Ok so to put you all at ease I am doing SO much better. I don't know what happened the first few days but I am fine now. I honestly think that I was severely homesick and I couldn't pull myself out of it. However, I think that the Lord wanted me to learn something and so now I am fine. Thank you for all of your prayers because I promise you I felt them.
Some basic info that I forgot last week. So I am officially going to be in the New Zealand Hamilton Mission. Woohoo! The mission splits on July 1st so big things are happening here. I am currently serving in the VC with seven other sisters, three of which I was in the MTC with so that has been really fun. My companion and I also live in a house with another companionship and one of them I was in the MTC with so we are really good friends. We often have to force ourselves to quit talking and laughing and go to sleep. So my companion's name is Sister Hiyas and she is from the Philippines. We are very different and so that has presented some challenges but we are trying to work through them. The funny thing about her through is that she is literally 4 foot six. I kid you not she is so tiny!
So we live in a place in Hamilton called Temple View and the hard part about temple view is that there are no investigators. My area is just three streets. So we have to spend all of our time outside of the VC on just those two streets. It is really frustrating sometimes. We have three non-member houses. One is this elderly couple who won't even open the door all of the way to talk to us, another is this 60 year old man who lives alone and he says we are only aloud to talk to him if we don't talk about religion (pretty pointless as a missionary), and the last house is a Samoan Family who knows the church is true but they don't want to break their family tradition of attending the Samoan Congregational Church. Depressing right? It is also really hard because the Auckland mission has the goal of 200 baptisms this month before the mission splits and so far we are at 205 total between the ones that are scheduled and accomplished and its sad to me that my efforts aren't a part of that. Hopefully soon I can do some real teaching. I haven't even taught a real lesson yet.
Mom, you should be happy though because I am in the safest area in the mission. Because there are so many Mormons people don't even lock their doors around here. I also heard that some sisters in another area were chased one night by four drunk men. At least I don't have to worry about that here. So the guy that is a non-member that won't let us talk about religion says that he read somewhere that Mormons, as a whole, live longer and so that is why he chose to live in Temple View. He is hoping that the Mormon's "Good Health" will rub off on him. Haha anyways it is a nice area because of all of the great members but there isn't anything to do. So what we have to do now is we visit the members each night and practice teach them the first lesson. It's our hope that when we come to teach them that they will bring in their non-member friends for us to teach but so far that hasn't happened yet. But ya I don't feel like a real missionary yet. I don't know if I ever will.
Another interesting story from this week has to do with my first experience street contacting or "tracting". So we have this mission goal that everyday we "talk with everyone" and we are supposed to get at least 20 a day and they have to be people that you meet on the street or by knocking on doors that aren't members. On a normal day in our area we are lucky to get one. So the sisters training leaders texted us the other day and said that they had gotten permission from president to take us to their area so that we could get more TWE's. So their area is very low-income and it didn't look like the best place in NZ. Anyways it was around 7 at night which means it was dark and we began talking to people as they walked down the street and most people were pretty rude and mean but whatever. That's their choice. We were also told that we could knock on doors if we wanted to. Now this is an area with very few members and there is a lot of work to do. So we were walking down the street and I had a prompting to go to this one house. I ignored it and kept walking but it came again two more times so I told my companion and we walked back and knocked on the door. Now I know what you are thinking, you are expecting me to tell you that we met someone who was so prepared to hear the gospel. Well no. They were member but we went in and talked to them anyways. When we left I was bummed because I had really thought that I was prompted. Later on we were still walking and my companion was prompted to visit this other house. So we knocked on the door and then this lady opens it and says "Oh hello Sisters!" That's right they were members too. What are the odds of finding two member houses in this area? I told you before that there aren't very many. But we still went in and talked to them for a while. After we left I was really upset because I didn't know how we could be so off. I began to question if I even understand what a prompting is. I just couldn't understand why we were both prompted to go see members. So I kept questioning what happened and then all of the sudden these powerful words came into my mind (keep in mind it is dark out) "Don't question me. This time it was for your protection." I just know now never to doubt a prompting because they go so much further than just leading us to find people to teach. I also can't imagine what might have happened had we ignored those promptings. Think about it though. Heavenly Father needed is to be protected from something/someone so he led us to two of the members houses in an area with hardly any. It is just incredible to me now that I think about it.
Another neat story from this week has to do with the VC. So it was around 8 at night a few nights ago and I was sitting at the welcome desk while the VC director and his wife we down having dinner when this rough looking couple walked in. Let me just say that they didn't look like our typical visitors. The first thing that the man says is "Hey is that a Mormon temple?" pointing out the window. I told him that it was and then he asked to take a picture of it to send to his mom and I told him to go ahead. He then explained that he was raised in the church but that he hasn't been active for many years. So they then went into the main room to take a picture. Now it was just my companion and I on the floor and other people came in and I was distracted and they left without me getting a chance to talk more with them. I was pretty bummed. Then the director and his wife came back and we were just standing there talking when the guy came rushing back in and he looked really upset about something. He then said "Now I know that I can't go into the temple but is there someone here that can give my fiance a blessing? She is pregnant and about to get on a plane and we won't see each other until we get married next year. She is really upset and I just know that the only thing that can help right now is a blessing. Can you please help." Now because the director was standing right there he told the man to bring her in and that he would give her a blessings. So he brought her in and they went into the director's office and the three of them talked for a while and then the director gave her a blessing. Afterwords he went to the part of the center that shows pictures of the inside of the temple and he explained about eternal families. The couple then left. I asked the director what happened and he said that the man had explained that they were driving to Auckland and they just decided to travel a different way this time but they didn't know why. So they were driving and then the man saw the temple in the distance all lit up and for some reason he just knew that he had to stop. Then as there were getting ready to leave the woman just had a complete meltdown and the man didn't know how to help here and then he said that something just told him to have her get a blessing. I don't know what happened to the couple and I probably never will but this was no coincidence. I have such a strong testimony of the VC. I really love serving here. I gave a tour on Saturday to a girl who at the end said that she wants to get baptized and I set her up with the elders in her area and she is going to have the lessons so that she can get baptized. Its just the coolest thing. I wish that I could spend all of my time here because when I am here I actually feel productive whereas in my area I just feel useless.
Anyways things here are good and I hope that things at home are as well. I have really settle in here and I am learning to love it. It is just very wet. It rains all the time and the humidity is a killer. My hair always looks awful. Anyways I love and miss all of you. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY again Dad. Give my Molly a kiss for me!
here's my address for now!!
Sister Maquel Marie Simkins
Sister Maquel Marie Simkins
New Zealand Auckland Mission
PO Box 88-840
North Shore City 0622
Sister Maquel Marie Simkins
New Zealand Auckland Mission
7A Auburn Street
North Shore City 0622New Zealand