Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kiora Whanau

Kiora Whanau,

Aoteroa is beautiful as usual!  It's getting a tiny bit less hot, but it's still really hot!  I'm trying to remember what happened to us this week.  Time just goes by so fast.  But we are doing great.  Transfers are this week so we are eagerly awaiting transfer news.  But Sister Pantoja will be leaving because she's been here six months.  So that is sad.  I will miss her so much.  She's such a good example of selfless service and we just have so much fun together!  We worked really hard this week.  We said goodbye to Amy, who is the Jones’ friend.  She is going off to college in Wellington.  We cried during her lesson.  I just feel so natural teaching her because I just want her to love the gospel.  Also we had a cool miracle.  We had this amazing lesson with this older couple that always say they will never come back to church.  I just really felt like it was so led by the Spirit!  I love it when I say things that I just know that I wouldn't have thought to say without the help of the Holy Ghost.

We've been struggling to find new investigators, but it's good for us.  We are trying new ways of doing things and doing everything in our power.  I have been working on having stronger faith that God really is preparing people for us to find.  We will not back down.  Satan will not win in New Plymouth!  Haha!  Really, the more that we don't find people to teach or our investigators don't progress, the harder we want to work and the more we want to improve, so it's just stressing us to be better.

But we had the greatest preparation days here.  We had a sand castle competition and just had the greatest time at the beach with the sisters.  Today we are spending time with the Bellblock Sisters and the new senior missionary couple, the Sterzers.  They are wonderful!!!!  Elder Sterzer is the new 2nd counsellor in the branch presidency because we didn't have one before. They are also starting up addiction recovery class soon, which is so exciting!

We took a lot of members out with us.  The members take such good care of us.  Unfortunately, yesterday was "national day to not be home" so everyone we visited with our members was gone.  So that was too bad.  But we kept trying and then we went tracting.  We said goodbye to Elder Fagaloia this morning.  He serves in our branch with Elder Lingwall and they are the Zone Leaders.  He finished his mission is going home to American Samoa.  All the Elders did the Haka for him and then there were tears shed.  We all just get so close and help each other so much down here in Taranaki. 

But our investigator Emma is doing a little better.  I think her mental health is struggling, but she finally realized that the church is true!!!!  She is not going to be friends with her anti-Mormon bad influence anymore because she found out that he has been stealing drugs from people.

I've been reading in the Book of Mormon about Abinadi.  I love that guy and he is my new inspiration.  King Noah told him that if didn't take back what he had said about the gospel and Jesus Christ, they would kill him.  Yet he was so bold and faithful.  He knew that he hadn't said what God had called him to say so he knew he would be protected until he gave his message.  After he teaches so powerfully, he understands that his purpose has been fulfilled and he is killed.  He didn't care if anyone listened or changed their life as a result of his teachings.  He just knew he had to teach them.  He had obeyed his Heavenly Father and that was enough for him.  He didn't even realize that Alma, one of the priests, had been touched by his message.  Abinadi had planted a seed in Alma.  Through Alma teaching at the Waters of Mormon, hundreds of people were baptized and came unto Christ. 

I love that story because it can relate to me.  Even though right now, no one is coming to church or getting baptized, we are planting seeds that God will eventually harvest.  We don't have to be too concerned or discouraged that no one seems to care too much because we are doing the will of God.  We need to just boldly, lovingly testify of Jesus Christ and do our part at any sacrifice and we will "stand blameless before God at the last day".  I love the scriptures.  And I love prayer.  I've been working on having more specific prayers and it's so much better.  Our district has decided to all pray for each other by name every night.  It's so great!  We are all on the same team! 

I'm so grateful for all the good examples that surround me.  I love being a missionary! 

Thanks for all the letters and valentines and love!  I just love hearing from you!  It was great to hear from Peggy, my wonderful seminary teacher, and the Wells seminary class in the same week!  I felt so loved.  You are all the best!


Sister Clarissa Johnson :D 

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