Friday, December 25, 2015

"waiting for a call from my family...they forgot about me"

Won't be a long email because I will be skyping home but.....

This week was awesome!!!

We killed it for the first 1/2 of the week but after that we sort of got stuffed by a lot of people dropping appointments but were still able to be somewhat productive with the rest of our time. The Traveling Assistants came down on Wednesday and we had a really good couple of hours with them. Elder Wark (from Scotland) came with me and we were able to be a part of a couple of miracle moments.

1. One of our investigators finally answered the door with pants on. (He never wore pants)
2. We decided to go see one of our members and he was about to call us to ask for a blessing but we showed up at his house anyway.
3. Elder Wark got beat up by one of our semi-active members and then he showed us some Karate moves.

And that was only in like 2 hours of actual proselyting!

Elder Christensen and I have been doing some pretty good work down here and have been getting along really well! He is such a good missionary and I feel like I am being trained by him but yet he has only been out like 9 weeks! It has definitely been a humbling experience for me!

That'll be all for this week but I will talk to you guys later on Christmas!!

Elder Mitchell!

#KiaKaha #MakeTheMiracles

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"Get your hand off my tail, you'll make it dirty"

This week.... WE GOT ANOTHER SET!!!

So after a pretty slow beginning of the week with Elder Christensen being sick on Wednesday and basically all of our appointments fell through on Tuesday, we had Zone Meeting with the Assistants. They gave a training on how to use the baptism tracker and how to best extend the invitation to be baptized which we then used to set one of our brand new investigators for the 16th of January on the first lesson. He accepted all the commitments but we think there still might be some concerns because he cannot read very well but hopefully that doesn't turn out to be a huge problem. 

We have been trying to work as hard as possible but since Elder Christensen is being trained and didn't really get to know the area very well when he was with his last companion because he did everything for him. I have been trying to help out as much as possible and am starting to learn the area fairly quickly which I have had to do in my past 4 areas because all my companions have left after 1 transfer. It is pretty interesting to be a follow-up trainer now because I have to try and break him out of all the bad habits his trainer got him into and help him relax a little bit because he is super stressed out. He reminds me a lot of how I was when I started my mission but it is also nice because I know how to remedy it.

Other then a few new investigators we have found throughout the week it was a pretty normal last couple of days. We had a Christmas Fireside at our chapel but I forgot my camera so I won't send any pictures till next week. I am definitely loving it here in Te Hapara Ward!!!!!

Elder Mitchell

Ps. If any of yous see my older brother Nik, tell him happy birthday! 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

"You think that might be what you fancy?"

This week has been crazy!!!!

So we found out last Monday that I was being transfered from Te Aroha to Gisborne in the Te Hapara Ward. I thought my work was done in that area but I was mistaken. After almost losing one Katrina to a hard core Open Brethren Bible-Basher, we went and had a Family Home Evening with Katrina and that guy decided that he should come along. He spent the whole time trying to find something he could disagree on but Bro Whitehead (one of our awesome members) kept on shutting him down. 

While we were at the FHE, some guy came in and sat down as we were giving the lesson and after about 30 minutes he got up and left but told Bro Whitehead as he left that he would like to start meeting with the missionaries. We set up an appointment with him for the next day and after teaching him the Restoration, we set him for baptism. There was a couple problems though, {1} He used to be the President of the Black Power {2} He is on the Rolex (what they call it when you are on probation) so we had to set him for the 30th of January which is when he gets off and {3} He isn't married to his partner but they only sometimes live in the same house (he has multiple houses across the country). He is a really nice guy who honestly wants to change his life but has been in a bad situation for so long, it will be pretty tough to get out. 

Even though I have left Te Aroha I know that it is being left in good hands and hopefully they can continue on progressing our investigators in that part of the Lord's Vineyard. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to serve the people there and I hope that the people there feel the same about me! 

Gisborne has been a very interesting time haha!!! I am now serving with Elder Christensen and the last couple of days have been a blast! I really enjoy serving in cities because of how close you are to everyone else so we get to see other missionaries all the time and we actually have stuff to do on P-day! I am follow-up training Elder C. and since he is my first step-son, I hope that I haven't ruined him too bad already but there are some bad habits that his previous companion got him doing that are not the best for successful missionary work. Hopefully my experience can help him to progress his skills as a missionary! 

I am definitely going to have a good transfer!!!!

Elder Mitchell

 Attached are photo's of the Volunteers for the Riding for the Disabled in Te Aroha and of Uncle Tony McLaren and I "fighting"

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"You could buy me a burrito and some beans and rice."

Kia Ora everyone!

Been a great week here in Te Aroha!

On Monday after emails I got to climb Mount Te Aroha and look out over the town. It was a fairly difficult hike but Elder Patea and I got up there in about and hour and a half but it takes most people 2 1/2-3 hours to get to the top. We were so sore when we got to the bottom but I think it was totally worth it. We spent the next couple of days walking kinda funny because of how sore we were but it still didn't hold us back all that much. 

We had a pretty good rest of the week and had our last district meeting. After our meeting we had some popcorn and talked about good object lessons we can do to help our investigators so if anyone has any good lessons or activities you can do for teaching people, tell me! 

On Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference and Elder S. Gifford Nielsen was the presiding Seventy. There was some really good talks given but we didn't get any of our investigators there which was kinda stink. Katrina was also pushed back for the 19th of December but we will continue working with her to get her more prepared.

I am getting transfered this next week and I will be serving in the Gisborne Stake with Elder Christensen. Gisborne is a city that is really far away from Hamilton (about 5 hours away) and is supposedly really beautiful but I have not seen it yet. I am really excited to be going there!

Kia Kaha

Elder Mitchell

attached are pictures of the hike we did on Monday and one of me and the radio tower on top.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Do you have any other skills, like typing?"

Buenos Dias!

It has been a pretty rainy week here in Te Aroha but we have had quite a few things happen.

On Thursday we met with Amon and while we were over there, his daughter came out and started talking with us as well. Amon was freaking out because he did not expect his daughter to be into the whole church thing but she was asking a lot of questions and trying to learn more but it seemed like she was just curious. We committed her to pray about what we talked about and set an appointment for the next day. It turns out that she forgot to pray that night but we recommitted her to pray and invited her to attend church with us. She accepted but still didn't show up on Sunday, why must it be so hard to get people to come to church.....

Other then a whole lot of finding, milking cows, a whole lot of crazy people who yelled at Elder Rios and I, and a pretty funny district meeting; I would say we had fairly normal week. We have officially run out of doors to knock here in Te Aroha and have been trying hard to find other ways to get new people to teach. We have only had a few of our investigators drop us but we have only picked up a couple. We have transfers next week and I have a feeling that I will be leaving but I keep on putting in requests to be with Elder Lingwall but he is Zone Leader so I am not sure how that will work.

All is well here in Te Aroha!!!

Elder Mitchell

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Calling each other names like 'dork'"

Good Day!!!!

Very good week here in Te Aroha and we got a lot of work done. We met with some very prepared spirits and managed to do quite a bit of service.

On Tuesday, Elder Patea and I set Katrina (the lady I told you guys about last week) for baptisms on the 12th of December! She is so accepting of the truths of the gospel and she even came to church on Sunday and brought some of her very delicious baking. She has been doing pretty good but is looking for a job because there is no work here in New Zealand. We gave her the Book of Mormon and committed her to pray about it but when she extended the invitation she said: "I already know its true I just want to make sure God is okay with me taking this step". When we went over on Tuesday she asked if we anoint our sick with oil and we replied that we did, she said that's good because that's what the bible says we should do.

On Monday after our P-day ended, our FHE for the night fell through so we were not able to go to that but it turns out God had other plans for us. I felt prompted to go knock doors on this particular street and we drove over to the other side of town. We knocked on 7-8 doors and were met with little interest but then we met Amon. A couple weeks ago his wife passed away suddenly and he was left with a daughter and a whole lot of sadness. We talked with him about eternal families and how death is only a temporary separation. It turns out that he is a inactive member and stopped attending church 30 years ago after he left Church College (a LDS high school across the street from the Hamilton Temple, which has since shut down). We invited him to church and he accepted but said that he will only come if he can get his daughter to come with him. He wants her to learn of the things he learned as a child.

Miracles are happening here in Te Aroha!

Elder Mitchell

Attached are a photo of our Zone and of a Blokhedz set I just completed

Sunday, November 8, 2015

"There is no more unethical treatment of the elephants."

Kia Ora everyone!

Well we did pretty good this week here in Te Aroha! After a really good week last week we made some really aggressive goals to get the work moving here. We got out there and made the miracles and met some very prepared people to preach the gospel to. On Friday we had an appointment to go over and teach one of our less-actives but when we got there we found out that he was not home. We decided to go and walk around to try and find some people we could talk to and we saw this lady sitting on her porch. Her name is Katrina and she has had a hard life, her husband died after 10 months of marriage and wants some peace and comfort knowing what his fate will be. We taught part of the Plan of Salvation and set up an appointment for Tuesday where we plan on setting her for baptism.

This week has been full of learning experiences such as the times were Elder Patea and I would slack on small things like getting out of the flat 5-10 minutes late, we would almost always get the door slammed in our face or get yelled at when we got to our first door. We have definitely learned the blessings of exact obedience and now as we are working harder then I have ever before, we cannot afford to loose some of those blessings.

I don't really have too much time because we are getting ready to hike a mountain near Te Aroha but I just want you all to know that I love you and I am so very grateful for all that you guys have done for me and for all the letters/emails of encouragement!

Have a good week!!!!

Elder Mitchell


Sunday, November 1, 2015

"Wait outside all night to find 20 dudes in a conga"

We killed it in Te Aroha this week.

After getting Elder Patea back from the doctors on Wednesday night (he had a boil in his butt), we hit the streets hard. We found heaps of new people to teach and spent most of our time out teaching lessons and talking with people (we set an area record for total lessons taught). We are going to be working really hard to get some more people to church this week but struggled with helping people make and keep commitments. I ran every morning this last week which was really nice but I think I am out of shape, I need to work really hard because I think I am putting on some weight over the past couple of months.

As for spiritual experiences this week, I think that the one that sticks out the most is on Wednesday when I was with Elder Gemmell. We were walking down the street and there was a  guy who was walking towards us. When we got closer, he said "Mormons?" and we replied "Yup!". It turns out that he is a member but went less active because of some of the worldly stuff that he had gotten into, and that he wants to start coming back to church. We went by his house on Saturday and talked with him about some of his goals and he said he would like to serve a mission but that he doesn't think it will be possible because he is 26 but he still wants to get his endowments which was pretty cool to hear. He is a very good guy but just lost his way somewhere along the track.

It is so awesome to be able to find people like him and although he is already a member, he still has a need of the restored gospel.

Talk to you guys next week!

Elder Mitchell

Attached is a picture of a hedge on the outskirts of Te Aroha.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"And I just stand there being freaky with a cup on my head"

This has been one of the weirdest weeks in my Mission.

So last Monday we were expecting a call to tell us that Elder Temanaha was leaving but we didn't receive one. However we got a call from our trainer Elder Lukens, who was down in Hamilton getting ready to fly home but he wanted to say goodbye but we couldn't come down to see him because President Rudd said it was too far. We ended up just doing normal missionary work that day but still no call. The next morning after studies we were headed out of the flat when we got a call from the AP's to tell us the news, Elder T was going to Cambridge to follow-up train and I was getting Elder Patea in Te Aroha. We spent the rest of the day and Wednesday driving around to say goodbye to people and packing. 

When we left for transfers I left the phone back at the flat but we were already too far to go back. So when we got to Hamilton we just dropped off his stuff but found out Elder Patea had just had surgery and wasn't ready to go out in the field so I was going to get someone else for a couple of days. We worked a bit in one of the other Elders areas because we weren't being transferred so we stayed in our area but we got another call to come pick up my new comp. 

My new companion was Brother Tom Swain who is a returned missionary over in Nawton (a ward in Hamilton), he is really good friends with President Rudd and he asked if he could come out into the field with me for a couple of days. He taught at the MTC for 5 years teaching missionaries with English as their Second Language. He is a very good missionary still even after being home for quite some time but he helped me a lot with the work out in Te Aroha and with helping me become a better missionary. 

We had a really good couple of days and taught some really powerful lessons and found some potential investigators. On Friday night after working our butts off all day, we went over to the Ibarolla's (an Argentinian family in our ward) because we felt like they might need a visit. When we shared our message at the end the whole family was in tears and Bro. Swain and I were almost crying as well. I don't remember too much about the message but I know it was exactly what the family needed. It was an amazing experience to be able to touch peoples lives even though it started out as an odd prompting. 

Brother Swain left on Sunday and I have been with Elder Gemmell from Hastings who is waiting for his Visa. He is a great guy but is still pretty new to the whole missionary thing because he hasn't even been to the MTC.

I know that the work we are engaged in is truly a marvelous work and a wonder and that there is no other place that I would rather be then in the NZHM!!!!

With love, Elder Mitchell

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Ooooooo we can eat cereal"

Kia Ora everyone!!!

Didn't get too much done this week because we spent most of Tuesday after District Meeting in the Hospital for Elder T and then spent the next 3 days inside because he has got the flu. I have managed to avoid it for the most part but sleeping in the same room can get pretty dangerous. We finally got out on Saturday but we were told to not overdo anything so that he wouldn't get sick again. We didn't get to go milking or go help out with the RDA thing but I did get to finish the Book of Mormon which I started on the 25th of September.

On Saturday we got over to see Paul and Maria but we found out that he didn't keep our commitment to pray about whether Joseph Smith was/is a prophet of God and that this is the one true church. We explained to him the important of what we committed him to do and talked about our purpose in coming to help him and re-committed him to do it with a period of time to do it in (we forgot that last time).

Not much else happened really but we do have transfers this week but I will most likely be staying.

Elder Mitchell

Attached is a picture of our district

The ladies are Sister Dynkova (Czech Republic) and her companion Sister Lawless (Seattle, Washington).

Monday, October 12, 2015

"The distant future, the year 2016"

Been a pretty good week here in Te Aroha!

Even though conference was last week for all you guys on the other side of the world, it didn't get to New Zealand until this week, they are kinda slow with stuff like that haha :). It was great to watch our General Authorities give some much needed guidance and I came out with a notebook full of stuff! My favourite talk was during the Sunday Afternoon session by Elder Durrant about 'ponderizing' scriptures and how it can help. I have already started this little challenge and the one that I am picking for this week is Alma 7:11-12, I am studying about the Atonement this week to help one of our investigators learn to better use the atonement in his life.

We spent most of the week contacting referrals and doing service so we didn't get to spend much time out knocking doors but we did teach some of our less active families and set up some appointments this next week for dinner and a lesson so we should be getting fed most of the week! We haven't seen Paul since Wednesday when we helped him move some tires off of the maize pile on his farm but he said he has been praying and reading but since it was GC he didn't come to church. We are seeing this week and we should be going over to give his wife a blessing so we will have to see about our commitment then. Other then a few people we met for the first time it was a pretty slow week for work but we managed to build some relationships with our members which is good because they gave us some referrals!!!

Elder Mitchell


Monday, October 5, 2015

"Can I come to your party?" "No."

It was a pretty good week here in Paradise! 

On Wednesday we went on exchange with the Zone Leaders and I went down to the Hamilton East Area with Elder Rios and Elder Temanaha was in Te Aroha with Elder Butler. It was a pretty good exchange and I feel like we both learned quite a bit from our exchange. I love exchanges because it gives the area a change of pace even though it is only for a day and just in the one day that I was out of the area they found 2 potential investigators and talked with heaps of people on the streets (there are not usually people walking on the streets haha). After we exchanged back we spent the rest of the week contacting the potential investigators and setting up a family history class and a language study for one of the Hispanic families that just moved into the ward.\

I didn't get to milk the cows this week but they did invite us over for dinner on Tuesday to give us some good news.... Paul wants to stop smoking and get baptized!!!!!!!  He has had a Word of Wisdom problem for quite some time and has quit drinking but he just enjoyed his smokes so much that they have been so hard to give up. He is attending church regularly and has been reading and praying nightly with his wife who is a member! He is progressing so well but he says he wants to pick the date so we will have to follow up pretty soon. 

On Friday we went over to Paeroa branch (out of our area, but we had President's permission) for one of the branch activities with Paul and we were assigned to give a short presentation on a country that they choose and the country that they gave us was France. It was pretty easy for Elder Temanaha because he has been to France and is from French Polynesia. He just got up and spoke a bunch of French to the people there and taught them a French dance, I left my camera in the car so I didn't get any pics but it was pretty funny.

My week was algudz, hope that everyone on the homefront is doing well!

Elder Mitchell

Attached are pictures of me in front of the Lemon and Paeroa bottle, L&P is a soft drink here in NZ that is super popular and it was created in Paeroa.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"That's why they're called business socks"

Kia Ora Everyone!!!

We had a pretty busy week and on Thursday I got to go the Temple for my birthday! I asked President Rudd if we could do our Zones Temple Trip on the 24th because the rest of the mission was doing theirs this week and he said it was all good! We had to wake up at like 5 in the morning to drive from Te Aroha to Temple View (suburb in Hamilton) which was only like an hour drive but we had to fight traffic the whole way so it was like 2 hours (Stink way to start off my birthday) but the Temple was totally worth it! I got to do a session of Endowments and Baptisms which was pretty cool! I got the chance to receive some of the answers which I have been seeking and received some that I didn't even expect!

We had Milking on Wednesday and Saturday which was pretty good, I have gotten to the point that I don't even look anymore, I can just feel where the teets are and then I put the cups on them haha:). We had a really good lesson with Paul and Maria afterwards and we committed them to pray every morning and night as a couple and individually to get the answers that they need to progress in the Gospel. They have been attending church regularly for the past couple of months but Paul still struggles with the Word of Wisdom and has been hiding some of his addictions over the past couple of weeks.

I hit my 10 month mark last week and I realized that if I was sister missionary, I would be more then half way done with my mission haha! Time just flies by when you are having fun eh???

Elder Mitchell

No Pictures this week.... Nothing was really interesting but I did catch some cow poop on Saturday because my companion bet me $10 I wouldn't do it. After all it is just digested grass!!!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Man since I have been on my mission I have gotten to do all kinds of things and this week I......


Since we are serving it Te Aroha, we don't get to do a whole lot of teaching and preaching but we do get to do a lot of service around the town and on peoples farms. Every week on Wednesday we go over to one of our investigators (Paul Mcvicar) homes and help them milk cows and then afterward they feed us dinner! It was the first time I have ever done it so I was really nervous because the cows were pooping all over the place and I was scared that I might get kicked when I put the cups on their teets. It went pretty well and I only got a little poop on me and I didn't even get kicked!

After the milking we had a really good lesson about the Word of Wisdom with Paul and his wife and we committed him to pray about the WoW and how it can help him the health problems that he is facing. We were about to leave and I realized that we didn't have our keys, and we couldn't get very far without them. After searching for a good hour with no success we eventually called the Zone Leaders to see what we should do because we are the furthest area from the rest of our zone and it was getting pretty late. They told us to pray and have faith that we would find the keys and be able to return home. We knelt down and had a prayer with the family and asked him to help us find them and when we got up I had the impression to go to the ATV that we were driving around the farm on I took it to mean that we needed to go check the farm again (it was a fairly big farm).

We eventually gave up on trying to find our keys in the night time and decided to go back to the house and see if we could find it there. Paul thought it would be a good idea to check the under the seat of the ATV and guess what! It was there, His wife busted into tears and we all knelt down and thanked God for helping us and for showing us that he does answer prayers. We came back on Saturday to help milk cows again and we decided it would be best to leave our keys inside the house while we were out on the farm haha :)

A few small things happened this week but overall it was a fairly good week here in Te Aroha. We are going to the temple this week on my birthday (the 24th) so that is pretty exciting! 

Elder Mitchell

Attached are some pictures of our zone and one of me and some cows

Our Zone.

Me and some cowz.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Parlez-vous le fracais?" "Uh...non"

This week we had transfers and....... I'm not in Raglan anymore :(

I got a call on Tuesday to tell Elder To'angutu and I that we were both leaving which is exactly the opposite of what President Rudd told our Branch President earlier that week. We had 1 day to get all of our stuff packed and say our goodbyes which was really hard because we had gotten pretty close to some of the people there. I was really mad about the transfer until I realized that maybe its not about what we want it is what the Lord wants.

Anyway, my new companion is Elder Temenaha from Tahiti and guess who trained him??? Elder Lukens (My trainer)!!!! I am not serving in the Morrinsville Branch but we are actually living in Te Aroha which is like 25 minutes north of Morrinsville. This is a pretty big area with not a lot of people considering that the people who are in our branch mostly live in Morrinsville so we have to drive like 20-30 minutes to visit members who live out on dairy farms because the Sisters cover the main city. It is a small town and everyone seems to know each other which is good for missionary work because once you know someone, you can know everyone!!!!! 

Other than that we got to see a few people this week in Morrinsville and one of the recent converts here has a really cool story, he used to be a part of the Black Power but after speaking with some missionaries he decided to change his life for the better and has gotten out of the gang with his life (they usually will kill you if you try and leave). He is preparing to go to the temple and his son is preparing to go on a mission in a couple years.

Hope all is well back at home and look forward to seeing what this next transfer brings!!!

Elder Mitchell

Attached are a picture of Me, Elder Lukens and Temenaha and one of us with Barney (one of our recent converts) on our last night in town.

This is with Barney

Me, Elder Lukens and ElderTemenaha

Sunday, September 6, 2015

"No one even mentioned my casserole!"

The week before transfers is always crazy here in Raglan!

One of our members brothers died on Saturday so we have been helping out with that for the past couple of days. We went over and mowed his lawn and trimmed his hedges just so that he will be able to do the proper preparations for his funeral. We went over to the Marae yesterday and paid our respects and it seems at every funeral I get invited to I get called on to speak regardless of how well I know the person. When I got up to speak yesterday my mind went blank and after having a short prayer in my head I began to bear testimony about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel and how the final step in the gospel is to endure to the end and how Bro. Eketone has done just that. 

I remembered a scripture in the New Testament that I had read earlier that week in my personal study and it says "And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." (Luke 12:11-12) and how literally it was and has been fulfilled but only if I am open to inspiration and worthy to receive it. 

We spent the rest of the week contacting less-actives from our ward list and former investigators from our area book and we have a few set appointments for this next week but the majority of them said that they "weren't really interested in the whole Mormon thing anymore". I love the people here in Raglan but sometimes they just need a slap (haha not really...)

Hope all goes well this week with transfers and everything but I am probably going to stay here in Raglan. 

Love you guys!

Elder Mitchell

Attached are a picture of one of our recent converts at the space center

and my companion playing around with a 'sheep stick'.

Monday, August 31, 2015

"I'm not gonna wear a ladies wetsuit, I'm a man!"

This week in "Rags to Riches" we got a bunch of work done!

We spent the whole week just basically walking around our area and contacted all of our former investigators from Elders in the past and their were a few that were interested but the Elders just stopped showing up one day. We wondered why this would happen but after looking over some of the previous people who have served in Raglan, there was 2 Elders in particular who basically just went swimming and played basketball all day, needless to say they were sent home but they had been the cause of a lot of bad feelings towards the Elders. We have been able to repair some of the relationships but a few of the people here just don't want anything to do with us. I have been able to meet a lot of different people here in Raglan. For example in the past 3 weeks I have met people from...

Papua New Guinea
Saudi Arabia  
United States
Cook Islands

and many more!!!

So many different people make for some really interesting conversation which is always great for missionary work :) 

On Saturday we got to go to the Te Awamutu space center and check out some of the exhibits there! It was pretty cool and we got to learn a lot about space and space exploration. It has made me think that we need to get our space program back up and running so that we can get to Mars!!! I have attached some pictures but there are a lot more things that I couldn't fit in this email. We have transfers in 2 weeks but I am pretty sure Elder To'angutu and I will be staying here.

Lovin' it here in the NZ!

Elder Mitchell 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This week in Ragland!

I only have 30 minutes of email time because the computers at the chapel aren't working so I won't be able to send much this week. I spent the last 1 hour on hold with the LDS Global Service Center just to have them tell me that I need to call our stake tech. specialist on a number that doesn't even exist...

It sounds like you guys are doing awesome! It is so nice to have people back home asking about me because it feels like most of the emails I receive are ones from other missionaries and automatic ones from Countdown (one of the grocery stores here in New Zealand)  We have been killing it down here this past week and have been making huge progress with some of our investigators. Elder To'angutu and I are getting along really well and I think he is definitely in my top 3 companions on my mission haha ☺. I just realized that of the people that came into the mission at the same time as me, I have had more companions then any of them. They are.... Elder Lukens (Trainer), Elder Jensen for 2 transfers (Follow-up), Elder Otto, Elder Rochefort, Elder Gutierrez, Elder Hunt, Elder Landis and Patea, and Elder To'angutu. That's 9 companions in 7 transfers, but the last 3 happened in this last transfer. Its been nice to be able to meet all sorts of different people and to be able to work along side some of the greatest men I have ever met but it has also taught me that although I don't get to choose my companion I do get to choose my eternal companion and how important that choice is.

This week we went and helped the Gillards (one of our part-member families) put up a fence around their front gate, we got really dirty and I almost put a nail through my boots and got hit by a falling fence post but I have a guardian angel watching out over me so I am fine haha :) Although we don't get to teach much here in Raglan we do a lot of service projects for members and non-members which is really nice because before I got here they didn't really want anything to do with the Elders but now they give us referrals almost every time we go over and they are always dropping off food. I think this might be my favorite area I have served in so far. 

That's all of my time this week but I might be able to email a little bit more at our Branch presidents house tonight!


Elder Mitchell 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Why does this phone have a camera glued to it?"

This week we......

Drove up to Auckland to see David Enchilada (Archuleta) and Brad Wilcox for a mission conference! It was actually pretty good and Brother Wilcox gave a really mean talk about the 12 Tribes of Israel and our responsibilities as Ephraim (My Tribe). He also talked about the priesthood and explained some of the parts of Genesis a little bit better that I have had questions about. Bro Enchilada talked about some of his experiences in the mission field and then he sang us some songs which was pretty cool. I tried to get a picture but they all came out too blurry but I did get to shake his hand!

On Saturday we went and helped out one of our part-member families with some farm work so I got to wrestle sheep and hold them while they cut the poop off their fur and put tags in their ears. It was really tiring work but I had a lot of fun and we got to bond with them pretty well so we will probably be going over next week to help them out again. They had the cutest little lamb and I got to feed it while they were making us lunch! 

I also got to give one of our recent converts the Melchizedek Priesthood yesterday which at first really scared me because I have never done it before. He is going to the temple in a couple of weeks for the first time to do endowments and he wants us to come with him! The Branch Members are taking really good care of us here and they just dropped off a fridge full of food which was really nice so we don't have to do shopping and we get fed more often then we did when I was in Hamilton and Raglan is a tiny branch! 

Been a great week and looking forward to whatever is coming next this week! 

Elder Mitchell

David Archuleta visiting the area.

Me holding down a sheep. did happen!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

"I'm making a lasagna, for one"

Kio Ora!!!

We had transfers this week and my new Companion is Elder Hunt. He is a big Samoan fella from Aussie, he loves beat boxing, Volleyball, and Rugby. He is finishing his mission next transfer and he is pretty funny sometimes...

We hit it hard this week after transfers and got heaps of work done in Raglan and met a couple of people that Elder Gutierrez and I never got around to see but we did contact heaps of new investigators. It has started to get a lot warmer down here so I have been able to go on more runs but I keep getting distracted during our runs and don't realize that we are way over our 30 mins for exercise but I have been feeling much better than when I wasn't exercising.

Elder Hunt got growled out yesterday by one of our Recent Converts moms. We were over at her house and he kept asking questions about how old her kids were and when there birthdays were and a lot of probing questions and she started to get uncomfortable but I guess he didn't notice. He was taking notes of everything she was saying even though they were not interested in the church and don't really care much about the son who was baptized. Finally she snapped and told him to leave and to leave the paper that he was writing about her family and after apologizing we left. He was sad the rest of the day but later that night he started to cheer up.

We had a pretty good week but not much notable stuff happened except for that one incident but hopefully we have a big week next week!

Elder Mitchell

Sunday, July 26, 2015

So busy, he didn't have time to make up a subject line.

Don't have much time today to write a really big email but this week has gone by really quick since it will be my last full week with Elder Guitar Strings (some lady called him that because she couldn't pronounce his name SMH!!!).I will tell a story about our sacrament this past week though. 

One of our investigators named Barry came to church this Sunday. He has had a problem with alcohol and tobacco for many years now and has been in and out of maximum security prison a couple of times but he really likes the church and how nice the people are. When I shook his hand when he came into the chapel I could smell a lot of alcohol on his breath and he didn't look very good at all. I went and sat with Barney after I finished blessing the sacrament and throughout the whole meeting I could hear Barry in the background talking quite loudly to Elder Gutierrez and Mike (a recent convert).

Then one of the ladies who was there for the family history meeting in the 3rd hour went and grabbed Barry and took him outside. Turns out they went up to top of the driveway to have a smoke and on his way out Barry spilled a bunch of his tobacco on the floor of the chapel. Turns out he had just gotten kicked out of his flat because some guy came around and caused a lot of trouble for him and his landlord earlier in the week so he was quite drunk at the time but at least he showed up to church!

Other then that it was a pretty normal week with a lot of driving to the outer edges of our area to see people who live super far away!!!

I'll send pictures of our sight seeing next week.

Elder Mitchell

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"My eyes are just a little sweaty today"

This week.......

We had a baptism!!!

We spent most of the week preparing Barney for his baptism but when we weren't with him or Mike (one of our recent converts) we were out inviting people to his baptism. On Wednesday we had the Zone Leaders from down in Hamilton come up and interview Barney for his baptism but he has a small mental disability so they made sure to ask simple questions. Other then a few meal appointments with some of the members we didn't really get to do much service but we did get 2 referrals from some of our members so we will try and contact them later this week. 

After investigating the church for a little under 2 months, Barney made the decision to step into the waters of baptism and make the first of many covenants to our Heavenly Father! Elder Gutierrez had the privilege of performing the ordinance and then on Sunday he asked me to give him the gift of the Holy Ghost so I had to learn how to perform that ordinance in about 2 minutes haha! The spirit was very powerful in the chapel and I got a little chooked up while I giving him a blessing and after he said that when I finished it felt like "someone put a warm blanket on me" and I told him that it was the Holy Ghost. 

Loving the people here in New Zealand!!!!!!!!

Elder Mitchell


Barney's Baptism

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Is her middle name Cherie, so It's a Secret Cherie, maybe?"

This week we had exchanges!!!!

On Tuesday after District meeting Elder Landis (he came out with me to New Zealand) took me on an exchange and we headed up to Raglan and taught a few pretty good lessons and talked with heaps of people! The exchange went pretty well and I think we both learned something. When we got back to Hamilton we found out that both of our companions didn't really do much in the way of missionary work because they spent almost the entire time while they were together in the hospital for Elder Prasad's foot and My companions hand!

The Nawton Elders have a pretty rubbish flat so while Elder Gutierrez was staying there he got a mean cold and so we spent most of the week inside trying to get him feeling better but he has been coughing pretty bad since then so we might be going down to the doctors after district meeting this week. Even though we stayed in the flat most of the week we got heaps of work done and finished the lessons that we are supposed to teach before baptism to Barney and we have his baptism scheduled for Saturday at 4:00! 

Last week I hit my 8 month mark which means I am 1/3 of the way done here. I have learned so much and met so many great people over my time here and it makes me sad to see the time fly so quickly. I know that the next 16 months are going to be great even though there will always be challenges! 

I am loving the people here!!!

Elder Mitchell

Attached are some pictures of the beach

Sunday, July 5, 2015

"Do you mean the girl ...

....who came up to us when we were running in the park just now and she was looking for her epileptic dog?"

This week...... WE GOT A SET!!!!!

On Saturday we went over to one of our Investigators and taught him the Word of Wisdom and we set him for baptism on the 18th of this month! His name is Barney and we have been working with him quite a bit over the past couple of weeks and he has decided to make that step into the waters of baptism! He has a small problem with coffee and tea but the people he lives with are going to help him out with dropping it which is great to have that kind of support :) 

We had an Unveiling on Saturday at the Marae near Raglan for a guy named Henry Grey. Now some of you may not know what an Unveiling or Marae are so let me explain them too you. 1 year after the funeral of someone of Maori descent (or anyone that belongs to a Marae) they put the headstone on the grave and have a huge kai (feed) to celebrate his life. A Marae is a gathering place for a tribe of Maori people where they have parties and such. The Maori culture here is so fascinating! 

Not much else happened this week for missionary work except we have been knocking on a lot of doors because our appointments keep dropping us but it has given an opportunity to go and try and find people. It is a branch here in Raglan so not many people attend church in fact we had 20 people yesterday which is pretty good for this area. We might be going and hiking a mountain later today if the weather stays good!!!!

All is good here in Raglan!

Elder Mitchell 

Attached are some pictures of Bridal Veil Falls (Yes the same name as the one in Utah) and one of our district

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Pencils in the Wood"

This week we went about doing good! 

On Tuesday we were helping one of our members with some stuff at his house and on his property. I got to do a few things....

2) We fell a tree! 
3) Helped pick up wool from some sheep after they were shaven 
4) Held a pig down to put a ring through his nose.

Never done any of these things before which was cool, I am glad I can drive a stick because the tractor was quite difficult. We also had a couple of service projects around town to help people get wood but they were mostly members and a few less-actives. We also had a carboot sale (selling stuff out of your trunk) and we cooked sausages for that and talked with a few non-members but no potential investigators. 

We had a lesson with one of our Progressing Investigators and he agreed to be baptized but he doesn't think he knows enough to make that commitment so we will have to work with him a bit more. 

Below are some of the pictures from last Monday when we went to the beach and some of the cliffs around the town.

Elder Mitchell

Me on the cliffs around town.

This is our area.  My companion is standing to the right.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Do the doggy bounce"

This week was awesome! I got transfer news on Wednesday and I am in Raglan right now!!!!!!!

After saying goodbye to everyone in Rototuna I packed up my stuff and headed to the beach for some surfing ;) I have been loving it here and have been getting to know the area for the past couple of days but it has been pretty nice here! Raglan is situated on the West Coast of New Zealand and has one of the best surf sports in the world in my backyard!! There is only a branch here and the people here are interesting! I'll take some pictures today when we go out site seeing but it is so beautiful and there is so much to do here :)

We have been teaching a couple of people here in Raglan but since there is not many people here during the winter time, we have been trying to visit the less-actives in the area to try and encourage them although one of the favorite things to say here in New Zealand is "can't be bothered". We have a couple of people getting ready for baptism here but other then that the work seems to be pretty slow but maybe I just need to get used to the area. We have done a lot of service for the people here in the past couple of days and they are so grateful for what we have done even though it was usually just helping them move firewood or jump-starting their car and have gotten a couple to let us come back and share a message! 

My new companion is Elder Gutierrez from the Philippines and he is the coolest guy! It seems like all of my non-American companions know heaps of languages and Elder Gutierrez is no exception! He speaks Tagalog and English (both fluent) and 3 of his native languages (somewhat fluently) which is cool because when he meets other people from the Philippines he is able to say somethings to them! Elder G knows the area quite well but he has been in the area for 3 transfers so he will probably be leaving this next transfer unless President decides to keep him here longer. He plays piano for the branch on Sunday, which he just started since he got here and has gotten pretty good. 

I was kind of mad to be leaving my last area especially since I was only there for 3 months but I know that the Lord needs me somewhere else. I became friends with a bunch of the members and I feel like I had just started to get integrated into the ward when I got shifted. We were teaching a guy named Brodie Retallick and I just thought he was a really big fella but when I was over at one of our members houses I mentioned his name and he said " the All-Black?" I said I wasn't sure but he did have some All-Black stuff in his (massive) house. Turns out it was him. When I got here to Raglan, one of the members had a poster of him on their wall and I told him that I taught him a few of the lessons which he thought was the coolest thing! 

I finished Jesus the Christ last week and it has hit a resounding chord within me that I need to really take upon myself the name of Christ and to remember his sacrifice and all of the wonderful things he has done for us! I know that this church is true and that we are truly engaged in a "Great and Marvelous Work!" I am so excited to be able to serve the people here in Raglan and be able to invite them to receive the restored Gospel! 

I'm going to take some pictures of Raglan today while we go site seeing but I don't have my camera with me right now so that will have to wait till next week.

Love you guys !!!

Elder Mitchell 

Monday, June 15, 2015

"He's gonna wake up in a smoothie!!!"

Transfers is this week!!!

I talked with President Rudd last week to ask something about my companion and found out that I am leaving. I have only been here for 3 months but I guess the Lord wants me someplace else. I have been trying to figure out what I am going to do with Elder Rochefort because he doesn't know the area yet and he told me last Tuesday that he doesn't want to be here and that he doesn't care whether he learns English or not. Elder Lingwall will be taking my place here in Rototuna (I know right....) and should be focusing most of his time and effort to help Elder Rochefort but he can't force him to do anything.

I don't know where I am going but I really hope I go to like Gisborne or Tauranga which are both pretty nice this time of year but I have a feeling I will be going to South Auckland (Redoubt, Manurewa, Papakura, and Pukekohe Zones). I have really enjoyed my time here in Hamilton and I am definitely going to miss these people but I guess its my time. Not much happened this week other then we went on exchanges with some of the other Elders in my District and I spent 3 days in Chartwell which is just a suburb of Hamilton. I have learned a lot about patience these past couple of transfers with some fairly difficult companions but I know its just the Lord preparing me for later in life. 

Elder Mitchell

Attached is a note that one of the autistic members in our ward asked me to bring to my new ward to help find him a date. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

"You'd have to be deaf to hear that"

We didn't really get to do much this week in the way of missionary work this week but did get a lot of language study in with Elder Rochefort. On Monday he kicked a soccer ball wrong and messed up his foot so we had to stay inside most of the week. I don't really have much else to write and my time is nearly up on the computers but I am just so thankful for the chance I have to come to this country and teach these people even though they don't want to hear what we have to say for the most part. 

Attached is a picture of a Hedgehog that I caught last week. His name is Rocky but I let him go a few days after I got him because he pooped all over everything. 

Elder Mitchell

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Finally robotic beings rule the world

I'm going to have to make this a quickThis week we had Zone Conference and Mission Conference with Elder Quentin L. Cook!

At Zone Conference we talked a lot about how we can be better teachers and to help our investigators feel the spirit. We received some really good trainings from our Mission Presidents and from the AP's and I felt like I came out of it with a better understanding of the doctrines of the Kingdom. 

Mission Conference was awesome and I have a notebook full of stuff that I need to go over again throughout this week but one of the things that I felt was so important for me was at Zone Conference, President Rudd asked Thomas S. Monson (who just happens to be best friends with his dad, Glen L. Rudd) for a personalized message and his response was "Tell your missionaries to be a good companion!" I have been working really hard at that this past transfer but it has been very tough because my companion doesn't speak much English. Elder Cook said a similar thing as well in his address so it must be something important.

I can't attach pictures from my camera this week but I caught a hedgehog on Thursday and named it Rocky but I let it go last night because he was too much to take care of. 

Until next time!!!!

Elder Mitchell

Sunday, May 24, 2015

"It's a cold night, under the street light"

This week I lost my companion!!!

While we were biking to one of our appointments I turned around to see if Elder Rochefort was following me still but when I turned around he was gone. I looked around for a couple minutes before calling President Rudd but still he was nowhere to be seen. After arranging a search party with one of our office couples and several of the other missionaries in our District we went out and after an hour of being lost we found him about 2K from our flat on one of the main roads. I guess he turned one way thinking it was a shortcut and ended up getting lost and going to our chapel because that's where he thought we were headed. We didn't get back to our flat till around 9:45 but I spent the next hour fixing his bike because he said that the reason he missed the turn was because his seat was bugging him.

We also went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and Elder Rochefort went to Pukete and Elder Rasband came over to Rototuna to be with me. I found out that Elder Rasband is Kyle Johnson's 1st cousin which was so cool. We had a really good discussion about missionary life and I shared with him some of the problems that I have been facing as an Elder and he gave me some tips to deal with some of the stress I have been having over the past couple of months and weeks. I think the exchange went pretty well but it also taught me that I have a lot of work to do if I want to be the best missionary I can be. 

That'll have to be all for this week!!

Elder Mitchell

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why do I get double-stuffed!!!

Pretty good week here in Rototuna and we got quite a bit done!! Over the past 2 weeks I have been trying to teach Elder Rochefort English but I have had no clue what I was doing or really what I need to teach to him. One of the members from Nawton Ward came over on Friday and we set up a plan for him to learn English and how we will accomplish some of our goals. We have started to go through some of the missionary lessons and I have had him teach me the lessons to help him to better understand the doctrines and stuff like that. He seems to be improving and later tonight we have an appointment with one of our Recent Converts to go over Lesson 5 in PMG because the Elders that baptized them never went over it. 

I got called to be the District Leader over the Pukete, Chartwell, and Rototuna wards so I have been getting calls every other day to give permission for things that I never knew we needed permission for! We have been going for runs almost every morning the past couple of days but since it is winter here, it rains a lot so we usually just do core and push-ups because it gets pretty bad and I don't want Elder Rochefort to get sick. I am really starting to learn the area pretty well and I feel like I am not just shooting in the dark but I also know I have a lot of work I need to do to get this area back to mission standards.

Not much else is going on here but I attached a picture of some of the money here in New Zealand.

Elder Mitchell

Friday, May 8, 2015

"Wear the eye patch Bret"

We have transfers coming up this week and we had a baptism on Sunday which was really cool to see because both of his parents are inactive so it was completely his choice and he choose to get baptized so hopefully that is a wake-up call to his parents.The zone leaders keep hinting that we are getting double shifted but I have no idea but that would be pretty weird as I have only been here for 1 transfer. We didn't really get to do much in the way of teaching since we spent most of our time finding new people to teach because all but 3 of our investigators have dropped us or we can never find time to go see them.

I really don't have much to say other than it has been really rainy here but we keep moving forward regardless.

Elder Mitchell

Having a snack.

My companion and a ward member.

Hedgehog we saw on the side of the road.

My comp with the changing trees.

"Ain't no party like my Nana's tea party"

April 27, 2015

We killed it this week!!!
After our exchange with the District Leaders this week we set out to meet our standards of excellence that our Mission President set earlier this year so we worked really hard to hit them and for the first time since the Standards of Excellence were introduced we made all of the goals!! We hadn't made any of them the last couple of weeks because everyone was on holiday but I guess people just wanted to talk with us this week. I am pretty optimistic for the upcoming weeks although the transfer ends next week so I might be getting a new companion. 
I fell on my bike earlier this week and cut up my hands and forearms but I'm all fine cuz one of the members came and helped me to clean myself up. The members are pretty onto it here in Hamilton and they have helped me stitch up my pants and one is even putting a new zipper in my pants. They are very diligent with our missionary trade-off nights but they seem to be struggling with their home teaching so I have been working closely with our Elders Quorum President to see what work needs to be done. 
I'll send pictures next week because I forgot my camera cord.

I hope all is well back in the 801 because its all good here!!!!!
Elder Mitchell

Monday, April 20, 2015

Got a new companion and a new area

Kia Ora! 

This week has been pretty good but not very productive for missionary work although I think I have come down with a small flu. We have done heaps of service for some of the elderly people like mowing lawns and one of our members Raymond Gallagher who is just returning we helped him put a weather station thingy on his roof and then we had a pretty good lesson with him and his wife who is not a member. Raymond has been to a lot of different churches throughout his life such as Scientology, Catholic, Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, and several other different churches but after figuring out that they were all wrong, decided to return to our church. We had a pretty good discussion about some of the other churches and found out some interesting things about them.

On Saturday it rained all day and I'm not even exaggerating, it didn't stop for even 5 minutes the entire day but we didn't end up leaving the flat because I came down with the flu ( I think) which is still bugging me a bit but I think I'll be fine, the members have been taking pretty good care of me.

I forgot to say something about this when we saw it but while we were headed to our bishops house we were hearing a loud speaker saying something that we determined was not English so we followed the sound till we got to this field and found one of the weirdest sports I have ever seen played exclusively by Muslims. Its called Kabaddi. I was going to try and explain the rules but I think it would be better if you guys went to Youtube and tried to figure it out on your own. 

I am going to go play some rugby with our Zone Leaders so that will have to be all for the week!

Love you guys!!!

Elder Mitchell
This is my companion Elder Maurice Otto from Vanuatu.
PS.  My companion is Elder Maurice Otto. He is from Vanuatu and he is so funny. He speaks English pretty well but it is his 5th Language (Bislamic, Ngunesse, Tannesse, French and English) so that's pretty cool. Cyclone Pam just recently hit his hometown but he has gotten in contact with his family and they are alright although one of their houses got destroyed. It is very cold here for him because it doesn't get anywhere near this temperature back home so he sleeps with heaps of blankets and jackets on each night and it has only gotten to 11 C which is only about 51 F. 

Rototuna is a well-to-do suburb of Hamilton that reminds me a lot of Farmington. There is quite a bit of money here and we get fed quite a bit by the members. We are double covering the area with a set of Sisters, Sister Taufa and Sister Kinikini they are both from Tonga. The ward does have a Facebook page but I don't know who runs it. We don't have a car so we have to bike or walk everywhere but whenever it is raining the members come and pick us up for church and other meetings. It rains quite a bit here in Hamilton and for instance on Saturday, it rained all day non-stop which flooded the shortcut we usually take to get to other parts of our area. Not much is happening in our area lately which is different from Tokoroa because we were always getting new people to teach and getting heaps of lessons each day but here we spend most of our time biking from house-to-house to see new people or less-active members.