Sunday, September 27, 2015

Onasa'i ia, alofa atu.

My first week in Villawood I mentioned a family named the Mafoas and how I just adored them. Well, I still do! :) We had Family Home Evening with them on Monday and they are just an absolute riot. But this time instead of leaving them a commitment to read a scripture or something, we committed them to teach the next lesson. Haha. Talk about a crazy commitment, but I'll tell you how it panned out when I tell you about Friday.
Tuesday started off slow, but that's all good. We were on our way to see Julie and Brother T was on the bus too, but he got off a few stops before us. So when we went to get off at Julie's, we saw Brother T's phone still in his seat! So we hopped off the bus and went to his house to give it to him. It was pretty funny because he was telling on the bus we should call him if we need anything. So when he opened the door, I held up his phone and said, "If you didn't want us to call, you could've just not offered!" Haha. We had a lesson with Julie and it went really well. She had a lot of questions that she had been afraid to ask. But we answered them and it was good! She's going to pray for a baptismal date, so we'll see how that goes! Then we went and saw Mary and talked about Family History, which was good. We went and saw Mama Taufa with Sister Laufoli as well. I just love the Laufolis, they're so good to us! Then exchanges started and my companion was Sister Teahe. Oh my lanta, I just love her!
Wednesday was MAD AS! In the morning we set up like 10 appointments, which all fell through. But we did some tracting and found some really keen potential investigators. Then we got a phone call from the Amone's saying they were doing service for their neighbour, and we should come help! So we did and it was hectic! Their yard was crazy. It took us, the Amone's, a bishop, a YSA, and four Elders FOUR HOURS to attack. But it was awesome. It looks amazing! Also, I got to use a bush knife (machete) to attack the overgrown grass. I felt like a mad woman! Elder Katoa was pulling back the grass to make a bundle as  I was wacking so it would make a bundle, right? But he let go right as I went to cut and WACK! I cut the head off of the rake. 0.o My bad... my bad... Anyways, it was a super fun day with my wonderful Tahitian soa.
Thursday... I was pretty sure the world was ending for a little bit. We called Maureen to confirm our appointment with her and her mum Rose, which was odd because we normally don't call to confirm with them. Anyways, Maureen was just leaving the cemetery, because Rose had died earlier in the week... So that was sad. And then the Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on our door right when we got off the phone, and that was really weird. I tried giving them a Book of Mormon but they wouldn't take it... Rude. We went and had a lesson with Craige and that was good. We also had a lesson with Mike. He is awesome but he has so many deep questions that they kind of leave my head spinning. (Also, back in America I had a new niece enter into the world, so that was pretty cool. Yay for Audrey Ella!)
Friday was hectic. Sister Eddie was sick so every appointment we had to switch companions so everyone was seen and someone was with her. So Sister Sekete and I went to Martha's, the Sister Eddie and I went to the Amone's so I could go over the ward list with Ofa. Then we switched again and Sister Teahe and I went to Bishop's. Then Sister Sekete and I went to the Mafoas. It was crazy. But the Mafoas did awesome preparing their lesson and teaching it! I was so proud!
Saturday we went and took flowers to Maureen and checked on her. She is so awesome. She reads in the Book of Mormon whenever she misses her mum. What a beautiful woman! She's so faithful. The Stake had a mini MTC as well, so I got to pretend to be an investigator all day. That was so much fun! The Young Women that were teaching me did really well. I was super proud!
Sunday was crazy! After MCM and Ward Council, I took two of the mini missionaries out tracting. They were so cute! They did such a good job and I was so proud! We even had someone let us in and teach a lesson. And I just let them take the lead and I testified or asked questions when they lost their trains of thought. Then we had church and it was great. Shelley even came! After church we had dinner with the Ashers. Funny story! Jnr Asher served in Melbourne with one of my best friends at SUU. So we had a fun time chatting about that. :) Then we went on hound dogs! Ofa let me make the lists of who everyone visited and take control of the evening. It was a lot of fun, it was like I was a Sister Zone Leader for a day. But we made so much progress in figuring out the less actives in the ward and it was a really successful night!
The work is going awesome. I just love it so much and I'm so grateful to be here. I can't imagine being anywhere else, and I don't want to even try. Now don't think that means I don't miss home, it just means I know where I'm supposed to be. Onasa'i ia, alofa atu. Heaps and heaps.

Sister Danielle Laree Stott

Monday, September 21, 2015

Our Members Are Awesome!

So this week actually wasn't the most exciting week of my Australian life, but it was still most excellent to be a servant of the Lord. Monday after P-day, we went and had Family Home Evening with Simone (a recent convert) and her family. And her daughter just turned eight so we're working on a baptismal date for her! And we gave her her own copy of the Book of Mormon, and she was so excited. She and I had a good little chat and we went through all of the pictures in the front and she wanted me to tell her all of the stories. It was pretty fun to see how excited she was and how much she loves the Book of Mormon! I love it too.
Tuesday was Zone Conference! Oh my lanta, it just always gets me so excited to be a missionary! So many things were said, so many lessons learned, and so many prayers answered. I'm excited to work to increase my faith so that I can help the Lord bring miracles to the Aussie people. After Zone Conference we went and saw Kathy and had a Family History lesson. I'll be honest, Family History was not my cup of tea back in the day, but I am so obsessed with it now! Everyone should be involved in Family History and be learning about their ancestors. We can learn a lot of things from their stories. We also went on rescues with Sister Feinga and Vika. I really, really like them. It's so great to have members involved in the work!
Wednesday was good as well. We started it off right with another Family History lesson with Bronwyn! And this is the first time she has actually showed more interest in a lesson than her cat, so that was nice. We had a lesson with Lin Lin too but she's leaving the country for two weeks, so that's lame. But she promised to bring us Filipino snacks to apologize for missing our weekly lessons. Haha. We really have some of the coolest investigators I have ever met. We had a member lesson with the Feingas as well and they're great. I learned a lot about Tongan culture as well, so a lot of interesting things I've seen all make a lot more sense to me now. Then we went on splits and Sister Laufoli and I went and saw Julie and it was a really great bonding experience for them. Julie is ready to be baptized, she has a great testimony! She just needs to know that people besides the missionaries care about her. And Sister Laufoli is just full of love, so it was a good match up.
Thursday was great. We went and saw Maureen and Rose in the morning. They think we should be teaching more Muslim people rather than people that are already Christian. So they decided that they're going to start inviting Muslims over so we can teach them the lessons in their home. So they're still investigating in  a sense, but they think they're missionaries too. Haha. It's a crack up, but hey, they say that you learn by teaching!  So we'll just give them the lessons before hand so they can help us teach, and let the spirit take care of the rest. We also had a lesson with Mike, and he is soooooo fantastic! At first I thought he was just trying to Bible Bash us, but this was our third lesson and he said, "Why have I been missing this for so long?" So cool! He's prepared, he just needs good friends in the church to make him feel welcome. We have a lot of YSA that want to meet him, it's just getting schedules to match up...
Friday was good. We met Craige! He is really cool and seems interested, so we're going back next week. We also had a lesson with Martha, but it's hard to teach because she doesn't know much English, and there are no materials in her language. :/ So we teach really simply, and it's taken about 5 lessons to get through the Restoration of the church. We also had a lesson with our new investigator, Salima! She is so awesome! We just talked about the Book of Mormon and missionary work, and she wants to put her papers in when she's 19. Hahaha. She also started reading the Book of Mormon before we even left the house. So to say she's anything but golden would be a lie. Unfortunately, she's 15 and she's moving next week, so there are a lot of factors into play. We also went over to Bishop's and had a lesson with him and his family. It's really fun getting to know  them on a personal level. Their family is really young and so he and his wife still remember how important it was to have the Bishop on your side in the mission field, so they're working hard to help! It's awesome, and I'm super grateful for them.
The weekend was pretty low key. We had one lesson on Saturday and one lesson on Sunday with less active members. No one was interested and it was a lot of aimless walking and talking. Haha. But it's all good because Julie and Ofa (Simone's partner) came to church! And that's what matters! So even if the hours surrounding church weren't shining and exciting, seeing them in the chapel made up for it.
The work is going great. It's moving forward and I'm just happy to be a part of it. I know I said it wasn't an exciting week, but looking back, it was pretty fantastic. There doesn't need to be any crazy miracles to make it a good week, just the little tender mercies every day.
Sister Danielle Laree Stott

Pic: EVERYONE deserves the Gospel. ;)   

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Significance of a Pair of Socks

Monday was such a good day. After we emailed we went to a park and played sports and ate food with the rest of the zone. It was a lot of fun and I finally have faces to all the names I've been hearing. After p-day we went and saw Camila, Zaia, and their daughter Ornina. They're amazing! They're from Syria and are super excited to read the Book of Mormon. Ornina is the only one who speaks fluent English, so she had to translate into Arabic for her parents, but they're all so lovely. Then we went to see a less active member, but when we knocked on the door, six Iraqis answered (None of them were Siosifa whom we were looking for)! They're Muslim but they let us in and let us get to know them and it was really fun. They spoke absolutely NO English, so we had a really good chat via a translating application on their phones. haha. The only English they could say was, "American Sister, pretty face." I was pretty flattered, and apparently I blushed a lot because they wanted to take a picture to remember how "my face changed colors." Haha.  I love them.
Tuesday was good as well! We were at the train station and this guy and I were talking about religion then all of the sudden he asked, "So, do you have a boyfriend or anything?" And I said, "No. As missionaries we don't date." And he said, "Oh, well I'm looking for a really nice girl, but not you because you're a missionary." Haha. Then all of the sudden he wasn't interested in religion anymore. Weird how that works... But he had already given me his number so the Elders can be his friend. Then we met Helen! She's from Fiji and she is having a really rough time. She had a baptismal date over a year ago but then she went to Fiji for a few months and the sisters never saw her again. But we found her! And her life kind of stinks, but that's okay! The atonement is real and she can use it! We had a lesson with Lee as well and then another lesson with Mary. Heaps of lessons and it was just a good day! Sister Sekete broke the chain off of her bike when we were biking home so I taught her how to rechain a bike. That was a party. 
Wednesday was mad. We walked an hour to see a potential and he wasn't interested and blew us off! BUT his wife and mother-in-law welcomed us in and we had a really good chat and lesson on faith. They're so awesome and they loved the first vision! So we have a return appointment with them. They're super excited to read the Book of Mormon as well, especially Alma 32. We had a lesson with Lin Lin and then a lesson with Kathy. Both super lovely ladies, just working on keeping commitments. We had splits and I went with Sister Papalii. Oh my gosh, what a riot! I have never laughed so hard in my life. Samoans.... They're just good for your soul.
Thursday started off good! Instead of exercising, I taught Sister Eddie how to ride a bike! That was interesting and I have a nice bruise on my leg from trying to be her training wheels. Haha. I now understand a portion of the patience parents must have... But it was so much fun! We had another lesson with Mike and it was crazy! His whole countenance has changed! he was yearning to know the answers to his questions, and he was searching for the answers in the Book of Mormon! It was so good! We had dinner and a lesson with the Mafoas as well and I just adore them... Speaking of people I adore, I've been getting sick, and Thursday was especially unpleasant, but we had appointments so I didn't have time to be sick. So I felt like crap, and Australian chemists are super confusing, and I don't know any members well enough here for me to feel comfortable talking to them about being sick. I wanted a nap, I wanted my mom, I wanted to be in a country where I understood what medicine did what! So we were walking into the flat and I thought, "Hey, I should check the mail." Even though I was 90% certain no one had written me, and there was a little package from Katrina Stewart! And it had a letter and giraffe socks in it! And I'll tell ya, I could have just cried. God is so aware of us. He is aware of our needs and our struggles. And He always shows us that He cares! And sometimes He shows that love through a beautiful woman from the Wollongong ward you miss and a pair of giraffe socks.
Friday was good. We had Zone Training and it was most excellent. Then we were walking to an appointment afterwards and this guy ran up to me and said, "Sister! I'm dying! I need help." Apparently he's a junkie and wants to be in an addiction recovery program and someone had mentioned our church does a free one! So he was out looking for a member! Kind of cool. We had a lesson with Isabella and she had heaps of questions, which was so good! We also had a lesson with Sister Anastasia and that was so fun. I love getting to know members! She's pretty great. We went home for dinner, and I felt even sicker than I had been the previous day, so we were debating whether or not to stay in for the rest of the night... It was 8pm and we didn't have any set appointments, so it wouldn't have been a big deal, right? Wrong! I had a second breath, and we went out! I wasn't about to have a sick day for an hour. So we went to the train station and we met Courtney! This incredible 17 year old who has been wondering if God is there and was just waiting for a train. The Lord blesses obedience! We have an appointment with her this next week.
Sat-day (Aussies shorten every word)! We had a lesson with Bronwyn in the morning and that was good. We tried seeing heaps of people but no one wanted to be home apparently. But we did have a lesson with Shelley! We also had a lesson with Julie... Apparently people have been calling us a cult and she's been freaking out and she just laid out all of these concerns! So we said, "Have you asked God if Joseph Smith is a true prophet?" And she hadn't, so she knelt down right then and there and asked. Then after her prayer, she was quiet for a few moments, and she looked me in the eyes and said, "All I keep hearing is 'He is a prophet, he is a prophet.' " BEAUTIFUL! She's going to pray more, but she has her answer, now she just needs to act on it.
Sunday was so good! We had meetings in the morning and they were just fantastic. The Bishop here really wants members to get involved in the work! I love it. I gave a talk in sacrament meeting... It went well I think. I talked about faith and how we need to constantly be increasing our faith and acting on it. Tad R Callister said, "Every time we exercise faith, we invite miracles." And the world is in need of some miracles! After church we tried seeing heaps of people but no one was home or interested for the first hour or so. But then we had a lesson with Kathy and we're going to get her started on Family History so that when she is ready to go to the temple, she can take family names! And then we had a lesson with Vera, a less active member from Sweden. She is such a riot. If I'm still here for Christmas, I'm taking over hot chocolate, because we both think it's ridiculous that Christmas is in the summer here. haha.
It was a crazy week! We have so many new investigators and it is so good to see the work moving forward. God is good and he is preparing people! We're going to find them.
Have a beautiful week,

Sister Danielle Laree Stott

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Another Splendid Week Has Come And Gone

I mentioned last Sunday that we met a man named Oscar from Iraq. Well we ran into him again on the street on Monday! And he told us that God blessed him heaps in the past 36 hours since he had met us, and he knew it was because he met us! So he is really excited to take the lessons, he just has to find time amongst his two jobs and university. But he's really awesome, and it was really nice to see him so thankful to God. We also met two Persians, but I don't think we'll have a return appointment, despite their wishes. Generally we don't go back and send the Elders instead when I ask, "What language do you speak?" and their reply is, "Any language you want, sweetie." Yup, those guys will definitely be the Elders' territory...
Tuesday was a dang good day. We had a lunch appointment with a super sweet Tongan family, and I really need to figure out how to dish myself up so that they don't feel it necessary to take my plate back and more than double the servings before I even start. Haha. But it was fun to get to know a family in the ward, and their daughter served in NZ with some of my friends, so that was fun to talk with her about too. :) We had a lesson with our investigator named Alicia and it went well. We talked about the Book of Mormon and why it is so important. And she seems pretty excited to read it. We had a lesson with our investigator Deserae as well and we found out that the Relief Society President in our ward is actually her niece! So that was pretty cool. Tuesday nights we always have rescues, so we went out with Sister F and her daughter again. We went and saw Simone and her kids. They are so fun!
Wednesday was a bit slow to start. We tried seeing heaps of people but the first lesson we taught wasn't until four in the arvo. We saw Kathy and she was so excited to tell us all about how much she liked church this last week. Sister Finanuti took us out on splits that night. I really, really like her. I think she could be my Tongan Katrina. Haha. We went and saw a less active member named Bronwyn.... Bronwyn was baptized last year.... She was also baptized twenty some-odd years ago.... This, ladies and gents, is why you double check church records. When we got home from Bronwyn's, the Assistants had dropped off two sister bikes for us! Woo! In the words of the Best Two Years, "A flood of love is coming, and  [she's] riding on a ten speed bike!"
Thursday... Hahaha. My poor, poor companion has the heart of a five year old. So when we went to see someone and they asked for dating advice and we had to teach an impromptu lesson on the Law of Chastity, Sister Sekete was a bit traumatized... But then we met an Arabic man and it was my turn to be traumatized. He said, "You married?" And I said, "No." And he said, "You want to be?" And grabbed my hand and kissed it. Aaaagh. The COOLEST EXPERIENCE happened after though. We were walking to the train station and we met this lady from Peru. And without even thinking I said, "Hola, mi nombre es Hermana Stott." And we started having a chat in Spanish. And I understood everything we were talking about, and we called the Spanish Elders and introduced them over the phone and they set up an appointment to teach her. And then the Spanish Elders called about fifteen minutes later to say thank you and they asked what I had said to her, and I honestly couldn't say a word of Spanish to them besides, "Hola, mi nombre es Hermana Stott." It was really neat that the Lord allowed me to be able to remember the Spanish I had learned 6 years ago as a Freshman in high school from hanging out with my friend from Mexico for the short time it was necessary.
Friday was good. We had District Training Meeting as usual and it was so good! Also, the Zone Leaders brought the mail and I had a letter from Aaron in Maine! Oh my gosh, it was so good to get that letter! Nothing is more beautiful than hearing that someone you helped enter into the waters of baptism is doing well and staying strong in the faith. I really needed that letter! Especially since as we arrived home from District Training Meeting, Deserae texted us and said we needed to stop teaching her the discussions... And then Julie stood us up... BUT we had a really good lesson with Lin Lin. We also got a new investigator named Mike! He's from South Africa. And after hearing him and Sister Sekete talk about home, I changed my mind. I don't have an African soul. I have a very American soul.... We also had a really good lesson with the Mafoa family. I really, really like them.
Saturday we went and saw Bronwyn again and it was good. She really likes Mormon Messages, so it's a good thing we have heaps of them! We also went and saw Alicia. She wants to get baptized! We set the goal date for September 26, but I think it will end up being a little later. No worries though, because now she has that goal!
Sunday was mad. We had our coordination meeting in the morning, then we had two hours that we needed to walk to see a less active and go tracting and it was POURING rain. I love being a drowned rat with a name badge, it's exciting. :) Church was really good! I love Fast Sunday! My favourite quote of the day was from Ofa. he looked at me and asked, "Sister Stott, is that your natural color?" (Talking about my skin) Hahaha. Apparently Palongis getting a few shades darker in a Springtime week is an uncommon sight around here. For our Hound Dogging it was Australian Father's Day! So all of the Stake Missionaries jammed into a bus like a can of sardines and we went CAROLING! It felt like Christmas! We went and sang songs about Eternal Families to the Stake Leaders and gave them Father's Day Presents. It was heaps of fun, and I'm glad that even though I missed Australian Father's Day with my dad, I can be with him and the rest of my family forever. Also, we had a Tongan feed to break our fast and well... I'll just let that explain my attached picture for me.
Hoorah for Israel!
Sister Danielle Laree Stott

Picture: Sister Stott vs Pig and Accompanied Tongan Feed