Hello! Greetings from "Australier" as my Mainer friends like to call it. I suppose I should fill you in on my life since I haven't written in two weeks and I switched continents and all. I really confused one member in the Skowhegan ward since they asked me, "wait, Australia is in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission?" haha. Dang, those boundaries are weird!
My last week in Maine was amazing. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone that I loved there, but it was nice to know I had a week to do it. We had a big lasagna bake off and Sister Davis and I were the judges... I didn't have the heart to tell the ward members I don't like lasagna. hahaha. But it was super good. A good time was had by all. :) Last Sunday night I had to hug Sister Davis goodbye and drive to Manchester to stay at the mission home. I got there and talked to President Stoker for a bit then I said, "President, I hope you know you broke my heart." And he laughed, and then we both teared up because he realized I wasn't joking. hahaha. And then last Monday morning I hopped on a plane... and then another, and another, and another. And Wednesday morning I finally made it to Australia! Yayyy! I felt like death, and I looked like it too! We landed in the biggest storm Sydney has seen in over a decade. So that was an interesting welcome. They didn't even pull the plane up to the airport. We had to take a bus in from the runway. hahaha. But we went to the mission office and went through a bunch of meetings and I got assigned an area and a companion! My new companion is Sister Albano and she is from the Philippines. She's only been out 2 months longer than me. We are shotgunning the Sutherland Shire. So we both took all of our bags and moved in Wednesday night to our flat in Caringbah. We're reopening the area for Sisters so we have no one to teach and no one knows we're here. hahaha. But we don't have a car, so we have plenty of opportunities to meet people on the street!
Thursday was less than overly productive. You can't get much done when you don't understand what people are saying, you don't have a car or a GPS, and you have no idea where you are. haha. But we met a member in the nursing home. Her name is Sister Stammers and she's 104! Kinda crazy! That night we were trying to navigate the streets and this man ran up to us and said, "Hi Sisters!" We asked him how he knew we were sister missionaries, and he told us he had grown up in the church and that his name was Mike. He even tried reciting the first article of faith to prove it to us. This was such a huge blessing because his records aren't here seeing as he just arrived a few weeks ago. He gave us his number and said we could stop by and share a message with him. We haven't been able to get ahold of him yet, but hopefully he will answer sometime this week. It was pretty rad.
Friday we had meetings all day. We met our zone and then met our ward mission leader. We FINALLY got information of the area so that was a huge blessing. We don't have a car so we walk a lot. We walked an hour to try to see a less active member and she wouldn't let us in. So that was pretty darn annoying. But we went to Jason and Betheny's house and that was awesome! They're active members and they have the two cutest daughters in the world! Betheny is having a baby boy this week so we went over and helped them get their apartment ready for the new arrival. We had dinner with them too and they gave us a few referrals of people we could maybe teach. Wahoo!
Saturday was Anzac day! So the streets were covered in drunk people and no stores were open. hahaha. But we taught a less active member named Julie. She has some special needs so when taught her the Plan of Salvation using an object lesson. It was pretty fun. We taught another less active member named Carol. She's Samoan and is pretty cool. We talked about the temple and how excited she is to go there after she makes some necessary changes in her life.
Sunday was an adventure. We caught the train to Kirrawee from Caringbah and tried to find the church house. We only got lost once. haha. The members here are super nice. Islanders love to make sure we are fed! One member gave us stuff to make pizza in the middle of sacrament meeting. hahaha. We also met the Katoa family. They're less active and probably the coolest people I've ever met. Kafi, the dad, is a boxer and told Sister Albano and I that he'd train us.
It's Monday afternoon now and this morning was super cool because we took Mafi up on his offer! We started our boxing training! It was super awesome and Mafi says I'm a little white Mike Tyson. He also wants me to beat up anyone who tries dating me when I get back to the states. hahaha.
Australia is great. The people here are wonderful and I'm learning a lot. I'm really just trying to stay positive and focused on why I'm here. I'm so grateful that I have an opportunity to be on a mission and to represent the Lord! I miss home and I miss Skowhegan, but I know that God has a plan and the shire is part of it. Sending my love and my prayers, I'll write again next week.
Sister Danielle Laree Stott
Sister Danielle Laree Stott
U 21 17/21 Mansfield Ave.
Caringbah, NSW 2229