Monday, July 22, 2013

Greetings from the land down unda!

     Hola! Greetings from the land down unda! Here i am in Brisbane Australia! Boy what and adventure it has been! So let me start from the beginning here. So i got my visa and left from Newark to Dallas on Tuesday (July 16). The lady sitting next to me was from Costa Rica so i used my amazing spanish skills (sarcasm :) and bore my testimony to her. She was so sweet. I got her info then booked it to my connecting flight to Brisbane! Mercifully i had the help of a Mormon flight attendant who also gave me a bunch of food and told me where to go. Actually everyone was helping me in the airport! This pilot was telling me which stop to get off on, on the skylight and then this latino family was helping me haha. Everyone who saw me was just like this girl needs help! and thank goodness i made my connecting flight to Brisbane and arrived. Except i am still missing half my luggage but thats okay. They sent it to the mission office.
     So i arrived in AUSTRALIA where the mission president and his wife picked me up! Boy are they so nice. I went grocery shopping with Sister Henderson and let me tell ya this place is just like England but with palm trees! i love it! The grocery store had like all the same brands and stuff and a lot of the language is the same! So then i hung out in the office and tried not to fall asleep when two other new missionaries came and we went to the mission home and got our new companions!
Sister Cocker and Sister Schaelling
     So my companion is Sister Cocker and she is Tongan! Ah she is amazing! i love her! She is so kind and awesome. But more on that later. After we got our new companions it was time to go back to our areas. So how do we get back to our areas? We have to drive. Guess whose companion doesnt have a liscence? Sister Schaellings! Guess who got to drive a car full of three other missionaries through down town Brisbane on the opposite side of the road for 40 minutes? Sister Schaelling! HOLY COW. Alls im gonna say is it is not as easy as it looks driving through the city on the opposite side of the road without dying!! Good grief good thing we are on the Lords errand here!
     So that was an adventure to say the least. We came home and had some bomb companionship study! Sister Cocker talked about how she loves role plays and they are so important. She goes all out during role plays its amazing. These polynesians are just so great. I felt the Spirit so much just during one hour of comp study. Thats how it should always be! We live in a flat with two other Sisters. Sister Bennelack who is Australian and Sister Fau who is from New Zealand and she is Samoan/Cook Islander. They are both lovely.  i love living with other missionaries :)
     The next day was great, we tracted and taught some lessons. That night we taught Leann an investigator about tithing at a members home. She is great and the members were so lovely! Samoans and all so nice. There was like a million of them everywhere :) Saturday was awesome we went and did service for a lady Debbie she had been tracted out earlier. She is moving out so we were helping her move and both her and her nephew who were there were just so grateful and so kind. We taught Debbie for a little bit before she left and we were talking about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and she just started crying saying how hard her last few years have been. We gave her a book of Mormon for her to always keep, to ready and to pray about, to find comfort and peace. She told us when we came to her door and offered to help she felt that God was looking out for her. :) It is such an opportunity and a blessing to be the Lords hands.
     That night we were tracting in Park Ridge and this is a place where driveways are really really long and people live far back in the bush as they call it. So we were walking down this driveway and it was forever long! And we saw like seven kangaroos by the way! That was awesome :) Anyway we were joking that hopefully these people listen to us or are interested because at this rate we will only tract this one house before it gets dark and we have to stop. But i honestly didnt think they would be interested. Finallyyyy we made it and we knocked the door. This lady answered. Were missionaries, we said. We have a message for you. She looked at us both. "Come right in." She said. With eyebrows raised we stepped into her house. She got us some juice and then just turn and looked at us. "I can't believe yous are here." She said. She told us how she had just been at her darkest hour, thinking of her life and all the many mistakes she had made. How she had just been wondering if there was anything worth it anymore--how she had just made so many mistakes. She just started crying in from of us saying she just couldnt believe we knocked on her door. "Yous must be a blessing in disguise." she said. We sat with her and listened while she told us of all the hard, terrible things she had been through. hard hard things. We listened for a long while and then taught her about Jesus Christ. How when he came to earth He suffered for her. How everything that she had ever been through so had He. How he was on the cross for her, how He rose again on the third day for her. It was just so emotional for all of us especially her. She said she was so happy that we came but she knew that when we left it would just be terrible again. So we gave her a book of Mormon and told her how this was a piece of us, a piece of love from her Heavenly Father to her, how this book has power to chase away darkness and fill our souls with light. "Id like yous to come back," she said to us :) We accepted that invitation no problem :)
      So i was pondering this experience after it happened. And i thought about her, Sherrillee is her name, and all the hard things she has had to go through. Like hard, hard stuff. Things i have never ever had to deal with. I thought of how strong she must be to keep going. I thought of what might have happened if we hadnt decided to walk down her forever long driveway. And i learned more about the Spirit. How our lives are not really our own. We as missionaries were needed to help Sherrilee. How the many times i have been helped by others, my family my friends- how people have said or done things that have had great impact on me and they didnt even know. Its amazing how the Lord works through us when we show him we want to follow him. Because i am such an imperfect missionary and have so much to learn about teaching and listening and working hard. But i am thankful the Lord still works through us all despite our imperfections. it is by grace we are saved after all that we can do :)
      Allright, so after Saturday, comes Sunday! Church was lovely yesterday and the Park Ridge ward is HUGE! and it is full of Poly's! Tongans and Samoans! They are beautiful people and all so loving!  Also there are New Zealanders and Chinese and bunch of other nationalities in the ward it is amazing. And they do the latino cheek kiss here which i just love:) Church was so good and after we went to this big dinner with a bunch of members which was way fun!

      My time is running out! Australia is amazing! A lot like England! and they have cadbury and MALTESERS here! i ate some and it was a beautiful moment! :) My companion is amazing and a master listener and teacher. Seriously when she teaches i just wanna soak it in she is so good! She is helping me know how to listen to the Spirit and not worry so much about what to say. I am still struggling with my nerves when i teach but i am getting a little better each time. I love being a missionary especially here in the land down under!!!   aussies forever!
love you all
Sister Schaelling
p.s.  also they say "Yous" for you plural here and a bunch of other things! my comp is tongan from new zealand and sometimes she says things and i just look at her like whaaat did you just say? haha

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