Hello Dear Family!
Well it's official I am now one of the first missionaries in the NEW ZEALAND HAMILTON MISSION! I cannot explain to you how exited I am. It is so cool to be able to say that and I feel so privileged to be one of the first missionaries in this mission. Our new mission President flew in Saturday morning but I haven't met him yet. I guess he came into the VC last night but I wasn't on shift. So far four sisters have met him and I guess that him and his wife are just really nice. The one thing that I was worried about was that he wouldn't have a sense of humor but I have been assured by a number of people that he is a pretty funny guy. One of our senior missionaries knew him before his mission and he said "He's a hoot" so I am feeling pretty good about things. They are from Utah too so all of the Americans keep making jokes about that and the fact that the two assistants are from America as well. But anyways if I am scheduled to meet him Thursday but hopefully I will meet him before that. Because I came here knowing that I was going to be in this mission and have a new mission president, I didn't really get to know President Lekias because from day one it didn't really feel like he was my mission President. Him and his wife were really nice though so a lot of the missionaries that have been here for a long time are struggling. But I am just so excited because I feel like my "real" mission president is here now and my mission is officially starting.
Things here in Temple View went well last week. My companion and I are doing better I guess. We are just SO different that it has been really challenging. Its nice when we are at the VC because we don't have to be right next to our companion. We can be in different rooms and be doing separate things and so it gives us a break from each other. The thing is though she is really nice and she is a great teacher and missionary but our personalities just do not mix. I am sure that she still doesn't know what to think of me and my loud sense of humor. You know last week how I told you that I knocked on the other sisters' window and scared one of them half to death? Well it scared her too and she still doesn't understand why I did it. I have tried to explain to her that it was a joke and she thinks that I am just a mean person. She also heard me telling another sister about the crazy things that Jade, Nicole, and I used to do to the Isaacsons and others and I think that confused her even more. I just think that I got a double dose of ounry from both of my parents and some people just don't know how to handle my personality. (Well she is the only one that doesn't think that I am funny. Everyone else seems to like me... I think...) Anyways I am doing my best to identify with her and that is all I really can do. Unfortunately I can't change my personality.
Okay so remember when I was little and I always wanted to be in a cloud? Like literally? Well I may not have actually told you that but I used to think it would be the coolest thing ever. I can now say been there done that and it is not as great as it sounds. In fact I hate it because it destroys my hair. But we literally walk in a cloud every day because it is so foggy. I have never seen anything like it. It gets so bad sometimes that we have to watch the ground when we walk because we can't even see two feet in front of us. Don't worry I have only ran into a pole once. But seriously it is nuts! The Maori people named New Zealand Aoteroa which means "land of the long white cloud" and I now know what they meant by that. One night we left our flat and my hair was in really tight curls like it normally was at home and then hours later when we were walking home Sister Hiyas asked "When did you straighten your hair?" I am not joking. It literally takes all the curl our of my hair and then it makes all of these random pieces stick up everywhere. It looks absolutely awful. No matter what I do or how hard I try I still end up looking like a frumpy sister missionary. Its so sad. I am going to have to take some before and after pictures one of these days so that you will believe me. Walking in the clouds is not all its cracked up to be I can tell you that much.
I went on my first tade-offs this week. Because of the influx of sister missionaries, the church created a new leadership position for sister missionaries and they are called the sisters' training leaders. They function somewhat like the district and zone leaders but only for the sisters. but they are in charge of initiating trade-offs which is where one companion goes with one of the STL's to their area for 24 hours and the other companion stays in her area with the other STL. So I got to leave Temple View and spend 24 hours as a full proselyting missionary with one of the STL's. I really liked it because I got first of all see another area in New Zealand and I also got to experience a day as a full proselyting missionary. I even got to teach my first official lesson! It was so great and the young man that we taught was just so prepared. I can't wait until I get a real investigator of my own because it is just the best. But we did have some not-so-nice experiences but I guess that happens to everyone. There was this man that we were talking to on the street and it sounded like he has had a hard life and so I really wanted to help him but every time I would say something he would just interrupt me with some dumb contradictory comment. It was so frustrating so finally I told him to listen to me and I then began bearing to him one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever born. When I was speaking the words I could just feel the spirit so strong re-affirming to me that the words that I was speaking were true. I even began to get emotional because I could feel it so strongly. The power and the fire that I felt inside was indescribable. The thing that was different about this time bearing my testimony was that it was fueled by the knowledge that the things that I knew could help this man completely turn his life around and help him find the happiness that he had been searching for. Even though I had just met this man and he wasn't being very nice I felt a real love for him and I know that that was just Heavenly Father's love for this man that I was able to feel. So I bore this testimony and I felt electrified after I was done. He then looked up and made another dumb comment about something so irrelevant that I have now forgotten what he even said. The thing is though that I know he felt the spirit. I know my words cut deep into his soul because I could see it in his eyes. He just wouldn't let himself accept it and that is his choice. If anything though this experience taught me that the power and strength of my testimony is not measured by whether or not people accept it. The fact that people choose not to listen or choose not to believe me doesn't change the fact that these things are true. I know that Heavenly Father lives and that he loves each and everyone of us. I know that Jesus Christ came to earth and atoned for our sins. I also know that His gospel was restored to the prophet Joseph Smith and that he translated the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know all of these things and more are true and the fact that other people don't listen to me or don't believe me, it doesn't change the fact that these things are true. So even though that man chose not to accept my message, I still cherish that experience because I learned so much about myself and my testimony that night. I also think that that was just the first of many similar situations.
I have mentioned in the past that we do chat as part of our Visitor Center assignments. Some interesting things have happened lately though where that is concerned. So the way my day normally works is I spend half of it out in my area and then I spend the other half in the VC. Then half of my time in the VC is spend down of chat. For the first couple of weeks here however, we would go to get on chat at our assigned time of 6 pm NZ time and the chats center would be closed. So Elder McLauchlin called Salt Lake and told them to keep chat open until 9 pm NZ time and so that's 3 am Utah/New Mexico time. The chat director in Salt Lake was worried though that it would be a waste of resources because he thought it would be too late and people would all be asleep so no one would get on chat. But he decided to give it a try. Well the number of chats coming through at that time have been so high that they have had to bring more people into the call center in Provo to help keep up with the traffic. They have said that since they have extended the hours, they have been getting more chats during those hours than any other time of day. So Its great to be a part of that. But really, here in New Zealand we have the optimum time to be on Chats because it is late at night in the US and its in the middle of the night that people are laying awake with questions that the Gospel can help answer. Now that's the great thing about chat but there is a hard part that comes along too and that is that when we sign onto chat, we are opening ourselves up to the world and anyone can get on and say/ask anything. We get a ton of people who just want to bible bash with us or they get on to convince us that our church isn't true. We get people who make inappropriate jokes and say rude things to us. It can be really hard sometimes but it is all worth it when we get that one person who is so prepared. When that happens I get their information and I then teach them online until they are able to meet with their local missionaries. Right now I am currently teaching four people via email and they are all in the United States. So its great because we can use this technology to spread the gospel all around the world even through I am sitting in a small room in New Zealand. But can you guess what the most common question on chat is? Is it about the Book of Mormon? no. Is it about Joseph Smith? No. Is it about polygamy? No. The most common question that is asked during almost every single chat is "Do mormons believe that God lives on a planet named Kolob?" I am serious. This is the most common question and it drives me nuts!
So all in all a pretty uneventful week here in the beautiful land of New Zealand. I love and miss all of you! Do your best to be missionaries yourselves everyday. When members do their part, it makes our job so much easier. Also if it is ever pouring rain and you see the missionaries walking, don't just honk and wave, pull over and give them a ride! Its always the worst when we are walking in the rain and people honk at us just to wave as they drive by. They aren't doing it to mock us. The people here always honk and wave whenever they see us anywhere but the thing is they also do it when its raining so I am telling you if you see the missionaries walking in the rain, do me a favor and give them a ride. Anyways I love all of you!
Tune in next week for an exciting update from the New Zealand Hamilton Mission!
Tune in next week for an exciting update from the New Zealand Hamilton Mission!