Monday, July 8, 2013

Hello Everyone!!

It's crazy to think that another week has come and gone. Its true about what they say about time flying when on a mission. I seriously emailed you like yesterday. But not really.
So this past week has been amazing. First of all one of the sisters was honorably released mid-transfer so her companion joined my companion and I so we are now in a trio! Woohoo its like a party all day long. not really. But I love it. So my "new other" companion is Sister Whiting. Funny because we were in the MTC together so we are really good friends. She is the one in the pictures with the beautiful red hair. Anyways she is great. When Sister Whiting joined us we also picked up two more wards. I now have more than three streets! I can't tell you how happy I am. Another awesome thing is that Sister Whiting also brought with her two investigators that are set to be baptized next week. One is a fourteen year old girl that lives with her grandma who is a member. The other is a woman who is married to a less-active member. So the girl is for sure going to be baptized next Saturday but we are probably going to have to push back the date for the woman. Its a standard that a person has to come to church three times in a row in order to be baptized and the woman came last week but she just had a baby so she isn't going to be able to come to church for a few weeks. But she still wants to be baptized so that is great. I am so flippen excited!  We also have a few families that may turn into new investigators so please keep us and them in your prayers so that they can take the leap and let us teach them.
I have loved being in a trio with Sister Whiting because we are so similar and we have the same goals and mindset. We also have similar teaching styles so we have been really effective so far. I hope that we will be in this trio for a while but we really don't know how long it will last. Because of the mission split we have no idea when the next transfers are so we have no idea how long we will be together. I hope that it is a long time. I can't imagine how hard it is going to be to go back to having just one ward and three non-members. But I know that everything will work out the way that it is supposed to.
I met President Rudd on Thursday and he is great! He has an awesome sense of humor and his wife is so sweet. Its going to be great to get to know them better. I also love the fact that he will be my mission president for my entire mission. When I met him though I just knew that this is the man that God called to lead this mission so that was a neat experience. Plus he lives in our neighborhood and right across the street from the VC so we see him all the time. I guess this is a big deal too because the other sisters said that they never saw President Lekias because he was always in Auckland. Another funny thing is that Sister Rudd just comes to hang out at the VC while President is in a meeting or busy doing something. She really is great and I am excited to get to know her better.
I rode by bike for the first time the other day. Because my original area was so small it wasn't even worth it to ride our bikes we just put them in the shed and forgot about them. Well now we have a huge area. I guess I got what I wanted when I asked for a bigger area because now one of the wards that Sister Whiting brought with her is enormous. Honestly it takes a 30 minute car ride to reach the end of our boundaries. This is because it is made up of huge farms and so the houses are all spread out. So obviously it is impossible for us to visit a majority of the homes on a bike in the three hours that we are allotted. I guess for the most part this ward is kinda neglected by the missionaries because Sister Whiting's previous companion had a hard time riding her bike for a long time. We decided however to try it again with the three of us. There is a family that we specifically wanted to visit because the mom is pretty much a member but she hasn't been baptized and the kids are all begging to be baptized but the husband in less-active and so he is the one that is really holding everything up. So they live far out on one of these farms and so we were going to ride out and see them and see what we could do to help. I was worried though because I haven't really ridden a bike since before my surgery. I know you are laughing right now... I still know how to ride a bike! I just didn't know if I would be able to ride that far and for that long. My knee has already been giving me some trouble so I was worried. Anyways we decided to just ride our bikes around our neighborhood and to a service project and a few other places. So riding my $600 was better than I thought it was going to be. Let me just say that it is a really nice bike. But anyways it did make my knee sore but that was the only problem I had. I was all ready to ride out to that family but we called them and the mom said that they are out of town so we will try again sometime this week and I will let you know how it goes.
Alright now I have a funny story from last night. So we went over to eat at this members home but they were having like this huge family get together so there were a ton of people. It was great because it felt so familiar. The thing though that made it feel like home was their sense of humor. The things that the men in the family were joking and the way that they went about it sounded just like our family. They were hilarious. At one point one of the men at the table turns to me and Sister Whiting (who is from Utah) and says "Are you democrats?" and I was a little stunned because I was not expecting that. So I guess I hesitated to answer and I was also worried because the white handbook says that we are to abstain from any political conversations so I just didn't know what to say. I guess I took to long to answer because he looks me right in the eye and says "Now would be a good time to lie if you are." The whole family just burst out laughing and I assured them that I was NOT a democrat. They then asked if I owned a gun and I told them that I personally didn't but that my dad and other family members did. Anyways they then started making jokes about Obama and liberals and if it weren't for their accents I would have thought that I was back at home surrounded by my family. It was great. It makes me think though that even New Zealanders can see the problems that most americans can't. That's as political as I am allowed to get but I thought that you would enjoy that story. (especially you Dad).
Okay so I have another meal story for you. Most nights we just eat here at the VC because we are on shift. But there are a few nights that we are able to eat at members homes. So it is a lot easier than I thought because so far I have just had really good food. And they automatically eat ketchup (or tomato sauce as they call it) on everything. I tell you I fit right in at meal time. However we were eating at a members house the other night and she has just served us and she ran back to the kitchen to grab something and she yells "I hope that you aren't allergic to anything" and I thought to myself "I am allergic to cashews but I this meal looks safe so I won't say anything" I then took a bite of the salad but then I tasted something crunchy. So I look down and I saw that there were almonds and cashews in the salad. Uh-oh was my first thought and then I hoped that I had eaten an almond and not a cashew. Sister Whiting then looks at me and points to the salad because she knows that I am allergic to cashews. I mouthed that I wasn't sure whether or not I had already eaten one. Then the lady walked back in and so we couldn't talk anymore. I felt bad and I didn't want to embarrass the lady that was feeding us because I really like her so I just kept eating and I prayed that I had just eaten and almond. But then I started to feel it and I knew that I had in fact eaten a cashew. So yup I had a reaction and this one was bad. I got hives on my chest and my face and my throat was swollen for a couple of hours. I wonder if my reactions are getting worse. Anyways I made it out of the house without the lady knowing but we had to go home so that I could take some allergy medicine. I just have benadryl (I have no idea how to spell that ) here and it didn't really help, it just made me really sleepy. Anyways you should tell me what to get just in case this happens again and the reaction is as bad. But its still kinda funny story. Because I ate the cashew literally right after she asked it we were allergic to anything. Oh the joys of serving a mission.
I have found one thing that I hate about New Zealand and I am worried that I won't be able to last another 16 months. The thing that I hate is that they DON'T HAVE PICKLES HERE! Isn't this devastating? I would give anything for a pickle right now. It has been like a month and a half since I have had one and I want one so bad. All they have here is the stupid sweet kind. It is devastating. I guess that I will have to survive somehow.
Well I am sorry that this is a relatively short letter haha. I can't think really of anything else to tell you. I have settled into life here and I can say that I love it more and more with each passing day. The members here are incredible and I love serving in the Visitors' Center. I love being a missionary!
I love and miss all of you!
Love, Maquel

P.S. Nicole Hampton if you are reading this on my blog you need to email me! I can't find the letter you sent me and so I don't know your email address. I want to hear how life is going! Also I am currently wearing the scarf you gave me for Christmas. Every time I look down I am reminded of you. :)

Oh and I found this mormon ad that I think you all need to learn from.
hint hint...

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