It’s been a full week here for us. In fact, I’m writing this a day later than I usually do. And I’m limited by time, so I better get going!
We really enjoyed our time at the YSA Mini Convention last weekend in Sydney! It’s safe to say we live a YSA lifestyle…albeit with a little less physical activity on our part. (We are old, remember!) It is so much fun, however, seeing the YSA’s have fun! And the convention was just that…a whole lot of fun! We drove up last Friday for a dance. The music was LOUD! But they all had a blast at the “Great Gatsby” themed dance. Great atmosphere and enjoyment had by all. We climbed into bed about 1:30 am! When we do things in Sydney, we usually stay at the Temple Accommodations, near the temple. On Saturday morning we were able to attend the temple with many of our group. Some did baptisms and some did an endowment session with us. It was wonderful and we love having this wonderful opportunity. After changing (them, not us), we went back to Campbelltown for our activity day. There was an amazing race (by foot) and it included things like placing a Book of Mormon with someone for each group. We waited for their return and then they got started on the games. There was Tug of War, as well as pyramid building and other crazy games like “Stampede”! You had to be there, but they enjoyed themselves. We watched…because jumping on each other’s backs, laying on the floor and climbing into stacks of people (as well as other crazy movements) just wasn’t in our physical abilities. It was so fun to watch! And much laughter and hilarious reactions went on! Nothing like 300 YSA’s to get crazy! These activities were followed by a meal and then another dance. Again, loads of fun! The following day was Sunday. Meeting in another building, we had a very good Sacrament meeting. This was followed by workshops and then a nice dinner. We then attended a very good Fireside in the same building. These Sunday meetings were so wonderful and we were enriched by all the wonderful speakers, video presentations and workshop lessons. Monday’s activities brought us to the beach! We had dodged the rain all weekend, but it caught up with us a bit on Monday. It rained on and off, the wind blew, and it was cold! But it was such a fun day. There was a park/grassy area near the water where all the activities were held. Again, there was music, and lots of games…rugby, volleyball, frisbee, a little dancing and again, good food! I made a new friend that day. Her name is Sarai. She is 19 and preparing to go on a mission as soon as she can. She is a convert (at 13) and a real sweet young woman. We had an instant bond with each other in about an hour-long conversation. And with social media, we will follow each other and maintain that fast and wonderful friendship. I think there may be people you meet here who you knew before in the pre-mortal world. And when you meet them, your spirits just remember! Here are a few pictures I took. The first one is Sarai and me. I’ve included a photo of Elder Larkin and two young men. The fellow next to him is Mone. He just returned from a mission to Tonga. He’s part of our group. The other fellow was a Tongan that was there to go to the temple. We enjoyed meeting him. Elder Larkin loves to speak a little Tongan to people and we enjoy their reactions. They are so surprised, but enjoy meeting someone who served there so long ago. I also included another photo of Sarai and me. It was such a sweet thing for both of us! She is from a stake in Sydney and we may never have a chance to meet again in person. We will be forever friends! Enjoy the beach photos, too. This was our first Sydney beach visit and probably our last. (Other than the Harbor where the Opera House is located) Notice our winter coats! We needed them! It was cold! It reminds me of California in the winter…but colder!
We taught our classes this week. We have also had the opportunity to teach with the sister missionaries this week. Two different companionships. It’s been so interesting for us. We taught Lipou, the Tongan Minister again. He had encountered an anti-Mormon video. It had upset him and we talked about it at great length. He recognizes the power of the adversary and we reminded him that the good feelings he gets when the sisters teach him is very different from the negative feelings he got when he watched the video. He understood. We pray for his strength to continue as he moves closer to baptism. We taught a sweet 17-year old Sudanese young woman yesterday. She is so interested in leaning more and is beginning to understand more about the church and particularly about the Gospel. She’s a beautiful young woman. Then we went with the sisters to meet with a man who is a member but not active since he was 16. He has had a hard life with many sorrows, abuse and pains of spirit. He indicates he needs to change, but then, with almost the same breath says he can’t change. The sisters just happened to meet him by chance last week and he game them his address. There is something about him that wants something better, he just doesn’t realize it yet. It was very interesting to meet him. The Spirit influenced his meeting the sisters last week, for sure. It makes me grateful for our knowledge of the Gospel and it’s blessings. It truly brings us the happiness we seek.
We will testify of the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is our way back to the Father. He will heal us from our wounds. He will bring us happiness. We love our Savior and what He has done for us. We are grateful for Him and his Atonement.
Until next time….