Kia Ora, kiora! :D
Hope you are all doing great. If you are too hot in America, you can think of me getting drenched every day in the rain. But I can't complain at all because we have a car and it is SO beautiful here. I have seen more rainbows in the last two weeks than in my whole life combined, probably.
Thinking back on this week just feels like such a blur. We (as usual) played volleyball with our district on Monday. We had interviews with President Cummings on Tuesday, which was so great. He is such a wonderful mission president. He's just very formal, but so spiritual!
Wednesday we went on exchanges and I got to be with sweet Sister Toaripi. She is from Papua New Guinea and she is so good! She reminds a lot of Sister Namariel. She is doing so well for being so new.
We've been on splits a lot this week with YSA as well. We always love that. They are so fun and we can go to twice as many appointments. We always have lots of people to visit. I just love those girls. Precious and her family finally have moved into their own house and it's huge and fancy and it has an elevator! They made us chop suey and baked bananas and taro with coconut cream and it was so, so good! I love that Samoan food. :D
On Saturday, the Greerton sisters called and said that Sister Aloka was really sick and couldn't go to their baptism. Isn't that sad? But we got to exchange and I got to go to their baptism and play the piano. It was great. Baptisms are always the best.
But the main focus of the week was wedding/baptism planning. Some people said that no one knows Erena and Victor really (because she's been in hospice and not able to come to church . . . we had to get permission from President Cummings for her to be baptized after only coming to church once) and that we should just have easy snacks after the baptism. But Sister Solomon remembers when she got married and baptized and everyone in the ward she was in made it so nice. She is so wonderful! She only met Erena once and now she is spending all this time and energy on making it an amazing day. After feeding the homeless on Saturday night (which was wonderful as usual) I laid on her nice window seat and called heaps of the members and invited them to bring salads, desserts, and drinks. Almost everyone was so excited and said that they would love to! We have one member making a fancy cake, another lent her a white dress and is giving tablecloths! We are so excited.
But then we went over yesterday and they were both really angry and arguing and they told us that it was off because Victor didn't want to get married. They said they needed time. Well we just waited in the doorway and I was praying with all my heart that I would know what to say. Finally I had the opportunity and I talked to Victor and I just KNOW that Heavenly Father guided me for what to say. It was good. He is just scared. Satan is so, so real and puts any excuse into Victor's head to not do it. But I just knew that we wouldn't have had all the amazing miracles that we have had if Erena was not going to be able to be baptized. I told Victor that I respected him and that Heavenly Father loved him and that he really was in a stressful, hard situation but that he had to be selfless and humble himself and think of Erena and what is best for her. (It was scary. I was really, really bold but I think that's what the Holy Ghost was prompting me to say.) Of course Victor wants Erena to be baptized and be able to progress towards exaltation. Finally I asked him. "What are you going to do to help Erena get there?" And he said, "I guess we better go to the registry office tomorrow and meet Bishop." It was such a miracle!
By the time we left, the whole atmosphere was different. We happily talked about all the plans. She has cut from 30 smokes a day to two and she committed to have her last one ever last night! She is excited to pay tithing! We have one of the Te Puke investigators doing her hair and make up and we are going to get her all dolled up! She is getting interviewed tonight. I know that God is truly in the details of our lives. He will truly fill our mouths, our minds and our hearts when we need it. When we are on the right side there is absolutely nothing to fear. I know it's going to be an intense week leading up to the baptism, but truth will prevail! :P
I love you all so, so much! Thanks for all you do to help the work of salvation move forward wherever you are. There is nothing better than selfless service. Even though mission life is admittedly harder than normal life, I am happier than I've ever been. It's something that I can't quite describe. When you give your whole self, you get a miracle (or lots of miracles) in return!
Sister Clarissa Johnson