Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dear Family!

 Well we have had a very exciting week because we had a general authority visit our mission. Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the First Quorum of the Seventy and the fist counselor in the Pacific area Presidency came and did a mission tour this past week. President Rudd told us at the beginning of the month that he was coming but we didn't know when and we found out a few days before that we were going to have Zone Conference on Tuesday. I was pretty excited but I didn't realize at first what a big deal this was to have Elder Pearson visit. I just wasn't prepared for how amazing it was going to be. Last Monday night I got a call from the zone leaders informing me that we had to leave Whakatane at 6:15 am in order to get to Tauranga by 8 because Elder Pearson wanted to have a meeting before Zone Conference with all the leaders and because I am a Sister Training Leader I was invited. It was an early start to the day but it was an incredible day. When Elder Pearson walked into the room where the other leaders and I were waiting I could just feel the spirit so strong. Elder Pearson shook my hand and greeted me by name and then I got to hug his wife. Then we had a meeting where all the leaders stood up and expressed challenges the missionaries were facing so that he knew what needed to be done. I was impressed with all the zone leaders because they were so professional and they had really good concerns. After that meeting we went into the chapel and joined the rest of the missionaries and I got to shake Elder Pearson's hand again. He greeted me by name again but this time he looked me right in the eyes and I felt like he was looking into my soul. After a moment he then said "Thank you so much for your comments in that meeting. You're doing a great job." It was so amazing!!! Then we had an amazing zone conference in which Elder Pearson did the majority of the talking. He instructed us on things that would take our mission to the next level. I left feeling uplifted and inspired to be better and do better and find miracles. As I was getting ready to leave and drive back to Whakatane I went to talk to one of my zone leaders who just got transferred from Whakatane and we were laughing about something and then I said goodbye and he said "See you tomorrow." and I was confused because there wasn't a reason why I would see him tomorrow. Then he said "Mission Leadership Council remember?" and I was shocked because it was supposed to be next Wednesday. Long story short they announced at transfers that MLC had been moved up a week so that Elder Pearson could attend but I didn't go to transfers and so I had no idea and no one told me. The problem was that I didn't have clean cloths or anything to stay the night or the next day so we had to drive an hour and a half back to Whakatane and then pack our stuff and turn around and drive an hour and half back to Tauranga and stay the night so that I could drive to Hamilton the next day. I was a little frustrated but Sister Vasi and I had a good laugh about it. I texted the Zone Leaders when we were about to leave and drive back and I said "If we die driving back tonight we will haunt you for the rest of your lives." and they texted back saying "Well that's fine because you two would be the least scary ghosts ever." So the situation turned out being quite funny but we drove for like five hours back and forth that day.

   Wednesday we had another amazing meeting with Elder Pearson where he addressed all of the concerns I had whether they be personal or having to do with the sisters. It was amazing. I loved every minute of it and I was so sad when it ended. I just felt so lucky that I got to spend so much time with a general authority. For the rest of the week Sister Vasi and I worked so hard to do the things he had told us to and to be the best missionaries. I have to say that the first day of doing this was really hard because no one was home and all our plans fell through and we felt disappointed but we realized that we needed to prove our faith. We pushed through and worked even harder. The next morning we went to an appointment with one of our greatest investigators and she had left a note on the door telling us not to come back. I took a picture of it and I'll attach it to this email because now it's funny to read but at the time we were just devastated. I really asked myself what I was doing wrong but then I realized that we were still being tested and that the adversary was working just as hard as we were so we had to step up and work even harder. After that we did everything within our power to invite others to come unto Christ and we had amazing success. Everyone we went to talk to talked to us for at least fifteen minutes and we found a lot of new investigators. Even when we went to see investigators and they weren't home but a family member was we were able to teach them and have really powerful lessons with them just on the doorstep. It was the coolest thing. The greatest experience happened yesterday though when Sister Vasi and I decided we had to knock doors. We are supposed to talk with a certain number of people each week and we were really low because of Zone Conference and my trip to Hamilton and the fact that everyone else we had talked to we talked to forever. Anyway no one was out yesterday so we prayed about where to go and we started knocking doors. Then the strangest thing happened. Everyone LOVED us! It was remarkable. Even this elderly atheist man who was admit that he will never believe in God invited us out onto his porch to look at a star through his massive telescope. I talked to him for quite a while about science and I bore my testimony to him about how science and religion really support each other instead of debate each other. He seemed to think about it a bit but he still said he didn't believe in God but at least we got him thinking. He then said "I don't know what it is about the two of you. I usually send religious people running but for some reason I let you in so consider yourselves honored." I really enjoyed talking to him though because he was very educated and he knew a lot and it was amazing because everything he said was true as far as science and astronomy and I was able to see Heavenly Father's hands throughout all of it so it just built my testimony. He also talked about the horrible things that were done in the Dark Ages in the name of religion and that also strengthened my testimony of our church because horrible things did happened during that time but it was because the true light and knowledge of the gospel were no longer on the earth.  The next house we went to this middle aged woman opened the door and told us that she was really into her religion but somehow we kept talking to her and eventually she invited us in and taught us how to make this New Zealand dessert called pavlova (It's amazing so I'll make it when I get home) and I been dying to learn how to make it. We talked to her for a while and we didn't get to share too much but we could tell that she really likes us and she told us to come back next week and she would teach us how to make scones. I just don't know what happened yesterday but I am sure it had to be the best door knocking experience ever. We also saw this lady walking to her mailbox and I said "Hi how are you?" and she got angry and said "No we're not interested!" and I smiled and said "Have a nice day" then she stopped and said "Wait are you Jehovah's Witnesses?" and we smiled and said "No" and then she laughed and said "Oh Ok and she walked over and talked to us and asked us what we were doing and stuff like that. In the end she says she has her own religion but as we were saying goodbye she said "You two have a wonderful day. Good luck you're doing a great thing. And you're both beautiful too!" It was so nice and I was filled with gratitude for this kindness of this woman. Yesterday was just amazing! 

  Well that is all for this week! I love all of you and I miss you like crazy. Please stay safe and remember how much I love you!

Sister Simkins

No comments: