I'M IN TASMANIA!! And my companion and I are LOVING IT! It is so unbelievably gorgeous here; everything is so green and the area we live in is right next to the bay. Our flat is at the top of a pretty high hill and overlooks the bay and the rest of Hobart. Pictures can't even capture how spectacular it is. Our new catch phrase: "We are blessed" (sidenote: I brought my camera today to send pictures, but forgot the plug to get them onto the computer! Soooo, next week :) Give you something to look forward to).
Fun fact about Tasmania: It is VERY hilly. Not like Melbourne at all. And we found out last week when we got to the area that we will be on bikes (we are going in to get fitted for new bikes, because the ones the elders who were in the area before us have are made for 6ft tall men... and the ones that the other elders wanted to give us did not have gears or brakes). We are so pumped. We are the 1st Chinese speaking sister missionaries to get bikes. Dream come true. We are going to get thighs of steel.
The people here are amazing, too. The elders before us did a great job and really got the work moving in our area. Even though they doubled into an area that no other Chinese missionaries had been in before, they helped 3 people be baptized in just 3 months! However, because the ward has not had Chinese missionaries for a long time, most of the Chinese members baptized a few years back are less active. The only Chinese people at church last Sunday was the 3 recent converts. One of our goals is to get enough Chinese people back to reactivity/becoming members of the church that we can petition for Chinese translation devices in sacrament meeting and start a Chinese Gospel Principles class.
Yesterday was our first normal day of procelyting in Hobart and it was AMAZING! One of the best days I have had on my mission. We met with one of the investigators that the elders had met with once before and she was super keen. One of the first questions she asked was how she could get baptized. We set a baptism date with her and when we asked her if she could come to church, she asked "Can my friends come too? I'm think they would be interested in this stuff." So good. We also met with this lady named Sally who was actually one of the investigators I met with in the city! She is from Taiwan and investigated the church for years. She wanted to be baptized when she was 16, but her father was Buddhist and would not give permission. By the time she was 18, she was unsure of her testimony and drifted away from the church, although she still stayed in contact with a lot of her friends from church. She backpacked around Melbourne for a while (thats where I first met her), but did not have a ton of time to learn then. But, she met missionaries again in Tasmania and, when she found out Sister S and I would be coming down from the elders, she said she wanted to meet again. We had an amazing lesson with her where the spirit was really strong and she admitted to us that she had always been really drawn in by the idea of having an eternal family. We asked her at the end if she would be baptized and she said, "Let's do this" haha.
Love you all! Expect miracles! Sister Bennion
You may have heard that Sister Bennion is going to Tasmania. We need some Chinese-speaking missionaries in the Hobart area. There are a fair number of Chinese people who live in that area (partly because of the university in the area). We haven’t had Chinese-speaking missionaries there until about three months ago, when we sent two elders there to see if they felt there was enough work to keep missionaries busy. They are convinced that there is enough work. However, one of those elders just finished his mission this week, so we needed to make a change, and the stake president said he’d prefer sister missionaries anyway. I have felt that your daughter would do a great job in that assignment. She is an outstanding missionary. As you know, she’s training Sister S, who is a pretty impressive new missionary. So, I think they will both do well there. It’s also beautiful in Tasmania, though a bit colder than here in the Melbourne area.There are two stakes in Tasmania. One is in Hobart, very close to the area your daughter will be serving in. The other is in Devonport, on the north side of the island, about 2 ½ hours away. There are five or six wards in the Hobart stake, though they are a little smaller in size than wards in some stakes in the states. There are 18 missionaries in Tasmania, about equally divided between the south end of the island (Hobart) and the north. There are eight sister missionaries there. The Sister Training Leaders and the Zone Leaders are on the south side of the island.