Sunday, April 23, 2017

Open the Gates

Kia Ora!

So it is currently 11:51 PM, but it's finals week and life is crazy anyway and I just really wanted to write.  In only four days (that's like nothing) I will be back home in Nevada with my first pre-mission semester all finished.  I've been rushing around studying, going to classes, having choir concerts, going on a few dates, stressing over singing for the voice faculty for a grade for juries, and now taking finals.  But only today did I really realize how blessed I've been.

I know it's different for a lot of people, but for me, coming off my mission has been kind of rough.  I am just really bad at change and I get really attached to people and places (like New Zealand).  So I've been trying to rebuild my civilian (can that mean non-missionary?  Is that a thing) life and figure out my future and whatnot.  Sometimes I felt like I would never feel quite the way I felt on my mission.

But today, I realized that I won't, because you can't relive the past.  It will never be exactly the same, but it will be the same amount of wonderfulness and even better.  This semester I got to be really, really good friends with a girl named Kimmy.  She's the choir director in my ward and we are just kindred spirits.  We hugged each other and just cried after ward prayer tonight.  Her boyfriend Kenton is quite the character, but he's great.  He's also in our ward and in Concert Choir.  Well, last week he proposed and they are now engaged!  I'm so excited for them!!!  They are perfect for each other.

But Kimmy and I were walking to tunnel singing.  Kenton was running ahead pushing our friend Anthony's wheelchair.  But she was telling me that she never, ever believed that this would happen.  But our amazing bishop was inspired to make her the ward choir director and him the pianist.  Heavenly Father totally put them into each other's lives.  We always talk about how Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that he will guide us and everything, but it just seemed really real to me.  I was in this ward, with this wonderful bishop, with these wonderful friends, with a wonderful voice teacher, and this wonderful roommate on purpose.  God knew I needed Hannah in my life and Hannah needed me in her's.  She only swapped into our room like the week before the semester.  But it was for a reason.  We will be friends forever.

Today I also got to ride up to Salt Lake with a bunch of mission friends.  I think there were 10 of us.  We all went to Sister Parkinson's homecoming and sang "Whaakaria Mai" ("How Great Thou Art" in Maori).  It was just wonderful to be with them and feel the spirit and have so much fun together.  The Rudds were there and then we all went to Sister Parkinson's (Sarah, I should say) and just talked and talked about New Zealand and our missions and our lives.  (I'm working on saying their first names.  I still kind of hate it.)  But I looked around at Emily Green and Elise Machen and Sarah Parkinson and thought of all the car rides and exchanges and heart-to-hearts I've had with them.  It made me so grateful that Heavenly Father knew me enough to send me to New Zealand, of all places in the world.  He let me meet these wonderful people who will be my friends forever.

I am so glad that I can trust Heavenly Father.  I can close my eyes and walk into the unknown with full confidence that he will catch me.  Today Kimmy told me that she feels like Heavenly Father closed the door she was trying to open and instead, opened a big, huge gate.  I'm grateful for the gates that he's opened in my life.

I could write a paragraph each about everyone in my wonderful ward, my mission friends and so many other great people I know.  I don't have time for that, but just know that whoever you are, if you are reading this then I'm sure I love you a lot.  Wish me luck on my Music Civ final tomorrow!

Arohanui,

Clarissa :)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Spirit Shall Teach You All Things

Kia ora!

Sorry that I am not very consistent at this whole blogging thing.  I just read Desi's email which included this paragraph about our guest speaker in our Family Processes class.  I will include it.  

The funniest thing happened. We had a guest lecturer about family finance in our class and he started talking about how if you have a Starbucks addiction it wastes a lot of money…so then he said to go to Starbucks and get a reusable cup and then get really expensive, nice coffee from a grocery store and make it at home and then put it in the Starbucks cup. Then he said, “you can walk on to BYU campus with your logo facing out and everything will think you are so cool.” Everyone just dyed. We were all trying so hard not to laugh too much, but we all were totally dying. It was so so so funny! He had no idea what was going on and looked pleased that we were laughing but also slightly confused because it wasn’t funny at all. :…)

It was great.  Oh BYU.  What a blessed place.  My life is just whizzing by at the speed of light.  But I think the highlight has really been the spiritual things.  My favorite thing every week is going to the temple!  That place saves my life when I'm so busy and stressed.  It just never ceases to help me find clarity, peace, and answers to my questions.

I am really liking my classes.  Of course choir is the best.  It's our concert on Friday and you should come!  I'm so, so excited.  I've been on a couple of dates in the last few weeks.  I asked one of them and got asked on the other.  So that's fun.

Work is good.  I have a new cashier to work with.  The one I worked with before got a better job and left me which was sad, but this new one is nice.

Last weekend I went to Beauty and Beast (which is so good!) and I sang in the General Women's Session.  It was such a great experience.  I just loved it!  President Uchtdorf gave us a thumbs up and Elder Holland raised his fists and shook them triumphantly at us.  And all the Relief Society General Authorities came up to our stand and told us how much they loved it.  It was just cool to be there.  I was in the back row so I wasn't really on the screen, but that's ok!

But this weekend has been wonderful!  I got to see my family because they have been on Spring Break.  So that's been great!   We did an escape room but we didn't escape. We had to come back and try again.  We got out the second time.  It was just so great to go to fun restaurants and be with my whole family.  We are the best group there is!

Then this Friday night was my long awaited MISSION REUNION!!!  I was so excited.  There were a lot of missionaries there a lot older than me (in the mission that is . . .like they served before me.  The mission is only four years old so they can't be that old yet.)  But it was the annual meeting of the New Zealand Missionary Society which is the oldest missionary society in the church.  It was cool.  There were a lot of really old, super nice and wonderful seeming people there, some Maoris/New Zealanders that made me so happy, and a bunch of us from my mission.  It was just so fun to see everyone.  I was just so happy.  Those are some my best friends ever!  It was just so surreal to see them in such a different context.  We were in a church wearing church clothes, but I kept feeling like we were at Zone Conference or something and it was so fun to socialize but I needed to leave and go proselyting.  But I didn't.  Plus heaps from my mission are dating and marrying each other.  It's so weird but so exciting and cute.  I do love love! :D  I just missed all the Australian/NZ/islander missionaries that weren't there.  Afterwards I went to Sister Green's house and hung out with a group of us.  We had so much fun!  I finally got home at 1:30.  I was quite satisfied with the time.

Then yesterday after conference I hung out with Sister Flake who came up from Arizona.  We served in Taranaki together and had so much fun talking, reminiscing, and harmonizing in the car like we used to.

Also, of course, this weekend is General Conference (or as my awesome bishop says, "Specific Conference").  I have LOVED it and still have some to catch up on from when I was working (and the Priesthood Session that Desi and I are going to watch tonight).  So I will keep loving it.  But already all my questions have been answered!  I loved all there was about the Holy Ghost being guided and also all there was about having faith and trust in God and charity and the work of salvation.  I'm just so thankful for the gospel!  It's the only way to be happy.

Today I decided on the spur of the moment (because that's what I do) to go to the afternoon session and try to get in on standby.  No one would come with except Carson (Hannah's friend from home).  We had a lot of fun and quite the adventure.  We RAN from this parking garage far away to the conference center in the pouring rain.  Then we tried to get in on standby even though Carson had gotten a ticket at the last minute.  The photographers took our pictures a bunch of time so I'm determined to be in the Ensign!  We ended up watching it in the theater of the Conference Center which was kind of disappointing, but we still had a lot of fun.  We walked around temple square for a while afterwards and up to the Cristus statue.  There were randomly heaps of Polynesians at conference which was really fun to see.  We sat behind this group and afterwards one of the guys told me that I have a beautiful voice (singing the rest hymn I guess).  It turned out he was from Tonga.  I told him I served in NZ and he was all excited about that.  Then we came home, I ate at the cannon center with Desi, and here I am.

Plus it's already my birthday in New Zealand so all these people have been wishing me Happy Birthday from there!  Tomorrow (here) I will be 21!  I'll no longer be a practice adult, but a real one!  Haha

Love you all!

Arohanui,

Clarissa