Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hello Family!

This has been such a good week.  It just flew by.  Last Monday Sister Malili taught us to make panikeke, which is my favorite Samoan food!  It's like fried bread with either pineapple or banana inside.  We had such a fun time.  The Malilis are just wonderful in every way.  Tuesday, we had a very opportune, inspired district meeting!  I sure love our district.  I will miss whoever gets transferred . . . and Elder Fangaloia (one of the Elders in New Plymouth) is finishing his mission this transfer.  It's not very nice how they all do that to me.  I get to be such good friends with all these missionaries and then they think they can just go home. :)

But we have decided to back off from Emma after taking the Sterzers (the new senior couple) with us to see her.  She won't read and pray about the Book of Mormon and she's just not mentally ready to change/accept the gospel.  It just breaks my heart because she is struggling so much and on the verge of really starting to be stable in her life and I just know how much the gospel will make her happy.  But we will keep praying for her and stopping by. 

But we found a new, wonderful part member family which I'm so excited about.  There are two kids: Freedim (14) and Ainsley (11).  Freedim is a member and in Young Women's and Ainsley (who's a boy) is not a member.  They live with their dad who is a super nice guy who wants to take lessons as well, but who is on house arrest.  They also live with their wonderful grandma, Sister Healy, who just moved from Waitera branch and who is a returning less active.  But Freedim and Sister Healy especially are so excited for us to come!  We are trying to get Ainsley more excited and to come to church.  But I can just feel how wonderful and prepared they are.  Freedim loved church and they are going to the youth activity tomorrow.

Also, we've been teaching Amy.  She's 18 and she is so good.  She was the head girl at New Plymouth Girl's High.  It's like Harry Potter here.  Everyone has uniforms and there are prefects and head girls and boys.  But she is so humble but really smart and just fun to be around.  She is really close with the Jones family and especially to Noah Jones who just left on his mission to Bulgaria.  But she has read up to the middle of 2 Nephi and she's come to church every week for a month.  She'd never prayed before and on Thursday we taught her to pray.  It was so powerful.  It was just such a spiritual lesson.  It was like a tender mercy from Heavenly Father.  Even though we still don't have too many keen investigators, we can still make a difference.  We are trying our best to teach with the spirit and do all we can, but they also have to receive with the Spirit.  As much as we'd sometimes like to, we can't take their agency away.  But Amy definitely receives with the Spirit.  Unfortunately she is leaving to go to uni in Wellington on Sunday.  But she's already looked up the church there.  We are going to give her as a referral to the Wellington missionaries!  We are excited for her.  It's just so great for her to be experiencing everything in the gospel for the first time with such wonder.  The gospel is wonderful!

Saturday they asked permission, and we got to go help the Bellblock Sisters do service in their area all day.  It was really hardcore service and we had such a good time.  I was sore from shovelling/mowing/weeding/trimming the next day and I'm still sunburned.  I put on sunscreen but only once in the morning.  This thin New Zealand atmosphere though. 

But yesterday was Valentines Day and I got to open some wonderful valentines from my family!  Thanks so much!  You are all gems.  They made my day and we loved the heart glasses.  We heart attacked a bunch of people all over town.  I felt like an elephant stomping around when we tried to sneak up to the doors.  My companion is much better at such things.  But out of 10 houses, we only got caught twice. :D  Everyone has glass doors here, so it's a little tricky.  But that was really fun. 

I also wanted to tell you all again how gorgeous it is here.  Apparently it's like a record hot summer here.  It is so hot, but it is so beautiful.  We also went to the beach on Monday and I can't get enough of that place.  It's just like the perfect beach.  It is so lovely.  And there are apricot, plum, pear, avocado and lemon trees everywhere.  And also everyone has heaps of homegrown tomatos, strawberries, and other berries!  It's amazing! 

I just love New Zealand.  I'm doing really well and I feel like I'm really finding my purpose here in Taranaki.  And I'm still loving the book, Jesus the Christ!


Sister Clarissa Johnson :D

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