I've seriously had the BEST week of my mission! I feel like I have all this joy to convey so I hope my email adequately conveys it. However, now I'm feeling kind of melancholy and nervous because I'm getting transferred! I am moving to Taranaki!!! It's by the water and the mountain and apparently everyone is obedient there because it's so far away so that's exciting! My companion will be Sister Ye (my MTC companion)'s trainer. She is also Filipino and her name is Sister Pantoya (except it's pronounced Pan-toe-ha). She is really pretty and nice and responsible so I'm excited even though it hurts my heart to leave Hamilton East!
Last Monday we went to Hamilton Gardens with the Claudelande Sisters and only took 14 million pictures. Most other sisters are more into taking pictures than I am. I'd rather just experience life and not have to document every thing, but it was super, super fun and we have a bunch of great pictures. It was the perfect weather. Then we teamed up and took a big group of Hamilton East/Claudelands investigators/less actives to watch Meet the Mormons at the Visitor Center. I sure love that movie. I cry every time. Unfortunately the rest of the week got SUPER hot. It's like Nauvoo weather when it's super, super humid! We only have one little fan in our flat so we move it around wherever we are. It's so funny to hear about your snow and here it's sweltering. And everyone says it's going to get worse. But it's so, so gorgeous. I do love sunshine. I have some crazy watch/shoe/ring tanlines.
But Shardae and Heemi got baptized this week and it was so, so great! I felt like I did too much but I spoke, sang with Sister Urgel, taught the Restoration while they were getting changed with Sister Urgel, and played the piano. But it was just amazing to see them all in white. Shardae is fantastic because she is so humble and willing to make big, hard changes in her life. President Higgins interviewed her while our awesome district leader, Elder Pene, interviewed Heemi. Heemi is the smartest eight year old ever. He has all the articles of faith and D+C 4 memorized. I love baptisms!
The next amazing thing was on Friday. Auntie Kei, Ripeka, and Sam went to do baptisms in the temple for the first time ever. It was so beautiful and they loved it (we didn't actually get to go in, but we stayed in the Visitor Center with Lana). Auntie Kei also went Visiting Teaching for the first time and she said the prayer out loud at one of the houses! That is big for her.
Saturday and Sunday were Stake Conference and HOLY COW! It was the best Stake Conference ever! I loved it. Elder Nielson from the Pacific Area Presidency spoke and especially in the Saturday Night session just blew me away. I know that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are real people. They really are. On the way home talking to Sister Urgel about it and also praying afterwards, I just really felt, more than ever before in my life that the gospel is 100,000% true! It's not probably, mostly true, but it's for sure true. We just have to have faith and do something about it and it will make us so happy. There is a group of Saints from Papua New Guinea here for two weeks. They have saved for years and years and sacrificed so much to come to the temple. They've been in the temple every day and came to our Stake Conference. There are probably 25 people. They are so humble and their faces light up when they see missionaries, even though they don't know us personally. I want to be as humble as them. President Nielson said that probably other than the very young kids, none of them will ever get to come back to a temple. This was a once in a lifetime thing! He also kept saying, "Do we know what we have?" Do we realize how lucky we are and blessed to have a temple so close? Do we know how amazing the gospel is? We have it and lots of people don't. We need to hasten the work.
Brother Tichborne is NOT happy to see me go. He told me that I went from a greenie to the best sister missionary in the mission. I'm afraid he exaggerates. I really will miss him so, so much. He has taught me HEAPS about the gospel and the work of salvation and the importance of keeping our "footprints on the frontlines". Always! It was his birthday on Thanksgiving so we called him right when we woke up (he gets up way before that) and sang to him. I think it made his day! :)
But I want to send pictures and I'm running out of time.
Love you all so, so much!
Sister Clarissa Coralee Johnson