Australia is amazing! It is so warm here! It is spring time, almost summer and it is beautiful. Every morning we wake up to hundreds of tropical birds flying around. Kookaburra - Joseph that licorice you love, is the bird on the package and is the loudest most beautiful bird you’ve ever seen!. Cockatoo's also are so pretty and are everywhere! The food is pretty normal to America. They have Macca (McDonalds) Hungry Jacks (Burger King) and a few other places. But we eat heaps of fruit! It is so amazing here! A traditional meal for tea (Dinner) is sausages, fruit, bread and hopefully nutella. They also eat vegemite :( and then fruit drinks. It really isn't too different from the U.S. But really it is beautiful here and we are in the REAL Australia. The City has heaps of ethnicity. It is the Melting pot of the world. Taree is a really nice town with about 20,000 people. Really nice shopping area's and places to go. It is also kind of in the country. We have Koala's and Kangaroo's haha they are so cool! The people out here are real Aussie's. As real as they get so the accent is VERY strong. I am starting to not even think about it anymore though it’s great! One interesting thing here is that Australia closes down from 4-6pm. Literally nothing is open during those hours. Everyone goes home or something! So at 6 o’clock when we are going to get dinner, all the shops and most gas stations are closed! I thought that was pretty strange.
My companion and I are serving in a branch. We have about 6 pages of members but on average about 20-35 people come. The area we are covering has heaps of old people. Everyone is old!!!! hahaha We have some great friends that are these old Grannies and always call us and give us drinks and just chat with us. I love it haha
Our first day in the area we didn't have that much to do so we just started visiting less active members and got to know the area. The second day we decided to fast because we needed investigators and people to teach. That morning we fasted and prayed to find someone to teach and baptize. We stopped by the Lewis family, a less active family with about 6 kids. We got talking to the dad who is 6 foot 3, 330 pounds, massive beard, long hair to his back, and hadn't showered in weeks. His BO was beyond belief. He was the nicest/ strangest man I have ever met but he is great. We sat outside and to our disadvantage the wind was coming right at us the whole time. His BO for one hour was plowing into our noses!!! But it was worth it because at the end he told us he has a son that is getting ready to be baptized. He is 10 years old and "they hadn't gotten around to it" Crazy!! How do you not get around to Baptizing your son!? haha We met with the son (Samson) and are going to baptize him in the next month! What a miracle! The following day we met a family of three – Dad, Mom and daughter that are not members. The Dad has read the Book Of Mormon 3 times and has been "waiting" for missionaries! So we have a Tea Appt with them tonight! Heavenly Father has this area planned out for us and we just need to exercise our faith and he will deliver people for us to teach!
Last night we had Tea with the Smith Family. The Smit’s are a husband and a wife around mom and dad’s age. They have 4 kids that have served missions and gotten married and moved out. The dad has Huntington’s disease. They are literally the nicest, most loving, hard working, dedicated couple in this Branch. The Husband with this disease is so amazing. He built his home which is beautiful. It is on a 10 acre lot with the most amazing view. The entire time we were eating I was just crying inside for him. To go through life like that, not able to talk at all, shaking and making weird sounds, is awful. My love for him was so strong and I told him we would rebuild his deck for him because he was looking for help. That night I prayed and cried for him. (Something I get from MOM!!) But just knowing people go through these trials in life and can't express themselves or anything. My love for mentally challenged people has always been so strong and I can't wait for the Resurrection and when I can hug him and have a real conversation with him. It just made me really think of how blessed I am. My life is amazing and I have such amazing support. He really inspired me and I really felt like our spirits connected. I will always remember him and how I felt in their home.
Alright, one last fun thing we did this week. To get away from sad but amazing experiences like the one I just told you about, we went to a hub market! It was at this place kinda like the fairground in Farmington, just heaps and heaps of shops and stores of everything in the world. Down about 50 shops was a table, with two white missionaries talking about the Gospel! Hahahah yes that was us! We set up an information booth with all this stuff! It was pretty fun and we have some ideas for next month’s market. It was a great way to just get out and have people see us and for us to talk to people.
Everything here is going so well and we are working very hard! The members love missionaries and especially the less actives!
I just want you to know how much I love all of you and I think about you every day. I think of the things you are doing and pray for you daily! Keep asking questions and things you want to know! My Companion is the best. He has 6 months left on his mission and is just like Riley. It keeps me working hard and happy. I love you guys so much! Enjoy every minute you all have to be together and say hello to my Indy Girl and Sugar Bea!!
Have a great week and God be with you!!
Love, Elder Watts