Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Week 6 - End of transfer one --Following the spirit

Ahh I got one transfer under my belt. What a good week. It started off with a trade off. The elders from Townsville came up. One took my comp and I was with the zone leader. He is from Africa. Elder Mtabela. He's a really good guy. We had lots of fun and taught some really good lessons. At one, the man we were teaching said he sometimes opens his bible to a random page and reads a verse and it always is perfect for what he is going though. At the beginning I was prompted to pull out my scriptures. I had no clue what scripture to share but then he said that and I trusted in the spirit. I said, “Lets try that right now.” So I started flipping and he told me when to stop. I had one scripture marked on that page and read it! It went perfectly along with what we were teaching and with what he shared!! Hahaha ahhh I loved it so much!!

Later on in the week we finished all of our set lessons and it was 8:30 and we had 30 minutes to find. We didn't have anything planned so we sat at a corner and wrote stuff down in our planners. Then a girl walked passed and we started to talk to her. It was all casual and then it got spiritual. She was interested in what we had to say and wanted to meet the next day to learn more. Then my comp said, "Can we sing you a song." WHAT?? It is 9:00 at night on a dark corner and you want to sing this stranger a song. So we sang and she laughed but said it was awesome. We gave her a pamphlet and went to bed. The next day we meet her at a park and she had the pamphlet opened and it looked worn out. She had read it!! Nobody reads it!! So we were so excited!! She had lots of questions and loved to think that we lived with Heavenly Father before we came here. We haven’t set a date yet because we left to go to Charters Towers, but when we get back she is going to be ready! She doesn’t even smoke or drink or even swear!! So she is perfect!! Oh her name is Mariah by the way. 21 single mom with a daughter.

I talked about following the spirit before and man this week I was so in tune. I have always struggled to tell if it is the spirit or me, but this week I was really able to know and follow it. We had had the longest most unsuccessful day ever! Rejection after rejection. Over and over. I was so tired and done and then we came across a man who was on the phone. He said, “Just a minute I can talk it a sec.” So we waited and waited and waited and then he came back and said, “This is going to be awhile so come back tomorrow.” So we continued down the road knocking and after a few houses down this man on the phone. (Steven) yelled down, “I'm done. Can you talk now?” So we hurried back up to him and started to get to know him. He said he has lots of questions about God and church and such. His father passed away recently and all he can think about is him and if he will see him again. This poor guy has fallen into the drug life and has had it hard. He told us he felt trapped and doesn't know what to do. So we started to talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He lit up and loved every word we said. As we briefly went over the gospel I felt prompted to ask him to be baptized. I thought, “What, no way, he is just hearing about this for the first time.” When I said briefly, it was just that. We had not gone into any details at all but I followed the spirit and he is set for December 17. When I popped the question he loved it and was so excited to be forgiven of all his past. He also told us that December 17 is his birthday. I had no clue. When he told us that we all just started to laugh. Man it was one of the most spiritual moments so far. He is really awesome. The only thing that scares me just a bit is when we told Brother Yip about him. Brother Yip is a policeman and as soon as we said his name he said, “Man watch out for him. We know that family very well.” I guess the drugs hit that family hard and also robbery and theft. So he said, “Hold on to your wallets.” Sooooo that is scary to know, but Steven wants to change and was really nice to us. He gave us a Coke and over all didn't seem too bad.

That is how a lot of the people are that we teach. Brother Yip knows them. But when I think about it, it is those people that need the gospel the most. So I don’t need to be scared. Mary and her son Ashley are in the same boat as Steven. Crystal meth has hit her hard and she is done. She never thought she would be a struggling single mom addicted to drugs. She hit rock bottom too. I think I already shared this, but she texted us, “How can I join your church?” So we have been talking and teaching her and she is also set on Dec 17. She also wants her 9 year old son to be baptized so we talked with him and he wants to also.

Andrew and Brook were away at the hospital for their son so we were unable to teach them a proper lesson, but we saw them right as we were leaving and told him when we get back we need to meet everyday and really work with you too meet your date. He was down. So in two weeks we are really going to work with him. He still wants to be baptized because he was part of that drug life. Since he has had a son he wants to be a good example and not lead or see his son go down that path so he is still doing really good!

The Olsens has us over for dinner and we ate kangaroo!!! Oh ya, kangaroo!! And boy howdy was it delicious. When you buy kangaroo you don't know what part it is so whatever I was eating it was good. It was like stake but better. More tasty and overall good! The Olsens are so fun and we enjoyed dinner with them and teaching them. I used my great grandpas creed as part of the lesson. It talked about living what we preach and setting a good example. They are going to live in Utah in a few years so I can’t wait to show them around the place.

I love this gospel so much! It is so fun to share and see people who want to change and be better. For all you future missionaries get ready! I don’t go into all the struggles we have but when you see the person you are teaching feel the spirit and that love, it makes it all worth it!!

The transfer ended this week and I am staying in Ayr and Charters Towers with my same comp. Before the senior couple went home this week they found some bikes for us here in Charters Towers so we don't have to use a bike rack and bring the bikes back and forth. But they need some work! New tires, chain, breaks. So I need to go get that fixed.

I’m sad to leave Ayr and such good people and potentials. Charters Towers is always fun to go to. There are less people, but it is more outback with kangaroos and wild things, so I cope with leaving. It does make it hard to keep people progressing when we leave. They sorta forget about us even though we call. It is just hard. We could have maybe had a baptism in Ayr by now if we were there the full 6 weeks. Oh well, at least we are teaching people. It has taught me to follow up and it is pushing me to work.

Ok so I am writing this part 3 hours after writing the top part. Got the bikes fixed, food in the fridge, and whites shirts all hung up. Crazy day!!

I want to address some of my family and loving cousins concerns about my helmet not being on while riding my bike. Haha Don’t worry I wear it when we go more than a block but if it is just close then I don't bother. Like when we are going door to door I don't wear it since I am only on the bike for 30 seconds. I am safe and I always am looking out for myself. I love that you guys love me so much as to tell me to put it on!! Thanks so much, I will!!

Elder Cahoon

 District meeting using Skype

Eating kangaroo

Letters from cousins

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 5 Laughs and Pranks in Ayr

This week was full of laughs and pranks. We visited a less active family when we got back to Ayr and they love the missionaries. They have them over all the time. So we were bold and asked, “You love the gospel. You have told us it is true. What is holding you back?” Sister Potter said, “Well, I don't really know. Nothing really is.” So she might start coming to church again and Brother Potter told us he didn't want to talk about it now. He got really serious and then wanted to show us something. We thought he was going to tell us what was holding him back. He took my comp to the kitchen and I stayed back to talk with Sister Potter. He yelled, “Do you want some water elder?” I said, “Yeah that would be great.” So when they came back he had a water in one hand and had a glass of beer in the other. I thought, "This is what is holding you back huh." He offered it to me and I said, “You know we don't drink.” He then offered it to my comp and he said, “What the heck I will take a sip.” I didn't know what the heck was going on????? My comp had a glass of beer in his hand and was going to take a sip. It took him a sec and he finally took a tiny sip and did not like it one bit. Too bitter. But then he proceeded to chug the glass. My mind was going a million miles and hour. What do I do??? At that point everyone started to laugh so hard. I was so confused?? What was going on. Well, the Potters are big pranksters and I was the victim. There was no beer in the mug. It was just made to look that way. They wanted to see the look of concern and horror on my face. When Brother Potter took my comp over he told him about the prank. They got me good! It was so funny.

As the week went on we had a district meeting and we had to Skype into that. It was really cool. There were missionaries from all over my area on Skype having a meeting. That was fun to experience and to see other missionaries.

While knocking we came across a couple of people that were interested in learning more about religion and the gospel.

The first person is named Chery. She lives with her husband and daughter. We taught them the restoration and Book of Mormon and they were really interested and want to hear more. We will be meeting with them again this week. They are a great little family and told us they want to meet with us more so they can learn more about God and Jesus Christ. That was fun to hear.

While we were teaching Chery her friend Clarence came in to visit and he was interested in what we had to say. So we had a lesson with him after Chery. He had met missionaries before but never really talked with them, so he wanted to talk with us and see what we believe and do. We talked with him for a long time and he really liked what we told him and we had the prompting to invite him to be baptized. He thought about it for a long while and told us he wants to do as we said and pray to know if these things are true.

During the week we ran into a girl that was leaving the house but really wanted to talk to us and told us to come back tomorrow. This was surprising so the next day we showed up and she was all ready for us. We talked with her and got to know her. She is 17 and living on her own. Her parents are really negative and a big downer on her so she decided to move out and be more positive. She asked us why is there all this negativity in her life when she wants to be good? She feels like there is something big out there for her. So we talked about the plan of salvation and she really was comforted that God has a plan for her. We are going to talk with her again and invite her to be baptized. Her name is Teoan by the way.

Our last lesson was with a 22 year old father. When we met him he was shirtless, smoking, and overall just dirty. But he was wondering what the heck we were doing. He didn't say heck though. Swearing over here is normal language. Even some of the ward members swear causally. But this guy. Wow! He managed to drop more f bombs in a sentence then actual words! We talked a little with him at the door and then scheduled to come back in a few days to tell him more. So we went back and sat down and told him what a missionary is and what we do. We gave him a great lesson on God and Jesus Christ because he had little knowledge of who they were and what they did. He seemed to understand what we were saying and we challenged him to pray out loud for us. He did and it was a pretty funny pray but still a good prayer. Sadly he did not tell us if he felt anything like Rebecca did last week but he said he would pray and ask if the things we told him were true. All in all it was really fun to talk with him and teach him.

Some days I just look around and I still can’t believe I am in Australia. It is so crazy, At times it sorta feels American but then when people talk that kinda goes away. My accent is coming along great and I am picking up on their slang.

We were out finding again and it rained on us but not as bad as the day in Charters Towers. Still, it was fun to cool off and get refreshed.

I envy all of you in the cool crisp fall air in Utah. It is only getting hotter here so enjoyed the cold for me.

Love Elder Cahoon. 

Tan line

Beer Prank

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 4 Charters Towers -- Having fun while doing the Lord's work

This week was a pretty normal missionary week. We did lots of finding and service for the members. They are still feeding us really good and taking really good care of us. If I had to pick between Ayr and Charters Towers I would pick Charters Towers. For the people that don't know, every two weeks we switch back and forth between the two towns because they are so small. It does make it hard to keep up with people and packing everything gets annoying but it is Australia so I am not complaining. 

Charters Towers is full of big hills and we are on bikes. So we are always having a good time going up big hills. Being part of a biking area is fun. I used to ride my bike back home all the time so for me it is like going and having fun while doing the Lord’s work. The Lord’s work is fun too, but even more fun on a bike. Sometimes when we ride past people they tell us to do a wheelie. Little do they know I am really good at them. It is so funny to see the look on their face when I pop up and ride down the rode in my shirt and tie doing a wheelie. It gets them laughing and they love it. Who would have thought that would come in handy.

We had a really cool miracle during the week. My companion wanted to go out for lunch but I am a poor missionary so I didn't want to spend money but I said sure we can go. As I was locking up my bike a lady came up to me and said, “Hey I know you. You’re a missionary.” I was shocked that she knew us. She had them come over to her house in Africa and she loved them. She invited us over for dinner that night. So we headed over for dinner later that day. She had cooked food for us but not for her family so as we were eating, Regina and Becky (the mom and daughter) just watched us eat. It was a little awkward but they were really nice and said we could teach them a lesson. Since I am the new guy I got to teach it. So we started teaching about The Plan of Salvation. They had told us they were scared what would happen after we die. During the lesson we could see Satan trying to stop us. He would have distraction come up, loud noises, mosquitoes. There were a lot of things happening that were trying to keep us from teaching, but we were good and we were able to teach with the spirit and ask questions that really made them think. The lesson went really really good and I felt prompted to ask Becky to pray for us. She said she didn't know how, so we taught her and she said she would try. Her prayer was actually really amazing and after she looked at us with a really confused face and said, “Wow I felt something while saying that prayer.” PERFECT!!!! We testified of the Holy Ghost and told her more about how she can know these things are true by asking and the Holy Ghost will let her know if they are true. So when we go back to Charters Towers in 2 weeks we will challenge her to be baptized. We are in Ayr now but we are going to try and keep in touch with them. The don't have any word of wisdom problems so once we teach them more we have really high hopes for them to be baptized soon.

This last Sunday we got to watch some of conference during sacrament meeting and we had 14 people show up!! It was amazing. We got one investigator there and lots of less actives. It was such a good meeting and General Conference was great!! We had people saying, “Wow that talk was just for me.” So we were really happy to see people feel lots of love. There was a lunch after and everyone caught up with all the new and less active people. Everybody was just having such a good time and the president said this was amazing. There have not been that many people for 10 years. It is usually 3-6 people. With missionaries there the people are really excited and helpful to grow and support each other. I played with the two young men and the one primary girl. We did the water bottle flip trick thing and talked and had fun getting to know each other. They love the missionaries and want to come finding with us.

We had to say goodbye to them because we had to go back to Ayr. So we packed our bags and the Van Dongens drove us to Ayr. Being a missionary you don’t get to nap or take any time to rest except for us. haha Best mission ever. Since we have a 3 hour drive to Ayr we get to sleep all we want. I guess it is only a 3 hour nap every two weeks but still I need that sleep! They dropped us off and we had to say goodbye to them because their mission is over. They head home to Utah next week. They want to visit my family so I am excited for them to meet my parents and siblings.

During the week we locked ourselves out of our flat. I asked my comp if he had the key? Ya...closed the door... wait no.... So I looked around the chapel for an open window and had to crawl in though a tiny window to get the key so we could get back in. What a blessing for that open window.

It was quiet the week for me. I hope all is well back home.

Love you guys. 

Enjoying photos from home

Shining shoes

Attack of the magpie

Napping in the car

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Week 3 -- Well Fed in Charters Towers

Wow every week seems to get better and crazier!! The week started off in Ayr but Sunday night we had to pack our bags so we could move to Charters Towers the next day. Since we don't have a car the senior missionaries came to church and picked us up. They have classes on Monday and Tuesday so they were unable to take us to Charters Towers until Wednesday. We stayed in Townsville with the two other elders. It was fun to have other elders around for a bit. We went teaching with them so we had things to do. At one of the lessons we were right by the military base and they were testing their new fighter jet!! The whole lesson was filled with super sonic flybys!! I was freaking out and the investigator loved it. She was used to it but I was just out on the porch watching. Haha it was so cool and they were so fast and so low. The lesson went good even with the disruptions.

For P-day last week we had lots of time so we went to a little place called Billabong. It is a kind of zoo sort of thing with Australian animals like kangaroos and crocs!! I was having so much fun because the kangaroos just roam around so you can touch them and feed them!! Kangaroos are so weird and really fun to play with. Even though they were in a zoo it was still fun to see them. I took lots of pictures there so you will have to go look at all the animals and kangaroo pictures.

Finally we made it to Charters Towers and found out it is right in the outback. Literally on the edge so it is super hot and dry which is better than Ary. Our flat is right next to the Chapel and it was really run down when we got there, but the lovely Van Dongens (the senior missionaries) cleaned it for 2 days straight so this place so sweet!! We have the whole house to ourselves and have so much room for everything!! While they were cleaning they found a bright green frog and we didn’t know if it was poisonous or not so we just got rid of it. It looked really cool.

That first night we were in Charters Towers we got invited to go to a member’s house for dinner. He is a big Kiwi guy named Roy Vilalo. A kiwi is a New Zealander so this guy is huge and used to play professional rugby. He is the nicest guy and knows how to cook a meal. We ate so much chicken that night. It was amazing!! He was able to baptize his whole family last year but they were not at dinner.

Even though it is so dry it seems to rain a lot!! We were door knocking and out of nowhere a huge storm came through and totally drenched us to the bone!! It felt so good and was such a fun experience to be out in the rain door knocking. Everybody thought we were crazy!! haha Being a missionary is so fun!

Since Charters Towers is in the outback we see kangaroos everywhere, big wild ones!! We rode our bikes up the tallest hill here to see the whole town from above. At the top is where all the little wallabies hang around so we saw about 15-20 of them just hopping around. They are like little kangaroos but never get any bigger than a small dog. The big ones hang out around wherever and they are fun to see. It is hard to get a good picture because they hop away. But they are here and I still freak out and chase them when I see one.

The members here feed us well!! Way better then in Ayr. But don’t tell them that. We have only had to make dinner once this week. Roy has us over all the time and we finally got to meet his family. They are great and he has 2 boys and a girl. 14, 12, and 10. Isaiah, Jacob, and Zealand. We are going to start up a mutual night for the 2 boys so we can have fun with them and show them what a quorum is like. Should be really fun!

Now time for the best part of the week. We went to see a less active member but could not find his address on the road. As we were looking, I saw a gyro copter in a guys yard and decided to knock on his door and talk about that with him and then the gospel. Well it turned out that that was the house we were looking for so he invited us in and we talked for a few hours about it and the plane that he has. He wanted to take me for a ride but I had to say no because there is a rule that says you can’t fly with members. Darn it!!! Anyway he has adopted us and if we don’t have a dinner appointment he has us for dinner. His name is Roy and his wife is named Juliette. She is not a member but as we taught her she said she would consider being baptized so that was good. They took us to a party to share the gospel with their friends. That was a little weird but Elder Cadiang was ok with is so we went. They had a roasted pig for dinner and that was really cool!! All the people were nice and they want us to come back to teach them a lesson. So it was good.

As we rode along the road we looked in the trees and saw literally thousands of bats!! Thousands!!! So we started to ask around why there are so many. No one really knows. They just showed up. Now every year they have two big helis come in and chase them away. They always come back and now I want to find out when the helis come and chase them away. It would look so cool because when they all fly the sky is filled. I will send a video showing them fly in the sky!! It is sort of scary how many there are.

We had three members show up to church for fast Sunday so that went by pretty fast. haha It was really good though and they loved that the missionaries were in town so we got even more dinner appointments. Normally there will be about 10 members but some had to go to Townsville for something and it was the queens b-day so a lot of people were out of town. Still, they are a really good branch. Hopefully we will have lots of success because the church has the coolest baptismal font and we can’t wait to use it!!

Well I love you all and it was fun to write this week. There was a lot of fun stuff to tell. I miss you all and hope all is well back home.

Love, Elder Cahoon