Sunday, September 20, 2015

Joy from New Zealand

Hello Beautiful People,

This week was so wonderful--probably the best week of my mission so far!  I love my new companion.  She is so sweet and humble and good and she has such a good attitude.  She is a great cook!  She makes Philippino food and it's delicious . . . except the mussels.  They're the ones in oyster-looking shells.  I ate one but it took all my courage!  But we are always laughing and having fun together.  And the new Elder in our ward is good too.  It's so nice to double cover with really great Elders.

This week we really wanted to get the Standard of Excellence because they really focused on it at Zone Meeting.  I got it my first transfer, but not the next one.  So we really went to work!  And miracles happened.  We've been really focusing on relying on the Spirit and I'm getting better at it.  Sometimes I'll just get an idea of a certain scripture we should read with someone or a certain ward member we need to use to fellowship someone.  I'm realizing that a lot of times, those ideas come from the Spirit.  We really worked on taking members out with us.  We've been taking out all the female YSAs in our ward.  They are so good.  We have the best group of Young Women and YSAs that we're hopefully going to hang out with next week. 

Jayde cancelled her baptism because she is stressed with school and such and she's still adjusting to the Law of Chastity.  But we set her for October 17th and she is really excited!  She has concerns still about the Law of Tithing but she is so excited to get baptized.  Auntie Kei is getting more and more anxious to get baptized and we are going to try to set her this weekend.  She just has such a good heart.  We finally got Leanna to church.  We went over Saturday night, tried to help her get all the clothes ready, texted her ride, and then knocked on her door at seven in the morning to give her a wake up call (she had no credit on her phone).  So for the first time in over a month, she came to church!  And it was such a super great sacrament meeting.  This ADORABLE newlywed couple spoke and their talks were both so good.  They are both returned missionaries and are so good.  I don't know if I wrote this in a previous email but I found out some cool statistics.  In the world, the divorce rate is about 56% or something like that.  But if one of the spouses is a returned missionary it goes down to 24% and if both the husband and wife are returned missionaries, the divorce rate goes down to 2%!  Isn't that awesome.  Not that I'm anxious to get married.  I'm mostly just anxious that President will take me out of Hamilton East.  I want to stay here forever!

We had Zone Meeting this week so that was really fun.  We have a good zone.  I just love people!  And on Thursday, we get to go to the temple!!!  I'm really excited. 

I just have such a testimony that God loves us and knows us perfectly.  I found a scripture that relates to me perfectly.  It's Mosiah 24:13-17, but really just that whole chapter.  I'm not going to write it but I want to commit all of you to read it.  Will you do it?  Good!  I know you will be blessed and enlightened if you do.  But anyway, it reminds me of the day I left on my mission.  I had always wanted to serve and was so, so, so excited, but then we were eating at Red Lobster right before we went to the airport and I was suddenly TERRIFIED!  I made Desi come to the bathroom with me and I just started crying, telling her that I was scared and that my mission was probably going to be so hard.  She said that I was right, that my mission would have really hard times but that the Lord would strengthen me to be able to handle them.  Well I've seen that!  In this scripture, the people of Alma are in bondage to the Lamanites and they plead to the Lord for help.  He doesn't take their problems away but he eases the burdens on their backs so much that they can't feel them.  Only after they "submit cheerfully and with patience" to all the will of the Lord did he actually deliver them from bondage.  I know that the Lord knew my struggles all the way through but he wanted me to learn to submit cheerfully and patiently.  Only after I had learned and grown and stretched did he take that burden away.  I'm so grateful for the Lord's constant support in my life.  I know that we can trust him perfectly.  If we lean on him and just keep his commandments perfectly, everything will be ok and we will have the hope of eternal life and joy and reassurance that we are on the right path.  All other things don't matter!

Along with that, I LOVE the Book of Mormon.  How I read it in High School was good, but it doesn't even compare to how I'm reading it now.  I just eat it up and feast . . . most of the time.  But I love it.  I just know that the stuff in that the book is for us.  It's for you and your trials now.  It's amazing!  Or "grabe" (pronounced grahv-ee) as they say in the Philippines. :)  So keep reading it!  And share the gospel!  Missionaries can share it, but the members are totally essential.  Don't be afraid to get them the best gift you have in your life.  

I LOVE my mission!  I love the people I've met.  (And speaking of marriage) I better marry a millionaire so I can afford to come back and visit all my New Zealand friends all the time.

I love you all.  Kia Kaha! 


Sister Clarissa Johnson

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