Serving in the Sydney North Australia Mission

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Land of Miracles

G'day Family! How are you all? It is really good to hear from each of you. Sounds like things are going well. I am a bit jealous of each of you right now that you have seen conference already. I really miss it and can't wait for it to come this weekend. I love it so much. It has had a big influence in my life on the mission, both for myself as well as for the people we are working with. Pretty insane.

I hope everything is going well though. This week we have had an incredible week. Salwa is doing incredibly good! She is completely changed! We have been trying to see her almost every day and just help her become very solid. It is amazing what baptism, simply making a promise with God can do in our lives. That has brought me heaps of joy as I have been able to see her change and be happy. That is the gospel. That is what it does for us.

Here is Salwa at her baptism:

We have been working with a Samoan family, Sai and Faia Tofilau. They have been in contact with the church for a long time and they have members in there extended family who are members of the church. One of the miracles that happened that I thought was so incredible was earlier in the week we had got heaps of Samoan food from a member and we had a prompting to just stop by and say Hello to Sai and Faia and give them some of the food. Well we got there and dropped it off. He didn't want to take it as typical Samoan's don't like accepting food or anything especially from us missionaries... But he did and we left.. Well last night we popped by again and had the most powerful lesson with just Sai. He told us of many things that have happened and how he knows the church is true. He knows he needs to get baptized and to do this for his family. He then told us that his wife and kids had left the night we had come over and dropped off the food. She had taken all the food for there auntie who was ill. There was nothing to eat at his home and he hadn't eaten all day. He was praying and asking God to give him something.. A couple minutes later, The Elders knock on the door and give him a bag of food. Heavenly Father really used us to provide him with an answer this week.

He was so grateful for us and what we had done. His testimony of us as missionaries and of God is incredible. It was so cool to hear about this experience he had. That added to my testimony that we don't always know what happens when we do something for someone till later.. Sometimes not at all.
It has been an incredible week. I am reminded every day of Heavenly Fathers love for each of his children. We as missionaries and in life in general don't have to be perfect. In fact we won't be. But as we repent every night and show Father in Heaven we are willing to change and do better he will allow us to succeed and be happy through our Desire. I know this is true.

I love you all so much. I look forward to conference this coming weekend. You are all in my prayers!

Love, Alex :)

Here is a picture of Alex with Dorothy DeCorso.  Alex was in Dorothy's ward for a while and she paid us a visit this summer when she was traveling to Utah.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Fourth of July in Australia

Well mates, happy 4th of July! I hope you all had a good one. I know I did. Nothing really happened on the 4th because we are in Australia!!!  It was one of our Members Birthdays so we went over to his place for a Birthday Dinner. They are from Tonga and we had a mean Spit. That is when they cook the pigs on the stick over the fire. Mean as feed! We try not to go to members for feeds but they always call us and give us food! They are too good. I love the members here. It looks like you have had fun on the Road trip. It was good to have gotten some photo's. They were really cool! Looks like you had heaps of fun. I am glad you got my sim cards and the letters! Enjoy the Sim Cards! Haha you will probably see some random/weird as pictures and videos. Just know how much I am loving it out here. 

My week has been very good. It has gone by so fast!! We have been teaching Del and things with her have been pretty good. She has had some trials but her faith is amazing. She just relys on Heavenly Father and will do anything we ask her to do. She really is seeing the blessings of being baptized and a member of the Church. I really am noticing how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bless our lives. It changes people! Serving with Elder Katene is amazing. We have had so many powerful experiences this week. I really can see the blessings of the Gospel in my life that are being poured out. 
Yesterday on Sunday we had a Missionary Fireside. Every couple months the Zone Leaders do there own Fireside and pick the theme and get to run it. We had ours last night and it was so powerful. We have a couple sisters in the Zone that sing incredibly good. They sang two songs and then we had 3 Recent Converts speak. They were all women. The fireside was focused on Courage and how women have had courage in there lives. It was such a powerful meeting. One of the Sisters sang Beautiful to Him. It was amazing. We were able to see many Investigators come and feel the spirit. Things are going really well here. The work is moving forward and we are so grateful that Heavenly Father is allowing us to be the instruments. 
An awesome scripture that I read this morning and I have always really looked to is in Luke 22. It goes something like " I have prayed for thee that they faith fail thee not. and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" I am really seeing that to be true. We as missionaries to have success and to see miracles, we must convert ourselves and be obedient, diligent, honest, faithful, and so on. My testimony of that is so real. Tiana is proof of that. Elder Katene has told me that his last companion and himself almost doubted that Tiana would accept to be baptized. We have been able to see Heavenly Father Strengthen and change us so that Tiana can be baptized. Many other Investigators are changing and progressing because we are doing all we can. In no way am I saying I am converted. Conversion is a life long process and I wish I could say I am. I willl strive and do anything and everything I can to be faithful and converted. That is all Heavenly Father asks. We do our best. The more and more I learn more and more I realize how little I am doing and how much Heavenly Father is blessing me with. 
I apologize if I have forgotten anything. I always feel like I forget to tell you things are answer questions. I get so busy here things slip away. So remind me if I need to do anything or if I can do anything better. I love you all. I know Jesus Christ is the Savior. He performed miracles on earth by the power of God. I love you all! Have a great week :)
Love, Alex

Monday, June 2, 2014

Loving KellyVille

G'day Family!
How are you all? It sounds like things are going well and time is flying by! How is school already over? That is insane! Your road trip should be fun! What car are you taking? The new Burb? or did dad get his wish to take a few Audi’s or Aston Martins ;) This is a very wealthy area and we see many Range Rovers, Audi’s and Jags every day. We saw a pretty amazing Lambo the other day and it makes me think of home haha I cannot believe Olivia is in Jr. High! Thankfully I will be home before she gets to High School So I can control all those Rowdy boys!! 
The more and more time I spend here and with the ward members the more I love them. I can't tell you how much I love this ward. I didn't think I could love an area as much as Taree but it happened. Bishop Leota is the Best. I love him. Missionary work is really moving forward. Fast and Testimony Meeting was yesterday and we had many members get up and share incredible stories about how they have had opportunities to share the gospel. The Lord really is preparing a way to for us to share the gospel in our day to day lives. One thing I wanted to commit each of you to do especially on the Road trip is to give away 1 Book of Mormon each. Now that is easy as! In 3 weeks, 1 Book of Mormon. K? I will follow up and can't wait for miracles as you pray and look for opportunities to share the gospel. Wait till you get home in a few weeks for the real task I am planning for the fam :):) 
I also wanted to invite you for FHE to watch, Because of Him on mormon.org. It is the most amazing video. We shared it for a missionary meeting with the ward and taught a lesson. It was so powerful. Watch that and then think about what you can do in your lives to come closer to the savior and to be more Christ like. It is such a powerful video. I love it.
But to this week! Pale and Karen are doing well! It was what they call State of Origin. Rugby game when NSW plays Queensland. It is like the Super bowl but in Rugby. (NSW won) SO we had a lesson planned the night of with Pale and Karen and they called us and said they forgot about it. Then unfortunately Pale got hurt at work and so we weren't able to meet with them this week. But we have such strong faith that the Lord is preparing them to be baptized and to accept the gospel. We are excited to see this wonderful family enter into the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But this week has been so busy and gone so incredibly fast! We had trade-offs with the Kellyville 2 Elders on Thursday. That went really well and we had many miracles... Well after a long day we received a phone call from the Assistants who wanted to come on Trade-offs with us Friday! We of course couldn't say no so we did that. I was able to go with Elder Richardson from Utah! He is the best. I learned so much from him! Oh Trade-offs, are when I go with one elder and Elder Gibb goes with that Elders comp. We had so many lessons and new and potential Investigators. Well, that night ended and we received another phone call! The zone leaders wanted to go on Trade-offs on Saturday!! So we did haha 3 Days in a row of Trade-offs of training and being trained. Really hard work. It was amazing though. I was able to get to know each of the 3 missionaries heaps more and especially Elder Arona from Bountiful Ut. He is my Zone Leader and we got along like Lloyd and Harry. We had so much fun but had incredible miracles. We set a goal to have a miracle every hour of the day. Even when there was 2 minutes left of the hour, a miracle would come through! It was amazing. I will give you an idea of how statistically how we did and how we accomplished miracles. The mission goal is to Teach 20 lessons a week. We have been averaging 28 which is pretty good for the area. This week we were able to teach 53 lessons. So many people were put in our path to serve or to teach it wasn't funny. 
One miracle for instant, we were walking around this shopping center and the park. We were just about to leave because no one was out and we hadn't had much luck the last couple hours. We got to the car and saw a man sitting on the bench. We both felt impressed to talk to him. We went over and started talking to him. I can't remember what we said but he replied, I got all the time in the world, Have a seat. Haha so we sat down and started to talk to him. He had just gotten back from sea. He is in the navy and has been looking for a church. He ended up going to Hill Song with a few friends... We had the most amazing lesson and ended up giving him a Book of Mormon. Now the miracle isn't that we have a lesson set up soon or that we got his number. He said he would call us when he gets back from sea in 2 weeks, but the miracle was that we gave him the Book of Mormon and he tried to deny it. He said we only need a bible and that’s it. As we had him read the Introduction he got caught... a few minutes of silence would pass as he read and then he would look up and try to deny it or say it doesn't make sense to have this book. You could really see Satan trying to get this kid to deny it and say it isn't real or anything. But each time he would start speaking, he would all of the sudden go silent and would continue reading! He did this 5-6 times and read for at least 5 minutes each time. He read a few chapters in 1Nephi. The Book of Mormon is real. It is a true book and the power it has is unreal! It was amazing to see the power be unleashed and work on someone. It really strengthened my testimony of the Book. It was incredible.
I wish I could describe and tell you how the week went and all of the miracles but it would take way too long! Haha it was an amazing/challenging week! As it turned out to be an incredible week it started with Trials and hard things. Heavenly Father is aware of us and what we can handle. He wants us to struggle so we can lean on him to get stronger and strengthen our testimony and faith. 
To answer a few of mum's questions... Being a District Leader is awesome. I truly have the best District in the mission. I love them all so much! Things get easier and then harder each week. I love the challenges and the new things I am faced with! It is such a privilege to be a DL right now. The weather as of June 1 is winter. It was funny because it has been very warm and nice days but right on June 1st it was raining and cold and humid. The weather isn't bad though. I love it! Just a long sleeve shirt or a little jumper. The coldest it has been I think is 8 degrees C that is - I don't know what is would be back home. Average it is around 14-19C. Super nice and cool. Hasn't rained much though! Just warm days with a nice Cool breeze. I love Australia. Food is great! The members feed us so much! It was so different coming here from Taree. In Taree we got 1 maybe 2 feeds a week. Here we get so many more! It is awesome. The members are just amazing. Elder Gibb is awesome. We get along so well!! I love him haha he is incredible. Really has a desire to serve and to change. He is a very obedient missionary so that helps with my calling and always having to help other missionaries.  Which of your meals do I miss? of course your Taco Soup with some big Black BEANS!!!!! YUMMM!! Hahaha just kidding... sorry... :) But really just all of your meals mum. I miss good home cooked meals haha but it's alright. The members try. They actually built a Costco in Sydney and so the members try and get American food and cook it for us haha they are great! The next answer is You Mum. Of course:) I love you. Everything thing else is really good though! 
I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the adventure you will be going on! Thanks for the vid of Leo and Thomas. I thought about grabbing Elder Gibb and kissing him and squeezing him till his eye balls popped out but then I thought that wouldn't be alright...Yes I miss those little guys!! They're so cute I'm GONNA  DIE!!!!   Have a great week. I love you all so much! The church is True. The atonement is real and blesses so many lives. Let it bless yours.

Love, Alex

Monday, April 14, 2014

Conference in Australia

Dear Family! How are you all? It has been so good to hear from you! I am glad things are going well and you are having fun with the things in your lives. Olivia! Your poor finger! My baby girl I hope you are ok! That definitely will get you outta piano. There is no way you can play in the recital ;) Booz sick pictures of LAX!! I heard about you gettin knocked down. It got my blood pumpin thinking about football when a 300+ lineman knocked me flat on my back hahaha good times man! Just get back up and go at it again even harder. It will make you stronger. That stick of yours mate, use the damn thing!! Smack some fools in the face and trip them in there legs! I am sure you are doing work.  Keep it up. I love hearing from you both!

Thank you for your emails Mom and Dad. The feeling of Love and peace overcame me as I was able to hear your love and the advice you have to give. I do agree dad, these stories and experiences I will talk about for the rest of my life. I realized how much I really love it. Yes it is hard but I love it! But I will tell you things are getting heaps better. We went to Sydney this last weekend for a follow up training meeting for the new missionaries. Things completely changed. Elder Tavalea and I had a great talk and are working things out. He is amazing. I really have come to see how hard a different language must be and the food and everything. I have learned a lot about the Tongan Culture and how DIFFERENT it is!! I love Elder Tavalea. He is so cool and wants so badly to have the spirit.  So many experiences and things have happened this week. I will start with just a few at the beginning of the week. For some reason I talked myself into finally listening to your talk on the Ipod from Womens Conference Mom. Why? I don't know. I possibly cried for 10 minutes... then I realized the fan was on so it was just making my eyes dry ;) But yes mom I agree, sometimes I wish the Gospel wasn't true. Haha But IT IS!!! The Gospel is True!! Another thing that happened that morning was I was reading the Book of Mormon for studies and just had heaps going through my mind and was super unsettled. I just had a feeling to keep reading and reading. I read for another 25 minutes when instantly I realized I was felt calm and at peace. That is my testimony to each of you this day. The Book of Mormon is true. It brings true happiness and peace into our lives at times of greatest need. It did for me and it was amazing. I love the Book of Mormon. It was such a neat experience. 

This week has been very good. Things are going all right with Investigators but even better with less active members and I continue to love them more and more. But what I would like to focus on is General Conference. It was truly amazing. The feelings that I have for that meeting and the Prophet and Apostles are indescribable. What joy and peace those messages have brought me. The message of the Atonement that was in so many talks was incredible. I was so in tune and have never enjoyed Conference that much. There were a few feelings of missing good Ole SLC. It is such a beautiful place!! It was amazing to see how so many of the talks related directly to me or directly to an Investigator. I have received so much guidance and love from each speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I really enjoyed the talk about trials and our afflictions compared to a tree and how the tree will grow strong and will be able to withstand the winds. The scripture mentioned many times this Conference Was Helaman 5:12. A few speakers didn't say it was Helaman but they used the wording and it is so true. Christ is our foundation and we must build on him so that when the whirlwinds come and the devil sends all his storms we can withstand it all. I have a problem with remembering all the speakers and what talks they gave right now but the other one that I loved was about the new truck that the man bought. He finally filled his truck with the wood and came unstuck. I loved that message. What are we filling our loads with? That is so powerful and so helpful in these days. There is so much corruption and wickedness now a day. We must fill our load with Christ and the gospel principles. Yes it was also good to see Ryan Jacobs on the Organ as usual ;) and Jay Atwater in the choir!  haha I have seen Jay more than I have seen all of you guys in the last 8 months! 

The Gospel is True. I love it with all my heart. I am reassured of our Savior’s love for us each and every day. Heavenly Father lives and loves us as well. These are the last days and we must build our foundation on Christ and we cannot fail. I love you all so much! You are in my prayers. I am doing so well and look forward to this incredible week as a servant of the Lord- Truly the greatest blessing in the world. I love you all!
Love Alex

Jana asked Alex in her letter if he is still obsessed with tattoos or if he had matured.  This is what his reply was:

 Know I am doing so well and am the happiest I could be. I still unfortunately am obsessed with Tats. They are beautiful. Yes I want to get one but No I will not. I love the Lord too much to do that to my body and that is Honest. I will have to stick to the Fruit Roll up Tattoos for the rest of my life ;)
Elder Watts
Taree, Australia
Ether 12:27

Here are a few pictures Alex sent to us before Elder Imeson went home:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Miracle Week

Hello Family!!

It has been so good to hear from you and read your emails!  Dad I am jealous you are in Nicaragua! That sounds like so much fun! I remember the good times we had there serving others and working with CFH. I loved it. Thank you for your emails and words of advice.  They truly helped so much!  They really did strengthen my testimony. What would I do without all of you!;)  The Frosted Flakes have been fantastic!!  I haven't had an upset stomach since I have been on them!!  I do agree mom, President Howes and Sister Howes think you are crazy sending $100 worth of Frosted Flakes hahhaa!  Sister Howes said, "It seems like your Mother really loves you".. I teared up of course and said yes, She really does. It is true. Thank you Mom. I love you. 

 (Jana got a little crazy with her latest care package.  Alex Loves Frosted Flakes)

This week has been full of miracles!!  Our lesson with Justin went really well. We had a great lesson with him but mainly just answered a lot of questions that he had.  He is Golden!  Except he is gone so much! He works all the time and is really hard to catch and he apologized for that.. He really is awesome. But what I wanted to talk to you about today was some actually pretty sad, crushing news we got Sunday.  So we have an Investigator named Joe.  Our first Investigator we got since we have been here. He came to church yesterday and told us that he wasn't coming back and he couldn't meet with us. He said that his family was really frustrated with him because they all go to a Christian Outreach church and wanted him to come with the rest of the Family. We were crushed. It was really bad news, but!!  Right at that moment I felt so strongly Heavenly Fathers love for him and I had a reassurance that everything would be ok.  He told us he knows this is the true church and the Book of Mormon is true, he just needs to work out the family problems. We had a really good role play or practice teaching "Joe" this morning.  We are planning on seeing him at the end of the week and talking to him. We both received revelation on what to say and what to help him understand.  I have such peace in my heart and such a sure knowledge that Heavenly Father will provide a way for him to come back WITH his family.  One of the things that I have thought about as this has happened is in 2 Nephi when it talks about opposition in all things. No matter what there is opposition in everything. If there weren't, life would not be possible. I think we need to help Joe realize Heavenly Father will prepare a way and that there will be opposition because he wants to be baptized and wants to progress. Opposition will occur because he is trying to do the right thing. 

After all that had happened on Sunday at Church we were talking with our Ward Mission Leader and he told us of a less active girl that had recently moved back to her home here in Taree with her family.  We went over and visited them. We drove down this long dirt road to find 6 massive dogs, barking and growling at us. All Chained up.. so we thought haha. We got out of the car and started walking toward the door when this massive Mastiff and Rottweiler mix broke the chain and was dragging this massive tractor tire it was supposed to be connected too. We started walking faster and faster towards the door scared out of our minds that this dog would eat us!!! I turned around and gave it a good "Bah"!!!!!! hahahaha It stopped barking and just stood there haha. Thank you Bark Busters Home Training! They did one thing right!  We knocked on the door and the mother answered and let us in. We met the whole family and the girl that had moved back from Sydney.  3 New awesome Investigators we added and this girl said she needs to change her life around. She is back in Taree doing community service and unfortunately taking care of her 18 month old baby.. They are an awesome family!  They are super Aussie Bush people. They have some 80 thousand acre's out in the bush where they go pig hunting every couple weeks! These pigs weigh over 250 pounds!! We saw a few of the ones they had caught and the tusks on those things are nasty!!  That really was a blessing following our trial with Joe. I really see it as two blessings happening in one day. Everything with Joe will work out.

I hope you all have an amazing week and know how much I love you. The Gospel is true. Jesus is the Christ and suffered for each of our sins. I love the talk I studied this morning. Tad Callister says that Heavenly Father isn't going to just let us be complacent where we are and not be stretched. He will keep throwing trials in our lives and give us things we don't like to do so we can get better. Ether 12:27!  If we let heavenly Father into our lives and accept the trials then those weaknesses will become our Strengths. That is so true. 

I love you and have a great week!! 

Love, Alex

A couple more Pictures from Australia:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year

G'Day Family and Happy New Year!!

It was so good to hear from all of you and to hear you are all doing well.  I am doing so well and loving every minute I have with Elder Imeson. This New Years was pretty different for me haha.  We just had a normal day of visiting people and teaching a few Investigators and then we had to be in by 8:00 because of all the crazy people in Australia.  They had fireworks for families at 9:00 in the park which is fairly close to our flat so we climbed up on our Roof and watched the fireworks then went to bed haha.  It was a very different New Years but it was good.  I am so jealous you get to spend all that time with the little guys! (Leo and Thomas)  They are so cute. 

This week has been soo Hot!!  It is crazy how hot it gets here.  But things are going pretty good.  The work is very hard in Taree and finding people that are humble is a struggle so we are just doing everything we can to find people to teach.  We actually added 4 New Investigators the other day.  They are a family from India, Kerala.  They are the most loving humble people I have ever met.  They said they had to move from India 3 years ago because of religion and they believed in Christ and were going to be killed!  They are a young couple with two kids, ages 1 and 3 Their parents live with them as well who speak 0 english! haha  We love trying to talk to the older man (Yosup) because he is the happiest person alive and loves that we talk about Jesus.  He always invites us in and slaps the couch really hard, meaning for us to sit down and then gets us a drink of what is supposed to be water... I'm not sure what it is :/ hahaa  They have some really good questions and are open to everything we share with them.  The struggle will be language and just reading the Book of Mormon.  They haven't published a book in their language (Malayalam).  They are awesome and we are just working with them.  Another Investigator that is coming along pretty well is Tanya!  We have been on and off with her because of her bi-polar and many other mental illnesses but the past two weeks we have been able to have a lesson almost every other day and she has done fairly well.  It has changed her life being able to just relax and listen to our message. We are working toward baptism with her but it stresses her out to set a date.  We are hope it will be this month but it might be next with what she has going on in her life.  We counted 16 Investigators that we have but only about 6 or 7 of them do we regularly teach and work with.  The others are always gone or just flaky.  If Riles or Dad have any suggestions I am open to them.  We are just trying to be a bit more bold with them but more loving at the same time and really trying to understand where they are coming from. 


I have officially overcome my fear of nursing/mental homes!  We have a member who is 97 and she is not doing well.  She has been in the Hospital for several weeks and finally got moved to a mental nursing home.  We have visited her a couple times and we always stop and talk to the other people there.  They are all such nice people and so OLD!!!  I have overcome that fear though!  Some of those people have the most interesting stories haha But it has been good :)

This Morning we had a really good study on the Godhead and how they work and things like that in the Old Testament.  It is just insane how it all works and how Christ is the Lord in the Old Testament.  We discussed Kolob and exaltation.  It is incredible how much we cannot comprehend.  We can talk about things like that but truly can't even fathom it.  It made me think of Mosiah 4:9 in a different way with much more knowledge and respect and some understanding.  

I love you all so much. The Church is true. Have an amazing week and be safe!

Love, Alex 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hot Taree!!

How I love coming to the Taree Library for emailing each Monday and opening up such loving and excited emails!  I am so jealous of all the snow!!  It is just getting hotter and hotter here!  I am not sure what percent humidity it is here but the past couples days have been around 30-38 degree's Celsius.  That is blazing hot but I hear that it gets up to 45+!!  So it is very hot but so nice because it doesn't make me miss Christmas or anything so that is a bonus.  I have been waiting for a few weeks for Elder Freitag to stop by and drop off the stuff!  I am so happy he did!  He was the missionary that picked me up from the airport when I got in Sydney.  He was the Assistant to the President.  I love him and can't wait to be able to meet up in two years with him.  Olivia and Joseph! I hope you like the small gifts.  It costs heaps here to send anything but a letter so I figured this would be one of the only chances to send something home.  I hope you aren't too upset getting such an early Birthday Present ;) haha.  I hope that the IPod wasn't too much to ask!  I really appreciate it.  Elder Imeson and I get along so well and love talking but we drive to Port and Coffs at least 2-3 times a month and that is a 3 and a half hour drive and then to Sydney is 4 and a half!  But it is very fun ha we think of good games and things like that to do haha.  I can’t believe Brett is stuck in the Philippines.  That would be so hard!  I swear I would start swimming or something!  
I wanted to answer a few of the questions you have asked me.  Hopefully this will help you kno what my life as a missionary is like.  Each day we leave the flat at about 10:00.  Sometimes 11:00 because I am doing a "new" missionary training program.  We do service quite often and try to do it in the mornings because it is literally too hot to do anything during the day.  For breakfast I am still trying to find something I enjoy haha.  Heavenly Father has blessed me with no problems with my acid reflex because we eat some pretty awful things at times haha.  For lunch if we don't have time to go to the flat we eat at Hungry Jacks or Maccas.  Dinners here traditionally are these interesting types of Sausages with mashed potatoes, corn, peas and some fizzi!!  Fizzi is Australian soda and it’s carbonated x 100!!  It knocks you out it is so carbonated haha  They do have sprite but it is too expensive so everyone drinks what they call lemonade, which is carbonated water and is awful! haha  We stay out doing missionary work until 9:00. If we have an appointment we are allowed to be out til 9:30.  They don't have any cinnamon here. No cinnamon gum:(  No caramel apple suckers.  The caramel they make here is NOT good at all so E. Imeson got his mom to send a few Caramel Suckers and we gave them out and people were drooling haha!  But they have really good chocolate - Cadbury and another brand.  We are hooked on this Cadbury bar that is pretty cheap so we get it every once in a while.  It has jelly beans and pop rocks in it :) It is so good!  People love soda and really any candy.  The candy is very different.  Cheap branded and some of it isn't good but every once in a while when we go to Coffs Harbour, they have a candy shop that imports American candy so we stop by there:)   I think that is all the questions... I hope I answered them alright I love questions tho so keep them coming:)

A follow up on the lady we gave the Book of Mormon to with the Postie.  Her name is Kelly and she has two little boys that both have ADHD and are hilarious!  They have so much energy and we love spending time with them.  She is a typical Aussie, a bit stubborn and doesn't know exactly what she wants, but she is accepting and every time we meet with her she agrees to what we want her to do and what we teach her.  She said she will be baptized when she feels it is right.  We are just working with her and teaching her so that is going well!  We actually mowed her lawn the first day we met her because she was stressing about it and worrying.  It was about 34 C. !!!  TOO HOT!! haha but it was good, her yard is huge! 

            This week was full of excitement and Miracles. President and Sister Howes came to church on Sunday and spoke to the Taree Branch.  It was awesome!  We had dinner the night before with them at the Sicilian, a pretty nice restaurant that is very popular.  They are amazing.  I really want you to know how loving and amazing they are.  President Howes is a GENIUS.  He is so smart and knows so much. You should see when he speaks and his trainings he gives.  It is unbelievable.  He spoke to the Branch and totally rebuked them! haha it was awesome.  He was like, "Look at all these empty seats! Why is that?" He went on in a very loving way but talking about missionary work and how we need to open our mouths and have the courage to spread the Gospel. It was very good. 

One thing on food we ate this week was.... CAMEL!!  We went to the butcher thinking we were going to get some Roo (Kangaroo) for cheap and try it cause every loves it here.  We ended up walking out with some camel!  It was on sale for 4.50!  We pulled off the stickers and the original price was 28 dollars!  Let me tell you, that was the most disgusting thing I have ever had in my life!!  I was sick all night and finally in the morning got over it! hahaha it was a bad deal, but very fun:) haha

We have been having many encounters with the Jehovah's Witness. They are lovely people but just so lost and don't understand the scriptures. That is one thing that I really studied the other day after having a conversation with one of the JW's. They tried to convince us that we would call our parents by their first names and that is how God is.  We all know Gods name is not Jehovah, that is Jesus Christ, and we know it is respectful to call him Heavenly Father.  I thought that was interesting looking into that.  I have my testimony strengthened each day.  But one thing that is fact, everything that any other religion argues or tries to tell us we are wrong, you can look it up in the scriptures and prove it!  I know that Heavenly Father has allowed other religions because not everyone in the world is going to join our church.  People need other Religions to keep the world going and to have some moral standards.  I wish that everyone in the world would convert to our Gospel but that is one thing that I have learned is that we have our agency and that is how it is.

Christmas here is amazing!!  Not very many people put up lights but those that do go FAR OUT!! I have some really cool pictures of houses decked out with lights and everything.  It doesn't feel like Christmas at all but I know it is there.  It is a weird concept to try and grasp.  If you want to look on google maps my address is 176 High Street, Taree, Australia.  We are flat 5, the light blue one:)  

This week we have training in Newcastle that we are driving down to in a few hours and then next week we have the Christmas training/celebration in Sydney!  We will be out of our area for a while but things are going so good.  I am loving it so much!  Each day I wake up and feel so lucky and thankful for this opportunity to serve a mission.  I have truly felt that I am on a mission and It scares me thinking about coming home, mainly getting back into the real world.  It is so wicked and corrupt.  It is so sad how Satan is ruining people’s lives and taking hold of kids at such young ages.

I love you all so much! Have an amazing week mates:) 

Love, Alex