Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lots of love and a little bit of news from WA

This week was good but pretty strange.  We had to spend a lot of time in the flat because Sister De Vera has been sick.  We went to the Dr. on Wednesday and it turns out she has bronchitis.  Sister Fife told her she has to rest a lot, and when we do go out she has no energy and gets tired really quickly, so please keep her in your prayers!  She needs to get better and we need to get outside.  Oh and it was this week that our new heater also decided to break, so that's been fun ha.  

We had a couple highlights though.  On Wednesday, the family whose son got baptised up in Sister De Vera's old area went to the temple, so we got to go with them!!  The temple is such a beautiful and peaceful place, and no matter what you're worried or stressed about, it goes away when you get there.  They loved the temple!  The mum was baptized about 2 months ago, and the son who got baptized this last weekend both went for the first time, and the best part was seeing how much they enjoyed being there.  When we were leaving, the son just waited around inside for a while and said he didn't want to leave.  
Perth Australia Temple
Then, on Friday, we had zone conference.  President Fife is literally the best!  He is so funny but so bold and you learn sooo much from him.  

On our way home from zone conference, we felt impressed to stop by this member's home.  She lives on her own and has MS really severely.  She has been adjusting her medication and has been having an especially rough last couple of weeks, and so when we went by we were able to help her out with a couple things.  We made her dinner and had dinner with her, and we learned something that is sooo cool that everyone else is probably already aware of: You can get a digital copy of your patriarchal blessing!!!  And you can request your ancestor's blessings too!!  Who knew?!  That is legit and I am so doing it when I go home.  This lady has the most amazing story.  For most of her life she didn't believe in God or in Christ and had nothing to do with religion.  Raised 2 kids and lots of foster kids with morals and values, but nothing to do with God.  She grew up in Tasmania, and she has had bouts of MS since she was 21, I can't remember what it's called, but it comes and goes and gradually gets worse.  For a time in her 50s, she couldn't move or do anything really.  There was a man took care of her during that time.  He was Christian and they used to discuss things and he used to read the Bible to her.  She began to believe in Christ and understand more of what he's done for her.    After a while, she was able to do more things on her own again (I can't remember part of the story) but she moved from Tasmania to Australia and was going to a church here, when two mormon missionaries knocked on her door.  She was telling us what she used to think Mormons were, and how far off her perception was haha.  They taught her about the restoration and the gospel and she joined the church about 5 years ago in Rockingham (which is down south a bit).  She moved up to Como ward, and the dedication she has is amazing.  She has someone come help her get dressed in the morning, then rides her wheelchair to the train station, and then takes the train station up a bit closer to the chapel and then rides her wheelchair there.  It takes her a long time to get there, and she is always early.  We saw her riding to church yesterday and wished so badly that we could give her a ride, but she got there and she was so cheerful when she got there.  She has had family issues, friends leave her, severe health challenges, among other trials, but she has such strong faith.  She knows what is true and is dedicated to keeping the promises she made Heavenly Father.  I learn so much every time we see her.

Wow, that was really long...sorry guys, and I didn't even do her story justice.  I learn so much from every person we meet.  That's one of my favourite things about a mission.  

Dwayne is doing really well!!  He went to a baptism this week and really enjoyed it.  He got a bit confused because the woman's hand kept sticking out of the water so they had to do it 3 times, and he thought that he would have to get baptized 3 times, and we had to explain to him a couple times that you only get baptized once but have to go fully under the water ha.

Most interesting thing I tried this week:
Sheep liver.  It's an Iranian traditional cure and you eat that and drink orange juice.  Someone made it for Sister De Vera, and I tried it as well...the taste is fine, but the texture is what gets me.  You lean over the pot and breathe in the steam and open your eyes as wide as you can because it's supposed to be good for your eyes too.  

Literally a mission is the best opportunity.  It's such a luxury being able to take time out to focus on the gospel.  I love being here!  Thank you all for your support and for being the best.  Have an incredible week!

Sister Formica

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

All about a train... literally

Hey guys!  Quick one today, Sister De Vera has been sick for a couple days so she slept all morning, and we didn't get to the library til late as.  Pray for her yeah? Thanks!
We had a good week, but Sister De Vera's been sick a lot.  It stinks being sick as a missionary (it actually stinks to be sick in general, except when you are in elementary school and you get to stay home from school ha).  She's tough and felt better and we went out for a couple days, but then it came back even worse.  I'm a terrible companion.  If they feel up to going out I am totally fine with that, I probably should make her stay home until she is better.  I'll try to be more selfless ha.  

On Saturday we were able to go to the baptism of one of Sister De Vera's investigators up north in Clarkson!  We took the train up there, which was great!  That's the first time I've ridden a train in Australia.  We were heading to the station after our appt, but it's on a bridge right next to the freeway and so we were trying to find a place to park and had to cross the bridge a couple times.  By the time we finally found a place and parked, we had like 3 or 4 minutes until the train was supposed to leave so we grabbed all our stuff and sprinted to the station.  They have machines to buy the tickets, and we were in such a rush that we weren't thinking clearly.  They don't accept credit cards, and with american debit cards over here you have to push credit.  They also wouldn't accept a 20, which was the only cash we (and the people around us) had...so we missed the train we were supposed to go on.  The next one came in like 10 minutes, which gave us enough time to think, buy the tickets together (didn't see that option earlier haha) so that it would accept a 20, and talk to a couple of the people there.  Trains are the coolest place to talk to people!!  We had some really good conversations on the way there and back.  On the way back, these teenagers sitting across from us laughed a little and kept looking at us and finally one asked who we were.  Turns out this girl had gone to church with her friend before!  The train we were on had a bunch of technical difficulties so the power went out and then they pulled over and we all had to get off and jump on another train.  It was pretty exciting.  And then we were talking to people and almost missed our stop and had to jump off as the doors were closing (There was a footie game so it was super duper crowded too).

We had a couple blonde moments this week, but I have to run, sorry all I wrote about was the train haha.  I wasn't joking in the subject line.  Gotta go!  Read the scriptures, say your prayers, listen to the prophet, go to church, all that good stuff.  I love this gospel and being a missionary!  Love ya'll!  Have a great week!

July 12 - I can never think of anything clever to put here

Talofa guys!  Hope you all had a great week!

This week was really fun for us because we had mini missionaries!!  Mini missionaries are youth or ysa who come live with the missionaries for 5 days to see what a mission is like and to help them prepare to serve.  It made me think of how it was when I started my mission.  So Sister De Vera and I had two different companions this week.  Sister Durawa was my companion, and she is amazing!  She's 17 years old, originally from Uganda, and she joined the church last year in Como ward actually and then moved away.  She and two of her siblings are the only members in her family.  She has so much strength and such a strong testimony.  She was so brave...I would not have gone on a mini mission when I was 17.  I learned so much from her this week.  Our other mini missionary was Sister Mackwell, who is also the bomb!  She is a baker and makes the most yummy food.  She is so positive and always laughing.  We loved having them here, but since I'm the only driver, Sister De Vera and Sister Mackwell were on bikes all week.  They ended up appreciating it.  (Someday I want to serve in a biking area!)

Not sure how to turn this right side up.  Looks good both ways, though.
I gave a talk in church this week on how being raised in a gospel centered home has shaped me into who I am today.  I wrote down that I was giving a talk, but was dumb and wrote it down on the day of, and so forgot until we were planning the night before and I was too tired to do anything about it, so I wrote it that morning before church.  I felt very scattered but not really stressed I'm learning to listen to and trust in the spirit more.  I prepared or jotted down plenty of thoughts, and then just certain things came out, hopefully I was guided by the spirit haha.  I know the last minute "preparation" is an issue, but I'm working on it.  

The couple we met last week came to church!!  They could only stay for sacrament meeting, but Sister De Vera and Sister Mackwell were able to go during the week to teach them the restoration.  They are amazing!  We are seeing them this week and also doing a service project with them for one of the members on Saturday.

I don't know if I told you, but we have an investigator who wants to be baptized!!!  Whoo!! We invited him to be baptized on August 8th, but it turns out we might have to change it due to some scheduling conflicts.  I'll keep you updated.  He is so sweet--he currently is living in his car and attending courses at uni.  He is so willing to learn and he has a strong desire to learn.  After every church meeting or activity he's gone to, when we ask how it was, he says, "It was interesting.  Really interesting."  And then pauses before explaining what he liked about it and what he learned.  It's always really positive, but his first response just makes me laugh.   

We had some really funny experiences this week...but I can't think of them.  Sorry!  Maybe next week...I'll try to write things down this week!

As for transfers, almost our whole mission is staying the same.  

Well I have to run, but I love you all!  Hope you have a great week!!

Sister Formica

Sunday, July 12, 2015

New Mission president and fourth of July!

This week was soo good!!  We met our new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Fife.  They are amazing!  We had a 3 hour meeting with them on Thursday and I left feeling so excited and uplifted.  He worked for seminarys and institutes and he said he has been teaching our age group since before we were born.  He is so funny and so loving!  

Earlier that morning we had a lesson with one of our investigators who has decided that he wants to be baptized!!  He just absorbs so much information and is so ready and willing to learn and to apply what we teach! And it all started when his friend invited him to come to church...small and simple things.

We also celebrated the 4th of July!  Well as much as we could...no fireworks, but we wore red white and blue and sang patriotic songs and whatnot and I decorated Sister De Vera's planner and when I woke up she had decorated mine like crazy.  But I noticed that when I was writing in the days, I wasn't paying attention and I wrote June 4th.  Didn't notice that until someone pointed it out...shame ha.

Hope you are having a great week so far!  I just wanted to let you know that I am so grateful for your influence and example already.  Hope Sister Fife is feeling better today!

This last week was so good!  It had it's ups and downs of course, but that's how we stretch and grow.  I was thinking about it and the bigger the ups are, the bigger the downs will be--just in contrast, and also because when you are having success and working really hard, Satan is going to work really hard to stop you.  But he can't.

One night we were following up with a potential from ages ago.  They asked us to come back another time, and so when we left, we decided to knock on another door.  We said a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to lead us to which house we should knock on to know who was ready to hear the gospel.  Within seconds of ending our prayer, Sister De Vera started walking to left and this man was walking by on the sidewalk.  We talked to him for a minute, and he said he had to continue walking the dogs really fast, but that his wife was home if we went over to this house.  We went there and no one answered, but we knocked on another door and then saw him come home and we went back.  They let us in immediately and were so sweet.  They are a young couple--she's from Brazil and he is from Canada.  We began to teach the restoration, but we weren't able to really because it was too late.  
They both grew up Catholic but really didn't have much to do with religion or with Christ until 2013 when they were having a hard time in their marriage and financially and turned to a religious group for help.  Heavenly Father led us to them and quickly, but I'm not sure why, but we weren't as bold as we should have been.  But I learned a lesson from it.  Never be afraid to be bold and never be afraid to invite.  She said she was looking for a church, but one that didn't start at 9am.  We both laughed a bit because our ward starts at 9, and I think after that we were a bit nervous--and we didn't invite them to church right then, we planned on inviting them the next time we saw them.  But I definitely learned my lesson to just be bold and always invite.  Because the next day she was with her work colleague and she asked him if he knew God.  Turns out he is also a pastor or minister and he invited them to church on Sunday a couple hours before we actually invited them.  She said she would come with us next Sunday.   
The Liahona FHE I talked about a few weeks ago.  :)  

I absolutely love this ward and this area!  The members are wonderful.  We are working on helping more of them get excited about missionary work.  We also really want to work with the youth (this ward is more elderly, so there's about 4 young women...and right now they are in the middle of calling young women's leaders, so there isn't a yw presidency.  We are going to try to help out with them and get the youth excited about missionary work especially.  They have so much power and potential.

I can't really think of what else happened this week...oh we went to these markets on Saturday to contact people...it was waay too busy, but we decided we are going back during lunch next weekend (mostly because they have a crepe stand. So stoked.)  It was the coolest place!  

Also as of this last week, I have been out for 11 months and Sister De Vera has been out for 7!!

Oh and I really liked this invitation from the first presidency of the church:
We invite all to pray that people everywhere will have their hearts softened to the truths God established in the beginning, and that wisdom will be granted to those who are called upon to decide issues critical to society’s future.

I've been learning a lot about the power of prayer lately.  There are blessings Heavenly Father wants to give us and those around us, but we need to ask in prayer before He can work with us.  We have to be willing to accept the blessings He offers.  I don't know if that made sense, but if not, oh well.

Have a great week!! LOVE YOU ALL!

Sister Formica

11 months in the blink of an eye.

Ok I know the subject is dramatic, but it's soo true.  Time is just flying by...I feel like I was just emailing you all yesterday and not too much has happened to share ha.  This was a crazy week. Sister De Vera has been sick, so we've been stuck inside a bit, but she toughed it up a lot so we could work.
The Iranian couple I told you about (or I think I told you about) got baptized this weekend!!  You didn't hear more about them because the elders were teaching them, don't worry.  They are the sweetest couple ever!  And President Lindsay sent out a text the morning of their baptism telling us all that the Book of Mormon was translated into Persian (the full thing)!  That'll make it so much easier for them!  "It shall come to passin that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language..."  Doctrine and Covenants 90:11 

Their baptism was wonderful!! I found out that I was going to speak and I was first, but then we were in an appt just down the road from the chapel but my watch (well actually Sister De Vera's watch--mine is broken) is probably dying because I'll put it at the right time and it slows down so that it's 5-10 minutes behind.  Anyways,  not important, but we got there about 5 minutes after it was supposed to start (I know, I know...no need to say anything). Since when do baptisms start on time anyway?  But it did and we ran in when they were singing the hymn and the elder who said the prayer said it really slowly so I could catch my breath.  After the baptism we had a ward dinner.  We are working with this woman who was baptized years ago but is no longer a member and her son who is less active.  They are so sweet and so funny, but very stubborn, but we saw her heart soften that night!  We invited her to the baptism and the dinner, but she came because she forgot that there was a baptism and came for the dinner haha.  But during dinner she asked a lot of questions and we ended up bringing Bishop over and they talked about baptism for a little bit. The person who was baptising her put her so far down that she hit her head and so she doesn't want to be baptized in a font, she wants to be baptized in the river (she says if she ever gets baptised again). But she actually wants to, she is just holding onto a few things.  I've been thinking a lot about sacrifice and things we sacrifice to follow the Saviour.  I saw a cartoon once of the Saviour and a little girl, and she was holding a little teddy bear saying "but I love it!"  And his hand was outstretched asking for it, and behind his back there was a huge teddy bear.  His words said, "Just trust me."  The things Heavenly Father and the Saviour have in store for us are wonderful and are better than anything we can receive ourselves.  They can also make so much more of us than we can--as we follow the Saviour's example, bit by bit we draw nearer to our full potential as children of God.  

I have to run, but I love you all!!!  Have a wonderful week!!
Hoda Hafez (I'm trying to learn Persian too now ha...I know that's not how you spell it, but if anyone knows or cares, let me know how you actually spell it. Thanks.)
Have a great week!!!
Love,Sister Formica