Monday, December 29, 2014

"The Prince of Parties"

Dear Friends and Family,

This will be a shorter email because not much here happened because of the holiday. I have been working pretty hard here but around Christmas the people here just leave and we had about 1/3 of the visits we normally have. On Christmas we went and played some rugby in the sports ground and while we were there some birds came and were swooping down at us so we started to chase them away. But I had decided to jump over one of the barriers but I missed and caught my leg on the edge and cut my shin open pretty deep that it went to muscle. I landed on my shoulder which hurt and I thought that I had hurt my shoulder pretty bad but it was fine and then I noticed my leg and all the blood coming out and it was pretty gross. We went to the hospital (because all the stores were closed because of Christmas) and filled out some paperwork and after 30 minutes they finally fixed my leg up.

Other than that it has been pretty boring, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of yours:)

That's it for today!!!

Elder Mitchell
The Ward Mama, Ana Matekohi took good care of him and got him all doctored up for me.

Looks pretty gruesome don't you think.

This is the dressing from the hospital. EWWW!

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Who's the Boom King?"

Hey Everyone!!!

Its been a pretty slow week here in Tokoroa but we had our Christmas Conference and a baptism! At the Christmas Conference I got to see a bunch of the other elders that I were in my intake such as Elder Lingwall. We heard some really good talks, got some small gifts, and met some interesting missionaries. I took some pictures and video of the event but the video didn't turn out very well. 

The rest of the week was pretty basic here in Tokoroa and not much happened except for exchanges where I took the lead on the lessons/discussions because my companion was too nervous to talk to the people. I am surprised that I haven't really gotten homesick yet but we are so busy that I hardly have time to think about stuff like that. I get frustrated when I am shopping on my P-day and I am looking for something like strawberry flavored cream cheese or something else that seems pretty common and they don't have it but yet they have hundreds of different types of candy and chocolate.

Tara's Baptism was on Saturday, December 20th and was also Day 30 out in the field for me. I met with her for the first time and I invited her to be baptized and although she seemed hesitant she agreed. Not many people came to her baptism but she didn't care because she knew that it was the right thing to do. I am so proud of her and all the progress she has made and just thinking back at who I was 30 days ago is pretty freaky. I am so glad to be here in Tokoroa even though I can't get my companion to stop singing ;).

Elder Mitchell #SelfieKing

Elder Lingwall and I at Christmas Conference.

Tara and I at her baptism.

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros"

We had stake conference and met with a lot of new people this week!

At Stake Conference we had Elder Pearson of the First quorum of the Seventy come and talk to us and Elder Coward who is an Area Seventy which was pretty cool and I got to talk with Elder Pearson for a few moments afterwards. The meeting went really well and we got 3 of our investigators to come and most of our ward came as well and many of our Less-Actives came with them. Since the beginning of the month we have been told as missionaries to try and get as many people to come to church and to give out at least 10 of the special Christmas cards to get the word out.
We visited with Tara this week and she seems really excited to be baptized and has been studying her scriptures and praying everyday. We have her set for the 20th but we are meeting with her at least twice a week to get in all the lessons and last week she asked me to baptize her which was is an honor. We have been teaching Jake once a week but everytime we come and visit him he keeps trying to find inconsistencies with the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and what we are teaching him so he keeps getting held up on different things like since Jesus fulfilled the atonement we are all saved and don't have to do anything as long as we confess that "Jesus Christ our Lord". Its been pretty rough and after talking to the Zone Leaders they say that we should continue meeting with him regardless.
Its been pretty good here in Tokoroa and I love the people but sometimes they can be so stubborn! We have been working out everyday at this field near our house and I set a goal to do one lap(I'm not sure how far it is but its definitely longer then 400m) in 75 seconds last weekend and on Saturday I ran 71.11 so I beat my goal so now I want to run 68. Its been nice to see improvements in not just my athletic but social and spiritual life as well and I know that they are all blessings.
That's all for today but until next time....

Love you guys!!!!!

-Elder Mitchell

Monday, December 8, 2014

"Innercity Pressure"

Dear Family and Friends:

This week has been pretty basic so there is not really much to say. We met with Jake again and he had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon and whether or not its doctrine clashes with the bible. He struggled with the thought that as God was once a man, men may become gods and thought that just a foolish dream but I guess we just need to explain some of that stuff a bit more. I started the Book of Mormon when I got into the MTC and I'm in Alma now and I have noticed how much more stuff I am picking up on now that I'm actually studying it and all I've got to say is that Teancum is a BOSS.

There isn't much to do down here so we go and run laps around this field we have for our workouts and I set a goal to run a 1:10 for one lap but I have only ran 1:20 so I have a lot of work to do but I've been doing intervals and core trying to keep my fitness up but the people of this country are just set on getting me fat. We are going over to the High School and doing some workouts with the track team after emailing today so that will be fun.
 Everyone in this country loves the All-Blacks and while I was at a members house talking he brought up a statistic that domestic violence increases by like 30-40% when the All-Blacks lose. I want to get some All-Blacks stuff but its so expensive here. I have been working on my rugby skills so that the people here don't laugh at me because even the little kids are better then me.

Elder Mitchell

Monday, December 1, 2014

"I told you I was freaky!"

There has been a couple things going on here and we might have a new baptism coming up in 3 weeks!!!
 We did exchanges on Friday and Saturday and all I'm going to say is that I am so thankful for my companion today because some of the other Elders in our district have 0 discipline and it shows in their work and numbers. We have been teaching Tara this week and got through the 10 Commandments and CPR (Church, Prayer, Read) and it seems to be sticking finally! The food here is so much more expensive then it is in America, for example for a can of pringles it is 4.50 (by the way the tax is worked into the price of food so the smallest coin is 10 cents). I haven't had a whole lot of opportunities to take some pictures but I did get one of the Thermal Pools in Turangi. It is so beautiful here and the KFC and chocolate is 100% better here then it is in America. There is also like a total of 13 churches in Tokoroa and only one is LDS, the Pacific Island Church is huge here but the LDS Church would be too if it allowed you to drink, smoke, and fed you every other day.
  We met with a guy named Jake McKernan this week on Thursday and let me just start off by saying that he is something else. He was not a member but when he was a kid his best friend was and served an LDS mission. Jake stopped Elder Lukens in a grocery store a week before I got here and said that he was keen for visits. We went and visited him and he pulled out a notebook and started to take notes and after we had finished the Plan of Salvation ( we were impressed to share that first) he asked "what's next?" the whole time asking some next level questions that most investigators never ask. We ended up sharing the first 3 lessons (Plan of Salvation, Restoration, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ) and he told us about his past.
  He had a rough childhood and was really into crystal meth but one night he was reading the scriptures he read 1 Corinthians 10:13 where it says "...God will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able..." and he prayed to God to help him with his addiction and woke up the next morning and " it was like the addiction of meth and alcohol had just been taken from me". His friends all thought that he was just hiding his addiction but once they saw him at parties drinking a coke they knew he was legit. He met his wife at a party a few years later and after talking about God for a couple hours they started dating and got married because " it is better to be married then to live in lust". He might be one of the greatest people I have ever met and I know that Heavenly Father prepared him for us to meet him.
Its been a great week here in Tokoroa and we have been working all day everyday to tell these people that "Y'all need Jesus".
Love you guys!!
-DJ Cash Flow (Elder Mitchell)

I believe this is the sunset from his apartment.

Thermal pool in Turangi.

Monday, November 24, 2014

He's in Tokoroa New Zealand

Hey everyone!!!
  Its been a couple days since I got here in Tokoroa! Let me just start out by saying that it is nothing like Herriman, Utah. It is a small, humble town in the Rotorua Zone and the people here are very interesting! On my first day we taught 3 lessons to a couple of people around town and it seems very popular to not get married but to live together and call themselves partners. I'm not sure about the tax system here but I'm guessing its not very favorable to be married. One of the biggest challenges we have is with the law of chastity because no one wants to get married but wants to live together and have children.

  The first place we went in Tokoroa was Bishop Halls place for a lesson with Tara who is one of Bishops daughters friends to commit to be baptized on our first visit after teaching her the Restoration. Since then we have taught her the next two lessons and set a bapitism date,December 13th. We also met with Kenneth Harry who was excommunicated for a reason unknown to me but has decided to turn his life around after a short prison sentence and a lot of scripture study. He is one of the nicest guys I have ever met and everytime Elder Lukens and I come around, he gets so excited! He definitely wants to rejoin the church and turn his life around but he has to send a request up through the authority of the Church so that they can okay it. We went and tilled his garden on Saturday and had a great discussion about the book of Daniel and I would highly recommend to go and read 2 Kings again.

  We have been working really hard out here so that we get to all the houses that we want to visit but there is not enough time in the day and I find that I am disappointed at the end of the day when we didn't get to see all the people we had planned to see. Our living quarters are very humble. its a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house with about as much space as we had living at Pinnacle. My new companion is Elder Lukens and he is such a cool guy! He is from Pleasant Grove and went to American Fork and did track and field for them! Elder Lukens is very strong in the gospel and has been making the transistion from the MTC much easier then I thought.

We live at 148a Papanui Street, Tokoroa, New Zealand.

I'll write more next week but until then.....
Happy Birthday MOM!!!!!!
and Happy Thanksgiving!! (they don't celebrate it here but everyday they eat until their sick so I guess that makes up for it)

Elder Mitchell

The Hamilton New Zealand Temple

My new apartment.  Very humble.
Me at the New Zealand MTC.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Letter from the Mission President

Kia ora!  Greetings from the New Zealand Hamilton Mission.

Elder Mitchell arrived safely to Hamilton, and is already labouring in his new area. His companion is Elder Lukens.  They will be serving in the Rotorua Zone.  I have enclosed a picture of them, one of the entire group that arrived the same day, as well as a picture with us.  We love Elder Mitchell already!

We look forward to serving with Elder Mitchell in this wonderful work as the missionary wave floods this great country of New Zealand!  We need him and are excited to serve together!  His testimony will grow as he helps others receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.
President and Sister Rudd

The whole mission that arrived today!

Sister Rudd, Elder Mitchell, and President Rudd

Elder Lukens and Elder Mitchell, his new companion.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Handwritten Letter from NZ

Written November 9th

Aholele:  Friends and family!

This has been a pretty good week for me!  I met my companion Elder Talanoa!  He is a really good guy from the friendly island of Tonga.  He doesn't speak English very well so I have been helping him learn our language.  When we got here on Thursday we were the only Elders here along with Elder Maiava and Elder Dick.  Elder Dick is from Papua New Guinea, and he is about 4 feet 10 inches! Later on new people have come but in the whole MTC there is only about 30-35 people including our Presidency.

On Friday we started our lessons and it has been going pretty hard here ever since.  We have been given a teacher to be our mock investigator so we meet with her twice a day.  It has been really good to speak with her as it has helped us teach through the Spirit and to prepare more for our lessons.  Having to be with my companion at all times is hard as he tends to walk away without notice but he is getting better!  On Saturday President Tarawhit (it is pronounced Tear-a-fiti) told us to prepare a 5-8 minute talk on the Atonement because he will randomly pick a few of us to give a talk.  I spent 2 hours today preparing it which was good because I was one of the people chosen to speak.

The food here in the MTC and in New Zealand is pretty different compared to what we eat in America.  For example, for breakfast we have eggs, pancakes, and baked beans.  I thought this was weird but it actually turned out to be quite good!  There are a lot of different sayings here in New Zealand so it has been weird to hear people call the trunk of a car the boot or if something is too hot or too cold or anything extreme they say hot-as or cold-as.  It confused me at first but I have gotten used to it.  My companion's buddy is in the MTC with us so I have been hanging around them a lot and have learned a few words in Tongan.  It is a beautiful language but it's hard to learn.

The schedule here is pretty tight.  We wake up at 6:00 am every morning and say our personal prayers then our dorm prayers.  Then we shower and get ready for the day.  We have breakfast at 7:00 am every morning after which we go and study with our companions and by ourselves.  Our beds have to be made every morning and our room has to be clean before we go to our classrooms.  We have lunch at 12:00 pm followed by our physical activity which usually consists of rugby.  We eat dinner at 5:00 pm and class until 8:45 pm when we do our planning for the next day.

Although these past few days have been pretty hard, I know that I am growing in the Gospel so that I can better teach people.  I am so thankful for all of you back home, for all of your love and support.  I will be able to email you guys when I get out into the field but for now I think I will have to write the letters by hand.

Ofa Lahi atu!
Elder Mitchell

He sent some English to Tongan words he learned but spellcheck keeps changing everything so I decided not to include it in this letter.

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Business Time"

It's been a great last week here in the New Zealand MTC. I wrote most of this in the letter they made us send yesterday but like I said last week, that letter will probably take a week or two to get to you guys in Utah. We got to go the New Zealand, Hamilton Temple and do an endowment session because some of the people here in the MTC haven't had the chance to go because their home country doesn't have a temple like Papua New Guinea and Kiribati. The temple here is so beautiful and the countryside surrounding it perfectly accents it because the temple is on a hill so you can see it for kilometers (I still have to get used to the metric system, if someone wanted to send me a conversion chart that would be fantastic ;) haha! ).

Almost everyone here at the MTC is either Islander or Australian so it feels weird to be the minority for once but there is a sister from Denmark and three other Elders (Searle, Landis and Lingwall) so I'm not alone. It has been great to be exposed to people of other cultures because I like to learn a bit about their history and stuff like that! My companion and Elder Dick left for Papua New Guinea today so until 9:00 tomorrow morning I have no companion so I have just been chilling with Elder Lingwall so I don't get in trouble. The people of the Islands are so generous!!! I have gotten: 2 Lava-lavas (man-skirts), 3 T-shirts, a shell necklace, a Papua New Guinea flag, and a pair of sandals that say Tonga on them. Their culture is so great, they share everything with everyone which is way different from the people of Free Country, USA.
I'm not homesick yet but after talking with some of the people here, I have become homesick for America. I got our class to sing the Star-Spangled Banner in one of our devotionals and it was beautiful. I miss good hamburgers, pizza without pineapple on it, hot dogs, mexican food, and apple pie. But this is a great country nonetheless.
I go out into the field tomorrow morning to share with the People of New Zealand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I STILL know that the gospel is true and I cannot wait to share it with the Kiwi's!
- - Elder Charles Mitchell

The MTC in New Zealand

Me and Elder Talanoa

Me at the Hamilton New Zealand Temple

Elder Lingwall, Elder Searle, Elder Landis and Me.  All Northern Utah boys who came to the MTC together.

Sharing the goodies.

Me and Elder Talanoa.  Elder Talanoa reported to the Papua New Guinnea Mission.

Monday, November 10, 2014

His first official email home!

Hey guys! They let us send a letter back home yesterday but I'm sure it won't arrive in Farmington until long after I send this email. My P-day is on Monday which is today in New Zealand but we have a different laundry schedule. I am not able to upload pictures because they want us to wait for us to get out in the field to send them but there is not very many things to take pictures of in the MTC but it is very beautiful here. We are allowed about 45-50 minutes a day for exercise so that we can not get too fat but there is very little that we can do as we can not leave the MTC for any reason but we will be going to the temple on Thursday.
I wrote some of this in my letter home yesterday but my companion in Elder Talanoa, he is from the friendly island of Tonga ( I said Samoa in the previous letter) and in his country there is a small island called Haapi and that is where he lived. My companion struggles with English so I have been trying to help him as best I can but he usually has to repeat everything he says because I either don't understand it or he was speaking Tongan. He will be serving the Papua New Guinea Port Moresby Mission which is cool but I wish he were going into New Zealand with me. The daily life here is very structured which is kind of weird compared to what I am used to but it has been good to learn more about the gospel.
I know that this gospel that we are teaching is true and I love you guys and hope all is going well!
Elder Mitchell

Leaving for the MTC!

Today we sent Elder Mitchell off to his mission.  He will be reporting to the Hamilton New Zealand mission after his 2 week stay at the MTC in Auckland New Zealand.

Here is his first email home letting us know he got there safel:

Living Large in the NZ

Hey everyone I arrived in New Zealand safely! We arrived at the Airport at around5:30 and got our bags and such. It is so nice down here, I noticed on our drive from the MTC that the scenery is so much nicer down here then it is in Utah. It is spring here so there has been rain for a couple weeks now. When we got the MTC we filled out some paperwork and then went and had breakfast (again). I have not met my companion yet but I have heard that he is Somoan which will be pretty cool.
I am so glad to be down here doing the Lords work and I look forward to teaching the people of New Zealand!
Elder Mitchell
 This is Elder Lingwall and Chuk.  They ran together at Herriman High School and are now in the same Mission and leaving the same day!
 One last family picture
Elder Landis, Elder Searle, Elder Mitchell and Elder Lingwall.  All from Northern Utah and reporting to the Hamilton New Zealand Mission.

One last photo before he goes through security.