This past week was pretty legit, not going to lie. It was HOT AS but she'll be right, because with heat comes sun, and with sun comes tan, and with tan comes funny photos... (which I didn't take any but my companion Elder Judd did. DANG was he RED.)
Anyway, let's start out with some amazing adventures. In the beginning of the week we were a bit down because our investigator Thelma was not home still from the funeral she went to almost two weeks prior. However, after trying to go visit with a former investigator we had the idea to go try Thelma one more time. We biked over past the post office on a street called 'Haverfield St.' and made our way on the narrow strip of pavement surrounded by gravel. After what seemed like ages of peddling through the intense breeze that felt like an oven, we made it to Thelma's humble flat. Bikes parked, helmets off, hair fixed, shirt adjusted and now it was time to knock. Her curtains were open! This was a big indicator that she was home.
I was first to the door so I began the missionary knock I do. (Knocking to the tune of Mario.) After waiting for a few moments, we heard no dog bark, and knew she must be gone. We disappointingly turned around and hopped back on our bikes to peddle around to see one last person before lunch.
Despite our slight frustration that Thelma wasn't home, we had the peace of mind that she was at least in town. As we made our way back towards the postoffice, we saw a little older lady walking her dog on the side of the road in a sweater with a red scarf. THELMA!
There she was, walking home just in time to see us. We chatted for a couple minutes and found out she hurt her knee during the funeral and would be in town for a while! This warmed our hearts as we realized that Heavenly Father answered our silent prayers. She had been gone for 5 of the last 6 weeks and with her Alzheimer's it's tough to keep her on top of things when she leaves for ages and forgets stuff. However, we said we'd stop by sometime that week and invited her to church.
Peace at least.
Fast forward to the next day. The similar circumstances were there. We were peddling to other appointments which all fell through. With sweaty brows and backs from dark backpacks we made our way past the post office again, when we though 'hey, let's go call into Thelma.' As we made our way to her flat, we were greeted warmly by our friend. She let us in and we sat down in the cooled air of her living room filled with a green couch big enough for 3, and two armchairs. We took our usual seats and began talking to her about her adventures in Melbourne. She seemed happier than in times past, more at peace, and we found out why.
Soon after the conversation ended, she pulled out a black piece of paper form the funeral. It said something in regards to her friend's death and how he was forever asleep. She asked us as sincerely as a starving child for food, "what is it that you believe happens again? I can't remember quite what really happens."
The spirit just poured into the room. My heart melted a bit as I recounted memories in the past of her exclaiming with conviction her testimony of the Book of Mormon. Hope rose in my heart for Thelma, as our golden investigator. We brought out some laminated cut outs of the 'Plan of Salvation' and began from the beginning. She LOVED every second of it, and we helped her remember all the parts to it, at least the truly basic elements she needed to know. It was beautiful seeing how the simplicity of teaching her was all she needed to feel that what we were saying was true. It was in these moments that her memory of the Gospel principles we have taught her came flooding into her mind. I love that about our Spirits and our Bodies. Though we physically may be limited, our spirits are divine in nature and have capacities beyond our own comprehension. She remembered what she knew to be true, because of the power of the Holy Ghost. Cool aye? I think so.
That made our week so much better. We've had so many little things like that happen that make our days worth while.
However, church was just as good, but filled with some interesting moments.
Elder Judd and I were given the privilege of preparing talks for this week. It was a wonderful experience to speak and everyone seemed to enjoy them. Ah, stress gone, no worries. All we had to do was enjoy Sunday School and "bob's ya uncle" (She'd be right, aka everything would be okay.)
Turns out... Sunday School was not quite as expected. The teacher is a wonderful older man named Elder Bellomo. He is a gifted teacher in that he knows so many stories and talks that Apostles and Prophets had given in the past that you could never have a moment of silence. However, this particular day he decided we'd talk about the Armour of God (Great! That's good for investigators!) and... the Law of Chastity.
This was a particularly sensitive subject for April, one of our mates who we found door knocking. She came to church and we've just barely started teaching her. You see, April comes from a broken family. She has two kids from two different dads, and 1 on the way with the father of the previous baby. Her mum was a prostitute, and knows only what it's like to live in what society would classify as the "normal" home.
The discussion was heated and the worst part was that most comments seemed to be given ignorantly towards April. She, however, being the devout Christian she is was able to feel the spirit and take the new found information of what Heavenly Father expects and desires for us in this life regarding families, our bodies, and our procreative power.
It --was---a--nightmare. Clearly, things were hard at first but the Spirit came in and enabled the tension to die down. The members were really supportive of April, especially the wonderful Sister Betty Snowden who held her hand during the meeting.
After Elder Judd and I apologized for the awkward lesson and reassured her that she was in no way judged, at all, and she wasn't which is true. She smiled and said it was all goods, and told us of her mum and growing up. The morals of today have been all she knows, and that was enough to get a little bit defensive over.
However, all the members of the branch comforted her, loved her, and made her feel welcome... luckily.
That was intense. We went home for lunch and just laid down on the couch absolutely smashed from all the emotions we were feeling. Elder Judd was just like "dang... that could have been bad." Luckily, all is well and she wants to continue learning :)
OH! So, the Zone leaders over the Missionaries in our Zone (so about 14 companionship covering about an 11th of the Mission) came down for exchanges with us. That was fun as! We were able to do some service for a branch member named Brother Tysoe. He owns his own farm and so we were able to let the Zone leaders milk cows while we simply cleaned up all the rubbish. That was fun. Elder Whitehead, my good mate, is one of the Zone leaders. He is from New Zealand and LOVES "moo cows" as they call em here. He was in heaven doing the milking...even though one of the cows relieved itself on him. All goods, he didn't seem to care.
Best part was we went in after for Tea and a FHE and there was a wolf spider on the ceiling that freaked the other Zone Leader, Elder Munro, out so bad he screamed. (He hates spiders even though he's about 6'2 and quite large in stature.)
I took a photo!
Things are great here in Echuca. Christmas is coming fast as!!! Hopefully all goes well back in the homeland. Enjoy the cold and the snow for me ;) It's SUMMA TIME HERE BABY WOO!
Cheers for all the letters and prayers. They mean HEAPS.