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 gardenon Saturdayand 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)
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.
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!
He sent some English to Tongan words he learned but spellcheck keeps changing everything so I decided not to include it in this letter.
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 until9:00 tomorrowmorning 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 fieldtomorrowmorning 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.
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 ison Mondaywhich 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 templeon 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!
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 around5:30and 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!
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.