Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ups and Downs but never Backwards

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: November 30, 2014 at 5:33:00 PM MST

Well there are ups and downs but never backwards. As my companion
Elder Macfarlane says, "There is nothing useless. You can always use
it as a bad example.”

This week I had two very special experiences. We
went to the train station on Tuesday to try and talk to people. While
my companion was in the bathroom I was sitting on a bench as a young
guy walked past. I said, "How ya going?" and he smiled really big and
kept on walking to the next bench about 20 feet away and sat down. I
sat there for a while and then decided I needed to go talk to him.

He was wearing a "newsies hat" so I walked over and began talking with him
about his hat. Then I asked him what we was doing. He told me he was
fundraising for his youth group for his church. Then he asked me what
I did and I told him I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints. "Is that Mormon?" He asked. "Yeah, do you know
many Mormons?". He paused and smiled and paused again and smiled again
and said, "There is this man who wrote a book I read. Do you know who
Stephen Covey is?" I laughed out loud! How would some random guy in
Australia know about Stephen Covey? He continued, "He wrote that book
'7 Habits for Highly Effective People'. I read that book when I was 15
years old and it kind of changed my life. I've always thought that
someone who wrote a book like that and who lives their life that way,
if they had a church it would be worthwhile to learn about it.”

Then we talked to this guy for over an hour and he asked us questions that
he had and we answered them. It ended up that he lives in downtown
Sydney which is in the North Mission, but we got his phone number and
referred him on to them. His name was Kenmai Kobayashi. He is actually
half Japanese and half French but is in Australia for a gap year. He's
part of the Unification Church.. haha interesting marriage ceremonies,
but it was an awesome experience.

On my mission I've learned what faith means. Faith means trying to do
what's right. Even if you get it wrong your desire to do right is
re-affirmed which is the important thing. So the next day we are in
the train station talking to people when I see this lady running
trying to catch the train. As she got to the train the doors had just
closed and the train began to roll away. Exhausted and out of breath,
she took a seat on the bench close by. I went over and said to her,
"You just missed your train didn't you?" She looked back breathing
heavily and nodded and turned away again. I asked if she was Persian
and she looked away.

She pulled her phone out to make a phone call.
While she spoke on the phone I felt a bit awkward sitting there on the
bench waiting for her to finish when it seemed she didn't want to talk
anyways. When she hung up, she hunched over and rested her chin on the
top of the backpack that was on her lap. She began to touch her eyes
with her fingers like they were itchy but eventually I saw the
complexion (expression) on her face turned to sadness and frustration. Little
tears started to make streakes on her cheeks. I said to her, "You are
a long way from home aren't you?". She ignored me and continued wiping
her eyes underneath her glasses. I didn't know what to do but I knew
that if I had faith that God would help me, I should keep trying.

“You love your family very much don't you? You probably came here to help
them. You are a very brave person." She continued ignoring me but I
couldn't just let her continue crying like she was. I asked if there
was anything that we could do. She shook her head side to side. After
several moments of silence I said to her, "God is our Heavenly Father and
that makes us brothers and sisters. I'm your brother and you are my
sister so if you need help we really will help you."

She started to breath a little easier and she said, "Nobody talks like
that anymore." "Like what?" I asked. "We should all treat each other
like brothers and sisters". "People are a lot nicer where you come from
hey?" I asked already knowing what they answer was. She said she was
from Nepal and that she was all alone here in Australia and that it
gets hard.

Her train started coming so I pulled out a "He is the Gift"
pass along card and said "this is Jesus Christ and He is our Big
Brother. He came to earth to experience what we feel so that He can
help us." She smiled and walked over to her train. As she left I said,
"See ya big sis!".

I'll never see her again but I'll never forget the opportunity to give
someone comfort in their moment of need in the name of Jesus Christ
our Savior. The Keeper of the Gate. Our Mediator. I know He is real. I
testify in His name.

Love, Elder Weiss

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Things always work out in the end. If it's not OK then it's not the end!

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: November 23, 2014 at 7:10:30 PM MST

Dear Family,
BATHURST OR BUST! Haha I would love to serve there again! I'm so keen
to walk around the streets of Bathurst for days building a teaching
pool! And it'd be a great place to train a new missionary! Whatever
the Lord's plan is I'm cool with it.

I think having four missionaries in Branches is a much more positive place to be than around
disobedient missionaries. I loved my time in the Orange Zone because I
learned to love the work more than members and more than missionaries.
I learned to put God in front of myself and just go to work.

This week we tried hard to find three new investigators but fell short again
with just two. Some new investigators are dodgey and to be honest just
a bit better than not ready at all but slowly we are gaining a (teaching) pool.

Sunday morning we frantically were looking for a member to come with
us to an appointment at 10am. We finally found a recent convert and
had a great lesson with a man named Cory. He doesn't believe in God
but he wanted to experience church and be around positive people
without us asking he said, "I don't think I can come today because I'm
watching the kids but next week I want to come to church." Next Sunday??
The one the area fasted for? The special Sunday? It's PERFECT!

We also had a less active that we found the first week of the transfer
come to church finally. And he came with his non-member partner who we
are teaching. She seemed really uneasy at the start of Sacrament Mtg.
but lucky for us it was the Primary Presentation that day so her frown
got turned upside down! The members smothered her in love! She made
some great friends and they said they are coming next week also.

Today we are going to have a turkey bowl with the less active and his
partner's brothers. Huzzah! Things always work out in the end. If it's
not ok then it's not the end!

Elder Weiss

PS Love you Heaps!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Go find the MIRACLES!

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: November 16, 2014 at 6:54:33 PM MST

Dear Family,

This cuban guy just came into the library and blasted me with Spanish... blasted is a nice way of putting it. More like obliterated. Gwiz I'm trying but it's difficult keeping up Spanish when there's no one to talk to. I'll have to play soccer with some Mexicans when I get home and learn all the bad words. Mexican lingo is very dirty, I found out from Elder Urbina. All those words I heard every day at soccer practice... turns out they are really bad.

This week we fell short of the standard of excellence. We have no baptisms lined up and we found 2 new investigators (not 3) but we are still moving forward. We have found 5 new investigators in the two weeks I've been here. I think this area really needs it. "As the good book says" "How long can rolling waters remain impure?”.  If we are finding new investigators all the time our teaching pool won't be filled up with investigators that aren't ready. As we find we harvest and plant seeds and BOTH are essential.

This week we went to follow up on a new investigator that dodged our first appointment. Nobody was home so as we walked back to the car we saw a man sitting outside with his kids watching them play while he was drinking a beer. For some reason I had this fear that he would be really nasty to us but I knew that I "should" talk to him. We decided to knock the neighbor who ended up rejecting us before we could even say a word. Then we went and talked to the man and he was nice as! We spoke for half an hour. He said that he's never really had that "BANG" experience when he knew God was true or which path to follow. So I said to him... "BANG!" He laughed and we set up a return appointment for the following Saturday.

Friday we stopped by Brother Berze's house to ask about a referral he gave to missionaries a long time ago that we found in our area book. He actually was very sick and so we gave him a blessing. We set up dinner for Sunday so we could come back and meet the whole family. As we were walking out we saw this young women across the street standing in her driveway waiting for someone. We went a spoke to her about her beliefs in God. We asked if she'd like to meet with us at her neighbors house sometime and she said she'd be open to that. So Saturday night we talk to sister Berze and ask her if she can invite the neighbor girl Melissa over for dinner and a lesson. Sister Berze pulled through and did it. DING! New investigator through a member!

Members have neighbors like this that are just waiting to be invited. Have you done what's necessary to save the souls of your neighbors? It is necessary that we live in the world so that we can help our neighbors hear the message of the Gospel. If that wasn't necessary we could just lock ourselves into isolation like The Brethren #nowindows #googleit. MEMBERS ARE FULL TIME FINDERS! What are you doing to find the elect? You first need to strengthen your faith that God is preparing people that you can help. Study the doctrines of missionary work regularly and then GO FIND THE MIRACLES!!

Love you heaps!

Elder Weiss

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The last door...DING! 3 New Investigators

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: November 9, 2014 at 6:41:22 PM MST
To: Cyndy Weiss <>

BEST week! It started slow but ended with a bang. Coming into the area and seeing the area book, things looked pretty bleak. The New and Other Investigators section was filled with people that missionaries hadn't taken the time to move them to the Former Investigators sections. It was time to start over. I love our standard of excellence of "3 new investigators a week". I have gained a testimony that it is possible if we put our faith to the test.

At the begining of the week we went to the train station and had some good conversations with people and some contact details, but nothing really panned out. We did meet a maori lady named Elizea. She is looking for a church and she asked if we could meet with her every day for 2 hours. We told her one hour might be a bit better. She ended up not being in our area so we passed her to the sisters who have since started teaching her.

But things didn't happen until after the trial of our faith. Saturday morning we were looking up the address of an investigator we planned to go visit only to find the previous missionaries left no address. So we called this potential Investigator instead. His name is Steve and he knocked on the missionaries door about a month ago. Reverse Tracting is quite effective apparently. We called Steve and asked if he had time right that moment to see us and he did. We went and taught him and committed him to baptism. DING new investigator.

Later that day we were visiting more potential investigators from the area book when we knocked on a house where a Less-active member from Queensland had been staying for a couple of months and he wants to come back. He's living with his girlfriend and her family. We shared a message with both of them and invited her to learn. DING new investigator!

One left... Sunday after church we went to visit more potentials from the area book. The one we went to visit wasn't interested anymore but we knocked the neighbor's door... and the next neighbors door with no sucess. As we walked back to the car I saw house number 11. "My lucky number I thought." I asked my companion, “Can we do this one?" He agreed but as I got closer I felt we should do the neighbor. We did it and another "Sorry mate, we're right". So we tried 11 and nothing.  Then before we went back to the car I told my companion, "OK I promise this is the last one but can we do the neighbor?" He agreed again. DING! New Investigator!

We can't give up. This work is about showing our faith and perseveering. Nobody is perfect but it's about the desires of our hearts. Try try try!! That's all we can do and the rest is the Lord's work.

Love yous heaps!!

Elder Weiss

PS I'm learning Maori:
Naku Whakapapa tino pai
Naku aroha tino nui!
My family is very good
My love is very big

Monday, November 3, 2014

Transfer to Mortdale

From: Joseph Weiss <>
Date: November 3, 2014 at 7:24:06 PM MST
To: Cyndy Weiss <>

Transfers this week! I was forced to leave my father and come to Mortdale. It was hard to leave my trainer. We worked so hard together. Sunday night before transfers he said he couldn't sleep because he was nervous about me going. We worked ourselves into being one person as it seemed. Now I'm with Elder MacFarlane from Minnesota. He is the most loving and non-judgemental person. Haha I can definitely learn on both fronts. My poor wife man haha. #single4ever just kidding "For I know that the Lord giveth no commandment... Save he shall prepare a way”.

Elder Urbina said I can come live with him in Colombia for a month. So at some point I'm gonna go do that and learn real Spanish. He goes home in six weeks. Once he's gone that means I'm old man! There is a new Spanish missionary coming in next transfer. Fingers crossed he's mine!!!

Yesterday Elder Macfarlane and I were on the train talking to people. The first lady we met was a friend of a member. There is no way God isn't real. I've seen to much. I know he is reaching out to his children because I've been his hand so many times. There are many atheist her in Australia, I wonder why they are like that. I think it's money. They are afraid of going without, so they try to go with all. They become slaves to work by their task masters cars and big homes.  It's like a spiritual tornado has come through and ripped out everyone's faith. It's a sad sight to see.

For Halloween we tried to go around with a bucket of candy and give it to people but I think we just freaked them out haha so we gave up and just ate it all ourselves. Being a missionary is the best. I literally LOVE talking to strangers. Some are rude but you just know that they are thinking, "Who is this guy? What does he want? Why is he always smiling?" Then later on the spirit starts to work on them and prepare them for the Gospel one day. Planting seeds brings happiness and conversion more often than harvesting. At the end of the day that's what I want.

Guess what? My son, Elder Edmondson is now my District Leader here in Mortdale! He lives just up the street! I haven't been around in since I left the Spanish ward at the beginning of the year so it's great to be here.

Love Yous HEAPS!!!

Elder Weiss