Monday, June 1, 2009

First Days in Australia

hey family! (and friends!)
wow, this has been such an amazing week, full of many trials, blessings and tender mercies. I left the MTC with full intentions of traveling alone, and hopefully talking to some people. there were 4 other missionaries who traveled to LAX with me, they were all going to thailand though, so we were going to different terminals for the last leg of our flights. i found mine, and checked in, and FINALLY got to call home! that was so good for me, i needed to hear your voices. :) Im glad to hear that the garden has been planted, and that the ATV is fixed! i've been planting my own garden as it were, and am starting to see the fruits already. I'll give you the details from the time that i got off the plane in australia. the plane ride, by the way, was very uneventful, and i slept for most of it. upon arrival in the airport, i had to go through customs, and throw away the bagel that i had, because of the quarantine laws. Also, because i was still sick, i had to go be screened for the swine flu, which, come to find out, i didnt have. but i already knew that. anyway, i got my luggage, and by the way, one wheel of my medium sized luggage broke somewhere in the flight, so, i had to drag it seperately... wa hoo. :P anyway, after making it thought customs, I found President Richards and his wife very quickly, and got to know them a little bit, and then loaded up my luggage, and drove to the mission office with the APs. I had a brief orientation, which by the way, im supposed to tell you, that i can only email mom and dad, but im going to ask for permission to email the siblings as well, but i dont think that will be a big deal. if not, ill just email yall through mom and dad. so after that, i was told that we were going to lunch at the mission home, and then we would get a surprise... which was that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to speak to the mission! i got to shake his hand and talk to him just briefly! it was SO COOL! then he spoke about running with everything we've got. he said that we should be coming back to the flat so tired, we can barely make it through daily planning. well that wasnt too hard the first few days, i found i barely made it past lunch, but that was jet-lag. anyway, after that meeting, i met my trainer, Elder Power. he's been out a year and a half, has trained twice before, been a zone leader twice, and district leader 3 times. he currently is the district leader as well. So, He's training, the district leader, AND we whitewashed into the area- which means that he got there the day before i did, so we're both new to the area. the area, by the way, is brisbane city, and our flat is just a few blocks from the temple, which is on the same grounds as the chapel. its beautiful. so, the first thing we did besides go to the grocery store and unpack, was go to ward council. i barely stayed awake, and barely made it home. OH! thats the other thing- my trainer isn't allowed to drive- too many speeding tickets. so guess what i got to do? yup. drive. on the left side of the road, on the right side of the car, and the blinker stick thing is on the opposite side as well, so instead of turning on the blinker, i turned on the windshield wipers... im still getting it down. but its not too hard to adjust... havent had any close calls yet. :P anyway, so the next day i got my first taste of tracting and GQing... pretty much street contacting. i FROZE up, but on the first door when i did the talking, we got in, and had the first lesson, and had a prayer. i dont think that we'll be going back there, but it was a nice confidence-booster for me. anyway, that night we had an appointment with a girl named Leticia- she's from Ethiopia, and she's a refugee living by herself. We went in with fellowshippers who she knows, and taught her about the book of mormon... turns out she has had many lessons before, and even had committed to baptism before, but her mother would call from ethiopia and just yell at her until she promised to not be baptized. so we talked about that with her, and decided that we would pray with her, and we would fast with her this coming fast sunday. she aggreed, and took a leap of faith, and again, made a commitment to be baptized on june 13th! i was overjoyed. it was so amazing. so later in the week, we went to an english class at the church, (there are lots of oriental people here who speak little or no english) and that was good, but afterwards, one of the ladies that was there, asked me what "elder" meant, and that got us started on the first discussion. I gave her a pass-along card, the restoration pamphlet, and the Plan of Salvation pamphlet... she was really interested, and i just wanted keep piling stuff on her, the gospel of jesus christ, the word of wisdom, law of chastity, the proclamation to the world on the family, and the Book of Mormon, but i resisted that, and just let her soak in what i had told her, and she said she would be back next week and would tell me what she thought of it. that was awesome. anyway, after that, Elder Power started get some stomach cramps, and so we didnt go out anymore, that was saturday. sunday came, and we made it to church, and we bore our testimonies... i have to admit that hearing a sacrament meeting all with people who were australian and in that accent was a new experience. i had to really pay attention to what was being said or i didnt understand it. it was pretty difficult. some were easier to understand than others, and the weird thing was that the accent seemed to go away when they sang... i dunno, i thought that was kinda funny. anyway, after that, we made it home again, and Elder Power didnt feel well at all... he had been throwing up the night before, so we stayed in the flat, and rested. Monday came around and that was our P-day, and he still felt horrible, so again we spent the whole day in the flat, but we talked for a very long time and got to know eachother better, and that was really good for us. so just for future reference, i wont be emailing on tuesdays, we just couldnt leave the flat on monday. so ya. anyway, that has been my week so far, and hopefully i'll more to tell you about investigators and whatnot next week. I love you all so much! Im so glad i am where i am, i know that i am doing the work that God has for me to do, and i wouldnt want it any other way. :)
Again i love you all,
Love, Your Favorite Missionary,
Elder Tayler Christensen