Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dear Family!

  I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I can't just have a normal week here in New Zealand anymore. I actually think that I have forgotten what a normal week feels like. Being normal is boring though so I am grateful for the adventures that we got to have this week. Let me just say again that I love the Visitors' Center. I love the directors, the senior couples, and the other missionaries that I get to serve with. Everyday is just so much fun. I also love that I get to serve around some of my very best friends. I was thinking about this last night that I never  expected to make such great friends during my mission. I guess I just didn't realize how deep the bonds are when they are formed during serving Heavenly Father. It is almost like you get to know each other on a deeper level because you are focusing on something so much more important than the other things of the world. Everyday I thank my Heavenly Father for the great friends that I have found in my mission. It seems that a day doesn't go by that I am not grateful for these new relationships. Yesterday was my 13th month mark and Sister Swindler, Sister Whiting and I were talking about it and talking about how we met each other 13 months ago and we couldn't believe how close we all became and how close we still are. I know that the friendships that I have gained from my mission is just another tender mercy from the Lord and I am forever grateful for it. 

   Being back in Hamilton this week and experiencing the weather took me right back to the beginning of my mission. We walked out of the flat one morning and the fog just hit me in the face and it really felt like I was back in my first area with my trainer. It's funny to me how things like the weather can trigger different memories. It's weird to be back at this time because in some ways I feel just like I did a year ago when I was starting. I have to remind myself that I have actually served other places. Some things never change though and one of those things is the fact that no matter what I do the fog always ruins my hair. It's one of those inevitable facts of life that I am still coming to terms with. I almost miss good old dry New Mexico.

   On Friday I had another lovely doctors appointment but this time I had to have an MRI and it was quite the experience. For starters I had to drink three of these huge containers of this nasty berry syrup sulphate stuff. It was so disgusting and I had to drink so much of it that I literally had to pray for the strength not the throw it back up. We stayed the night before in Auckland with some sisters and they came with us to the MRI appointment so Sister Clarke wouldn't be alone and they were so sweet because every time I thought I couldn't drink anymore they kept encouraging me. It made a bad experience a little bit better. At the radiology office where I was having the MRI done, the women helping me were so nice. They were so sweet and they really helped me feel comfortable. I knew I was a bit claustrophobic, but I had no idea just how bad it was until I looked at the MRI machine and realized that I was going to go in there. The radiologists noticed my hesitation and they asked me if I was okay and I told them I wasn't and they assured me that I would be fine. They told me that they would put one of those sleep masks over my eyes so that I wouldn't even realize where I was. After I layed down they put told me to put my arms down at my side and then they put a blanket over me and then strapped my arms down so that I wouldn't move and mess up the sensors they placed on my abdomen. I tried moving my arms and I couldn't and I started to panic inside and then I just told myself that I was cold and keeping my arms in the blanket so that I would get warmer. I seriously tried to convince myself that I didn't want to move my arms and somehow this worked and I prevented myself from freaking out. After this they asked me what radio station I like to listen to because the machine is really loud and they wanted to make the experience more enjoyable. I got all nervous again inside because I didn't know what to say so I asked them if they had any classical or instrumental music and they said that they did so that was another blessing. Once I could tell that I was in the MRI machine and the sounds started to go I just concentrated on the music. After a few minutes the radiologist started talking to me through the headphones and there were times throughout the MRI that I would have to hold my breath for what felt like forever so they could get a clear picture. It was really hard but I tried not to think about it too much. Halfway through the MRI they put an IV in my arm to inject this dye stuff and that just made me dizzy. It was quite the experience. I was so happy when it was all over and I could just leave and go home. 

  Last night there was the cutest fireside at the VC. It was called "Love Stories from New Zealand" and what they did was they found a few love stories from the church history museum here and then they had YSA read them and in between they had this Hawaiian quartet perform some love songs. It was a really fun evening and the whole purpose was to get people into the visitors' center and also show the community that we are just normal people. The whole thing was a huge success! Things like this make serving in the VC extra special. A lot of the love stories were really funny because of the culture of the people here. One in particular was of this man who met this woman soon after completing his mission and he knew instantly that he was going to marry her and so he went around telling everyone that they were engaged when this poor girl had no idea and had barely even met this man. This made her really mad and for a period of time she refused to talk to him. In the end he convinced her to go on a date with him and they fell in love and were engaged for real and then later married in the temple. The other sisters and I were laughing after the fireside though because they said the same thing and that this fireside wasn't helping with the fact that they want to get married. 

  That's about it here in New Zealand. I hope you all know that I am having the time of my life down here and that I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I do love and miss all of you though! Have a great week!

Sister Simkins

No comments: