Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ripeka's Baptism!

Hello Everyone,

It's amazing how many emotions you can feel in one week.  I think I've felt most of them this week.  So many things happen to us!  We talk to so many people with such big problems in their lives.  People's partners smash their window, run away, and take their phone.  Some of them STILL can't find a job.  Some have court restrictions that don't allow them to marry their partners.  Some have partners that are still married to someone else.  I feel like we face a lot of problem that are too big for us to handle, but we just continue to love and teach and commit and encourage.  Then we tell the bishop and Brother Tichborne (the Ward Mission Leader) and the Lord.  We pray for everyone!  It's really good.

But we also have so many people that are doing so well!  This week I really felt the fruits of missionary work.  We invited a girl named Kim to be baptized after we taught the first lesson and she said yes!  We've been really concentrating on getting the members more involved in the work.  We've been studying and planning and trying to think of ideas.  We want to have a 5th Sunday lesson about member missionary work.  The bishop and the ward council thought it was a good idea, so I'm excited.  It's so good for me to practice being responsible and doing so many "adult" things.  It's fun though.  I love having the influence to think of an idea and then it can actually happen.  We've been really working on our dinner appointment referral getting.  We always call our dinner appointments the night before and we've started asking them on the phone to pray as a family for a name that they could share the gospel with.  Then we follow up with them at dinner.  We have so many good people in our ward.  I always have such a fun time at dinner appointments.  I'm excited!

So finally, of course the best part of the week was the baptism!  It was just perfect!  Ripeka looked beautiful in white and Leanna and the girls, Tony, Auntie Kei, and President and Sister Rudd all came.  I said the closing prayer, led the music, and sang Savior Redeemer of My Soul with Sister Aldridge.  We really have the harmony down and it's so fun.  Everyone cried.  I am just so excited for Ripeka.  She is so dear to me.  She was the first investigator I met on my mission and the first to get baptized.  Six weeks ago her cousin Kuni joined the church and he is on fire!  He is really into family history and he is already a family history consultant and has done a ton of names.  Ripeka started her family history last night and she's going to the temple to do baptisms this Wednesday!  How exciting is that?  The work moves forward.  It's true that "we are all enlisted 'til the conflict is o'er.  Happy are we!  Happy are we!"  Auntie Kei (Ripeka's mom) is doing so well.  She made a TON of food for after the baptism.  We had about 20 people in a house smaller than my bedroom at home, but there was SO much good food and love and the Spirit packed in that it was ok.  I can't wait to start teaching Auntie Kei!  She has been prepared.

Last night we had a lesson that kind of shook our faith a little, but we survived!  Some people can be scary, but we both studied the Restoration this morning and it ended up just making me even more strong in my testimony!  The church really is true. 

Things are going AWESOME with Sister Aldridge.  We are very different people but we have really been having fun lately.  There is so much we each can learn from the other!  She is such a responsible, obedient, organized missionary!  I've LOVED this week . . . except I haven't taken a nap all week and I REALLY need to!  I'll get on that. :P  Also, I'm still bad at volleyball.  But it's ok.  And Elder Patea and Sister Lualua from the MTC are here now!  They are with the Zone Leaders and some Visitor Center missionaries in our district.  I loved seeing them.  They will only be here for two weeks because they were ESL people.  At the transfer, they'll get their official trainers somewhere else.  But that's exciting!  I'm officially not the newest missionary around.  

Are you getting my written letters? Thanks for being the best family EVER!!!!!!!!  I LOVE getting mail SO much! Thanks for being such amazing examples to me.  I can do hard things because I have you guys to inspire me and pray for me.  I can really feel your prayers! Tell Grandma I love her.  I LOVE her letters!  I just have this new fierce love for my family now that I'm away from you.  Don't forget about me.  Also, tell Thelma that I got her letters and I love them!  I love those Davises.  I wrote them back but they won't be there yet.  Tell Braeden congratulations!!!!!!!!


Sister Johnson :)

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