He reports that the work is slow and that he and Elder Seuga could use all the member help they can get. It sounds like they do a lot of tracting, but not a lot of teaching. Preaching the gospel to Aussies has proved to be more difficult than Richard had supposed it might. The Aussies, though friendly, aren't all that inclined to focus on spiritual issues and are far more interested int he here and now. Richard has increasingly asked us to pray for those whom he and his companion can teach.
We've also heard a lot about hiking and chasing kangaroos and wallabies in the outback. That simply means that he's having a great experience - exactly what we had hoped for!
The following are some excerpts from a few of Richard's recent emails:
August 24, 2008 - Transfers have started over again, I'm in my fourth transfer... Yipee. The area's pretty boring right now, lots of tracting and hard-heartedness. We're getting some member referrals in right now, though, but the area's still taking a down turn. A guy from my last ward Dianella, Kit Oldfield, has found the Elder Haskell Blog site. Completely random. He's a fan, now. Kit's awesome, though, a real good guy. Recent convert, too. Our WML (ward mission leader) is a champ, though, he just loaded us up with food for a bit a few weeks ago, gave us good stuff, too. He even gave us lamb, lamb chops! They were good, nice and tasty. I've uploaded some pictures now, and one of them might make dad laugh. I'm declaring war on the Grandpa's chicken recipe and I've started to make it on my own. It looks right, but we'll soon see how I did.
August 17, 2008 - Right now the real work we've been doing focuses on finding new investigators and working with recent converts/less actives. I actually met a possessed lady while on exchanges with Elder Docking, who's in my intake. She was weird. We couldn't do any casting out or anything because of the environment we were in, which was dominant with bad stuff, and the spirit told us to get out of there anyway. So we did. Anyway, another day in the field. We meet a lot of interesting people.
August 10, 2008 - We had a great time hiking last week at Serpentine Falls, that was way fun, saw some Roos, too. Seems we went at the right time of the year, now the rainy season is coming to a close and all the watershed is hitting the falls, it's pretty awesome. Elder Lui, someone else in the district, says the last time he was there it wasn't nearly as active as it was when we went there. He was trained here in Armadale, he'd know. So the work has been extremely slow and dropping fast, we're going to power tract tomorrow and visit some members to see if they know people we can go teach... Member Referrals, they're basically our brain cells. We need them. We hope for them. We even dream about them, the myths that they are! We really do, I've dreamed about them twice. It's a sign. About Elder Seuga, my companion. It's true, I haven't really talked about him much. He's Samoan, like, born in Samoa and lived in NZ for like, two years. He's cool. Oh, Seuga, the G in Samoan g isn't like our g, you touch the back of the tongue to the back of the throat and that's a Samoan g. He's been out for 17 months. It's all good.