Sunday, April 24, 2016

Welcome to Welcome Bay!

Hello!  Hello!  Hello!

What a week it has been.  It was the craziest transfer week of my mission so far.  But I've been transferred to Tauranga!  Someone told me that it's the Florida of New Zealand and that seems about accurate.  Everyone comes to retire here.  It's gorgeous and the people seem so great!  And the houses are really pretty and nice.  But saying goodbye to New Plymouth was so hard!  I cried and got spoiled and rushed around seeing everyone just like in Hamilton East.  Skye and her family took us (actually it was Sister Flake and I on exchanges) to lunch in Egmont Village to a fancy restaurant.  It was so nice.  They gave me all these special healthy, sugar free snacks for the bus ride and this cute kiwi keychain.  It was so hard to say goodbye to the wonderful Browns (we are going to be friends) and Kelly and Kylee!

But then Sister Gunderson (who was getting transferred to Claudelands) and I rode the bus together.  The bus stopped in Te Kuiti for 20 minutes so we could buy dinner.  Well we went to the bathroom and then ordered Chinese food.  Because it's expensive New Zealand, mine cost like $10.  So I paid my $10 and then we waited for ages and it was never ready but then these girls came running up to the shop and told us that our bus driver had left us.  So we ran out and it was driving away.  It was so scary!  We didn't even have a phone.  But then it turned around and picked us up.  But we didn't get our food.  So I was starving to death and $10 poorer. Is that not the saddest story you've ever heard?

But that bus was like an hour late so I missed my second bus to Tauranga.  But those wonderful McGregors (bless their hearts) had it all figured out and got me a new ticket for the next day.  So I had an embarrassingly huge amount of luggage that we had to carry everywhere.  But I got to stay the night in Claudelands with Sister Gunderson and Sister Likuborebore!!!!!  We had so, so, so much fun.  I am so, so sad to see her go.  She finishes this transfer and then Sister Flake the next.  So sad!  But the best part was that I got to go to the Hamilton East flat and then go out with them for the evening.  I led the area (haha).  I went and saw Ripeka and Leanna and her girls and Margarette's family!  It was so wonderful and I cried seeing Ripeka!  So it was totally a tender mercy that I missed my bus.  Then the next morning the Hamilton East Sisters called and said that Auntie Kei (who had been at work the night before) had biked to their flat to see me.  So they drove me (I felt bad. . . I was a high-maintenance guest) to see her.  She is doing so well.  I sure love those people!

But then I got on my bus safely to Tauranga.  It was weird being companionless, but I made friends with this random 15 year old kid who sat next to me.  He was into hunting and fishing and would have fit right in in Wells.

But then I met my companion, Sister Havea.  She is from Tonga and let me tell you, she is wonderful!  She is such a good missionary.  She is good and fun and hardworking and I already can tell that we are going to have a wonderful transfer.  And I'm (in mission language) killing her!  Sad.  It's her last transfer.  But we are going to smash Tauranga.  It's crazy though because we cover two wards and a huge amount of area.  We have to drive 15 minutes on the highway to get to church.  And compared to Taranaki at least, there are so many people and wonderful members.  And especially with two wards we get fed heaps.  But I have to be firm with my sugar thing.  It's going to be a lot harder here.

Our flat was not quite as clean as I might have hoped and dreamed, but we cleaned it really well this morning so I feel much happier about that. 

So every week we get to go to six hours of church.  One ward starts at 9 and the other starts at 1 with choir practice in between (which is so fun).  So pretty much we fast every Sunday.  Haha  But when I bore my testimony in both wards I sang "I Feel My Savior's Love" and everyone loved it.  I feel like that's how I make friends . . .I sing.  But really, everyone is so nice.  I think there will be lots of opportunities to use music here so I'm excited.

And in Welcome Bay ward we have a new ward mission leader.  He is fresh off of his mission in the Dominican Republic and he's on fire.  I'm so, so excited!  The ward mission leader makes such a difference.  His mom is from Utah and he has a bunch of younger siblings.  They are the Preston family.  I think I will love them!

Well, I'm running out of time.  But I'm just so glad that Heavenly Father took care of me.  I was so nervous to get transferred but I just prayed to Heavenly Father telling him that whatever he did with me (area, companion, whatever) that I would trust him and be happy with it because I know that it's ultimately for my best.  When I heard transfer news I just felt peace. 

Elder Holland says, "You can have what you want or you can have something better."  I feel like this week God gave me something better!  That's my new favourite quote! Oh and also, I'm the Sister Training Leader again here so I can go on exchanges with my girls, Sister Urgel and Sister Namariel, who are both here!!!!

Love,

Sister Johnson


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