Kia Ora Whanau,
Holy cow!!! So much has happened this week. Tuesday was MLC (Mission Leadership Council) and Sister Green and her new companion came up from Gisborne and stayed the night with us. It was so, so fun to see her. MLC was great. It was very different though. It was held at a chapel instead of the mission home and it was very no-nonsense, down to business. I led the music. But it's exactly what the mission needs. I guess we had the highest number of baptisms in July than any month of the year so far. So that's exciting. And of course it was just fun to see everyone. Elder Butler is going home like tomorrow and I said goodbye to that group. He was my first Zone Leader. Time sure flies.
Thursday was Zone Meeting and I gave a training on service. I was all immersed in wedding planning and stressed about all of that but I really wanted to give a good training. I prayed on what to do for it and I had the coolest revelation. I asked Chasidy (because she had a week off work) to come and share her conversion story and her feelings on service. It was so, so good! She has been serving so much this week and she helped us clean the Prestons’ house because they are moving. Also, she is still fasting every week and preparing to receive her patriarchal blessing. And this week, she got a calling! She is now the secretary in the Primary Presidency! I was so happy for her!
Other than those things, pretty much my whole week was wedding and baptism planning! You know how Dad always gets big grand ideas and then Mom is the one who is practical and makes sure it all works out. I thought I was kind of in between the two, but in this situation, I was definitely like Mom. Sister Solomon had all these grand ideas and did them and I worried and made sure they worked out. Haha Sister Solomon really did so much. She is such a saint. And Brother Solomon was even in the hospital for part of the week, but he's all good now.
But Friday was so fun! We decorated for ages Thursday night and got permission from President to move weekly planning so we could finish on Friday morning. And guess who were the stars of our decorating team? The Meyricks! That's Kirsty's family who are our star investigators who aren't even members yet. Caroline just volunteered to do the centerpieces and she spent all this time and money just to be nice. Then Alan had these big pipes and he made the balloon arch. Sister Pulotu was the star balloon tier! She is really creative. The Te Puke sisters helped heaps, picked up the flowers and the cake that Sister Solomon had organized. And we got it all for free. People donated flowers, meat, and Sister Winiata made the cake. The Elders blew up about a million balloons and then we sent them home with more to blow up during the night! They also picked up and ironed all the tablecloths while we were helping get Erena ready. Sister Solomon knew this girl who is studying makeup and she came and did her makeup really fancy for free. Erena's sister-in-law straightened her hair and she looked gorgeous.
Then we followed them to the registry office. It was so great to see them married after all they have been through. Victor chose his mom as his witness and Erena chose me. I felt so honored. She calls me her angel but I think that she is my angel more. I got to sign the paper and we got a member to take pictures at it.
Then on to the baptism. It all looked so beautiful and all the food worked out which was a miracle! But the best part, of course, was the Spirit. I sang How Great Thou Art and Sister Solomon and Sister Miru spoke. It was in the chapel and about 50 people were there! While I was singing the third verse "When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart. Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art." I looked down at Erena and tears were streaming down her cheeks. I had to look away so I could keep singing and not cry. Heavenly Father is perfect. Bishop had me sing it again as the prelude for sacrament meeting yesterday.
But I just think of the Relief Society motto, "Charity Never Faileth". I LOVE that and I know that it's true. The more that I learn and study about the principle of charity, the more I realize that love really is the essence of the gospel. It's not about numbers or statistics or personal gain or convenience or obligation or anything like that. It's about souls. It's about brothers and sisters and miracles and giving all you have, even when you think you have no more to give. It's about the spirit. If we hadn't followed the Spirit to go to Erena's street that day in the pouring rain, none of this would have ever happened. Heavenly Father is so good. I'm learning more and more that I'm not doing the work out here. I'm just the instrument. All the credit goes to Heavenly Father because He uses me as his instrument. I want to go my whole life and just do God's will. He uses the Spirit to help us know His will.
Erena has one more goal in for her mortal life. She wants to go to the temple and be baptized for her family members. And she's pretty brave. She'll get there for sure!
I love you all so much! Remember to always follow the Spirit!
Sister Clarissa Johnson :D