1 Sept 2014
So today is P-day. Unfortunately it is pouring buckets of rain outside so we aren't really able to do anything other than stay in the flat. It's not a bid thing but I do like to get out and run around! P-days are too short. Generally, we get to the e-mail shop around 10:30 am or so. We then e-mail for about 2 hours. We always try to go less because that gives us a bit more flexibility later in the day. So with 2 hours we get out of there about 12:30 pm or so. Usually 1:00 pm though if all goes well with writing the letters swiftly and with focus. It is easy to get distracted and start looking things up on the church website or watching "I'm a Mormon" vids. They are always uplifting especially after a hard week. So within the letters that I send home I try to tell you guys about the miracles that happen,and what it is like to be a full time missionary here in New Zealand. It isn't easy but I hope that I do at least a half way decent job. All right so we get out of the internet shop (usually other Elders and Sisters are there as well and it is always great to see them and say hello) then ride our bikes up to the Pak n Save. I have a big box strapped to a bike rack that I got for $25. Elder Rogers and I usually have a list made out so we can get in and out with little to no time wasted. Probably about 45 min. We ride back to our flat which isn't to far really. It's fun having about 30 lbs strapped to the back of your bike. It can really send you flying down the hills! We then unload everything into the flat and then get ready for sport. We may do a bit of cleaning if necessary. Sometimes it is, but we usually try to take care of most of it by maintaining it wee throughout the week. Usually what then happens is we will go play some sport with our District. Within our district there are 3 Elder companionships and one Sister companionship. Within the Zone there are 3 districts which may have more or less Elders/Sisters depending on what's needed within the individual Wards and Stake. So we play sport with each other. We've played Basketball (The American Elders are always pretty decent, the Aussies/Kiwis, not so much...lol), maybe Touch (or Rugby just no tackle. Like you have got tackle football and then just touch football), or soccer, we have only played that once. Elder Rogers is a soccer player, so he loves it. At about or just before 5:00 pm we all break and head back to the flats get showered/dressed, eat a quick dinner, then it is out to the area to go see people and meet new people.
So that right there is a pretty average P-day. Today is a bit different because of the rain. Transportation is a bit difficult because Elder Rogers and I no longer have a car now. That mad P-days really easy, especially with groceries. Instead of sport I have used some time to get a bit more organized and write a letter as well. I am going to write weekly now I think that will make it very enjoyable for all of us ! I usually try to tell all you guys about what happens in my e-,ails home but somethings don't quite make it in or I just don't have enough time to tell how i feel about everything.
2 Sept 2014
I don't think I told you guys about one of our investigators name Bhenhilda. I am certain that I may have mentioned her name and told you guys about her. Bhenhilda (Ben-hilda, kinda weird) is from Africa. Lots of people from Africa immigrate here to New Zealand. They are usually of the Christian Orthodox faith. She herself is a Christian, I don't think she was of the Christian Orthodox. Elder Rogers and Elder Lloyd (our District leader a the time) bumped into her while on the streets. (She would often carry her smallest child on her back by wrapping a towel around her and the child. I looked like it worked really good). We visited Bhenhilda and taught her on the door step many times. She would often times have trouble understanding us because English is a second language. We had been working with Bhenhilda for a while now. We really wanted her to come to church and that had been a goal of ours for quite awhile. She was in the backyard hanging up the laundry. We visited with her for a bit and chatted with her a her children played in the backyard. Our backs were facing the house when she pointed to a window with a gasp. We turned around and saw smoke coming from the open windows. My first thought was that something on the stove was burning. Bhenhilda ran into the home and I went in to make sure that everything was okay. First thing that I saw was flaming blender of doom! The chord was on fire and its was burning like crazy. I was tempted to try ad fight the fire, but no hose was available or bucket of water. The fires seemed a bit out of hand as well since the room was really starting to fill up with smoke. I called out to Bhenhilda that she would need to come out it is much too dangerous. She came out panicking. I asked her if there were any children in the home or if anyone was in there. She said no. I was call "111" (that's what it is here in New Zealand) I gave the address explained the situation over the phone, while Bhenhilda remembered that the passports were in the home.. She ran inside to a different area of the home and dragged out a big white dresser. Elder Rogers helped her get it out at the door while I continues to give out details. Just after she got out, the house really started to fill up with black smoke. I was glad I called and everyone was out. With about 5 min the firemen arrived (or the "fire brigade" as they call it here in NZ). The fire had not really spread to much, it didn't seem to be getting to much bigger either. The firemen didn't seem to be to rushed to put it out, but they got everything set up and went in. Within just a few minutes the fire was out. Elder Rogers and I stayed around in case they need to talk to us about happened, which they didn't for some reason, I thought they would have approached us about what happened especially me, as I was the one who called! Bhenhilda did not call because she was panicking so much, even after I had called the fire department, and we where standing outside waiting she asked me to call her mother as she could not dial the number herself,
12 Oct 2014
because she was so shaken by what was happening.
Bhenhilda's mother came of course to comfort her thankfully they were actually going to be moving in just a few days, so it was all good. That the house was smoke damaged and several appliances were destroyed in the kitchen. I was thinking that it was mine and Elder Rogers fault because we distracted her from what was cooking on the stove as she hung the laundry to dry in the backyard. He was determined that a curtain near the stove had blown into an electric burner. Catching fire and then blowing over various areas (including the blender) and starting the fire. This was a bit of a relief to me as I came to to know that it was a sincerer accident.
After learning about that I remembered how Bhenhilda was unable to dial the number and ran in the house as the smoke grew thick. I remembered how I was able to call"111" and Elder Rogers and I were able to help keep her and her family safe. Bhenhilda and her mother called us "angels" sent from God. I was like sure and I thought to myself about how we were there just at the right time and was able to assist in a potential dangerous or even life threatening accident.
Our Heavenly Father does look out for us. He looks out for us and gives us opportunities to serve others whether they be small or big. We simply must be prepared to do, and to act! It was a blessing to be able to assist in helping with Heavenly Father's plans, and children. This was certainly a pretty significant experience and event on my mission. I have never e-mailed because it was such a huge thing! I have got on paper now so I hope that it is a great story to read.
As you guys may notice by the dates, this has taken me a very long time to write out. I haven't been super diligent with try into get it in the mail. For me mail seems to be a lot more meaningful and I hope that you guys will enjoy the letter.
Today's date is 19 Oct 2014 (Sunday) and I will be getting in the mail tomorrow. I just want to let you guys know how much I love you. I certainly do miss being around he family. Eric and Madelyn are going to be so much bigger when I get back and Stuart will likely go on his mission before I am able to come back. That's OK though. I have learnt a lot on my mission. My testimony has grown vastly and is improving everyday. A mission has not been easy for me, but I know that these challenges will help face even bigger ones in the future with confidence and a strong determination to conquer them.
Well, I hope that the family is doing well. I will be e-mailing you guys tomorrow so that is always exciting. I love hearing about the adventures you guys have. Last week I was able to tell my companion about how "my family got into a train that was monkey proofed, and then drove out to be swarmed by them...in Italy." That was a pretty interesting story and always amaze them when they hear about what is happening. It's not the usual with most families back home! Also I hope that dating machine is still around...(the tandem bicycle). I think I will be inquiring of it tomorrow in my e-mails. I guess this letter will be a bit of a reminder.
I don't have much else to say. I am pretty sure I will get better at writing letters as I do it more consistently. E-mails home does kind of take the buzz out of writing letters home. But for good stories that don't get e-,ailed, I will write about them and tell you guys all about it.
Take car I love you all!
Also just now in personal studies I read a General Conference address given in April 2012, by Elder David F. Evans. He said in one paragraph of his talk "We can write of Christ by writing letters to those who are away. Missionaries serving, sons or daughters in the military, and those we love are blessed by the letters we write. Letters from are not just quick e-mails. Real letters provide something tangible that can be held, thought about, and cherished." I very much agree with his statement. So I think I will send a letter home as often as I can. The rest of his talk is very good and it talks a lot about how we can do missionary work as missionaries.
Just wanted to add that in the letter. Hope you guys enjoy it and take care!