This week was our first full week in Ballina!! Wow opening and area is pretty exciting and awkward because we have no idea who anybody is. But i kind of like it that way because im awkward anyway so at least now i have an excuse! We have two investigators from the elders which is a blessing, one named Judith who is 80 something and reminds me of Grandma Meservy sooo much. And then Shane who has been being taught by the elders for years now and also studies with the Jehovahs witnesses.
|Carlyl and Her Grandma Meservy, 2006|
So this week we have 15 hours of tracting, the most ive ever had in my mission. I never realized how tiring tracting is until we do it all the time haha. We tracted in Gladstone but it was usually only around 5-6 hours a week because we were teaching so much. Im thankful for this opportunity to improve my finding skills. Being in Ballina is so humbling for me! Ive never had to start with nothing in an area before, but its honestly great and i love it because we can lay the foundation for future missionaries and hopefully build a solid area. With patience and faith we will see miracles!
One of my favorite things to do is sing in lessons because its like BOOM, spirit is here. And i love singing with Sister Stanton because she has a beautiful alto voice and make me sound better haha. We got to sing at a less active ladies house and i was happy :) Cool story--we were tracting in this tiny town out in the whoop whoops (in the country haha) and we found a part member family! Wayyy inactive but we were excited! On that same street we also talked to a Jehovah's Witness family and the man was sooo nice. I think he is the nicest Jdub ive met. But very firm. Ive learned on my mission theres nothing wrong with being firm right back, but we have to be kind. But ive also learned that you can see in peoples eyes and hear in their voice if they are honest in heart, if they are ready to hear the message of the restored Gospel. Some people are just there to argue doctrine and try to wind us up.....nope, i will smile and testify that God loves all His children! I made a committment to myself that i refuse to let peoples words got to me and cause contention. Even if they are saying terrible things about what i believe or words that i know dont come from God, i dont have to get angry or frustrated and start bashing them. Some missionaries/people feel that they have to bash right back to defend what they believe in...it reminds me of Peter cutting off the soldiers ear, and Jesus is like, "Peter, thanks for the enthusiasm but i could have twelve legions of angels in no time to protect me! Dont worry." There are a lot of Jehovahs Witnesses in Australia and im learning heaps about their faith!
Also this week we saw and inactive man named Noel, he was super cool. He stood and talked to us at the door for ages. He has super long gray/white hair and is skinny. He told us everything about why he left the church and he let us come in to share a message. He also played "Hotel California"oh his guitar for us haha. He was so funny, his stories.
We have zone conference this friday at Mudgeeraba which is like and hour and a half away and we all have to drive individually so our cars can get inspected. Yay!!...driving in Gold Coast for sister Schaelling! :) Nah its not even bad anymore. Ballina is a wonderful, quiet place. The Ward loves us, it was great on Sunday, there was more people there. We had dinner at bishop Fuggle's house and practically half the ward was there. Everyone in Lismore ward is related it seems! Sister Stanton and I are trying to figure it out, who belongs to who.
We did service and the Cooke family's cleaning and they gave us a ton of old Ensigns. Missionaries love ensigns:) I was reading in one from like the 80s and there was an article about divine questions, that the Savior asks. Ive started writing down all the questions the Savior asks starting in Matthew.,..its so cool. I love them! "Why are ye fearful, oh ye of little faith?" "Believest thou that i am able to do this?" "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" and one of my most favorites that Dad pointed out to me that i use all the time "Will ye also go away?" and the amazing response, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." I think of that so often when things are hard on my mission or when i see members, less active, and recent converts struggle...to whom shall we go?
i love you all so much!
Missionary work is the best. All things are hard in the beginning it seems, but blessings always come! I love you all so much!!