Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Phone Call

Tayler--Elder Christensen, called us on Christmas day in the evening, and right before church for him. We had him on speaker phone with Rochelle and BJ on one cell phone, and Marissa and Richard on another cell phone and we recorded the whole thing. He sounded so good! Here's the highlights of the phone call:
  • Christmas Day (the day before) He had breakfast at the YM pres house, lunch with some widows, dinner with the Burlowitz(?) family, and evening with the Gilgan family. He said he got his package with us on Monday, and opened the non-wrapped parts of it, and it was his mission party that day, so that was fun. Apparently customs unwrapped the Wheaties box though, so he got that before Christmas, and had much of it eaten by Christmas! He said he hadn't sent his Christmas package to us yet, but he told us the gifts he had purchased. We're looking forward to receiving it. He said he was reminded it was Christmas when he went into people's homes and saw their decorations, but since it's summer it really felt different. The weather was "dumping cats and dogs", so it felt kind of like home, but not really. He said not everyone has a Christmas tree, and most people don't put anything on top, like a star or angel. They go to the beach, swim and have BBQ's. The dinners he had had cool ham and turkey instead of warm meat.
  • Missionary Days--they study in the morning till 10 AM then go tracking or GQing (Golden Questioning on the street) for 2 hours. For GQing they go to bus stops--especially over by Robina Town Center, and parks and also talk to people they see when they are out biking. They also visit less active and part member families. They try to do service, and it's usually yard work for widows. There isn't as much to do as in Emerald. They usually have dinner with members 5 days of the week. They always leave a spiritual thought like asking everyone their favorite scripture. He shares Ether 12 and his heart surgery story, or does a object lesson with kids where they blow a crumpled paper ball around, then a rock, and he reads Helaman 5:12 about building on a rock and withstanding the devil's mighty winds. They also play Bible Dictionary Baulderdash and compare that to Joseph Smith not guessing to translate the Book of Mormon. Sounds like good family-missionary interaction to me! He said they also add to a book they are making with ward member pictures, hobbies, interests and availability for teaching in their homes. This leads them to ask members who they know that could be taught. He says they have a lot of ward activities, and they encourage members to invite their friends to them.
  • Funny Stuff--Recently they road their bikes in the rain to a members house. They were so muddy and soaked they had to change into Bro. N's clothes. Sister N. said she would get the stains out for them, so they road home with Tayler in a shirt that looked like a night shirt since it was so big on him, and his companion had Abercrombie and Fitch sweat pants on.
  • Interesting Australian slang, "giver 'er a fair suck at the siv" or "give a fair shake at the sauce bottle" both mean give a fair chance. "Chuck a turn" means "take it easy". Red heads are blueys. He think it's funny that little kids say "be your pardon". Some people have said he sounds "oddly", but he's all for dropping the "American r's". He can really notice it on the missionaries fresh from the states, and it bothers him. Ha ha. He informs us that the proper way to say Australia is Ustralia, not AHstralia He has an Australian slang dictionary.
  • He said there was a baptism in Emerald 2 weeks after he left. It was a self referral that came from Rock Hampton, and he had only met with them once. He felt that Eli would be baptized soon. (editorial note--he got transferred before that happened).
Although this past year wasn't filled with baptisms it was filled with a lot of teaching, and a lot of growing and working hard. We are so happy for the experiences Tayler has had on his mission, and for the wonderful example he has give us. It was great to hear his voice on Christmas.

He will be coming home on March 30, 2011.