Kia Ora Whanau!
It's a beautiful day. I am loving fall while you are all loving spring. It's great though! I am serving in such a super beautiful area! Last night the sun was setting and we were driving across the water on the really, really long bridge to Welcome Bay and we could see the green hills and the cute houses all nestled around and I was just so blown away! I LOVE this country down here at the bottom of the world!
So I have a lot to say. I was realizing that I forgot a detail last week that goes with my blog name (Called to Swerve). On exchanges with Sister Urgel we got a flat tire! Luckily we called their district leader (because we were in Greerton), Elder Misi, to come change it. He's a big, strong Samoan so it took him like three seconds so that was good. Haha! That would happen to me and Sister Urgel together!
But life has been good! It's been a busy week! I always over stress about learning areas but now I'm finally realizing that I know a lot of people and places and that there's nothing wrong with using a map once in a while. :) I'm starting to really love everyone here.
So my companionship is going so, so well! We had a good heart to heart and are doing better than ever. I love her so much! I'm sad that she's leaving me so soon. She goes to Hamilton in two weeks from today and then flies to Tonga the day after that. And she's so lucky. Her flight is only 2 hours and 50 minutes!
But we are getting so excited for our baptism this weekend!!! The girls are doing so well. We made cute little invitations and the girls decorated them and are handing them out to their friends at school and we handed out a million at church. It's going to be wonderful!
We also have two other progressing investigators that are doing well. The first, I think I talked about last week. Her name is Kathy and she's great! Sadly, she had family stuff in Auckland so she was sad to miss church, but we have high hopes for next week. She is such a cute lady and SO prepared for the gospel! The other is a girl named Chasidy. She's like 24 and as tall as Sister Havea and me (isn't that fun?). But she has this adorable son, Arepa. She has been learning from the sisters for ages but she has this darn partner that is such a super bad influence for her. I can just feel her spirit so strongly and I just want her to be happy so much. You know how that happens? People think they need a man in their life to be happy? And she's been with him for four years. But we went on splits with the Prestons (the American family that I love so much) and Sister Preston and I went there and had the best lesson with her. Then later we watched the Testaments with her and were really bold about the blessings the gospel would give her if she would only stand up for herself and then choose to live the gospel. The Elders gave her such a powerful blessing with amazing promises in it. Then she said such a Spirit-filled prayer. The Spirit was just definitely there. But finally she kicked her partner out and will be at church on Sunday! She is still working on her drinking but is going to Addiction Recovery so that's so good. And she has lots of member support which is so good.
I've been thinking a lot about how we treat investigators and less actives. So often, we just love them so fiercely and want the best for them. It's easy to look over their flaws and just try to help them improve so they can be happy and blessed. If everyone could treat everyone the way missionaries can treat investigators, the world would be a good place. That's why they say to treat members and your companion like an investigator. That's how God sees us, I'm sure.
Also, this week we met the coolest guy while tracting. (We actually met a couple of cool new people.) But this one is an old Maori guy named Wayne that is so, so, so into faka papa (family history). He has 32 generations on one line and does it all without a computer! Also, his mom and older siblings were all members of the church and he used these old temple information cards to put his records on, just leaving the ordinance part blank. While we were talking with him I had the coolest experience! I was just thinking about all of Wayne's ancestors who are waiting to have their temple work done in the Spirit World. They were all probably praying that he would meet missionaries and God sent him us. I thought of all of those people listening so intently to our conversation and maybe even my ancestors and Sister Havea's ancestors on the other side of the veil. I felt the Spirit so strong! We invited him to do family history online with us at the Stake Center next week. We are so excited! Isn't that cool?
I really have had a spiritual week. I also went on exchanges to Rotorua! That was fun. It's a different zone an hour away from here and there's only one set of sisters there so I cover them as their Sister Training Leader. But Sister Judd is such an amazing, amazing missionary from Arizona! We had the greatest time and had the best talks. We were talking about the fourth missionary and how it makes sense now. I was just reflecting so much on all that I learned on my mission so far! The "Fourth Missionary" is a talk about giving your will to God and being obedient and following God's plan for you and becoming like Christ not because it's your duty, but because you understand that God can make so much more of you than you can make of yourself. It's all about trusting God. I read it yesterday and just cried because I realized that I "got it" now, when I didn't at the beginning of my mission. You should all look it up! It will change your life.
Anyway, church was great yesterday . . . both of them. :D We have such great ward mission leaders and bishops. We are really blessed.
And finally, today is Sister Havea's birthday! I have some more surprises planned for the rest of the day! Haha But last week I had the Greerton Sisters buy me all these balloons and streamers and decorations. I was going to put them up as soon as Sister Havea fell asleep last night, but she was up really long and I ended up falling asleep before her. :P But I woke up at like 12:30 so I snuck out of the room. She heard me and asked if it was morning. I said no, I was just going to the bathroom. Then I waited for her to go back to sleep! I was so scared she'd wake up but I put streamers EVERYWHERE in the living room and blew up a million balloons. I was so proud of myself. But I never turned on the light because I didn't want her to wake up. So I was just using our phone as my light.
But I have an unfortunate/embarrassing story! Well the first number of our contacts in our phone is President Rudd. So somehow I accidentally clicked the button twice and was calling President Rudd at 1 in the morning!!!! I hung up super fast and thought that it hadn't actually gone through.
Well this morning Sister Havea loved her surprise and I made her breakfast and we studied and life was good. Until . . . we got a text from President Rudd asking why we called him at 1 in the morning. Of course I felt so bad and was all stressed! I finally just called him and told him the whole story and that I was so sorry for being up in the night! He just laughed and said that when he saw that at 1 in the morning he thought it was some Elders messing around and that he was going to have to solve a big problem but then he saw it was just me and he wasn't worried anymore. He told us to have fun with our frivolity today. I said thanks and ok! Oh gosh! Isn't that funny! I definitely have the best mission president in the world.
I am just so grateful to be here. I love my mission! Oh, and I LOVED talking to my family last week! I am one lucky duck (well "blessed duck" is more accurate). The church is true and I am so thankful for the power of the Holy Ghost. It is so real and it witnesses to me that Heavenly Father, the priesthood power, and the scriptures are real too! It will tell us where to go, what to do, and it will help us grow. What a huge blessing.
I think my emails get longer every week! Sorry they are such novels.
Sister Clarissa Johnson