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!