Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"I spent Christmas day at various homes of members....We had breakfast, lunch and two dinners. I was so full."

December 28, 2010

Hello from Palmerston!
It was good to call home on Christmas Day (for you). When I hear everyone you can catch the American Accent. It will be crazy when I am back in the States. I was most surprised by Keaton, maybe it was just how I heard it on the telephone but he has the strongest accent of everyone. I do not believe I have an Aussie accent. I just believe I do not have as strong as of an American accent as I once had. But I will always have an American accent. I like saying my “Rs” in the right places.

We have an investigator named Sara; we went over “The Family, A Proclamation to the world.” After teaching her a few things we committed her to Baptism. We had her pray herself and choose a Baptismal date. She felt that April 17th was the day. At first I thought, “Man that is ages away”. But after pondering on it, I know that that is the correct date. She will need a bit of time to prepare herself for baptism. She has a desire to give up cigarettes and she will have to be married to her partner who she is living with.

We are teaching a man named Scott. He is reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. Our main objective with him is how to recognize the Spirit. His wife is going through Chemotherapy. She is a Less active from Canada. Scott is following the example of Joseph Smith and is asking questions, which is what we want, I love answering questions. The problem sometimes they are questions that have nothing to do with our salvation. So it is very difficult to stick to our planned lessons.

I spent Christmas day at various homes of members. I enjoy Christmas with Families much more than spending it with many missionaries like last year. We had breakfast, lunch and two dinners. I was so full. I just want to thank everyone for the packages they sent me for Christmas. I call down the blessings of heaven to be upon you.

Today we have P-day on Wednesday; it was public holiday on Monday and Tuesday so we decided to proselyte because people were more likely to be home. On Mondays the Laser tag place is closed. But since this week P-day is not on Monday the laser tag facility is available. That is what we will more than likely do today.
Love you all heaps
Elder Montgomery

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Hello from Palmerston, in the Northern Territory!"

December 20, 2010

Hello from Palmerston, in the Northern Territory!
I'm pretty sure i just did one of the longest land transfers in the world. It is about the distance of Detroit to Mexico City. I was in the farthest south area i could get in the mission to now the most North i could get.

Palmerston is a city just outside of Darwin. This place is like a rain forest. There is no summer or winter here, only dry and wet season. Right now we are at the tail end of what they call “The build-up” or suicide season. It is switching from dry season to wet season, so it is very muggy, when I got off the plane it felt like a slap on the face. It has started to rain every other day but it will start raining all of the time. When it does rain it buckets. It doesn’t take long for everything to be flooded, I’m not sure where the water goes but the ground is very thirsty it seems. There are many interesting animals here and bugs, you can’t go near any river or lake and even the ocean because of crocodiles. It is satisfying to be a missionary here because you are drenched from either sweat or rain. It definitely refines you. You get charity from people who pity you; they give us water to drink which creates opportunities to extend a conversation. You can get out of the car and walk to a door and knock and perhaps someone is not home and you walk back to the car and you will find you are sweating already. Needless to say it is very different weather to Mt Gambier and even Yuma. Yuma is hot but it is a dry heat. It will take time for me to acclimate to the weather. Always you can look at the horizon at night and there are flashes of lightning.

The Branch here is awesome. It is the largest congregation in this mission. There is close to 200 active members. We had the Branch Christmas party on Saturday at a local pool. That was fun, we played ultimate Frisbee and I got to meet much of the Branch. The members in Palmerston are awesome. We have to travel about 20 minutes to go to church in Darwin. Church was so different for me. In Mt Gambier I participated in many things at church. I would bless or pass the sacrament, sometimes teach gospel principles class, run the Young men’s sometimes, I was acting as a counsellor in the Elders quorum presidencies. I did this for 9 months and now I didn’t really do anything except fellowship investigators and meet everyone at church. Which is good.

We have a number of investigators. Most of them are young mothers who are living in a De Facto relationship. Typical Australian. They have been taught mostly everything but they need to be married. So that is the dilemma. We just planned a cottage evening with our Branch Mission Leader with the topic as Temples. We will teach everyone about the opportunity of eternal families and baptism for the dead. We had an investigator that was baptised just on Saturday; I had little to nothing to do with her conversion process. We are helping out an ex com brother come back to church. He is hoping to be rebaptised in January.

Darwin and Palmerston are very multicultural, even more so than Adelaide. There are many islanders and Asians, Africans and so forth. My hand has shaken the world easily since I have been on my mission. It is pretty sweet we are allowed to wear “Crocs” instead of church shoes here because it rains so much. Otherwise are shoes would be wrecked. It feels like you are relaxed and yet you are proselyting it is great.

Today for P-day I am just going to get situated, invest in some kind of a hat. I’m not sure what else we do. Just clean the car and flat. Maybe we will drive into Darwin and see the sites this week. I want to see a crocodile- at a park of course.

Love you heaps

Elder Montgomery

Monday, December 13, 2010

"I am getting transfered to the Northern Territory!"

December 12, 2010

i dont have much time to email today.

I am getting transfered to the Northern Territory!
I am leaving Mt Gambier very soon
Pretty crazy, my companion is being transfered to the Northern Territory as well. We fly up Tuesday morning.
I do not know where exactly i am going in the NT, won't find out till later.
If i get transfered to Darwin, i will have done the longest land transfer in the world, or one of the biggest in the world.
It is a distance from Detroit to Mexico City, but i might go to Alice Springs or anything inbetween.
It is going to be much different than Mt Gambier, it will be very very hot.
Up in Darwin it is very Hot, wet and muggy, and in Alice it is very Hot and dry. Either way it is going to be hot, first i am going to do is invest in a Camel Back.
Looking forward to call home, i still have to buy a card, il do that next P-day.
I am going to go drive to Adelaide today very shortly.
I am more attached to Mt Gambier than i thought. I hope to return to South Australia someday after my mission.

"Transfers are coming up next weekend. There is an 80% chance I am gone. ....I am the Mt. Gambia King."

December 5, 2010

Hello from Mt Gambier!

We just got back from a funeral of a member of the church who passed away over a week ago. It was a good service. I have been pretty fortunate in my life so far. From what I can remember this has only been the 4th funeral I have been to in my life, 2nd on my mission. There will definitely be more to come. It is something we can bet on for sure and that is at one point in time we will all have to go through that experience of death. Pending on the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ but that could be yet afar off. It is a scary/exciting experience I imagine. It is like you are in a room completely dark. But in the centre where you are standing there is a pillar of light directly over you. You cannot see anything; your eyes cannot absorb light around you to focus anything past this spot of light. Death is like taking that step into the unknown. It isn’t until we take that step into the dark that we can look behind us and see the light, or in other words we can look back on this life that we experienced. We can see where we came from. Death is a journey, a new chapter in life. Those are some of the things I have been contemplating today after attending the funeral. It’s pretty sweet to have a testimony of the afterlife. Even when I was young boy I would ponder on the stars and outer space. I would ask myself, what if we didn’t exist. What if there was no life. Time would flee away as a dream. When I thought of the nothingness of this imagination I always got a strange sensation. My mind could not grasp it; I would even get a forbidden prompting. It was almost like the thought would be torn away to the realization that there is a Creator, and that there must be a purpose to life.

We have been visiting and teaching people. Committing them in numerous ways to come unto Christ. There is one brother here who should be dead 5 times over. A few years ago he had a motorcycle accident. They couldn’t find his body immediately, they supposed he walked away. As the inspectors were leaving they saw him unconscious hanging by one foot in a huge gum tree. Pretty intense stuff. His wife and he have never been to the temple and are not sealed. They have been members for over two decades. He is pretty much deaf and cannot hear much at church, for this reason he has been semi active for a long time. He is too prideful to invest in hearing aids, plus he enjoys not being able to hear. He is a funny guy. He had a cool experience, he left church after sacrament meeting and went home. When he was at home he had the strongest prompting to get back to church. He came back and sat in on the Gospel Doctrine class. All he could hear every so often was the word, Temple. He recognized it as God trying to reach out to him. He is way focused now to make it to the temple. He and his wife have had 3 temple prep classes over the years but they have never been able to follow through. Hopefully this is the last nudge to push them over the edge to get them to receive all the blessings their father in heaven would have them receive in this life. We are having great discussions with him about principles in the church. He pretty much needs to be retaught everything.

Transfers are coming up next weekend. There is an 80% chance I am gone. So I think. The weather in Mt Gambia changes all the time. It reached 100 degrees on Sunday and later that day it dropped to about 68 with rain. Pretty crazy. I am not sure what we are doing today. We still haven’t decided. Probably do some exploring, I have seen everything in this town, but I go over it again with every new companion. I am the Mt Gambia king. Especially if I stay one more transfer, there hasn’t been a missionary that has been here as long as me for years. It will stink to change areas just before Christmas.

Going to go now

Love you all heaps

-Elder Montgomery

"I am grateful for my capacity to serve and help other people grasp this message that is for everyone."

November 28, 2010

Hello from Mt Gambier!

Things are going well here. There are just some people you don’t see immediately progressing. It has been a pleasant surprise for some less actives who I thought would never come to church in my short time in Mt Gambier to actually attend. Some very surprising progression in some less actives. Maybe I had little faith in them; I need to work on my perception for everyone. I need to see them as our heavenly father would see them. He would see them with a divine potential we are all capable of becoming. Call it what you want, Charity or something else; it will be a lifelong characteristic I hope to progress in personally throughout my life.

Being on the mission really helps you more fully realize the blessings we have being a member of the church. There is so much knowledge to treasure. Where did we come from? Why are we here on this earth? What happens after we die? Truly if you can’t answer those three questions then you have wasted your time in this life. There really are so many people out there who are looking for the truth but do not know where to find it. The message that we bring to the world helps people find themselves, who they truly are. And what they are capable of becoming. The great obstacle in life is sin, with all its shame and guilt that accompanies it. Never is the message of the Saviour to turn us away from learning the truth, to stop us from receiving heavenly glory. It is always the message of Satan to keep us mouldering in the dark and to settle for our own glory or pride. I think of the Garden of Eden. It was Satan who told Adam and Eve to hide. Jesus Christ says, “Come unto me”. When we realize the objectives of both God and Satan, we can see the cross roads of decisions faced in front of us. Jesus says, “Come unto me”, Satan says, “hide, be ashamed for what you have done, you are not worthy, you are not good enough.” The procrastination of progression is the beginning of misery. Satan wants us all to be miserable like unto himself. When the scriptures say, “damnation” or you are “damned,” it is used in the same usage as if you were to build a damn on a river to stop its flow or to stop its progression. We were sent here to this earth to learn and progress, may we look to the saviour to redeem us. May we come unto him. Repentance, change is available for all of us. Let us be grateful for that. I am grateful for my capacity to serve and help other people grasp this message that is for everyone. God has once again reached out to his children. He has called prophets for our day. The bible didn’t kill god. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Love you heaps

Elder Montgomery

"Thanksgiving is coming up; a member is having us over for tea that night. But Elder Rea and I bought us a little chicken to cook..."

November 21, 2010

Hello from Mt Gambier

Things are ever so progressing over here. We had multiple less actives at church. We have multiple appointments set next week to start teaching people, investigators and less actives. We are bringing members to help us teach every appointment. Invitations are way more effective when it comes from members. It is starting to get very sunny here in Mt Gambier, I am so not acclimated to warm weather, being here during the whole winter has had an effect on me. Mt Gambier is one of the coldest areas in all of Australia and it receives heaps of rain. If I had left this area a couple weeks ago I would have always remembered Mt Gambier has a wet gray place. But it is quite pleasant now.

People are starting to get into the Christmas spirit. The city on the main street is decked out on Christmas decorations. We are giving away heaps of “Joy to the World” pass along cards when we knock on doors, we give them out when they are initially not interested in our message, and we have just been offering them that free DVD. I kind of want to be transferred because I do not want to be in one area for like half of my mission. But if I do get transferred in three weeks into a new area, I will not know anyone during the holidays. It is good to know the members during this special time of year. Thanksgiving is coming up; a member is having us over for tea that night. But Elder Rea and I bought us a little chicken to cook for Lunch on that Holiday. Chicken is close enough to Turkey.

We are going to go Christmas Shopping today. I am quite slack; I need to send it off this week if it is to get to you guys in time for Christmas. Always remember I am a pretty cheap person. I hope I do not forget any nieces or nephews. To tell you the truth I do not know any of the new ones names, these things get past me. I meet too many people on the mission to remember names. I might just get family gifts or something to make it easy. Going to go now Love you all heaps

Elder Montgomery