I have so much to say! This week has been crazy but really, really good. It was definitely my favourite week in New Plymouth yet. We are still working with Emma. She is just so, so prepared and ready for the gospel! But on Tuesday we came to her house and she said that there was this crazy lady who had been coming to her house every day asking for cigarettes. Emma said that this lady had turned all her furniture upside down and that she needed help. So we went with Emma to this lady's house and it is a really awful house. It was so dirty and the floor and walls were just concrete and there was hardly any stuff there. She had all her furniture stacked in a corner really high and all tipped over precariously. The TV was shattered and there weren't any clothes or food or anything there. This lady wanted us to help move all her furniture outside because she thought she was getting new furniture. We could tell that she had mental disabilities because she said that she'd known me for 50 years and she thought she was in Poland and all this crazy stuff. Somehow I knew she wasn't getting new furniture. I asked her if she knew anyone else or if anyone came to check on her. She said no. So my companion was moving all her stuff outside and Emma was really stressed and didn't know what to do and was trying to take care of her (adorable) son Brook. I asked Emma if she knew the number of the hospital. She did so I got to the crisis people and told them about it and they said they would come around to check and then later took her to the hospital. So that was crazy! I felt like Heavenly Father set that up so we could help her.
Wednesday we went on exchanges. We drove to Stratford, which is an adorable little town, and stayed with those sisters for the night. The drive was beautiful. I got exchange with Sister Likuborebore, the Sister Training Leader, who is probably the best sister missionary in the world. She is a convert and the only member of her family. She is really little and cute and from Fiji. We had SO much fun and I loved working with her. I could feel of her spirit and it was a great example to me. So that was wonderful.
Thursday and Friday we had a bunch of awesome member present lessons with Emma and Linda and Ashley. We taught Emma at Kira Brown's flat and we took three different members to Linda and Ashley, read in the Book of Mormon with them, and taught them tithing. It was the best lesson ever and Sister Malili shared a powerful experience and testimony about tithing.
Yesterday (Sunday) might have been the craziest day of my life. President Coles asked me to speak in sacrament meeting 9 minutes before it started. He said to take 12 minutes. So I was stressed about that. Then our investigator Emma came to church like we had set up. And our investigator Kylee came to church!!! She is Brother Robert's (the Branch Mission Leader) daughter in-law. AND our less active's adorable Filipino mother in law came! AND Ashley came! Except Linda didn't come. Ashley said it was because she wasn't very happy about the principle of tithing we'd taught them and was worried about how they could pay it. But my talk went well. It wasn't 12 minutes but at the end I told them that I would like to sing my testimony. I sang the first and last verses of "How Great Thou Art" and I made three of our four investigators there cry! :D So I was happy about that.
Then after a wonderful dinner with the Malilis, we went over to our appointment at Linda and Ashley's. Keep in mind that they love us, that Ashley had been to church that same day, and that the sisters had been going there since before I came to New Plymouth. Well we get out of the car and right away their neighbour comes marching out to us and starts yelling at us terribly! He said the f word probably 100 times . . . seriously. He told us to new come back and to leave their street alone and that Linda and Ashley didn't want us. He was so mean and scary but I just couldn't believe that it was really happening. He said he'd call the police if we weren't gone in five minutes. I said, "But they are expecting us. We have an appointment." Of course he didn't care. Sister Pantoja was in tears at this point so we left. We parked in some shade a little ways away and immediately the Elders called us (to ask if we'd already left the Malilis so they could go). But we told them what happened. They said that they wanted to come with us when we went back. So I called Linda and Ashley and told them what happened and they were so sorry about their neighbour and that they'd lent them some beans and just mentioned that Linda was concerned about having to pay tithing. But they said to come over again now. So we called the Elders and marched into the fire! The neighbour was still outside pacing around. He got right in the Elders faces and was swearing just as loud at them. They were really calm and great and just said "Don't swear." "We are just here to try to protect the sisters." So we knocked on Linda and Ashley's door. They motioned for us to come in. But I thought, "No, you should probably come out." So Ashley, the gentlest, sweetest guy ever, went over and told the neighbors it was ok and that they wanted us there. The guy left, still screaming and threatening.
So we had a really, really good talk with Linda and Ashley. Sister Pantoja (poor girl . . . I just love her to bits) was still crying and was really stressed out and scared. I was fine though. (A little part of me thought it was all quite exciting). Ashley (who we found out was an All Black and played with Sid Going!!!) is ready to get baptized tomorrow but Linda is hesitant and was really shook up by all the drama. They said they will continue to read and pray and maybe come to church and think about it but that we should wait to come back for two weeks. We will keep calling them. I just love them so much and want them to be happy. Well, the Elders were waiting in their car when we came out. They had called President Rudd and Brother Huntley in our ward who used to be a bishop and is a policeman. Brother Huntley asked us what had happened and then went and talked to Linda and Ashley and the neighbors and it ended up so well. He told us and the Elders to wait outside until he was done. It took over an hour. We didn't get home until 9:47! But it was just a crazy time. Brother Huntley said that the neighbour had finally apologized to him and that he would stay in contact with them.
It was just crazy because we didn't cause any of this to happen. We didn't even call anyone to help us. The Elders happened to call us. But it is so true that that experience is proof that the church is true. Satan would only fight against us like that if he knew something wonderful was going to happen. When we are persecuted for righteousness sake we join a club of those who have been persecuted before us like Jesus Christ, Abinadi, Paul, and Joseph Smith! I'm proud to be in that club.
But really, this week has been wonderful! I don't know what the change was, but I suddenly just have so, so much love for the New Plymouth Branch. When I was sitting on the stand at church I just was overwhelmed with love and gratitude that I am here. It is so, so true that the Lord puts us where he needs us and where we need to be. I just so, so, so love being a missionary! We've had so many spiritual experiences with Emma, in studies, in planning, and even in our crazy experiences! We find out transfer news either today or tomorrow and I will continue to trust the Lord. Sister Pantoja will probably leave me. :( But we shall see!
I know that God is so real. He is watching out for you! Talk to a stranger today. Make a friend. Share your testimony through your light and the spirit that's in you.
Your favourite sister missionary (maybe . . . it's ok if it's not)
If you are like Clarissa's mom and don't know who the All Blacks are, they're a rugby team.