Monday, June 29, 2015

Sometimes Members Poison You on Purpose....

So sometimes people don't understand our purpose as missionaries. Monday after p-day we went to an appointment to meet an investigator and he thought we were on a date. So it was really awkward and he didn't like how we just wanted to talk about the Gospel. Haha. That's always fun. Also, hair dressers are really expensive here. So Sister Moon is now the assigned companionship hair cutter. She does a good job. No split end is safe. ;)  
Tuesday was great. We taught a lesson to an investigator the last sisters had, but he isn't too keen on believing in God. So he didn't want to have another lesson. Then we went and taught a lesson to Kieren! We met him on the street a few weeks ago when he was waiting for his mates, so we started chatting. And we finally caught him at home! At first he didn't seem too interested in our message, but after listening to us for like ten minutes his whole countenance changed! It was really really neat. I love this Gospel!!!! Then we tried to go see Vanessa and she apparently gave us the wrong address and wrong phone number. So we are now on a mission to tract that entire suburb and find her. 
Wednesday our first two appointments of the day stood us up, but no worries! We still met Samuel, and he is really really keen. He has a lot of good soul searching questions and in the words of Sister Moon is "totes baptizable." hahaha. I think that missions make people really weird, because things like that are really funny to me now. We went tracting a lot as well, and that was a bit rough. But no worries. One day someone super keen will answer the door. :) So we'll keep knocking! Also, we got invited over to a member's home for tea.... I thought that when someone invites you over for tea that's just like hot choc and bickies. But NO! It's a full blown meal. So yea, we shouldn't have had dinner before our tea date. 
Thursday was wonderful because it was Zone Conference! Our zone is super rad. President and Sister Back gave amazing training and I really need to step up my game. My favorite quote was from one of the Assistants and he said, "You need to grow your faith so strong that you can jump out of the boat and not be surprised when you walk on water." I thought, "Dang! Where do I get that kind of faith?!" After Zone Conference we hurried back to Wollongong for an appointment, but they stood us up. So that wasn't very nice. But we had dinner with Katrina as usual, and that made my heart happy. :) 
Friday was consumed by heaps of planning, but no worries. Everything needs a plan! :) I have developed a very unhealthy addiction to the area book and my planner.... And I like it. Then we had a list of heaps of less actives we were going to visit, but we made the mistake of going to see a particular one first. We had four hours to visit people and by time we got a word in to say we had to go we only had thirty minutes left.... Some people here REALLY love to chat. But it was a really good visit. :) We also had a Ward Trivia Night, which was super fun. :) A lot of people in the ward are super competitive, so it was really intense. 
Saturday was good and bad and I am still trying to pinpoint my emotions about it to be honest. Saturday morning was fantastic because we got to see Grace again! We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and when she was saying the closing prayer, she prayed that she could know what she needed to do to reach the Celestial Kingdom. And I dang near cried because I love her so much! She's our shining star right now. Aah, so sweet. Then we went to go see Amy and Paige to teach them the last few lessons before their baptism on July 5th.... And they dropped us like hot potatoes (No Idahoans joke intended). They just quit and don't want to be baptized anymore. So that was rough and we don't know how to change their minds. They were so keen! What the heck, Satan?! And then the day went down from there. Have you ever heard of the Wollongong Brotherhood? Of course not, because it's terrifying and no one is brave enough to talk about it.  It's this awful thing that a member does to the missionaries in the area and we're sworn to secrecy. Let's just say Sister Moon and I were super sick, especially Sister Moon. Dragon's Blood is not a nice substance, that's all I'll say. 
Sunday was intense! I am utterly terrified of the Wollongong Senior Primary. Sister Moon and I taught sharing time and the Junior Primary loves us! Senior Primary was scary. After church we went tracting and we met some really neat people! We're going to try to go back and see them all this week, so I'll let you know how it goes. :) Then we had dinner with Sister Levis and her girls, and it was super fun. We had a yummy Indian dish and then played "Don't Eat Gummy!" It was a grand ol' time! Then we went to see less active members but none of them were overly excited about us trying to visit them.... So we didn't get to stay and teach a lesson. No worries though, one day they'll let someone in! 
It was a good week. We learned a lot about the area, about each other, and about the Gospel. I'm loving every minute of this crazy life I'm living. :) Have you ever heard "On My Way" on the Brother Bear soundtrack? Because I feel like I can count it as my jam. Haha. 
Sending my love and prayers,
Sister Danielle Laree Stott

Picture: Sometimes Sister Moon and I are super adorable and coordinate outfits for Zone Conference. :D 

The recipe for bliss: Australia + Tire Swing + Tracting + Crazy Missionary. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fried Chocolate Sandwiches... Australia, Australia, Australia! Oi, oi, oi!

Well, let me just tell you. Monday I gained a testimony about the Lord protecting his servants! I've been debating whether or not to just keep this in my journal for the sanity of my mother, but nah. It is just too good to keep a hidden away for 13 more months. So after we emailed we went to teach a lesson to a potential investigator we found last week. So we went to his home but he's a single man, so we invited his neighbor to join us! Which seemed like a good idea at the time, right? Two lessons in one.... It was not a good idea. As soon as she walked in I could just feel that we needed to get out. And then Sister Moon started kicking me, and then I looked over and saw why! The neighbor girl had pulled out a needle and was about to shoot up! Aaaaaagh! Not safe! So we made a follow up appointment with the man we were there to teach, because he really wanted to learn, and we ran like mad! So we'll be meeting with him in the library from now on....
Tuesday we had an amazing and productive day planned! But Sister Moon and I both woke up super sick. So we actually never made it out of our flat that day. But it gave us heaps of time to rest up and chat. It was fun and was a nice little de-stresser. I felt like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. I just laid in bed in my Avenger pajamas, downing cough drops and medicine, and tried to convince Sister Moon to sing "Soft Kitty" to me. 
Wednesday we were still sick but we decided we couldn't stay cooped up two days in a row! So we went to Katrina's for a day of service. We sanded all of the trim and the doors down one of her hallways and repainted it all. It was really fun! Then we went and taught a lesson to these three brothers. We're not sure if they're less active or nonmembers though. They've mentioned being baptized a few times but no one can find their records... 
Thursday we were just as sick as we were on Tuesday. I actually slept on the floor between our room and my desk because that's all the energy I had to travel with. hahaha. But it's all good. We got our weekly planning done and mustered our strength to go see a member family for dinner. Have you heard of Fried Chocolate Sandwiches? It's an Australian thing apparently, and it is heaven. Mama Perusco decided that that is how I'm going to get my husband when I get home, because they're that good. So I'll have to let her know how it goes in 10 years or so. 
Friday was great! We had District Training Meeting and it was also mail day! I got a package full of peanut butter, chocolate, and America from the sweetest parents around. There is nothing like American candy and Red Lobster biscuits to bring a tear to your eye. After our meeting, we had a lesson with Thomas. Oh my lanta, he is such a good man! I just want his family to let him be baptized! He always has great questions about the scriptures and he is always trying to learn. He's so great. After our lesson with him, we tried to see a lot of less active members and some potential investigators, but no one was too keen on a lesson.
Saturday was slightly amazing. That morning we went and taught a lesson to Grace. She is from Kenya and had met the Sisters before us. She is really awesome and is really excited to read the Book of Mormon! Then we went and taught Amy and Paige. They are both so sweet and are looking forward to their baptism on July 5th. So please keep them in your prayers! The last few weeks before someone's baptism are really hard. Then we went and picked up Crystal, a super amazing member here. She went with us to teach a lesson to a man we met Friday night. He wasn't too interested in the Gospel, but it was a really fun time. Then we went and got hot chocolate and had a lesson with Crystal. She is getting married and moving to Logan, UT. So we talked about the temple and Logan, two of my favorite things! :D Then we met this super cute couple in our ward. They have been married for almost 70 years! Kind of crazy.
Sunday was wonderful! Thomas came to church with us, so I'm pretty much happy as a clam. After church we were supposed to have a lesson with a new investigator, but he decided not to show up. So we went and saw an investigator we met a few weeks ago named Ana. She was nice and let us share a short message with her again. Then we tried seeing potentials and going tracting, but no one was too interested. But we really wanted to invite 70 people to learn this week, and being sick kind of made our numbers really low. So we hopped on the train and rode it for an hour, and just passed out pass along cards to everyone in the train cars. It was really fun. :) 
The work is going great here. We're trying to find people to teach and trying to figure out the other side of the world. It's an adventure, and I'm loving every minute of it.
Sending my love,
Sister Danielle Laree Stott

Picture: Some missionaries use a soap box in the town square, I use the steps in a train car. :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Putting the "Member" in "Remember"

Tuesday we only took a half p-day, so after we emailed all of yous we went to work! And we decided the best way to start the work was to try to meet heaps of members in the area, since there were only maybe two dozen at church last week. So we went and visited several members that night and shared short messages with them to let them know our purpose and let them know we care. It was a fun day and we got to know heaps of people.
Wednesday we had a lunch appointment with two of our investigators and after knocking on their door for twenty minutes we got the idea they didn't want us to come in.... Rude. Don't worry, we'll go back again. :) We'll force our love on them if we have to! And we went tracting a ridiculous amount after that, but it was great! We met this sweet lady named Vanessa and she thinks that our message could really bless her and her son. So we taught a short lesson and set up a return appointment! They're both so great. Then we went to go see a member but we forgot that we had met them on Sunday... So they thought it was awfully weird that we were introducing ourselves. Oops! Then we tried to see a less active member and she wasn't home, but her three sons were. They aren't members and said that they needed help, so we are going to start working with them. That night we had dinner with Katrina and her family. I'll be honest, that woman makes the best pancakes I have ever had. The only thing that was missing was real Maine maple syrup. :) Really though, I love that family. They are so great! Then we went and met the Bailey family. Brother Bailey is so cool! They have this beautiful brick home and he told us all about how he built it by himself for only $127! Dang, I want that man to teach me his ways! I thought I was savvy but I have been put to shame. 
Thursday was a good day. We had a lunch appointment with a member and she took us to this yummy Thai restaurant. I have officially decided that I love Thai food! Both the company and the food were great. Then we went to try to get to know a few other members. We ended up at a less active member named Shirley's home and oh my lanta, that woman is HILARIOUS. She's really old, but she was telling us all about how she fan-girls over Sherlock and Lord of the Rings. She also told us how she can't sing to save her life but she isn't tone deaf, so she knows she can't sing! I laughed so hard. I decided she is me if I were old, less active, and Australian. haha. Then we had dinner with the Jacksons. They are so sweet. I really love the people in the Wollongong area. They are really down to Earth and personable. 
Friday was so much fun. We had our zone training meeting and then we took the last half of our p-day from Tuesday with the zone! We went to Towradgi beach and threw some sausages on the barby. It was so great. I felt really Australian. We had a little barby, bummed it on the beach, and I played some Rugby with the Elders. Sister Moon played for a bit as well, but apparently most sisters don't enjoy that type of thing. I loved it. After our time on the beach, we cleaned up and went and had a lesson with Thomas. He is such a great guy! And he wants to get baptized so bad! But his family is so against it. It stinks. After our appointment with him we had a quick dinner with Katrina because we had to use her computer to send a quick email to the mission office, and Katrina is not the type of person to let you go hungry. She is so sweet. After that, we went to see a member and she ended up having a little movie night with heaps of other members! So we got to know a lot of people in one stop. :) 
Saturday was really good. We went tracting for a bit and no one was overly excited to see us, but no one was overly mean either. So it was a good time. Then we went and had a lesson with Amy. We talked about the Book of Mormon for a while and she said that she knew it was true! So we invited her to be baptized and she said that she and her daughter would like to be baptized on July 5th. So let the preparation begin. :) They are so golden! Then we went and saw a less active member and her little son. We tried to see a lot of other people as well, but every time we got to a house we felt promptings that it wasn't safe. So it wasn't an overly productive night, but it was a safe night. :) 
Sunday was the test. Would we be able to remember all of the names that we had learned throughout the week?! Well, we did pretty well if I don't say so myself. We didn't call anyone the wrong name or anything! I was very proud of us. :) 
It's going great here in the Gong. I love Sister Moon and the work we are going together! We're really making headway in this ward and I know that we are here for a great purpose.
Sending my love and prayers,
Sister Danielle Laree Stott

Picture: South Coast Zone Sisters on P-day

Monday, June 8, 2015

Two Spuds in the Gong

In the words of Pocahontas, "Wingapo!"
Holy tilido, it's been a party and a nightmare combined into one. And I LOVE IT.
So Tuesday Sister Mata'afa and I went to a cool Buddhist temple so I could get to learn a little bit more about what a good chunk of the people I'll be working with believe in. It was really cool and confusing. haha. And then Sister Mata'afa and I went and had dinner with President and Sister Back and the rest of the trainers and talked about how we can help our new companions survive the culture shock. So that was fun. :)
Wednesday was good. We went and waited at the mission office for all of the new arrivals to come. And there were so many! It was slightly ridiculous how many people we jammed into a room! And then the moment of truth came... Who would be my new companion? Well, there's this cute little blonde from Rigby, ID named Sister Moon. 

And we knew each other at Utah State. She's been VISA waiting in California and finally made it to Australia. So I'm getting the opportunity to culture train her into the Australia Sydney South Mission and Australia in general. So that's crazy and fun! She's pretty great.
Thursday was a bit terrifying. Sister Moon had to learn how to drive on the left side of the road.... But she did great! And then we headed to Wollongong. Woo! We did our weekly planning and tried to figure out the map for a while. Then we had a dinner appointment with the Stewarts. They are just absolutely lovely! I'd met their mum earlier and so we had the appointment set up so Sister Moon could get to meet some awesome Australians and try some good food! Needless to say, Vegemite filled chocolate is not her favorite. :) I actually kind of liked it.
Friday we had district training meeting. It's kind of funny because there are 6 missionaries, and we all serve in the same ward. Two Elders speak Mandarin, and then we have English Elders, and us. :) I am eternally grateful that I get to be Palongi and not try to teach in Mandarin. After DTM we went and saw Evelyn, a less active member. She is just lovely! She has really bad health, so that's the main reason that she is not active. And then we had a lesson with our investigator Thomas! He is Chinese and loves the Gospel! His only problem is that his family thinks that if he gets baptized, he'll never find a wife. So we are just praying hard for his family's hearts to be softened. 
Saturday was great! We went and visited a mother and a daughter, Ana and Mele. I love Tongans so much! We chatted for a bit and they invited us back for lunch and a lesson this next week. Woo! And then we were on the train and met this guy named Ross and gave him our number and guess what... He called. Which is great but what was freaky was his number was already saved in the phone! o.0 Apparently he used to be an investigator. And he is Italian, so that's cool. So we are starting to teach him again. And then we went street contacting for a bit and we met this neat young man named Kieren, and he is letting us come back as well. It was great.
Sunday was great! We were pumped to go to church and meet heaps of people! But unfortunately due to the long weekend due to the Queen's birthday, no one was at church. We seriously had maybe 20 people there. haha. But after church was great! Sister Moon and I made delicious Mexican food. Sister Moon even taught me how to make tortillas from scratch! Yup, I found my new diet. We tried seeing a lot of less active members and active members that afternoon, but they are really bad at updating the ward list the missionaries we have. We knocked on a few doors where the members that lived there died a few years ago... No wonder they're less active...
Monday was great! It was the Queen's birthday, hence why it wasn't p-day. But we did heaps of tracting and visiting members and less actives and we ended up getting two new investigators! We also had some interesting conversations with incredibly drunk people, but it's cool. It's always an adventure. :) 
The work is going great! I'm happy, healthy, and ready to work hard, play hard, and pray hard. It's going to be a great transfer! 
Sending my love,

Sister Danielle Laree Stott

Look! Buried treasure we found at the beach. :)

Dad did some google earth stalking, here is her new home.

These pajamas are how I'm grieving with the fact that 90% of my loves ones have seen the new Avengers movie over a year before I will. They're also really nice for winter. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Wollongong With WHO?! He used the "T" word....

Hello! I have some utterly terrifying news for all of yous. But I will wait until the end to tell you just how terrifying.
So last Monday was actually really fun. We went to Mortdale and played sports with heaps of other missionaries. Some of the Tongan and Samoan Elders and myself decided that we were going to box! So that was fun. Apparently I can hit pretty hard, but all of them were at least twice my size, so I don't think their "ouch"es were too sincere. 
Tuesday was kind of a big deal! We drove for a few hours to go to mission conference with Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder Pearson, and Elder Liota. They are amazing men! I was able to shake all of their hands and hug their wives. Elder Cook told me it was nice to meet me and I looked like a good missionary. I forgot to breathe for a second. It got me pumped for the work even more! Then we went over to GG's and helped her clean a bit more and had a lesson. 
Wednesday was kind of sad. It seems like everyone cancels at once or no one cancels. That was a day that everyone cancelled. We went to try to see a few less active members that day, but nothing overly exciting or spiritual to report on.
On Thursday the cancellations continued! I just want people to feel our love! But more importantly, the Savior's love!It's really frustrating when people shut love out. But since everyone cancelled, we were able to do really thorough planning for the next week for whoever would stay and their new companion. We were also able to see miracles with a less active member that we visited that night! Without going into too much detail, she did a 180 degree turn to righteousness overnight and literally brought tears to my eyes! I love seeing the Spirit touch people!
Friday was grand. We talked to heaps of drunk people and heard some very interesting interpretations of the Bible from them. hahaha. We had out last MCM with Brother Rispoli. Both of the Elders left Sutherland a few days later. That night we went to Monica's for dinner! It was sooooo much fun. She invited Margaret, Ellia, Adrienne, and Morgan. Some are members, some aren't. It was a blast! Monica is from Brazil and made some really good food. I don't know how Austin didn't get fat serving there. It was so good!
Saturday I got a phone call and was told to pack my bags.... We saw a few less actives and a few members that day. We went to the Liehrs for dinner and I was able to say goodbye. They are the best cooks and bakers! Chocolate Pavlova is ridiculously amazing. Angus also found new stuff about me on the internet this week.... Little creep. Just kidding, I love him in his own quirky little way.
Sunday was emotional. I gave a talk in sacrament meeting, and sobbed taking pictures with the members I got close to.But the emotions didn't stop there. We were studying after church and President Back called. He said, "Sister Stott, I hear you're getting transferred. Want to know why?" And I said, "What's going on President?!" And he said, "Sister Stott, I'm going to ask you something. Will you train a new missionary?" And I dang near dropped the phone. I'm shotgunning another area and training. I can feel the gray hairs forming. But the Lord will give me the strength I need to do what He has asked of me! 
Monday and Tuesday have been kind of awkward. Sister Mata'afa and I are both shotgun training, but we can't go to our areas without our companions. So we're spending the time together studying, buying sweaters, and trying to find potential investigators for random areas of the mission. It's kind of weird being in limbo. Haha.
Well that's my news. I am training a new missionary and shotgunning a new area. All I know about Wollongong is that I'm the first white sister to be called there in a long time, so we'll see how it goes! There are a lot of Mandarin speaking people there, so hopefully my companion has some language skills. I'll let yous know in a week!

Sending my love, prayers, and an occasional funny moment, 

Sister Danielle Laree Stott