Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dear Family,

 Well this week has been another great one here in New Zealand. There haven't been too many exciting things happen but the work is progressing and I love it. 

So last night Sister Gunnell and I had a really amazing experience because we went to visit this less-active couple that has made it a goal to come back to church and we didn't know really what was keeping them from coming so we didn't know how to help them. Last night would have been our fourth visit with them  and we felt like it was going no where. After we talked for a bit I admitted that until they tell us what they are struggling with we can't help them. They then started to open up and they began by saying they had some problems with the previous bishop that they never resolved among other things. I felt as though there was something else but I thought we would address this problem first and then hopefully we could resolve whatever else was bothering them. I had the opportunity to share with them a similar personal experience. As I was talking the spirit was so strong and I testified to them that God loved them both. After I said that the woman started to cry and she admitted that both her and her husband were still harboring pain from childhood abuse that has left their lives scared. They both wondered if God loved them then why would he let that happen to them. As they were sitting there explaining all that had happened to them all I could think was "What am I doing here? I am just a young nineteen year old girl who knows nothing about real problems like this." I was terrified because I knew that as soon as they were done speaking we were going to have to speak. With tear-filled eyes I just opened my mouth and the words just came out. I don't even really know what I said because the words were not from me, they were from the spirit. I just know I testified of the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for them and that everything was going to be okay. When I was finished talking I looked at my dear sweet companion and she too had tears in her eyes and she then began to recount a similar experience that one of her best friends had and how she tried to help her through it but she couldn't, the only person that could help her friend was Jesus Christ. The spirit was so strong I couldn't even believe it. After we talked some more,  it felt like a weight had been lifted from the room and everything just felt lighter. Now this couple is in their late sixties and the man has a real gruff exterior and he said when we were done "Sisters I want to be one of the first to declare that you are servants of the living Lord Jesus Christ because only servants of the Lord could have said the things you said and made us feel the way we feel now. I know who you are and I will forever declare that you are. Thank you so much. My wife and I are eternally grateful for what you have done here tonight." Sister Gunnell and I were all but bawling. It was so incredible and I am so excited for this couple and what lies ahead of them. 

So that is the most spiritual experience of the week so here is a funny one. So this week when the elders came to pick us up one day there were two pancakes sitting on the seat and Sister Gunnell and both don't like pancakes. The elders said they were extra from their breakfast and they wanted us to have them. We both looked at each other not knowing what to do. As we drove Sister Gunnell tore of small piece after small piece trying to eat one of the pancakes but in the end she just couldn't finish it. I just decided that because I don't like pancakes I wasn't even going to try to eat mine. The funny thing is while we were driving I wasn't even thinking like I didn't think this through or plan it out or anything I don't even know where it came from but I all of the sudden grabbed the piece of pancake and threw it out of Sister Gunnell's halfway rolled down window. After I had done that  she looked at me and I realized what I had done and we both burst out laughing. I mean a hard core laughing fit ensued. I don't even know why we both thought it was so funny but we did. It might have been due to the fact that the elders in the front seat had no idea. So in the middle of the laughing fit Sister Gunnell tears off another piece of pancake and chucks that out the  window and so we both laughed even harder. By this point the elders thought we were absolutely crazy and they were begging us to tell them what happened. We kept laughing and throwing pancake out the window until it was all gone and our stomachs hurt. In the end it looked like we had eaten both pancakes however the elders thought that we were certifiably crazy. They are still begging us to tell them what happened but it will stay just between us. You may not think it's that funny but we sure enjoyed it. 

Another experience we had this week was when Sister Gunnell and I went to meet with this girl referred to us by a member. We called her and set up an appointment to meet with her at her house and she sounded like she was really looking forward to meeting with us. We sat down with her and we were just starting to get to know her when her grandfather walked in because I guess it is his house. Anyway he walks in and says "Who the heck are you?" so I introduced myself and said that we were missionaries from The Church of... etc. and then he looked at his granddaughter and says "Why the heck did you let them in here?" and he started to get really mad and all I could think of was oh crap here it comes we're in trouble. I don't know that happened next but pretty soon we were all laughing and talking about his life and what New Zealand was like when he was a kid. Thinking back I honestly can't remember what we said or did for him to change but somehow his heart softened and by the end he really like us. In fact he gave both of us necklaces that he had carved. Sister Gunnell got a circle thing and I got a hump-back whale. I have no idea why but that's the one he chose to give me. I'll send a picture because it is quite majestic. I guess Sister Gunnell and I have a way of charming people so that one minute they want to kick us out of their home and the next minute they are giving us fine jewelry. I hope I can keep this up after my mission and I just may be able to charm someone into marrying me :)

Friday was my six month mark and I really can't believe it. I can't believe I have been gone that long because it feel so short. The time is moving so fast and I can't control it. It's starting to freak me out. Sister Gunnell and I have been together for two months already. That means that I have been out of the VC for two whole months. It feel like I left last week. Where does the time go. I am so scared though because six months has gone by soooooooo fast and if the next six months goes by this fast then I only have six months left and I really will be home in no time. Everyone I talk to says that this now will be the fastest year of my life. Can you believe that I will be home this time next year? I am just so scared because I love my mission so much and pretty soon it will all be over. I can't handle that. I want to stay here forever! But I know I can't and I know I have to make the best the time I have left. Six months! I still can't believe it. 

Well that's it for this week family. I hope that things are going well at home. I love all of you!


Oh and last p-day we went to this nature reserve thing to see some lions and other things. It was pretty awesome.

No comments: