Monday, August 5, 2013

August 4th

FAMILY! I'M IN AUSTRALIA! And I've held a kangaroo!
Just kidding. Australia is a little less exotic than I imagined. Not a kangaroo or koala in sight! I feel like I've been deceived...BUT! I did get to see a black swan! 
Now. Moving on past Australian wildlife. I'm here! And I love it! It is very similar to America, except for the driving on the left side of the road thing. I am in a threesome companionship (my companions, Sister Foster and Sister Williams, are the nicest people ever! Sister Foster is Australian and Sister Williams, American) and we had a few close shaves when Sister Williams is driving haha. I am teaching in English right now, but transfers are next week on Thursday and I should be transferred to the Chinese branch and start speaking Chinese. FINALLY! I am so excited (and nervous) to start!
This area is great! We have a lot of people who are interested in learning about the Gospel and we have had a lot of miracles happen! I don't have a lot of time to expound, but I will make sure to talk more about experiences next week. 

When coming to Australia, I read a conference talk called "Never Leave Him," by Neil L Anderson. It was based off the story in John 6, when Christ proclaimed to His followers that He was the Son of God and the prophesied Messiah. Some of the followers could not accept this and "walked no more with him" (John 6:66). Jesus then turned to His 12 disciples and asked them, "Will ye also go away?" to which Peter emphatically answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ." I love this bold and simple testimony. It is the kind of unshakeable faith that we all need to have if we wish to overcome all the trials and temptations that we go through in this life.  As President Monson said, "Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith." I know that, if we do not have a firm testimony in our Savior, we will eventually fall away. The forces of Satan will convince us to become offended or ashamed or uninterested in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the members I visited in San Diego spoke in church about how he "prays every day to never fall away." I have made this part of my prayers as well and, as I have asked for strength and a firmer testimony in Jesus Christ, I have really felt the Savior's influence in my life. I know that my Redeemer lives and this knowledge helps me change and grow in the Gospel. 

I love you all! Thanks for the prayers, emails, and love!
-Sister Sarah Bennion

I only have an hour and a half of email time, so it would be better if people sent letters (but if that is too troublesome or expensive, don't worry about it! I love just hearing from you!)

I few questions I asked Sarah:
1.  Do you have to write a letter each week to your mission president?  If so can you send it to us too?  That would stop you from having to repeat information and give your family even more precious information!
2.  Are you printing off our letters and reading them later and using your time just to reply to us?  How long do you get on the computer?
3.  How is your Chinese?  Did you hit the ground running or has it been a stress?

Sarah’s answers to my questions:
1.  I definitely will start sending you the same mission president letter that will be much easier!
2.  I have an hour and a half for emailing (including time to write the mission pres letter). Sorry I was not able to answer all the emails this week; because I was not able to email last week, they really stacked up! I'll be better next week! 
3.  I haven't spoken Chinese yet! But the time speedily approaches...

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