Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Merry Christmas everyone!"

December 20, 2009

Hello from Murray Bridge!
Kevin has committed to be baptized on January 10th 2010! We are so excited. We were teaching him The Plan of Salvation when he committed. We had a good day at church. We once again had 6 investigators at church this Sunday. Four different investigators than the previous Sunday. So hopefully we can get all 10 of these investigators at church. Yesterday at church we had Kevin, Bart, Lily/June, Peter and Andrew. Andrew is an aboriginal guy, first time at church. Michael and Leigh were in Mt Barker visiting family. They do not have a baptismal date, but they have a wedding date. They are getting married February 14th 2010! Then we will baptize them. Krystal, their daughter, should be turning 8 within the year so that will be another baptism. Bart is staying at and watching over Sister Turner’s house while she is in Malaysia on holiday. This is good because now we have a good environment where we can teach Bart. So now he is progressing. We have given heaps of books and he is reading them. I think it’s only a matter of time before the spirit works with him. Softens his heart, realizes he needs to be baptized with authority and commits to baptism. Chen Wei came to church today. He has not been to church since he was confirmed in September. His English is horrible, so he has been taking English classes every Sunday morning. Fortunately the English class is on holiday so he came to church. Good things are happening in Murray Bridge. Even though everyone is busy as, the work is progressing.
I will probably call you the morning of the 26th of December. Like 8 o’clock or so. Boxing Day for me. Christmas day for you. We will spend December 25th and 26th at the mission home. We will sleep at another missionaries flat or a members home.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Love ya heaps
-Elder Montgomery

"We need to teach them the basics and build from there."

December 13, 2009

Hello from Murray Bridge!
I will admit I am beginning to dislike Christmas time as a missionary. Everyone is busy and leaving Murray Bridge. Every one is flat out and shopping and has no time to talk. Knocking on doors right now is pretty bad. But this week was also very good. We had our Branch Christmas party in Belair national park. We got two new investigators that a sister in the branch took with her. There are renting out a room in this sisters house. Their names are Luke and Carly. They are a young couple in their early 20s. They really enjoyed themselves and were well fellowshipped. Kevin and Bart also made it. As well as Michael and Leigh and their young family. The activity was heaps fun. We played Frisbee and I played cricket for the first time. I kept putting my bat up like in baseball. I swear they told me to put it down like 6 times. I even pitched during the cricket game. My first throw was not too bad. But then after that it was like 1/3 throws that were good.
Then on Sunday the next day. Everyone that went to the Picnic also came to church. So we had 6 investigators at church. That is the most so far in my time in Murray Bridge. I gave a 10 minute talk at church. The subject was how my life has been blessed by magnifying my priesthood. Pretty easy talk I will admit. It went very well. I am so glad we had so many investigators at church that heard me speak, let alone came to church and felt the spirit.
Then after church we had a BBQ at Sister Turner’s house. It was Bart’s Birthday. We had Michael, Leigh, Kevin and other non-members at this BBQ. So we had a really good weekend this week. Heaps of activities and fellowshipping. These investigators are no longer strangers and are now that much more familiar with church members. They even had a chance to interact with members outside of church.
We are going to have Family Home Evening with Luke and Carly tonight. They have heaps of questions after going to church. We need to teach them the basics and build from there. They are not married. Hopefully they will be married in February or March along with Michael and Leigh. We need these investigators married! Carly when she came to church was looking for the holy water, she has some Catholic background. Luke I am not too sure.
I gave Claire the book “Our Search for Happiness”. That is a good book, I felt impressed to give her my book. It will inform her heaps about the church. We have a set appointment with her and we will bring the relief society president with us to help us teach. She is going to Brisbane for a month in February.
Lily is becoming overwhelmed with handling her take away shop all by herself. June is only 10 so she does not help out. She works many hours a day. We need to keep being supportive and positive with her. She was too tired to go to church this Sunday. She is going to China for 2 months for the Chinese new year celebration in February.
Three of our investigators are going out of town for a while. Oh well, the work will continue and will progress, and so will they when they get back in March, whether I am here, or I am not. i reckon I will be here.
Love you heaps
-Elder Montgomery

One of Braden's Transfer Days

Driving in Australia

Koala Bear Hugs

Standing in front of Adelaide, Australia Temple

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"I am now companions with Elder Tualatamaalelagi..."

December 6, 2009

Hello from Murray Bridge!
I have not been transferred and finally staying in one place. Elder Ashworth has been transferred to my old area in Modbury Ward. I am now companions with Elder Tualatamaalelagi, he is Samoan and but grew up in New Zealand. I call him Elder T. He has been out just over one year. I have been introducing him to the area and seeing all of our friends.
I wanted him to see the extremes we have in Murray Bridge. I took him out bush to go see Claire. Claire can do what the Aboriginals do when they play the didgeridoo, they can breathe in threw the nose and exhale threw the mouth. Claire can do that when she talks. She talks heaps. An assistant to the President on a trade off said she is the most talkative investigator he has ever met. The assistants go to all the areas on trade off. She is doing well. We watched “The Testaments” with her.
Then immediately after that we went to go see the opposite of Claire, we went and saw Peter. Peter cannot talk. And he cannot hear anything. Peter is good, he has been to church 3 weeks in a row. And we tried committing him to baptism but we found out he is Jehovah witness. But obviously not practicing, he is going to church with us. We will break him.
Went and saw Michael and Leigh, we also watched “The Testaments” with them. It is such a good movie; it helps them visualize what is happening when they read the Book of Mormon. They are sweet, they bought even more animals.
Lily and June went to the Missionary Fireside in Adelaide with us yesterday. It was really good for them to hear Sabrina Tan speak. She is a Chinese girl that was baptized in June. She has a strong as testimony. It is good for them to hear a testimony of Jesus Christ from a Chinese person.
The work is continuing in Murray Bridge. We have a Branch Picnic party this Saturday in Belair National Park, we are going to invite heaps of investigators, less actives, everyone, it will be great.
I was so happy to see Patience at the fireside. She moved to a different Ward. But she is helping all of the less active Africans in Prospect Ward. I also saw Robert and Anthony at the fireside. I had not seen them for close to 2 months. Anthony and Tammy will be married on the 18th of December. They have been to the temple. And Robert and Anthony have passed the sacrament. Neo is going on Holiday to China for 2 months; he wrote me a letter in the mail. Black has also moved to Prospect Ward with Patience. It sucks, everything we tried to build in Firle ward is moving to Prospect. Oh well Prospect ward better be thankful.
Thanks Mom and Dad I got your package. It will be opened on Christmas day when we have the missionary party in Adelaide.

Love, Elder Montgomery

"We had chicken and sweet potato pie..."

November 29, 2009

Hello from Murray Bridge!
We have no idea if I or Elder Ashworth are being transferred. We will find out later today. President Poulton and the Assistants to the president are still seeking guidance to know where to transfer missionaries. I think we will both stay. But you will find out next Monday. I will laugh if I am transferred again.
Things are going well. Peter came to church for the second time in a row, as did Lily and her daughter June. On Saturday we had a BBQ at Sister Turner’s house. We had 5 investigators there. Bart, Kevin, Michael/Leigh and Cristina. Cristina is a 10 year old girl, her parents are both active in the church. She just needs to be baptized. Probably in December we will push to get her baptized. She will count as a convert Baptism.
I learned my lesson on obedience. Lily is 34 years old; we thought it was okay to see her all on her own because it was in a public place and even a big counter between us. But when we would go on trade off with other Elders they would bring to our attention that we need I-care to see her. Then immediately after that occurrence we would disobey and see her another day. And in consequence she stopped progressing. We then realized we were making a big mistake, so we repented and now we see her with I-care every time. Since then Lily has made it to church 2 weeks in a row and finally stayed for all 3 hours. She is going to an enrichment activity on Tuesday. She will continue to recognize and make new friends. That will help her embrace the church. She may have felt uncomfortable or left out because of her language restrictions. But now that is being resolved, people will know not to talk too quickly and be nice and attentive to her. Also Leigh is coming to the activity as well. She really wanted to come to church this Sunday. But unfortunately their car is very unreliable. No matter what we are getting them a ride to church next Sunday. I will not take no for an answer. They are getting a ride.
This Sunday I and Elder Ashworth were asked to bless the sacrament. I have not blessed the Sacrament in a very long time. But never before has the sacrament or the atonement meant so much to me. Even though we were in a branch of some 90 people attending church, I was filled with the spirit. I was looking out into the congregation and watched everyone renew the promises they had made to god when they were baptized. That they will keep his commandments that they will always remember him and they will be a witness to everyone and bear his name. It brought me much joy to see every one receive what god had promised them back for doing these things. I watched a congregation of people receive a remission of the mistakes they had made, that the Holy Spirit will now be with them. It was beautiful to see.
I can’t believe it is almost Christmas time. I was just working at Pacific Cooler International a year ago. I think I will break off a branch of something and make a Christmas tree. It has been chilly here. It went from a heat wave of forty three degrees to rainy and cold. But I will take this cold weather; it will be the last for a couple of months.
I love hearing from everyone. I love hearing about home. I am in an upside down world from you. So keep me informed. Especially about my Broncos. Who won the World Series!?!?!? Tell me about Basketball. I know I have changed but I still love my sports. We told the Butler Family about Thanksgiving so we had tea with them on Thursday. We had Chicken and sweet potato pie, because the American pumpkin is nonexistent. Sweet potato pie was the closest thing to pumpkin pie. It was a good meal. We went around the table and said everything we were thankful for. Then we got the pig skin and threw it out in the back yard. We are Americanizing Australia! Happy Birthday Mom! Thanks for everything.
We go shopping at Woolys and we do our laundry at home, we have a washer but not a drier. Today we are going to clean our flat and the car. We are going to pack up half of our stuff because we do not know if we are being transferred. We would chuck the Frisbee around, but it is a bit windy today. I do not have an accent. I can make a Bogan Aussie accent, they are easy. There are a lot of Bogan’s in Murray Bridge I am not going to lie. Like 80 percent it seems. But I love this area. I hope I stay.
Love ya heaps.
-Elder Montgomery

"I cannot believe I have been out nearly 5 months!"

November 22, 2009

Hello from Murray Bridge!

Things are going well here. We had an interesting Sunday. We got our friend Peter to come to church. Peter is deaf and cannot talk. His vision is not too well either. We got Lily and June to come to church, but they just stayed for sacrament meeting, they had to go back to the restaurant and work. But we had a peculiar lesson with just Peter in gospel principles class. We used a lot of drawings and writing on the white board. The lesson was about prophets, modern and ancient. The pace of the lesson was so unorthodox I am a bit relieved we had no other investigators at church. We needed to focus on how to teach Peter. From what I can Peter enjoyed himself.
Claire was busy this week helping out “Uncle John” prepare to leave for the United Kingdom. As soon as he leaves Claire will be “free to study and learn more about the church” so she says. I look forward to when we can see her more often when she has more time. I am trying to be patient but I want her baptized so much.
Michael and Leigh are sweet. Leigh really wants to get involved in the church. They went to a cottage evening at a member’s home this Friday and met a bunch of members and had a good time. Their 7 year old daughter has health problems that causes her great pain and makes it difficult for her to move. She may be having an operation this Tuesday. I pray that she will be comforted. They may take turns going to the city and watching over their daughter when she would recover from operation. It may not be their time just yet. They would have come to church this Sunday but they had to take care of their daughter. She was unable to walk.
Kevin and Shane are sweet. Shane was very religious but was kicked out of the church he was in and hasn’t been to church in a long time. Kevin is warming up more and more to the church. We will work with them closely and bring the truth to them.
Bart is sweet. We had a Family Home Evening at President Smith’s home with Bart there. We taught Bart about dispensations and how each dispensation of times we learn something new that helps us understand the Plan of Salvation. It went very well. Unfortunately Bart was crook all week since Monday. We will wait for him to be feeling better and start visiting him.
But this week was very good. Our teaching pool is filling up. We have used the most member present lessons so far this transfer this week. Things are improving, even if they are baby steps our goal of baptizing these people is getting closer and closer.
It was heaps hot earlier this week. We had an intense heat wave. And the very next day it was cool, and raining. So we have been enjoying this fine weather, we will not have this cool weather for a couple of months.
I cannot believe there is only one week left in this transfer. I and Elder Ashworth have learned heaps. I have been wrong every time I have guessed what will happen at transfer, nevertheless I believe me and Elder Ashworth will stay together one more transfer. But in one week we will see what happens. I will be surprised if I move three times in a row. I have been in more areas than my District Leader and I have had the same amount of companions as he has. He is young as well but is coming up close to have been out about a year. I hope I do not move. It does not take long for me to love an area. I hope I stay here for Christmas. We are going to have a Christmas party in Belair National Park. It is in the hills so it should be nice weather relatively.
I cannot believe I have been out nearly 5 months!
Love you heaps
-Elder Montgomery

"I am glad to be just an instrument God can use."

November 15, 2009

Hello from Australia!
There was a baptism yesterday! Justin Chappell, he is 10 years old. His mom is fully active, he just never got baptized. So I had little to nothing to do with his conversion. But he will count as a convert Baptism since he is 10. Also two other 8 year old kids were also baptized, but they will not count towards the mission unlike Justin. But it was a big baptismal service for all of them. So my honour of men contribution to the mission is 6.
Things are progressing here in Murray Bridge. Michael and Leigh have a baptismal date on December 12th. They still have some work to do but it is good to have a distant landmark to look forward to so you can find your way when you are travelling. It is a great goal but they need to be married and quit abusing their bodies with harmful substances. I pray that they will receive strength and be able to repent.
Also Claire is sweet. She is getting closer and closer to baptism. We had a discussion with her this week and as we were leaving she said, “I think you got me”. We are going to see her next on Tuesday. I feel really good about her. She is so in tune with the spirit everything makes sense to her. She would be a blessing to be apart of this branch here in Murray Bridge.
Bart is hopefully coming to tea with us at President Smith’s house out in Callington. We are going to have family home evening together. Bart I think will be baptized in the near future. He is really good friends with Sister Turner. I believe he said to her he will be baptized after Christmas when he gets wasted for the last time. Everybody has their free agency. These are our top investigators. Good things are going to happen here in Murray Bridge. I am blessed to have witnessed the spirit work on these people. I am glad to be just an instrument God can use. I always want to leave an area better than what it was when I received it. That is my goal. In the coming months good things will happen.
Sabrina, a recent convert back in Firle went to church in Murray Bridge this Sunday. She lived here a couple of years. She told me about Patience Barlee, Neo and Black. They still all go to church. Black moved to Prospect Ward, that’s okay. Patience is looking into moving into a member’s home. And Neo is just busy with school. I love all my friends I have left back in the city. And also Anthony and Robert back in Modbury. You should try to find my friends on face book.
Being on a mission and meeting more and more people just further strengthens my testimony of the faith. I know more now more than ever that absolutely everyone needs the gospel of Jesus of Christ in their life. Everyone’s lives sucks. They really do. People are not happy. Only true happiness comes with the knowledge that they are redeemed. They can feel the joy of their redemption. I have seen people change their lives. I have seen people become happier. I love turning misery into joy. I love inviting people to change. I love teaching people about what Jesus Christ has done for us. I love bringing god to the godless. I love helping people build up their faith, because true faith leads to action. When more and more people have true faith in Jesus Christ they are willing to follow him and keep his commandments. Not just being a nice person, but leaving your old self behind in the waters of baptism and coming out of the water a new person, a follower of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am that I have the opportunity to go to church every week and renew my promise to god. That I will always follow him. That I will always remember what he has done for me. I will take his name upon myself. And how grateful I am for the promise god has given me. That I can always feel his love threw the Holy Spirit. And that I can receive a remission of my mistakes I have made in my life. I wish for everyone I meet in my life to feel what I feel. To know what I know. I want them to feel his love. I pray for this everyday. I love you all.
-Elder Montgomery.