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