Elder Mitchell, Elder Gajultos, Elder Crank, Elder Noa, Elder Hirschi and President after District meeting on September 26th.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Kia Ora Family and Friends!
This will be my last email that I will be sending home I just wanted to share my testimony with all you before I return home.
These last 23 and a half months have been some of the best months of my life. I have seen people who have come from some of the worst backgrounds, turn their lives around and accept the gospel. I have seen families on the brink of divorce and seperation turn to Jesus Christ and be sealed in the Temple of Our God for time and all eternity. I know that this church is true, not because of the miracles that I have seen but because of the mighty change of heart that I have seen in others and in myself. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and Joseph Smith DID translate it by the Gift and Power of God.
I love each of you and look forward to seeing you in a short while.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
This will be my second to last email that I will be sending home.
So after getting the 'hint' we will be covering Kawerau last week we finally got a confirmation from the Zone Leaders that we will be moving over to K-town. Elder Gajultos and I were pretty happy about this as you could probably guess as the members here in this area are amazing and are a huge blessing to us as missionaries. We spent Tuesday saying our 'goodbyes' in Whakatane but since we are just moving down the road we will still be seeing the members over there every once in a while. Elder Holmes and Elder Lambert (A brand new elder from Idaho) replaced us in Whakatane and they seem to be doing well because we haven't got any calls yet so we assume they are doing alright haha:)
Wednesday we spent packing up the rest of our stuff that was in the Whakatane flat and moved all of our food over because we needed some extra stuff in our pantries. We spent Thursday through Saturday passing out invitations to General Conference which was kind of sad because none of the people that we invited actually came even though most of them committed to come to the Sunday Sessions.
Anyway, This last week was really good actually even though we didn't have any one come to Conference it was actually really good to watch it. There were so many great talks, I especially liked the Saturday afternoon session where Elder Christofferson spoke about unconditional love.
My companion did some calculation and he determined that I have just over 1 million seconds left serving in the mission field so I think that he is more trunky for me then I am. We have been working as hard as we can to fill those last 1,000,000 seconds with the best work that I have ever done in my previous 23 months.
Love you guys!
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Kia Ora family,
It has been a sad week here in Whakatane and Kawerau. On Tuesday after District meeting I had a really sore throat and a mean headache so I went back to our flat to change and to go out to work. We went and saw a couple of people but I felt so bad that I had to go back to rest. I got worse and worse throughout the day and so I called our Mission Presidents wife and she told me to stay in and rest so I did. That was Tuesday evening, it is now Monday afternoon and I still have not gotten better. I have an appointment with the doctor today so hopefully I will not lose any more time.
Anyway, we got a call from the Assistants a couple of hours ago about transfers. They told us that Elder Gajultos and I would be getting double-shifted out of Whakatane so we should pack our bags. I asked him where we will be going to and he replied that we will be staying together but we wouldn't be going very far. They wouldn't tell us but we are pretty sure that we will be covering Kawerau this next transfer (for me 3 weeks). If this is the case then this is the answer to my prayer I just hope that this can improve the missionary work in Whakatane.
That's all for today and I am sorry I don't have any pictures but you don't get to take many good pictures inside your flat...
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Kia Ora fam!
Been a great week here in Whakatane and Kawerau! We were fairly busy most of the week and actually got quite a bit done considering how much time we actually spent in our area. We had a couple conferences and meetings this week with the other missionaries and that took us away from our areas for most of the week.
On Saturday, (My birthday) we were in Kawerau and for the first couple hours of the morning we went around and tried to visit people but no one seemed to be home. We finally gave up and went to Kawerau Woodfest (which is were everyone else was) and started to talk with some of the people there. We watched some of the woodskills competitions and saw some really cool stuff actually. I have some really cool videos of the events that took place but you all will have to wait till I get home to see them. We also went and watched a tree-climbing competition which was pretty cool but I didn't even think that it was a sport.
On Sunday, (Elder Gajultos' birthday) we had church in Whakatane and then went to Kawerau for a 'branch council meeting' which ended up not happening but in its place they threw a birthday party for Elder G and I, and one of the members here who knows Elder Gajultos' mom from back home (She's Filipino) made us a cake for our birthdays. I am taking Elder Gajultos out to eat today for his birthday but I tried to make his 1st birthday in the mission the best it could be. It's crazy to think that this is my last birthday in the field and in 30 days I will be home back in the freezing Utah weather:)
Attached are some poor quality pictures of the Woodfest sign with the log round that I got while I was there. Also the Cake that Sister Matthews made us.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
And he is gone!!
Elder Bwebwetaake left on a bus this morning to go up to Hamilton. So it will just be Elder Gajultos and I for the next couple weeks until transfer when we get a new companion to replace me when I leave here mid-transfer.
Anyway, this last week has been pretty good, we didn't actually see much progress from the people we have been visiting for the past couple days until sunday when two of our investigators came to church in Kawerau! They only stayed for sacrament but they said that they will be able to come for the whole meeting next week. Elder Gajultos has been going very well with his training and I have tried to not show how trunky am I getting but I will just say that it has gone by so fast. I feel like just left my first area.
Here are some pics from our last couple P-days.
1. Is from a statue here in Whakatane
2. Is from Lake Tarawera
3. Is a pretty crack up sign here in Whakatane
September 2, 2016
I spoke at a Tangi (Maori Funeral) yesterday, one of the members in Kawerau died so they had President Hohepa and I to speak at the Marae which was kind of awkward but I think we did pretty well. Elder Bwebwetaake goes home next week on Tuesday and after he leaves it starts the countdown to when I go home. Elder Gajultos is doing much better this week, he is really getting into the missionary life and is not seeming to have any problems with the mission rules.
I spoke at a Tangi (Maori Funeral) yesterday, one of the members in Kawerau died so they had President Hohepa and I to speak at the Marae which was kind of awkward but I think we did pretty well. Elder Bwebwetaake goes home next week on Tuesday and after he leaves it starts the countdown to when I go home. Elder Gajultos is doing much better this week, he is really getting into the missionary life and is not seeming to have any problems with the mission rules.
I have some really good pictures but I forgot my camera cord so I won't be sending them this week.
Sorry this is kind of lame but I promise to send a better one next week.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Kia ora whanua!
Elder Bwebwetaake and I got a call Tuesday morning telling me that we would be staying in Whakatane and Kawerau and that I would be training a new Missionary! We went up to Tauranga on Thursday to pick up the new Elder from the bus station and since they didn't tell us his name, we didn't know who we were looking for. The new guy is Elder Gajultos from the Philippines and he is a pretty crack up dude. He is from Manilla so he is kind of a city boy so on his second day we took him to an investigators house to split firewood which was really cool and afterwards, the lady that we split wood for gave us a mean as feed.
We had a branch activity with the Kawerau branch on Saturday which was pretty crack up because it was Christmas-themed. We spent most of the afternoon on Saturday helping them cook the hangi (Maori way of cooking meet) for the party. A lot of people showed up to the activity which was really cool because a lot of them came to church the next day for the linger longer afterwards.
The rest of the week we were just driving around and trying to show Elder Gajultos both of the areas which has gone really good. He is a very smart missionary and is picking up the work here just fine. He will need to learn the area fairly quick because in 17 days Elder Bwebwetaake finishes and 41 days later I finish. Hopefully I can pass my knowledge onto him before I leave...
I'll send you more next week!
Monday, August 15, 2016
We went to church in Kawerau and I just have to say that the members here are some of the nicest people I have met! Because we are covering the two branches they are doing all they can to support us and earlier today Sister Bray (wife of a member of the branch presidency) offered to do our grocery shopping for us. We had dinner with the Kawerau Branch President yesterday to discuss missionary work and to suss out some kind of schedule so that we know if we will be in Kawerau or in Whakatane throughout the week. After we saw the other member of the Branch Presidency later to talk about the referrals that he had given the elders that they had not contacted yet.
We are both pretty excited to what is happening in both of our areas and are trying to get the members behind us so that we can keep both area progressing!
Gonna be a mean week!
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Kia Ora Fam and Friends!
So we have two sets here in Whakatane and so we needed to go and visit one of our sets for the week on Saturday before church. As we were driving up Elder Bwebwetaake saw Sierra (our set) through the window of her house so we went in to go see her. We talked to her boyfriend at the door and he said that she had gone to a birthday party so we thought that Elder Bwebwetaake had mistaken her for someone else but as we were leaving, we heard the guy yell out "Sierra they are gone! Sierra, they are gone, you can come back!".
That story basically describes the work here in Whakatane which is kind of sad. Other then that we didn't get to visit many of our Investigators but we did have Zone Meeting this week and one of the new sisters in the mission is Sister Mitchell so that's pretty cool haha:)
I don't really have much else to say but thanks for your prayers and faith!
Sunday, July 31, 2016
wrote this email last week but I forgot to send it, sorry guys!!!!
Looked at my emails and it seems like everyone back home is ready for me to come home haha :)
Last Monday after emails, we had a district P-day with the Opotiki and the Kawerau Elders at Ohopi beach. We started off playing some Rugby on the beach (turns out brand-new elders are pretty rubbish at touch) and after Elder Bwebwetaake and I scored a couple of uncontested tries, they were ready to give up and so we went on a hike. We ended up getting to a section where there were some maintenance going on the trail so we had to turn back.
The rest of the week was pretty mean as we were able to visit our sets and help encourage them. One of them keeps dodging us so we haven't been able to do a whole lot with her but the other is super excited which is really nice. Willie (the more excited investigator) is really cool, he works at Pak N' Save (which is like a worse version of Costco) as a night sweeper. Whenever we go over there, we have to be careful because he can push the conversation or lesson in a direction that isn't favorable.
Now the last 2 days have just been weird as. The Opotiki Elders locked themselves out of their flat so we had to get the keys from the Zone Leaders and it turned out that none of the keys that they gave us worked. They ended up having to stay Saturday night with us in Whakatane and we took them to Church in Opotiki on Sunday morning. The sacrament meeting might have been the weirdest church meeting I have ever attended. During the speakers we had people talking to the speaker while he was talking and whenever someone would say something that they agreed with, they would say "Kia Ora" which is basically how they do it at the Marae (Maori meeting house).
Hopefully everyone back home is not dead because the only email I got today was from the Mission Cards haha all goods :)
Love you guys!!!
Sunday, July 24, 2016
This week's and last week's letter:
I moved this last Thursday to Whakatane (pronounced 'Fakatanee') which means literally " Act like a man" so I'm not sure if that is a sign haha. It is pretty beautiful but on my first night here I got sick so we haven't been able to do much work. We spent a lot of time cleaning the flat because the previous Elders didn't clean before they left, when I see them next I am going to give them a hiding. My companion is Elder Bwebwetaake from Kiribati (pronounced "kiddybus") and he is pretty mean. He goes home before I do so I have been trying to not get too trunky but I think our Mission President wants me to be super trunky when I go home.
My nose has been running hard out since Thursday night so I need to try and get that all sussed but right now we are in this internet Cafe in town and it costs $6 to email for 1 hour so I am not going to write a whole lot so I will send more next week!
Love you guys!
Monday, July 4, 2016
Short email this week...
I am just going to put in the highlights of the week because I don't have much time.
1. We had a non-member come to church yesterday and try to video tape the fast and testimony meeting for "personal reference". He has a Jehovah's witness background and we think he is going to go show it to them haha....
2. On Thursday during MCM our BML walked into the room late, and then rage-quit out of the room. It turned out that he was having family problems and just forgot to tell us that he was leaving.
3. Our flat is being sold so we had someone rock up at like 7 and just walk inside our house without knocking. Luckily I was not in the main room because I did not have pants on yet. The Lady thought she scheduled an appointment with us but she never did.
4. Our New Mission President came in this week so we all got a call from our Old Mission President the night before he left.
That's about all for this week but I love you all and hope to hear from you all soon!
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Chur my cuzzies!!!
Pretty good week here in the NZHM. I probably won't write a whole lot because I am pretty knackered. We have been working really hard over the past couple of days to try and get the members excited about missionary work but other than that, not a whole lot has changed with our investigators since last week (or the last couple weeks for that matter). There are several challenges that plague this area, the first being that the large geographic boundaries make it very difficult to keep investigators progressing because we only see them once or (if we are lucky) twice a week. The other problem is the lack of commitment from the previous missionaries who would never try and teach investigators or less-actives but would just play games or watch TV with them which just ruins their expectations of missionary work. Even though these challenges exist, Elder Kailea and I try and work past them.
Other than that we had a trip to Hamilton this week for President Rudd's Farewell which was awesome. Also I got bit by a dog but I was pretty lucky because the dog was really quite small.
Attached are pictures with President and Sister Rudd and the Dog bite mark
Its a winter wonderland here in New Zealand.
My companion got sick on Tuesday so we spent most of the week home because he was coughing up a lung most of the day. We managed to get out for a few minutes throughout the week but he spent most of the week in bed. The weather here has gone bad over the past couple of weeks, we planned on going hiking with some the YSA and the Coromandel Sisters but because it has been raining all day we doubt that would be a good idea. There is not much to do here on P-day as a missionary which kinda sucks, but the rest of the week is usually pretty mean.
We finally got to do some work yesterday after church and while we were out working we met this guy named Shane. He lives in a boat on the Thames Harbour and after our BML invited him back to his place to have a chat, we found out that he is basically homeless (but not boatless) and that he basically begs for a living. Missionaries have been visiting with him for a while all around the country, but he doesn't want to join the church because he doesn't want to pay tithing because of his low income. Its kind of a sad story as He is only a year older then I am.
Didn't get to take any pictures this week, sorry everyone!
Monday, June 13, 2016
Been an interesting week here in the Paeroa Branch.
We recently started creating a new Branch Mission Plan and since our BML and our Branch Missionaries do not know how to use Microsoft Word I was given the 'privilege' of typing it up. It has been really good to be able to work with our Branch like how we have been for the past couple of weeks and this plan will help us and future missionaries stay focused on the goals of this area. We set as a goal to become a Ward by December 2017. The Paeroa Branch is quite big so I think that we can achieve it but it will take the support of the members.
We had Zone Meeting this week and since President Rudd is going home at the end of the month we had a few really cool announcements. First we have an additional set of rules (The Protocols) for our mission and recently Pres. Rudd got rid of them which means that I can wear shorts and flip-flops again but I don't want to because it is too cold here now. We also received additional instruction regarding the new mission president which was interesting.
Also my scheduled release date is November 1st so that means 141 days from today I will be home so make sure to plan any parties accordingly eh?
1st- There is a hill in our area that overlooks 3 cities. They are Pauanui, Tairua, and Paku (where the hill is located)
2nd- Zone Photo #GoingHAMZone
3rd- Beach art with my companion and I
Friday, June 10, 2016
Scene: Tuesday Morning in Waihi (2 days till transfers)
Elder Van Thiel (VTB):"I have transfer news for you guys!"
Elder Finau and I(Us):"Awesome! Lets here it!"
VTB:" Elder Mitchell you will be staying in Paeroa!"
Us: "So Elder Finau and I will be together another transfer???"
VTB: "No Elder Finau will be leaving to the Tongan Program in Papakura"
Us: "Nah, but for real though he is staying here right?"
VTB: " Yeah, nah Elder Finau will be leaving, Elder Mitchell's new companion will be Elder Kailea"
So I will be staying another transfer here in Paeroa but Elder Finau is moving on to another area. I wanted to stay here in Paeroa but I wanted to kill Elder Finau off (he finishes this transfer). I guess the Lord had other plans for us! Elder Finau was pretty mad because he was only here one transfer and didn't get to say goodbye to hardly anyone before we had to take off on Thursday morning.
Elder Kailea is from Tonga and has been out on his mission for 22 months so he will finish here in Paeroa. He is my 3rd Tongan companion in a row in this area which is alright cuz I am already used to the FOB (fresh off the boat) things that they tend to do.
We have been killing it here for the past couple of days as we have just finished updating our ward list (a project that I started when I first got into the area) and we have begun a draft for a new Branch Mission Plan. There are a lot of good things happening in our area and I am so excited to see what this next transfer has to bring!
flip.... I forgot to bring my cord for my camera again sorry everyone!!!
Monday, May 23, 2016
Kia Ora everyone!
This was actually a fairly good week! Aside from all of the driving we have done we managed to see all of the people that we had planned to see during weekly planning. Monday was spent mostly just exercising and playing touch with the Youth here in Paeroa. Tuesday was my DL calls since we no longer have District Meetings because the sisters live 3 hours away so I just call them and give them a spiritual thought to lift their spirits. Wednesday was our Kerepehi and Ngatea day so we ended up in service clothes splitting wood at around 3 and spent the rest of the day delivering it to members and non-members in the area.
Thursday we had to drive to Hamilton for Elder Finau's tooth so that took basically all day and at the end they forgot to take out one of the wires that they put in so we had go back again on Friday which took most of Friday as well. Saturday our Branch activity got cancelled so we were pretty disappointed with that but we were able to visit Whangamata (Paradise) which was mean because it was a beautiful day. Sunday was spent in meetings with the Branch Presidency, With our recent converts, and helping out our Second Counselor with his computer because he doesn't know how to use a mac. Lol.
Anyway that was my week!
Sorry didn't get much time to email today....
After my last Mother's day skype that may or may not have made me trunky. We went out and got to work, at least that's what we wanted to do. We worked fairly hard through Tuesday and Wednesday and were able to see all of the people that we needed to see but our success was short-lived.
On Thursday I woke up with a sore eye so I had my companion drive us to Hamilton for his dentist appointment (Root canal, fun right?). I ended up having to drive home but basically with only one eye. The next morning my eye was killing me so I went and waited at the doctors office for 3 hours (the joys of socialized medicine) before they would help me. They told me it was Bacterial Conjunctivitis and gave me an ointment to put on my eye for a couple of days. My eye has gotten much better but it has made my right eye really sensitive to light so I have been getting mean headaches for the past couple days.
Sunday was pretty good but one of the Tongan Families invited us over for dinner and when we got there they would not let us leave because they boxed our car in with all of their cars. So we walked to a house down the street and taught a lesson before calling it a night.
And that's my week!!!
Sorry no pics of my eye, it was really red and looked pretty painful.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Greetings from Aotearoa or the Land of the Long White Cloud!
This week was transfers and I found out on Tuesday morning that Elder Coconut Lobster (Niu'unga) would be leaving to South Auckland to the Tongan program up there. I also found out that my new companion would be Elder Finau who was in my intake when we came into the mission. He is a great elder but has been in the Tongan Program for most of his mission so he has a lot of habits/expectations that are not the best for country branches. Elder Finau is from Saint George, Utah so he has a drivers license so when I get too tired to drive I can ask him to take over while I rest. All of the driving we do really takes a toll on you....
We went on a run this morning and he kept up with me most of the way but at the end was just way too tired so he wants to bike next to me now instead of running. While we were out running we found a gym that we might try and go exercise at but will still need to find out how much it costs and if it is worth it. I have been trying to get back into shape and have been doing extra workouts at night to drop off a few Kg's and get more fit.
I love all you guys and look forward to seeing you in a few short months!
Monday, April 18, 2016
Monday, April 4, 2016
Sorry for the late email Fam! I have been at the chapel to help prepare for the Family Home Evening tonight (it's Monday here). This will just be a short email because we have to go home and get changed to go back out and proselyte (work hard, play hard) in a few minutes.
We went to the temple this week and I came out with a few answers to my questions and received a lot of revelation for the people in we are teaching but I came out with a few questions that I have been pondering about which have the subject of my studies since then.
The rest of the week was pretty interesting. There was a retro car show going on in Whangamata so we changed our plans on Wednesday so that we could go up and catch some of the people that would be walking around up there. It turns out that Wednesday was the day that they prepare for the party/show so we ended up just seeing some cool old cars and a few rich dudes who weren't interested at all in the gospel.... Yay!
That is all the exciting stuff this week had to offer so kind of disappointing but we are just keeping our heads up and trying to be as obedient as possible.
Love you guys!!!
Sunday, April 3, 2016
This week (like many other weeks before) we drove a lot...
On Monday we drive down from Waihi to Paeroa (about a 40k drive round trip) to email and then back to Waihi at night after we are done seeing those people we need to while we are down here. This week we had a FHE so we just stayed at the chapel basically all day.
Tuesday and Wednesday are usually spent between Kerepehi, Ngatea, Turua, Waitakaruru, and Thames which are about 50-60 Ks away from Waihi (where we live) and all of the people that we visit are far away from each other so we end up driving another 10-20 around the area. If we get stuck on a bad day we end up driving for about 2-3 hours.
Thursday is spent in Paeroa as well as anyone we need to see on the way through Karangahake Gorge. Its usually a pretty effective day as we don't have to drive a whole lot but sometimes we end up having to run errands for our Branch Presidency around the area.
Friday is a tough one. We drive up to Whangamata (about 30k one-way) plus if we have an appointment in Pauanui then we have to drive about an hour just to see a couple of people before dinner.
Saturday is spent in Waihi which gives me a break on driving so that's nice. But Sunday has us driving back to Paeroa then Thames to finish off our week.
We usually end up driving about 700-900 Ks a week depending on if we have to drive to Hamilton or not. Sorry for not making it easy for anyone who is not familiar with the metric system so you'll just have to convert all the distances (LOL, homework for all the Americans).
That's what a typical week looks like here in Paeroa Branch. This week was a pretty slow week because of said driving but hopefully the new people that we found will continue to progress and make all of that gas worth-while!
Sunday, March 20, 2016
We had a mean week here in the Thames Valley (the name of the district which I am covering)!
We had exchanges this week with the Zone Leaders but since they are down in Hamilton we had them meet us up here and then we blitzed the area for a couple hours. We split up to go make some miracles so I was with Elder Van Thiel and Elder Niu'unga was with Elder Greep. It was a good exchange as we were able to visit a lot of people but as we started the exchange, it started raining (It didn't stop for 3 days). We started the day in Waihi which was pretty interesting because we blew threw 2 hours of plans in about 15 minutes and so we spent the time before lunch walking the streets and talking with people.
While we were tracting later that day, we met a Christian couple (they didn't tell us which denomination they were from) who tried to preach to us why there is no need for Prophets in these last days because the Holy Spirit was to guide us in a "unity of the faith". They proceeded to smash on us about why we did certain things in our church, but we just stood there and listened and when they finished we thanked them for their time and left. I have learned to never argue with people like that and while I was in Gisborne I bought a Triple Combination ( BoM, D&C, PoGP) so I would not be able to Bible Bash. It has continued to pay off :)
Our Branch Mission Leader got released on Sunday because of some of the problems that he has been causing in our Branch. Brother Whitehead will now be our Acting BML until a new one is called because it might take a while to find someone else because of the small numbers in the Branch. The members here feed us really well which is nice and they make sure that we are always being looked after, they love the missionaries (it also helps to have a Tongan companion in a branch that is largely Tongan)!
Loving it here in Paeroa!!!!
The attached pictures are
1. A predicament that I had in one of our Less-Active members homes. I hoped that I could perform a miracle like the feeding of the 5 thousand but I was on my own with this one.
2. One of our members pants, Wow so style, 10/10 cool, very look,
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Kia Ora everyone!
There hasn't been much exciting stuff that has happened here in Paeroa but we have been able to rustle up a few new investigators that we will start teaching next week. Because of how big our area is and how many different areas we have to cover, We can only spend about 1-2 days in each town group each week. This makes it hard to have daily contact with investigators who live far away from the town you are visiting which is difficult to get people progressing.
On Monday we spend the day in Waihi (where our flat is) but since it is our P-day we ended up just hanging out at the chapel and playing games with Shane-o (our WML) because it poured rain all-day. Tuesday was still rainy but we managed to go up to Thames to help Bro. Whitehead (2nd counselor in the branch presidency) at his shop. I have gotten to know Bro. Whitehead pretty well when I was back in Te Aroha because his metal-working shop was in our area so we would always go help him out and he would come with us to lessons. His new shop in Thames is much nicer then the old one in T.A. but we are still trying to get it fixed up so he can focus on making new product.
Wednesday was mostly spent driving from one dropped appointment to another. We ended up walking around Kerepehi most of the day but did manage to find some new people to teach in that area so we will definitely have some work to this week! Thursday was Zone Meeting and it was basically the same training as the last Zone Meeting but they did tell us about Interviews with President and a Mission Tour with some of the people from the Missionary Department. Friday was spent mostly at a Tangihanga (Maori funeral) which was alright because we got fed pretty well. I got called on (as missionaries always do at funerals) to give a talk about the deceased but since I had only been in the area 8 days, I didn't ever get to meet the lady. I ended up testifying of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and bearing my testimony and after I sat down, they all stood up and began to sing Maori songs. It is a good thing I have been to a few of these before so I new some of the lyrics but I still didn't understand what I was saying.
The rest of the week was alright but not much progress happened on either Saturday or Sunday but we did get to do MCM after church which will definitely help for this next week.
PS. I also want to give a #ShoutOut to my older Brother Nik and my new sister in-law Alexia for getting married last week. Love you guys and I am so happy for you and your new bond :)
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Transfer week and I am in my 6th area!!!!
Because of the problems that have been happening in my new area the past couple of transfers, President Rudd gave me a call on Tuesday telling me that I am being transferred to clean up a mess that the previous missionaries have caused. I am now in the Paeroa Branch with Elder Niu'unga who is from Tonga. A few months ago I was serving in Te Aroha which is only about 10 minutes south of Paeroa so we got to know a few of the locals so I was able to hit the ground running and make connections with people because of my past areas and the people that I have been around.
I had a great last couple of days in Gizzy and got to see some of my investigators before leaving. I was kinda sad to get the news that I was leaving but I decided to put my head down and work. When I left we had 6 people that are super close to baptism and on my last night in Gisborne, I had the chance to set Allie and Nathan for baptism on the 19th of March. They asked if I could come down and baptize them when the date comes but I said our mission president probably would not allow it. I have had a really bad streak of baptisms my whole mission. Every time I set an investigator for baptism, I always get transferred before the date comes.
The Branch up here in Paeroa is a really good little group of people. The area covers several small towns including: Paeroa, Waihi, Whangamata, Thames, Ngatea, Karangahake, Kerepehi,and Puriri. We spend quite a bit of time driving everyday but it is good because we get to work in a lot a different areas and see a variety of people. This next transfer is an 8 week transfer so we will be here for a bit longer but hopefully that will be long enough to see some baptisms!!!!
Pics are of Allie and Nathan on my last in Gizzy and of me with a bronze statue here in Waihi.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
From now on, you must refer to the missionaries in Gisborne as the Justice League okay?
We had a crazy week here in the Gisborne Zone! Since I am the DL here and since transfers is coming up, I had to do one last exchange with the Elders in my District and the Zone Leaders. On Monday I drove up the coast to go do a short exchange with the Bay Elders who cover a couple branches up in the northern part of Gizzy. The exchange went pretty good and I definitely understand the problems that they have with visiting people regularly.
We switched back Tuesday night and then they stayed the night at our flat because it is a 2 and a half hour drive up to their flat and it was really dark by the time we got back to Gisborne. The exchange with the ZL's was good because we got to do heaps of work and go out to Manutuke and visit some of their investigators out there. We had plenty of opportunities to talk about how the last transfer has been and what we want to do to help our district and zone for the next transfer.
Now to my exchange with the Tongan Elders.... When we opened up our exchange we walked outside and I saw a bike that looked like one of our mission bikes but not being ridden by a missionary. Turns out it was stolen from one of the previous elders and we ended up getting it off the guy after the cops came. Then later when the Zone Leaders were taking the bike back to their flat, they saw the bike that got stolen off Elder Fesolai when I was on exchange with the Zone Leaders. We ended up getting that bike back as well so now the Zone Leaders have all the serial numbers for the bikes in Gisborne so that no one will be stealing our bikes anytime soon!!!!
We are bringing justice back to the streets of Gisborne, one bike at a time!!!!!
Planking on the pier.
Sometimes it's sad being the only white guy.
Monday, February 15, 2016
Gonna be a really short email this week because we are going up the coast with our Zone Leaders to go sight-seeing and to take some mean-as pictures.
This last week went pretty well. Although I don't think there was much of a difference in the work that we got done, it made it much easier because I came into the week with a better attitude which allowed us to work a little bit happier in our conditions. We have been having a few problems here in Gisborne with trying to find new people to teach and with helping our current investigators progress toward baptism which are problems that most of the world is facing as well so I know its nothing new. It has been really warm over here in New Zealand (haha sucks to be you guys in Utah #SnowAllDayEveryday) and since our flat doesn't have AC we have had to find people we can go and teach during the daytime with AC.
Barry got his answer and it came to us in the form of a text we got from him on Sunday morning telling us that he is going to busy for the next month for a boys club thing and that he would let us know when a good time we can come over. I have been out on my mission to know that when people say they will text you to give you a time, it probably won't happen. But I have been trying to work on being more hopeful and trying to avoid being negative so that is something that I will definitely need to pray for help on. We are disappointed that he has lost interest but everyone has their agency right???
Here we go again!!!!
Sunday, February 7, 2016
The title of this email finally has something to do with my week!
I got a haircut last week on Monday from one of the members and while they were giving me a cut, He told me that my crown was so big that he originally thought it was 3 crowns. He went and got a cup and was able to place it on my crown. It made cutting my hair in the way I wanted pretty difficult but he still managed to give me a decent cut.
Other than people making fun of how my head is shaped, my week was pretty good! We had some really good lessons with our investigators. On Wednesday after Zone Conference, we had our exchanges with the Mangapapa Elders so we went to go see Barry and Lucky and set up an appointment for the next day when I would be with Elder Fesolai to teach them about the Law of Chastity. Barry and his partner Lucky have been really struggling with this commandment ever since we started coming over because they know that eventually they will have to get married or split up.
As we taught Barry about the Law, we explained to him why these things are so important to God and why we need to keep ourselves free from all sins of that nature. The Spirit was so strong in that room as we taught him that he couldn't say much at all except look at the pamphlet. As we left he thanked us for coming and we committed him to pray about what we taught. He texted us last night and said he has got his answer so we will go over tomorrow to see what he has been told. I hope that he got the answer we have been praying for but we love him all the same!
Allie also came to church this Sunday!!! She knows one of the members so we will have a FHE with them tonight. Loving it here in Gisborne!
Sorry its kind of a short email, we need to drive up the coast to go give the Tokomaru Bay Elders forgot their flat key in their flat and we have their spare. #FunThingsYouGetToDoOnPDay.
Kia Kaha! (Be Strong)
What a week....
After a really boring first couple of days. We got news that we were having a special trip up to Auckland to see Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! This was the 3rd Apostle I have met since I have been on my mission (Elder Bednar and Elder Cook) and it was such an amazing experience.
We did run into one problem though, The trip was on Friday and Saturday the 29th and 30th of January which means we all had basically no money for food because when you travel you have to either have take-aways or bring food to eat while you drive and since we didn't have much food at the flat anyway (We are always on the struggle here in Gisborne) we had basically no other way of getting food. Our Zone Leaders realized this problem and found out that the rest of the zone was in the same situation as us so they called the mission office to get some help for the trip up. They couldn't give us money right then but they would have it by the time we got up to Hamilton so we decided to just leave it to the Lord and we made our way up to the conference.
We had one thing that happened to us that can only be described as a miracle and it took place as we were driving into Tauranga. We were all really hungry but since we didn't have much money we thought we were going to have to drive all the way to Hamilton (another couple of hours) to get our money. Elder Fellingham (one of our Zone Leaders) felt prompted to go drive to this Fish and Chips shop and see how much it costs. When he stepped inside there was a member who gave us $20 for dinner but not knowing that there was 8 companionship's that needed to be fed she thought it was enough. It turned out to be just enough. We ordered as much food as possible with that money and then divided it to the other missionaries. After a blessing, we ate and were filled! As we left, one of the sisters said to me, "I prayed that there would be food enough for us all, and there was! God really does answer prayers!" I am so grateful to be apart of a miracle, even though it was something quite small in most peoples eyes.
The conference went really good and we came out of it with a lot of spiritual insights that we had never before seen. It gave us some things we can use to help our investigators receive the restored gospel!
Thanks for all the support and I will talk to you all later!!!!
These are pictures he took at a museum that he went to on P-Day
Sunday, January 24, 2016
This week we saved some souls!!!! I was still struggling with my ankle over the beginning of the week but at around Wednesday I eventually started to do better but we had already wasted a good couple of days that we could have used actually working. It was kind of crappy because we didn't get our car back and probably won't for another couple of days but the doctor also told me that I should try and avoid walking long distances because it can just make my foot worse. We tried to schedule all of our appointments near our flat but ended up calling the Zone Leaders whenever we needed a ride some place else but I can tell it is getting kind of annoying for them so we have tried to find other people to give us rides when we have to go across town.
Other than that we had a lot of success with just the few people we were able to visit. We saw Keeda and Madi (two of our 'investigators' whose mother is a Less-active) and had dinner with them and afterwards we taught them the 10 commandments which they then taught to their mother. They are such funny girls and are a lot smarter than you would think they are but they are partially deaf so have struggles with when we say things we have to be really clear with what we say and how we say certain things. It brings up some challenges in teaching but has helped Elder Fesolai and I grow our teaching skills. We tried to re-set them but they said they need to decide where they are getting baptized before they re-commit to a date.
We also saw Berry but his partner, Lucky was not home. We are hoping that she is still interested but Berry is always super keen on learning and is really accepting with the commitments that we leave with them.
I got a call on Friday night telling me that I am the new District Leader over the Gisborne area which was very surprising to me because I knew that one of the other Elders was the DL. It turns out that they did something stupid which got them in trouble and since our district is pretty big, they couldn't just let the Zone Leaders do it. President Rudd called me and talked with me about what had happened and that I need to be super vigilant with disobedience and that if I see anything wrong that I should call him and the Zone Leaders immediately.
I was not super excited about this call because of all the stress that has come when I have been District Leader before but after spending most of the night praying for help and guidance I felt a sense of peace come over me that made me know that although it would be difficult, it could be done and that I would receive help with my duties. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and that he truly does love his children and want to help lift their burdens.
I hope you guys have a nice and cool week because it going to be hot here in Gisborne!!!
Sunday, January 17, 2016
This week we had transfers!
Monday and Tuesday were alright but we didn't get a whole lot done. We found out about transfer news on Tuesday and that Elder Christensen is going to Taumarunui and that Elder Fesolai from Apia, Samoa will be replacing him here in Gisborne. I have had a few Samoan companions so far on my mission and I will just say that this will be an interesting transfer. Later, Elder Christensen and I went around and said all of his goodbyes which was really hard for him because leaving your first area is always difficult and we had a few people that he got really close to but he managed to get through it all. I am definitely going to miss Elder Christensen, he is one of the best missionaries that I have ever served with and hopefully I get the chance to serve around him again before I leave.
While we were playing basketball Wednesday morning, I landed on one of the other Elders foot which made my ankle go all funny and sprained it pretty bad. I thought that it would be alright after resting and icing it for a while but it still wasn't getting any better. We went to do service and while Elder Fellingham and Elder Christensen were working I was sitting off to the side resting my ankle. We did service for this South African Lady and while I was sitting around, I taught her about the Restoration. She confided in me some stuff about her past and how she has done some pretty bad things but I testified to here that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, she can be made clean from those past mistakes. I am so thankful to be able to teach people like her about repentance and how our Older Brother has already paid for those mistakes.
Elder Fesolai came in on Thursday and we got directly into........ sitting down and icing my ankle. I went to the doctors on Wednesday and they told me I need to stay off it for at least 48-72 hours and that I need to make sure to be doing the whole R.I.C.E. ( Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) and all of that jazz. We didn't get hardly any work done the next couple days.
Saturday was mean!!!!! We went and saw Cathy and had an awesome lesson with her. We shared with her C.P.R. (church, prayer, reading) and how important Sabbath Day Worship is in keeping God's commandments. She has had a problem keeping the Sabbath Day but said at the end of it that during this next week she will try and schedule things so that they don't conflict with church or do things on Sunday that she shouldn't do. We also saw Berry and Lucky and taught them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a focus on Repentance and Baptism. They are not married but are living in the same house so that will definitley need to change before getting wet but I have Faith in them that they will be able to make those commitments to one another and to God.
Then.... Berry and Lucky came to church on Sunday!!!!! After a pretty awkward arrival they had a good time in sacrament meeting and after the people were so nice to them that they decided to stay for the full 3 hour block! In Gospel Principles, Berry got and bore his testimony and he made most of the people in the room cry including himself and our Bishop. He is such a humble guy and has such strong faith.
This week has gone much better than last week and hopefully we are able to make some progress with our teaching pool over these next couple of weeks. I want to have a baptism here before I leave!!!
Flip.... I forgot my cord. I promise I will send pics next week!!!!
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
This was a pretty disappointing week.
We spent all of last week setting up appointments and making arrangements so that we could have an awesome week before transfers but for some reason everyone just decided to either cancel out on us, dodge us, or drop us. When we hit about Thursday, Elder Christensen (the elder I am training) was moments away from tears because some of the people that we had been working really heavily with just said that they didn't want us to come back, some of which we had set for baptism. Elder C was about to throw in the towel when it got to Saturday because of some people that were giving us a hard time and one of them chased us with a baseball bat across town. I had to give him a blessing so that he wouldn't just give in and go home because of some of the challenges that have come up. I hope that this next week is better for us because he is really struggling to deal with some of these things.
It seems that while I become a better and better missionary, new and difficult challenges keep getting in the way. I was reading in the First Book of Nephi chapter 16 lately about how Nephi dealt with problems when they arose. Instead of murmuring about how his bow broke, he went out and solved the problem and made a new bow. I have felt a lot like Laman and Lemuel over the past couple of days as they come out with all these new rules and with all of the challenges we have been facing but I realize that all that I am doing is making myself bitter and getting no work done in return.
I know that Faith is a principle of action and all I need to do is to go out and work and solve the problems instead of complaining about them.
This email may be kind of short but it has taken me quite a while to realize how stupid I sounded while complaining about some of the new rules. I have definitely been able to see that the problem was not with the rules or with other people but with me. I know that this probably doesn't make sense to a lot of you but I hope you all have a good week!!!!
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Our flat is on 220 Wainui Road. If you look on Google Maps at our flat you can only see part of it because it is behind other houses but if you move over a little bit you can see more of it. We live close by the Ghetto of Gisborne so you will probably see some pretty run down houses on some of the side streets but we live on the main road. Gisborne is a beautiful place and there is a lot of really cool things to do around but I mainly just like the beach which is really close by to our flat.
We had a small party at our Zone Leaders flat on New Years to celebrate one of the other missionaries birthdays as well as the New Year. We had a really slow week just trying to get everything back to normal but even with all the interruptions we were able to get the best numbers in the Zone. This mission has taught me so much about hard work when it seems like no one is watching even though some times it may not feel like you are being held accountable. The past 2 transfers have definitely given me a new taste of missionary work and shown me what I need to do to become the best missionary I can be. I have been missing you guys like crazy the past couple weeks but I will be home before you know it!
Thanks for the package for Christmas! It provided some much need help as I have been wearing out my socks like mad over the past couple of weeks. One of the Elders in Gisborne right now will be going home next transfer so I am going to send him home with a package for you guys. I'm not going to send a mass email to everyone this week so just send my love out to everyone and that emotional stuff!