Friday, February 20, 2015

Week 80

First of all, a very happy birthday wish to my ireland-bound big sister! Rest assured i will be sending all 70 versions of the "happy birthday" song your way on the 18th. And i hear that the irish can put the aussies to shame in the pubs, so just because you can doesn't mean you should, okay?

Alright well this past week WAS a good week, but literally 10 minutes ago i got pulled over for speeding and got a huge fine... dangit. I just get so excited for P-day. So that's a pretty rotten start to this new week but its all good. the mission office is going to pay it, and then just give me a little bit less money for the next couple months. haha good thing i know how to budget, right? but anyways...

It was a pretty sweet week last week, but it was pretty strange. both elder stewart and i last night after planning agreed that it was a very strange week. haha but it started off with something pretty awesome. We've got a baptismal date! he's the husband of one of our members and we met with him last P-day and he agreed to baptism. His name is Gary. Please keep him in your prayers these next couple weeks. He's an awesome guy. So that wasn't very weird, but things started to get strange from there. We met with a recently reactivated member who got re-baptised in june of last year and he told us that he was planning to go up to dubbo to have his toe removed (the one next to the big one, don't worry, i asked) because it had an ulcer and was really bothering him. we dropped by later in the week and it turned out he didn't end up doing it, because the doctor told him it would heal up soon. so that was a bit of a let down for us, but hey, we keep the faith. Then we went tracting and knocked on the door of this Samoan guy who told us he grew up in the church in Samoa, but then decided he didn't believe it and left so we were talking to him for a bit. And i had one of those moments where one minute we're discussing the reunification of the tribes of israel and then nek minute this guys is giving us a detailed (with actions) description of how he recently got "the snip". and i think to myself, how the hell did we make THAT jump? hahaha So that was very strange. Then we had an in-depth discussion with our investigator on whether or not pot is against the commandments. haha he's a funny guy. and THEN on saturday our branch president called us and told us that he was having trouble in sydney and wouldn't be able to make it back in time for church so he asked if we would cover for him. and we come to find out that everyone happened to be on holiday this weekend so elder Stewart and I were the only priesthood holders at church. and we had 4 members in the audience... so elder stewart conducted, we blessed and passed, then i spoke, and elder stewart did the sunday school lesson. haha it was pretty strange. it was still church, and the same spirit was there, but just was a bit different than usual. haha But there was something pretty cool that happened on sunday. 

We were on our way to the chapel to set up the sacrament and stuff and as we're driving, this car behind us starts flashing their brights and waving for us to pull over. So i pull over and start praying that this guys isn't about to come and punch my lights out or something and he walks up and says "Elders! i'm brother Mirrel. Where's your chapel?" so we told him to follow us and when we got to the chapel he explained to us that he's a member from Cairns (pronounced Cans, i don't know, apparently those letters are allowed to make that sound...) and he was in mudgee visiting his father, who's in hospital at the moment. so he looked up the church in the phone book and got the address and went to it and there was no church there so he was about to go back to his dad's when he sees the white toyota corolla with a tow-ball and guys in suits driving it so he chased us down! haha mudgee's a pretty small town, but that's still a pretty dang big coincidence. I believe it was a tender mercy of the lord, allowing this guy to find a way to go to church and partake of the sacrament. and then after church we went and gave his dad a blessing. it was a really cool experience. He's the man, and he had the most authentic australian accent i've ever heard. it was sweet. 
This saturday Elder Bednar is coming! it's just like christmas! pretty happy i'm not in leadership for it so i don't have to worry about logistics and travel stuff. i just have to do what i'm told. I'll take good notes and share with you what i learn next week. Love you all! Happy b-day Jess! wish i was there to smash that birthday dinner!


Elder Tingey

Week 79

Another one down, 28 left... yes, i know how many weeks i have left. no, i'm not trunky. i just like math, okay? hahah It was a pretty good week.

We had zone training meeting on friday so we did trade-offs with cowra elders on thursday to save some K's because somehow they are already pretty much out of Ks. it's really annoying, but thats okay. we charity them. ya, it's a new term i made up. it's like a "we love them because christ loves them and we love christ." if there was no mediator, it might be a bit different... hahaha just kidding they're awesome. I was with Elder Smith. It was pretty sweet. They left their car in Bathurst and we picked them up, which is what saved them their K's and they both came to mudgee. so elder smith and i only had the car for half the day. and then we were on foot. and that's when the good stuff happened! We walked past the basketball courts and saw this kid playing by himself so we walked over and asked if we could play with him and he said Ya! soon one of his friends showed up so we played 2 on 2. "ties vs. singlets" (they call tank-tops singlets here. don't worry. it's not like a wrestling singlet) Elder smith played basketball in high-school and could possibly play in college when he goes home so he's pretty good. and i don't think these kids were expecting it, but we CLOWNED them. hahaha it was great. it was like 7-0 before their other friends showed up and we got another game going. haha it was great. they were cool guys and we got their phone number so me and elder stewart can go play some more with them. we probably won't be as impressive anymore, but we're not there just to win basketball games, right? 

Another interesting thing that happened was while we were studying, our door just opened and in walked President and Sister Back! haha luckily we were warned by the senior couple in bathurst that it was going to happen so we had the flat all clean for them. They were coming up to do interviews for the zone and they wanted to surprise some of the missionaries with a visit and they wanted to see our area because they've never been to mudgee or dubbo or these outlying areas. So we showed them around and then had interviews at the chapel, which took forever because they weren't expecting the cowra elders to be there, but it was really good. and then they shouted us lunch at KFC. They are the best. President told me i am definitely leaving next transfer. He wants me using chinese. haha he does NOT care about the element of suspense. It just means i have 4 weeks to enjoy the bush while i've got it and then it's somewhere else. Hopefully it's a walking area. We got a scale last week so i can start my 6 months to sexy a little early! hahaha

Our zone training meeting was really good. short and sweet. the best kind of zone meeting. haha but it was good. took some good stuff out of it and hopefully can apply it. and then we had our zone p-day. It was heaps of fun. we had a barbie and then did a ping-pong tournament because the orange chapel has ping-pong tables. and then we played "gadianton Robbers" which is like "werewolf" or "Mafia" but the people are all switched to book of mormon characters so that was fun. and then we drove home. haha i've decided i don't like driving anymore. it's really the worst. I like that i have 2 hours to digest the training we had, but traveling takes it out of me. i feel smashed when i get back home. and then there's still like 5 hours of proselyting left! 

We got to go out to visit a part-member family and help them put up their trampoline. you'd think it would be pretty simple, but that thing was the most complicated tramp i've ever seen. It had the safety net and all that stuff and it didn't come with instructions so we had a bunch of self-appointed architects trying to construct it, but we finally figured it out. and we were hoping to see them at church yesterday but they didn't make it 

Over all it was a great week. hope you all have a good one as well! Church is true! Love all y'all!

Elder Tingey

Where's Waldo??

Week 78

Mudgee mate. a sweet as place. It was a good week. Last P-day we went to a place called 'hands on Rock'. Its this wall where like forever ago aboriginals did some wall paintings where they put this paint stuff in their mouths and then put their hand on the rock and blew the paint onto their hand and it made an outline. So there's a bunch of hands all over this wall. it was pretty cool, but they were really faded and hard to see. plus, it just seems like a really inefficient way of making hand prints on a wall... haha just kidding. but i'll send a pic of them. and it was only a 600 m hike to them! 

Wednesday we were supposed to meet jennie, but we showed up and nobody was there... haha she placed our pigeons! (hopefully dad gets that) so we walked around and talked to people for a while and then we walked back past the park and we saw her! and i made eye contact with her and she got up, speed-walked to her car, and drove away...haha lets just say that it's a good thing hell and damn are not swear words here or else i think i would have a lot of pent-up frustration inside me... so THAT was disappointing, but that's alright. It's after the trial of your faith that the witness comes. hopefully the trial isn't TOO much longer. 

We had dinner with one of the members on saturday and they invited Greg over! haha we haven't been able to see him in ages. it was really good. hopefully he's going to have us up to his farm to help him do some fencing. apparently that's really hard work so we'll see how we go.

We called on of the formers in our area book that came to church for like 3 months last year and he told us we could come over! so we went over on friday afternoon and had a chat. he's cool to keep meeting with us and come back to church, but he said he cant get baptized because of his dad... He's way nice. and he reads the book of mormon all the time so we are just going to get him back to church and start there.

Yesterday was the first time in a year that i was able to relax on sunday night and not worry about numbers! it was bliss. i'm loving being released. Elder stewart's not as keen on it though for some reason... haha he's a good district leader. 

Okay sorry this is short, but we only get half a p-day this week because they're doing a zone p-day and since our zone is so spread out they got permission to do it after ztm this friday so we all have to end p-day at 1:00. Hope they have something fun planned... haha all goods, i know how it is to plan a zone p-day that everyone will enjoy. (and by everyone i mean the sisters) haha okay everyone have a great week and i love you all heaps and heaps! Cheers.

-Elder Tingey

Hands on rock

Studs on deck at Hands On Rock

Hands on Hands On Rock

Week 77

Great week. Lots of good stuff going on. 

First off, not much happened with transfers this past week. only two people from our zone left. Elder Weller, one of our zone leaders, and sister Paongo, from bathurst. So Me and Elder Stewart are gonna smash it out for another one here in Mudgee mate! Haha it was pretty funny because usually there's like the element of suspense and surprise of where you're going or whats happening with transfers but i don't think president back is a big fan of that because he called us on thursday and told us pretty much what's going on for the next two transfers. He said i will be here for another, and then i will leave and elder stewart will be here for one after me and then he'll leave. haha so there's transfers for next time for ya! haha but the big news, i guess is that Elder Stewart has replaced me as the district leader! Its been a year now since i've not been in leadership so it feels good. 

Last week we had trade-offs with the zone leaders and it was really good. I was with elder Howse. He's from michigan and he's a solid elder. We went to contact people in the park and the first person we talked to told us to sit down at the table with her and share our message! it was pretty cool. So we sat down and gave her an overview of the restoration and she said we could meet up again tomorrow so we've got high hopes for her. Her name is Jennie. 

Saturday we had a barbie for australia day with the branch. It was awesome. somehow i ended up on grilling duties and i have to say, i brought my country and family honor. everyone was impressed that the american could handle a barbie. haha but the best part was that there were heaps of people there that i didn't even know! got to know a family that the mom is a member, but hasn't been to church in a while, but the kids are all youth age and we played cricket with them for ages at the bbq. we're hoping to start up a sports night and get some youth coming out to it. 

Sorry this is a random comment, but i don't know where to fit it in, but we went on a hike on p-day last and i saw a sea eagle pick up an eel from a river and fly away and then it dropped it back into the water. It was probably the coolest thing ever... haha

I got the package with the pictures and caramels so thank you very much! It was so awesome to go through the pictures and see what yous all have been up to this past year! Looks like a lot of fun. I DID realize, however, that i never got our christmas card... did i get one sent to me? haha i had a huge stack of them from people that sent me christmas cards and everyone thought they were all regular letters so i got a few disgusted looks when i picked them up from the mission office... haha #hatersgonnahate And then last week i got the package from president backs daughter. The senior couple had it when we slept over there for DTM on thursday night (she must have just dropped it off at the mission office) and i was so confused because it was just an REI bag and pringles in plastic bags. haha i had no idea how it got here because it had no postage or anything but i figured it out soon enough. thank you thank you thank you! American lollies are the best ones! Which daughter was that and how did you get in contact with her? 

I have 5 transfers left now so i've split up all the christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel and i'm going to focus on a couple every transfer until i go home. This transfer is Faith and Hope. We'll see if i can be a little more faithful and hopeful by the end of it. Love you all! have a wonderful week! Church is true!


Elder Tingey

Tracted into a wombat...

This is the river the eagle was in. 

Week 76

Alright sorry about last week it was a bit crazy trying to get everyone emailed so i figured i'd make sure i didn't take away too much time from the others. 

The trade off went well. Since Cowra is so far away we just drove down on sunday night and blitzed it with both companionships for p day and tuesday. It was really fun and we got some serious stuff done. Its elder Fitzner and Elder Smith down there. Not sure if you know, but i lived with elder smith for two transfers in canberra. He's Elder Bowcut's son. I was with Elder Fitzner and we worked pretty much the whole day in a small town called Woodstock... hahaha it was pretty good. Not much reception, but there were some pretty funny people there. One guy was a jehovah's witness for like 20 years and now is atheist.. not sure how that happens, but he was nice to us. And then it started raining on us while we were tracting, so we racked in the wife points...haha. It was really good, though. Those are some good elders and we had lots of fun even though their flat is only meant for 2 people so we had one on the floor every night but we switched off so it was alright. I think trade-offs are like everything else in the church for me. Like, when i am supposed to be teaching, or training, or leading or doing stuff like that i am pretty confident i learn more than the people i'm teaching or training. Haha not sure if that's a good thing or not, but its true. 

Our mission is reading the book of mormon together again and its been pretty awesome. I'm focusing on the attributes of Christ as i read through, which i'm doing in Chinese (pinyin) and i've learned a lot from it. I love the book of mormon. Theres times when i spend my whole personal study on just reading the book of mormon. I had the chance to have my testimony of the book of mormon questioned this past week and it made me do a lot of thinking on how i know the book of mormon is true. I never got to hold the plates, or sit under joseph smith's voice or stand in the sacred grove and witness the first vision, but i also never got to walk the shores of Galilee or the streets of Jerusalem, or the Garden of Gethsemane, or calvary with Christ, but I know he lived and that he is my saviour. So the only way i can confess that Jesus is the Christ is by the power of the Holy Ghost and i confess the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration by the same exact power. I hope everyone takes every opportunity possible to read it. It truly is the most correct of any book on earth. 

We had a branch council this past week. It was really good. It was the first one since i've been here and i'm pretty sure its the first one since like ever so it was awesome! We set goals for the year and i think it will be good for the branch to have something to work towards. Our first step is an activity this saturday for Australia day. they were going to have it on monday, which is actual australia day, but we convinced them that since it's transfers monday they should do it saturday so now we can go to it. Its a barbecue hahaha it would be inappropriate to do anything else on australia day. haha every time we have a barby someone always inevitably will turn to me and say "pay attention and you can take this back to America and teach them how to have a real barby!" haha so we'll see if i can learn the australian way and cook yous up some nice lamb chops when i get back:) yes, i do like lamb. It's different, but it's nice. Really fatty. But they said they are going to set up a volleyball net so we'll have to put on a clinic for them... hahaha i kindof like doing activities with branches because its small enough that you don't have to worry too much about planning, but its big enough that it's fun. We've got 11 non members that we're hoping to get there and then everyone else that we invite off the street. 

Okay so something happened that was pretty dang funny, but a bit inappropriate so you'll have to take out this paragraph if you put it on the blog. haha so one of our members was giving a talk in sacrament meeting and she was talking on families and it was awesome. Really inspiring about how we can have stronger family relationships. But then she wanted to show a mormon message (yes, in sacrament, its a small branch, what do ya do?) but she turns on the tv and puts in her usb and it comes up and just starts playing and it was kindof dark so i couldn't pick out what it was at first but then i realized that it was a video of someone doing an excercise routine on a vertical pole... hahahahahaha it was hilarious. and she quickly stopped it and changed it to "enduring Love" but everyone noticed it and was laughing. Not something i really expected to see in a sacrament meeting. but hey, anything goes, right? hahahaha

Alright, well, i love you all! I'll be thinking about you and praying with you this weekend! Yous are the best. thank you for your support! i really can feel it every day. have an awesome week! xoxoxoxo 12344444444445!


Elder Tingey

also, i just got an email from one of the sisters i was in MTC with and she just got home last tuesday.......