Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dear Family! (11/9)

   I think of all the emails that I have written throughout my mission. this would have to be the hardest one of all. I really don't know what to say. How do I even put into words what I am feeling or try to sum up the multitude of experiences that I have had throughout the past 18 months. As I reflect on my time here in New Zealand I can't believe how truly blessed I am been. My testimony has grown more than I could ever have imagined. I know without a doubt that the message I have been sharing is true. We have a Heavenly Father that loves us. We are His children and He wants us to be happy. Jesus Christ is our Savior and it doesn't matter what has happened in the past. As long as we choose to follow Him now, everything can be left behind. I have seen numerous people change their lives and I have been strengthened by the testimonies of those who made these changes many years ago and continue in faithfulness. The Book of Mormon is true and  Joseph Smith is a prophet. We can be together as families forever. This is the true church and I know that now more than ever before. 

  Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. I have missed each of you dearly and I am excited that we will be reunited soon. This is all I have to say and I say it with a heart overwhelmed with gratitude. I love you all! 

(for the last time as a missionary) 
Sister Simkins

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dear Family! (11/2)

  Where to begin?! We had an amazing week! Everything is falling into place and I am so exited about it. All of our hard work is finally paying off and it is the best feeling. 

  Our first successes are from the members in our ward. They are amazing because they have finally caught our vision and they have taken it and ran with it. Our Bishop brought a few less-actives up to the VC for us to teach, a few families have come up for us to teach and strengthen them and they left committed to bring more people up, and other members have brought up their non-member friends and family and we have just had so many amazing lessons. I love teaching the gospel. I really think that it is my favorite thing to do. 

   Along with all of the great success we are having with our ward, we had a miracle to top all miracles this week! We were doing some online teaching in our office at the VC when Sister Hawkins came in and told us that this girl had come in and walked right up to her and said "I have been going to church for a couple of years with my ex-boyfriend, I know it's true, I am ready to meet with missionaries because I want to get baptized" so come teach her. Sister Perry and I looked at each other in shock and we rushed out to teach her. Her name is Soklang and she is the cutest thing ever. She's in her early 20's and she's from Cambodia. Her parents are Buddhist but she was dating a member of the church for about three years and he pretty much taught her everything but she never wanted to be baptized. They broke up four months ago and she said that last week she was going through a really tough trial a and she prayed for help and as she was praying she got the impression she needed to be baptized she promised Heavenly Father that if He would help her, than she would get baptized. She said He helped her but in a very unexpected way and she now she is here to meet with missionaries and keep her promise. We started teaching her the Restoration but she pretty much taught us most of it because she already knew it all. She said that her parents don't mind her getting baptized but they aren't the most supportive so she doesn't want any visits at home, she just wants to have all the lessons at the VC. We checked her address to find out what ward she is in and she is in another ward in out stake so we have gotten in touch with the members of the ward and they are all really supportive. At the end of the lesson she said "So what is the earliest that I can be baptized? I already have gone to church for a couple of years, I know it is true, and I know this is what I want for my life." We told her that she should pray about a date and that whatever date she chose we would be there to help her get ready for it. Well she came back a day later for another lesson and she said that she wants to be baptized on the 8th of November. That's next Saturday aka the last Saturday of my mission! I can't believe it we have a baptism and the last Saturday of my mission! I couldn't be more excited!!!! I just feel so blessed. We have taught her a couple more lessons and I can't believe how prepared she is. I already love her so much. 

   I couldn't be more please with the way things are going at this point and I am so excited to see what else happens here. I love this country and I love being a missionary!!!

Sister Simkins