Tuesday, August 11, 2015

One Day More!

G'day g'day!

How on earth is this my last letter to you all? It feels like just yesterday that I was sending a quick email from the mission home telling my parents that I had arrived in Australia safely. Then they put me in a car and told me to drive two hours home on the left side of the road. Now...I'm not so sure if I remember how to drive on the right side. How things change.

It has been an absolutely marvellous last week in the city! We have been so busy with so many things--from the missionary norm of finding and teaching (the best work ever! It's been so good to pound the pavements of Melbourne again and invite everyone to church with us!), to going to Dandenong for Shanti's baptism (she and the girls look so, so happy. I'm so proud of them), to being called in last minute to help out with a seminar for a visiting group of students from a baptist college. That was a really cool experience! All these students were doing a year's intensive study of the gospel of Jesus Christ, kind of like missionaries do but without the proselyting. They came to tour the chapel next to the temple, and we were able to show them our family history center and teach them a bit of our basic beliefs. They all had really good questions, and it was so thrilling to be able to answer them and have a theological discussion with all these very interested people! I loved being able to explain to them about the Book of Mormon and about the importance of families in this life and in the next. It sort of hit me then just how much I love the gospel and how passionate I have become about it. I always want to keep learning and keep sharing it with others!

I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday about fear and faith, and it was such a good learning experience for me. All day everyone was rubbing it in that I'm going home! Haha everyone has been mocking me for the last two weeks so it's fine. But! Surprise of surprises, who should walk in right before I gave my talk but Sister Vermeulen with Rudy, Jorge, and David!!! It was so good to see all of them again and so nice of them to come for my last Sunday! These kinds of things are always a bit happy/sad.

I think I say this in every single email, but it has been the greatest blessing of my life to serve a mission. It has been the greatest privilege to serve the Lord and His children here in Melbourne. He has blessed me so much to be able to know Him and His gospel better. He has changed me and made me a much better person than I was before. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He has the power to change our hearts! I know His gospel has been restored to the earth! And I know the Book of Mormon has the power to bring us closer to our Father in Heaven!

I love you all! Thank you all for your love and support and prayers these last eighteen months! See you in the northern hemisphere!

xo Sister Larsen

Monday, August 3, 2015

Zion City

G'day g'day!
Greetings from Melbourne, the most magnificent city in the world!! :D
I have spent the last week just glorying in this wonderful place. America is my country, but Melbourne is my hometown. <3
I'm serving with the lovely Sister Plante, from France, and our shiny new golden, Sister Nepia from New Zealand! This makes my fourth trio on the mission! I didn't really know that was a thing before but hey. I didn't know a lot of things eighteen months ago.
We've spent the last week doing a lot of beginning of transfer stuff, like transfer meeting and golden orientation. Transfer meeting was simultaneously really wonderful and really hard... All the departing missionaries get to go to the temple just before their final transfer meeting, which was so good but also so strange. I'd been to one of the departing temple sessions before and seen how wise and shiny and complete all the departing missionaries seemed, and then I blinked and suddenly it was me and I don't quite feel like I'm any of those things! I'm just grateful that I'm not the same as when I left. Giving my departing testimony was also strange. I found that there was so much I wanted to say and testify of and express gratitude for but I didn't quite have all the words. I managed to hold in my tears during the meeting (mostly)...until we sang "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" when I for sure did the Les Mis cry. It was ugly. It's all just so strange that it's ending.
But being able to serve in the city again has been the greatest blessing! have so missed the pace of the work here and all the amazing people from every corner of the world! It's been great to meet new investigators and new converts as well as some familiar faces from the last time I was here. Learning a new area has given me a lot of momentum for this final stretch, for which I am really grateful. I think Heavenly Father really knows what I need. It has been so good to work here. I just love to teach the gospel and to do missionary work. I am going to miss it so much.
And it's so good to be back in the branch and to remember how many miracles happen here every day! This really is such a special place because it is so fully devoted to bringing people to the fold of God, especially people who would never have heard about Jesus Christ unless they came to this country. We've had all sorts of miracles, from new investigators who read and understand most of the Book of Mormon in three days, to old investigators who slipped away because of trials come back unannounced and want to be welcomed home! The city is truly a place of miracles.

I love you all!! Catch ua later!

xo Sister Larsen