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.


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