Sunday, November 29, 2015

Aah, a twist!

Oh my good heaven. I don't think I can fully explain how much my head is spinning this week. I'll just start off with the nice slow start we had...
Monday we had a few lessons after p-day with some members. Tuesday was pretty slow as well. We saw some less active members and tried to do a lot of finding. We went and visited an investigator with one of the Relief Society Presidency members. Wednesday was good, semi-slow as well. 
I know my email seems boring and vague up to this point but it's so you get to the good stuff faster... Trust me. 
Thursday was Thanksgiving! We had some appointments that stood us up, but the night was AWESOME! We had a Samoan Thanksgiving! I made sweet potatoes with marshmallows and mashed potatoes and gravy to bring some America into it. :) It was so fun! Then we went to another part member family's house. They're Fijian and made us curry. So it was truly Thanksgiving since I was waddling by the end of the night. :)
Friday is where the twist came in! I was sitting there writing in my journal while Sister Toailoa was finishing up getting ready... Then a phone call came in... from President Back... And he said, "Sister Stott, you're the kind to like adventure, right?" "Yea?" "And you're a good missionary, right?" "Ummm... I guess." "Good! Well... I need you to move to Canberra... this afternoon." So yea. Some stuff happened, not sure 100% on details, but there needed to be a change and it needed to be fast. So I threw all of my bags in the car, said goodbye to some other missionaries, called some members to say goodbye, hopped in the car, and drove for 4 hours. We switched companions, and now here I am! I have the sweetest companion! Her name is Sister Verances, she is from the Philippines! She is so beautiful, humble, and sweet. I'm so blessed to be with her here in Woden! (Woden is our area in Canberra.) We went and got to know the Bishop and saw a part member family as well. :) Nothing overly crazy!
Saturday was so good. We stopped in and met some members and some investigators and shared short messages after I got to know them a bit. They're all so lovely here! I absolutely love Woden! We even had a member family invite us over for dinner and invited four nonmember friends as well! Whoa! It was awesome! I was bearing my testimony and answering questions right and left. It was great! I loved it! 
My first Sunday in Woden was beautiful! Church was great and the members are beautiful. There are a lot of American diplomats in my ward and so it's really interesting adjusting to white people with familiar accents again. Hahaha. :)  There's even a senior missionary couple in our ward named the Clarks! And Elder Clark grew up in Idaho Falls and is a Bonneville graduate! :D I LOVE WODEN! We went and saw some members we didn't get to talk to much after church and they're all so lovely! Aaah, I'm so happy here! I ate horse too which is actually yummy. Just a side note. :) And I don't know what else to say. There's an American member here who looks, acts, speaks, and dressed like my mum so I'm kind of mildly obsessed with her already. But I told her so it's okay. She said she'll be my Canberra mama. :') I just really love it here. The work is a lot slower than it was in Villawood but my heart is doing so well here. 
Sending my love,
Sister Danielle Laree Stott

P.s. I'm over halfway through my mission now, so I'll see you all in 8 1/2 months. You're closer to seeing me than you are to when you said goodbye. :)  So yea, that's cool.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Work hard, play hard, pray hard.

Wow, we worked, worked, worked this week. What a beautiful feeling that is! I love days that we come home, do our planning, and I'm asleep before I can even think about anything else. And we had a whole week of those!
After we had our p-day on Tuesday, we had a lesson with a part member family. It was a lot of fun and the kids know a lot about the Gospel from the missionary visits. They just need to come to church and progress outside of our visits. :) After our lesson, we went on rescue visits with the new auxiliary leaders. It was awesome! They're going to make a huge difference.
Wednesday we tried seeing an investigator, but they weren't too keen on letting us in. But that's okay, because we had an appointment with Uncle Ron! We went and talked about the chapter he's read in the Book of Mormon and the aspects of the Gospel that it applies to. After that we went and saw a YSA girl that just returned to being active, and she said she wants to go on a mission! WHOA! I was so excited! We went from visiting her to bring her back to church to visiting her to prepare her for her mission! She'll be an awesome missionary. After that we went and saw one of our investigators, and none of us (including her) can figure out why she's not baptized yet. But when we invite her to be baptized, she says no. It's complicated, but she'll get there one day.
Thursday was just dandy. We had a lesson with our investigator in the detention center, she's so sweet! And we even met a member while we were in there! He came up to us, shook our hands, and talked to us for a bit. These two are such great examples. They made mistakes, they had consequences for their mistakes, but they aren't dwelling on the past. They're taking their punishment with grace and working hard to have a better future for when they get out. Alma 36 is a great chapter that they both liked and I like it as well. No one is a lost cause. No one has strayed so far that they can't repent and come back through our Savior's atonement. After our visit in there, we went and saw a recent convert family. They're so great and really need a push, so we invited them to teach the first half of the discussion next week. Haha. So we'll see how it goes! I have faith they'll do great. We also went over to a part member home and had a lesson, and they invited us back for a barbeque next Thursday. So I pulled out my planner to write the return appointment and I saw in my notes that it was Thanksgiving! So we are going to have a Samoan Thanksgiving! I am SO EXCITED! We had our English class as well and it was a lot of fun. Thursdays are always great.
Friday was fantastic. We have a new district leader and he's really great and it was my favourite training in a few months. After our meeting, we had to go outside. Oh my heaven! It was 47 degrees Celsius, which is 116 degrees Fahrenheit. And it's only Spring! Aaaaaaaaagh. But we had a lesson with a less active member then we went and saw Mama Fina. And she had a huge tub of Otai ready for us to drink. She's a beautiful, beautiful woman. Haha. Then we went to see Hasanatu, and she had fallen a few days before and gashed her leg open. So she was in heaps of pain. We talked to her a bit and explained what a Priesthood blessing is and how it's the same as in the Bible, and we invited her to have one. So we called the Elders and they came and gave her a blessing. And when they left she was just smiling! And she kept touching her head where the oil was. And we were talking and we said, "Now that you know that the Priesthood Authority is restored, will you be baptized by someone who holds that authority?" And she said yes! So as long as her leg is  healed in time, she'll be baptized on December 12! I'm so excited for her.
Saturday was a full day as well. We went and saw Hasanatu again and taught her the Plan of Salvation, and she loved it! She wants to be in the Celestial kingdom with her family, so she is going to talk to her parents about them taking the discussions as well. Whoa! And then we received a phone call from President Back. He was down in Wollongong at Terry's baptism! Terry is an investigator that Sister Moon and I found and taught together when we were in the Gong! And so they called me and skyped Sister Moon. It was great! I'm so happy for Terry! After our phone call, we went and had a lesson with a part member family and it went really well. They know what they need to do, they just need motivation to act! We went and saw another investigator afterwards and... yea. I'm pretty sure we're going to have to cut her loose. She's only keen when we're there, but if any members try talking to her it's like she's never heard of the church. After our lesson with her, we went to the new Relief Society President's home and got to know her a little. She's so sweet! After our visit, we had Stake Conference and all of the missionaries were asked to go since it was about missionary work. It was really good!
Sunday was great. We went to Stake Conference and then had lunch with Mama Fina. She made a whole Togan spread, so it was pretty cool. I really like some Tongan food. Others.... Well, it's a good thing she likes me and didn't force me to eat more than two bites of anything that scared me. :) After our lunch, we went and visited some members to set up appointments later in the week and had a lesson with a less active member. Then we went CHRISTMAS CAROLING! Oh yea, I love it! We even went and visited some of the investigators and members from the Spanish Ward and we got to sing Feliz Navidad (Did I spell that right?). It was so fun.
The work is great. I love my new companion and all that we're doing together and I'm so grateful for the good times ahead. I'm thankful for my Savior, for His Gospel, and for the opportunity that I have to be on the other side of the world sharing my testimony with others.

Sister Danielle Laree Stott

A Tongan Mama with a Palongi daughter and a Samoan daughter. It works. ;)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Staying in Villawood for Christmas

Oh my goodness, it was a hectic week full of ups and downs and the climbs and falls in between. 
Last Monday was good. Nothing too exciting happened on P-day. The only 3 missionaries going home this transfer were in my zone, so we had a zone p-day at the park and just relaxed together. After p-day we had a Family Home Evening with a recent convert family in our ward and it was a good time. I love Family Home Evening! It's God's pattern of teaching in the home and it really starts the week off great.
Tuesday was absolutely hilarious. Have you ever taught a lesson to someone who is schizophrenic?  It's quite an adventure. They are doing really good and then they start yelling the F bomb and then they said, "Oh no, that might scare the primary children. Maybe I won't go to church this week." Hahahahaha. Oh my good lanta, what a life I live. We also had a lesson with a less active member who is obsessed with America. Honestly, her American accent is thicker than mine. So after our lesson she asked me heaps of questions about peanut butter, poptarts, Kool-Aid, and American television. Hahaha. What an egg.
Wednesday was awesome. We went and picked up Lima, an incredible YSA who is working on her mission papers, and went to follow up on some potential investigators. Well, Ghasem let us in and let us teach the Restoration! He says he knows the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is going to start reading it. Pretty cool, eh? We went and did some more finding and found a really keen person named Diego, but he only speaks Spanish. So we couldn't really help him past inviting him to learn, but the Spanish Elders say he's doing really well. We had a lesson with Ivana and Mama Fina came along as well. She's doing well. We've moved back her baptism a few weeks, but she's coming along. :)
Thursday was great. We saw Ivana again and I ate Pljeskavice, a traditional Macedonian dish. Sydney has so many cultures! Then we went and did some service for a potential investigator, Uncle Ron! He's the best. Then we went and saw the Okotai and Makitae's and had a lesson with them. They're really great. We also had our English class and it was so much fun. We're now teaching through song! So we may be off key, but our pronunciation is superb!
Friday was really good. After our DTM, we had a zone picnic Haha. It was interesting but a lot of fun. We had another lesson with Ivana and Mama Fina came again. She's an awesome missionary! After Ivana's, the three of us went over to Chang's and had a lesson with him as well. He really likes the Book of Mormon, so that's a very good thing!
Saturday, oh what a day! We went teaching, and preaching, and cleaning, oh my! It was transfer call day and my beloved Sister Teahe is leaving Villawood. No more Tahidaho. :( But it's okay, because this new transfer will be intense. There is only going to be one set of Sisters and one set of Elders in the ward now, so our area just grew to 13 suburbs. We're going to be busy! I love it.
Sunday was great. I'll send you a picture with an explanation... Hahahaha. We finally saw Hasanatu again and had a lesson with her. She's still keen, just super busy! Then we had church and went about saying goodbyes and finding for the rest of the day, amongst packing until odd hours of the night. Church was great, they redid three of the auxiliary presidencies. I love changes like that! It breathes new life into the ward!
Monday! Wooohoooo. At 7 in the morning six elders rocked up to our flat to grab everyone's suitcases, since 3 of the 4 sisters living there were leaving, and I had to transport the sisters from the other areas in our zone that don't drive. So we drove to McArthur, I said my tearful goodbyes to Sister Teahe, and I met my new soa! Her name is Sister Toailoa. She's Samoan but is from New Zealand. She's just absolutely adorable. She is pretty new to the mission, but she has such a strong testimony and knows how to share it! I'm really excited to serve with her. When we got back to our area, we went straight to work. We had a lesson with a less active member, then we went and saw Uncle Ron! We taught him about the Book of Mormon and got to know how he feels about religion in general. Sister Quezada came with us. Remember that new life I mentioned the ward was getting? We're seeing it!  After Uncle Ron's, we went to see the Makitae's and had a lesson with them. Then we went and had a Family Home Evening with Simone and her family, and Daner, a YSA, came along and helped out. Then we went and had a Family Home Evening with the Mafoas. It was a great night. :) It's going to be a really good transfer!
Sending my love,

Sister Danielle Laree Stott

The joke in the ward is that I am the Princess of Tonga. I wore this traditional outfit to church on Sunday and all of the members absolutely thought it was gold. So you may now address me as Her Royal Majesty of Tonga Stott. ;) Hahaha, just joking! :)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Tears of Joy!

Well hello, I swear I was just sitting at a computer writing an email. It's crazy how fast time flies by as a missionary, especially when days get moved around.
So Wednesday when I was emailing, I was in Mortdale at the mission office. After the temple we had to drive across Sydney and back a couple of times in order to help some sisters that were training but couldn't drive. We ended up getting back to our area twelve hours after we had left it. Hahaha. But it was a good day. :)  We were able to have a lesson with Amy and it was really good. I really like her.
Thursday was hectic but when I tell you about it, it won't seem as hectic as it truly was. We had a lesson with one of our investigators... Did I mention that we're teaching someone in the detention center? Anyways, she's awesome. But you have to go through HEAPS of security in order to get in to share a lesson. I was "randomly" searched going through the security. That happens to me a lot more than you think it would. But it was pretty funny. It's been the joke of the zone that Sister Stott got searched going to a prison. hahaha. :) All in good fun! Then we went and saw one of our investigator/ recent convert families and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They're so great. We had our English class as well. :) Oh my lanta, teaching English is a riot. It's probably one of the highlights of my week, every week.
Friday was our Zone Training Meeting, which was pretty good. Then we had trade offs!!  We had a lesson with a former investigator that went well, but my companion went WHITE in the middle of the lesson and became pretty ill as soon as we made it out the door. My poor companion was sick and slept all day, so I watched Church approved movies and read my scriptures all day. An interesting way to spend trade offs, but it's all good.
Saturday was BEAUTIFUL! We went to end trade offs in Prairewood before the Vunipola family baptism. I was so excited to see them get baptized since I've taught them every week on trade offs and I love them SO MUCH, but none of our investigators came. :( And the rule is, if your investigators don't come, you can't go to a baptism in another area. So we ended the trade offs and went to the car. I wanted to stay so bad, but I wanted to be obedient even more. So I sat in the driver's seat, started to cry, and looked in my rear view mirror to back up, and President and Sister Back were there! And they said that they thought it was best if we stayed. And then I cried even more because I was so happy! I felt like Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac, then an angel of God (or a mission president and his wife) said to stop! And I was able to watch three people I love so much enter into the waters of baptism!
Sunday was great. We had a lesson with Albert and Amy in the morning, then went and rounded up the troops to come to church. :) It was fun, and church was so nice! It was the Primary Program, or White Sunday as they call it here. it was so sweet. :) Then after Sunday we went to Mama Fina's! Oh my lanta, my Tongan mama is the funniest woman I have ever met. We had a picnic in the lounge room complete with raw fish, taro, sweet potato, curry, and otai.I am officially addicted to otai. Then we had a lesson with our investigator Helen, and did some running around trying to track down some potentials. :) It was a great day!
Great week, great life. :) Transfer calls on Saturday so it will be interesting to see what's in store next. :)
Sister Stott

P.S. If you were contemplating sending something towards Australia for Christmas, that's totally okay with me. I just encourage you to send it by Thanksgiving, or it might be more of a Birthday Present in February for me. hahaha. :)

Sister Danielle Laree Stott
2 Breakwell St
Mortdale, 2223, NSW

Picture: Me and my "adopted" family, the Vunipolas on the best day ever.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"When I say praise, you say amen!"

It's a little bit weird not writing for a week and a half, and when I write again in five days I won't have much to say. Hahaha. But I'll fill you in on my week and you'll figure out why I'm so late. :) 
Last Monday was so much fun! We went bowling, played lazer tag, and then went to work! We did heaps of finding and had a lesson with this really cool lady from Iraq. She offered to help translate when we teach Muslims that speak Arabic, so that is going to help the work heaps! 
Tuesday was so good. We had interviews with President and Sister Back and it was good. We did some service afterwards and then had a lesson with a part member family we've been working with. We set the baptismal date of November 28th with them and they're so excited! We did some finding and it was quite an adventure. Also, SURPRISE from the mission office! Not sure if you know, but I haven't been a driver my whole mission. But blessing came and I am now an assigned driver! Woo! So I drove on the left side of the road for the first time on Tuesday. It was a party. :) 
Wednesday was an adventure. I was on exchanges in Prairewood as I am every week. Oh it was quite an adventure. We saw some less actives, some part member families, and did some finding. My highlight of the day though was our last appointment with a member family. She made a meal that could've passed for an Idahoan one. ;) It's been so long since I've had food I could recognize from home. 
Thursday was great. Sister Teahe and I were back together in Villawood and we did some service with a member for her neighbor. He's atheist and told her before we came that he didn't want us sharing a message. But when we left, he told her he really liked us, and we could bring our message with us next time. WHOA! Talk about a miracle! Then we had a lesson with another part member family we're working with and taught our English class. So much fun! 
Friday was good. We had a few lessons and found some new investigators. It was a really fun day and we even got to go to the detention center here to contact a referral. :D Talk about a party! 
Saturday was Halloween! Did you know that's totally an American thing? I didn't either, but I only saw like three trick or treaters. We met the most golden, interested person in the world! But unfortunately he lives in a different zone. So we made some phone calls and when he got off the train from my area, missionaries were there to meet him and taught him the first discussion. :) It was awesome! 
Sunday was really funny. We had an investigator come and it was fast and testimony meeting. And she stood up and said, "Praise the Lord. Praise Jesus. When I say Praise, you say Amen. Praise!" And no one said Amen, so when she said Praise again, I couldn't leave the poor girl hanging, so I yelled, "Amen!" Things I never thought would happen as a missionary....The ward thought it was pretty funny. 
Monday round two, but a twist! It wasn't p-day. It was just a normal day. So we did heaps of finding since it was super nice and hot outside. We had a little lesson with a less active member and set up a return appointment with her neighbor. I had my first fresh mango and almost got kissed by an Italian creep. I had to shove my juice box in his face in order to run away in time. Karma for not emailing my family on the proper day of the week. hahahaha. We also had Ivana, our investigator getting baptized November 21, introduce us to her nonmember friend. And she bore her testimony and aah! My heart was so happy! I love when people are converted in their hearts!
Tuesday round two, I was in Prairewood again! We weren't able to see heaps of people because it was the Melbourne Cup! Which is a huge horse raise in Melbourne and the whole country shuts down as people try to make $10 turn into $1000. Silly gamblers... But we got to see the Vanipula family! I've taught them quite a few times when I've been in Prairewood, and they're getting baptized this Saturday. They're so awesome! It's so great being able to teach them every week and watching them progress! I know I wasn't "officially" their missionary, but to me and to them, I might as well have been. So I'll probably bawl like a little girl Saturday, and that's SO okay. 
Wednesday, round two, and the reason why I am late emailing. This morning we were able to go to the temple!!!!!! Which is my first time in Australia, so it's been over eight months since I've been able to spend time in the temple. It was fantastic. Just what my heart needed. :) Then we had to drive some of the sisters in our zone to the mission office to pick up a new sister from Tonga. Driving in crazy Sydney traffic is exactly what the movies make it out to be, just in case you were wondering. Haha.
Life is so good! This week had a lot of ups and downs, but the ups are all that matter. :) Love you heaps and I'll write again Sunday/Monday. ;)

Sister Danielle Laree Stott