Monday, October 3, 2016

Exchanges, and Lip Syncs, and Conference! Oh, My!

Kiora Whanau,

I love, love, love you all!  So much has happened this week.  I'm so grateful for the things I've learned spiritually this week. I'm so grateful for the chance to serve and follow the Spirit. We went on mini exchanges with the Te Puke and Otumoetai sisters and full exchanges with the Greerton Sisters. It's amazing how Heavenly Father puts me where I need to be. We had already started one of our exchanges and we had already switched into our areas and I had one of the sisters with me in my area. But then I just, out of the blue, felt that I needed to swap and go with the other. I felt really dumb because we'd already started and driven and packed our clothes and what have you, but I called them anyway and we came back. I went with the other sister and it was the best exchange of my life, hands down! We had the most powerful lesson with their investigator that I'd been in for a long time. Then that night, this sister confided in me that she has really been struggling. She said that she hadn't told anyone and that she'd been praying for two weeks that I would go with her on exchanges, but didn't say anything. We had such a great talk about how God feels about us, and the doctrine of Christ. It was a lifechanging experience for both of us.

It also made me reflect a lot on my commitment to follow Jesus Christ. I am so imperfect and sometimes I really beat myself up over my weaknesses and even sometimes things I can't control. We've set goals to give a more perfect, consecrated sacrifice every single day.

But we also had . . . . the Mount Lip Sync!  It was so funny.  Oh my goodness.  I love the Mount Ward.  There were a BUNCH of Young Men and a couple of older people and the missionaries.  We had our number to the parody of the Adele song, "Hello" which I've never actually heard the real words to.  But it's about knocking on doors and getting rejected "Hello from the outside, at least we can say that we tried".  And then at the last door, we are let in and it's "Hello from the inside!" But we put all this funny stuff into it and Brother Paama (our ward mission leader) dressed up with a pink bathrobe and a wig slammed the door.  And the Elders came and mowed the lawn and Sister Welker started crying and I had to comfort her.  It was really fun.  But then this Lip Sync needed more numbers so we did some impromptu joke telling (Sister Welker) and opera singing (me).  It was quite the night. 

All of our people are really doing well, especially our less actives!  We have four less actives that have come back to church recently who are all on fire!  We've been bringing members with us to see them and they have been all doing great.  I know that saving a member's soul is just as important and of value as having a baptism!  Ka pai, ka pai!

Our investigator Sharee is also doing so well!  Bishop Arthur had her family over for FHE and dinner on Monday and Sister Arthur came with us to see her on Saturday.  She is so smart and capable and we just teach her at this high level that I've never taught an investigator at before.  I love it though!  She has finished 2 Nephi and has been watching Conference online already (without us even telling her to)! 

We have been really trying to find new investigators with not much luck unfortunately!  But we got to watch the Women's Session last night and I LOVE President Uchtdorf's talk.  It made me cry (what a surprise)!  I want to be the missionary that doesn't give up after the first floor.  I want to knock all the way to the fourth floor, last door!  I also want to keep working on my "bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ".  I have been really focusing on the doctrine of Christ lately . . . faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  It's such a simple plan but it is so much to be internalized.  I keep getting layers of it deeper.  It truly comes "line upon line and precept upon precept".  So cool!

Saturday was the one year anniversary of Sister Solomon and her group feeding the homeless.  We had a cake and had everyone gather around and she had me sing "Love One Another".  It was really cool.  I just love those homeless with all my heart!  Compassion is truly a gift from God that I've been given on my mission.  And I just LOVE Sister Solomon.  We went to visit Chasidy that night afterwards and we took Sister Solomon with us.  We've been so worried about Chasidy.  She's so good but has been really, really struggling and we, and everyone else, can't get ahold of her.  Anyway, sadly she still wasn't home but we had the BEST talk with Sister Solomon.  I feel like the Te Puke Sisters (especially Sister Lewis), we, and Sister Solomon just lean on each other so much.  When one is down we help them up and then the next time they help us up.  That's how the gospel is supposed to be.  What a blessing it is to have fellow travelers through our lives.

But this morning was a sad, sad moment!  Sister Aloka (who I was in the MTC with) Visa waited in the Marshall Islands before she came to New Zealand.  So she is finishing her mission this week . . . along with Sister Pulotu (my last companion) and Sister Aldridge (my dear mother on the mission).  But I have gotten so close with her over these 16 months and I just can't believe how time flies.  The work truly is hastening because Satan is hastening.  We can't waste a moment in doing this work because that moment will be gone forever.

Anyway, everyone has been all talking about transfers all the time (they are this Thursday) and I'm just in denial.  I've convinced myself I will finish my mission in Tauranga, but it's not very likely.  Plus Sister Welker is officially driver certified by yours truly!  Haha I'm an excellent driving coach and tester!  But really, she is so ready to lead the area.  I just love her so much.  I love all the missionaries, members, investigators, and people in this town!  But I already know that Heavenly Father knows.  He's so in control and inspires the transfer news.  Wherever He wants me to go, I will go and serve my hardest!

I love you all!  Sorry my emails are always so, so super long!  Just keep going, don't be mean to yourself, and share the gospel!


Sister Clarissa Johnson

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