Sunday, July 19, 2015

March 2015 - Apostles and Waterfalls

2 March 2015
This week I will try keep it to the best stories, so I will just write everything in dot point.

NIELSON: So Elder Nielson of the '70' came and did a training over 4 areas of missionaries. It was the 'bees knees' and they honestly spoke so much on marriage, all of us were like.. err.... but it was still so amazing. Biggest quote I remember from the day is "OWN YOUR PROMPTINGS!" He was absolute crack up. Got to see Sister Faiva and all my lovely other missionary people. Happy days!

BEDNAR: OK, so this was my first experience being in the same country as an apostle let a lone the same room!!! Auckland Mission, Hamilton Mission, MTC... all in one place. It was crazy. He asked us some questions and then gave us an opportunity to ask him some questions. A few missionaries got owned in front of everyone, I'll admit, too scared to raise my hand! He cracked a joke about how great it is being one of the 12 apostles because all he needs to do is point at someone to strike them with fear. Crack up!!! OHHHH FUNNIEST THING HE DID.... One sister asked something along the lines of "I'm a perfectionist, how can I know when I'm doing enough and stop beating up on myself" etc. He was like "OK, I'll get my wife to answer this but before I do, let me tell you a story. You take a guy and give him 10 tasks, he will fail 9 of them and do a mediocre job of the 10th and say I'M THE MAN. You give a girl 10 tasks and she will do 9 of them flawlessly, but on the last one, it wont be perfect but still a B+, she will cry and think she is a failure because she didnt get an A".  So true, for the most part :)

BLESSING: So my companion was sick, and asked the Elders for a blessing and they said NO (what the heck!) but all good, we forgave them, so we ended up asking our District Leader for one. He dropped his appointment and came straight over. Well over the next 4 days there seemed to be every investigator and less active needing a blessing and we had to call him so many times as no one else was available on the day! It gets to Friday and I have an ear infection and can barely talk let alone chew. But we didn't want to ask the Elders that said 'no' again and didn't want to ask the District Leader as we had heaps already, sooooo I just tried to get over it. Anyway at dinner my companion was staring at me in pain and she said she was praying, asking Heavenly Father to send someone to give me a blessing or to relieve my pain etc etc. Literally 60 seconds later, I saw a text on the phone from the Elders saying "hey Sisters, we know this is weird, but just got a prompting to message you, is everything ok, do you need something?" I was oblivious so gave it to my companion and she just started crying!!! Then she explained it to me. We were saying how mindful Heavenly Father is of us. Then that was said in the blessing - Honestly. He is soooooooooo good!!!! Oh, and I was fully healed… the power of the priesthood works!

CHURCH: So, last week Sunday ,we had 8 investigators at church and this week we had 5 at church. Plus both weeks we had to teach lessons to Youth and Relief Society. It's an understatement to say that we were over worked on both days BUT something that helped so much is all the members being amazing and taking our investigators and showing them around, being their friend, etc. So go out there and talk to your missionaries and see what you can do to help on Sunday!!!

BAPTISM: Last night we went to the baptism of this 17yo girl and it was just beautiful. It reminded me so much of mine. 
THIS WEEKEND WAS MY 6TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY FOR BEING BAPTISED. It's the first time it's landed on the exact dates.. Saturday 28th and Sunday the 1st. It was a huge weekend full of reflection and simple gratitude and love. Gratitude that I was able to find the church and receive my own spiritual witness of it's truth, and love for my Saviour Jesus Christ. Honestly every problem in life can be solved by following the principles of His gospel. Sure there is happiness in places, but not true and everlasting happiness. That can only be found by following Christ. Still the happiest day of my life, the day I was baptised. Words can't even explain!

P-DAY. So the week before P-day went to these beautiful as, waterfalls,  and last week we played touch in the rain (so kiwi now) , and today were all going to an old folks home!!!! Whangarei is pretty rad.

Sister Heal

9 March 2015

I dont even know what happened this week. It was such an intense week and such a blur - full visits to the police station, possibly getting split up as a companionship as my licence is expiring (all sorted now though), trip to Auckland, Sisters Conference, Family Fun Day, 3 new sets for baptism and just who knows what else! I have such a strong testimony of "opposition in all things".

So the 3 new 'sets' are all individuals that we are teaching. One set for the 21st and two set for the 4th. The best miracle is NAN. Nan and Pop are the cutest old couple that we visit! They live right opposite the chapel. She has been investigating for a long long time and has been through several sets of missionaries. She comes to church every week, prays, reads her scriptures, even has Visiting Teachers! She has never committed to a date of baptism as she wants to be 100% sure. Yesterday we  may or may not have had a 2 hour visit and gone way overtime (we call that righteous overtime, lol) but by following the Spirit entirely and being bold with love we were able to set a date with her for the 4th. When she said "yes", each of us cried and had this cute little 4 way hug thing. We are having a girls day in 2 Monday's time to shop for her Whites! She is so excited and so are we :) Honestly.... all you need to do as a missionary is qualify for the spirit and prepare. You do that, and Heavenly Father does the rest!

So we went to Auckland for a Sisters Conference. It was nice but felt like a waste of time... because we travel sooooo far and it puts a huge dent in our missionary work as we are out for 2 days basically. BUT one thing I did learn "if you need something, ask a man.... if you need something done, ask a woman!" hahahaha. Literally that's the only note I took down the whole day. BUT it was so so lovely just spending time with all the other sisters and seeing my old companions and friends. So for that purpose it was lovely! I got a little sad when I realised a lot of my favourites are home from their missions and a lot are about to leave. I had better start learning the newbies names or I'll have 0 friends! But it's so, so good hearing about my old areas etc.

The Family Fun Day
I know this news isn't too exciting. I have probably had the most intense week on my mission. But email can't really convey that and a lot of things are too personal for either myself or my companion to share. But we both learnt a lot. Especially about how when all else fails, just rely on the Savior. For EVERYTHING. Spiritual and temporal needs. He is in complete control and we need to just trust Him!!!!!!!!!

I read a cool quote the other day in this book called 'Happy Like Jesus' (such a good read btw) and it's along the lines of... "One of the greatest measures in life is how close a man can become like Christ, he who loves him most will be most like him" - President Benson

So, I sort of butchered that. But it's such a boss quote and I can't 'google' so you should all should look it up!!!

Sister Heal

16 March 2015

Don't worry everyone, I'm still alive!  The cyclone was all build ups, so it's all good!!!  We were told to go home at 7pm (it was only raining) but naturally we decided to take the long way home and go to a part of our area we haven't been before, which turns out is where the storm was hitting first. So we drove towards a cyclone. And then got out and got soaked... and THEN went home. It was excellent. 
Caught in a storm

We have 5 preparing for baptism over the next 3 weeks so that's exciting and takes up the majority of our time. We visit our sets every day, so that's 4 hours of our day on that!!! 

Oh cool story... so we fasted this weekend and when we fast we always feel 'horha' (tired) and it disrupts our missionary work as we start talking food. So we skipped Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast so we could eat after church. We had stake conference which is ages away from our house, but we closed our fast but didnt want to drive home and waste time, plus it was a Sunday and couldn't buy anything.. what to do? what to do..? We were walking past this room and naturally I smelt food so I looked in and saw some on the table. My companion followed and walked into the middle of the room. Stake President's wife was sitting in there by herself and she says "SISTERS! come join us!" and we were like "oh no, it's ok, we would feel bad for the other missionaries who missed out" and she was like "oh c'mon, you don't care about them, just join!" and we were like "true... OK!" So we go in and sit down.. the next thing our Mission President and his wife and his whole family walk in, then the Stake President and counsellor's family, then Elder Coward (from the seventy) and his wife came in, and then the Temple President and his wife came in.... they removed the covering sheet and there is this fancy as food underneath. So we got to be fancy and have fancy food with fancy people. Then of course I kicked a drink over and it went everywhere, including in my shoe, luckily no one really noticed. Shame. 

Sister Heal

23 March 2015


Duprey's baptism
That was probably the highlight of the week. So Duprey is this little 10yo kid who is literally boy genius. He has one of the most incredible memories and comprehension. We asked him how he felt when he prayed and he replied "I feel sometimes like Jesus comes down and kneels with me". When he said that the spirit pierced my heart. That little man is a spiritual giant!! The baptismal service went well. It was supposed to start at 6pm and it got to 5pm and we were wondering "why hasnt anything gone wrong yet". One thing I have learnt as a missionary is how something always goes wrong on baptism day!!! So it gets to 5:30pm and it turns out the guy who was baptising doesn't have white pants. We call the Elders (who are already on their way) and Elder Adams was like "IT'S ALL GOOD, we were in the car and about to leave and I felt the spirit tell me *go get your whites*.   I thought 'na, it's all sorted, don't worry' and went to drive off but it was persistent so we owned the prompting, ran inside and got them, dont worry!". 

Something so small, but... the church is so true its rediculous! Who can deny that spirit? Science can't even explain that!  Anyway, Duprey's mum (who he hasn't seen in a year) came to the baptism as a surprise for him and that was a sweet experience. Then we all had a big 'feed' at the park after, of course :)

Also on Saturday, we had a 'mormon helping hands' project in OT. Which is like the ghetto of the ghetto. There were a few community groups that got involved and we looked awesome in our yellow helping hands top. James and Tayla who are preparing for baptism on the 28th came as well with their daughter Soph! It was so great to see them getting involved! There was a true community spirit, happy days indeed :)

Sister Heal

February 2015 - Service and a funeral

2 February 2015
Transfer 8 Wk 1

Really really interesting week this week!!! 

So recently a 20yo kid on Balmoral (the ghetto of the ghetto) got killed by his father. We heard so many stories and rumours about what really happened, then on Tuesday we were at an investigators house and she was like "you know it was Phil dont you, that killed his son?"  Phil was one of our investigators, so that was gutting. He LOVED his family so much and would always talk about the better life he wants for them. He was known in the neighbourhood for mowing everyones lawns! He had a colourful past but was changing his life around. So that is super sad. The REAL story is.. his son was extremely drunk and going crazy and they got into a fight and he stabbed him out of self defense to protect the family. The drug and alcohol violence here in New Zealand but especially up north is rediculous. The longer I'm on my mission the more my eyes are opened to the struggles of the world!!

Speaking of struggles. I spent all of Wednesday in the house as my companion was super, super sick and she slept for like 16 hours. She had a few medical tests done etc, but it's all getting worked through now. But the 'boss' that she is, we still went to 2 teaching appointments. One of them was a less active family with 4 YSA that we are working with, and they all came to church yesterday for the first time in AGES! So that was a happy moment. 

Masks worn while doing service to aid in the smell.
They were not effective however..
I have also been really sick. And on Sunday I was fasting and took some cough medicine (took double the amount because I felt double sick, but apparently your not supposed to do that! haha whoops). So we get to church and I start feeling really, really, sick and dizzy and numb. About 20 minutes in, I had to walk out and go to the bathroom... for some unknown reason my companion didn't notice for ages and 15 min later came looking for me and found me passed out/suspended over the toilet in the bathroom. I was unresponsive for a bit apparently and was so out of it. Between church and home is a massive blur but one of the less actives who came to church (as we were leaving half way through sacrament) came out and begged me to be with her whilst she gets up to bear her testimony. So I had to do a stumbled walk of shame down the aisle, sit at the front, and then walk out. I honestly don't remember half of it. So that was awkward. We stayed in most of that day as well :)

Sister Collins

We also did some service for an old lady and cleaned the chicken coop.. and by chicken coop i mean Taj Mahal, this thing is the size of our loungeroom kitchen and bedroom!!! Was great fun, scraping poo off the floor and packing bags and bags of old wood shavings and putting the new stuff down! Hard labour!! But great times :)

Sister Heal
Working hard or hardly working??

9 February 2015
Transfer 8 wk 2

Sooooooooo another wonderful week in the wonderful Whangarei!!!! This week was such a blur though, I barely even remember what happened!! We were so busy!!! No crack up stories so I will just tell yall about someone we are teaching at the moment :)
A few highlights.... we have an investigator who KNOCKED ON THE ELDERS DOOR!!! (The Elders live in our area). So that doesn't happen often, usually we knock on theirs, I have never heard a story of someone knocking on ours asking to be taught!! We met with him and his wife (they're also married - biggest miracle as a lot of NZ doesn't believe in being married!). They are such a beautiful, wonderful couple. The story of how they met is CRACK UP. One of her friends was like "hey message this guy, I hate him and be mean to him" - but after 2 days she gave up, and then apologies, they ended up talking, met up 3 months later and now they have a 2yo daughter and have been married for 5 years. And apparently he doesnt even know who the girl was that tried to get her to be mean. So this random as chick basically set them up accidently. Not sure if that made any sense, but hey the story made it into 'thats life' magazine. They are so beautiful and prepared for the gospel :)

Something I have learn't this week is that when you want to work on something in your life... for example 'patience'... He doesnt just bless you with patience but he will put a few tests in your path to let you learn patience. He knows us SO well. It's super fun.  

Well no photos this week. Super sad, but it has honestly been such a great week!! I love every opportunity I have to talk about my Saviour Jesus Christ :)

Transfers are this week, I love this area and my companion so much. Almost the same as when I was in Henderson. And we all know I only lasted 6 weeks there before Heavenly Father decided life was too perfect and he tore me away! I'm super scared this will happen again. Sometimes I really, really, hate transfers. We have a few members and less actives that have admitted they have prayed that we both stay. I feel wrong praying for it myself, so I just pray that their prayers will come true! 

Sister Heal

16 February 2015
Transfer ? Wk 

The view from Lilly's house overlooking Whangarei
First things first.. I'M STAYING IN WHANGAREI!! AND SO IS SISTER DIXON!!! SO many prayers got answered!
This week, we went to pick up Aunty Molly (this old lady who has heaps of cancer, but is a maori who loves missionary work, so comes out with us) but because there were 3 missionaries and her, she says "who wants go to a Tangihanga?' which is a maori funeral. I was super keen to go and get cultural so we went on splits for the day. All right, so I have drawn a picture with paint so everyone can see and understand...

The 'Red line' was my route at the funeral
So we go from the car to this 'hut thing' near the Marae, where a lady with leaves sings a song and calls us in. We go in and the family greet us. The dead man was lying in an open coffin and on either side were about 10 mattresses where the family sleep. They stay there for 3 days and the body is never left alone.  Above his coffin was photos of family that have already passed. He was a temple saint and has his sweetheart waiting for him. You then go and kiss the body on the head and say anything that you want to say. You then say hello to the rest of the family, each person indvidually and send your condolesces. Then you sit down and a man got up and spoke in Maori (I couldn't understand a word) about the man's life and the things he did. They then invite the male head of the group to stand up and say a few things. Then the female who ushered us in got up and sung a song. Then it's custom to sing the family a song. So they beckoned me to come up, I was nervous as heck and didn't know what was going on as everyone was talking in Maori and then the guy was like "sing the family a song". Awkward moment. Anyone who knows me knows how off tune, tone deaf I am. I don't think I have ever prayed so hard in my heart! I was freaking out... but I played it cool and sung the first default thing that came to mind… "I am a child of God" lol, fortunately most were members so after singing the first line on my own everyone joined in and ended up in tears. Then the ceremony is finished and we headed into the food hall for Kai (food!). They do this for 2 days straight, saying the same thing and singing the same song with each group that comes through. And you can't go in until the previous group is finished. There were only 3 of us in our group. It is a very very personal thing and is more about the celebration of life, rather than sadness over death. It was the most cultural experience I have had so far and I absolutely loved it :) 

In a 'Trio'
So, Sister Taylor's companion went home and we were in a trio for 3 days which was super fun. We had to go and pick up her new companion (Sister Dohnt from SA, Gladstone I think, 3 hours out of Adelaide). So we went to transfer meeting on Thursday.  We got a free trip to go see all our fave missionaries and hang out for half the day and receive some excellent training from President.

On our way to 'Transfers'

Meeting up with former companions: My trainer, Sister Bonilla

Sister Kofford 

Sister Brown from Sidknee!

We are going to Auckland tomorrow to see Elder Nielson, then next week to see DAVID A. BEDNAR (AUCKLAND MISSION AND HAMILTON MISSION ARE JOINING UP!!!!) and then Sisters Training the week after that. It seriously takes 3 days to recover from trips to Auckland as it's such a long drive and you're up at 3 in the morning. All goods though, life of a missionary!!

L-R: Sisters Taylor, Marlow, Van Zyl, Allred, Heal, Brown and McNaught

My 3 companions: Bonilla, Ezekiela and Dixon (no Daynes or Faiva!)

Also… we had 4 investigators at church on Sunday and a few less actives which was such an incredible feeling. I love seeing people progress and come back to the Saviour. He is so important. I just started reading 'The Infinite Atonement' again and it's filling my life with love. 

Sister Heal

Monday, July 13, 2015

January 2104 - 'Lord is it I?'

5 January 2015
Transfer 7- week 4!!!!

Zone P-day for sports!!
HAPPY NEW YEARS!! So we were the lame obedient missionaries who went to bed on time and were fast asleep by 10:35 pm. New years day we had a huge feed at Bishop's! Their family was late from the airport so it was a late lunch at 3:30pm and we went home and slept for our whole dinner break, it was basically the most genius thing in the world. 

Trekking through the 'jungle!'
We had the whole "New Year, New You" thing going on for a few days. Then realised it was sort of dumb, you don't need a New Year to change.  I LOVE how Christmas comes before New Years. It's all because of Christ that we can change!! We can have 2nd, 3rd 4th etc chances. It never ends, we are never beyond Christ's reach! Anyway, we decided to shake things up and do nothing we normally do for the last few days of the week. Our normal set appointments we see every week, we changed the days and times and we took a bunch of people off our contacting list and filled our day visiting formers and potentials and other places we felt prompted to go...

Am I in the Philippines or the NZAM?

We now have 2 more families we are teaching, we found a massive less active family, and had a few people at church!! One guy who wants to be baptised, but sadly turns our he is in the Elders area. But hey, we're all on the same team!

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got"

Ofa Atu!!
Sister Heal

12 January 2015
Transfer 7 Week 5 

Sister Brown
TRADEOFFS!! Once again I was with the wonderful Sister Brown from SIDKNEE (see what I did there?) who I also like to call Jeffry R Holland, as she has mastered 'bold with love!' I have known her since the start of my mission so there were no 'awkward get to know you,' but we were able to get straight into the work and have an excellent, miraculous day.

SUNDAY!! We had 4 of our investigators at church and 6 less actives, was I a happy little missionary or? Such a good Sunday. Plus now we have afternoon church so when we finished - Party at the Lopatis! Well, it was a feed, but a good one at that.

The 'Tree of Life'

SERVICE!! We did service again for the family with all the twins. Had a lot of people come and help out. These kids are seriously the raddest kids you'll ever meet. Plus Emma is pregnant with more. 4 sets of twins in total!!! All under the age of 6. Craaazyyyyyyyyyy!

On a more spiritual note... Something I have studied a lot recently..1 Nephi chapter 16:2-4

Reminds me of the talk at the recent General Confrence "Lord, is it I?"

This work is the best!

Sister Heal

19 January 2015
Transfer 7 Week 6 -TRANSFER WEEK

So, It's like Wednesday at 2:30pm, we are in a lesson and our phone was blowing up with calls for transfer news. So we did what great missionaries do and we cut the lesson short! haha. We walk out on to the road and... "Sitser Faiva you are.. STAYING with sister Purcell (which was my new companion's old companion).... SIster Heal your going to... WHANGAREI!!!" I honestly got teary eyed out of happiness. Every missionary wants to serve in Whangarei or Kikohe. Its the promised land... the REAL New Zealand. Full of Maori people where everyone wears green stones and says 'Kia Ora..' and where everyone wears no shirts or shoes and have no teeth. I love it!!!

My new companion - Sister Dixon
I woke up at bajillion o'clock on Thursday and headed off to transfer meeting. Always a fun experience seeing President and all the other missionaries.  My new companion is.. SISTER DIXON!! A convert of 4 years from Brisbane!!! She has been out only a few month and is a little legend.  We are basically twins with very similar lives and personalities. So there is now 2 of me in the world, sorry about it everyone. What's hilarious, is because her old companion and my old companion are together (as we legit swapped places) and are like the same people.. and then me and her are the same... so it works out so wonderfully and beautifully. I have had zero sleep the last few days because, despite spending all day together it gets to 10:30pm and we can't help but talk more. It's great!

Whangarei is the BEST.  The drive up was B-E-A-U-tiful!!!! We drove through Warkworth (where we covered when I was in the North Shore) and what a great trip down memory lane. I love the beautiful rolling hills and SHEEP AND COWS. So great!!! The ward here is so wonderful and I love everyone!!!

The drive up!

A cute picnic overlooking Whangarei
Crack up story for the week, it's a 'had to be there' moment but I will try to explain. So on the drive up we talked about the food we hated and I said how I hated peaches. First house we go to and dessert.... peaches and cream. She cracked up. I swallowed it all and when we were finished she goes up to the Sister and said, "My companion LOVES peaches, can she finish the rest!?" and then the Sister says "oh yes, yes, eat them please" and I was like "non ono it's ok!!!!" and she put the can in front of me and says "no, you finish them all or they will go to waste".  Awkward. S o I sat there and ate the darn peaches whilst she was wetting herself laughing. Known this kid for 4 hours and she throws me under the bus! SO crack up :)

Moral of the story is I am a happy little larrakin. The work here is also great... I have been just mostly meeting our investigators and members and everything :) So chilled here. It's like a whole different mission!!!!

Sister Heal

Transfer 8 Week 1

I am still so in love with and obsessed with Whangarei. It is a place where all dreams come true and miracles and spiritual experiences happen on the hourly. At least that's been my experience these wonderful 10 days and I hope it continues on. Surprisingly the more I'm here the more I love it.

Some highlights for the week... 

Sister Heal & Sister Dixon
MY BIRTHDAY!  So woke up to banana pancakes (which I expected because my companion didn't know how to make them so I made the mix the night before lol) and also a beautiful home made card from the lovely SIster Dixon. My trainer Sister Bonilla also gave me a package for my birthday which was 
I N C R E D I B L E and I loved it so much it brought tears to my eyes!! A giant photo frame full of pictures of us, and my favourite people, and a list of all our memories. It was excellent!!! Then the day we spent teaching and testifying and visiting our favourite members. Birthdays as a missionary
The Elders got me good!!
is the best!!! For dinner, one of the recent converts, Sue, threw a surprise birthday party for me and sang Happy Birthday in Maori. Plus she gave me ice cream cake, anyone who knows me knows I hate all cakes except ice cream cake. She didn't even know, but said the spirit told her. Genius, Heavenly Father cares about me so much he even cares what cake I have on my birthday ;) haha, anyway we were in the middle of nowhere almost lost when the ZL call and tell us they have something for us. Get out the car and I get attacked with silly string from 4 elders, crack up. Plus they had a cake and card. Missionaries really are a bunch of 20yr olds running loose. SUCH A GOOD BIRTHDAY! My companion was also my slave, best thing ever!

So at other points during the week.. Had dinner at this house with no electricity or running water (real NZ style) which was legendary and a different experience.

We went to contact a former investigator but turns out she was at work. The mum was pretty defensive so we left quickly and as we were getting into the car I was told so strongly by the Spirit to turn around and the next thing you know - she is coming down the street!!! I shouted out (as you do often as a missionary to randoms) and we had a fantastic conversation and she then asked us if she could come to church! So elect. She came, loved it and is now besties with all the YSA. She is so beautiful and so honest and so sincere!! So we are working closely with her! Sometimes it hard as a missionary to not want to be everyone's friend but we are here with a purpose :)

Chopping wood like a 'boss'
INTERVIEWS... we had interviews with our Mission President and somehow we got on to talking about apostles and I said how I had never seen one and he was like "well that might change soon".  Then I heard at church that David A Bednar is coming to NZ. Is this real life? I would trade my right foot to meet him!

We also did some service this week and I chopped some wood like a boss!

Sister Heal