, because that means any time you need food, they can help you. It’s a very generous culture, and sometimes it saves us.
We’ve been getting up at 5:30 three times a week to play volleyball at the chapel. It’s really fun! I need to work on my spikes though. Samoans love volleyball.
The Dandenong ward is also where the Assistants to the President work, so that is a privilege. They had a convert baptism this Sunday, so I got to do my first baptismal interview where I ask them the questions to make sure they understand everything. This investigator’s name is Jason Joseph, and he is from Sri Lanka. He understands everything and knows it’s true. It was even more beneficial for me I think to see his faith reach this peak before the sacred ordinance. Sometimes you forget the true power of the gospel. Seeing it make him so happy made me happy too.
This Wednesday, the mission is gathering for our Christmas conference. I’m going to perform O Holy Night again with Sister Solomon, and heaps of other missionaries will perform too. Then we get to eat, and then we get to see Toy Story 3! Woohoo! It’s probably the best treat I could have ever asked for. I’m excited!
Well, Christmas sure feels different not being home. Sometimes it feels like it’s just passing by on a train while I get to watch it come and go. Even so, I’m enjoying my new area and companion. The work is going pretty well. I feel like things are in control. I’m just excited to see what kind of people I meet next. I loved my time in Springvale so much, and being right next door can’t be much different. This will be an exciting transfer.
I love you all! Merry Christmas! Enjoy your stuff, spend time with family. Bye!
-Elder Scott Baker