Friday, February 26, 2016

Letter #26 from Australia

January 17, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

          This week was a good week, but one of the hardest ones so far on my mission. As most of you know, last week I was transferred, so I am now in a new area. I am in the area of Yarra Valley, but the city that we live in is Lilly Dale. It is city compared to my last area. It is not in the straight city of Melbourne, where all of the tall buildings are, but it is about a half hour away. So compared to the bush of Wangaratta, it is CITY!!! My new companion is Elder Theurer, who is from Salt Lake City. I am glad that I am once again, reunited with a Utah missionary!!! I am still trying to adjust to my new surroundings, but it is really hard. But I will make it and it will all work out. On Wednesday afternoon, I got a call from one of the office senior Sister missionaries, informing me that my Uncle Mark passed away. He had been battling brain cancer for a really long time, and all though it wasn't unexpected for him to pass, it didn't help my week at all. So this week was really hard for me, but I am trying to stay positive about everything and trying to loose myself in the work. But it is hard.

          Elder Theurer and I get along great. We both love the same kind of "worldly" music, we both love to golf, we have been out on the mission for about the same amount of time, (Him-5 months. Me- 6 months, which I hit 3 days ago!!) and we both have a girlfriend waiting for us!!!...wait...never mind...only he has a girlfriend waiting for him. But all goods, doesn't matter! So it is great to be serving with someone who is so alike and with someone who I really get along with!!

          This area is great!! It is a ward, but a small one. We have about 50 active members who attend each week. But still a lot compared to Wangaratta! We have an awesome bishopric and an even more awesome ward mission leader. Brother Bryers is his name and he truly is amazing!! He is from New Zealand and loves to golf! So I can continue practicing and learning Maori!! Oh and, we can continue to practice our golf game, cause he takes us golfing on P days!!! He doesn't take us every P day, but he takes us every 3 weeks! So this morning, we woke up at 5 o'clock to make a 6:10 tee time! hah. It was amazing and it felt so great to swing a golf club again! The last time I went golfing was about 6 months ago, so it was really nice to play a round of 18 holes and especially to do it in Australia!! My score was no were near as bad as I thought it would be, for not playing for that long, but it was still not good. But being honest, I didn't care! I just soaked it all in cause it was my first time golfing in Australia and my first time golfing while wearing my nametag!! Defiantly a moment that I won't forget!

          So because we are so close to the city, we go down to the mission office a lot. On Friday, we found ourselves down there for a leadership meeting that I attend each week. We got talking to some missionaries after the meeting and the topic was about the new policy for the MTC and English-speaking missionaries. The new policy is that all English-speaking missionaries will now be in the MTC for 3 weeks, instead of 2. Because of this change, it has thrown off all of the transfers in our mission. Next transfer will be an 8-week transfer, instead of the normal 6. But then after that, we will go back to 6 weeks. But the news doesn't stop there. My visa expires July 15, 2017, exactly two years from the day that I started my mission. I was assuming that I would be going home the Wednesday before the 15th, which would be the 14th of July 2017. But with this new policy and change for English speaking missionaries, all departure dates have changed. I found out on Friday that my new departure date is June 14th, 2017.  That is the day that I will be coming home. I am a little upset about this, but more shocked about it. But everything will work out! hah.

          I hope you all have a great week and keep your heads held high and your testimonies bright!! I just want to share my testimony about the Plan of Salvation. This week, my testimony on it has been strengthened immensely. I know that I will see my Uncle and all of my loved ones, who have passed away, again. I know that our Father in Heaven has a plan for each and every one of us and that it is for our best. We may not know why things happen to us in this life, but we can take comfort in knowing that His will is what's best for us. I know that my Uncle lives on and that he is building the kingdom up in the Spirit world. I love you all and you are always in my prayers. May the Lord bless every one of you and may you all take comfort in the wonderful Plan of Salvation.

"Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father's plan,
I always want to be with my own family, and the Lord has shown me how I can, 
the Lord, has shown me how I can."   

-Elder Wheeler

Elder Theurer made us a meal. How good of a cook is he! I did cut the
veggies up I guess you could say I am a master assistant
chef;)  We are really healthy eaters, cause we don't want to get fat!! ​
Had this 5 foot tap in for birdie this morning! Not too bad for not golfing in 6 months;)
Yes folks, this is a bug. It is a leaf bug here in Australia! Totally harmless
but looks dangerous!! One of the less actives in our ward has heaps of these!!!​

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