Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Humbled Bathurst Zone Leader

From: Joseph Weiss <joseph.weiss@myldsmail.net>
Date: February 24, 2014 at 6:52:09 PM MST

This week was very bitter sweet. Actually mostly bitter. I've been transferred to Bathurst to be a Zone Leader. I feel inadequate to the job. My mission has been change by the example of one of my Zone Leaders and I hope I can be that example for other missionaries. Even in the mission missionaries need someone that will stick up for the Lord. I hope I do a good job. I know the Lord will make it possible. Although, I loved Dubbo so much. I wanted to be there at least two more transfers with my aboriginal little brothas (We had three at church on Sunday.)

However, in the time I spent there we did some awesome things. The previous record for total lessons in the week was 9 when I arrived. After two good weeks of 10 and a bit more we set a goal to reach 60 lessons by the end of the transfer. We prayed and strived for our goal and by the end of the transfer we had 61 and were averaging higher than the previous record.

It wasn't any credit to myself but having my Father (first companion) Elder Urbina taken from me so young that I had to rely on Preach My Gospel and the Lord. As I struggled through my early months in the Spanish ward I came to see that success comes as we turn to the Lord through Preach My Gospel and apply it's principles to missionary work. Preach My Gospel is the Lord's way of doing missionary work and it will never fail. Bit by bit we need to make our wards and areas into PMG areas and then the growth of the Lord's kingdom will be unhindered.

It says in PMG that asking good questions helps the investigators open up and share their feelings. Last week Elder Janes and I were teaching a single mother with two daughters ages 1 and 4. While we were teaching her little four year old daughter was being a big distraction and the mother's patience was wearing thin. For some reason it made sense to ask, "What matters most to you in this life?" She paused and pointed to her four year old daughter and said, "That is." We asked her why and she expressed to us how much happiness and joy her kids bring to her. It was beautiful what she said.

For a moment when she talked to us about her daughter she forgot all about the problems of her life, which are many, and pondered on how good she's got it. It was a beautiful experience. Towards the end of the lesson we asked her, "Do you believe what we've taught you?" And when I said that I thought, "Well that's a stupid question!" but through her answer she told us exactly where she was at, and we had a good idea of where we need to go. Good questions are the next level.

Elder Nelson stopped by for a mission conference last week. I'll tell you more next week when I have my notes but he basically taught us the Helms deep principle. He said, "The Lord uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible." He said the Israelites fought a battle and before hand the Lord said, "You have too many soldiers!" So he made them get rid of them until the ratio of Israelites to the opposition was 1 to 500. Then they smashed the opposition and the Lord was glorified. Right now with our current church membership, the ration of members to the worlds population is 1 to 500. Who's on the Lords side who?

Love yous heaps! (man I'm gonna struggle speaking proper English when I get back.. "yous" is valid pronoun here)

Elder Weiss

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Miracles and "Staying Hydrated for the Work"

From: Joseph Weiss <joseph.weiss@myldsmail.net>
Date: February 16, 2014 at 4:56:03 PM MST
To: Cyndy Weiss <cyndyweiss@gmail.com>

This week was a record setting week teaching wise for me and my companion also. We've set a goal to teach 60 lessons this transfer and we are pushing hard and praying hard. The Lord is blessing us abundantly. Dubbo is steadily moving forward. A miracle this week was when we were street contacting and we saw this lady getting out of her car and we said hello and she shyly said hello back. We went over closer and tried talking to her but she wasn't understanding us really well.

I asked her where she was from right as she bent down to unbuckle her kids car seat. I turned to my companion and said, "Please be from Peru!" She stands back up and says, "I'm from Peru." I was thinking, "NO WAY!!" I started speaking to her in Spanish and apparently she was taught by missionaries before but they stopped coming because she was busy right after you child was born. We set a return appointment and when we went home and found her teaching record it was incomplete as to why she was dropped and it said that as they taught that the Language barrier was a problem. I'm so excited to go and teach her in spanish! Peruvians are the best!

Second Miracle. We went down to Orange for DTM (District Training Meeting) and we arranged to see a less-active man who lives a ways out of Dubbo but was going to be in Orange at the same time. About a half our before our appointment at the church he sends us a text and says, "I'll have a friend with me." He shows up with a guy he met an hour before in the park and we teach with and commit him to be baptized. He said that he was paralyzed but miraculously recovered and since then he's been looking for answers, but he doesn't know to what. It was also the first time we met that less-active member and he was super kind and I'm pretty sure we can get some transportation worked out so it's easier to come to church and he'll become active again.

Yesterday at church we had four of the Aboriginal kids from "games night" come to church! Haha it was so cool to see them all role up on their bikes with no shoes. They are like the lost boys from Peter Pan. I told them to go home and get shoes and socks on and then come back. So they did. They were really nervous coming into the chapel but they finally came. And sat with me. They made it through sacrament meeting really good but only made it through half of sunday school before they took off to go play in the rain.

Another thing I've learned: staying hydrated for the sake of missionary work. The more you drink, the more "Could I please use your toilet" cards you can use with Less actives and investigators. It's a valid tactic for building trust. Once you are inside you meet the rest of the family and see pictures and talk to them about who knows what and it builds trust. So "Stay thirsty my friends." ;)

Love you heaps,

Elder Weiss

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Saw Heaps of Roos!

From: Joseph Weiss <joseph.weiss@myldsmail.net>
Date: February 9, 2014 at 6:47:31 PM MST

Well, I finally saw the Roos! It took me over 7 months but I have finally seen them. And I saw heaps of them! They come out at dawn and dusk. Like hundreds. My battery was dead though so I only have a bad picture. We had to go to a place called Mudgee for trade offs. A little less than an hour down the road my companion says, “We turned down that road last time." But the GPS said "stay straight" so we followed the GPS. Little did we know what lay ahead.

The sun started setting and I was going crazy taking pictures and then about a half hour later we turned onto a small two lane road with no lines in the middle. We pulled off the road in the middle of nowhere and took some pictures of the sunset. Then we got in the car a kept going. It started getting darker and the roos started appearing in the fields on the side of the road. We took a picture but it was too dark and then kept on going.

Later the two lane road became a one and one third lane road. And it started getting really dark. Then a wallabie is just standing on the white line that marks the side of the road. My companion is driving and doesn't see it and I yell, "Watch out!" Before he can do anything the marsupial starts bounding off. Then about fifteen minutes later another one hops off the road when we start coming. It's so dark that all you can see is the road and a bit to the sides because it's such thick bush. A roo could jump out and you wouldn't know what hit you.

We keep going and we see heaps of roos on the side off the road and we are just praying they stay there and don't jump into the road. It was like watching a scary movie. Then out of nowhere this fox runs out in front of our car. Our right tire was on trick to make fox pancakes but my companion swiftly avoided it and swerved out of the way. I'm not sure how because I didn't think we had space to swerve but, alas, zero fox pancakes and two happy elders. 

From the trade off we went to Zone training meeting around dusk again. We are driving on this road we've already seen hundreds of roos in the fields than one tries to stake it's claim right in the middle of the road. We slow down and wait for it to get a move on and then a huge roo comes jumping from the right side of the road. Hops across the road and then clears this four to five foot fence with ease.On the way back we were travelling around 8 on the same road and this roo comes flying from the side of the road and tries to hit our car but we out ran him and then two or three more times we pass roos just chillin on the side of the road. I'll never forget that road trip! You can't see that in the city I'll tell you that much. #Australia

There's a Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith book in our flat that I started reading during lunch and dinner and wow, I have been impressed. I've never studied him before but his understanding of the scriptures blows my mind. When I read his words I get to know his personality and the Gospel comes into focus. Much clearer than before. He teaches a lot from the New Testament and it has helped me to see how it is truly the same gospel restored to the earth that has always existed from the days of Adam our father. It's like a feast when I read his teachings and look of the scriptures that he cites... wow he is a Prophet of God.

The Authority and Legal Permission of God to establish his kingdom is again on the earth. And that authority was administered through those called and set apart to administer it. Saturday night we had another "games night" and even more kids came. We are teaching them to be reverent in the church and to treat each other well and how to pray. It's the best. They are good kids in a hard place laden with those injured and fallen by Satan's power. I hope they don't follow the same path.

Wow, long letter but heaps happened this week. I hope I can still read Spanish when I am old because my journal is in Spanish...
Love yous heaps!

Elder Weiss VI

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Letter from Sis. Harlow-Dubbo Branch Baptism

Subject: Photos of Elder Weiss & New Convert
Date: February 1, 2014 at 2:18:18 AM MST

Dear Brother Weiss,

I was provided with your email address by Elder Weiss as missionaries are not permitted to share their personal emails - so he provided me with yours(!) so I could provide you with a photo of him and his companion, and more importantly the Dubbo branch's newest member who your son has taken from being an investigator to a new convert, baptised in our branch's font this morning at around 11.15am!  The confirmation of Brother Colin Finn will take place at our fast and testomony meeting tomorrow morning.  Elder Weiss asked me to ask you to forward email these photos onto him.

His companion is Elder Janes, also from the States.  They make a great team and are very busy, focussed and effective doing the Lord's work in his vineyard.  Your son is truly a marvellous example of righteousness and is an exemplary missionary.  He absolutely honours his priesthood and obviously loves the gospel.  We love having him with us in our little Branch and are truly grateful for his good works, for the spirit he brings with him wherever he goes, and for the very fine person he is.

Thank you to you and Sister Weiss for raising such a wonderful son.  He has already touched the lives of others and is a great blessing to our Branch and its members.

Warm Regards,
Ramona & Peter Harlow
Dubbo Branch