Sunday, March 20, 2016

Fall Has Fallen

Kia Ora!

I remember beginning one of my emails with "spring has sprung".  Well now I can say that "fall has fallen".  Except no one says "fall" here, only "autumn".  But it's been so wonderful lately.  The weather is mostly perfect.  We aren't dying of heat anymore and it's just gorgeous.  But it's weird to have Easter in the fall.  These switched seasons, let me tell you.  They're confusing.

It's been such a great week.  I'm just really happy.  I love being a missionary.  Last Monday we "stole" Kelly's hard drive to watch a church movie at the church for preparation day with the Bellblock Sisters.  Sister Flake was still a little sick and didn't want to do anything active.  Kelly had already said we could borrow it but wasn't there when we came to get it.  Later we found out she was in the shower.  But her TV is right by the front window which was a little open.  The door was locked but we used a passionfruit vine to snag the cord and get the hard drive from the window.  She thought it was so funny when we told her how we got it afterwards.  We left a note.  But that was an adventure. 

But Kelly has been going through some really hard things lately and it's been amazing to see everyone in the branch come and visit and love and help her so much!  It means so much to her.  We started teaching her friend Robyn who is actually the older sister of one the Elder's investigators.  So that's fun! 

Victoria is doing well.  Unfortunately she has been really busy so we only saw her once this week and she couldn't come to church, but we took Lena, a wonderful YSA returned missionary in our branch who served in the Philippines, with us to her lesson.  She said how she found out that her dad has been a member of the church in his youth until his family left the church.  She was planning to ask him why his family left the church.  So we've been praying for her!  We keep role playing how we are going to teach her and invite her to be baptized and such.  We have had some really great companionship studies this week.  We really spend so much time planning and thinking and praying for these people.  I hope they can feel God's love for them through us. 

President Riggle (in the District Presidency) was in gospel principles yesterday and he was talking about that.  He said that because of his calling he can feel even more keenly the love that God has for people.  I feel like that's the same for me!  As a missionary I just grow to love people so, so much!  I just want them to be happy with all my heart!  Like our investigator Luke was telling us about how he met his partner Krete at his "get out of jail party".  I didn't know that was a thing, but apparently it is.  But I just still care about them so much no matter what choices they’ve made.  It's just a little, tiny glimpse of how God feels about us.

Krete and Luke were actually our big miracle for the week.  We met them on the street outside one of our less active's houses.  Krete (the girl) was so excited to see us because she'd met with missionaries . . .the Lake Ward Elders in Hamilton actually, before.  So we went over on exchanges last week with Sister Flake and had a good lesson.  We've seen them a couple of times.  They have lots of commandment problems but are so wonderful!  And . . . they came to church!!!!!  They don't have a phone so we had to really be organized with it in advance!  Sister Coles gave them a ride.  But they loved it.  It was such a miracle.  It feels like Christmas morning when I'm waiting in the foyer and just so hoping that they will come . . . and then they do!  I was just so happy.  But after church they said they were going to leave.  I assumed they were going with Sister Coles.  But then later Sister Coles asked me where they were.  It turns out they had started walking home.  And New Plymouth is big and they live on the way other side.  It would have taken them well over an hour to walk home, probably more.  But we called Sister Coles and got them a ride.  So don't worry!  They are great.

Oh, now I'm getting out of order.  On Saturday was a Relief Society Birthday tea party.  It was one of those times when I wished I ate sugar, but I was strong.  We brought little cheese, cucumber, cracker things that I ate a lot of.  Haha But it was so much fun.  We helped set up for it the day before and we are getting very good at putting on white chair covers.  We did them for the Christmas party when I first came here.  It was fun though!  They had all these cute tea cups and paraphernalia and colorful tablecloths.  And they had me sing.  I just sang "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" a cappella.  I sure love singing in a big room where I can go as loud and strong as I like to and it's not too much! 

Also this week we went on exchanges with the Stratford Sisters.  We had the best time.  I stayed here in New Plymouth with Sister Parkinson, who was also an Alto 1 in BYU Women's Chorus AND she was the missionary that Victoria met in the Visitor Center originally.  Isn't that cool?  So she got to see Victoria again.  We had the greatest exchange and just talked and talked about everything.  Only we got really, really rained on and drenched.  I'm pretty sure it rained more in one day in New Plymouth than it rains all year in Nevada.  Like I thought the cars were all going to float away.  It was crazy.

My companion is great!  We have fun together and are doing so well.  We help each other a lot. 

Finally, here is my new favorite scripture:  Doctrine and Covenants 123:17.  It talks about cheerfully doing all in our power so that we can stand still with the utmost assurance that God will make everything work out for the salvation of souls.  Sometimes I feel like my effort is so small in this big city of New Plymouth.  But, like our less active Erina said, we are like a pebble dropped in a pool.  Our influence spreads and if we do all we can, we can be happy with that because God is doing the rest.  Isn't that good?

Well I just love you all so, so much!

Kia kaha!


Sister Johnson 

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