Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 2014 - The Mission Field!!

7 April 2014
Transfer 1 Week 1

So I'm finally out in the mission field. I am in Harbour Stake, Auckland, in a place called Orewa. It's full of caucasion people and it's a pretty rich area. We are on the hill underneath a mansion. It's like this tiny little apartment with 2 bedrooms buuut they're small and because we have to sleep in the same room we sleep in the loungeroom haha. So we are the first Sisters in this area. Its a HUGE area... and it was just covered by Elders before.. we go from one side of the country to the other. So find Orwea on a map, and we go down to Red Beach, and cover across to Warkworth and to the other coast. Anyways, its huge so they split the area and were sharing it with Elders. We have a car – I'm the driver!!! If we had bikes it would be impossible. But we bought bikes so one day were going to go for a ride down where its flat but there are so many intense hills – the car struggles!! Anyways so that's my area.
My companion - Sister Bonilla
MY COMPANION is Sister Bonilla Cerna from Perth. She's a legend!! So we've been in a lot of the same places at once. She came to the first dance that Jonny went to when he first came home from his mission. She has a twin sister marrying Topher. If that helps anyone - I remember thinking she was asian buuuuuut turns out shes from El Salvador so thats pretty gangsta!!! (Sarah she speaks Spanish!!!). Ummm we get a long ridiculously well, seriously I am so blessed!!! We hit it off straight away and she has been such a fantastic trainer.  Were hoping to be together for the full 3 months of training buuuut apparently i might end up being a trainer in 6 weeks time so who kows, that's doubtful, so hopefully we can stay together becauses shes seriously a legend and we stay up late at night having cute chatsies J
So the area is hard. Everyone is white and rich and no one wants to talk about religion! But that's okay because we love them all anyway, even the ones who are super rude J because we're the first lot in the area there is not really an area book (a book which talks about all current investigators and recent converts in the area). So we didn’t have much ot go off at all except a few people that got taught a years agp. So we pretty much started fresh. We did go to meet one lady but she had met the missionaries years ago and isn’t interested, so we decided to talk to people in the street and knock on doors.
I saw a lady with kids in the front yard and said “sooooo should we go talk to her/” Sister Bonilla was like YES! So we went and had a chat but she was on the way out to go pick up dinner and asked us to come back in 20min. We did and she was home and she is incredible. Her name is Suzie and she has 2 little girls aged 9 and 2. We were trying to get to know her and she said she felt like what we were teaching was true and asked to be baptised.... Of course we said yes!! We explained we have more to teach her first so we set her for the 19th April and her daughter as well. I gave her a Book of Mormon and asked her to read 3 paragraphs from the introduction. We came back the next day and she had read all the introdctuion, the 8 witnesses and 5 pages of first Nephi. She loved it!! We taught her the first lesson “the Restoration” and she told us she knew Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon was true. We asked her how she knew this and she said she feels it in her heart, the Holy Ghost is telling her!! SUCH A MIRACLE!!! She is so elect!! She has a Christian background so the has a lot of knowledge of the Bible so it's been great to be able to add to that. Weve met with her a lot in the last few days and are teaching her again tonight. Her daughter also makes bracelets and made me one, so cute!! I wear it everyday!!
The next investigator is Margaret. She's in her late 60's and her husband died and she's sad but she is going out bowling and line dancing trying to make friends. We extended her commitments and prayed with her on the first meeting. We're visiting her again tomorrow night and she said she's looking forward to learning more!
The third investigator is a true miracle. There’s a street my companion kept saying she wanted to tract but we had no time until Saturday. We met a less active member who was welcoming but not keen. So we knocked on a few doors and came to a Women's Refuge Centre.  I said we should go in and finding faith in Christ could really help some of these ladies.  A young Spanish boy (aged 8) let us in and took us to his mum.  Shes from Columbia, she speaks a little bit of English but not much.  So because my companion can understand Spanish they had a massive conversation, well the lady spoke and my companion listened.  I just sat there smiling haha. I played with the kids a bit and tried to pick up key words. From learning Italian at school i could get the general gist of the story. Shes had a very hard and rough life. I had no idea what she was talking about at one point (LITERALLY NO IDEA) but the spirit prompted me to share a scripture. I was so nervous, it was my 3rd day and i didn’t want to do anything wrong buuut the spirit was adamant that i share it. It was 1Corinthians 10:13. It talks about trials and temptations and how you can overcome anything. So i gave it to my companion and turns out the lady had a Spanish Bible. So we got that out and found it... I told her that I don’t know why im sharing it but Heavenly Father wanted her to read it.. so she did and she started crying. My companion explained to me later they had been talking about temptations and how Satan can try to take control etc etc etc. So it was PERFECT for the situation. Anyway we invited her to church and she came yesterday!!! She loved it, and her 2 spanish kids are so cute. We're seeing her again tonight and she is very very keen J

Lunch by the beach with Sister Bonilla

So thats been my week. We have spent a lot of time getting to know the members and visit those on our ‘ward list’ (a list that says who's records are in our area). Weve been going through that and sharing messages and finding out who is still coming to church and who is not and who has moved etc. Ummmm and yeah. Thats all J ha
So, I LOVE being a missionary.  Seriously happy all the time, even when people are rude, its still all great J The days go by so quick! There is so much work to do! Have lots of dinner appointments this week with members and their friends that they're referring, so it's great. The ward here is lovely and theyre so excited to have Sister missionaries and were going to be getting a lot of referrals. (I hope!)
Man, why didn’t I come out on a mission earlier, its seriously the bomb diggity bomb.
The church is true everyone!!!!
Love Sister Heal

14 April 2014
Transfer 1 - Week 2

Short post this week as we just got a call from the Elders and they're picking us up in 5min to go to the Stake Centre for funzie activities!! Last minute, so I didn't plan this out well but thankyou everyone for all the emails, I got like 30 this week - Loved it!!!!! I'm sorry for anyone I didnt reply to but I will next week I promise! Ok here is a dotpointed list of my week!

- We have a few new investigators this week which we're working with.  5 more from last week!
-We have one new person set for baptism for the 3rd May.  He is such a lovely guy! He is 60 and lost his wife earlier this year and he is just so happy to be learning about God and Christ and praying! The church changes lives!
- General confrence was AMAZING!!! Sunday morning session blew my mind!!!
- Going on trade offs tomorrow with the Sister Training Leaders
- We have done LOTS of door knocking but were starting to have success!

Love Sister Heal x
- Everyone from last week except one (ci) is still progressig and we have some baptismal dates set when they return from overseas/holidays.

21 April 2014
Hey Everyone!!!
Mission life is the BEST! Best week in the field thus far.

Our area is finally building up. We are said to have one of the hardest areas in the mission.. 'full of white rich people'. Truthfully, no area is hard.  In this mission you really can live the mission vision which is to 'save souls weekly'. Which means to have 4 baptisms a month. I am determined to stop the stereotype that comes with this area! Whether you're in the ghetto or the ritzy parts - you can do it

This week has been a great week full of many miracles. There really is a connection between obedience and blessings. We worked hard this week but also worked 'smart' which was a challenge from our leaders. Sis Bonilla Cerna said this has been the best week of her mission. That is, in regards to numbers. So each day you record how many investigators you have, lessons you teach, refferrals you get etc.. And then you add it up over the week. Most importantly - its not all about numbers!!!!! Lots of missionaries believe it is, but it really isn't. BUT they are still a good way to track your progress. Each week we're going up and up with more lessons, more investigators and more of them progressing. 

One of our old investigators this week comes back from Canada. She expressed a desire to be baptised but she went on holiday for 3 weeks and she gets back soon. She has been taught everything and just needs to come to church. The YSA plan on getting her involved with up coming activities which is awesome to see. She said before she left she is excited to make friends with high standards!

Another investigator called Ma. We met her in my first week and taught the Plan of Salvation very briefly. We couldn't get in contact with her as she went on holiday but she came back and we went around on Tuesday night and taught her all of Plan of Salvation and also about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When she prayed at the end the spirit was so strong. Honestly, one of my favourites is when people pray, because it helps you to realise their desires and to witness the relationship between them and God strengthening.

Another investigator is called Da. He was a referral from the Elders in a different area. He has been in and out of hospital and has been having a rough time. He lost his wife not long ago and took it pretty hard (as anyone would). He is such a lovely, kind man and is trying very hard to learn about Jesus Christ so that he can rely on Him. He came to a fireside that we had tonight and he loved it. He is making some good friends at church and is really excited to get baptised! He is set for the 10th May so hopefully it all goes through :)

WE HAD A FIRESIDE LAST NIGHT AND IT WAS THE CRAZIEST THING EVER.  It was one for Easter so it was all about Christ. For anyone who doesn't know... a fireside is a meeting held at night time at church.  It usually has a theme of some sort.  It usually consists of a mixture of speakers and musical items.  It's always an uplifting night! This one was a musical one with no speakers. The songs that were sung were incredible. SO MUCH TALENT. It was at Sunset chapel in Harbour stake! Brought a tear to my eye and to those in the room. Each musical item had a clip on the projector in the background showing the life of Christ. Very, very moving! It was packed all the way into the hall... more then were at General Conference! (So about 300 people I think!?). It was the best fireside I have been too!

OH, SO EASTER.  My companion and I bought each other a packet of cadbury easter eggs (has like 10 mini ones in it) and then one person had to lie on the bed with their eyes shut and sing a song blocking their ears while the other would hide them in one half of the room. Then swap, and then we went searching! So much fun.. We can't find 1 egg though - that I hid! haha whoops. It'll show up in a months time probably. Im just too pro at hiding spots, so pro that I cant even remember where it is!!

So on Saturday we went out to Warkworth (45minutes away) and spent the day there trying to visit everyone on our 'ward list' and see if people still live there or have moved. We went to a Kiribati community in the middle of nowhere and taught a few solid lessons. There's like 6 houses on a farm and the kids are all best friends and play and just run wild. It's pretty cool. Very lovely and humble people!! We now have a few investigators out that way so we applied for more Ks (having a car we have a Ks limit.. 1400 for the month) But as we have to travel so far with our area we now have 1600 so we can go to Warkworth more frequently. They used to have a branch there but it got closed down when a few families left the area. Our goal is to rebuild that area and get a branch back by the end of the year :)

Oh and on Easter we had SO much food. Went to a lunch at a families house in our Ward and then went from there to an early dinner appointment. I have never been so full in my whole entire life. I was genuinely praying inside my head not to throw up! But one rule of being on a mission "you eat everything on your plate" and if they give you seconds.. you eat that too. And THEN they bought out FRESHLY MADE HOT CROSS BUNS. We took them with us as we had to get to another appointment but they were delicious. Anyway, everyone at home should be proud, I have been trying some crazzyyy foods out here!!! And apparently this is nothing compared to down south :)

Well, that's my week!! Its been amazing. I love every second of being a missionary. Even when drunk people come up and try to rub your nose with their nose. Apparently its a cultural thing. Anyway it creeped me out, but that man was just being friendly :) Oh and rain, I LOVE being out in the rain, makes me feel like a true missionary :) Which is good because it rains everyday! Hopefully I dont get sick of it haha. 

Love you all!! 

Sister Heal.

28 April 2014
Transfer 1 Week 4 

Another week gone by! It seriously does go so So SOOOO quickly its crazy!!!! I am loving it out here and never want to come home, and its only going to get better! So heres an update on our investigators...

Ma... Well she is no longer set for baptism. She was set for the 10th of this month but she has some family things to deal with. She is still reading and loving everything we gave her and she told one of her friends everything she had learnt and her friend wants to learn more also!! But she cant see us for 3 weeks.. so we are calling her every week to keep in touch until things settle down :)

Da... He came to church on Sunday! He loved it. He said he is feeling the Holy Ghost stronger now then any other point in his life. He calls Sister Bonilla and I 'His Angels'. We see him every night and always have a member coming with us! He just loves the friendship. We gave him the 'gospel principles' book as he was very very eager to 'know everything' and he finished it in a few days!!! He said he is feeling happier then he has felt in months and feels like he is finally getting his life together. It is such a blessing to see someone change right before your eyes and know you are helping it. He is worried about when we leave (transfers are next week) but we keep reassuring him that missionaries all teach the exact same thing!!! He is praying so much aswell its awesome! 

We have a solid 4 new investigators this week... We plan on seeing them in the next 2 days so hopefully we can help them to progress :) 

We were driving down a street a few days ago and saw this old lady struggling siting next to a tree. We turned around, jumped out and started plucking "guabas" for her. She is quite old and frail and she was so grateful. At the start she wouldnt tell us her name or discuss religion (which is fine!) so we just spoke about fruit and how to make jam! We got underneath the bush and everything, got so dirty it was fun! Then we took the massive bucket of Guabas inside and her house was a mess. We insisted we help her clean it! 30 min later and the house was in good order. She gave us some jam she had made and told us her name was Jean. She was so so SO lovely! She asked us to come back when we finish the jam for a refill :) And another sister gave us some fruit bread soooo that was good free breakfast all week!!! WOO! 

We have also met a few people in the community in need of a bit of service. So should have some good opportunities coming up.  Just gardening and house cleaning for people who are sick and have just got out of hospital! It's funny how people can be so angry when you knock on their door and then see their face change when you offer service :) Not many people take us up on the offer but the ones who do are very appreciative and it leaves a good name for the church.

There have been a few interesting moments this week. Never have I had my faith and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ challenged so much. A lot of people trying hard to bible bash. Their is nothing you can do in that situation except defend your beliefs and walk away. There is so much hate out there, but if anything, it makes me more determined!!!!! I just want to Hi-5 them!!!! 

Well, that's it for me this week. It has felt like a slow week as a lot of people on holidays. We have done lots of 'finding' (looking for new people to teach) and have had more success then we expected. The Lord really is preparing people!!!!!!

Missionary work is the BEST! When riding bikes in the rain it makes me feel like a true missionary. I love it. My companion thinks I'm crazy! Oh last P-day we made a fort with our beds and watched a DVD under it. We are allowed to watch movies with the church logo! Anyways, it was awesome.... Getting cold here in NZ!

Thats all for this week,
Love you all!!!!
Sister Heal

The Missionary Training Centre (MTC)

18 March 2014
The MTC!
HEYYYY EVERYONE!!!  THE MTC IS THE BEST! My plane arrived late (thanks to everyone who came to the airport btws) and  by the time i got to the MTC it wa s like 8:30pm. We got in and were the second to last group to arrive and went straight into a meeting. Then I had an interview with President and finally ate dinner at 10pm. The food here is OK, its really fatty but it's alright. We have bread with every meal so i just make sandwiches all the time haha, sandwich artist skills!!! My companion is Sister Vauvasa, shes lovely, shes from America Samoa and we get along really well. We have 2 other girls in our room one from Vanuatu and the other is a Samoan from Sydney.  

Sister Heal with Sister Vauvasa

So, the MTC is good but hard, we spend 12 hours a day studying.  You are exhausted! And it has nothing to do with sleep. you're mentally exhausted. Because every hour you do a new thing and everything needs your full attention.  I have learnt so much being here and I am finally starting to realise that, at the start it was an overload but now it's good. So we are practice teaching 2 investigators and that's going really well, it's good to use our skills in real situations. Just makes me so excited to get out there and be a real missionary.. this time next week!!!! But even though its all pretend atm, when you testify of the truth and share personal experiences, you can still feel the Holy Ghost, its incredible. 
So Sunday was the best Sunday ever.  Everyone in the MTC had to prepare a 5min talk on chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel (PMG ) about the Book of Mormon and I chose to do mine on "how it helps us come closer to Jesus Christ".  in sacrament I didnt talk but we had a fireside that night where I got called up.  I cried, others cried and it was a beautiful time haha.  I just shared my personal experience of the Book of Mormon and how it has changed my life in every way possible.  Who knew a Book could make someone so happy.. it's just words on a piece of paper. But, its words of GOD on a piece of paper, so that's why it's so amazing. 
On Sunday we watched a video of Joseph Smith. I have seen similar one's before but not this one, that was good, everyone cried in that also.  Sunday. Day of crying, seriously haha. Then we watched a MTC devotional from Elder Bednar.  Hes the man, hes seriously so funny. It was like a Q and A thing and talked about ALOT of stuff, not just missionary things.  I recommend everyone to watch it as he gave some fantastic answers. 
We have sport for an hour everyday, it's one of my highlights, it's hard because we have an oval we just run wild on so there's not much to do. So a few other Sisters and I have
done a circuit full of sprints, lunges, squats, pushups and tricep dips.  I'm sore all the time so I know I'm doing something right. 
So its hard being in a room with 4 people, I'm loving having a companion, but we have another in our room which makes things hard. Up at 5:45am and bed at 11 every night. But it's teaching me a few good lessons so it's all lovely :) ALL I can think right now is I am SO EXCITED to get out there and be a real missionary. I still don't always feel like one. I'll be at the dinner table and look up and be like "oh cute there's some Sister missionaries" but then i realise I AM A SISTER MISSIONARY. Black badge and all. Haha but I dont thinkl I will feel real until I get out in the field! I get to email next week Tuesday and that will be my last day in the MTC. So one week and it will be awesome.
But just know everyone that serving a mission is the best, and I'm not even out yet but i am loving life already. Im always tired but always happy. Oh and Temple on Thursday, so excited for that!!
Love you all!!! Once I'm in the mish field it will be easier to write because I'll have more time!! Thanks everyone for reading, take care and much much love!!!! 
Sister Heal xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

25 March 2014
A visit to Temple View, Hamilton
HHEEEYY EVERYONE!!!! So the MTC life is awesome. On Thursday we got to take a trip to Hamilton Temple. I loved it soooo much it was seriously so beautiful. I bumped into SISTER CLARKE. I dont have any photos yet sorry as these computers dont have a memory card slot in the MTC. So Photos will be next Monday.... YES MONDAY IS MY NEW EMAIL DAY :) And I will have MUCH MORE TIME to email.. we only get 30min in the MTC which is barely enough time to read them. 
So whilst in the MTC, we have had 3 teachers... each teacher pretends to be a an investigator. SO we have to meet them and then find out their concerns. We met with them 3-4 times. One of them who is called Jacob we committed to baptism. The other 2 (Maryanne and Jackie) we committed to coming to church. Although it was only role playing the teachers were still difficult on us, and it was a great learning experience. Even though it wasnt 'real' we could still feel the Holy Ghost as we tried to testify of the truths that we knew. So that has been a great learning experience!!!! 
On Sunday my companion and I (Sister Vauvasa) were asked to give a 10min lesson in Relief Society on obedience. The MTC Presidents wife enjoyed our lesson so much she asked us to do it again at the fireside!!!!! She got us to take some of HER SPEAKING TIME!! So that was a huge honour. We were very greatful for that. 
Too be honest... I dont actually have much news this week. We do the same thing everyday..... This has been my schedule for 11 days. 6AM wakeup. 7AM breakfast. 7:30AM personal study. 8:30AM companion study. 9AM Classroom time. 12PM lunch. 1PM sport. 2:30PM Classroom time. 5PM dinner. 6PM classroom time. 9PM devotional. 10:30PM sleep. Its seriously all we do is eat, sleep, study! haha. But i love it and love everything I am learning. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I go out into the mission field, so I will be around the Auckland area. I must admit, I have LOVED my time in the training centre.. My knowledge has improved as have my teaching skills. The teachers in here are so inspired and amazing. I feel as though I am ready to go and teach and serve. I love this church, I love the happiness it brings me. Next week my blog will be way more exciting! Wish me luck everyone :) :) 
Love Sister Heal!!!!