Monday, May 23, 2016

A Baptism!

Kia Ora Whanau! 

Gosh time flies!  I can't believe it's been another week.  It was a crazy week in our schedule and in the weather.  When the seasons change in this country it's crazy.  It will be hot and sunny one minute and then freezing and pouring buckets of rain the next . . . and then back to sunny again!  I got my horrible sinus infection during this kind of weather in the spring.  There are heaps of people sick but not me this time, so that's good. 

We sure had a big to-do with Sister Havea's birthday.  She got six cakes by the end!  She is well loved.  We tried to surprise her but it was a little bit of a flop on Monday.  We set it up beforehand to have the Greerton Sisters (Sister Urgel and Sister Hekau) to call us acting like they weren't getting along and needed Sister Training Leader intervention so we'd have an excuse to do a mini exchange and get the cake and stuff set up at the restaurant.  It was so funny but not very convincing!  Sister Hekau was pretending to cry on the phone and then she was mournfully lying on her bed when we came to their flat.  Then Sister Urgel (who might be the happiest person in the whole world) answered the phone all chipper and said, "Hi sisters!"  and then she paused and said super pitifully " . . . it's so hard!"  Then we all just burst out laughing!  It was great.  

But we all ended up at the Chinese restaurant and had a fun time.  Then that night Isaac (our Welcome Bay ward mission leader) had organized a bonfire at the beach for a fellowship activity.  Unfortunately it was so, so cool and the wind was blowing but we had a cool little activity about the atonement and a testimony meeting and the Spirit was really strong.  Then we went over to the Prestons' for food and that's were I met my Great-aunt Olivia's sister-in-law and nieces!  Brad's sister was there and her daughter is in our ward.  So that was a fun connection.  It's a small world . . .or actually, it's a small church!  Haha! That's why we do missionary work—to make it bigger!

Because it was a baptism week, Satan was working on us but we prevailed!  We worked really hard this week and the time flew by.  But the baptism was so nice.  We were so preoccupied with all the physical details of the font and the food and program and the whites that when it all started we were amazed at the Spirit that was there.  Melissa (Annaliese and Acacia's mom who is a returning less active) spoke and she'd practiced her talk so much and she did just great.  I sang and played "Come Thou Fount" and that was really fun.  I also accompanied.  It was a good baptism and confirmation yesterday.

Sundays are always such long, intense days!  But they are my favorite days for sure.  It was so nice.  Between Welcome Bay ward and Mount Ward churches we have an hour.  Brother Paama (our Mount ward mission leader) came early and brought homemade macaroni and sausage casserole and homemade bread for us and the Elders and his boys.  He even brought a tablecloth.  We had a little, mini MCM and ate.  Brother Paama is the best.  He is a single dad with four awesome teenage sons.  He does such a good job with them and he is just the best guy.  He only joined the church like three years ago and he's on fire.

We also had a couple cool finding miracles.  We had a referral from the Te Puke Elders of a girl named Josie.  She has four little kids and she's married so that's always exciting!  But she is pretty keen.  And after the baptism we were walking and saw this girl on the street going to the mall.  Right when we met I felt a connection to her.  I found out that her name is Dulce and she is from Mexico!  She is here with her husband and for now she doesn't work and is home all the time.  Also, she doesn't go to any church but is also keen to learn!  It was just so, so fun to talk to someone from Mexico because there are seriously no people from Mexico here.  I was so excited.  We are going back tomorrow so hopefully that will be good.  Pray for Dulce!  

I just love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The more I study and ponder and learn and apply, the happier I feel.  It really is the armor of God.  I feel like if bad things happen, it will be really hard, but I will be ok!  No matter what happens I will be taken care of because of God's amazing promises to us.  He really does love us so much and we are so blessed in everything.  We should shout for joy to be on this earth with our families.  I've been thinking a lot about temples as well.  They are the connecting link between heaven and earth.  I can't wait to go to the temple again.  

Just keep on keeping on.  I love you all so much!


Sister Clarissa Johnosn

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