Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 11 - Temple

Well I don't have much time today because the whole flipping world decided to email me today. Much appreciated though! But the highlight of the week was our temple trip for sure. Holy cow, I didn't realize how powerful the Spirit is. Full time missionary plus temple plus heaps of other missionaries plus your mission president all thrown together just makes everything crazy and intense. Something that the temple president told us was that the ONLY place in the world where the fulness of the Spirit can be felt is in the temple. SO DANG TRUE. It was like the best experience of my life, and that's because I took questions in with me and then they were answered within like the first 30 minutes. Record revelation time. Anyway, I encourage you all to go to the temple more. You can always go more! Some members here save up money for months for gas to drive up and then spend a week at the temple just doing session after session after session. So we can all be better about our temple attendance and we can learn something EVERY time we go if we go with questions.

Other than that, we had District Conference which is Stake Conference for branches (I didn't know it existed before this), and so President and Sister Rudd came down and they're the greatest! Sister Rudd reminds me of you mom, she asked me what she should do with her hair next (like cut and color) and I was like dang you really are my mom! And President Rudd has the same humor as Grandpa Corey and it's hilarious. But it was great and the Area seventy for the Pacific Islands is super awesome too!

In other news, AUNTY ALWYN IS SET FOR BAPTISM!!! That's Sister Inia's aunty that they've been teaching for months and she's finally accepted that she knows the gospel's true. Also, our 10 yr old investigator in the part member family is getting set this week so yay!!

Oh I'm the YW's 2nd counselor in our branch, and Sister Pagofie is the Secretary, our president doesn't always come and there's no 1st counselor, so we run Young Women's... pretty cool, slash not, cause we're super busy haha, but the girls are great!

Lastly, I'm super sad about Elder Scott passing away. He was like my second favorite apostle but also I'm super happy cause he is now reunited with his beloved Jeanine. Adorable. And this is the first time since 1906 that three new apostles will be called and sustained at once. Crazy.

That's all for this week! Stay Strong! I love you all!

Sister Machen

PS. Aaron I'm not writing you separately, but it's a small world bc apparently you are friends with my comp's cousin. Strange!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Week 10 - Go to Church!

Hey hey hey,

This week was weird because we had to drive up to Hamilton for meetings and then we had zone conference and other STL (Sister Training Leader)  duties to attend to so it didn't feel that productive. The drive up to Hamilton is super pretty and you drive along the coast and through this crazy awesome gorge that makes you feel like you're in Jurassic Park. Basically, it's the prettiest thing I've ever experienced. But I got to be back in a trio with Sister Inia and her full Samoan comp while Sister Pagofie was in meetings with all the Zone Leaders and President. It was a cool experience though because we just contacted all day and knocked doors and we never do that in my area cause it's not effective. But it was nice to be back with Sister Inia and cool to see how different areas can be. We're actually driving back up to Hamilton after emails because WE"RE GOING TO THE TEMPLE!!!! I'm very excited. The whole zone is driving up and we're going with two other zones tomorrow morning and I'll get to see some of the missionaries I came in with. Pretty cool.

So that lady I wrote about last week finally died on Saturday. It sounds insensitive but it's really better this way. We went to visit her the night before and sang her family some songs but man life is so short. Make it count.

The only other thing I have to write about is how dang happy I get when my less actives or investigators actually come to church. I never thought I would be so excited to see people show up to church. It's crazy though how much you love the people and then you just want them to be happy and have the gospel in their lives SO BAD. It's the best though. So go to church! It makes missionaries happy and it makes the Lord happy.

We got fed chop suey every night this week and have a huge container in our fridge. I don't even know how I'm not super fat by now. We have started to ride our bikes on the coastal walkway for morning exercise cause my comp is just not in the running shape so I've had to take extreme measures. One morning I even tried to get her to ride while I ran but she said that was too embarrassing. Baby steps. We met another relative of the Falaniko family this week and we're gonna start teaching them too. Most of our investigators are related to that family, so getting them all baptized would like triple our branch. It would be so amazing.

That's all for this week. I love the work and I love the gospel. It brings more happiness than you could even imagine!!

Love you all,
Sister Machen

PS. Here's a pic of me and my comp with some of our favorite Samoan members that always make us chop suey and come out to lessons with us. They're the bomb.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 9 - One Down

Kia Ora,

Well one transfer down, 11 to go whoop. Jk it's going by way too fast, it feels like I barely got off the plane yesterday. But we were right, Sister Inia got transferred up to Hamilton, so me and Sister Pagofie are stuck together for another 6 weeks. But I love her! She is also the STL (Sister Training Leader) again so we get to go on exchanges like every week (joy) and make trips up to Hamilton. But it's okay, we get privileges too. 

The beginning of the week was basically Sister Inia saying bye to everyone and so we ate sooo much food and didn't end up teaching very much. Then she left and we had a 4 hour weekly planning session and realized how much work we have to do and how much we've let slip in the past two weeks. So we gotta refocus lots. But I got so much mail from transfers!!! Shout out to mom for the American candy, I've missed it so much, and my district was so grateful! Honestly I'm gonna need a package like every transfer cause that was so good. We got a brand new Elder and he is working in the same ward as us and he's a bit awkward. I really hope I wasn't that bad six weeks ago. He's from Salem Utah and is a 6'3" toothpick (worse than Baylor's legs). But man it's so crazy how much I've grown in just one transfer. 

My Samoan is really coming along. Alofa tele atu. Figure it out. I know how to count and I know the colors yay! 

SO our choir director had a stroke last Monday and it was really bad and they gave her two days to live which is super sad because she's also our Relief Society president and one lady in the branch that really gets things done. But she was the craziest choir director ever. She had so much passion and I think I was overcome with laughter more than I actually sang at practices just because she was so intense and she has the biggest hands ever and they were shaking all crazy right in my face. But it's really sad cause she was like the backbone of the branch. But we went with some other members to the hospital to sing to her and we sang "families can be together forever" with a third verse that she made up and while we were singing I just felt overwhelming love for this crazy lady laying in the hospital bed in front of me. I felt how much the branch loves her and how much the Lord loves her and it was a really powerful experience. Last week she actually bore her testimony in sacrament meeting about how she cannot wait to be reunited with her husband on the other side and that when it's her time to go she will RUN to the Savior and bow at His feet. The last verse that she wrote says, "waiting for us beyond the veil, our loved ones patiently, we will unite and be together for eternity" and when we sang that to her I just felt so strongly her testimony and how happy she would be to pass on. Anyway, a crazy experience with a crazy lady but there's always something good to learn. 

Well that's about it, but I'm learning so much! The more I learn, the less I know. It's crazy. I wish I could study the scriptures and conference talks all day. So weird that I just said that but true. I love the gospel! 

Love you all HEAPS,
Sister Machen

Sister Machen and Sister Pagofie

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 8 - Samoan Everything

Talofa lava!

This week has just been overwhelmingly Samoan. We've been trying to focus on our area in Bell Block more than going out to the Elders' area in Waitara that we kind of double cover but I love our area!! So many Samoans and the people are just so friendly. I had a member family help me write my testimony in Samoan so I'll be practicing that. I can pronounce the words really well, especially for being white haha. Sometimes I'll say a short prayer in Samoan after the lesson and they all open their eyes and stare at me during the prayer. It's awesome. I'm learning that it's important to respect the language of people's hearts and how the gospel needs to connect to that. We even learned a Samoan siva and performed it at our investigator's 60th birthday party. And then we sang a hymn and shared a scripture with about 30 nonmembers. But we gained heaps of respect from the whole family and even the gay brother, who just made fun of us all the time, told us to come by sometime and talk to him. So that was awesome. Then the next day the lady, Nana Sue, gave us each a puletasi!!! Mine is like bronze silk; it's so pretty. People love giving you things here, it's bomb. Oh and they all said we're part of the family now so the kids made us name tags that all say Sister Falaniko on them. Pretty sweet.

Crazy story of the week: I got attacked by a pit bull. No lie. We stopped by one of SIster Inia's aunty's house to tell her we had to cancel our visit and their dog got out of the gate and was barking at us badly. We got inside before it got to us but when we had to leave, Aunty Lyn was trying to grab her to hold her while we went outside and I was standing behind her just staring into the dog's soul and it charged at me and juked out aunty. It jumped up on me with it's jaws going crazy and I barely pushed it down and was backing up, but then it just ran back out the door. Of course my companions were hiding behind this screen door, nowhere near to help, just watching me almost get eaten alive. But afterward they were telling me how the dog like bounced off me, and how weird it is that it just ran back out without biting me. Honestly, I was so protected. Miracles! It sounds crazy and dumb but mission blessings are real!

This week is transfers so the dream team is getting broken up. Sister Inia is mostly like leaving but they could move sister Pagofie out too and I could get stuck leading out the area. I doubt that will happen but we are really short on drivers in the mission and now I can drive so it doesn't make sense for there to be two drivers in a companionship. But we'll see! Also, driving here is super weird. I feel like I'm gonna die every time I drive.

Oh the elders had a wedding this weekend and all the kids that came had nits (lice) and you could just see them crawling around in their hair - it's super nasty. But nits are a big problem out here and they say you're bound to get it at least once on the mission so pray for me. I might shave my head. 

Well that's about it for this week! Oute iloa o le ekalesia moni lenei. I know this church is true!! 

Love you heaps,
Sister Machen