Two more YSA Baptisms and more!!!

I have attempted to find time for a post in the last two weeks, but many things have taken priority. So, here we are! We are in the final weeks of our mission. We will fly home in about 3.5 weeks and we have about three weeks left here in Canberra. There has been a lot of things happening so I will get to it!

I enjoyed a Skype call a couple of weeks ago with a good friend back home. It is always fun to connect with friends and we really hope we will be able to stay in touch with everyone in one way or another after we return to the states.

On the 16th, we had the wonderful opportunity to go to another baptism of one of our YSA’s. His name is Anau. We have seen quite a lot of him in the last few months and it was so good to see him take this big step in his life. The Monday before we were invited to a lovely evening at his home. His mother prepared a lovely meal and the sister missionaries gave a short message to the family. Anau joins his brother, (who is on the left in the back row of the second picture) who baptized him into the church. His mother is the cousin of our friend, Lipou. They are a Tongan family. Here are some photos of that Family gathering, as well as Anau’s baptism:

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The day after the baptism, we attended two wards so we could witness the confirmation of both Caleb (see previous post) and Anau.  It was so good to watch these two young men change their lives and brings some of their friends along with them! That same Sunday evening we attended our regular Stake YSA FHE at the home of one of the Advisers. They graciously provided dinner for all of us that night and it was delicious! We had a record turnout for this event as 47 YSA’s were there! (Was the food an incentive…perhaps!) As you can see in the photos, we spilled ourselves onto the floor and into two rooms!. The lesson was taught in the hall between them. It was a wonderful, fun evening and I took a lot of photos. Here are some of them (sorry for the overdose, but it was so fun!):

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In the week following this event, we taught two lessons, each as we substituted in Seminary for two days. So we spent some serious study time for a few days! It was a good experience and we loved being with the younger kids. They were really good to us, too! It was a bit tiring, but we loved it! In between all this crazy, we do the laundry, shop for food and do a little cleaning here and there.

On Friday of that week (the 22nd), we had a mission Canberra Zone Conference. These are always worthwhile and we never tire of new thoughts on how we can do our missionary work better. The young elders and sisters are the best! We really enjoy them and love being able to work with them. And, of course, it’s always good to see and chat with President and Sister Back. I got one photo and since I took it, we are not in it. But here is the Canberra Zone:

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We also said goodbye to one our YSA’s this last week. Dannie moved back to his native Samoa. He breezed into Canberra a few months ago and really left his mark. We will miss him. Here’s our photo with Dan (and yes, he’s a TALL one!):

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The day after the zone conference (Saturday) we had another baptism of one of our YSA’s! This time, it was David. He’s a great young man and we were excited for him! It has been such a good thing to see so many young people join the church and feel of its spirit! Here are some photos of David’s baptism:

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The day after David’s baptism was last Sunday. We spoke in one of the wards and said our goodbyes. There are four wards here and that was the first of our last four Sundays in Canberra, with us going to each ward one more time. We are having a farewell party the night before we leave, given by our good friends, the Larkin’s! On last Sunday evening we were invited to a family home for a lovely Tongan dinner. It was delicious! And the real deal! Elder Larkin was in Tongan heaven! We brought more food home than we ate and enjoyed it for three days! Here are a few photos from the evening. One of them was taken by the four-year old daughter!

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We taught our last Book of Mormon lesson this last week. Because we  wanted to finish the course, we had asked for an extension on our mission several months ago. We were granted that, and it was worth it! We have loved teaching this course this year. And what a wonderful book of scripture! We have both gained a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon by studying it in-depth and then teaching it! We thank our Heavenly Father for this great opportunity! We bear testimony of its truthfulness. For anyone who has not read The Book of Mormon, please read it for yourself. You will learn to love your Savior and his Gospel!

We held our YSA Committee meeting this week. It was productive and it really needed to be. We had to cover two months worth of information because the missionary couple coming in to replace us will not be here for about a month after we leave. We love these young people so much, we don’t really want to leave them. But they are great, and with a little assistance, things will go on in our absence. It’s hard to believe it’s almost time to go home!

We had a lovely rainstorm this week. And while we were driving to our class, I caught this magnificent rainbow right over the Parliament building! Enjoy!

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We helped out the Zone leaders and Sister leaders this week by letting them use our computer and Skype account for a training meeting held in Sydney. These guys are amazing! They worked so hard and this meeting was Skyped in from four locations. Quite a feat…but a lot better than everyone driving into Sydney. This is a LARGE mission! (But not as big as Adelaide or Perth!) I caught a couple of photos of them:

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Lastly, I will show a photo of our friend, Kevin. Kevin runs the chaplaincy at ANU.  He is a friendly man and very helpful to the missionaries as well as other churches who use the facility. A very good man!

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Well, that’s it for now! Whew! What a post!

Until next time….

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