Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dear Family!

Well I guess I should start off by telling you that I am not in Hamilton or the VC any more. I am now serving in the Fairy Springs ward in Rotorua. It is about an hour and a half south of Hamilton. I am still in shock from it all and this has been a very long week.

So last Tuesday night President Rudd came to the VC and he pulled me into the office by myself and he told me that it was time for me to leave the VC and that I was going to be transferred to Fairy Springs, Rotorua. Now the people here in New Zealand call Rotorua "Roto-vegas" because it has some of the same qualities of Las Vegas. So hearing this I was terrified. He then told me that I would be finishing training a sister that had been serving for six weeks as well as training a new missionary. I was so overwhelmed I couldn't even see straight. I tell you I didn't sleep at all for the next two nights. 

Wednesday was filled with goodbyes as I told my investigators and the friends I had made good-bye. I will attach some of the pictures we took that night so you can see. I have to say though that the toughest good-bye by far was the McLachlan's. I cried. I just love them so much and I couldn't imagine going a day without seeing them. I tell you that it has since been easier than I thought but at the time I thought I was going to die. I guess the reason I was so sad was because they are going home in January and the earliest that I will be back in the VC is April. This means that I won't get to serve with them again and that breaks my heart. But I have already planned a trip to Canada when I get home so I will see them again. They have also planned to come down here to Rotorua and visit me so hopefully I will get to see them soon.

Now for my new area. We share a ward with a set of elders because the ward that I am in is the highest baptising area in the mission. Between us and the elders we have about a baptism every weekend. Next Friday one of our investigators is going get married and baptised on the same night. It should be really exciting. There is a lot of work to do here and so for that reason I am excited. While this may be a high baptising area there seems to be some problems with retention and so that is something that we are really going to work hard on. There are a lot of recent converts that have already gone in-active and so we will be working hard at reactivation as well. 

It's weird because I thought that I was going to be miserable once I left the VC but to be honest I'm not. I am actually really happy and I don't really know why. I guess because there is so much to do and I feel like I can really make a difference here. My two new companions are great too. Sister Vea has been serving in this area for six weeks and so I have really been relying on her. She is from Tonga and oh my gosh she is so much fun. I feel like she is laughing all the time. It is great. Sister Gunnell is just starting her mission and her training but she is already amazing. She is from Mesa Arizona so I instantly loved her! She is so cute and sweet and we really get along well. I am really happy with my two new companions and I can tell that we are going to enjoy serving together.
I have to say though that when we first got to the area I almost had a meltdown because we walked into the flat and it was disgusting. There are not words to describe what was happening in there. I thought "That's it I am going home I can't do this!" I said a prayer in my heart and tried to figure out what to do. Typically we are supposed to just drop our stuff off and then go to work but I thought there is no way I can live like this so I made the decision to start cleaning everything up right away. It took forever but we finally got it into habitable conditions. Day by day we are slowly deep cleaning the flat from one side to the other and soon it will be a nice place to live. I felt so bad though for Sister Gunnell because I know that first day was really hard on her. It was hard on all of us but especially her because it was her first day. I think she is enjoying it now though and we are starting to really have a lot of fun. It is going to be a great transfer. 

So Rotorua is a tourist/entertainment town that is big on the party scene and it can be pretty scary at times. We don't have a car so we walk everywhere and we have to be in the flat by 8 pm. (Which works out because Sister Vea has to do an hour of language study every day) The elders are really generous and they take us places at night so that nothing bad will happen. Remember at the beginning of my mission in one of the first letters I wrote home where I told the story of the two sisters that were chased by four drunk men? Well those are the sisters that we replaced. I think its a bit ironic because I told myself I would never serve where that happened and here I am. I feel safe though and I know that if I am in tune with the spirit I will be protected. I know I walk with angels so don't worry about me. I just thought that was funny. 

Well I hope that everyone has a good week. I love and miss all of you. Really, don't worry about me because I am perfectly safe and I am loving it. I hope everything is well with all of you. Don't forget that I love and miss all of you!!!!

Sister Simkins

This was my last picture with the McLachlans. Can you see the massive stress could sore on my lip?

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