Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First Letter From Australia

Hey all,

I didn't get a chance to write since that MTC due to the long flight to Australia.  Sixteen hours in a plane was not fun and it is really hard for me to sleep sitting up. After we landed, we were picked up by the mission president and driven to the mission home.  The mission home is right next to the Temple.  We had a quick bite to eat, and had a short visit with the mission president and got to meet some of the missionaries that were to be our trainers. After lunch, we went to the mission office which shares a parking lot with the Temple and had a  "Golden Meeting".  They call the new missionaries "Goldens" here.  There we all were put into our companionship and learned where we would be serving.  I was put in a tri-panionship with Elders Newell and Steele.  They are both from Utah and are pretty cool guys.  My first area is right in the middle of the city of Melbourne.  I get to ride the tram to the train station and then ride the train into the city.  The city is super diverse.  I have talked to people from all over the world here. So far I have met people from Australia, New Zealand, Iran, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, China, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.  I have gotten to be a part of some cool lessons and actually had the chance to anoint one of our investigators for a blessing so that he could give up smoking. His name is Lyall and he is super cool.  Smoking is the only thing holding him back from being baptized so hopefully he is able to quit. 

The Branch I serve in is super small.  We meet on the first floor of an office building right in the city.  Although it is very different, they do everything the same way as the ward back home runs things.  It is amazing how truly wherever you go, the church is always the same.  There are two branches that meet at this building, the Chinese one and the English one.  It is going to take some getting used to but the work is moving forward and I expect that it will be a ward soon.

I had to go shopping by myself for the first time as well.  It was so weird. I have been eating the same meals everyday due to lack of time to cook and the general expensiveness of the products.  I eat toast and eggs in the morning, rice and flavored tuna with a banana for lunch, and a meat pie for dinner.  Meat pies are really good by the way.  Definitely recommend trying one if you are ever blessed to be in Australia.  

I have just been trying to get used to using a planner and the day-to-day missionary life, but I'll be more observant of interesting things I see in the city.  Miss you all but still having fun and working hard.  

Elder Otterson

 Elder Otterson arrives in Australia!  Here he is in front of the Melbourne mission home.
Elder Otterson in front of the mission home with his mission president, President Maxwell and his wife.

 Elder Otterson's 1st Desk In Melbourne Flat
Elder Otterson's 1st Flat (Melbourne)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

First Letter from the MTC

Sup family!

Today is the first p-day and also the only one I will be getting in the MTC.  I have to say I have not been more excited to do laundry in my life.  It has been pretty awesome up here so far. there is a lot of spiritual growth and learning that I didn't think was possible until my time here.   Everyday I have the opportunity to feel the Spirit and increase my knowledge and testimony of this Gospel.  All in all it is truly an amazing experience.  My district members are super chill and fun to be around.  We share lots of laughs and also get the chance to learn from each other.  Everyday we go to classes where we learn how to teach and learn how to teach by the Spirit which I have grown to appreciate and understand the value of its presence in the room while teaching.  We had the opportunity this morning to visit the Provo temple.  It is a lot bigger than the Denver one for sure.  My companion is Elder Zimmerman and he is from Ogden Utah. He is a farm-boy and did FFA and high school rodeo competitions. He loves to talk about trucks and engines mostly so we don't really share any interests besides our love of Disney songs.   This companionship is a testament of the Lord's knowledge of what we need to grow because I certainly have been learning charity and patience while here.  On a sadder note, one of the sisters in our zone had to go home due to health issues.  We held a zone testimony meeting in her honor and also gave her a priesthood blessing of comfort.  It was truly a powerful experience.  Everyone in my district is going to either the Adelaide or Melbourne missions so we get to travel together.  I arrive in Melbourne on the 19 and leave here the 17 in case you were wondering. 

In regards to Narnia holes, I did find a rubber ball which has proven to be quite a blessing as it keeps me entertained while I walk from building to building.  In our room an Elder left a picture of the Martin handcart river crossing and on the back it taught about the three eighteen year old boys who jeopardized their lives so they could help those saints cross.  When I found it I was spiritually moved and it reaffirmed the desire that I have gained to be the best I can and to try to be as Christ. 

I recommend listening/watching/reading Converted unto the Lord by David A. Bednar (October 2012 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session). After watching that I really wanted to change and become as Christ and I hope that you all will feel the same way.

Future Aussie,

Elder Otterson

Packed and ready to serve!

Leaving to the Mission Training Center (MTC)! 

Elder Otterson and the young Joseph Smith in front of the MTC in Provo Utah

Australia!  Here I come!

 Adam and his MTC district (that's his companion Elder Zimmerman on the left)
 This is a typical MTC classroom.
 Adam and the Elders from his MTC group.
 Adam's MTC dorm room.
The elders going to Australia from his MTC district going to Australia.

Elder Adam Otterson with his good friend from Arizona - Alec Porter.  Elder Porter is going to Brazil for his mission.