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

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