Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 78 - Haere Ra Aotearoa!

Kia Ora!

Well this week has been crazy, wonderful, spirit-filled, and MEAN. We scrambled around all week planning and preparing for Ava Stone's baptism!! It was awesome. Her grandfather came and baptized her, half the ward showed up, and nonmembers were grinning the whole time. Ava has been ready for so long, and we have been having family home evenings nearly every week. I love their family! It was awesome to see her confident and so happy.

I don't really know how to wrap up 18 months into one email but it has been unreal. The time has gone faster than I could have imagined. I have learned how to love my Heavenly Father better, my Saviour deeper, myself, and others much more. Charity has probably been my biggest lesson. I'm far from charitable but I have gained a greater understanding of its importance. I have learned how the Spirit speaks to me. I have received a testimony of my Saviour's love, and of the trust I need to place in Him daily. I know without a doubt that this gospel is the true gospel of Jesus Christ restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. There is nothing more important than living the gospel. Everything else will fall into place!

The people of New Zealand will always have a special place in my heart.

Arohanui and Ka Kite ANO,
Sister Machen

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week 77 - Jan. 22, 2017 - Best Week Eva


Craziest week of my life. Well to start off, Monday we left for Hamilton to attend my last MLC. We had the opportunity of being taught by a visiting General authority, Elder Cardon of the Pacific Area Presidency. It was super cool. Like wow. He is SO IN TUNE. He would be talking about one thing and then all of a sudden stop and say no, let's actually talk about this complete opposite thing. It was funny seeing President Cummings so nervous and unsure about what was going to happen next haha. But the next day, Wednesday, we were met by the rest of our zone and 4 other zones in Tauranga for a zone conference where we were taught and edified and inspired for the WHOLE day. He had asked us to prepare a 3 min talk on what we have learned from PMG ch. 4 recognizing the spirit and be prepared to share. Of course he left it for the last thing so the whole conference everyone was squirming and nervous about who would be picked. But I felt the spirit so strongly as he taught and as he testified. He touched a little bit on repentance and this is what stood out most to me. That repentance is not just stopping bad behavior, it is seeing the Savior standing between us and impending justice. We have to recognize that without Him, we would be completely subject to the consequences of our sins. Thank goodness we are not.

We arrived home very late on Wednesday night and were full on the rest of the week, catching up with investigators, teaching lessons, and preparing for some very special upcoming events! Then to top it all off, we had a special zone fast yesterday for some of the missionaries in our zone who have been struggling with health problems and as we came together to close our fast on Sunday night, it was one of the most powerful experiences I have had with feeling the power of the spirit and the priesthood. After the prayer, the sick ones received blessings from a circle of Elders. I just had the thought of how special that moment was and how the opportunity to witness such an event doesn't come very often. I am so grateful to still be a missionary, to feel the spirit each and everyday and to watch the gospel change people. I know it is true and that it is the most important work upon the face of the earth!

Sister Machen

Reunited again with Sister Taylor and her new trainee sister Keaton! (my granddaughter who POLE VAULTS-so proud)

My favorite mission grandparents from Tauranga came to visit me at church

Gisborne zone in the middle of the gorge to sing HBD to sister Teihotu

Week 76 - Jan. 15, 2017 - Too Hot to Function

Tolaga Bay - Longest Wharf in the Southern Hemisphere

Hey fam.

This week was sooo hot. I don't know why but everything requires so much more strength when it's hot. But I like the heat more than the cold so it was alright. We had miracles this week!! We have been teaching this lady, Rhonda, for months and months with very slow progress. She has some memory loss problems that make it hard for her to remember the lessons. But we got her a BOM story book and she is more than halfway done, and she is remembering things and she shared that she is feeling really good lately and she has finally decided to fully keep the word of wisdom. She has been so much happier since she has decided to stop. It was good for me to see that the gospel truly is for everyone, that it can change anyone who lets it in.

Had a powerful lesson on families and temples with a PM family that I just LOVE and were able to set a date for their baptism. Man the spirit was so strong. Families are eternal. I was also able to go on exchanges to the other ward with a Canadian sister and that was fuuun! I gained a great love for my own area haha, but we were able to see great things happen for them by following the spirit! The last thing was my epiphany yesterday about life. "The easiest way to live is the gospel." Wise words to ponder this week!

I love you all and hope you are living to your fullest potential in the gospel.
Ofa lahi atu!

These pics are from Tolaga Bay last pday, the longest wharf in the southern hemisphere (600 meters).

Wanted to jump off so bad. One day.

Week 75 - Jan. 8, 2017 - Another One Down


This week was good to get back into the normal swing of things - the holidays are over so people were back at home and more sober to talk to! We had a ton of miracles this week with finding new investigators, we just seem to be building our teaching pool like crazy but we now need to help these new people actually make changes and progress. The hard part. I have felt a great urgency this last week to just do my best and make every moment count and I think I ran my companion into the ground... She was super sick the past two days coughing and blah blah so I had to repent and let her rest. Ugh.

We had a great lesson with a new investigator on the restoration, she has been taught by a couple missionaries previously but something always came up and her mom threw out her Book of Mormon and all this drama. The lesson we had was super spiritual and she told us that she felt the spirit in that lesson more than she ever had before and that she was so happy we had decided to look her up and track her down. (This is the former that we caught right before she was moving to another house and would have been lost forever.) But she was so joyful about the message of the restoration and it was really refreshing for me. I also got to read a bit on church history this week and the enthusiasm of the early missionaries is so inspiring! Like guys, we really do have the greatest message of all time!

Anyway, hope you all are keeping up with your goals and making time each day for the Saviour!
Love you heaps!

Ofa atu,
Sister Machen

Week 74 - Jan. 1, 2017 - Happy New Year

Welcome 2017!

Kia Ora Fam,

Well this New years was pretty cool. We went to bed on time as we were directed, but we woke up early to watch the sunrise because - get this - Gisborne NZ is the first place to see the sun. Therefore, I saw the first light of 2017!!!! So cool. Pics to prove.

We ate a lot, talked to a lot of people, and didn't sleep enough this week. There was a massive music festival/rager here for 4 days called rhythm&vine, where people come from all over the world, so we met people from all over the place and the traffic was ridiculous for such a small town. But mostly we tried to stay out of the car so it was stinkin' hot!

We got a lot of new potentials/investigators this week, though, so I'm really excited for our teaching pool to grow. One sad/interesting story is our investigator that we've been working with since I got to this area dropped us. She is the one that prayed about the book of mormon and right then and there she felt warmth in her heart that she said felt like Jesus's hand. But in the past few months she has moved into a good place, gotten herself a job, been blessed with some family coming back into her life and so many other things. She had been realizing that all that was blessings for her obedience and finding God. But just like in the BoM, the pride cycle hit. She called us to come over and basically denied that any of her spiritual experiences were confirming truth of the BoM and Joseph Smith but they were just witnesses of Christ. It was really sad to see a precious soul turn away after all that but at the same time I felt such peace knowing I had done my very best studying, teaching and praying for her. Agency is sometimes a missionary's worst enemy haha. But I know one day she will come back when she gets a little humbling.

One last thing, I got bullied by our stake president into eating mussels yesterday for only the second time on my mission (i have avoided them like the plague). But they were actually bearable and now I'm the stake president's favorite missionary muahaha.

Okay bye!! The church is true! I love the mission! I love these crazy people and this beautiful country!

Sunrise 1-1-2017

First Sunrise of 2017

Week 73 - Dec. 24-25, 2016 - Christmas

Dec. 24, 2016

Hey, I can Skype now or whenever... is everyone there and ready or what?

[We were all here and got to Skype with Sister Machen!]

Dec. 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

Hope you all had a great one. Good to see the fam yesterday! My week in pictures:

The Zone

Caroling in front of a Stranger's House

reunited with sister taylor!!!:)))

Yay Christmas!

Week 72 - Dec. 18, 2016 - Merry Christmasssss

Sister Soane and ME! (Thanks, Mom)

Kia Ora Fam,

So, just a run down of the past two weeks, Theresa was baptized! She's so funny but the pictures are attached. It was really cool and the spirit was so strong when the actual ordinance was being performed. Such a sweet spirit.

The power cut had everyone panicking, we had another one yesterday for five hours so church was delayed until 3 and like no one showed up so that was weird. But we still had our investigators there and a miracle happened! So we went out for rescue night on Thursday and decided to do some Christmas caroling in honor of the Light the World campaign, we went to some less actives and some of our investigators and they LOVED it! Apparently caroling doesn't really happen around here. But everyone we went caroling to, came to church on Sunday!! That's the beauty of song. And one family of nine came and brought some of their nonmember family. So miracles! We sang at rest homes and special needs centers and everyone we sang to was so happy. So this week I encourage you all to go caroling. (Dad just don't take your trumpet, or the chimes mom).

Other miracles happened on Saturday when we contacted heaps of former investigators and found many prepared souls. One pretty keen girl was moving out just as we pulled up and if we hadn't gone right then, she would have been lost for a lot longer. Heavenly Father works in marvelous ways. Hope you all continue to Light the World this last week leading up to Christmas and do as much good as possible! The season is all about Christ our Savior. Not the presents or the chocolate, but about worshipping the Son of God. He Lives!!


Sister Machen

The fun we have been having... good thing I brushed!

Our star fellow shippers who are both leaving to serve:(


Olaf the sandman