Week 1 in Australia has been great! So much has happened I don't even know where to begin! I guess first of all I should let you know that their accents are AWESOME!!!! I love listening to people talk! The first day or two I couldn't stop smiling whenever I talked to anyone just because I was so focused on their great accents. Also they have some different words that they say a lot. I'm starting to pick up on some of them and it's funny to hear myself say things like "thanks mate", "g'day", "heaps", and "no worries."
The MTC was a hard, yet great, experience where I learned a ton and worked my tail off. I made friends with people from all over the world! There were two Sisters (girl missionaries) that I got pretty close to that were from Colombia and the United Kingdom! It was incredible to hear all about various people's stories and hear where they came from and why they decided to go on a mission. It really made me think hard about why I was out here and what I expected out of this experience. I had some incredible spiritual experiences where I was able to help people out in miraculous ways. It's amazing how much you can do when you are reading your scriptures everyday, praying to God multiple times a day, and doing what you're supposed to be doing when you're supposed to be doing it!
The flight to Australia was crazy! I took a flight from Salt Lake City, Utah to LA where we stayed for about 3 hours and then a flight from LA to Sydney, Australia! On my plane ride to LA, I sat next to this woman from Peru. We talked about her life and why she was in Utah. She is a truly remarkable individual! She had a record deal with some company that I don't remember the name of for two years and then started her own business selling her spanish, religious music. We connected right away and talked the entire plane ride. We talked a lot about religion her background with the Catholic church. I talked about a lot of simple church topics and answered a few of her questions and then I gave her a mormon.org card! That was my first mormon.org card so I was pretty proud of myself (: By the way, for those of you who are not Mormon and are reading this, if you ever have any questions about the Mormon church and want to know about what we believe in, go to www.mormon.org and you can learn all about it! There is a tab in the upper right side marked FAQ (frequently asked questions) and you can learn heaps about it! Anyways, back to my story. So she took the card with my email address and church website/information and she gave me her information too so I could contact her to check up and see what she learned and if she has any questions. That was a super cool experience for me and I can't wait to have more of those kinds of experiences!
The flight from LA to Australia was nuts. It was 16 hours (I think) and I slept for about 12 of those hours! I flew with about 25-30 other missionaries on Qantas and they were great! That plane was the biggest plane I've ever seen in my life! They served dinner and breakfast on the plane! It wasn't the best food but it was still pretty good! I didn't get the chance to talk to the woman sitting next to me as much on this plane since we were both sleeping for most of it. But for the short period of time that we were both awake (usually while eating) we talked a little bit about religion. Australians do not like religion, I found out. She was very polite about it but she was clearly not interested in religion or God in any way, but she was very impressed with our dedication to something we believe in.
Today is day 6 in Australia and I'm loving it! I'm all settled into our flat (one story apartment) and I'm feeling good! My companion is Elder Coats and he's great! He's from Utah. We're getting along really well. I've met all of the branch members and it's great. For those of you who want to know I'm in Narooma right now, which is about 4 hours south of Sydney. It is BEAUTIFUL!! We are one of the few missions aloud to be near a beach and it's great! We live really close to the ocean, we can open our windows and hear the water! I am amazed at the beauty of this country. The people hear are all super nice, but very set in their ways. Elder Coats has been in this area for 3 months and he's had two baptisms. Australia is a hard area to teach, but it's still great! Our area is more of a service-type mission than anything else. We are doing service like yard work and cleaning at least 5 hours a day! We spend a lot of time with church members and strengthening their relationship with each other and to God.
I hope all is well in the United States! I love and miss each and every one of you very much! Hopefully I'll have great stories to tell you soon! I love the Lord so much and I know that he cares about us all. Jesus Christ atoned for my sins, as well as all of yours, so we could live with our loving Heavenly Father again someday. We were sent here on this Earth to be tested and tried so we could prove to our Father in Heaven that we are his true followers. I will show my love for Him and His gospel by giving Him the next two years of my life and focusing on the Lord. I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity I have to be here in Australia to bless the lives of others. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know that the Bible and Book of Mormon are true scriptures and have the power to bless many lives. I have a strong testimony in the power of prayer. Prayer is our connection with God. It is through prayer that we can communicate with Him and he can communicate back to us.l love this church very much and I am so thankful to have it be a part of my life.
I love you all!