Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 7 - Miracles

Hey hey,

This week summed up is that it's so important to follow the spirit so you can be at the right place at the right time. Twice this week we went to investigators' houses that we hadn't planned to at the time and we were able to help out in small scale emergencies. The first, we had gone to their house and they weren't home so we left to visit a Samoan family that usually makes us stay and eat for ages. Instead of doing that, we felt we should just drop off their Book of Mormon and go back to the other family's street. So we did and as we pulled past that first family's house, the son was outside and waved to us. So we stopped and he said that their dog had just gotten out and was hit by a car. So we got there just in time to open up their gate and control the other dog so their dad could pull in and we could help unload the other three kids before he pulled out again to go to the vet. The dog was actually in bad shape and they love their dogs here, so we were able to help them get all sorted out and whatnot. It wasn't a big deal at all but they were super grateful and wouldn't stop thanking us for being there right at that time. 
The next time, we went to that family's cousin's house and the mom is single and super stressed so we were talking about priesthood blessing and asking her if that was something she and her oldest son would both like to get. (He was leaving for a week for rugby and was sick.) So they both said yes and the son went to take a shower and then started cramping up super bad and then had a fit type thing and started yelling out to his mom. So we called the ambulance and helped get the other two kids to stop screaming. The cramping thing actually turned out to be a really serious genetic disease and his muscles are getting weak really fast. We went to the hospital to see them on Saturday and they both got blessings. It was a super cool experience because his blessing was all about how he is going to be a really important tool in building up the Lord's kingdom on the Earth. SO, pretty much he's gonna get better, get baptized, and become a missionary. I have gained a greater appreciation for the priesthood and for having it in my home growing up. It's SO important to have a priesthood holder in the home. SO, shout out to my awesome Dad. 

Anyway, the food is growing on me, and I'm really trying not to get fat. I ran on the beach this morning and it was super pretty but we didn't stay long cause my comp was dying haha. But we eat sooo much bread!! It's bad. Toast with everything at every house we go to. It's an islander thing. 

This week was awesome. I love you all!

Sister Machen

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 6 - New Car!

Kia Ora,

So as it indicates in the subject line, we got a new car yesterday. Yep, cruisin' along the beach in a super flash 2013 Corolla now. You can all be jealous. Just kidding; we just had the oldest car in the area though so we got upgraded cause my comp is the Sister Training leader and we have exchanges every week (yuck) so we have to drive all over the area. But this week I got to stay with Sister Inia in our area and another sister came here and that was good cause I got to talk to people way more than usual and we walked all day so that was really nice. But the other comp took the keys to our flat with her like an hour away so we were locked out and that was awful because the the ZLs (Zone Leaders) didn't answer their phone so we had to drive all the way to their flat to get the spare key. Dumb. It's been warming up a little here but today it has just been pouring, so not fun. I'm still not tired of the rain yet cause it makes the sky super cool. 

Anyway, we had interviews with president this week so we met as a zone and we got a new senior couple too. They're the Gessels and they're from Sandy. They live in Grandpa Corey's stake and he actually gave all their kids patriarchal blessings. And then I asked if they knew Grandma and she said she had worked with her in Relief Society and she started saying all these nice things about her and I straight up started crying, right there in front of the whole zone. Pretty much the most embarrassing thing ever especially cause my comps looked at me like I was crazy. Literally the first time they've seen me cry and it's gonna be the last. Yuck. But that was really cool and interviews were good! My mission president is awesome, super inspired. And Sister Rudd is the BOMB. She was asking me and my comp how she should cut and color her hair and she reminded me so much of you, mom, haha. 

Everything is going great, I love the Samoan families and I'm getting really comfortable with all of them. We wore pulatasis (see pics to one of our investigator's house for a lesson and they were all super pumped. Also, chop suey and pig head are not my favorite. The little pig head eyeballs just stare at you the whole time you're eating it. Yuck. But cocoa samoa is the bomb now, only if it's made right. 

Anyway, I'm working on humility this transfer as my Christlike attribute but it's cool because I actually gave a talk on that this Sunday at church. One thing that was interesting to me was how different the world's definition of humility is from the gospel definition. The world defines it as being conscious of one's failings, and being unimportant. But then in reality, it's not weakness, timidity or fear, rather an indication of strength. Anyway, just something interesting. Read the Book of Mormon, it's gold. 

Love you all heaps,
Sister Machen

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 5 - The Week of the Wedding

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 4 - Sheep!

Kia ora whanau (family),

I'm learning Maori and Samoan; wow, I'm so cultured. Just kidding but I can pronounce all the Samoan words, I only know a couple. Like "muli" is butt and that's a favorite in this companionship, haha. And I'm teaching one of the young women some Spanish for some Samoan so that's interesting. ANYWAY.

So I forgot to mention the sheep last time. They are everywhere, as well as cows and goats. This is definitely a country area down in Waitara. But cool story: We went to our branch mission leader's house for dinner this week and he has this ram that all the missionaries like to mess with. SO I get out of the car to open the gate to his driveway, and the ram comes out of nowhere and rams me!! So then I just started running down the driveway with this sheep chasing me and it was fast! But I got to the house and finally figured out how to defend myself. It was hilarious, pictures to come with the sheep. But that dinner was awesome. Brother Patu lives on the beach pretty much with a little farm and his house is clean. It felt the most like home since I've been here and he is just the nicest old man.

Oh, mom, I had to mend one of the elder's pants cause he ripped them in church, be proud. I'm now the designated pants sewer.

Right now we're teaching this family, a mom and three boys, and she taught us a siva samoa (dance) and I got it down and my half samoan comp was struggling so bad. But I love that family and the mom is super free spirited so it's gonna be awhile before she can accept all the church rules and such, but her son is super interested and comes to church every week! The cocoa samoa I wrote about is really growing on me and we get it all the time but it's never good the next morning haha. Everyone smells kind of bad here, they just don't do the whole hygiene thing like we do. So when you say hi you have to hug them and kiss cheeks and I always just have to hold my breath. And their houses are very humble. But they are really nice and welcoming people - I think I've only been to two houses that haven't invited us in. But my comp is suuuuper good with people and she looks white but she is full Maori so she connects really well with people. My comps keep telling me I came pretrained and they've never seen a greenie with so much confidence in teaching, so that's cool but I really just love the gospel and am excited more than scared to help these people.

Some spiritual thoughts this week: The talk, "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" by Tad Callister (the next apostle) really hit me, and it can apply to all members, not just missionaries. But I loved it and I just really enjoy personal study in the mornings. It's probably my favorite part of the day. And I love the general conference talks heaps out here. They're honestly gold. Also, there was a quote I read somewhere, "We must live the Book of Mormon, not just tell the stories in it". And I thought that was on point.

Anyway, I love my area, and I LOVE my comps. The work is hastening like crazy. So many people we are teaching right now and reactivating.

Love You all heaps,

 Sister Machen

Send me letters:
New Zealand Hamilton Mission
P.O. Box 9542
Waikato Mail Centre, Hamilton 3240
New Zealand

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Week 3 - Arrival in the Mission

Kia Ora,

So I left the MTC and now I am down at the bottom of the mission on the east coast in an area called Taranaki. It's a super hard area and apparently President only sends the stud missionaries down here cause it's really struggling. I have TWO trainers cause I need the extra help I guess.  JK.  But they are Sister Inia from Australia, and Sister Pagofie (half Samoan) from Flagstaff Arizona. But they are the greatest. The APs [Assistants to the President] were going on and on about them before I met them and they are just awesome. So friendly and seriously spiritual giants. But we are in the Waitara Branch and when they first got here it had like 20 people at church and yesterday there were 70!!! They mostly have done lots of reactivating people but they have some solid investigators. So all the new missionaries had a challenge to invite someone to be baptized on our very first day. My first night out in the field I invited this single mom to be baptized. Dang, I was nervous but then when I was testifying leading up to the invite, I wasn't nervous at all and I just knew she needed to hear it. SO that was cool. But she laughed and then said "no" and then "not yet", and we left with her saying she was "open to whatever" and you never know, maybe she will get baptized. So she's getting baptized for sure. The next night we had a birthday dinner for Sister Pagofie (her birthday was the 29th) at Sister Inia's Aunty Alwyn's house. And then they had me invite her to be baptized too, and she said "not yet," but she's defs gonna get baptized. Sister Inia has a ton of family in this area, so a lot of our investigators are her family, which is cool but also hard 'cause she doesn't want to push them and offend them. But it's awesome so far. 

Church yesterday was interesting, I bore my testimony 'cause on your mission that's just what you  do every chance you get. But there are some craaaazy people here. Two of our investigators came to church with their son yesterday, and afterwards he threw up bad in the chapel. You know me, I was out the door dry heaving in seconds. JK.  I handled it so well and even got the stuff to clean it up. Didn't actually do the cleaning, but I didn't run either. SO much growth. ;)  They soooo need this gospel and he is the sweetest little boy and he knows so much about God and Jesus Christ for being so young. I think I'm just going to adopt him. All the kids are soooo cute, like the islander blood makes them chubby and adorable. Might come home with a Samoan husband. JK JK JK JK. 

But we went to this less active member's house and had Cocoa Samoa. It's like hot chocolate and they put rice in it and it's just straight cocoa beans and water. No white person likes it. But I ate it all and it wasn't even bad; my comps were shocked. And then we came back the next day and had more. I downed it. So proud of myself and my strong stomach.

Happy birthday shout outs to MOM, Corey, and cousin Jessica!! You guys rock. Especially you Mom. And Happy Father's day to DAD because that's this Sunday here. But Idk when it is in America. Haha. 

Gotta go! Love you all!!

Sister Machen

P.S. I'm gonna come back saying "heaps" and "mean" = sick or awesome

Pictures sent by Sister Rudd, the Mission Mom:

1. Elise with President and Sister Rudd

2. The group of new missionaries at the Hamilton Temple, upon arrival into the mission.

3. Elise with her companions, Sister Inia and Sister Pagofie.