Sunday, October 27, 2013



This week was SWEET AS!

To start out, I received my birthday package from my wonderful and amazing Mum and from the amazing Dan the Man my step father! It was filled with contents that will not be discussed because of time! However....  THANK YOU MUM AND DAN!!!!!! You have no idea how much it meant to get a package. It was everything I needed.

This week was good because we were able to go to Melbourne! My companion had to take care of something that required him to be there so we got to take a little trek out to the center of it all. During this time I was beckoned by a lady in the office named Sister Epa! She is awesome as and works in the office part time to take care of all the supplies and badges and stuff like that. Anyway, she called me over as Elder Pearce was busy and told me to answer this mans question concerning Brigham Young. Well, turns out I was in a for a long...long phone conversation that started out good then went very one sided quickly.

At first we exchanged greetings and small talk but then I asked simply for his question.  His question was about Brigham Young and a statement he made ages ago about African Americans and the church. From that moment I knew it was going to be a sticky conversation because it brings heaps of drama all the time I reckon. Anyway, I could tell from the moment we began discussing that he was only in the conversation to try to false the church. He really did not want to hear anything that I had to say! It was quite a hard experience as I tried quite hard to just let the Spirit guide and forget my own frustrations in his lack of letting me get a word in.

It got to a point where he was basically tell me to denounce my belief in the Church, and to deny that we have a living day Prophet. In that very moment... I can honestly recall the whisperings of "Just do it... he'll leave then!" and things like "He'll get off the phone with you if you just say okay and give in." To my horror I thought over these thoughts with shock. Never in my life had I had this experience. I remember after my heart sunk, I had this other thought trickle in the back of my mind that said... "Testify. You know it's true." That's simply what I did. I bore my testimony of what I knew. It was powerful to me... it brought tears to my eyes, and a very flustered man on the other end of the phone. I learned a powerful lesson that day.. actually a couple.

1) Bashes don't get anywhere so don't get into them.
2) When you're prompted to do something that "invites and entices to do good continually" DO IT.
3) In my moment of testing.... I can proudly and honestly say that I did no give in. When Satan and his workers were there to tear me down, Heavenly Father was there to bear me up with his Spirit. I've always wondered about those times where Prophets have been asked to denounce their faith and refuse, and then died. I've often wondered if I was put in a situation of that depth if I would do the same thing, and I think that this deep inner question was answered through this experience. I, simply put, doubted my doubts before I doubted my faith. Because of this, my testimony is SO MUCH STRONGER OF PROPHETS, THE CHURCH, AND EVERYTHING! I Love those teaching moments that we are constantly put in.

I also learned not to give out your mobile number to anyone like that because he called the mission office 4 times asking to speak to me and me only, then our mobile 2 times. Luckily our voicemail says the names of other missionaries so he has to simply call the missionaries in his own area ;). President Maxwell even got to talk to him because he called the office so many times! It was wonderful. I cannot help but feel a sense of love for Michael as I hope he one day sincerely wants to hear about the Restored Gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's true!

Then, Saturday came and we were able to have a ZONE PREPARATION DAY!!!!! IT WAS SWEET AS! We picked up the other Elders near us and drove to the Zone Leader's flat. Then we got heaps of food to cook a feed, and played sport (basketball, touch rugby, and other non-physical games) for a few hours. I got burned as on my neck,face and arms. Turned into a tan though! Fair dinkum. Then we had District conference and had transfer news! That was exciting and sad as we found out those that were staying and going.... but luckily most are staying!

Anyway, HEATH! MY wonderful Brother. I saw a bloke driving a Deloriane on our way to Zone P-day and thought of you. Just thought I'd throw it out there.

Also, on our way down we witnessed a Kangaroo get SMASHED by a car. No blood or guts, but the thing flipped, did a 360 over the hood of the vehicle, and then simply just... well... sat there on the side of the road looking a bit in shock. I'm assuming it died but my goodness was it the funniest and quickest thing I've ever witnessed! For my first legit Kangaroo.... it was not how I expected to see it.

Heaps of photos are on the way. Life is good, the mission is good, and I Love being able to serve the Lord in this glorious work.

That's it for now!!

Oh, I also found out that Mum, you and Heath may have the Belgium nose... but I have the Irish Hairline ;) YEAH, That's the way!

Well, cheers for all the letters, love, support, and prayers. They are far reaching and deeply impacting me.

Love you all heaps!!
Elder Sargeant

Elder Whitehead, Elder Pearce, Sister Shurtz, Leota, Elder Sharp and Me

Paintball---rugby----and the blessings of Heaven (Oct 20)

G'day g'day from Echuca, Victoria!

The heat is started to show as it was a throat closing 32 degrees yesterday and last night! Elder Pearce and I are currently on a K's fast.... WE RAN OUT OF K'S FOR OUR CAR!! All those baptismal interviews sure add up aye?

It's all good. Being on push-bikes again is a blessing! More people to see, more exercise to have, and more opportunities to appreciate the beautiful world we live in.

Well, onto the week. You're probably wondering why it says paintball, rugby, and the blessings of Heaven. I'll begin with Rugby because that happened first.

So we were asked by our Branch President to come to his home for a Mission Farewell for their "nephew" Jade. He leaves for Sydney North in a month. Anyway, we got invited to come and the best part was they were watching the New Zealand All Blacks play against the Australia Wallabies, and then after the massive feed to play Slingshot paintball. The real kicker was that heaps of nonmember friends would be coming as well, so that was the direction we decided to head in our request for permission from our Mission President.

Well, the time came to ring up our good mate President Maxwell. I have to say... I have idea why it is so hard sometimes to call people in such high authority, but I was nervous as to call him. However, when I heard his calm voice answer the phone all my nerves ceased and the conversation was casual and comfortable. President Maxwell and I have become pretty close from the conversations we've had together. I reckon that by the end of my mission I want to have a sweet as relationship with him and his wife. ANYWAY, after some small talk and "How ya goin? Oh good! We're good as well! How's Sister..." we cut to the point. He paused for a moment and simply said "Well, ask your Zone Leaders because they are closer to the situation."
I was stunned. I figured we'd get a "Elders... NO!" But he let the Zone leaders give us permission. I've learned through his example that when in positions of leadership it's sometimes best to let others have an opportunity to make decisions. It helps you stay humble, grow, and develope, and more importantly gives others a chance to grow in their areas of leadership as well. Needless to say, President Maxwell is a inspired man who is close to the Spirit.
We called the Zone Leaders and they said "Sure, just don't be stupid. We trust you guys so make sure you're representing the Lord in a dignified manner." Heck yes. We were given the opportunity to meet some awesome people and bond with them over something Kiwi's have a strong passion for.... RUGBY and FOOD.

The experience was such a blessing. We met the Richardsons's family (The Branch President's Family) friends named Pauline and Deion. They are also from New Zealand so they were passionate as for their All Blacks. It was cool watching Tele for the first time in over 6 months, especially SPORTS. If anyone knows me... they know I love me some good sport, especially when it involves running and hitting people. THAT'S THE ONE!

So, after the All Blacks smashed the Wallabies, we retired to the back to have a massive feed. Let me tell you.... these people know how to eat and know how to make HEAPS of delicious food. There were about four plates of chicken, two buckets of KFC, heaps of pasta and potato salads, fried eggs, sausages, cake, ice cream, hot jackets (baked potatoes), rice, and fry bread! So good.... and so much food. It was a massive feed. After, all the young boys when and played basketball in their backyard and we just chatted with Pauline and Deion for ages. We talked about everything from their interests, to their home life, to what missionaries do. It was a good experience to talk to them and they invited us to come and play some Rugby touch with them. They're some of the most caring and genuine people I've met. It would be hard not to love them straight away.

After, it was about 8pm and we made our way to park in the near town of Moama. We divided our teams and set out on our battle with Slingshots and paintballs. Jade, the soon to be Missionary, got smashed in the forehead two times and had massive welts at church the next day. President Richardson got beamed in the eye by one. He came to church with a bloodshot eye and a family covered in baby tomato coloured welts from head to toe. It was FUN AS! We ended things off with a prayer and made our way home. We had a few welts, and it was probably a once in a Mission-time experience to say the least.

The next day... brought the "Blessing from Heaven." We have been struggling with the recent converts of our branch. They were poorly taught, and are stuck in a hard situation to say the least. However, we go over there and teach them every other day or so. They are half Aboriginal and half white, so alcohol, drugs, and smoking have been an issue in the past. Anyway, so we invited them to come to church on Saturday morning after reteaching the first lesson commonly known as the Restoration of the Gospel! It was a good experience because afterwards, the neice of Rodney, the father of the family, said she wanted to change her life around, get off drugs and come to church! We were a bit skeptical of her actual desires because they have a tendency to talk the talk but not walk the walk. Turns out... the next day... BOOM, she (named Melissa) and the Moore Family (recent convert) came to church. It was a miracle if I've ever seen one. The smiles on Melissa's face were priceless treasures to me as I saw a fire of hope radiate from her eyes as members gave her hugs and hand shakes of affection and warmth. The Light of Christ is given to everyone, and it was never more evident than during that brief moment that I saw here smile.

My Mission has been life changing. I LOVE BEING ABLE TO SERVE!!! I cannot begin to express or explain the many experiences that I have had. I've come to see my imperfections and weaknesses and that is such a blessing! I have seen the progress in areas that I've worked on for months, even if it is just little, but it grows my testimony ten-fold. The enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very real, and I love that I've been able to see it not only in my life but in those we strive to teach and help. It's true, there is no denying it.

So, I'll end with my new favourtie scripture. Chances are it'll chance in a fortnight or so but hey...that's life!

2 Nephi 9:51 reads: "Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness."

Spiritual Fatness... That's the fatness I can't get enough of! :D

That's it for this week!


-Elder Sargeant

Summer Night and Chilly mornings (Oct 13)

G'day g'day, how ya goin? All goods? GOOD!

This past week has been an awesome experience. Never have I been so happy and blessed. We have been having a bit of a slow time here in Echuca since we're basically starting from the ground up, but it's been quite an experience! It's such an opportunity to really set the stage for how effective and diligent you are to the work of the Lord!

So, we were able to have some awesome things happen. FIRST 1) My Birthday. That was legit as and I reckon that no other birthday on the mission will be quite as good. 2) We were able to do some things I've never done before! For example, we visited heaps of less active members and were able to prune a vineyard, tried pickled onions (they left the most disgusting smelling breath I've ever experience in my life), make homemade ties, see a Brown snake, and wash people's windows. OH, I also learned how to make Fry bread which is a New Zealand meal where you simply... well... fry bread. I reckon it's fattening as but what can ya do? RUN HEAPS!
3) Our investigator named Thelma came to conference and LOVED IT!! She is progressing so well into the gospel and the members of the branch are just bringing her in so well.
4) I'm out serving the Lord... that's sweet as in itself aye? YESSIR!

Wait a second... da heck am I doing here!

My companion is from New Zealand you know? fair dinkum! You'll love it there. The culture is sweet as, the people are sweet as, you'll get fed heaps.. sweet as! And most importantly, you'll be working with some of the most humble and loving Sons and Daughters of God that are living on this earth. You'll learn amazing things in a culture that is completely foreign to you, and I reckon you'll meet my roommate RYAN HAMMAR! He's serving there as well! Aye, when you get a Lava-lava (you'll find out what that is when you go) SEND ME ONE AS WELL! MINE IS BREAKING! :(

Well, yes! Now that that is mentioned, we can continue with the past week.

So I've come to realize that the best part about my mission are those fun moments where you can walk down the dirt roads in the middle of the bush making the time and showing effort to those that you truly care about. Also... making fun of Australian Accents is quite entertaining as well. Not the really cool as ones that most people have, but the really bogan as ones that are super defined and hard. It's just hilarious for a couple blokes like my companion and me because we don't have aussie accents (yet... it's slowly coming I reckon) but we just mimic the things we've heard people say and laugh at ourselves. It's a great time, take my word for it.

Anyway, I just want to express my love for each of you who made this past week a blessing. I've never had so much love given to me because of a day that I was born. In all honesty, when I woke up it was just another day to me. I received calls from Sisters in our district, members in our branch, the Mission President, AP's (assisstants to the Mission President), and his wife, I received about (total) 50+ emails, a few precious letters, and time that made my day the best it could have possibly been. I hope you all know how much it meant to me. I hope one day to be able to help each of you feel even a fraction of the love that I felt that day. There really is no greater joy than the Love that is felt and expressed to and by others.

I Love this Gospel! I Love my Mission, I love AUSSIE! It's amazing meeting new people and having that hope burn in you that you can persuade them to try out the message you hold dearest to your heart. What's even better is seeing others progress! That's such a blessing. I reckon it brings great joy to Heavenly Father when he sees each of us standing in holy places and progressing as well!

Well, I gotta get off. I'm getting booted off soon. This next week will be bringing miracles as well. Conference was awesome and my favourite quote from it was this: "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." --Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

He's the man aye?

Hope all is well with you all! Turoo!!

Elder Sargeant

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mind...BLOWN (10/6/13)

G'day g'day all!!

Well... I have to say I've never felt so loved in my life. Heaps of people sent me little notes via email and I cannot help but feel so special and happy. Your thoughts, letters, and love is far reaching and I really do appreciate all the time and effort spent on my behalf. It's truly humbly to know that especially since it's not even my birthday yet!?!

Anyway, this week has been sweet as! We were honoured with an opportunity to go to Trek to teach all the youth there to do a dance called the Haka. For those that are familiar with the All Blacks Rugby team, they do a Haka before every game. It's a dance that was used anciently before war to intimidate the enemy. These days it's mainly used as a sign of great respect to those that it is performed for. We taught the boys the Haka at trek to do it for the women during the women's pull, and to honour and remember the passing of a young man from a nearby Ward. He died in a house fire at the age of 17. It was remarkable how powerful the spirit was when we were at trek, and it was only for less than 24 hours! They learned it quickly ( Yes I had to learn it as well... it's heaps of fun and I think it suits my personality well. ;) ) and it brought chills to each of us as we performed it.

The best part of the day we spent with the boys was that night. We were able to camp out with the boys and sleep under the stars... IT WAS FREEZING AS but we managed. I ended up sleeping next to the fire and waking up with the other Elders every few minutes to boost the fire up a bit. It was a great experience. The drive home was a bit dodgey as I am the only one with a license and it's a 3 1/2 hour drive back to our flat. Needless to say... I stuffed a few Tim Tams in my mouth for quick energy and blasted the Air con heaps to keep me awake while every one else slept. It was a hard experience, but lots of prayer and boosts from Heavenly Father were constantly there for me!

Other than that, we had an awesome experience on Sunday! We were able to have one of our investigators named Thelma come to church and we've only taught her one lesson. She's an Older Irish lady... who is a bit... well.... on the crazy side. She has a tendancy to talk heaps using very vague and random terms, but she feels the Spirit well and understands that there is something missing in her life and she thinks she found it in our Church. Cheers Heavenly Father!!

The best part was the fellowshipping of the ward! That was such a blessing to see others just latch onto her and make her feel welcome.

OH! I almost forgot to mention.... my companion had a birthday this past week!! It was last wednesday the 2nd of October! One of the members in our ward threw a surprise party for him. It was awesome having them welcome us so warmly. One of the families in our branch is named the Boultons. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met! Brother Boulton makes his own ties and so for Elder Pearce's Birthday he made him a sweet as tie, got him a huge chocolate bar, and then a few pairs of socks. It was so much fun! They said they have a plan for my birthday as well... so we'll see what happens with that... haha. They are some Crazy as people!

Well, that's about it for this week. OH!!! I saw my first poisonous snake since I've been here in Australia. It's called a Redbelly Black snake. It was pretty massive and it was slithering next to our camp site while we were leaving Trek the following morning...


Anyway, all is well here in Australia, and the work is moving forward. I definitely have realized that one of the things I'm meant to learn here in Echuca is patience and love for tiny... cheeky... devilish children. I swear, I've never had such a hard time with kids in my life until I came here. That's the best part about it though! It gives me an opportunity to allow myself to be loving and kind even when kids throw footy balls at our heads, or dump dirt on our pants, or throw pizza on us, or scream and rip up our books. It's just a time to realize that the innocence of young kids is truly amazing... and how the gospel really does help families when they adhere to the principles and disciple that come from it!


Cheers for the Birthday wishes again!

With Love,

Elder Sargeant

Echuca bloke (Sept 29th)

G'day g'day, or in Maori... Kiaora!

Well, lets get straight to the chase here and let me fill you all in on where I am serving, who I am with, and the AWESOME AS stuff that has happened since I've been here.

To begin I am serving in an area called Echuca! It's in the middle of the Bush near the border of New South Wales, and Victoria. It's about 3 hours drive from Melbourne and I love it heaps. The people out in the bush are so much more appreciative of the things that we have been given. Everyone, at least almost everyone, looks out for each other. The Branch is about 50 members or so, maybe a bit less, and the President is related to my companion! He is from New Zealand which is cool as because he has a different accent and culture than anyone I have met.

Anyway, to tell you about my companion now, his name is Elder Pearce. He is from Whangarie (pronounced Fungaray) New Zealand. He is about 6 ft. tall and is white! He's a mix of Kiwi and Scottish I reckon so he's whiter than most of the islanders in New Zealand. He is teaching me how to speak Maori, and we go around with his ukulele and sing hymns sometimes! It's quite a big difference from Tassie but it's pretty good.

Back to Echuca! We basically spent the majority of the days getting to know the members and teaching an investigator named Ian Briggs. He is an Aboriginal man who lives with the Boulton family here in Echuca. They are members are honestly are such a blessing to be around. Brother Boulton is quite the missionary in that he has brought many families into the Church over the past couple years. When we were at Tea last night, we had the opportunity to taste of his cooking skills. He's seriously one of the best cooks I've ever tasted! We had kebabs, chicken fillet, roasted pumpkin, carrots, and potatoes, with homemade gravy and heaps of biscuits and butta (as they call it here ;) ). Anyway, they have a large as dog named Tubby who doesn't like black shoes. She was laying under the table and out of no where.. BOOM... the dog bits my toe!! THROUGH MY SHOE!!! It was nuts! I learned quickly that the dog does not like shoes, or feet near her. She's old as, 13 years, so I could imagine she gets grumpy. Dumb dog.

Anyway, it's been such a blessing to be here in Echuca. You learn heaps about yourself in small areas, at least from my experience. Things are more relaxed because everyone around here works near or on a farm. It's such a blessing to have those little moments where you can appreciate the world around you. I love it here, even though it's new and I'm doubled in with a new companion (who is the man) and have been called as the District Leader for the first time. Every thing is new, exciting, and different. It's uncomfortable but it allows you to grow. I love the idea of progression and stretching that Heavenly Father allows you have and accomplish and work at. My mission has been such a growing experience, and I really hope that I can continue to learn and grow! Echuca is AWESOME!!!

Well, that's about it for this week. Next week will be better, with heaps more photos I PROMISE!

Love you all heaps!!!

Kakite Ano!! (Goodbye in Maori)


Elder Sargeant

PS- the photo is of me with all the Sisters (minus sister Ricks) from my district!