We had a fun phone call today with Elder Hales. Carly was here with us and also "Grandpa" Leo. (family friend) We also had Cheri's family on the web cam so that they could listen in and talk with him.
He is LOVING his mission and says he wouldn't want to be anywhere else at this time in his life. "The time is flying by way too fast." He is so happy and grateful to be there.
He's disappointed in the progress that Darren is making. Or rather -- isn't. He said that if he hasn't read the material they've given him or done any praying, they will have to chop him this week. A challenge there in Australia with others that he is teaching is that marriage isn't a priority and frequently couples don't bother with it. The people are very laid back and will listen, but don't follow through with the required reading and praying. But on a happier note: they teach about 17 lessons a week to members and non-members. And he's excited about some new golden contacts.
The missionaries are very vigilant in their use of bug spray because they need to prevent Dengue. (pronounced: dang-ge) If they get it once, they have to leave Australia. (If they get it twice, it can be fatal. But that's rare.) He said that after the bus ride up there to Cairns, he had 27 mosquito bites on his arms alone.
He sent me a letter this week wishing me a happy Mother's day and took up the whole page to bear his testimony. He has really grown spiritually and has such a deeper appreciation for the Atonement and for the gospel. "I have been called of God and I know who I am. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I represent Him." And naturally, I cried.
We're so blessed and proud of his growth. It has been an incredible experience for all of us. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers in his behalf.