So this week has been a rollercoaster . . . lots of ups and downs! It's rained a LOT! But I guess the title could also say that September flowers bring September flowers because there are already a million flowers everywhere. There are flower trees here that are gorgeous! On Monday we went to McClaren Falls which is a pretty waterfall/park towards Hamilton a little ways. It was so beautiful. I felt like I was in a Shannon Hale book or something. But there was this little lake with ducks and one of them had a fishhook all wrapped around its beak and it couldn't even open. The sisters were all trying to save him but no one was quite brave enough to grab him and then he'd swim away. Well I thought I'd be a saint and try to herd it towards the sisters, so I waded into the water and I also had to rescue Sister Kendell's jacket that had fallen in. It was quite the adventure.
Tuesday, we started exchanges with the Otumoetai Sisters! I went to Otumoetai (finally . . . I've been here four transfers and I'm only now going to their area). But I loved it. Sister Kendell is an older sister and I just feel like she is so full of wisdom and always has the Spirit. We had so much fun together and good talks! The only downer was that I was sick! My stomach was really hurting and I didn't eat anything for like a day. Finally after dinner that night I asked if we could go to the flat.
We closed on Wednesday and Sister Welker had done a great job leading the area! It was POURING rain and I still felt sick but I was determined to work! So we did, gosh darn it, and I think we were blessed! And to make us feel better, we ate at the Te Puke Diner with the Te Puke Sisters that night. (I don't really know the logic of eating at a restaurant when you have stomach problems, but that's what we did.) But it was great!
Thursday was the greatly anticipated day . . . Zone Conference! I had been so excited for so long and it just really filled me up! I needed spiritually enlightenment. Also . . . I saw Sister Katene after almost six months and I almost died! I was so happy to see her and we sat together the whole time. She is training an adorable sister from Idaho who also went to BYU (but the year after me). Isn't that weird? I'm becoming so old! But President Cummings talked a lot about scriptures and prayer. Those are such often repeated, basic things, but they have immeasurable power and they help people become converted. We aren't just trying to get people to conform to a list of requirements, but to change their hearts through the Spirit, which transforms their lives. And even long-time members of the church need that process every day. If we are just reading and praying to read and pray, it doesn't do us too much good. But if we are "hungering and thirsting" for the word of God and searching and allowing ourselves to be put in a place where we can feel the Spirit, than we will be edified and enlightened every day! I've been reading in Alma, like 30-34, and it is so good! When crazy things happen, the scriptures help us feel peace. So cool!
But Friday and Saturday we had some good lessons. Caroline and Alan are so faithful but there are a lot of struggles going on. I just love their family so much! We read in Moroni 7 with them . . .another way good chapter about faith, hope, and charity. Also, I think I told you about our star new investigator, Sharee. She works with Brother Preston and is such a seeker of truth. She's so smart and good and she just gets it. We teach her at such a high spiritual level. I learn heaps of things during our lessons. We taught her at her house on Saturday and then again during Gospel Principles on Sunday with Brother Preston and Sister Solomon.
Saturday night we fed the homeless (my favorite as usual) and then helped clean up and ate at Sister Solomon's. Her whole family was gone to the ward drive-in movie night and we had the best talks. I just feel like she's my big sister. I love her so much!
And finally yesterday was a marathon Sunday! I loved it though. I sang "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" in Mount Sacrament Meeting and President Fitzpatrick was there and he loved it. I was happy with it. Then they made me sing it again at the Prestons last night when we were there for MCM. I just really, really love our mission team! I am kind of not so excited for transfers! I can't wait to visit the Prestons in Utah (they are moving back on Thanksgiving Day)! We also visited Chasidy last night. She is so good. We are praying really hard for her and helping her spend as much time as she can with members who can be there for her.
But it's been a week and I love you all! :D
Sister Clarissa Johnson