Monday, August 26, 2013

Dear Family!

Another week here in New Zealand come and gone. I am sorry but I don’t have much time today because the MacLauchlan’s are going to take Sister Bird and I to Bridal Veil Falls (google it) It should be pretty amazing. I am really excited although it will cut into my email time.
                So I have had a pretty interesting week. I have had my share of ups and downs but in the end I really enjoyed it. First of all, thank you so much for the package Mom and Grandma and I noticed that Sarah was the one that mailed it so I want to say thank you to all of you. It made me so happy and my scares are already looking better. I love my watch and my scarf and my sweatshirt and everything else that you all sent to me. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
                Sister Bird and I have had a lot of fun together and I know that we are going to find a lot of miracles together. She pushes me to be a better missionary and I am so grateful for that. There are some nights that we can’t fall asleep because we can’t stop laughing or talking. My mission so far has already blessed me with many life-long friends. Everyone says that it is really rare that there were five of us in the MTC together that all came to the same mission but I am so happy that we did. I truly love Sister Holmes, Sister McLemore, Sister Swindler, and Sister Whiting. We were all together for the first time at Zone Conference on Friday and we took that opportunity to take so great pictures with Sister Rudd. I hope that you got to see them and that you enjoyed them. Anyways I love that I still get to see Sister Swindler and Sister Holmes at the VC and I love sharing a flat with Sister McLemore. I am telling you I have made lifelong friends here. I know that Sister Bird will be the same even though we haven’t known each other that long at all.
                This week had its challenges though because we are still getting to know our area and the people there. There is just so much to learn and because neither of us has ever done this it has been a little challenging and overwhelming at the same time. The ward that we work in though is so great so that has been really helpful. I just don’t feel like we are making a difference yet and that is something that I want to work on. We have a few people that we are teaching right now but only a few of them are progressing. We are working with this one lady and she has been taught by missionaries since April and she really isn’t progressing. So our area is actually double-covered. This means that our area is also covered by a set of Elders. Anyways the elders gave the other sisters this lady and we went to visit her and she was so receptive and she invited us to come back. So we came back and at first she didn’t want to let us it which was really odd, anyways we just tried talking to her and then we were talking to her kids and she then let us in. She is single mom of 9 kids although only 6 of them are currently living with her.  When we sat down to have a lesson she just unloaded her burdens on us and we taught her the importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how she can start to have a direction for her life to make things easier. The Spirit was so strong it was amazing. She was crying and she kept saying over and over again that she wanted this for her life and she promised us that she was going to come to church. We were so excited until she informed us that she decided not to come to church because she has better things to do. I was really sad but for some reason we feel like we should keep working with her even though she has done this to every set of missionaries she has met with.
                We also have an investigator with we met last Sunday when she came to church with her less-active friend. Our investigator is really great though because we taught her about Jesus Christ and how she can be forgiven of all the mistakes she has made and she was so happy. She admitted that she has done a lot in her life that she isn’t proud of and that she wants to move past and we assured her that she could. We then invited her to be baptized and she accepted. She wasn’t ready to set a date yet but we were just surprised that she even accepted our invitation to be baptized. We are a bit bummed though because we found out in ward council yesterday that she doesn’t live in our ward boundaries like we thought she did. But it’s okay because we are going to keep teaching her at her less-active friends house and then when she is ready to be baptized we will pass her of f to the missionaries in her area. As excited as I am I have to admit that I am sad that I won’t be able to count her as a baptism. I just hope and pray that someday soon I will be able to find someone and teach them from the beginning and then watch them progress towards baptism. That is a dream of mine and I really hope it comes true someday. I know that the message that I have to share can change lives and I want to see that happen for someone. I will just keep working harder and harder until it does.
                 Friday I had my first zone conference and it was so cool because we were able to have Elder Halleck (SP?) from the Second Quorum of the Seventy and the Second Counselor in the Area Presidency with us for zone conference. He taught us some amazing things. It really motivated me to be better and to lean more on my Savior because this is His work and not mine. President Rudd also shared some great thoughts. I cannot tell you how awesome he is. The more I am around him the more I love him and the more thankful I am that he is my mission president.
                Well I am sorry that I don’t really have anything too exciting to report this week. We survived another week with my driving. This week was so much better though. We didn’t even come close to dying once. Its funny though because last week it was obviously natural for me to drive on the right side of the road whereas this week both sides feel unnatural so I am constantly panicking because I couldn’t remember which side to drive on. Luckily I was able to figure it out before things got serious. I bet though by next week driving on the left will be natural and I will no longer be putting myself or Sister Bird in danger.
                Well I hope that you enjoyed this letter. I am sorry that I don’t really have anything exciting to report but after today I should have some amazing pictures to email home next week. Maybe I can convince Elder McLauchlan to send some to you tomorrow. Anyways I love all of you so much and I miss you more than anything! I love you!
Love, Maquel

Isn't my mission beautiful?



Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear Family!

Well where do I even begin? So much has happened this week. It has been the longest week on my mission so far and by far the most stressful. I found out on Tuesday that I would be training a new missionary. I think that I have known for a while now. I believe that the spirit was preparing me because it is so overwhelming. So on Thursday I got my new companion and her name is Sister Bird. She is from Idaho Falls and we are serving in the Visitors' Center together and in a new area. It is so crazy because I went from little Temple View to this huge area in town. I am so excited though because we actually have people to teach but I am still in the Visitors' Center. It is like the best of both worlds. I have to say though that this week has had its fair share of challenges. First of all let me say that I am learning so much about myself. I have learned that I don't adapt well to change. I have found myself the past few days wishing things could go back to the way they were. I honestly wanted to go back to Temple View and have all the sisters in the VC again. Oh that's another thing, out of  the seven sisters that were in the VC before transfers only three are left and then there is Sister Bird. We only have two companionships serving here instead of the four so that has been a major adjustment. I guess this mission is going to teach me so much more about myself than I originally thought. I don't know why but I have really struggled with this transfer. Not only did a lot of my friends leave but I was then asked to train a new missionary. I guess I just don't feel qualified or worthy to do that. I barely know what I am doing. But I know that the Lord will help me through it. I have been praying really hard and I can already see Him blessing my life. 

Sister Bird is great. I really love her and I can tell that we are going to have a lot of fun together. We get along really well. I am blessed to have her as my companion. We moved into a new flat and we are living with three other sisters. It is pretty crazy sometimes. Sister McLemore, who I was in the MTC with, is training two sisters and we are living with them. Our flat though is really nice and we have made it all work even though we only have an hour to get ready with five sisters and one bathroom. 

Thursday after transfers I was feeling like there was no way I was going to be able to do what has been asked of me and so I asked Elder McLaughlan (the VC director) to give me a blessing and he gave me the sweetest blessing. It really made me feel so much better. It made me think though that it was like a fathers' blessing that I got before starting a new school year and because you couldn't be here Dad, Elder McLaughlan was sweet enough to stand in for you. I really really love him and Sister Mclaughlan so much. They are so amazing. They also went grocery shopping for us our first night because we didn't have any food. They really take care of us. Mom you should email him and tell him thank you for taking care of me. I know that he would really appreciate that. Someday you are going to have to meet them though. They are seriously the best. Sister McLaughlan said that they would drive down from Canada for my wedding so hopefully you can meet them then (assuming I get married someday).

Another huge challenge that I went through this week started on Thursday when my new zone leader handed me some car keys and said "Here are the keys to your car. Good luck." Now they drive on the left side of the road here and all the traffic signs and everything is different so I was terrified.  The first time I got in the car to drive I about cried it was so scary. Its a good thing that Sister Bird is a great navigator because I still have no idea where anything is. She also is great at reminding me that I am supposed to be on the other side of the road. We have only had one really close call and that was when we were driving at night in the rain and I couldn't tell where to go to get into the round about and I accidentally went into the oncoming traffic lane but then there was a median so there was no way I could get out. I almost panicked but then I just pulled into this driveway and we were okay. There weren't any cars coming either and I know that was Heavenly Father watching out because it is usually one of the busiest roads in Hamilton. So after that I haven't made any more mistakes. Oh man I still can't believe I am driving here. It is so scary. But I am sure that by this time next week I will be completely used to it. I hope...

So another crazy thing this week... Sister Bird and I were taking chats when I started to get really dizzy. At the same time though Sister Bird said that she was dizzy all of the sudden. I thought it was weird that we were dizzy at the same time but then I remembered the last time that Sister Whiting was dizzy it was an earthquake so I got really excited and I told Sister Bird that we were in an earthquake. It was the craziest thing because I could see the ground under us moving and the computer was rocking back and forth. It was really cool! I am happy that I noticed this one. I guess the really earthquake took place somewhere south of us and we just got the after shock of it. I still can't get over how cool it was. Its cool now but anything worse would have been really scary. It was funny too because right after it happened I walked into the break room and on the couch one of the workers from the distribution center was laying down and telling everyone that she didn't know what was wrong she just felt dizzy for a second. So I explained that it was an earthquake and the girl that was laying down jumped up and said "Well I guess I am fine then!" It was pretty funny. 

So a very interesting week in deed but it is all good. Yesterday I was feeling really overwhelmed and I prayed for strength to do this and I also prayed that we would find a new investigator. So we went to church and on of the less actives that the last sisters were with came and she brought her friend. In Gospel Principles we were able to teach her and it was so amazing. The spirit was so strong! The less-active and her friend were both crying by the end and  the friend said that she wants to be taught! So we have a lesson scheduled with her tonight and I can't wait. It is just so cool that Heavenly Father answered my prayers just like that. I have a feeling that Sister Bird and I are going to do amazing things here. It is just so exciting! 

Anyways I love all of you so much! Have a great week!
Love, Maquel

This is me and Sister Bird!
My new car!

Look at me driving :)
And this is of the five of us that live in the flat together. 

This is from the sign in front of the VC. I thought you would like it too,


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dear Family!

                So unlike the past few weeks, a lot has happened this week. But the only word that I can think of that would describe it is ridiculous! This week has been completely ridiculous!
First of all I have been waging a war with the bugs in my bed and so far it is sad to say that I am loosing… bad.  Now I am going to be honest but there is a flea problem here in New Zealand and it is terrible. I get eaten alive every night. But let me be clear it is not because I am not clean or because I have “let myself go” since being on a mission. There is just no way to control the demons. I cannot even count the number of bites all over my body. However this isn’t even the worst part. Mom, you may not want to read this. I am just warning you now. So I woke up on Wednesday morning last week with what I thought was a flea bite on my arm. Then throughout the day it started to swell up pretty big. It looked like one of my mosquito bites when I have an allergic reaction. We had the windows open a bit the day before to help with our mold problem and I figured that a mosquito just got in that way so I didn’t think anything more of it. The next day I woke up with more flea bites on my leg and the bite on my arm was even worse however it no longer felt like one of my mosquito bites. There was a hard knot type thing right under the bite so when I got the VC I showed the VC director’s wife. I told her that I thought it was a mosquito bite and that I was just having a bad reaction to in but then when she took a closer look she said “I don’t think that is a mosquito bite, there are two puncture holes here. Mosquitoes only leave one. I think this is a spider bite.” She told me to watch it but as I went throughout the day things just kept getting worse. My whole arm began to ache and the redness was spreading. The scary part came when I got a terrible headache and I started to get really dizzy. I told the McLaughlans and Sister Machlaughlan called Sister Rudd and explained the situation and Sister Rudd said that I should start by taking some allergy medicine and then go to the doctors. Sister Mclaughlan took me to the pharmacist and I showed him my arm and he said “Yup that’s a spider bite alright. That is a white-tail spider bite.” He then went on the say that white-tail spiders are poisonous and that some people have worse reactions to their venom than others. He said that it looked and sounded like I was having a bad reaction. He gave me some medicine and said that if it gets any worse then I was to get to a doctor right away. So I took the medicine and I started to feel a lot better. So the spider bite on my arm is healing quite nicely but the bites on my legs are another story.  You know the flea bites I mentioned before? Well the other night when I took of my black tights to look at the flea bites on my leg and my leg was all swollen and red. Well they weren’t flea bites and they aren’t spider bites so we are not sure what they are but they are really infected and they are not healing. In fact I am headed to the doctor to have them checked out later today. Then I have another type of bite on my legs. There are two red raised bumps and they don’t itch but they are rally sensitive to touch and the surrounding skin is really hard and red. These bites are just above my ankle but they are making my whole ankle swell. I really hope that the doctor can help me take care of this. Yesterday I hit my breaking point and I called Sister Rudd and she and President came over to our flat and she took pictures of my legs and arms and she is going to send them off to the area medical authority and see what he says but she told me to go to the doctors today and get it taken care of because some of them look like they are starting to get infected. So I have flea bites, white-tail spider bites, and two other kinds of un-identified bites and I am about to go crazy. The mission office has given us what they say is the most potent bug spray that you can have and we have used almost all of it and I am still getting bit every night. We have done everything that we can possible think of and it hasn’t helped. I literally wake up with five or six new bites every morning. Anyways I am sorry to be so graphic I just wanted you to know what I am going through in this beautiful land of New Zealand.
               Okay so on Thursday we set one of our investigators for baptism and that was a miracle because we have only had two real lessons with her. So during our lesson Thursday night we asked her if she would prepare herself to be baptized on August 31st and she said yes! It was like the greatest moment on my mission so far. I was just so happy. Both Sister Whiting and I had to stay calm for the rest of the lesson so we wouldn’t freak her out. So this investigator is the one I told you about last week who lives with her in-active friend. So like I said we were over the moon. Well that was until we went to ward council on Sunday. We were sitting on the meeting anxiously waiting our turn to share our news and the leaders were discussing less-actives and someone mentioned the name of our investigator’s friend that she lives with. So Bishop turned to us to say something but Sister Whiting kind of interrupted him because she was so excited to announce the baptism. So she tells everyone that our investigator is set to be baptized and then the bishop says “Ya that will have to be put on hold…” and I was thinking something along the lines of the fact that she has a word of wisdom problem or something else like that and I thought no matter what it is we will work with her and it will all be okay. Then he dropped the bomb on this (Mom if you are reading this out load don’t read this part. It is too much information for Molly and Tyler) So the Bishop looked at us and said “I have been informed by a member in the ward who is related to [the inactive friend] and it turns out that they are in a lesbian relationship…” So that is the result of the first person I ever challenged to be baptized. Devastation is an understatement.
                Another adventure we had this week was with our online chat. I have mentioned before that we chat with people who come on and we try to teach them the gospel while answering their questions. Well the other night it was really really busy. There were always 10-12 people waiting when there were 12 active conversations which is more than normal. But the problem was that they were all people just on to mess with us. I was wondering what was going on because every chat we had was someone trolling us or messing with us over the internet. Then this girl gets on and she says that there is a board on some popular social networking site that is telling everyone to get on and troll So basically everyone was there just to mess with us. It was so frustrating. But the thing is I never let that show in my messages. I kept calm and I just kept inviting people to really learn about the gospel. Normally I tend to get a bit snippy with people when I know there are just there to mess with me but for some reason I didn’t get that way the other night even though it was the worst that we had ever seen. This was a blessing though because Sister Swindler was chatting with someone who got on to tell us about the website add and they said “I just want to apologize for all of these morons. I have seen all of the screen shots and I think that you are handling it really well.” So not only were there a ton of people on chat that just wanted to mess with us, they were taking screen shots (its like a picture of the computer screen) and they were posting them on this website. So I am so grateful that I didn’t let them get the best of me because that would have been really bad. I just can’t believe that so many people have nothing better to do with their time then mess with us on Another thing I was thinking about though after the fact is I don’t know what will come of this. Maybe we did touch someone that we talked with. Maybe someone will be touched when they are looking at our screen shots on the website. I don’t know but it sure was annoying at the time.
                So this morning we were sitting having companion study and there was a knock at the door so we went and answered it and it was two… Jehovah’s Witnesses. Awkward! So we opened the door and said Hi and they greeted us and then it was so great when they saw our badges. Their faces were priceless. So they looked at us and then they looked at each other and we invited them to share their message with us. So they did and we thanked them and then they asked if they could give us this paper so we graciously took it and then we asked if we could give them something. But they wouldn’t take our pamphlet which was sad but they said that they will if any of us ever knock on their doors. It was just the funniest situation. I also can’t imagine they are having very much success seeing as how they are visiting houses that have the highest percentage of mormons in the country.  
Transfers are on Thursday and we still don’t have any idea what is happening yet except they told us on the phone last night to pack our bags and clean our flat. They said that we are being triple shifted (normally its double shifted but seeing as how I am in a trio…) This means that all three of us our leaving and being transferred. But we still don’t know where we are going or if we are training or not. I am so scared I didn’t sleep last night. I have no idea what is going to happen and that is what I am so afraid of. I also am pretty sure that I am going to go full proselyting meaning I will not serve in the Visitors’ Centre. This thought makes me so sad because I really love it here. I love the people that I serve with and I love the people that I get to meet here.  However the MTC in Auckland comes down to the temple every other week and so we were able to meet most of the sisters coming to the mission and they all seemed really great. We only have one VC sister coming this transfer and she is still in Prove so we didn’t get to meet her but I am sure that she is great too. I guess whatever happens I will be okay. I can’t believe that I am this scared to leave Temple View. In the beginning I couldn’t wait to get out of here and now I don’t want to leave. I know that everything will be okay in the end I just really don’t want to train in a new area. I don’t want to train period. The sad part is I am going to be worrying about this for the next three days because we won’t find out anything more until Wednesday night and Thursday is transfer. Please keep me in your prayers.
                I am sorry that I wrote you a book today but so much has happened and I wanted you to know all of it! Haha. Congratulations to those who actually read the whole thing. I love all of you and I really miss you! Have a good week.
Love, Sister Simkins

So this week we had an impromptu photo shoot with all the sisters in the VC. I was having a bad hair day so try and look past that. Some of these are pretty great though and I am sad to be leaving these sisters.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dear Family,

I love Mondays because I love emailing all of you. Thank you to everyone that sends me emails. It really makes my week. I'm sorry that I don't send any hand written letters it is just that the postage is so expensive here. I hope that no one is offended. 

Anyways I had another great week here on my mission. I honestly love this country and the people here. You have to meet them because they are the best. The members are so sweet and they take such good care of us. They know that when they help us they get blessings so they are always bringing us food or taking us to do our shopping. It really is great. I have found a few families that I click the most with and I love visiting them. We really have a lot of fun. Because we have mostly members in our area we visit them A LOT. So we decided to start making better use of these visits instead of just stopping by to share a scripture. Sister Whiting made these cards that we give out when we visit the members and it has a picture of Jesus on one side and then on the other there is a place for them to write a missionary goal for their family and then the date that they are going to accomplish it by. The response to these cards have been great. This one 10 year old girl brought her non-member friend to church and we taught her a lesson in primary. Another family brought their in-active friend up to the VC and he watched the Joseph Smith movie and afterwards he told them that he wants to work towards coming back to church. We then got a call last night from the same family saying that the in-active man wants to bring his non-member friend up to the VC for a tour and to watch the Joseph Smith movie. I am so happy that some of our work is paying off. 

We are still struggling with some of our investigators though. We haven't seen the 13 year-old girl since her grandma cancelled her baptism a few weeks ago and so we are starting to get really worried. It has been school holidays here the past few weeks and so the girl was up visiting her mom and her grandma just hasn't gotten her back home. I don't want to be negative but I am starting to doubt whether or not she will get baptized. Our other investigators are at a cross roads right now and it remains to be seen whether or not we will keep teaching them. The wife who is the investigator really wants this but her husband who is less-active just doesn't want to change right now. So even though the wife wants it she won't do it without her husband. We have a lesson with them tonight and I am praying that we can teach them in a way that the spirit can really touch them so that they will begin to make those necessary changes in their lives. But the situation with this family is really complicated because the investigators sister lives at the house too and she is less-active. Now this sister has a non-member friend who also lives at the house and we started teaching her this week as well. But the hard thing is that the less-active friend has some really hard feeling against the church right now and so we are trying to pull our investigator one way and she is trying to pull her the other way. The thing is that the less-active girl is sixteen and she developed a crush on one of the missionaries that baptized her earlier this year. Then I guess after she was baptized the missionaries moved on and she felt abandoned and betrayed by the missionaries but it was more serious because she was in love with one of them. So now she is just really bitter and she says that she will come back to church in a few years. Its just hard because her friend is really interested and she lights up every time we teach her but we have a hard time getting in contact with her because of the friend. Wow I know that is really complicated but we are told not to use people's names in our emails home. Sorry. But hopefully over time we can help both girls find the happiness that they are looking for. 

I ate brussles-sprouts for the first time this week and they weren't as bad as I had always imagined. I was really scared when I saw them on the table but I ate them and I survived. Thank you for also making me eat beats when I was a kid because they eat a ton of those here. The food here however isn't as weird as I thought it would be. We eat a lot of mashed potatoes and shepard's pie and other things like that. I haven't had anything too crazy yet but we'll see what the future has in store. 

Mom guess what I just did at the store. We were doing our grocery shopping and we needed bread so I walked over to get some and I automatically just started pushing on the loaves of bread  to find the right one. Sister Whiting looked and me and said "What are you doing?"  I didn't even realize I was doing it. I then had to explain to her that I had turned into my mother who has to feel the bread before she can pick a loaf. Man even when I am 10,000 miles away I am still turning into you. But that thought makes me happy :)

So I will find out on Wednesday if I am training or not. Supposedly it is inevitable and everyone will be training but I am still hoping for an alternative. We have transfers next week and the number of sisters in the mission is just about doubling. I have no idea what President Rudd is going through right now trying to get everything ready for them. We have a ton of elders coming too of course so big changes are in the future. Hopefully I will know what's going to happen by the time I email next week. It is just crazy to me that right now there are 125 missionaries in the mission. 18 sisters and the rest elders. Then by the end of the year there will be 100 sisters and 150 elders. That is 250 missionaries! It is just crazy. Plus by the end of the year most of the experienced sisters will have gone home and the sisters and I that came together will be the experienced ones. I can't believe it and it makes me really nervous. A saying that we often repeat is "Whom God call, God qualifies" so I guess everything will be fine. Its just crazy to think about. 

Well I love you and I hope that you all have a good week. I miss you all!
Love, Maquel
Here is a picture of me with my first bucket of KFC. I mentioned a while back that it is a delicacy here and that when you get KFC you know the members love you. So I guess now they love me and I am an official New Zealand missionary :).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dear Family,

    Well this week was not very exciting. We still have three investigators that aren't progressing and so that has been really frustrating but we will keep working. Missionary work is hard but I still love it. I just love these people that we are teaching and it is so hard that they aren't even reading their scriptures or saying their prayers and then they wonder why they aren't developing a testimony. I just want to shake them and make them see that if they want an eternal family and if they really want to be together forever like they say, then they have to start making some changes. I just didn't expect to love the people this much. I didn't expect that it would hurt this much when they cancel lessons or don't show up. One thing they taught us in the MTC is to envision the people that you are teaching dressed in white. Doing this however makes it so much harder when they aren't progressing because I can see it. I can see where they can go and I can see what the end result is. But they can't and so it hurts that much more because I know that they are preventing themselves from attaining all of those blessings. So that has been hard. I am sorry I just needed to vent. Don't worry though I am still having the time of my life here in New Zealand and I am loving being a missionary.

   So last Sunday when we were at a members house getting ready for dinner, Sister Whiting was sitting next to me and all the sudden she started to wobble in her seat and she said that the room was moving. I asked her if she needed to lay down and she said she was fine and that the room stopped moving. I just thought that she was dehydrated or hungry or something but she didn't think so because it only lasted a minute and then she was fine. I didn't give it another thought until the next night at dinner when someone asked if we had felt the earth quake the day before! That's right it was an earthquake and I didn't even notice it. Another Sister Missionary said that she just got really dizzy all of the sudden and then a member told her that they were experiencing an earthquake. So ya I have been in an earthquake and I didn't even feel it. I just thought Sister Whiting was crazy. Wow my first earthquake. I guess they are becoming more frequent here. All the members say that it is a sign of the times. That or they also say it is because New Zealand legalized same-sex marriage. Don't worry though I am protected so its all good. 

    I had my first real interview with President Rudd this week. It was nice because I got to spend fifteen minutes just talking with him instead of the three minutes we had last time. He said a few things though that have me thinking. First of all he said that he has been told by a number of people that I didn't even need to be trained. Pretty much the first thing that he said to me was "Well Sister Simkins I hear that you came pre-trained?" so that was a great compliment. He also said that Sister Whiting and I make a powerful pair. But the thing that scared me is he said "Are you ready to train? Because ready or not its happening." At transfers we are getting 18 new sister missionaries and 5 old ones are leaving. This means that every sister in the mission is going to be training. I am so scared. I don't know if I can do this. I don't think that I need more training myself, I just don't think that I am ready to train a new sister yet. So I have been thinking a lot about that. President Rudd also said that we will only be in a trio for three more weeks and we are then having a mini-transfer. I really hope they don't take Sister Whiting away from me but I am pretty sure that it is inevitable. The thing is that Sister Whiting and I are just so similar and we have the same teaching style so I love teaching with her. I really don't want her to leave. I guess we'll see what happens on the 14th.

   Guess who I met last night! SHERI DEW! Can you believe that? She is here in New Zealand for the Time-Out for Women conference that was in Auckland and so she traveled down to Hamilton to do a fireside for the YSA last night. The mission policy is that we can't go to any firesides or ward activities unless we bring an investigator or a less-active. So we heard about this fireside and we really wanted to go so we prayed and we thought about this less-active 20 year-old who lives with her active brother and family and we decided to ask her to go to the fireside with us and she said yes! She also committed to coming to church this Sunday. Anyways we were standing in the foyer waiting for her to come in and then in walks Sheri Dew and Virginia Hinckley Pearce (President Hinckley's daughter). I got to give Sheri Dew a hug and I shook Virginia Pearce's hand. Sheri Dew asked where I was from and I said New Mexico and she said asked which part and I said Farmington and she said that she has been there so that was neat. We then got to listen to the wonderful fireside. It was a great night. Who would have thought though that I would have to travel all the way to New Zealand to meet Sheri Dew?

   Well that is about it for this week. Not too much happened. I love and miss all of you and I hope that you have a good week!

Love, Maquel

P.S. The spiders here are crazy and so this is a web that is on one of the trees in our front yard.