Kia Ora Whanau,
It is so good to write you and tell you about our glorious week. Everyone in my family seemed to have had a wonderful week as well. Heavenly Father is so just waiting to bless us. Last week was my patience/humility week and this week was my blessings/joy week!
Last Monday we played Mafia with the other sisters. I kept being the Mafia and I won the very first time! I was really proud because I'm NOT a good liar. But after that everyone kept killing me first and I kept losing so that was sad. But that night we had a really good Family Home Evening with the Phillips. Sister Welker is pretty much the queen of object lessons so that's really fun. We have one with a peanut butter jar, rice, and a ping pong ball about getting through trials with the Lord's help, one about prayer/following the spirit with two cans and a string, and one about sin/temptation with a box with a whole and a tennis ball. They are the best because they really help people and they remember them. That night we had a DELICIOUS dinner with the Arthurs in the Mount Ward. We are so spoiled here! We also got asked, for probably the first of a million times this week, about the election. People here are probably just as into it as people in the states and then they see Americans and ask us about the election because it's "our country". So thank you, we are very aware! Haha
But Tuesday was the blessed MLC (Mission Leadership Council). I just love going to that. I got to drive up with Sister Machen from Gisborne and had great talks with her. Sister Cummings gave the greatest training about our thoughts. She made a chart and drew a line down the middle. One side was truth (which comes from Jesus Christ) or lies (from Satan). She said that every thought that ever comes into our head fits in one of those categories. There is no middle line. It's our job to sift and sort through our thoughts and determine which ones are lies and get rid of them and dwell on the truths. I loved that. The gospel is so simple and we (and Satan) make it complicated. It was so fun to see everyone as usual. I am such a social butterfly. We got back from Hamilton in time to go visit Anna and her girls. She's a member in Mount Ward and her girls (who are 11, 9, and 7) have been investigators for ages. But we thought to invite them to be baptized and they said that now their dad was letting them make their own choice and they want to. They are set for January 14th. So that was very exciting! That night we had rescue visits and we all split and went with different members again. I love that! I got to go with Sister Ngakuru who is our new (well now newish) Relief Society President. She is the most amazing lady and I want to be just like her someday! We ended up visiting our investigators, Bailey and Tami, which was really good. They are really keen but just need to figure out how to get to church.
Wednesday we got to sing for the elderly in Tauranga. Sister Narayan (a wonderful member who is Indian from Fiji) works at a rest home and so we all came and sang. It was the six missionaries from our ward, plus we picked up the Greerton Sisters. I just love singing for them. We sing lots of church songs and also other songs and they love it. Elder Tahiata and I are kind of in charge of the music. He plays the guitar and I play the piano. I sang opera again but on the last note of "Think of Me" I think I hurt at least one lady's ears with her hearing aid. So that was too bad! We sing lots of Maori songs and I'm trying to remember all the words! But after that, we went to visit Dyles and we met our golden family!!! Dyles is a 17 year old boy who is the nephew of one of our members. Bishop Crawford told us to go visit that member (Kereama is her name) and he happened to be there and we asked if we could visit him at his house and he said yes. So that's how we ended up there. But it was just amazing! It's a three generation family and the grandma and one of the moms are less active members. But Dyles's mom, Katrina, and Dyles, his sister (Rhyme, 10), and their cousins Lieshane (12 pronounced Leh-shawn) and Shayniah (9). They all sat and listened to the lesson and loved it. We gave each of them a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited them to read 3 Nephi 11. We came back the next day and they had all sat around reading it the night before. They have read three chapters by now and yesterday at church they wanted us to write down heaps of chapters for them to read all together! The coolest thing is that it's their whole family doing it together. So they are all (five of them) set for baptism on the 3rd of December! We are just so, so excited and happy for them. It's amazing. The joy of missionary work is so real and so great.
Oh and also that morning we had a really good lesson with Caroline. She is just so wonderful and I love her so much. We also invited her to be baptized (it was a real invite-y week I guess). She said she wasn't ready and so we asked her to pray about it. So she texted back later and said that she is just going to take some time to think and work through things and doesn't want to meet with us/come to church for now. So that was really sad for me, but at the same time it's ok because that's what she needs right now and I just know that Heavenly Father will take care of her. I just want her to have all the joy she can and I know that the gospel is joy. But all in the Lord's timing I guess!
Thursday we had MCM with our Dear Brother Paama. I love our Mount Ward missionary team! We also had a really good FHE with the Bisharas again. I invited the girls to church and the oldest one, Ashley (17) started crying and said that even though it's been nice to focus on school she just knows that something is missing her life. She didn't come but she will sometime!
Friday was a CRAZY day and we didn't have time to eat lunch. Then, for the only time ever, our dinner was two pieces of pizza. We had to get Turkish to Go, which is my favorite place! I just have so much fun with my companion. I just want her to have the best mission in the world! (Except I think mine is already the best). But we sang for the elderly again in Te Puke and had a great lesson with Jeanette and dear Sister Rudo.
We fed the homeless, taught heaps of lessons, and had Welcome Bay MCM with our new ward mission leader (Brother Shaw, young guy from Canada) Saturday. And Sunday, our golden family came to church! We went over to Marie's again and had a delicious dinner and a great lesson with Neil. I felt like we really taught by the Spirit and I learned a lot from it. We talked about faith and listened to part of President Uchtdorf's talk. So good!
We just have so many good, good things going on. It's just been one of the closest to perfect weeks of my mission ever. It's fun to see our people who we can't even call less-active anymore because they come to church every week and live the gospel again progress! It's fun to see the work go forth. Just pray for Chasidy. She has been working a LOT and hasn't been to anything and is never home. She is so brave and good though. She just needs lots of support.
Anyway, I hope you all are noticing the blessings of the Lord in your life. There are so many of them. Heavenly Father is just waiting for us to reach out to him. The harder we work to do that, the more evident his blessings will be in our lives.
Thank you all so, so much for being amazing people in my life. I'm so glad we are all brothers and sisters and children of God. Families can be together forever, even our heavenly family.
Sister Clarissa Johnson