Monday, June 24, 2013

Frosty Tasmania (Monday, June 24th)

G'day Matey Potaties (as an Elder in my district says),
This week has been one of much pondering and enlightenment, as well as many many blessings.
To start off with, I had this moment on Sunday during one of our classes where everything seemed to click to me. We were talking about celestial marriages and how to better our marriages or prepare for one (since we are not married yet, of course). As I sat and listened to the experiences being shared, I had many moments and examples of celestial marriages pop into my mind that I had observed over my childhood years. I also thought much about my experience as a missionary with a 24/7 companion. It seems to me that missionary work is called to be two by two for the purpose of having two witnesses of Jesus Christ as it is stated in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants, and for our protection and safety. However, I also had the feeling that this was for another purpose which purpose is and will be to prepare us for the marriages we will have eventually. I was relating to these married men more than I had ever been able to in my life. The principles of marriage are experienced HEAPS as a missionary. The idea of communication, talking, compensation, and honest and sincere kindness are elements needed not only for a happy companionship, but for the support and comfort of the Holy Ghost in our lives as well as in times of teaching. I have never in my life had more realization of the wonders of a mission than I do now. My desire to become as loving and patient as I can branch off of the experience that I have gained thus far as a servant in the Lord's work. I think often about how I can be more humble, caring, and calm in situations of frustration and contention. I cannot begin to express the IMMENSE help Heavenly Father has given me in my time of need both in teaching as well as in our flat together as companions in the work. I know the principles that are taught as a missionary in the spiritual, emotional, and mental case, are not only for the blessing of others but for the growing and stretching of ourselves for the future we hold. The opportunity to grow has never been more abundant, and I say I love every minute of it knowing that once the ups and down are said and done that the molding and refiner's fire will be worth it.
ON to the week! So, we had the opportunity of witnessing the baptism of a man named Steve! He was baptized by Elder Sheward and Elder Whitehead of the Launceston West Ward. It was such a powerful experience witnessing Elder Sheward first baptism.
Steve's baptism

As for the work that Elder Hosman and I did this week, we have come across some amazing potential people. I will tell you of an experience in which I know we were blessed. We went on exchanges on Friday with the Elders in the West Ward. Elder Whitehead and I were dropped off at a random street and told to go give out some copies of the Book of Mormon and get some people to baptize! Not exactly in those words, but close enough haha. Anyway, we were tracting at the intersection of Claremont St. and Abbot St. when we knocked on a door to a house. We knocked three times in hopes that someone was home, but to no surprise at 2pm on a Friday, no one was home. We turned around to find two college age girls ( or girls in high school) who happen to be exchange students living at that address. They showed up the moment we turned around to leave and to our surprise were extremely warm and friendly. We discovered that they were named Gesie (pronouced Jay-Z like the rapper) and Stephanie who were both from Brazil. They are learning English and were VERY impressed that we were so open to share our beliefs with them. Gesie told us about her life and how she is the only member in her family that reads the Bible and prays and that she receives heaps of persecution for it back home. Stephanie had a similar experience and both were keen to read the Book of Mormon. We have a return appointment with them this Friday and I have the feeling that it will be a powerful lesson, if we prepare for it of course. The joy the came from witnessing the warmth and enthusiasm they expressed for our message was something that brought great peace to my heart. In a time where struggles seem to be at there highest, and patience and diligence seem to be faltering, we had two daughters of God put in our path for the purpose of sharing our message with them. I can tell they are prepared, and I can sense that the truth we have to share will be something they will find fulfilling.
We also tracted into a woman named Monica from Mexico. She was a sort of reserved lady when we first introduced ourselves, and explained that she was atheist. We then just began to BRT, or Build Relationship and Trust, with her for a few minutes at the door. She then told us of how she was actually very open to the idea of religion but never had found one that answered all her questions. She explained that she was in Australia doing intense studies to learn English. Everything she did was English, English, English. She refused to speak any Spanish or read any Spanish for the next two months of her studies before her test. I am not quite sure what her test was for but that is beside the point. She gladly accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon, and a Restoration pamphlet. The same warmth and joy filled my heart as she closed the door with a promise to read and to call us. It sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but I know she will call. She said that in all honesty she has very little time for anything besides her studies (which seemed like a true as statement considering she had bags underneath her eyes the size of water balloons), but I felt sincerity in her voice and saw it in her eyes when she said " I will call you. I want to learn more."
It seems to me that people all over the world are, from every walk of life are looking for honest truth. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the work in which the Lord is head of is hastening onward. That the servants of the Lord's vineyard, full-time missionaries and members alike, are all NEEDED for this period of time. There are those honest seekers of truth who are searching for answers, whether they know it or not, and I can tell from the feelings I experienced that they are ready for the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a time where the army of the adversary is larger than ever, and the voices of the world are more confusing and dark as ever before, the light, truth, and knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ will not be denied. Light ALWAYS prevails over dark. Everyone we teach knows in their hearts this message is true. Those who are penitent and honest seekers will find the greatest joy and peace in and through Jesus Christ and his teachings---His Gospel.
I love the work. I love the hard times. I love the growth, the pain, the frustration, and the struggles, because at the end of the day we all must go through our own Gethsemane. Many ask why life is hard and why we have to experience so many trials that seem endless. I can honestly say that this work was never meant to be easy because the things that Jesus Christ himself went through were not easy. Why should our life be cake to reach our fullest potential? Why should we think our struggles are more than that of our Savior and Redeemer, or our friends and family? They are not worse nor are they easier; they are ours for the purpose that Heavenly Father knows. Some things must be taken by faith alone without understanding the 'whats' and the 'whys' of what we go through, but the question 'how' should be asked. How can I do more? How can I help someone else? How can this help me? When we do this, the burden will be lighter, and our tree, plant, or seed of Faith will grow and be nourished. It is promised time and time again. So when the times get rough, count the blessings that you have. Don't be jealous of the success of others, but find joy in the success and pleasure you have in your life. It's there. The arms of Christ are and will be stretched forth to lift us up in our times of darkness, whether through answers to our prayers or the people we come in contact with. I have seen it in my life and I know it will continue to come true.
Well, we're off to play some sport with some recent converts/investigators/YSA and have a BBQ. And no... no "Shrimp on the Bar-B."
Love you all heaps!
Elder Sargeant

Another week in Tassie-Land (Monday, June 17)

G'day mates,
Well, I wish to tell you about the week I had. It was one that was filled with much growth and many wonderful people coming into our lives, and more importantly more people coming closer to Christ and being baptized!
So, Anthony Lake, the 19 year old, and Billy Donohue, the 9 year old, both got baptized!
Before I get into the actual ordinance I wish to tell you about the events that transpired previous to the actual day they happened. Most of them are related to Billy, however. Elder Hosman and I had the opportunity to teach Billy almost every day before the actual baptism. He learned quickly and retained almost all the things we taught. One of the best parts was that his mum, who was VERY stand-off-ish when we first wanted to teach him, joined in for the discussions and took all the pamphlets, answered questions, and helped Billy understand things. She is quite a spiritual lady when she wants to be. We are hoping that she recognizes how much the Church and Heavenly Father truly love Billy and want not only him but his family to be a part of what we know to be true.
On another note, we came into their flat about three days prior to the baptism and taught him another lesson about commandments. Elder Hosman started the lesson while I got the information for the records of his actual baptism and conformation. He told Elder Hosman about a dream that he had the night before we came over. It went something like this:
Billy told us that he walked over to a place where there was a body of water large enough for people to go in and swim. He walked over to this area and saw Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. He watched as Jesus was baptized by John, and then Billy himself was baptized  Then, following the ordinance, he had the privilege to shake the hand of Jesus Christ.
I came in about 5 minutes later and heard the exact same retelling of the dream Billy had. Elder Hosman and I looked at each other with open mouths and a feeling of sincere marvel at the dream this young red headed boy had.
I know that what he saw was truth. It was not something that Billy made up. That in fact he had shaken the hand of our Savior Jesus Christ. You can feel of Billy's purity whenever you are around him, and after Billy was baptized Elder Hosman told me he felt like there is a special purpose for this young boy. I remember getting chills as we discussed how amazing the story was and will be of Billy the Kid, the ginger boy, and what his future holds. He is an amazing young man whose faith will grow, and his spirit will glow within him as he continues down the path we KNOW leads back to our loving Heavenly Father.
It was an amazing experience and honor to baptize Anthony and Billy. I cannot even begin to explain the join we felt as we were able to be apart of the occasion. Their lives will be and are forever changed and molded to a course set for happiness, love, glory, and perfection; it's a course meant for all of us if we just let ourselves do it.

Elder Sargeant and Billy
Elder Hosman, Billy, Elder Sargeant

 Elder Sheward, Elder Hosman, Billy, Elder Sargeant, and Elder Whitehead
Elder Sargeant and Anthony

 The light of Christ is something that has come to my mind during this week. We all have it, and it's much more than a conscience. It's the knowledge and understanding we all have deep down that entices us to do good, to be compassionate, and to be more like Christ. These individuals radiate that Light through their actions and I ask myself, do I do that enough?
I leave a question to ponder: Do we let ourselves love each other enough? Do we look at the example that Christ has left us and serve with ceasing or without reluctance? It's something that I know I need to work on greatly, but I know that as we lose ourselves in the service of others, we are serving God. There is no doubt in my mind that He answers our prayers, and takes care of us when we stand in need of comfort, and that His merciful and loving hand is ALWAYS in our lives. I promise you, as I have started to understand, that we all possess the knowledge of the truth deep inside of us, but it's honour to be able to not only have that knowledge made known to us but have the chance to share it every day.

It's been a wonderful week and there are many more experiences I wish I could share, but they will have to come another time!!
On a sort of dodgy note, I got bit by a spider on the side of my head while I was sleeping? Yeah... then I found the spider and SMASHED IT. No worries, not poisonous or anything but it did make my muscles all crampy and sore, which was strange.
Anyhow, I love you all and I love the emails, photos, letters, and prayers I have been receiving. I can feel the love from each of you as I journey on. When my faith wavers and times get tough I know that I can always lean on you for support, so thank you.
Until next week, time to gap it! (Time to go... weird New Zealand phrase).
With Love,
Elder Sargeant

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Week of Miracles (Monday, June 10th)

Elder Sargeant and his district  

G'day Mates!

The past couple of weeks have been miraculous. Literally, we have been blessed SO much by the Lord despite our short comings. It sometimes boggles me how much we are truly loved and taken care of even when we often fall short of the expectations established for us. Fortunately we are always able to recalculate our course back to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

To begin, we have TWO BAPTISMS COMING UP. One is of a 9 year old named Billy Donahue. He is absolutely golden. He has been coming to church, by himself mind you, for the past 3 months or so. No joke, he came up to the Bishop and asked to be baptised, and then talked to us! We are so excited and it has truly blessed his life as well as his home life. He told us he wants to be a missionary someday and we were so happy to hear that!

The next baptism is of a 19 year old named Anthony Lake. He has been playing sports with us and coming to church for a few weeks now. He seemingly walked into our laps. Heavenly Father just gave him to us, and he asked to have the lessons taught to him. The first lesson was about the Restoration. We invited him to be baptised and he accepted without hesitation. We still asked if he would read and pray and make sure HE knew that through the Spirit. Turns out before he even finished his prayer that night he had the Holy Ghost testify that baptism is exactly what he needs to do. He then went to a YSA conference and his decision was reaffirmed. He asked me to baptise him and I felt so honoured to do so. Never would I have expected it, but the opportunity is truly a blessing to me.

The Lord is always in the work. Has been since Adam and Eve, and will be now. I was given the privilege to give a talk in sacrament meeting on our purpose in being on the earth during this time. I learned heaps. We are all here to prepare the world with the knowledge we have. We were born in this final dispensation of the fullness of times with the responsibility to share the Gospel with the world. We were chosen as choice sons and daughters of God for this work because of our faith and our trust in Heavenly Father and His eternal and perfect plan.

Well, yesterday was the Queen's Bday here in Tassie land and it was a memorable day to say the least. We woke up and headed to a little down called Deloraine to meet up with some investigators, and the rest of the district. We headed off to some caves called Marakoopa caves and the sights were beautiful. As my first time seeing calcite columns and all that, it was pretty cool. I have heaps of pictures. Then, to celebrate my companion Elder Hosman's birthday, we had lunch in a place called Liffey Falls which are a series of Cascades and a large waterfall called Liffey Falls... hence the name.

Inside Marakoopa Caves

Elder Mudd and Elder Sargeant at Liffey Falls

The bush here is beautiful and I remember staring at the water as it rushed down the falls and made its way down the river and just thinking "How amazing is the world we have been given to live on. Everything we have to see is a blessing for our eyes." It made me realize that taking a step back and looking at the brilliance of the world can make all the difference. This place was given to us for a reason, and more so than just to prepare to meet God. It's for our enjoyment, to have happiness with our families, friends, and all of our brothers and sisters. I have to admit, as difficult as Tassie was in the beginning, the blessings and beauty of this place FAR out weigh the struggles and more important growth that we all had to experience.

On a sad note, I am sick. I have the flu and it's a bit of a bummer. I am pushing through this day hoping and knowing that strength will be given. We have a BUSY week and I look at this trial as a test of faith, to see how we are willing to respond to the blessings of having two investigators want to be baptised.

Anyway, all is well down here in Tassie Land. I've experienced seeing wild peacocks, black swans, kangaroos, walibees, opossums, and many MANY types of birds. I have witnessed miracles and blessings given through the infinite love of our Heavenly Father that we do not deserve. We have had success with other missionaries being more about the work than about the play, and it's amazing what an attitude difference has come here. We have MUCH to do to improve but I know that each day is a new opportunity to become more Christ-like in our nature.

The Gorge

I love you all, and seeing the progress of the New Hampshire house makes me miss home a little bit! It'll pass in about... 5 minutes when I get off and go to work ;). I cannot wait to see you all, to help you all out in any way I can, and to be a part of the wonderful things that are happening in the homeland.

Stay true, always smile, and remember how much your Heavenly Father loves you. Strive each day, if you'd like, to count the blessings that are given and see the promises being kept because of your diligence. Remember D&C 82:10- I the lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say ye have no promise. --- Not exactly quoted, but close enough.


I'm sending loads of pictures so... be prepared.

-Elder Sargeant

 Launceston West

Another Week in Tassie-land (Monday, June 2nd)

G'day Mates!

To start off with, "mum", the house looks absolutely LOVELY! My goodness, I looked at that picture and nearly died. It was beautiful and made me a bit anxious to see it in like... 2 years. I am glad to hear about your adventures with Heath and Emma, and SO excited that Gabe gets to come home and visit as well. I am slightly jealous of the reunion you all are having without me but it makes the idea of coming home after serving a full-time and honorable mission that much more desirable.

Anyway, to start with the week.

This week was particularly tough to be honest. People fell through with lessons, doors were slammed in our face, investigators and less actives easily dropped off our radar, and things just seemed to be getting worse than before. However, I determined that not everything could be made easy for us, especially when it comes to spreading the fullness of the Restored Gospel. Something that comes to my mind a lot during trials is to think about how we all must suffer our own "Gethsemane" in life. If the ministry of Christ himself was as difficult as it was, then why would ours be easy? Obviously we are dust compared to his infinite love, glory, and strength, but we too must suffer to grow. That is all a part of salvation, and I know that we came to this earth knowing exactly what we have to do.

However, with patience, obedience (to the best of our ability), and faith come miracles.  We had a few miracles happen last night as a matter of fact. At church, we had a lady named Fran come with her less active friend to our Gospel Principles class that Elder Hosman and I taught. She is not a member but says she will get baptized one of these days. I see potential to teach her lessons in the future. Also, a potential investigator named Anthony has come to church for the second time in a row and came up to us and asked us for lessons. He is a friend of a Less active girl we have been doing service for and helping out heaps, so that was a miracle to have him just come up. Next, we had a boy named Billy come to church by himself for probably the fourth or fifth time I reckon. He came up to the Bishop and asked him if he could be baptized. He then came up to us and asked as well. We have a lesson set up on Tuesday for him. Last, we tracted into an older lady named Sister Fisher who is a less active from Austria who had been praying for missionaries to come for a long time. She said we were the answer to her prayer!

As difficult as the week seemed, the Lord always provides for his servants. We are not perfect, no where near perfect in fact. Prayers were answered, hearts were softened, and testimonies were strengthened. I am grateful for these lessons and the wonderful experiences that just one week provided.

The work always presses on despite the hardness of the hearts of the people. I reckon that if you can survive Tasmania as a missionary, your testimony becomes rock solid. If you push on, stay as obedient as possible, and get as close to the spirit and the Savior as you can, all will be well.

John 16:33! " of good cheer. For I have overcome the world." There is no need in sweating the small things or thinking that our trials or struggles are impossible to overcome. Christ overcame EVERYTHING for EACH of us individually and personally. My testimony as grown in this aspect, and I know that if not for Him I would be absolutely hopeless. WE would be hopeless.

Along with my experiences here, I have come to realize that... I LOVE RUGBY. We play it every Preparation Day (P-Day) and there is something about it, even when it's touch, that just gets me riled up. No lie, I love it. I reckon I'll have to teach it to you all when I get back, because it's heaps of fun.
Anyway, I was assigned to speak in sacrament meeting next week on... you got it... MISSIONARY WORK. <-- One of my favorite topics to say the least. It's only a 5 minute talk but it's an opportunity to have the ward get to know me a little better. I am excited for it for sure.

Also, we had the opportunity to provide service on Saturday morning for a member in our ward named Brother Wheeler. He is a nice as man who reminds me a lot of Heath in terms of his engineering mind and talent. He makes everything himself and I reckon Heath will do that when he has his own home in the future. Good on ya mate!

We had the unique opportunity to run after a goat named Billy who has an infection in his right hoof. He walks with a big as limp! So, one of the Elders from the West ward of Launceston sprinted at the thing and grabbed it by it's horn after about 2 minutes of running up and down a hill, through bush and trees and all that. It was crackup. We lead it to a bin and filled it with water and some disinfectant to help heal the infection. It was an interesting day. Then we dug holes about half a meter deep for him in preparation to extending his home out for a new furnace or something like that.

I hear it's hot back in New Hampshire eh? I'm a bit jealous. It gets to about 10 degrees Celsius down here, which is about 35-37 degrees F. The days are lovely when the sun is out, but what can you do.

OH! I had KANGAROO YESTERDAY!! It actually was pretty good. It's a bit richer than most meats but tender to say the least. We had kangaroo patties and meatballs on pasta. Mmm.

Well, that's all for now. I'll be attaching pictures for your viewing pleasure. Hope all is well back in the homeland. I miss you all heaps and your letters and emails give me strength and encouragement.

----SISTER WILSON- Thank you so much for all your letters and postcards. You write me almost every week it seems and I would write you back but it's $2.60 to send 1 letter from here. I hope you realize and know of my great appreciation for you and your uplifting and edifying words. They bring me great joy and comfort when I need them most. I definitely need your closing statements on each letter that always include "Be Obdedient." Especially down here where missionaries are, at times, FAR from obedient. I love your letters and you and your family for their support. I cannot express the comfort you give me.

Until next week, cheers!

With love,

Elder Sargeant

PS- I ran across three baby Huntsman spiders. They get about the size of your hand when they are full grown, but aren't deadly.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

G'day from TASSIE!!!! (Monday, May 3rd, 2013)

G'day mates,

Let me begin by talking about the plane ride over to my new mission. We left for San Francisco at about 4:52 Monday afternoon, and arrived at 6. We waited for 2 hours and left on our journey to New Zealand at 8:20 and arrived in Auckland NZ at 6am on Wednesday. The 13 hour plane ride was a bit hard to handle at first, but all the missionaries were together and we managed! I was companions with a Sister named Sister Newitt from my district in the MTC. It was really strange being with a sister for an entire day but I felt my responsibility was to keep her safe and in the right place.

I tried calling you Mom when I was in San Fran but you never picked up! The phone was actually broken so that's probably why. However, I got in touch with Gabester and she was happy as (really happy) to talk to me. Let me just say that the culture here is amazing. The people are really nice and friendly, but when it comes to the Gospel they are hard-hearted. Most people are atheist here, which is a big change, but the members are strong as could be. It's been less than a day here and I am already excited. I have heaps of pictures to show and they will be coming. My companion is named Elder Hosman from Arkansas and he is a humble, laid back guy. We get along well.

I was the only American missionary to arrive on Wednesday and that was interesting. I can already tell that this mission is going to be heaps different than Salt Lake City for many reasons. Anyway, we found out who our companions were, after eating lunch, and I was called up front. Our Mission President told me that my companion was not here... because he was in Tasmania!!! I DREAMED of going to Tasmania as my first area or at all, and Heavenly Father blessed me with that. I actually, truly, feel that I was meant to go here first. I was on the plane talking to the sisters about the fact that we no longer were in the US and I was struck with this thought that I was going to go to Tasmania. I know there is someone here that I am meant to find, teach, and baptize. I'm trying my best to not let the culture shock take away from my focus as a missionary, but at first it was difficult. I was struggling to think of myself as a missionary until my companion and I went on splits with the Elder's Quorum President (who I went with named Timothy) and another man who was Chinese. I totally missed his name, but it was so refreshing to go out and do missionary work. Before dinner, we spent a lot of time with a part-member family doing service in the bush*
*Bush- basically, it's anywhere away from the city that has a lot of trees, grass, or things of that sort. Let me tell you... we were in the bush for sure.
The lady we helped was from Tonga, and her name was Lina. She was way nice as most Aussie's are (at least the members.) She fed us lunch which was chicken, lamb chops, potato-salad, bread, and this Tongan thing called cavas. They are basically long, banana shaped potatoes.

Anyway, the mission here is extremely different from Salt Lake City. I love being able to become more familiar with the people and the culture everyday. The people here, especially in Tassie, are hard-hearted and want nothing to do with the church. We track heaps of houses every day trying to get new contacts. I reckon that it'll be a while before any baptisms come but I'm going to keep praying for miracles. The things I have noticed about Tasmania is that it is a very green, forested, bush covered landscape. The area is absolutely beautiful and the people are willing to talk for hours. However, the moment religion is even mentioned they just tell you to leave. Despite that, I am not going to get discouraged. There is no point! The work here may be hard but Heavenly Father put me here for a reason. Either we need to plant more seeds into the hearts of the Tassie peoples, or there is a family or more waiting for us to share our unique and important message.

My companion, Elder Hosman, is a pretty decent companion. He has had a bit of a past in that he went home for a year to repent of some things he had before the mission. He is an awesome and laid back guy, but I want to ingrain a sense of urgency in him if I can. I get the feeling, that since we are so secluded from the mainland, that missionaries are more reserved but that could just be because that is how the people here accept the gospel. The atmosphere is just different. If I lived here as a person I reckon that it would be a marvelous place to be. Everyone is willing to help each other out, for the most part, and they will talk your ear off but missionary work is a struggle. The missionaries before Elder Hosman and I basically did no work. We just barely gained the trust of the members again and we plan on working hard as to get more contacts and investigators.

However, despite the seemingly hard hearts there are always those that are prepared to hear the good news of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a family from Africa, and the father's name is Akot which means coconut in english I guess. He is such a nice man who would give the shirt of his back if a person needed it. That's just their culture I suppose. Anyway, we stopped by his house and the biggest thing that we do as missionaries is to build trust with them. Sometimes it takes a couple visits or more to really befriend them, but they eventually listen to you. The atmosphere is everything is a bit slow paced here from the Mainland of Melbourne, and HEAPS slower than SLC South. It's an adjustment but I love it.

So, here are some cool things for you to know! First, my apartment is haunted. No lie, the missionaries told us some crazy stories and my companion and the West area's companion told me about what happened to them before we came. Basically there are a lot of foot steps, lots of doors opening, and you wake up feeling like someone is watching you. No joke, it's crazy.

Also, an area we track is kind of dodgy. There was a double murder last week in an apartment complex right next to an investigator we talk to. He lives in an area called Ravenwood, or "Ravo" for short. It's basically the ghetto of Launceston. Night time gets a bit dodgy just for that reason. For example, my companion and I, along with the Launceston West Elders, did splits and had a competition to see how many cards we could pass out. Talking to people here is one of my specialties and I know Heavenly Father helped me out considering the veteran missionaries went off together and I got the fresh "Golden," (as they call them instead of Greenie Missionaries), named Elder Whitehead. He wasn't sure really how to approach people on the street but all was well. We passed out about three cards and met a really nice lady who invited us to some visit her sometime. Her name was Kristine and her nephew Alex has down syndrome. He is an awesome kid and he actually talked to us first when we were walking down the street. I have a new appreciation for the mentally and physically handicapped. They truly are put here for our purpose, to learn from them, and to grow. There is no doubt in my mind that they are for OUR benefit so learn from them as much as you can. Anyway, while Elder Whitehead and I were walking down the street, we noticed that no one else was really around. I looked over my shoulder to see a man in a plaid shirt and jeans walking quick as towards us. I had the feeling to immediately cross the street and get to a gas station. Turns out there was a group of people walking outside and we talked to them for a little bit. I looked back and saw the guy look at us, turn around, and walk into a dark alley when he saw we were around a group of people. I can't say he was going to jump us, but I get the feeling he wasn't interested in the copies of the Book of Mormon that were in our bags.

The cool thing about being here is that you have to fellowship a lot. Every Friday we have "Sports," which is where we invited the YSA and all younger investigators to play footy, touch (rugby), or basketball. It's a great idea in my opinion because you really befriend people which is the whole idea of teaching people and not just lessons. You HAVE to learn to love the people here and I do every day. For example, Sunday was fun because I had the opportunity to meet the members of my ward. They are mainly older people but there are a few families as well. The culture is previlient (spelling) in the church services but the doctrine is always the same, which is comforting to a "yank" who barely knows anything. I have picked up on a lot of the lingo used most frequently which makes it easier to understand people and what they mean. However, there are always a few that say things where I just think "what the... what did you say?"

Here is a list of things I have noticed.

Saying any adj with "as" at the ends means "really" ex. Good as = really good. Tired as = really tired etc.
"Tea" = Dinner
Brekky= Breakfast.
Toilet = bathroom
bathroom= room with a bathtub/shower ONLY
saying "reckon" = I think. ex. I reckon it'll rain tomorrow.
"Avo" = afternoon
"Servo"= Gas station
Petrol= Gas
"Good on ya" = good for you or way to go.
"True?" = really? ex. "I woke up 3 times last night." "True? That stinks mate"
"Mate" = buddy or friend
"How ya goin" = How are you? What's up?
saying "eh" at the end of  sentences adds a questioning emphasis. Like if I was to say these shoes are cool, eh? That's like asking if my shoes are cool. That sort of thing.
"Heaps" = a lot or plenty of, etc.

Anyway, there are heaps of other things I will try to adjust to. I noticed that when you use the words, the accent just kind of comes with it. Believe you me I still am as "yank" as it comes, but it's always fun to be apart of the culture.

I will be sending a ton of pictures so BE PREPARED! They are pretty as pictures and it's just awesome.

I love the work, and I love the mission despite its difficulty. There is no way it would be easy to find, teach, and baptize. It should not be that way nor will it ever. Today I was reading in Alma 8 when Alma goes to the city of Amonihah. He is rejected and gets discouraged and leaves. When he does this an Angel of the Lord comes to him and basically tells him "da heck are you doing? Get back at it mate and give it another go. Bear pure testimony and prayer mightily and the Lord will always provide a way."

That hit me hard this morning because I was so used to heaps of people being willing to talk about the gospel from Salt Lake City. I wasn't discouraged just a bit culture-shocked and this chapter answered my concerns. I love the scriptures because Heavenly Father really does use them to answer our prayers, our desires, our questions pretaining to things spiritually and sometimes temporally or physically. Every day my testimony grows that much more as I dive deeper into the scriptures and learn heaps of things.

No worries, 'salgood. The work will progress and seeds will be planted here in Tassie. My goal is to get at least 1 baptism before I get transferred out, whenever that will be which probably won't happen for a while. All in all, I love Australia. I love the culture, the people, the weather, the work. Nothing can and will tear me down. If Alma, a Prophet of God almost got discouraged from his work, that means that mine is miniscule compared to his diligence.

I love you all, and I think about you often. It's weird to think I am about as far away from home as humanly possible (where people actually live). We are secluded on this massive island where the weather is quite similar to New Hampshire (minus the snow.) Stay true to the Faith and when trials and tribulations come, cry mightily to the Lord and he will comfort you when you stand in need of comfort.

Well, if you want to send letters and packages directly to me, send them to:

4 Bond Street
Kings Meadows, TAS 7249

The 76 Cathies Lane one is good too but only for letters. They then are shipped here, but I think direct mail is always more fun ;)

Until next time,

With love,
Elder Sargeant