Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dear Family,
Well another week has gone by and let me tell you the time has started moving really fast. It honestly feels like I emailed you yesterday. So things here are so exciting as we prepare to open a new mission! I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing experience. Big changes are headed here to Hamilton and it will be interesting to see what happens. We had our final meeting with President Lekias and his wife. It was a little weird because it was the second time that I have ever met him and it was also the last. The other missionaries were all emotional and the five of us that got here at the beginning of the month just felt really bad that we weren't sad. It was pretty awkward. But seriously I came here knowing that I was going to be in the Hamilton Mission and that I would have a different Mission President. It is just so crazy to think that I am one of the first missionaries in the New Zealand Hamilton Mission!
Well not much happened this week. During the hours that we aren't in the VC, my companion and I just walk around our three streets hoping that one of the members will let us in to share a message. Sometimes I feel really useless but I guess that Heavely Father just wants me to learn a lesson. Two of the non-member homes won't even open their door for us. I can totally see them watching us from inside and they still don't open their doors. Its so sad. Anyways its their choice. Right now we are really working with this one family. The wife is an active member but the Husband is a returning member who has been disfellowshiped but he is working really hard to come back. They hope that everything will be resolved by September and they are aiming to be sealed as a family by the end of the year. We are just trying to strengthen them. The wife says that our lessons help him stay strong against the temptations so that makes me feel a little better. We are just really trying to find our place in this ward and find where the work is. Oh! So last night we went to visit this lady who hasn't been to church in like 8 years and she let us in and her husband was there who isn't a member and he listened to our message and they both said that we could come back again and teach them so please pray that he will soften his heart that we may have a real investigator. I just want to teach so bad. I have been here for two-and-a-half weeks and I haven't even taught the first lesson yet. I just hope that maybe we can teach this man and help his wife come back to church.
So I have been making a list of things to tell you about and so I am just going to go for it. Now I have never "loved" chocolate because it isn't New Zealand chocolate. This stuff is made in heaven. I LOVE NEW ZEALAND CHOCOLATE! There is nothing else like it. I will have to send some home because it is sooooo good. I cannot even explain it. The members give it to us all the time so we are always eating it and it never gets old. I am telling you Mom, you would die.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that short shorts are alive and well here with the men of NZ. That's right, the men here (even members) wear short shorts! It is the grossest thing. The women don't wear shorts but the men sure do and it drives me crazy. It is winter here and it is freezing and they still all run around in their jean cutoffs. I cannot imagine what it is going to be like this summer.
This brings me to another topic: the cold. Yes it is freezing here and it rains like crazy. I love the rain but not when I am walking around in it. Luckily I have some amazing boots that keep my feet dry and warm (I will never be able to think you enough Cassie). The cold is so different than New Mexico cold though because of the moisture in the air. It is awful. But its crazy because its freezing but everything else is still green. Watch the Lord of the Rings again when they are in the Shire and that's what it really looks like. Everything is so green and beautiful.
Now back to the Lord of the Rings, "the shire" or where they filmed the movies is in my zone so technically I could go but it is like $70 NZ dollars which means $50 American dollars. Do you thing that its worth it? Should I go? We are all debating whether or not we should go on a P-Day. Let me know what you think.
Because we don't have anyone to teach we do a lot of service. So earlier this week we hiked up to this huge house in the other sister's ward to pain this fence for them. The lady who owns the house uses it a bed and breakfast. I will send a picture of it. Anyways we were going to help them paint this huge fence but because it had been raining we couldn't so we just did stuff for her around the house. But this place was so cool because she had all of these animals. There were little ponies, alpacas, goats, and all kinds of other animals. So I will send some pictures of those. There was this one huge goat sitting by the road and I touched it but then it made this weird sounds and it got up and started to run after me. Luckily it was tied to the fence. It scared the crap out of me though and we all had a good laugh.
I am also that being a missionary hasn't changed my personality t0o much. Last night we were walking over the flat where two other sisters live and one of them was washing dishes by the window and I couldn't resist. I went up and banged on the glass as loud as I could. Sister Holmes jumped and dropped whatever she was holding. Now the window is made of frosted glass and it was dark outside so she couldn't see me but she still yelled "Sister Simkins!!" Hahahaha I laughed so hard. I really do love the other sisters that I serve with. We have so much fun together. It makes be a missionary that much greater.
My companion and I are doing better. She is talking more and I think she getting used to my personality. She make really good food all the time so that is a plus.
Now have you heard about the church college here? Well the church built this college here in the 1950's and they closed it in 2009 for some reason and now they are getting ready to tare it down and they are going to build this massive stake center and the mission office and other church buildings so it is really exciting. However, the members here are infuriated that the church is doing this. Some people are even apostatizing because they are so angry. The college apparently meant so much to them and now the fact that they are going to demolish it has left some people seriously questioning the prophet and the church. It is really sad to watch because I know that the church is doing what they think is best and I know that this is going to be so good for the people of Temple View but they just can't see that. Like I said big changes are happening here in NZ. Word on the street is that they are also going to close the temple and do to it what they are doing to the Ogden Temple. I don't think that they will do that within my time here.
Another thing is that because the temple now closes on Monday the missionaries only get to go twice a years so that is really sad. The next time isn't until September but we all have our fingers crossed that we will get to do a session when President Rudd comes.
But ya m new mission president is President Rudd and he is from Utah. Go America! Anyways he arrives this Saturday and the new mission officially begins next Monday. It is so exciting!
Today during our shopping and Honky Cat by Elton John was playing and I just stopped and enjoyed. It reminded me of home. I miss that kind of music more than I thought I would and so it was nice to hear it. I will probably need to repent later because I enjoyed it and the white handbook says that music should not "merely entertain".
So guess what the main fast food place here is. It's KFC. Who would have thought? But the people here love it! They are everywhere. When you get KFC from a member it means that they really like you. I haven't got any yet so I guess that I need to step it up. But people call the Auckland mission the 20 kilo mission because that is how much weight you gain while serving here. I am scared and we are being careful. We also exercise for 30 minutes every morning so that is helpful.
So I have only met two people here in NZ that know where New Mexico is. One of them served his mission in Albuquerque and the other said he lived in the Navajo reservation for awhile. The one who lived on the rez asked me where I was from and I said New Mexico and he then said "Farmington?" It was crazy and he then said that they used to come every three months or so to Farmington to get their groceries. But everyone asks me where I am from and the conversation goes something like this:
"Where are you from Sister?"
"New Mexico in the United States"
"Cool. So do you speak Spanish?"
"No New Mexico is in America. We speak English."
"Okay then why is it called New Mexico?"
It goes like that EVERY time. I don't know what to say to avoid this conversation because it is so awkward. But I love the people here. They are the best. They have a different sense of humor though and I feel like sometimes they don't get my sarcasm or jokes so that can be uncomfortable. I am working on that though.
So I only get mail here twice a month so it doesn't even seem worth it for you to mail me letters. If we just talk though email then its instant. I know that's lame but I think its the best way to communicate. Postage here is also super expensive so I am sorry but I will not be mailing very much out. If you still need it though my new mailing address is:
Sister Maquel Marie Simkins
PO Box 9543
Waikato Mail Centre
New Zealand
Sister Maquel Marie Simkins
131 Ward Street
Hamilton Central
Hamilton 3204
New Zealand
Well I guess that's all for this week. I love and miss all of you. Let me know how things are going. Have a good week!
Love, Sister Simkins

This is me and Sister Holmes. I love this girl and I think that we are going to be friends even after our missions. But we tool this picture because we were wearing both wearing navy blue.

This one is of the New Zealand landscape. This is what everything looks like. I have seen places prettier than this but I didn't get a picture. It is incredible here!

I took this one night at the VC. I think its pretty cool.



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