First, let me update you on our injured sister missionary. The last word we heard was this morning when her mother posted an update on a special page on Facebook. If you are interested to follow her recovery status, I recommend that you join the page, if you have a Facebook account. Put in a request and someone will let you in. It is called: “Prayers for Sister Kendal Levine”. Her mother posted that she is now breathing on her own, but is receiving some added pressure to assist her. She has had her sedation and pain meds reduced and is moving her limbs. She also has no current pressure problems with her brain. We pray, now, that she will regain consciousness very soon and be on the road to recovery and being healed from this traumatic injury. Please, continue to pray for Sister Levine. I also spoke with our Zone leader tonight and he said her companion is also feeling a little better and sounding more like herself. Many tender mercies from the Lord, of which we are grateful!
Our countdown is on…we fly home in 10 days!That does not mean our work has stopped and I have much to tell you about our last week.
Last Saturday, we attended a baptism for another YSA! They are happening faster and faster. This was a young man from Ghana. He had the lessons in Africa, but for whatever reason he was not baptized there. After a while here, he found the phone number of one of the bishop’s here in the stake. He called him and asked him where the church was. It happened to be the ward he resided in. The missionaries taught him again and he was baptized two weeks later! His name is Raymond. He is enthusiastic and has been attending our Institute class. Here are a couple of photos of him and the Tongan Elder who baptized him:
He had an even bigger smile when he came up out of the water! I love baptisms!
Sunday was the Australian Father’s Day, so the children sang in Sacrament meeting and they handed a yummy cookie to all the Dad’s. We were invited to have Father’s Day dinner with a darling family in one of the wards. What a fun evening with four adorable children and two great parents. It was a lovely meal, too. And, I also failed to get a photo…we just sometimes have so much fun, the idea of a photo just flees from my brain!
We spent Monday prepping our lessons and doing other mission duties. We were also waiting to hear word about Sister Levine, but she had no change that day.
We taught our lessons on Tuesday and Thursday. We have a day class on both Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as our stake night class on Tuesday evening. Nearly record numbers for our night class as well as the Mission Prep class. Our Thursday class also had a record number with 6 in attendance! We started our Doctrines of the Gospel course and our lesson this week was on Truth. We also had several non-members present in each of our classes this week! The missionary work is so exciting right now!
On Wednesday, we found ourselves at the hospital in the afternoon to see how Sister Levine was doing. They had performed surgery on her the night before to relieve pressure in her brain, so she was heavily sedated. We did not even go into her room, but spent a half hour talking to her parents. They are faithful, strong people who are taking good care of their daughter. Such a difficult position to be in! We add our prayers to theirs for a complete recovery for their daughter.
After our visit with Sister Levine’s parents we quickly drove to our friend, Susana’s home for dinner. We have been sharing dinners and Family Home Evenings with her family our entire mission. No one in the stake has been kinder to us and we have loved having them be a part of our lives. Here are some photos of our evening there:
Her two-year old was in constant motion! And her oldest son is serving a mission. He began in Sierra Leone, but was taken out of the country after the Ebola scare. He is now serving in the Brisbane mission. We are so proud of Dion and grateful we knew him before he left! Some of the baptisms we have been having are friends of his who he was helping before he left! The fruits of his labors! After our visit with Susana, we hurried over to Lipou’s home for a visit with the sister missionaries. How wonderful it is to see his progress in the Gospel. He prayed and bore his testimony to us. His countenance has changed and he is truly a happy man! We are so happy for him! Here are some photos we took with a timer on the camera. It was a little low on the table, so the photos are a funny angle, but they’re good.
After our day class on Thursday, we were able to have dinner at the home of one of the bishopric members of Tuggeranong ward. We enjoyed another great meal and the good company of his sweet wife and their two children. We had our “Thanksgiving” meal there last November and love their hospitality to us. They used to be the YSA advisers in their ward until a few months ago. Loved our evening with them!
For the whole 18 months we have been here, we have shopped a lot at Costco. It’s been so good to enjoy several American foods as well as more Australian ones. It’s been a big blessing when we shop for the YSA, also. We met a very friendly clerk there whose smile has just made our day. Her name is “United” and we soon found ourselves looking for her every time we went. We would go several weeks and not see her, but always say hi when we did and go to her check stand. About 6 weeks ago, I found her as we were leaving and went to her busy check stand to greet her. She said, “We need to write” and handed me a piece of paper. I quickly jotted down my email address and handed it back. We have been corresponding since then! She invited us over to her flat to meet her children and yesterday we had that sweet opportunity! It was such a blessing to us to be able to cement what will be a life-long friendship with her. She also brought a friend over with her kids and we found out the friend was a member of the church, but not active! We asked if both of them if they would like to have the missionaries stop by and they both said yes. We are excited to hear how their visits will go and we just wish we could have a little more time to visit with her and her friend again. This has been an amazing experience. Here are the photos from our visit. United is in the pink sweater and her friend is in the striped one. And a photo of their seven combined children:
And to top off this amazing week we were able to attend a baptism today of another YSA! She is Chinese. Her English name is Cindy. But we were impressed that the Elder who baptized her said the ordinance in Chinese! She seemed very happy and will make a great addition to our group. Here is her photo with us afterward.
Lastly, I will post a photo we took last Sunday of one of my good friends here. Her name is Eeva and she is a baseball fan and a wonderful forever friend, too! Even if she does root for Rangers! She is especially fond of the Canberra Cavalry, the local baseball team here. Baseball is not a huge sport here and so we immediately took to each other when we found we had this in common. She is also a lovely woman! She attends our day class at ANU.
As the heading of the post says…we are counting down. We leave Canberra a week from today and fly home a few days later on the 23rd. I hope to put up one more post before our departure, but the time crunch is getting crazy! We are forever grateful for our time here and can’t imagine our life without this experience. We have absolutely loved our mission and Canberra, its people and all the members of the church and the missionaries will hold a special place in our hearts!
Until next time….