Monday, February 24, 2014

Dear Family!

   What a week! I am so exhausted that I can't see straight and a new and even crazier week is just beginning. What am I going to do with my life? I feel like this past week I have worked harder than I ever have on my mission. It has been the absolute best though!

  Last Monday night Sister Doole and I traveled to Katikati which is about and hour and a half away from Rotorua. It is right up on the eastern coast of the country and so we got to see the ocean! The sisters's flat is right by this little bay and so we arrived a little early and they were still at a lesson so we just walked around on the beach for about fifteen minutes. It was the most amazing thing. All I kept thinking was "Oh my goodness I am on the beach in NEW ZEALAND! What did I ever do to deserve this?" don't worry we didn't touch the water but we did collect a few sea shells. I guess because I am a little girl from New Mexico and Sister Doole is a little girl from Missouri we were probably more excited than anyone else would have been. But really when was the last time I was at a beach? Ya I can't remember either so we were beyond excited. Hitting the open road with Sister Doole is also the best thing ever because she is like my best friend so it's like the ultimate road trip! The sisters in Katikati are so much fun as well so it made the exchange even better. Sister Moore is from Washington State and Sister McCarthy is from Australia. Sister Moore said she new some girls from Kirtland who she met at BYUI but I didn't recognize any of the names. We had a great time with them. When we drove there we left early enough so by the time we arrived it was still light outside (it's summer here remember) but when we left to come home we left later and we had some stuff to do in town on our way out so we ended up driving home mostly in the dark and I kept thinking "If my mom was here she would kill me." because here in New Zealand they don't have straight interstate highways. The roads here move with the land and so they can be very narrow and very windy. It was a little scary at times but we made it home safely. At one point though we had to cross this one-lane bridge and it made me even more convinced that the New Zealand people are absolutely crazy. We made it home safely though so that is all that matters. It was funny too when we were driving home the elders called because they needed a ride and so Sister Doole told them that we were still driving back and they were not happy because it was dark and they told us to text them when we got home and Sister Doole hung up the phone and said "Oh how cute they're worried about us." It made us feel a bit special :)

   We worked in our area Wednesday and we had to work extra hard and extra efficient to make up for the lost time because I don't want this new calling to affect my work my area so we had to be smart about things. We worked as hard as we could for a few hours and then we had to pack up and drive an hour away to Tokoroa. Tokoroa is a small town in our zone that they just barely put sisters in. Sister Doole and I are so happy that we aren't the only sisters in the zone anymore. So we went out to do an exchange with them and again we had a blast. The funny thing about these sisters is Sister Malama is from Samoa and Sister Uele is from Tonga and I was surprised that President put them together because generally Samoans and Tongans don't get along with each other. But they had us laughing from the time we arrived to the time we left. I honestly love islanders. They are the sweetest, funniest, and most humble people. I don't want to go back to New Mexico where there aren't very many islanders. I think I am going to go through withdraws. 

   We got home from that exchange Thursday night and so that left us to work in our area Friday, Saturday, and half of Sunday and boy did we work hard. Last night I was driving home and I felt like my body was going to shut down from exhaustion. We have been knocking doors, talking with people, teaching lessons, reactivating less-actives, and teaching primary children. It has been a pretty packed few days but it is just so much fun to be busy. I love it! Tonight we are driving to Te Puki which is a little town about an hour away in the other zone not to far from the east coast. Te Puki is the Kiwi fruit capitol of New Zealand and just so you know I love kiwi fruit and it is even better here in New Zealand so I am pretty excited about it. Then Wednesday night we are driving to Mount Maunganui which is a part of the city Tauanga that is built on a little peninsula so there are some parts that have water on three sides. I am pretty excited about this one too because Sister Doole and I decided that no matter what we are going to go to one of the beaches because they are world famous I guess. We will be taking heaps of pictures. Don't worry we wont swim I promise :) It should be another really busy and really exciting week. 

   Well I love and miss all of you. I hope that things are going well for everyone. I have to say HAPPY 28th ANNIVERSARY to my wonderful parents! I remembered it and wrote it on my calender and my planner and then when it came I told Sister Doole all about you and the story of your wedding. She thought it was pretty cute. Who would have thought that 28 years later you would have five kids, four still at home and one would be writing you from New Zealand? I bet no one would have thought that. I hope that you had a great day and that you have enjoyed the past 28 years (I know the past 19 almost 20 have been your favorite) I love the both of you! 

   I also want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Jojo for the ipod! You saved my life and my road trips have been so much more fun with your music in the background. Both Sister Doole and I are so so grateful for your generosity and hard work. I love you so much! I don't think that I can say thank you enough! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It means so much to me that you would even think of me and then work hard and do all of that. You are the best! I love you!!!! Thank you so much!

    Well that's a wrap. I love and miss you!

Sister Simkins

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dear Family!

I never thought I would be saying this but I am HALF WAY DONE! Can you even believe it? I sure can't. When I started my mission I thought I would never reach this point because things were so hard and time seemed to move so slow. But then without even realizing it I find myself passing my nine month mark and I am still shocked because time has moved so fast. I am happy because I have had an amazing fist half and I have served faithfully and had success but then I am sad because with how fast the first half went I can't even imagine how fast the second half is going to go. I don't want to leave this country and I don't want to stop being a missionary. I love it here so much and I really am having the time of my life. The joy that I feel as a missionary is greater than any joy I have experienced because I know that what I am doing is eternal and it has eternal consequences. Most of what we do day to day in our normal life (aside from raising a family) just consists temporal matters. But everyday on my mission I get to do things that will effect me, my future family, and the people I work with for eternity. I have seen so much growth within myself from all aspects of my life. I am happier than I have ever been and I think that comes from constantly living the gospel. I have more confidence in who I am and what my purpose is for being here. I am no longer burdened by the words of others defining who I am. I know who I am and I know God's plan for me. There were things that  I have had to go through to learn many valuable lessons but I think for a long time I have been holding onto those things instead of learning from them and moving on. Now, however, I know that I learned what I needed to and now I have been able to let those things go and I truly am happy with myself. I love life and I am excited for the future. I am excited that I still have nine amazing months lying ahead of me. But I am also excited for the life that I know Heavenly Father has planned for me. As I have worked with and talked to many people I have seen how their decision to turn away from God and the plan that he had for them has only lead them to unhappiness and I know that while it may not always be easy, following the Lord is so worth it. My mission hasn't been all roses and I have had some really hard times that have caused me to grow as well and I am so grateful for that. I am grateful for the hard times the same way that I am grateful for the great times. Serving this mission has been the best decision I have ever made and I know that everyday for the rest of my life and maybe even eternity I will be grateful for these 18 months. 18 months is nothing when compared to eternity, but they are everything when determining my eternity. 
   I just wish all of you could be here with me to see what it's like. I wish you could see this country and this land that has stolen my heart. Yes I will always be a proud American, but I think that there is a pretty big part of me now that will always be kiwi. To serve a mission in a foreign land is different than just visiting or going on vacation there. As missionaries we talk to the people, we interact with the people, we live with the people. This has allowed me to really love this country and the people here. I honestly wish that everyone I loved back home could come over here and meet all the people I love here now and see this beautiful land. When I think back to opening my call I was so excited because New Zealand was a place that I really wanted to go. I was so excited that I couldn't even find the words I needed to describe it. Now as I think back to the first nine months and the experiences I had, I don't think that my initial excitement was worth it. If I had known back then what awaited me I would have not been able to physically handle the excitement. I thought when I read New Zealand on my call from a prophet of God that I already loved the land and the people there but I know that that was nothing compared to the love that is in my heart right now. I never want to leave this amazing place. That's why I want all of you to come here! The thought that I only have nine months left absolutely breaks my heart because I know when I leave there is a huge chance that I will never make it back here. I just love it. I love everything about my mission and my life. 

  Now don't get me wrong about all of this. I know that this will eventually come to an end but my life won't . I know that I will come home and another adventure will be waiting for me and I am excited about that too but for now I am absolutely content with staying right where I am. 

   So now for my week. As I look back the only really note worthy thing to talk about is meeting Elder Nelson. That's right I got to meet and shake hands with Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. It was an experience that I will never forget. Sister Doole and I had to wake up at 5:30 am to be ready to leave at 6:30 so that we could make it to Hamilton at 8. It was an early start but we didn't complain because we knew that it would be a great day. When we got to Hamilton we met at the chapel in Temple View which was my first area so the whole conference took place at the first chapel that I was a missionary at. I thought that was cool considering the conference also took place on my half-way mark. You know me I am all about the significance of things. Anyway we were the only zone to drive our own cars up because everyone else was bused in and so we were the last to arrive. By the time we got there everyone was already seated and studying quietly. All of the sisters were seated in the front pews and then the elders were seated behind and on the sides. Sister Doole and I quickly realized that there wasn't any more room left for us to sit where the sisters were sitting and I was thinking we were going to be stuck in the back of the room. We walked out and asked one of the senior sisters where to sit and she seated us in the area on the front right side that was reserved for the senior couples. We were in the second row back and we could see the pulpit perfectly. After a while of studying President Rudd came in and gave some final instructions and said that they were almost here and I could just feel the excitement in the room lift. He also instructed us to stand in reverence when he entered the room. We then sat there and waited and from where I was sitting I could see out one of the open windows and I saw a group of me walking in and it was like my spirit knew and could feel that he was there. Then it was the coolest thing as he walked in all the missionaries stood up to welcome him and as soon as he was physically in the room I could feel his presence. It was the coolest thing. 

   Now I am going to side track for a moment but stay with me. So back in the late thirties and early forties the mission President of the New Zealand mission was Matthew Cowley.  When he returned home from being a mission president he was called to be a member of the quorum of the 12 apostles. Now this man is a legend here in New Zealand and all of the Saints here love and revere him. There is story after story told about him and the miracles that he performed for the people here. Now when he was the mission president he had a young missionary who although he had a strong desire to serve, suffered from some health problems so he wasn't able to do the work. But rather then send this poor missionary home, Matthew Cowley made him his assistant and so this missionary traveled the country with President Cowley and became one of his very best friends. Well this young missionary's name is Glen L. Rudd and his son happens to be my dear mission president. Well after his mission, President Rudd's dad was a general authority and he worked in the church offices for many many years and so he is highly loved by the leaders of the church. He is in his nineties now and sadly his wife, and President Rudd's mother passed away in December due to old age. Because of the loss of his wife, Elder Rudd has moved here to New Zealand to live in the country that he loves and live with his son. Okay so back to the mission conference. We sat in the row directly behind Elder Rudd and so when Elder Nelson walked in he stopped right by us and hugged Elder Rudd he said "I have come all this way to find you my dear friend." and when I heard this I started to get a bit emmotional because it was the sweetest thing. I knew that Elder Rudd was loved by the general authorities because President said that the night his mother was dying his father called up President Monson and asked him to come give his wife a blessing and he did. But I guess seeing it first hand was amazing. It was also cool because when Elder Nelson sat on the stand he would glance over at Elder Rudd and because I was sitting right behind him I know he looked at me a few times and that was pretty cool. So before the meeting began Elder Nelson and his wife, Elder Hamula (the area general president) and his wife and a member of the seventy all stood at the front of the chapel and one by one we went up there and got to shake all of their hands. I got to shake the hand of an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is just amazing to me and I still am blown away when I think about it. After that they proceeded to give us the most amazing talks and the spirit was so incredibly strong. When President and Sister Rudd were speaking I couldn't help but feel so much love and appreciation for them. Then I looked around the chapel and I could see Sister Gunnell, Sister Swindler, Sister Whiting, Sister Pogi, Sister Vea, and other sisters that I truly love and have become my friends, I had my new best friend Sister Doole sitting next to me, and an apostle seated on the stand. It was like a dream. I was so filled with awe and joy that I almost couldn't contain it. Throughout the talks and the meeting some of the most sacred and beautiful things were spoken about and I left there yearning to be a better person. It really was just incredible and I am so grateful for that amazing experience.  

   Well I feel like this letter was a whole lot of nothing but I hope that you enjoyed some of it. Overall I am so happy to be a missionary. I know that this is the work of the Lord and that He has called living apostles to help Him run His church and save His brothers and sisters. I am so happy to be here and to be a part of this great work. I love you all and I miss you!

Sister Simkins

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dear Family!

What a week! Oh my goodness it has been amazing and really hard at the same time. I guess Dad was right when he said that a mission would bring the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There were just so many things that happened this week that I don't even know where to begin. 

Ok first of all WE ARE STILL WAITING ON OUR CAR! I am so frustrated and stressed. We were supposed to get it last Wednesday when we were in Hamilton but they said that it isn't ready and it probably won't be for a couple more weeks! I am so sad! Don't worry I am not being high maintenance I am just stressed because I am already two exchanges behind and now it looks like I won't be able to do an exchange for two more weeks. This means that I will have to do multiple in one week and I don't like that because I still have an area and investigators that need to be cared for. Now on top of all of that we have had to walk everywhere and we haven't been grocery shopping in three weeks and this week we finally ran out of the last of our food. We have been eating white rice and toast for just about every meal that we haven't had with members. It looks like we also won't get to go shopping again today either so I don't know what I am going to do. Sister Doole and I walked for an hour just so that we could get to the chapel and email. I hope you appreciate this letter because I went through a lot to get it to you :) But I am starting to panic a bit about the food situation because the grocery store is on the other side of town opposite of our area and we can't buy food and then walk two hours carrying it home. I think I am going to be loosing some weight this week. I have faith though that we will be taken care of because we haven't gone hungry yet. Yes we haven't eaten the best food or food that we wanted to eat, but we haven't gone hungry. Can I just say that I am sick of walking? Walking everywhere for the past four months has really gotten old. I don't mean to complain I am just stating a fact. I think it is also worse because we know that if the dumb elders hadn't wrecked the car we would have it right now and we wouldn't be out of food or exhausted from walking everywhere. This is one of the lows of a mission. 

Now to one of the highs. Sister Doole and I got to travel to Hamilton with our Zone Leaders on Wednesday so that I could attend Mission Leadership Council. Mission Leadership Council is a meeting where the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders meet with the Assistants, President and Sister Rudd to discuss the progress of the mission and the needs of the missionaries. It was the coolest experience. I know I have said it before but let me say it again that I love President Rudd. He really is the best mission president that I could have had and in a lot of ways he reminds me of Dad and so I just love being around him. Sister Rudd is also one of my favorite people ever! So at this meeting we started out by singing Joseph Smith's First Prayer (#26) but to the tune of Come Thou Fount (Try it! It's amazing) and the spirit was so strong. Then President got up and relayed a story from the day before where he and the assistants were attacked by this anti-mormon man who yelled and screamed and cussed at them saying that Joseph Smith was a liar and a fake and that they had all been deceived. President said that he started to get a little heated and he gave it back to the man. He also said that when he told Sister Rudd this she wasn't happy with him because she felt like the man got the response that he wanted. But then President paused and he was starting to get emotional and he looked up and said "No man is going to call Joseph Smith a fraud and a liar in my presence and get away with it." and then he bore the most powerful testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and I was sitting there crying and thinking "I am not worthy to be here. This is amazing. I am not spiritually mature enough to feel this." It was one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. After that we moved into the rest of the meeting which ended up being one of the funnest meetings I have ever been to. I kept thinking "It should not be legal to have this much fun!" All we did was laugh and get stuff done. I think they sent the funniest mission president and the funniest missionaries to this mission. My stomach was sore the next day from laughing so hard. But the amazing thing is that we accomplished so much and I left feeling like we had really done a lot. I am so lucky to be a part of this mission and now to be a part of this mission leadership council. 

Now back to a low for the week. So Sister Doole and I have been working hard with a lot of our investigators to help them progress towards baptism. However one thing after another has come up with each investigator and so none of them were any where near baptism. All week I have felt almost like a useless missionary because I don't know what more to do to help these people. It feels like what we say goes in one ear and out the other. Because of this we decided to drop a few of our investigators and focus more time on finding people. We even resorted to knocking doors this week because we were so desperate. I am getting payback for all the ding-dong ditching I did in my former life because now I am knocking on doors and no one will answer them. We have just felt so discouraged because we knew we need to look for more investigators but we didn't find any. Finally Thursday night when I was saying my personal prayers I broke down in frustration and I prayed to Heavenly Father to please bless us with a person who is ready to make the covenant of baptism. I guess I basically poured out my soul to my Heavenly Father and begged him to help. I felt like I was at my lowest point because we had been working so hard but we didn't have anything to show for it and I felt like a failure. I also felt like maybe my prayers were being unanswered, which I know is untrue but that is how I felt. I decided to just pray and lay it all out before Heavenly Father. I guess you could say that I had a silent breakdown during my personal prayers. But after I had said what I needed to say I felt better and I knew that everything would be okay. 

Now for one of the highest of highs. So the very next night on Friday, we went to the baptism of the bishop's little girl because she asked me to speak. Sometime throughout the meeting a man dressed in rough looking cloths walked into the back of the chapel and sat down and stayed for the whole baptism. No one knew who he was but one of the members introduced himself and then asked the man who he was and where he lived. The man said that he didn't have a home and so this member opened his home to this stranger and told him he could live with him. There was another baptism the next morning and the member who invited the man to live with him was actually the one performing the ordinance so he invited him to come. After the baptism we went to have lunch with this member, the man, and the members mom who is one of our recent converts Janet. We had a really casual but powerful lesson with the man and he seemed really interested. The next day at church the man walked in with the members and seemed happy as can be. He loved church and he seemed to be having the time of his life. That night we got a phone call from the member saying that this man wants to be baptized as soon as possible because he knows that this is the true church just from what he has seen and felt. We have an appointment tonight to go and teach him the first lesson. I just can't believe that Heavenly Father placed this man in our path just after I had reached out to him in desperation. We haven't had a chance to really get to know this man yet all we really know about him is his name is Green. We are just so happy and filled with joy because of all of this. Heavenly Father is just so aware of all of his children and he really knows how to help us. I am so happy! 

Well I guess that is all that I have for this week. I love and miss you all. I hope that things go well for you all this week! I get to meet Elder Nelson on Saturday! I am so excited!!!!! We get to shake his hand an everything. Imagine I get to shake hands with an apostle of the Lord! I can't wait. So yup it should be a pretty great week! I love you!

Sister Simkins

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nothing has changed but everything has changed!

   Okay so this week went NOTHING like how I thought it would and so to explain I actually have to go back to last Monday! So like I emailed before, last Monday we were really nervous to hear about transfer news. Sister Doole and I were to the point of freaking out and so I told her that we could find out either sometime Monday or sometime Tuesday. I also said that if something crazy was happening then we would get a call from President that Monday. Because we were so anxious we decided to change the ringtone for President Rudd's number to a really loud obnoxious one so that when he called we would know right away. So that all happened Monday morning before emails. Then I wrote you all that email about being so nervous for transfers and what not because well I was nervous. Well this is where it gets interesting. So we finished emailing and the elders in my district decided to go hang out at the church building again like they do every P-Day and Sister Doole and I decided we wanted to go to our own thing in town so we ditched them and went to withdraw some money so we could go shopping and go to the museum. While we were standing at the ATM and the phone started ringing and as I went to grab it I realized that it was that awful ringtone we had just changed. I looked at Sister Doole who was busy fighting with the ATM and I said "Wait do you hear that?" It was President calling and we both stood frozen for a moment because we were so nervous. I finally grabbed the phone out of my bag and sure enough it was President calling. I took a deep breath and then answered it and expecting my life to change. It's crazy how everything can change with just one phone call. So I answered the phone and President Rudd started talking about transfers and he said "Well Sister Simkins I was prepared to move you but then you wrote me that letter saying that you would like to stay (After Sister Pongi got e-transferred I wrote president and told him that I knew he had planned to move me and keep the other two in the area but if he didn't feel like he had to move me now I would be okay because I was really happy in the area) so I am keeping you in Fairy Springs. You also have told me how much you love your companion so I guess I will let you stay with Sister Doole too." At this point I was so incredibly happy that I couldn't even believe it and then I started to ask myself if I am not moving, not training, or not going back to the VC then why did President even call me? Now here's the kicker. President said "But Sister Simkins we would like to call you as the new Sister Training Leader for the southern half of the mission." So you probably don't know what a sister training leader is even though I have mentioned going on exchanges with my STL before. So the easiest way that I have found to explain it is a sister training leader is the female version of a zone leader but instead of being over a zone I am over a group of sisters from four zones. There are four sister training leaders in our mission. One is over the sisters just in Hamilton and the surrounding areas, one in South Auckland, one in the VC, and then there's me here in Rotorua over the sisters in the south part of the mission.  All of this is so new and overwhelming that I don't even know where to begin. Let me also say that the role of sister training leader was just created/announced by the general authorities in April to help meet the needs of so many sisters that were choosing to serve missions. Having said that my job isn't clearly defined and the STL's before me have been kinda figuring it out as they go. Sister Harman, my STL, finished her mission last week and so I have been called to take her place. I just can't believe that President has called me out of the 75 other sisters in the mission. Now I am sure that mom and dad are thinking that I would love this type of thing because of my "great leadership abilities. otherwise known as bossiness" but I promise you I am terrified. I was just barely feeling like I had a handle on things. I just barely have started to feel  like I knew what I was doing as a missionary and that is hard enough. But now I am in charge of helping other sisters throughout the mission and I am not really sure that I can do it. One of the things that I am responsible for doing is going on exchanges with the other sisters. The only thing is that all of the companionships that I am over are in another zone apart from one. This means that Sister Doole and I will be taking a road trip every week around the middle of New Zealand to go on exchanges with the other sisters. I am a bit excited for this part because it should be a lot of fun. I just don't know how I feel about my responsibilities to help the other sisters build up their areas and be better missionaries when there are so many different things that I still have to work on. I am looking forward to learning from all of these sisters too because you can learn so much from other missionaries and how they do things. I just hope that I can be a good sister training leader and help the mission in some way. I also get to go to the mission leadership council meetings and that is where President meets with the assistants, zone leaders, and sister training leaders to discuss what's going on in the mission and what needs to be done to help the work here. I have heard that these meetings are amazing. They are supposedly so much fun but incredibly spiritual at the same time. They have them on the first Wednesday of every month so we have one this week! I am pretty excited but really nervous at the same time. Sister Doole is loving all of this because she gets to go to Hamilton and spend the day there while I am in this meeting and she also gets to go on all the road trips but she doesn't have any of the responsibility. It's funny though because she has been telling me for weeks that I was going to be the next sister training leader and I have just laughed because that idea seemed so crazy to me. Last Sunday night we were talking and Sister Doole said "Honestly what would you say if President called you and asked you to be sister training leader?" and I said I would laugh and say "President you must be crazy!" and Sister Doole said "No really what would you do?" I thought about it for a minute and then I said "The only way that I would accept the calling of Sister Training Leader is if I got to stay in this area and have you as my companion. But even then I would be terrified." It's funny because when he actually called and asked me to be sister training leader all I could say was "Oh President I don't think I can do that." I think do its remarkable however that I am staying in my area, that Sister Doole is still my companion, and that I have been called as sister training leader. 

   One good thing that comes from all of this is that we get a CAR! Because I have so much traveling to do it was inevitable that we would get a car. We realized this last week after we talked to President and so we were so excited for transfers on Thursday because we figured that that was when we would get our car. Sadly however Tuesday night we got a call saying that they were just going to give us the car that the elders in our ward had. Now the sad part is that this is the same car that I told you the elders wrecked a few weeks ago so now we are waiting on it to get out of the shop. Stupid elders! If they hadn't wrecked the car then we would have it now. This has made walking so much harder because all though we will be getting a car soon, we can't help but think about the fact that we should have a car now. 

   Well that is the majority of the news. Not much else happened this week. The craziness of my new life starts this week with a trip to Hamilton on Wednesday and living up to my new responsibility. Oh my goodness I almost forgot! So guess who I get to meet next Saturday! ELDER RUSSELL M. NELSON!!!!!! He is coming to New Zealand so we are having another mission conference and the whole mission is getting together and we get to go to a special devotional with just him and our mission. I am so excited I can't even stand it. I said when I was about to go into the MTC that I really hoped I would get to hear an apostle speak while I there and then I got there and found out that Elder Nelson had spoken there the night before so I definitely wouldn't get to hear an apostle. But now as a tender mercy of the Lord he is coming here to my mission and I get to hear him speak and meet him!!!! I can't even tell you how excited I am! But they are going to be super strict about how we look and if we aren't presentable enough then they won't let us go in. The elders have to have their suits dry cleaned and stuff like that and they said that the sisters hair has to be done nicely and we can't wear too much make-up. We have to look "pristine" or we won't be allowed in. Sister Doole is freaking out because she doesn't have a blazer which is what we are encouraged to wear so we are going shopping today to try and find something. It is going to be intense but well worth it. Can you believe that an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ is coming to visit my mission and that we get to have a special meeting with him?! I just can't get over how blessed I am. 

   Well that is about it for this week I suppose. I still can't believe that I am in Rotorua and that I'll be here for another six weeks (making a total of 5 and a half months. That's almost a third of my mission), I can't believe that Sister Doole is still my companion, I can't believe that Elder Nelson is coming here, and I really can't believe that I am the new Sister Training Leader! Nothing has changed but everything has changed! I love and miss you all! Have a great week!

Sister Simkins