Hello beautiful world,
So as you can see by the title, Jayde is getting baptized! It will be next Saturday on the 19th and I'm so happy and excited. I watch the Testaments at the Visitors’ Center . . .again and it made me cry . . . again. I LOVE going to the Visitors’ Center! It's just always so uplifting and great there.
Also this week we tracted a lot in new areas we hadn't really worked in. Well, five different people gave me a hard time because I am from America. People in New Zealand either really, really love America or really, really hate it. I try to tell people that I am not here representing America but they don't care. One guy said, "How dare you come tell me how to live in New Zealand when your country is falling apart." Another guy was talking and I was listening and said, "Um, hmm" a couple times, like meaning yes. He said, "Do they teach you that in school in America? How could you be brought up to be that condescending?" But the worst was on Wednesday. We'd met this nice Christian family that I was so excited to teach. They said they were looking for a new Christian church with a better youth program. Well we got to know them a little and gave them a pamphlet. When we came back the next time, she had her sister and her mom there to essentially tell me how wrong I was. Sister Namariel didn't understand what was going on but it quickly turned into an interrogation. They asked me about my relationship with Christ and said that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. I asked if we could explain a little more about Joseph Smith and how the Book of Mormon came about. They said no, they just wanted to have a discussion. But it was sure a one-way discussion. I tried to testify and answer their questions but they didn't care. They said that they could see my passion (I get called passionate a lot) but they believed that God had more in store for me and that I was just misguided and if I would just read the book of John the truth would be revealed to me. I just wanted them to know the gospel was true so bad but they wouldn't even have a closing prayer with us. I happily said goodbye but when I got in the car again I just burst into tears. Sister Namariel was so sweet and she asked what was wrong. She comforted me and said that we still know the church is true.
The next three mornings I studied about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration. I know that the church is true but I wanted another confirming witness. I prayed and nothing really happened. Finally, the words of Brother Tichborne came to my mind. He was talking about Tony "already having his witness". I thought back over my life and all the times that I'd feasted from the Book of Mormon. I thought of Nauvoo and the pioneers and my ancestors and the feelings I get in the temple and Joseph Smith and the amazing examples of strong church members I have. I thought of sitting on the roof of the swingset and praying so fervently. I thought of singing "Nearer My God to Thee" in Women's Chorus and Girls Camp testimonies and how happy my life has been because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I knew that the church was true.
It was amazing! That experience shook my faith for a minute, but just like we sing "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man" with all of our primary-aged investigators, my faith is built upon the rock of our Redeemer. I just want all of you to remember that the church is true. The Book of Mormon is true. Jesus Christ really suffered for our sins and God really loves us. Joseph Smith really was a prophet and we really do have the priesthood on the earth today. And it's good news! Sometime in your life, everyone will have their faith and testimony tested. So please keep adding the oil to your lamps and remember those experiences that have built your faith.
Also, speaking of Brother Tichborne (the ward mission leader), HE'S BACK! He was in Australia for a month and now he's back in full force. I love that guy! The best comparison I can make to him is Mr. Noorda. He's so intense and competitive and awesome! He loves his missionaries so, so much and he lives for the work of salvation! Saving souls is not a laughing matter for him and he sacrifices so much to help the work. So yeah, he's pretty much the best.
Oh so for some tragic news, I dropped my camera and broke it! Sister Falepapalangi and Sister Pulotu both have family here apparently and Sister Falepapalangi got her technological uncle to try to fix it and he couldn't. So that's the worst. Speaking of Sister Falepapalangi, she is going home tomorrow! And so are like half the missionaries I know. Every companionship in our district except ours has one person going home. I will miss them so much. I have this problem where I get super attached to everyone and then they leave.
But Sister Namariel is doing better all the time. She is really sensitive though and thinks she is doing terrible when she's not. Quite a few people tell her to talk louder and talk more a lot and she really takes it to heart and feels bad about it and cries. I try to tell her that she really is doing great and that it just takes time. She keeps trying and I really admire that.
So just keep on keeping on! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!
And really, the church is true!
Sister Clarissa Johnson