Kia Ora beautiful world!
I hope you all enjoyed General Conference! I don't get it until next week, but I did watch the Women's Session which I LOVED!!! Service is the thing to do!
I had such a week and wish I had more time to tell about it. I just love you all so much I mostly can't handle it. I feel like I could write you a long email about each day but I have to combine it into one. Haha
As you know from last week's email, we didn't get much time to do anything before leaving for Hamilton last Monday. I sure love our Taranaki road trips! It might have been my last one. Isn't that so sad? But of course we had the best time with the Bellblock Sisters. I just love them both so much. We will be friends for life (and possibly roommates at BYU). We had interviews at President Rudd's house that night and it was so wonderful. I sure love everyone . . . the whole zone, the assistants, and President and Sister Rudd. We had the best trainings on how our mornings determine our missions and our lives. That is so true. President Rudd talked about learning and knowledge and how we need to learn all we can. He said that we think we are finished, fully formed people but it's not true. We can change and become better. I loved that. I want to use my agency and become a morning person. I want to keep studying the gospel in the mornings when I get home. Also, we had a blessing in disguise that night. Apparently some elders were really loud the last time we stayed and so we aren't allowed to stay at the usual hotel. But the new hotel is fancy as! We had a hot tub and everything in our room. Except I pushed the "spa" button when there was no water in the tub and it shot up everywhere and got my pajamas all wet. So that was unfortunate. Haha
But Tuesday was the best day! We got to go to the temple!!! I sure love that place. It's just the best place on earth. I got so much out of it this time and I just cried with joy to be there. The Spirit of God is so, so real! I got to hang out with Sister Rudd all day kind of accidentally. But she just always happened to be next to me, even in the temple cafeteria, so that was so much fun! I will sure miss the Rudds when they leave in June. That will be hard.
Tuesday night we started exchanges with the Bellblock Sisters again. I went with Sister Katene this time. She is a convert to the church and is the coolest person ever! I think I've convinced her to come to BYU! No one in her family has ever been to college (or Uni as you may call it). She just has so much faith and just wants to serve God so exactly even though it's not her family culture at all. She's just latched onto the gospel with all her heart. Isn't that cool. The church is just the biggest blessing ever. I told her that she's a generation changer . . . like a modern pioneer. The wonderful Browns had us over for dinner and a delicious birthday cake! (Don't worry. I took off sugar for all of these birthday related events!) They are wonderful and are going to have the cutest baby ever! We had some wonderful lessons with Jo and Victoria.
I've been thinking SO much about Victoria lately. We taught her the plan of salvation and talked about baptism. She realizes that if she commits to get baptized that it will change her whole life (not unlike Sister Katene who shared her experience). She said that she has been so busy but is really going to make it a priority to think and pray about what we have shared. She is such a good girl! But since then she hasn't answered our texts or calls. I don't know if she is ignoring us or if her phone is dead or what. We are going to see her tomorrow so hopefully she will be there. Maybe she needs time to think.
But Krete and Luke are doing great! They didn't come to church though because Krete has horrible boils on her legs that hurt. Isn't that sad? We have Sister Coles set to come to a lesson with her. That's another thing I learned from Sister Katene--how to visit members. I've always tried to set an appointment but it never works. It's just how New Zealand is. You just have to show up to their house. Then we only stay like 15 minutes, but we try to love and serve them and teach them about the importance of missionary work and help them do missionary work and ask for referrals. It has been working for us. We need to do more!
Finally, this weekend was great! We watched the Women's Session Saturday night and we also went to the Deluxe Diner which is an American 50’s place where we ate in honor of being 20! It was so fun! Sunday I felt so loved! Skye made me this great icecream cake for me and they spoiled me with cards and this lotion/shower gel/bath stuff set! Isn't that so nice? Then for dinner the Gaastras had us over and we had cheesecake! I was sugared out by the end. :D It was a great birthday!
Church was a special conference where President Rudd went around to all the branches in Taranaki. It was at 1:30 in New Plymouth and was so good. He talked a lot about missionary work and I just want the work to progress in Taranaki so, so much!
I've actually been thinking about that a lot and had a little struggle last night thinking about how no one has gotten baptized while I've been here. Like I know that I've been giving my all to the work but sometimes I worry that if I had just had more faith or something it would be different. But I had the coolest study ever this morning where I learned to be grateful for my blessings and that the Lord really does trust me with His work! The gospel is so cool!
Sister Clarissa Johnson