It is such a wonderful thing to be working with these strong, faithful young men and women who have found joy in sharing their testimonies of the Book of Mormon and the plan of salvation here in the Australia Melbourne Mission. They are happy souls. They are learning unconditional love for those they meet and for each other. As you look closely at the following picture, you will notice an Elder from Utah with his hand on the shoulder of an Elder from China. They are companions. I have watched them and have been touched by the patience and love the Utah Elder has shown to the Chinese Elder as he has worked tirelessly and diligently to help his companion as he struggles, to become proficient with the english language. The Chinese Elder also helps his companion to stay focused on the work. They are amazing missionaries.
We have been doing some family history in our down time and have been asked by one of the sister missionaries from Germany for help with hers. She has not been a member for very long and has very little done. It is fun to help her and her companion. Her companion pictured here, has quite a bit done already.
We were asked to go up into the bush to give sacrament meeting talks to a small branch in Echuca, Victoria. We drove up Saturday and when we got to the town, we took a ride on a steam powered paddle boat down the Murray River. I took a picture of an old paddle boat from 1891 called the Etona. Notice the cross. It was used by missionaries from the Church of England at that time traveling up and down the river doing missionary work and holding services on the paddle boat. The Echuca branch is about 3.5 hours from Melbourne. We were housed and fed by a wonderful family, the Ludbeys. He is in the Branch Presidency. The Branch only has about 20 people attending the meetings. I think they called it a twig :). It was amazing, I felt such a strong beautiful spirit there. This family routinely hosts a scripture study night and they have people from all different faiths attending…Catholics, protestants, etc…..truly an ecumenical group.
I think the rainy season is upon us. We have seen quite a bit of rain in the last couple of weeks but it does not deter us from our exercise. I have not been as brave as my companion. I sometimes retreat to the stationary bike in the garage but have been known to venture out on occasion with my $2 poncho which does not keep me very dry. :). When we go into the city or elsewhere to meet with missionaries, I wear my trench coat which is quite adequate.
Hope you are all well. I love you bunches…..