Sunday, November 8, 2015

It's Summer in New Zealand!

Hello world,

It's HOT here!  And everyone says it's going to get way hotter and humid.  We've been doing 12 week in front of the fan, and I feel like just yesterday we were doing 12 week in front of the heater.  Time flies.  I'm sad that Thanksgiving is not a thing here.  The one American family in our ward was going to feed us, but they will be out of town.  And there are starting to be Christmas decorations up places and it REALLY doesn't feel like Christmas.  It feels like July.  I just want to go swimming. :)  It's super weird.  But it's good.  

All of a sudden, our area is very different.  The school year ended and most of the uni students went home.  And our golden, wonderful investigator that was getting baptized changed her plans and moved to Australia.  So that was really sad.  But we got her email address and physical address in Aussie and she said that she would get baptized there.  I guess we have to trust the Lord on that one.  I will miss her.  She's the one with the short dress in the jumping pictures.  The other is Marina, our AMAZING member that always comes out with us on lessons.  She served in Korea.  But I think Heavenly Father wants us to really branch out in our investigators now because so many students are gone.  We found a Fijian family that I'm really excited about with super cute kids.  I wish we had any Fijians in our ward.  We don't have any . . . yet. ;)

But this week was really good.  On Thursday we had a super good Zone Meeting and took pictures with this awesome Zone Flag that Sister Inia, the Sister Training Leader, made.  Then we got invited to go help put up Christmas lights at the temple.  I guess all the missionaries in Hamilton get to do it on different days.  But the sisters in our zone were this week and it was the funnest time.  I got sunburned though which was too bad.  The sun here is so intense because the atmosphere is so thin here apparently.  I have a new appreciation for temple Christmas lights.  They take forever to put up.  I got to talk to Sister Parkinson a lot, who is the one from BYU Women's Chorus.  Apparently they are singing with David Archuleta this year, which makes me jealous, but I got to meet him so it's ok.  She is so great.

We have been teaching this girl named Shardae.  She is friends with this wonderful, wonderful family in the ward named the Grandlyers.  Her mom joined the church a year ago but she never did because she is lesbian.  Well, she's still been coming to church on and off but now she really wants to change her life and be better and get baptized.  I'm so glad that I have taught lessons to five different lesbians on my mission so far, so I feel more prepared to talk about it with her.  We had a lesson/talk with her in her doorway yesterday which was just perfect.  It was so directed by the Spirit!  I was just amazed at the things I had said when we walked away, because they were things I couldn't/wouldn't have said without the Spirit's help.  My heart really goes out to her.  She is such a good girl and she has been so blessed to have the Grandlyers in her life as an example of gospel living.  She wants more in her life and the gospel can give it to her.  I think about her a lot and how we can help prepare her for baptism.  She is getting baptized on the 28th in a combined baptism with the Grandlyers eight year old grandson, Hemi, who can recite D&C 4 faster than I can . . . and I can say it pretty fast.  

Another cool thing happened this week.  We found out at church that our dinner appointment was canceled and Sarah Potter was with us (speaking of the American family in our ward).  Well, the Potters insisted that we come to dinner at their house and they were also having Elton over.  Elton is their great neighbor with a family back in South Africa who is working for the same company as Brother Potter.  We found him a couple months ago when we were trying to find the Potter’s house and knocked on the wrong flat.  Well, they got to know him through us.  We invited him to learn two months ago and we sent the Elders to him.  They gave him a Book of Mormon but never had an actual lesson.  Well, we had the best talk about grace and the atonement with him last night and we are going to start teaching him every Sunday at the Potters.  The Potters are called as the new YSA leaders in our ward and they were having a YSA fireside/devotional deal at their house after dinner.  Sister Potter called and told me that Elton had stayed for that and loved it.  I'm so excited to start teaching him.  It's so fun to find really prepared people to teach!  Our investigator, Cavell, that the Elders "stole" from us when I was sick is getting baptized on Saturday.  I'm so excited for her!  It's just exciting to see the work progress.

It's so funny when Brother Tichborne is really, really excited!  He cracks me up.  And he called me "the bomb" this week on the phone.  (He calls us or we call him every day.)  I was so happy!  

So I've been singing a lot recently.  I felt like my life was getting a little mundane and less exciting so I started singing more.  Singing is the solution to almost everything, especially when you're singing hymns.  This morning I was really praying to have the Spirit more fully with me and to know that God is pleased with me.  Well, when we were singing at the beginning of companion study I just started crying.  We sang "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" and "How Great Thou Art" which are my two favorite songs ever (along with There is Sunshine in My Soul).  But it really made me think about how God really loves me.  I was just hit with this huge wave of the Spirit and God and Jesus Christ's love for me.  Like I already knew it and I teach it to people every day, but I internalized it more deeply.  I thought about how much my parents love me and how much I will love my future children.  God loves us even more than that.  It's amazing how God can answer your prayers by teaching you something you already know, just more deeply with the Spirit.  

And the scriptures are the best!  I think I say this every week, but I love the Book of Mormon.  I've been reading the war chapters in Alma and they are exciting!  I think of Brother Tichborne and how "we're on the frontlines".  It's great.  

This week we are going on exchanges with the Lake Sisters and I get to exchange out of our area for the first time ever in my whole mission.  And I get to go with Sister Sau and . . . Sister Ye!  I'm very excited.  Enjoy the snow in Nevada!  I'll enjoy the heat and try not to get burned again. :)

Heaps of love,

Sister Clarissa Johnson  

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