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...
YES I GOT A PHOTO!!
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!
LOVE YOU ALL HEAPS!!!!
Cheers for the Birthday wishes again!