Kia Ora Whanau!
Guess what? Prayers work! I didn't get transferred. I will be in the glorious land of Tauranga for eight blessed months. I sure do love this place. :D But we have just been so, so busy this week. Even though they don't have Thanksgiving over here, I've been so grateful for my mission every day. I've been writing a list of all the things in my mission that I've learned and that I'm thankful for and there are so many!
On Monday we went to Kaiate Falls and it was beautiful. There were these guys from South America somewhere jumping off the rocks into the water from really high. So we watched and I was scared for them! Haha but they survived. We had dinner with Brother Paama. I sure love our mission team. . . actually both of them (one in each ward). Then we had a great visit with the Tukuafus. I also really love Tongans!
On Tuesday, we had a CRAZY busy day and we had an appointment every single hour. So that was exciting but also crazy. It's sometimes a struggle because our area is so enormous, but we survived. We are being so blessed. We just have so many people progressing and so much to do. We helped print the sisters' baptism program and had rescue visits. We are really gaining speed with our rescue visits. We do two weeks at the chapel and then one in Te Puke so that works out for us. Then we had musical number practice for both of the baptisms. If there's anything that I love, it's working on musical numbers! That night we FINALLY got transfer news! I was so worried I would be moved for the last three weeks, but we are all staying! There were only two changes in our whole big district, so that was a blessing! All my wonderful missionary friends are staying.
Wednesday we sang for the elderly again and had the best time! I do love doing that! We visited our golden family (Katrina and her family, I should say) and then went to the Greerton Sisters' baptism. It was a nine-year-old Samoan girl. I played the piano for it and Elder Tahiata played the guitar and we sang and harmonized "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus". I was really happy about it.
Thursday was transfers and we had to say goodbye to Sister Tufariua. We actually saw Katrina and her family three times this week and they are so eager to learn! It just feels like how missionary work is really supposed to be! It's so much fun. That afternoon, though, we had the coolest miracle. Last week, Sister Welker said that she had a prompting that we needed to tract Seaspray St. But we hardly ever have any time to tract because we are so busy, but we finally did it. She asked me where I thought we should start and I couldn't decide but finally I felt like we needed to start on the very first house, on the corner of the street. Well we knocked and met this adorable lady who said that she's always had a relationship with God but doesn't know which church is His, if any of them really are. Right there on her doorstep we shared about the Restoration and told the Joseph Smith story. She said that she probably would have just taken our pamphlet but not read it, but she felt like the Joseph Smith story had answered her question and that she was really keen to learn more! She asked us how we had known to come to her house and her street at that time. She said that that was the only day all week that she would have been home at that time! What a miracle. It's just so true that we can be super effective and do all we can to serve the Lord, but He still knows infinitely more than we do and so "without the Spirit (we can) not teach" . . . or find, or plan, or doing anything really. I'm so grateful for the Spirit in my life! We also had Welcome Bay MCM that night with our new Ward Mission Leader from Canada. We are working on making a ward mission plan.
Friday we taught a bunch of lessons and had appointments every hour again! I love that!
Saturday was the Te Puke sisters' baptism, another nine-year-old girl. Her dad had gotten the priesthood the week before so he could baptize her. It was so nice! I played the piano and a group of us sang the musical number. After that, we did some super hardcore service for Melissa! She had a sandpit in her yard and we had to pretty much dig it out with spades and pitchforks. There were these big cement blocks way underground that we had to dig out. But I was proud of us. We really did well (it was us, the Te Puke sisters, and the Elders, but still). We helped Sister Solomon cook for the homeless and then we fed the homeless. I'm going to miss doing that so much.
Sunday was another amazing, crazy full Sunday! We did primary singing time in Welcome Bay ward, and I spoke and sang with our dear returning member Jeanette in Mount Sacrament Meeting. I talked about what I've learned as a missionary and I tried hard not to cry. That night was the Come and See Fireside that we've been planning for ages. It all came together so well! We had Leah (recent convert) speak and then we had rotating classes about basic gospel principles and they were all so spiritual. The Marae Choir from Otumoetai sang and then our stake president shared his conversion story. He (President Fitzpatrick) is the one whose son was in my MTC district! Afterwards, I felt like he really needed to give Chasidy a blessing. She was there and she just keeps having tragic things happen in her life and her family. So I asked them both and he did. It was really powerful!
Also on Sunday we got to wear our new pulu tasis!!!! Sister Tusega is the best person in the whole world because she bought Sister Welker a pulu tasi and it was WAY too big for her. Like she was drowning in it. So she decided to alter that one to be for me and sew Sister Welker another herself. So we looked beautiful and very islander all day. It was so fun! Isn't that the nicest thing you've ever heard? So now I have two pulu tasis! And this one is bright yellow. It's perfect for my yellow-loving self.
But it was just such a wonderful week. I have so many things to be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans! We lead blessed lives because we have the gospel of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father always there to help us along.
I love you all so much!
Sister Clarissa Johnson