Sunday, November 24, 2013

Family Ties

August 18, 2013
Good day family! 

Yes, I did get to meet up with Aunt Carol! It was great. We were in Canberra and ended up with a little free time so we decided to drop by her place for a surprise visit but no one was home so we went to the car and called her but no answer. We had to make a few other calls so we just stayed in the car and took care of business. Then she pulled up next to us and caught us there waiting! haha it was funny. We then went to dinner and it was really nice. It was so funny to see another Sherman. Definitely felt like family. We went to the Parliament House which was real fun.  It's funny because for anyone else, spending 90 minutes in Canberra for leisure time wouldn't even be worth the breath but for us those 90 minutes felt like a 3 week vacation! haha! That's just how it goes. I'll send pictures later on.

This week showed lots of miracles as we went down through the south coast and up through Canberra. A highlight of my week was when Elder Tonga'onevai and I went tracting in some humble living circumstances. Apparently this block of units is named by the missionaries, the "Miracle Blocks". That it was. It is a government housing facility for many young families and students who struggle with money while they do their studies at the nearby univeristy. In 90 minutes we found 5 potential investigators, set up 1 return appointment, and were invited in by a young vietnamese family to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was shocked when the young mother named Nga simply said "Ok, come in, we will have you teach us." We had an excellent lesson. They are Buddhist in background, so it was interesting for me to teach them about our beliefs. I had the opportunity to bear my testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and I felt the spirit very strong. That was a blessing for me to have that experience. 
Our investigator named Gabriella showed up to church again as well. Last week we had a somewhat informal lesson with her, but this week we had our first scheduled meeting that went really well. After a long, very intense lesson of the restoration we stressed the importance of the Book of Mormon. Gabriella said that she feels like something is missing in her life but she doesn't know what. Her member friends seem to have a "rock" in their lives that really strengthens them and that's what she wants. At first we thought that the rock she was missing was commandment keeping but as she expressed how she doesn't drink or smoke or hook up with guys and stuff, we realized that all she is now missing is the ordinances of salvation. We read Helaman 5:12 with her (build your foundation on the rock of our Redeemer) and explained that the way we build our foundation of the rock of Jesus Christ is by being baptised. We then invited her to be baptised and she said yes!!!! However, she is very aware that before she is baptised she must gain faith and repentance and she said that she would be baptised on the condition that she knew it was true. We then assured her that there is no way we will let her get baptised without first developing faith and repenting. Wow that was a spiritually draining lesson. She is one of the most intense (intense is the best word I can think of) investigators that I have ever had. I am SO grateful to be able to teach her though, because it is forcing me to use every ounce of Spirit that I can feel. I am learning so much already from this teaching experience. It is very humbling. 

The Australia Sydney South Mission is definitely catching the wave of missionaries. When the mission split, our mission had a whopping 85 missionaries. By the end of the year, we will have 200. President Lew is very inspired, and under his direction we are having a lot of success. We are also baptising many more people and the missionaries are very happy. I know the Lord is Hastening his work!

By the way, I put that text in red. Everything that is red, you can just make that my 8th ward newsletter post. :)

I'm looking forward to this week! I hope you all have a great week as well!

Love, Elder Thompson

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