Friday, June 13, 2014

June 2014 - 'Just doing the work'

2 June 2014
Transfer 2 weeks 3 

SO. Winter has DEFINITELY started.  We were tracting the other night and asked someone the temperature and he was like "umm... 2-3 degrees".  Excuse me can you please say that again? No wonder we were shivering!!  There was also zero people out on the streets.  Because we don't read the newspaper or watch the news we are totally oblivious to all that sort of stuff!!

So, this week just gone was just dandy! I am really starting to love 'just doing the work' as we call it.  Auckland Mission is a high baptising mission, and it can be hard not to get down when you haven't seen much success in the way of baptisms (obviously it's not all about that, numbers don't mean everything, but its hard not to get caught up in that some times). But after Elder Pearson's remarks a month ago it occurred to me that I need to be happy just doing the work. Just being a servant of the Lord. I have put that into practice this week and it has really changed my attitude. And what we know that attitude changes behaviour! So this week has felt fantastic :)

We have a few new investigators... and have seen ALOT of miracles. But this week instead of writing about all that, I feel inspired to write all about my current feelings :) This may end up sounding like some what of a testimony, but whatever, lets just roll with it!

PRAYER. Ok so the power of prayer is something I have always taken for granted. But lets think about this logically for a second. We have a loving Heavenly Father (aka God) who we can talk to whenever and wherever about whatever. In my prayers this past week I have genuinely tried to picture God in my head as I'm praying. I imagine what I would say to Him and ask Him if He was literally standing right infront of me. 

The spirit I can feel is incredible! It changes completely how you look at it. Rather then just rumbling off a list of things I need help with, I find myself being a lot more grateful. It has caused me to try toaallign myself with Him more. Rather then "I'm doing this, please help" it's more so "What would you like me to do, what more can I give" etc etc etc. I have definitely seen the difference it has made in my missionary work. Prayer is so great!!

CHRIST. I am currently studying the New Testament and in the new quad (thanks Brooke) in the Bible Dictionary it has "harmony of the gospels" so I am studying them all in chronological order. I suggest you all do it because its a-mazing.  My patriachal blessing talks a lot about studying the life of Christ and I always thought that meant "reading Jesus the Christ" the book, but since my focus has changed to the New Testament, I feel the difference in my life. The more I study and understand Jesus Christ and what He did, the more I want to not only be a better person, but be the person He knows me to be. 

So before we came to earth, we all lived as spirits with God. I often think about My Spirit and how I was once a pure little baby, buuttt it would of changed from all the life experiences I have had that have shaped who I am. 

But I think about the Spirit inside me that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know. What is my true potential?? Think about your true potential also.................
Also, the scriptures.... Bible.. the Book of Mormon... etc etc etc. The gospel is perfect. The more I study the Bible the more I understand and appreciate the Book of Mormon and vica versa. I am finally putting the puzzle pieces together and understanding what I am reading and how I can learn from it and apply it into my life. I've just finished reading from Alma and all those missionary efforts. I think I read half of it twice because I just couldnt get enough of it. If we just study the scriptures (and not just read) every day it changes your world. 

And time is out. Thats my 2c for the week!!! It's a public holiday here and we have had to travel 43894032 hours to get to this internet cafe and pday is almost over, I wrote this all in about 5 minutes, so apologies if it doesnt make much sense to anyone!!!

Much love to all,

Sister Heal!!!

9 June 2014
Transfer 2 Week 4... 

Another awesome week in the mission field. We had zone training on Thursday where we discussed the true meaning behind numbers. We record everything... how many lessons we have, how many with a member present, how many we talked to, how many are progressing and coming to church etc. A lot of it comes down to "sacrament attendance". Investigators can not be baptised if they don't come to church 3 times. So this became a focus for the week!

Ca.. We met this lady whilst door knocking, she doesn't come from a religious background but believes in God and wants to learn about how Christianity can improve her life. We ended up talking with her for 30 minutes on her door stop and got a return appointment. Unfortunately we were unable to visit her that day as she needed to change the time but we had appointments in Warkworth.  One thing we have learnt that if you leave it too long (a week or something) people become uninterested. We were concerned that this would happen with her. But we were able to do a quick 'pop in' visit for 5 minutes. She was asking us questions about forgiveness, as her ex husband treated her quite badly. We discovered that she had read the pamphlet we gave her ('Gospel of Jesus Christ') and came to the conclusion that if she wants to receive forgiveness she has to forgive others. We invited her to church and last minute were able to organise her a ride :)

Os... We have been working with her on and off for a while but were unsure about her commitment levels. We were down her street and had the thought to see if she was home, she invited us in and we taught her "the Restoration". We told her that we will do all we can as missionaries to teach her and help her but at the end of the day, she needs to put in the effort also. We talked a lot about prayer and about Christ's atonement and the Book of Mormon. We invited her to church and she agreed... on previous weeks she has cancelled the morning of or the night before. We were concerned but we continued to have faith and know that we did all we could. A member offered to pick her up :)

Op.. I have written about her a lot! She keeps expressing the desire to be baptised and we were unsure how to handle the situation. In the end it came down to prayer. As missionaries we prayed about a date that she could be set for baptism, both Sister Bonilla and I thought the 21st June. We decided to talk with Opal about praying for a date when we saw her at church.

CHURCH.. We got to the chapel 20 minutes early as we stand at the doors and welcome everyone in. There was a last minute change with members and who was picking up who. It was stake confrence so a lot of people had to come early for choir practice and to set up soup sunday (I've never had so much soup btw, delish!). It was about 5 minutes before church started and we were getting nervous - everyone should of been here by now! I felt a calming feeling come over me and took comfort in the fact that Heavenly Father knows our deepest desires, and that everything would be OK. 

About 5 minutes before church started Ca came in! I sat with her near the door as my companion waited for the others. Op was next and she sat with her friends who are members. Then we had the opening hymn and prayer and Sister Bonilla came and sat down with Ca and I. About 10 minutes later Os walked in!!! She came and sat with us and I cant begin to explain to you all my feelings of relief!! We were currently fasting for this purpose and had started the previous day at midday. Funnily enough the Stake President spoke on 'law of the fast'. It was a real testimony builder of the power of Fasting. Each one of our progressing investigators came to church and they all loved it! 

The missionary class afterwards was on 'faith' which was perfect as Op and Ca are both starting from the very beginning. It was a miraculous day and everything couldn't of been more perfect. Soup Sunday after church was such an icing on the cake. The ward is close and many people recognised the unfamiliar faces and came over for a chat. Members are SO important in someone's conversion to the gospel. The warm welcoming that investigators feel helps them to be comfortable. Its not easy to walk into church when you've never been to one before! Trust me I know - I was there only 5 years ago, and I had people welcoming me and talking with me which made church a more enjoyable and comfortable experience. 

Op.. We spoke with her as we ate delicious soup and she said she hadn't prayed. We went over to her house after church and in her loungeroom with her brother we kneeled with her in prayer. She said such a beautiful and sincere prayer just simply asking "Heavenly Father when should I be baptised?" She looked up at us and said "I feel the number 21" What a miracle!!! We had never discussed dates before this moment, and we hadn't told her of our experience either. It's such a testimony to me of the power of the Holy Ghost. 

Its been a great week. I can testify to everyone the power of prayer and fasting, and the power of the Holy Ghost.

Sister Heal 

16 June 2014
Transfer 2 Week 5

So I have had a few questions commonly asked about what I do as a missionary and what my day is like and what certain things are etc.. so I am using this blog to explain!!!!

6am      Wake up, exercise, breakfast, shower, get ready
8am      Personal Study (The Book of Mormon, Bible, Preach my Gospel)
9am      Companion Study
10am    12 week program (Extra hour of study because I am new)
11am     Lunch
12pm    TWE (talk with everyone, door knocking, streets, playgrounds) 
5pm      Dinner
6pm      Visits (everyone) .. We spend the night time visiting members (people in our congregation), visiting less actives (those who struggle or don't come to church anymore) and investigators (people we are teaching about the church)
9pm      Home. Planning (We plan for each 30min block of the day, including backups)
9:45pm Get ready for bed, journal, etc
10:30    Bed time!!

Heres how it works as a missionary being placed in an area:
Mission: Assigned a specific place for 18 months - New Zealand Auckland Mission
Stake/zone - An area containing a few chapels - Hibiscus Stake (we have 24 missionaries)
District - An area within the stake, for us it contains 2 chapels (we have 8 missionaries)
Ward - The regular chapel/congregation we are assigned to (we have 4 missionaries)

Here are a few definitions:
Investigators - People who are investigating the Church and taking lessons
Members - People who attend our ward. You are assigned a ward depending on location
Companion - You are always paired with someone. You sleep in the same room and do everything together. (Protection and safety!)
Transfers - Every 6 weeks, the mission is reassessed as new missionaries arrive and some go home, you MAY change areas and companions. I have been in this area with Sister Bonilla for 2 transfers. 

A few have asked if I meet crazy people? ALLL the time. But you learn to laugh it off. A lot of people have pre-concieved ideas about Mormons. SO much false is out around the world. People just believe what they hear or what google tells them.. so we have a lot of haters. People telling us we're anti-Christ. Ummm excuse me, anti-Christ?  I wear Jesus Christ's name on my name badge! All we do is teach of Christ.  So it's interesting.  Usually we get  enough time to diffuse the situation and share what our church really believes.  And then we all end up being friends and develop a mutual respect. But some people just hate on us and run away.. but we love them also :) Also drunk people - they're the best... they just love you. There's this homeless guy we see aallll the time and the other day he was drunk as, and came up to us and hugged us and kissed our cheeks and shouted "my girls!!" was pretty funny :) as a missionary your not allowed to hug people of the opposite sex... so it took us both by surprise. 

What sort of service do we do? Mostly gardening! There's a lady whom we visit each week for an hour and rake her leaves and dig holes. Her husband has bowel cancer and she's hurt her back. She loves us so much now, always gives us toasties and snacks to take!  She isn't religious, but we don't mind.  Love helping out everyone.  We also do cleaning for people sometimes... people with babies or sick etc and we just clean and vacuum. I LOVE doing service, I wish people would let us do more.

What do we teach? We have 5 main lessons we teach people. Depending on their interest, depends on what order. The 3 main lessons are:
The Restoration - Talks about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. Explains the Book of Mormon: Another testament of Jesus Christ.
The Plan of Salvation - This explains where we came from, why we are on earth, and where we go after this life
The Gospel of Jesus Christ - Explains about Faith, Repentance, Baptism, etc

Whilst we are on our missions we try to stay focused. So we dont go and 'hang out' with people or go to the movies or watch TV or read books. We devote all our time and efforts on helping the community, service in the church and building up the gospel. I do not get paid for what I do, its 100% voluntary. I have time on Mondays between 10am-5pm to do shopping, email everyone back home, write letters, explore the area.

Thats pretty much missionary life :) 

Any more questions just ask!!

Sister Heal

PS. Na... she is back in the area for a week and trying to buy a house so we should be teaching her again. She is set for baptism in 3 weeks!

23 June 2014
Transfer 2/3 week 6/1
So much has changed, I actually have something to write about!!! So I will need to divide it up... This will be a long one folks!

Monday... is our free day from 10am-5pm and the Monday just gone when I last emailed we had a fantastic day!!! Because transfers was coming up on Thursday and we didnt know who would be going or staying we decided to go celebrate as a District.  So there were 4 Elders and us 4 Sisters.. We went for lunch at Wendys (not normal Wendys in Aus but the American 'Wendys'.. it's lame) anyway went for a cute little lunch and then... WENT BOWLING AND LAZER TAG! It was the weirdest thing. The Tongan sisters have a bajillion dollars and paid for us!!! So we all went lazer tag and bowling and I so wish I could send photos but I dont think my camera can be connected in this new library (new library... hmm... changes!)

Tuesday... Taught 3 lessons and did some service... productive day!!!

Wednesday... Soooooo frustrating. So during morning exercise it was raining but we still wanted to be boss missionaries so we excercised despite conditions. Sis Bonilla had the genius idea to put the phone under the car so it doesnt get wet. Well, that didnt work. We pulled the phone apart and water literally spat out at us. Might as well of chucked it in a pool for an hour. We had 6 appointments set that day and we were unable to call and confirm any of them. So we rocked up hoping they would be home and 4 fell through. We got changed and ready for a service project and when we got there it was cancelled. We felt like it was such a waste of time. And we drove all over the city for silly appointments that didn't happen. Our spirits were pretty low but we had a meeting on at 6:30 that night at he chapel with the Elders in our ward and some of the leaders. A member called us and told us to come at 5:30 to have a farewell party as Elder Nonu and Elder Chrichton were getting transferred out.  Sister Bonilla and I didn't know what was happening yet as we didnt have a phone, so we couldnt get the 'transfer' phone call which is normally at midday. Anyway went to the chapel, ate pizza, and afterwards we called our District Leaders using the chapel phone. So it's on loudspeaker and by this time Sis Bonilla and I are CERTAIN were both staying.... just kidding. Sister Heal you are being transferred to Henderson and your companion will be sister Daynes... SIster Bonilla you're staying and your companion will be sister ***.  So we hugged and got a little teary. When you're with someone every second of every day for 3 months and you find out you'll be split up, its pretty sad. Especially because shes honestly one of my best mates. I couldn't imagine missionary life without her!!! So that night as I speedily packed all my stuff I had all the fears coming back to me from before I left for my mission "what if I dont like my companion... what if i get fed weird food" and i was freaking out.... didn't get any sleep that night.. maybe 2 hours if lucky....

Thursday... Got up super early to make sure we would be on time etc. SIster Bonilla and I wrote letters to each other and they were super cute haha, we're such sister missionaries! We drove to the chapel to meet our leaders.. we said goodbye, cried, and went our seperate ways. So with transfers all the missionaries going to new areas meet at this chapel and pretty much swap around. President Lekias did a talk and said farewell as he finishes at the end of this month too. We traded all our stuff in trailers and off we were on the way to my new area. 

One last photo of me and my beautiful companion Sister Bonilla cerna before we transferred!

So... my current flat has 2 other companions in it. 6 SISTERS TOGETHER AT ONCE! Its a 5 bedroom house so each companion gets their own room and own study room so thats still good. Living in my house is Sister C Brown (from aussie) SIster Coffurd (from USA) Sister Taylor (from aussie) Sister Brown (from kiribati) myself and my companion.. SISTER DAYNES!

My new companion Sister Daynes and me

Ok, so Sister Daynes is as sweet as the sweetest cupcake. She is from America and is like a week younger then me. She is sooooooooo nice. I honestly dont know what else to say about her!! Shes just so nice and lovely and sweet and humble. She is such a good missionary. She genuinely loves everyone she comes into contact with. She is hard working and has an eye single to the glory of God. I have learnt so much in the past few days and know I will learn lots more over the next 5 weeks. It really is so inspired who gets put with who :) Anyways, 5 minutes after meeting her all my fears about companions left.... we will be sweet! 

Henderson Zone: Holding books of mormon as we completed the '90 day book of mormon challenge' 
(Sister Daynes is on my left in blue)
Ok so now about the area.. I am in "West Harbour South Ward" in Henderson zone/stake. Its half white, half brown. Its more commonly known as "humble Henderson" as people are way humble and accept he gospel or also "hilly Henderson" as there's a million hills. We dont have a car so push bikes it is. I must say - I feel like a true missionary.  Riding bikes up hills in the rain.  Best thing ever :) People here are so nice. Everyone's always beeping when they're driving passed and people just know who you are.  I feel like royalty or something.  Our days are busy rushing from appointment to appointment.  We are constantly teaching and testifying.  Very different from my last area.  Members in the ward are great and giving us refferals.  It's honestly opposite to where I was before.  Each area has its goods and bads.... but I am pretty excited for what the future holds.  We currently have 4 people set for baptism next month, saving souls weekly!! and a few more potentials. Teaching lots of kids as well and just living the dream. 

Time is up and this email is huuuggeee so I better stop now. But seriously, this area is the best and so is my companion!!!
Also, everyones asking if im getting fat and what the foods like... in my last area I was there for 3 months and I LOST 4 kgs.  Plus now im on a bike in a hilly area.  So although the food here is weird as (mum would be so proud at the things I've eaten) we burn it all off.  Buying a blender today - more green smoothies here I come!.
Also our flat has a dryer, the only one in the mission. Lucky as!
Ill try send photos somehow next week... these computers dont allow it. SO many photos to send, sad times!!

Love you all!!
SIster Heal

PS. A MASSIVE MASSIVE MASSIVE THANKYOU TO HELEN B. AND MORIALTA WARD. This Friday we got given our mail.. people get packages all the time from their parents or boyfriends etc back home... but it's not something I expected I would get. So the mail is dropped in the door and I'm sorting through letters and my comp was like "HEY THIS IS YOURS" and it's a massive, massive bag full or lollies and chocolates and vouchers. Thankyou SO MUCH Helen B for organising it for me. Honestly, I may or may not have shed a tear or 2 out of pure happiness. It was like Christmas and Birthday all in one. From the bottom of my heart - thankyou :)

30 June 2014
Transfer 3 Week 1.

One of the elders in my area is a propper cowboy from America, its been fun practicing his accent! 

Ok so, this week has absolutely flown by at the speed of light.
So. I now understand the meaning of cold. Not sure of the temperature buuuttt we have had a few rain storms and you leave the house and your literally get drenched. So you spend all day in wet clothes and soggy shoes... and you get sick. I'm a lil bit sick right now but nothing will stop us from pushing on! And it's a true fun missionary experience. The other day we walked out of our street and within seconds it started bucketing down and I'm pretty sure a cyclone developed and my umbrella broke and we just laughed so hard we both got stitches. That's what this work is all about - looking for the good despite any hint of bad. It's so simple... attitude. It's all about how you look at it.  How you look at everything! When a situation arises you have 2 choices.  Happiness or sadness.  It's so black and white but we tend to complicate things and bring in all shades of grey. This is what I am focusing on stopping! "Just being happy" despite everything. I can honestly say I've never been so genuinely happy :)

Ok, so here's the deal with food.  So far on my mish, I have eaten the following things: raw salmon, kimchi?, every meat off the bone you could think of, endless supplies of taro and green banana, another type of raw fish in a celerey salad, processed crab meat salad (like the stuff at subway), and chop suey with questionable meat. I wouldnt say I'm over my pickiness but I am learning to eat anything. I pretty much just put it in my mouth and swallow it whole.

This is of the family we're teaching thats set for baptism :)
Here's a little about our current investigators set for baptism... They're 3 kids called Sa, Cr and Ed. They have had a pretty rough life but are just so positive. Their mum got baptised about 2 years ago and the kids just came into her care. We have been working with them for a month now (well me for a week) and the changes we see are incredible. Now when we finish a lesson they each want to say a prayer and fight over it... even their 3yo brother wants to... so we have to let therm each have a turn. They have a desire to be baptised and they were going to be this Saturday coming up. We are not sure if it will go through or not as we feel they're not ready and baptism is a big decision.  We are seeing them tonight and will discuss it with them and in the end - take it to prayer. That's the best thing I have learnt, is that if you're ever unsure or doubting or lacking wisdom, just pray about it.

We have spent the week introducing me to all the investigators and members etc in the area so I don't have much to report on that. This week coming we have some big goals and some service planned.

Being on a mission is the greatest thing, my advice to anyone thinking about it - just go out and do it. Start your papers, submit them, come on out!
Love you all :)

Sister Heal

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