Monday, 21 December 2015

Baby it's Hot Outside!



Happy Christmas, from Down Under in above 40 degrees celcius!
No white Christmas for me this year! This week has been the hottest week of my entire life. It got up to 44 degrees celcius. I went on trade-offs this weekend and went to the City Sisters area. It is a new area for Sisters so they don't have many people to teach so everything is finding. I was outside the whole time I was on trade-offs in above 40 weather. The bottom of my feet were burning through my shoes from the hot concrete. I can't even explain what it feels like to be in weather like that, but I will try my best. It is hard to breathe, it feels like you are in an oven, there is no relief, even the wind is hot. You sweat, then dry instantly, then sweat more, then dry again, and repeat. You can carry a bottle of water around with you, but even if it is frozen solid, it will melt within minutes and will go warm in about 10 minutes. I felt so gross! Despite the insane heat, I loved my trade-off. Being in the city is very different, we are walking everywhere around downtown, talking to everyone that we pass by. People are startled when we talk to them because unfortunately, our society is very kept to itself nowadays, even a friendly "hi" and we get strange looks. 

 
This week we also did district finding within our own areas, on a really hot day. We went door knocking from 6-8pm and it was 39 degrees at that time of day! People were saying we were crazy. Some woman even let us into her house to give us a glass of water because she felt bad for us. She said, "You need to go home, I am sure Jesus will still love you." It was very funny. But we did not go home, we kept pressing forward. Also that day we were all fasting to find people to teach. In that heat though we are allowed to drink water when we fast.
For finding at this time of year we pass out "A Saviour is Born" cards. They have a link to: christmas.mormon.org, which has a short 2 minute video on the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is a great video and I recommend all watch it. 
 This Sunday I preformed a duet with my Ward Mission Leader in sacrament meeting. We sang "O Come All Ye Faithful" the first verse in Latin, and the rest in English. After church we went with one of the Relief Society Councillors and went around 15 less actives houses delivering Christmas cookies and fudge. It was a great way to get to know those people better and see if they are open for visits from the missionaries.
I am so excited for this Christmas. This is my only Christmas on my mission. This week we have lots of fun activities planned for the mission. We have Sister's Conference on the 23rd. On Christmas Eve we have a dinner and Carolling. On Christmas Day I get to skype my family and then we go to the mission office for activities and dinner. Then on Boxing Day we have a Multi-Zone Conference. It will be great!




Let us all remember the true meaning of Christmas. Please don't take the Christ, out of Christmas. It is the time of year we celebrate his birth. 2015 years ago a babe was born in a humble stable. This baby was the Son of God, destined to save mankind from their sins.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel." -Isaiah 7:14
Immanuel translates into: God with us.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:6
I am so grateful for my Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate and thank Him not just at Christmas time, but all year round. Think of a gift that you can give Him this year.
Let us focus less on presents, and more on His presence.
I love you all,
Merry Christmas,
Sister Coultrup
--
Sister Bethany Victoria Coultrup
Australia Adelaide Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, 14 December 2015

Gastro...Again



G'day!
This week we got to take our recent convert to the temple. We just walked around the grounds and sat in the waiting room. It was a very special experience. The Spirit is so strong and peaceful in the temple. I have not been able to go to the temple in over three months so it was beneficial for me as well as her. 
 This Friday we had an area seventy come and visit us missionaries and come for our Stake Conference this weekend. On Friday right before he spoke to us I said a prayer and asked a question that has been on my mind for a while. The very first words out of his mouth was my question in the prayer! And his whole training was directed toward my question! When he said those first words all the air in my lungs forced out and the Spirit touched my heart. I was entirely shocked and I listened intently and hung onto every word, knowing that Heavenly Father was speaking through Him to me. 

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

This Saturday I got very ill. Again. Gastro. It was not pleasant at all, I won't go into details. My Sister Training Leader came over and looked after me while the other Sisters went out finding. My Ward Mission Leader and his wife came over and helped out a bit and gave me a much needed priesthood blessing. I missed Stake Conference on both Saturday and Sunday and yesterday evening was the Missionary Christmas Fireside. I have given up about 2 months worth of Pdays driving downtown and spending all day practicing our songs. I was NOT going to let me feeling like I was about to faint or throw up any second stop me from going to that fireside! No way! So I rested as much as I could and I went (someone else drove us). The senior missionary in charge of looking after the sickness in the mission looked at me with shock/horror and said "Sister Coultrup?!" as I stumbled in to practice before the fireside. Despite feeling gross and weak I endured the fireside and I am glad I did. I didn't get to do my duet but it was still a beautiful fireside and I loved being apart of it. My favourite song we sang as a missionary choir was "Star of Bethlehem". I will spend the rest of today in bed. 

At the Temple

I also received an award called "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" for having a clean and beautiful flat :-) Hurrah! And a member made us a bunch of sparkley snowflakes to put up around our flat for decorations!
Merry Christmas! It is coming up so quick! Love you all.
Sister Coultrup

--
Sister Bethany Victoria Coultrup
Australia Adelaide Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, 7 December 2015

Lots of Tracting



G'day!
This week was a really good week.
We got a new district leader plus two new elders to our District. Our previous DL got deported back to the USA. His Visa ran out and was threatened to be arrested so he is finishing his mission in the USA. I was so shocked! It was quite sad. But our new district seems alright, it will take a while to warm up to them all! We took our first district selfie.


Happy District except for that one in that back

We have decided to clean out our teaching pool and go tracting!... A lot! I am going to be honest and say it is one of my least favourite things to do! Talking to people you don't know is awkward. And they know why we are talking to them and we know why so usually they just stand there like "Get to the point" then once we get to the point they say "not interested" and repeat with all the other doors. Sister Reyes is shocked and says people here are not open. Apparently when she would go door knocking up in Darwin, lots of people were really open and nice to the Sisters. But down here we have a lot of hard hearts, but that is okay! I don't know if I have mentioned the rule of sevens before, if I have I am sorry because I am going to repeat it. We were told by an area seventy that it takes about 7 encounters with the Church before a person is open to missionary discussions. Whether it is a mention of the name of the church, seeing missionaries, talking to missionaries, etc. So when people reject the gospel (they are rejecting the gospel, not us) it just means they are one point closer to accepting it later on. So we are turning 3s into 4s and 4s into 5s and maybe we are even making some 1s. But no effort is wasted, everything we do, everytime we open our mouths we are fulfilling our purpose. That is what comforts me when we experience rejection. 
 
The benefits of having a companion who is an expert braider

 
Christmas mail!

This weekend we had what we call Mission Preperation Conference. Maybe you have heard of Mini Missions? Well I got to take part in that! A Youth, or YSA between the ages of 17 and 15 gets paired with a missionary and spends the weekend with them as their companion. They get to experience mission life and mission rules. I got paired with Casey Herrick from North Adelaide, we are the same age and we got on like a house on fire. I had such a great time this weekend and she did great with all the work we did. I made sure she experienced everything! We saw investigators, Potential investigators, less actives, members, we went door knocking, ward council, etc. On Sunday we had a testimony meeting where  all the prospective missionaries got to share their experience with being paired with a missionary and bear their testimony. Then we had a break the fast dinner and then a fireside to end the evening. It was so beautiful, the Spirit was so strong. We all sang "Come Unto Christ" As a missionary Choir and I couldn't sing because I got all choked up feeling the spirit and seeing people in the congregation cry too. It was so beautiful I wish you all could have been there.
This weekend I got to meet two of my trainers previous companions, they both came back to the mission and visited the ward I am serving in. It was so cool to meet these Sisters who I have heard so much about from Sister Funaki.


Mini Mission!

 Also this week I received heaps of Christmas mail! It was so crazy I took a picture! I am so grateful, again their were tears. I guess it was just a teary week. Thank you everyone! We had a member give us a mini Christmas tree and I set it up in the flat. It makes it feel just a little more like Christmas now :-)
Our Christmas Tree


I love you all so much have a great week!
Sister Coultrup xx

PS. I got a Kangaroo Skin Case for my scriptures. It is really soft. Sorry, Kangaroo but you died for a good reason. You are protecting the word of God. 

My new case which my parents think is disgusting

--
Sister Bethany Victoria Coultrup
Australia Adelaide Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Tuesday, 1 December 2015



G'day mates!

Transfer logistics:

Sister Vaitaiki: Remaining
Sister Reyes: Remaining
Sister Coultrup:...Remaining!

We are ALL staying together for another transfer! I am SO happy! I love my companions, and this area. YAY! I get to spend Christmas here! I have been in this area for so long now. By the end of this next transfer I would have served here for 7.5 months.

This week was a rough week. One of those weeks where NO one is home. NO one wants to see us. NO one is interested. So lame! We also had another investigator, Luke, back out of his baptism only 3 hours before his interview. Even more lame! The Lord is really testing me and my patience!

Enough with the negative we found a new investigator this week! She is so lovely and we had a great first lesson with her. She even said the closing prayer in the first lesson. I was very happy about that! She was also pleased to hear that we are all staying. She said she prayed that none of us would be transferred. When we texted her this morning to let her know none of us will be leaving she said: "It worked..." YES! Prayer works! :-)



                                          Christmas care package for my companions and I

We had a Christmas Relief Society activity which we went to because everyone brought a non-member friend or two. It was a great activity. We all had Christmas dinner, the decorations were beautiful and we watched a video the RS president put together called "A Silent Christmas". It was lovely and really brought the Spirit into the room.

We also had a Stake Christmas play. The Nativity, with musical numbers dotted in between. It was great, some guy sang "O Holy Night" and I cried. I love that Christmas hymn sooo much and his voice was incredible.




                                                     I found a guitar!  It's been so long!

One day this week during our morning study, there was a knock at the door. We all looked at each other puzzled. Who would knock on our door? We don't get visitors... Immediately I thought, oh no. It must be the office missionaries, they came to surprise inspect our flat! But they just did it last week. All of us were scared to answer the door, so I ended up doing it and the man quickly handed me a few grey bags then ran away before I could say thank you.

I looked at the note on the bags and it said: Angela Coultrup! I squealed and we all ran to the kitchen and ripped open the bags like it was Christmas. My Mum sent us some goodies and it was the best surprise care package EVER. It made my entire day! Thank you again Mum for that! It was so lovely to receive some of my favourite things!



I am so excited to be staying in this area. The companions and I have decided we are just going to do heaps of tracting and finding. We need to find new people to teach.

Today is November 30, 2015. I come home November 30th, 2016. See you all in exactly one year!

Love from down under,

Sister Coultrup

Pictures:

Stake Christmas play called Hearts towards Bethelehem.
An investigator and I with her guitar.
A recent convert and I, both with awesome braided hair by Sister V.
My Mum's street and I.
Me walking across Abbey Road.
The goodies and I.





--
Sister Bethany Victoria Coultrup
Australia Adelaide Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, 23 November 2015

Heartbreak and Tears



G'day Family and Friends,
So I have had lots of "hope the baptism went well" and I want to start off by letting you know it didn't happen. She cancelled it the day before. I will tell you the full story.
We saw Ann on wednesday, we had a great lesson planned. When we saw her she seemed kind of off and then she told us why. She said she had told her Boyfriend she was getting baptized this weekend and he shut her down. He got really mad and told her all these reasons why she shouldn't and looked up anti-mormon literature online. She showed us and we assured her that it isn't true and that the internet is not a realiable resource. That if she ever has questions about anything, first ask God, then read the scriptures, then ask us, then you can check LDS.ORG. She kept asking why this was happening only just a few days before her baptism and we told her because the adversary is mindful! That he does not want her to get baptized! No matter what we told her she didn't seem to sway. We planned to see her on friday, the day before her baptism. I went with one of our recent converts, Bianca. As we walked up her drive I saw a man in the window and I immediately knew it was her boyfriend and that this lesson would NOT go well. I didn't even want to go in, but we did. Ann was crying, telling us that she would not and could not ever get baptized. (This was all said with her boyfriend supervising). She said she never believed in God in the first place, etc. Whenever I went to ask her an inspired question or bear testimony her boyfriend would interupt me. Old Sister Coultrup from before her mission would have punched him, but I sat there calm as I could be. I knew that what she was saying wasn't her. She had such a strong testimony and many spiritual experiences. But she denied everything right there. It broke my heart and when we left I cried harder than I ever have my whole mission. I felt as though I had failed, she has a greater light and knowledge now, but she still denied. I felt horrible. I cried all evening, when my district leader called, I cried. Zone leaders, I cried. It was a really rough weekend.


                                                         Victor Harbour cute town

But I prayed and asked God for some assurance that I had done what I could. That maybe perhaps I didn't fail, I was just searching for some comfort. The next morning in my studies I was reading Preach My Gospel and came across a scripture reference I had written in the notes area. It didn't have anything more but a reference. I felt prompted to look up that scripture, so I did. And I cried some more because it was the answer to my prayer.
"And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?" Jacob 5:41

"But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened my hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down my vineyard, and cast it into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?" Jacob 5:47



                                                           Christmas in Australia

I know I have done all I could, I have taught her my whole mission thus far. And as much as I love her, she has her agency to choose. I feel comforted in knowing that one day she may come back, but also comforted knowing I did my job and the Lord knows I did as well. Sometimes things don't work out the way we have planned but our ways are not always God's ways.
Other than that I had a good week. Oh, I experienced 40 degree weather for the first time in my life. It was a nightmare! We were even doing gardening service in that weather! We would spray eachother with the hose outside and in 2 minutes we would be dry again. It was not good.
Last Monday we went back to Victor Harbour! Woo hoo! I love Victor Harbour, you all know that. It is my favourite place here.
This past weekend we also had the Onkaparinga ward Christmas activity. It was the strangest thing, it felt like Canada day. There was a petting zoo, a BBQ and all these games for the Children. All outside the chapel, but this was a Christmas activity! It was a hot day too! So weird, it was fun though! 


                                                                 P day by the sea
That is all for now, I love you all!
Sister Coultrup

--
Sister Bethany Victoria Coultrup
Australia Adelaide Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints