Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dear Family! (9/14)

  Today marks 16months since I left home and began this marvelous adventure. I still can't believe as I look back how many amazing experiences I have been blessed with along with all the lessons I have learned. It truly has been the best thing I have ever done!
  As I looked back on this week however I realized that I don't have much to report. It was a pretty laid back week apart from our visit to the temple and the chance that I had to see all of my companions. As I hugged each one of these great sisters that I have been able to serve with I realized again just how blessed I have been with my companions and now I will have these life long friendships to enjoy just because I decided to serve a mission. The mission was divided into three groups because it is too big for all of us to attend  session all together but it worked out that I was on shift at the VC everyday during the temple trips so I got to see the other three groups.
  We went to the temple on Wednesday and it was a special experience because I realized that the next time I am in this temple it will be on the last day of my mission because all of the departing missionaries get to go through a session with President and Sister Rudd before they go to the airport. The New Zealand Temple is beautiful and it was great to be in there with so many missionaries and people that I love. We completely filled the session and there were just a few people in the session that weren't missionaries. We didn't get to spend as much time in the Celestial Room because of the size of our group but I was grateful for the time we were given.
  We taught an interesting lesson this week. Remember the investigator that I mentioned last week? The one in a dark place? Well anyway we went around one night with our Relief Society President to clean her house so we were wearing service cloths and were ready to work. We knocked on the door and another lady answered it and invited us in. She said that she was a friend of our investigator and then our investigator walked into the room. We told them that we were here to clean the house and before we could start cleaning the friend started asking us questions and she too is in a really dark place. I knew I needed to share something with her but I could go in so many different directions that I didn't know what was best. I looked at the coffee table in the middle of the room and sitting on it was the Plan of Salvation pamphlet that we had left there the previous week. I got down on my knees and opened the pamphlet to a picture of Christ kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane and I just started talking about the atonement. Sister Perry followed my lead and bore a powerful testimony and at the end both women were in tears. The spirit was so strong and we got the friend's address and information to send the local sisters to visit her and we have a return appointment with our investigator to teach her more and clean her house. It felt a bit weird teaching the gospel wearing sweatpants because I am so used to teaching in a skirt but I know that the spirit was directing that lesson.
  So I guess that was my week. Things are great! Life is good! I love New Zealand and part of me wants to consider moving back here but then I am reminded just how far away it is so I think I will settle for just coming back for a vacation. I hope things are will at home for all of you! Have a great week!
Sister Simkins

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