Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dear Family!

Well this week has been so busy and I feel like I spent the majority of it in the car or in meetings but having said that I am still in New Zealand so it was amazing.

  The elders that we share an area with had something of the zone leaders that was really important and they really needed it. The only problem is that the zone leaders are in Tauranga with the rest of the zone and we are down here in Whakatane about an hour and half away. In order to get whatever was needed to the zone leaders, the elders in our area came up with the idea to travel to Tauranga, spend Sunday night and p-day there, and then drive back. So that's what we did but what we didn't take into consideration is that Sister Vasi and I would have to turn around and go back to Tauranga Tuesday night because I had to go to Hamilton for a meeting on Wednesday morming. All in all my week of travel went a bit like this: Sunday night drive to Tauranga and meet with our bishop (he lives in Tauranga and travels to Whakatane every week because of the lack of priesthood leadership), drive back to Whakatane Monday night for our lessons, drive back to Tauranga Tuesday night, drive to Hamilton (another hour and a half drive), drive home from Hamilton Wednesday night, have zone meeting Thursday morning and then drive back to Whakatane Thursday. I bet that doesn't make any sense but all in all I have been driving so much. My car was brand new with 17 kilometers when I got it three weeks ago and I have already used 2,400 kilometers in driving. The roads here are so windy and narrow too so driving again in the states is going to be no problem for me when I come back. I don't mind the car trips though because it gives whoever is in the car a chance to talk because during the busy work week there isn't much time or opportunity for that. I have to say this week has been one of the funniest weeks of my life. Sister Vasi is absolutely hilarious and we laugh all the time but when we are with the elders something happens and everything that is said is hilarious. On the drive Monday I was laughing so hard that I was struggling to drive. I can't even tell you exactly what we were laughing at but whatever it was it was hilarious. I think we were laughing at Sister Vasi because she is so easy to laugh at and make fun of. Lets just say that she thinks she is "straight-up gangster" and so she has a "don't mess with me or I'll kill you" attitude and it's so funny! I love my mission so much. I have had  more fun here than I ever could have imagined. 

   Well also have good news in regards to Jesse and Janet. Heavenly Father is so amazing at how He makes things work out. I have been praying so hard for all of this and it seems like there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Sister Vasi and I went over to Jesse's house on Tuesday because Janet was at camp and we just hung out with Jesse and her other kids and had a really fun evening. We just wanted her to know that we loved her too and that we weren't just her friend to convert her daughter because we really do love her. By doing this I think we were able to regain some of her trust. Well we kept working through the week and talking to her and things seemed to get back to normal and the whole church thing wasn't brought up again. Well Jesse was baptized on Saturday into the Seventh Day Adventist Church and she invited us to come along and support her. At first I thought to myself "no way!" but the more I thought about it and the more she invited me I just felt like we should go for some reason. This made no sense to me because I am missionary for heaven's sake. But as much as I tried to tell her and myself no I just knew we needed to go. I called President Rudd Saturday morning and explained the whole thing to him and he said that he didn't have a problem with me going as long as we would be treated with respect. I have met a few of the members of that church at Jesse's and they always were so nice so I wasn't worried about that. President said "If you decide to go I want you to wear your badges and walk in there proudly and still be missionaries." So that's what we did. We went to the baptism to support our friend and we were treated with such respect. I was surprised by how nice everyone was to us and in the end I was happy we went. The whole thing just strengthened my testimony though but that is another story for another day. Big Janet (my convert from Rotorua) came over to support her daughter so I got to see her and that was amazing. After the baptism there was a lunch that we were invited to stay for so we did and it was there that we had to opportunity to talk to people and share a bit of our message and so that was really neat. Jesse seemed so happy that we were there for her and I know it meant a lot to her. It was such a miracle that we went though because we stopped in later that night and Jesse and Big Janet were having an argument over whether or not little Janet would be allowed to come to church with big Janet on Sunday and Jesse was set that she wouldn't be allowed to go. The argument was pretty heated and I felt so awful and I felt like it was over again. After we left we got the sweetest message from Jesse apologizing for fighting in front of us and she informed us that little Janet would be allowed to come to church and have lessons but The Book of Mormon wouldn't be allowed in her house. Big and Little Janet came to church yesterday and it was so great. Little Janet loves church so much and she really really wants to read the Book of Mormon and I keep telling her to be patient because I know everything will work out. I am interested to see how this story progresses because just when it seems like it's all over the Lord steps in and saves the day. It's so cool!

  Well that is all I have for this week. I had a really great week but this one coming is going to be even better. I am so excited for conference! I love conference so much and I can't wait to watch it! Also I had Mission Leadership Council with President Rudd on Wednesday and while we were there he announced that we have a TEMPLE TRIP this week!!!! I am so excited! I have been wanting to go to the temple for months!!!!!!!!! I haven't been since September and that feels like forever. We get to go on Wednesday and I honestly can't wait. I love the temple so much and I can't wait to be in there again and feel the spirit. Can you believe that it has been almost a year since I went through the first time? I can't it feels like the fastest, craziest, most amazing year of my life. 

   I love you all and I hope that you have a great week!!!!!!!

Sister Simkins

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