Sunday, June 5, 2016

June 5, 2016 Shepparton

Hello everybody!

So this week was quite an experience!

My companion is Elder Jeremia from New Zealand. His parents are from a
little pacific island called Tuvalu. He is the man. He has been
serving for about 15 months. We get along really well! I really love
being his companion. Honestly I already feel like I am a better
missionary than I was last week. Also I love the NZ accent, and I am
hoping I'll pick it up from him.

So we are in the area called Shepparton, in the Wangaratta zone.
Shepparton doesn't have a ward, it has a branch. A very small branch!
We are not in a Stake, we are in a District. It is awesome! Each of
the areas is a branch. Our branch is pretty awesome. I'll tell you
more about them later. Wang zone is known throughout the mission as
the bush zone. It is seriously bush. Shepparton itself is actually a
pretty good sized city, but the rest of the areas in our zone are tiny
little towns. We are very isolated. It is a long way from our zone to
the rest of the mission, and it's a long way from our area to any
other area in the zone! This first week we spent so much time driving.
I am not sure how much time, but we had to fill up the tank 3 times
already. We went to each area in our zone to help the new missionaries
move in and help them get started in their areas. So our Friday was
literally, 3 hour drive, 1 hour help elders, 2 hour drive, 1 hour
help, 3 hour drive, 1 hour help, etc. It was pretty tiring. But most
of our driving is finished!

Actually I lied. This week we will drive heaps too. We have so many
meetings coming up! MLC, Zone Meeting, Zone Conference, District
Conference (like stake conference, but we are in a district), and a
special meeting with a couple of general auxilary leaders and one of
the seventies! I don't know who it is yet, but I'll tell you next

So about the branch, I am going to gain weight again!
Noooooooooooooooooooo! I have worked so hard to lose it, but It's
definitely gonna come back. Why? Because Samoans. The branch may be
small in numbers, but in physical size, it is large. Most of the
members are Samoan, and for those who don't know, the Samoan culture
very much includes, food, giving, giving food, missionaries, and
giving to missionaries. When you put those together, it means I will
gain weight.

For example. My first night in the branch, we had splits with a couple
of the men in the branch. We went to visit a less active Samoan
family. When we went there, they let us in, we talked, and as I have
become accustomed to with Polynesians, they invited us to sit down,
and put a table in front of us and the children began to bring food
and drink. I was pretty hungry, so this was a welcome sight. They
placed a MASSIVE plate of chicken, rice, and lamb chops in front of
me, and one in front of the Brother i was with, and instructed me to
eat. I did as I was asked. it was delicious. When I finished the plate
in record time and sat back satisfied, I noticed that they were
looking at me rather impressed. Then the Brother who was with me
informed all of us that he was sick and unable to eat. He then
proceeded to offer his plate to me. Looking at this plate, heaping
with delicious food, measuring my full stomach and trying to decide if
I was able to eat even half of it, but also considering the knowledge
I had of how to help the Samoan members like you as a missionary
(which is based on how much you enjoy their food), I decided I only
get to serve a mission once, so experiences like this are once in a
lifetime. I undertook to conquer the second plate. After I finished,
my stomach aching, my companion laughing, and the members smiling, We
taught a quick lesson and got to our next appointment. Then on Sunday
at church, the family came (Yay!) and the mother bore her tesimony on
the pulpit. From the pulpit she said, " This branch is paradise, eh
Elder Chappell? His first night here he ate two plates! I never
thought i'd see a palagi eat two plates. Everyone, feed these Elders."
For those who don't know, Palagi (pronounced pah-long-ee) means white
person. We now have 8 dinner appointments for next week. Yes I know
there is only 7 days in a week. This is the Australia Melbourne

Well that's about it for this week! We have a couple of solid
investigators but I haven't met them yet because I have barely been in
our area! But more info next week.

Happy Birthday Brent! Go date some girls and drive some cars.

Sorry I didn't bring my card reader... again. So no pictures this
week. More to come.

I love you all!

Elder Calvin Chappell

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