So when Brother Tichborne calls me or answers the phone he always says, "Captain! What's happening? What's the good news?" I don't know if I told you that he calls me Captain, because after all, "we're on the frontlines." It's so exciting.
It's been the best week in a long time! I'm all healthy except coughing and I just feel all this urgency to do the work as fast and as well as I can. We have all these new progressing investigators that we mostly found this week. I realized that I will most likely be leaving on December 3rd, and as much as I wish it wasn't true, I need to accept it and make the most of the time I do have here.
Natalie was confirmed yesterday and she looked so radiant. She is going back to China for the summer break next week, so I'm so glad she was baptized before leaving. I hope she can find a church/some Mormons in China. We have her Chinese address so they can send her records so that's good.
Ripeka and Auntie Kei are wonderful. Ripeka's operation went well and she'll be in bed for six weeks. She's in pain, but that's to be expected so hopefully she will be all good from now on after she heals. I'm so glad that she found out she had a cyst and she could get it out. So Auntie Kei works so hard and is just such a giver. Saturday night we went there and she had these pretty shirts she'd bought at an Op Shop for Sister Urgel and me. She said Leanna had helped her choose them and she had really specific things in mind. Isn't that so nice?
So this week we did a lot of service and we saw a lot of miracles. We have a less active named Tiana that has been to prison and is now confined to her house for a year. She's only in her early twenties and she did something really, really bad but she's not a bad person at all. I love her so! Brother Tichborne sent us the first night after she'd been out of prison. We didn't know what had happened, but when she explained, I felt really prompted to teach her about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and his complete love for her. We said things that we wouldn't have thought of without the help of the Spirit. You know that book, You are Special, about the wooden people and the carpenter, Eli, that made them and they give each other stars and dots? I love that book. Leanna had it at her house, so we'd just heard it there. I told her that story and told her that God loves her despite her sins and what people think of her and that he will forgive her. The Spirit was there so powerfully. There was not a dry eye!
Our investigator Joanna is finally back from Aussie and is on fire! She came to church, we taught her the best Lesson 3, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we've ever had. And she's getting baptized November 28th. It was going to be December 5th, but I realized I'd be gone so she decided to move it up so I could be there.
We had another really fun idea! We were with these awesome less active siblings and asked about their scripture reading. One of the girls, Ese, said it was only sometimes. I said, "Well you know, it takes 30 days to make a habit." She said that she should try to read every day for 30 days. Well, then it became a thing! We told some other investigators about it and they want to do it too. So then we made bookmarks. We made a million bookmarks that said "November 30 Day Scripture Challenge" and then we numbered them 1-30. We gave them to all of our less actives and investigators and a couple members that are into missionary work or are fellowshipping. We got the Elders to do it with their people and the Claudeland Ward Elders and Sisters too. We are going to have a movie party at the end of the month and watch the Testaments and eat food and share the miracles that came into our lives that came from doing the "small and simple" thing of reading our scriptures every day. I'm excited!
Also, the Relief Society Christmas party is randomly on November 13th so it's happening while I'm still here. It's a musical number type deal and Sarah Potter and I are doing a number. It's O Holy Night/Silent Night. She's playing and I'm singing and I'm so, so excited! I love having a good musical number to prepare for. Speaking of singing and such, there is a girl that was also an Alto 1 in Women's Chorus here, and she's in my district. Her name is Sister Parkinson. I didn't really know her in Women's Chorus, but talked to her on facebook before I came. But then I forgot all about it. But she's so, so great. Also, Sister Ye, my MTC companion, is sitting right next to me. Her companion (that I really loved too) broke her ankle and had to go back to Korea to heal. So that's sad, but Sister Ye is staying with Sister Inya and Sister Sau in our zone, so I get to see her! Sister Rudd told me at the fireside last night that they are trying to find a permanent (well, transfer long) place to put her. I said that we would love to have her and we even have an extra mattress! Wouldn't that be amazing! I guess we'll see.
Saturday was a service day for us! We weeded this lady's yard and got Brother Amai lined up to come mow it. She is this cute, old Maori lady but never wanted to hear the gospel, but is really friendly. But she was just so, so happy with her lawn. She can't bend over and didn't know how she would get it done. She was just praising us left, right and center and made us a delicious smoothie after we refused tea and coffee. But she said that she has tons of Mormon family and told us to "please come back". It's amazing how you love those you serve so much and also how much service softens people's hearts. We've really been working on that recently and it makes missionary work so much more fun. Well after that we went to straight to Patiana's. She has these six amazing, and really crazy, kids. She just had a goiter removed and can't do any work. So I mowed her big lawn for her. Sister Urgel and Fa'aki and Sula picked up all the trash in the yard and I mowed. I was so exhausted by the end of the day. It's been getting hot in the middle of the day, but it's so gorgeous! I'm getting some fun tan lines. I have a really bad one under my watch and on my feet from my sandals.
But it wasn't until later in the day that I even remembered that it was Halloween. Halloween is like NOTHING here. It's crazy. Almost no one even celebrates it apparently here.
But I am just so excited for all our new investigators and people. Missionary work is so fun! The gospel is just the best.
Sister Clarissa Johnson