Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 70 - Dec. 4, 2016 Don't Forget to EAT!

Sister Soane and Me loving the beach
Hello family!!

This week was interesting, I truly gained a testimony of the word of wisdom... The part about eating healthy haha. We only had two meals with members this week and were left up to ourselves the rest of the days. Usually we can get by on cereal and other quick foods but this week my energy was draining fast, then coming into fast Sunday without a proper meal the night before, I thought I was actually going to die. I was grumpy at church, impatient, and tired... aka hangry. I pretty much knew the reason behind my sour attitude but I couldn't (or wouldn't) change it until 5pm when I ate dinner. So when the time hit five, I put on a mean feed for my companion and myself. Pretty much the best meal I have ever cooked in my life and it was healthy too. The rest of the evening I was cheerful, enthusiastic and felt like the world was put right. Therefore, the word of wisdom. It's not just about staying away from bad things, but fueling your body with good things.

That's basically the most interesting thing that happened this week (it was a slow week), besides zone conference! We got taught about making decisions by the spirit and better following promptings, as well as sifting and sorting through God's eternal truths and Satan's lies. Satan wants us to believe we aren't good enough, we can't do it, it's okay to judge people, and other negative things that stop us from progressing. We need to focus on what is true from Heavenly Father, and then we will be better prepared to face the world's trials and temptations.

ALSO, the Christmas thing (#LighttheWorld) is awesome so I hope all of you are participating and sharing it all over social media and getting your friends to go to!!!

Ko ilo oku mo'oni a siasi! OFA LAHI ATU!

Sister Machen

Gisborne Zone!

Week 69 - Nov. 27, 2016 Thanksgiving and Earthquakes

The newest hooligans
Malo e Lelei!

Well this week was not all about Thanksgiving. I made some pumpkin bars from a mix I got sent in a package from our ward (shout out to Mapleton 1st!). So I shared that with my district but the islanders all thought they were weird and gross and pumpkin should only be a vegetable haha. For thanksgiving I decided to have a feast... so I got a five dollar meal from KFC and was satisfied!

In other news, there was another earthquake here, and I FELT IT! It was crazy. We were sitting in someone's house and the lights were swinging and it was so strange. The locals keep saying that there is a big one coming really soon and probably a tsunami to follow. Yikes! Good thing the Lord protects His servants. It has been SO hot this week, we saw a house fire, and decided to eat lunch on the beach.

The highlight of the week has probably been working with our investigator, Theresa. She walks to church every Sunday, walks to BoM class, walks to sports night, walked to a baptism on Saturday. She carries her BoM everywhere, even into town when she goes shopping. She is so cool! One of those that does everything herself and just needs us to teach her the lessons. But I have learned a big lesson in humility from her. Despite having barely anything, she has the greatest faith in the Lord's promises. She has lost 8 children and is still so positive and excited for the day when she can have them all back. She not only believes in Christ, she BELIEVES Him. She knows the blessings WILL come if she is faithful. Love that lady.

Well as December 1st is just around the corner, I invite all of you to go to and watch the Light the World message and DO IT! Everyday until Christmas you can be a light in some way. The 25 day challenge is on! Have a great week!

Ofa Atu!
Sister Machen

Happy days on the beach, summer is here!!

Crazy house fire

Week 68 - Nov. 20, 2016 Transfers!

Kitten that is named after me! (The owner described her as feisty.. s/o to my brothers haha)
Malo e Lelei!

Sooo yes I got a new companion! Sister Lavaka got transferred to South Auckland (tears) and I received Sister Soane (another Tongan). She came out with Sis Lavaka so it's like the same exact thing! Not really... But she is awesome and we get along great and miracles happen everyday.
Pretty much the only thing I can think of is how much I hate fleas. We got invaded and now I am constantly itchy and annoyed haha. But I think they will soon all be gone... The worst. Ever.

A recently returned missionary spoke in church yesterday about the many ways the gospel fulfills its purpose of bringing happiness to each of our lives. It was really powerful and you can tell this sister was truly changed by her mission. Even 4 weeks after getting home she is the same as when she first stepped off the plane. I understand more now how each spiritual experience we have or each moment the holy ghost touches our hearts is one that should add to our testimony and should be remembered with gratitude. That if we forget our experiences then our faith and testimony will weaken. As we keep our baptismal covenant to always remember the Savior we will never go astray. Well that's it. Hope you all are continually treasuring up the words of eternal life!!

Ka kite and ofa atu!
Sister Machen

I heart NZ

Sister Lavaka's last supper

Week 67 - Nov. 13, 2016 Earthquake?


I'm alive! I slept through the earthquake... yet again. So yes, we're all fine and dandy. Just have to stay away from the beach.. it's practically our backyard but all good. This week we had SO much going on. Took another trip up to Hamilton at the beginning of the week, had a blast on exchanges, prepared for our baptism that we couldn't go to because it took place back in my last area (ironic), had three activities to coordinate/invite everyone to, got dropped and picked up again, etc.

So two main experiences, the first was on exchanges. I was in my area with Sister Clegg, and I have really been trying to focus on following the spirit better. So after about 15 minutes of trying to find a certain person's house I finally gave up and said well I guess we're not supposed to see her today. Then as I was trying to decide where to go instead, my companion suggested we pray. Right after the prayer a name came into my head, but I thought she was out of town. We went anyway and sure enough she was still away. So I kind of shook my fist at myself for not getting what Heavenly Father wanted us to do. So we decided to knock some doors around her house, and nothing. When we first pulled up, someone had pulled into a neighboring driveway and was sitting in their car. Now knocking on people's doors isn't fun, but knocking on people's cars is dreadful. But that was the only person we could see. So we went and talked to this couple. During our conversation the woman rolled her eyes and went inside the house, but by the end of the conversation this man was asking questions about prayer and setting up a return appointment for us. So cool! Anyway that was long for such a small miracle but it was big for me. The spirit leads you to places where people are not interested so God knows He can trust you to still follow Him when there are people ready.

The second thing was on Saturday our investigator, Mama called us and dropped us. She wanted to find out the truth about Joseph Smith and prophets but felt she needed to time on her own to do it. I left my witness of the BOM with her and our love and we hung up. About an hour later she texts us saying that as soon as she "let us go" she felt Jesus leave her. Then she asked for a ride to church because the only place she feels Jesus is in the Mormon church. I wanted to laugh and cry and punch something. Heavenly Father must have so much patience.

Well that's about it! This work is miraculous, life-changing, and so demanding. And it's true. I love it. I love you all, have a great week!

Ofa Atu,
Sister Machen

So much love in this home.

I'm serving in Paradise!

Nasya got baptized! (not that day)

Driving up the coast

Week 66 - Nov. 6, 2016 Miracles Galore

P-days at the beach!


This week was so cool! We were like running from appointment to appointment. And then a miracle happened! So we have a Book of Mormon class every week and one of our recent converts brought her friend that had just moved in. He loved the class! SO we went to follow up a few days later and he opened the door and asked, "how do I become a member of your church?" (internal tears of joy). So we went in and taught him a first lesson with his member friend. He came to church on Sunday and BORE HIS TESTIMONY(his member friend was so scared of what he would say haha). Then after church we took a recently returned missionary sister to a lesson with him. It turned out to be one of the most powerful lessons I have been a part of. My companion has pretty broken English, but she recited the first vision perfectly and clearly and the spirit was palpable. The room was so silent. It was amazing! And so as he accepted a date for baptism, he turned to his friend and exclaimed, "YES!" with a fist pump. I've never seen someone so excited to be baptized so early on and it was definitely an experience to remember. Anyway, other than that there were many miracles that I can't even count. Our golden investigator, Mama, found out she won't be baptized for 6 more months, but it didn't stop her faith. She is already fellow shipping our other investigators and teaching her nonmember friends. Gisborne is the golden area. I love being a missionary and seeing wonderful changes take place in people's lives.

One last fun story, we went to lunch at a Tongan family's home in our ward and we had two big roasted pigs... Sadly I was given the chair right next next to where the pigs were being carved and got covered in blood and guts when the dad chopped the pig head off with the machete. Pretty gross. But the pork was delicious.

Have a great week, love you all!
Sister Machen

I ironed my companions hair... 

The District

Week 65 - Oct. 30, 2016

Hello hello!

Well just a follow up on last week, the temple was SOOO awesome and the next day we were exhausted but the week and the work didn't stop! We had exchanges this week, and I was able to learn a lot from Sister Teihotu. She came out with me and is from Tahiti and her english is sooo fluent now. It's so cool to see the gift of tongues in action. We had lots of lessons this week and had like 6 different members come out with us. Member missionary work IS possible people, I see it every day here. That's basically the biggest miracle lately, the members are amazing. Tradeoffs every week, referrals for people who area actually ready to receive the gospel. I love it!
I can't think of much else to write about, its been raining... But here're some pics of the temple last Monday!!!

Ofa atu,
Sister Machen

Aunty Alwyn and Marissa Falaniko!!
Add Her only missionaries left in the mission-Me and Elder Anhder (helped teach her)

Week 64 - Oct. 23, 2016 Temple with Aunty!


SO I'm currently emailing in Hamilton because I just came out of the TEMPLE WITH AUNTY ALWYN!!! (remember from the beginning of my mission?) Well she received her endowment today and it was like top three most sweet experiences I have had on my mission. That's saying something. I think I can understand a bit more how my parents might have felt when I went through and that is pretty cool. And I got to see the mom of another little girl we baptized in my first area and she is now active and the relief society president and came as aunty's escort. Pretty amazing day. Another good thing this week was interviews! SO that's when I begged president to let me drive the 6 hours to Hamilton for this special day. He's a very generous mission president. :)

Well I don't have any time cause we have to drive back now but I had a cool experience with our investigator Mama this week. We came to teach her and prepare her for the baptismal interview and she had some concerns about Joseph Smith and the prophet today, she didn't quite know for sure that they were true prophets. So we said we would come back and teach her more. The next day we came and she tells us don't worry about it, she knows they are men of God and that this church is the true church, without a doubt. I was so shocked. But she told us she had been researching online (I freaked out inside) on the church website (phew) and she could not believe how much persecution the saints went through and still go through. She knew that only God's true church would have to wade through so much tribulation from the adversary. I thought that was such a good point. The saints went through so much to uphold their beliefs and fight for freedom that they truly testified in giving their lives for the cause. And these were people that had very close associate with Joseph Smith. Cool stuff. I agree with Mama, the church is SO legit. I love it. Have a great week!

Ofa atu,
Sister Machen

ps pics next week

Week 63 - Oct. 16, 2016 Transferred to Gisbourne!

Road Trippin' with Sister Teihotu
Malo e lelei!

Guys. I love Gizzy. It's a golden area! This week was great. Last Monday straight after emails we had to head up towards Hamilton for MLC on Tuesday. My companion was sick so I took up Sister Teihotu to stay the night in... Tauranga! I just left that place but got to go back for a bit, it was awesome. We stayed the night with the STL there, Sister Johnson, and early the next morning she and I made the rest of the trip to Hamilton. It's been a long time since I've been at MLC and all the mission leaders are like... so young! And I barely knew any of them, it was weird. But after a great meeting we got back to Tauranga too late to make the 5 hour trip back to Gisborne so we stayed another night and finally got home on Wednesday. I didn't like being away from my area so long, but the drive was gorgeous and the meeting was so good! So this week feels short. But Thursday we had zone meeting, Friday we sang at the rest home, Saturday we cut our investigator's lawn (& my finger) with a machete, had 7 investigators at church on Sunday and are preparing 4 FHE's today. Seriously. I love this place. I love being busy! I'm really never leaving. This week I've been studying a lot about Joseph Smith, it has been a humbling and sacred experience as I have seen my testimony transform. I'm SO grateful for Joseph Smith and the sacrifice

s he made to usher in the Restoration of the gospel. No wicked man could do it, and no good man would, unless he were commanded by God to do so. He was! Anyway I hope you all have a great week and enjoy fall while I enjoy the sun. SUMMER IS COMING!!

Ofa atu,
Sister Machen

Reppin' Gizzy

Week 62 - Oct. 2, 2016

Just Chillin' in Paradise

Heller heller (read in an Australian accent),

Well this week will be transfers but President likes to wait til the very last minute to tell us what's happening so you'll know if I'm here again or gone next week! But Sister Kendal only has 6 weeks left of her mission so if I stay I'll have stayed here for a total of 9 months... I don't know how I feel about that prospect haha. But this week was awesome!! We met with our investigator Katie for the second time and she was so excited to see us (rare) and it was just such a cool experience. There is such a difference between the sincere seekers of truth and people who just want to waste the Lord's time. And she also let us make noise on her drums which was cool.

The only session of conference I've seen is the women's session and it was AWESOME. Like most of my questions were already answered so I'll have to come up with some more for the rest of conference. I just love the gospel. I felt such an urgency from our leaders to have a better understanding of the doctrine of Christ and be bold in standing up for our beliefs. It is no longer the time to sit idly by, we must speak up and speak out!!

I played the piano in sacrament yesterday and came up with a bomb analogy for my terrible playing. If we only go to our piano lessons once a week with no practicing in between, we will make very slow progress if any. Just like the gospel, if we only go to church on Sunday but never put into practice the gospel throughout the week (ie. scripture study, prayer, home and visiting teaching, service, temple worship) then it will benefit us but little. The genius of this gospel is the personal application EVERYDAY. That's the key people. I love it. I know it's true.
I love you all!

Sister Machen

The District

That one time I actually won at bowling

Week 61 - Sept. 25, 2016

Hello family!

Daylight savings happened here in New Zealand so now I'm really confused about what time it is back home but I assume you are home from church and now have one hour to write me while I'm still emailing:) I expect to hear from all of you!!

This week went so fast. We went on exchanges and had some really cool experiences. We had a zone conference with President Cummings and got great training. And we did more service in the ward garden!
On exchanges I was with a new missionary who was leading her area and we had a lesson with a CRAZY lady. I went into this set appointment only knowing that she was "blunt and a little rude." She proceeded to smash us, the church, God, Jesus, and the BoM for nearly 40 minutes. Whatever we said she shot down, my favorite line was directed at me, "You will never know what I have been through little lady." The trainee I was with was awesome, she showed such love to this woman who really truly hated us. Finally Sister Welker spoke up and expressed her love for the lady, told her we would be here when she was ready and testified of God's love and concern for each of us. And then we left. I was so proud of this missionary! Afterwards I felt no unkind feelings for the lady, I just felt really sad for her. She doesn't see how much Our Father loves her, and all of His children. But we as missionaries can only help those who want to be helped. And pray for those with hard hearts.

Zone conference was cool! I was shocked at how many missionaries I didn't know... all the ones I know are home haha. But we were reminded of our commission to "teach Repentance, and Baptize Converts." I loved what we learned about repentance, that it is truly getting rid of the bad, and improving the good. We need that repentance everyday to become more and more like our Savior Jesus Christ. I know it is possible through His enabling power.
Hope everyone has a great week!

Sister Machen

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 60 - Write Me Family

I play the guitar now
Hello hello!

Another week that felt like a day. This week I was sick for the first time on my mission (I have been so blessed), but it wasn't even bad. Anyway, for like three days just ONE eye would randomly get all red and start leaking (thanks mom) and people would get all concerned that I was getting emotional and whatnot. It was just annoying. But I still saw many miracles with my one good eye.. aha so funny.

We found a new investigator couple, Kelly (male) and Katie, and we taught them the Restoration the very next day. It was one of the best lessons I have ever had on my mission. When we introduced the Book of Mormon, right away Kelly was like, "Oh I want to read that book!" And I was like wut. Speechless. It was so cool. And was an experience that I haven't had in a very long time.

We had an opportunity to be with a big less-active family that was remembering their sister that passed away two years ago, and the only active one (the grandfather) asked us to share some thoughts to his children and grandchildren about the plan of salvation. I was able to see the effects of straying from the gospel in a family that once knew the truth and I was just so grateful for my own family and the fact that we LIKE to be together and the principles of the gospel are a normal and daily thing. That family had forgotten and was treating lightly the precious truths of the gospel. It was a stark contrast to my own and I just hope those of us who do have the blessings of gospel in our families do not take it for granted!

Lastly, last week we taught primary about missionary work and invited them to share the gospel. We followed up yesterday and those kids are the bomb. One read the BoM with his friend at lunch, one invited and brought her friend to the Primary activity, and one actually brought her friend to church! Kids are the best and we can learn loads from their example!

Hope you all have a great week and write me next week family...
Sister Machen

Sister Kendall and Me

Week 59 - B Y Who?

Kia Ora!

This week honestly flew by. I don't even know what to tell you people. Sister Kendall gave a great talk in Sacrament meeting, we sang yet another musical number in Maori and the spirit was so strong, and we finally had people show up for church!! People have been asking about our investigators and how they are doing. They just change so quickly that it's hard to talk about them. But one lady we have been working with for sooo long, she's a hard case but she is the closest we have to a progressing investigator. Everyone else is part member families and less-actives. Our bishop is making a big push for the ward to reactivate their own families (everyone is related in this ward, not lying). So we work a lot with the members to try and help the less actives. One thing I've learned over and over is that you cannot do anything with out members. Seriously. And when the members are on to it, it's the best. They are great!

One cool experience we had was with a less active sister who has been wanting to come back to church but it's been hard because her partner was put off by missionaries trying to force them to get married. But we had a really awesome lesson and the spirit was so strong and at the end she told us that she is ready to get married and wants our help, etc. It was really great at the time, but doesn't sound so amazing right now as I'm writing haha.

We also got to go teach primary about being a missionary and those kids are crazy but awesome. The leaders of the future haha.

Anyway, life is great as always. Being a missionary is the best. I'm never coming home. The church is true.

Love you alll!!!!
Sister Machen

Week 58 - Earthquake?

On Sunday, September 4, 2016 6:33 PM, Elise Machen <> wrote:

Hey hey hey!

This week we had some cool miracles happen! Well first another funeral happened. It was the brother of one of our members, who was actually a returning less-active back in my last area in Hamilton so I knew him! It was such a surprise to realize who he was and connect the dots but it's a small world, especially in the church! But we were asked to attend the service and basically mingle with the family (some less active, some nonmembers). It was really cool and the spirit is just so strong when members testify about the plan of salvation and the grace of our Saviour to their mourning family. We were also able to bring the spirit through song and of course that was a powerful moment for the spirit to touch hearts. So after all that, we went out to contact a referral we had received from some people there and it took us to a bunch of homes by the other Marae, with no addresses.. So we had to walk around asking people about this man we were trying to find and as we did, we had unplanned opportunities to talk with people and one in particular recognized us from the funeral, we had no idea who he was, but he remembered us! So we were able to share more about the Plan of salvation and plan to begin teaching him! I have a feeling a lot more instances like that will be happening as the hearts of the people are softened by the Lord!
Another lady we have been trying to teach was also there at the funeral and when we went by later in the week she told us she had begun to read the Book of Mormon (finally!) and asked of we could pray to help her understand it better. Anyway, there are lots more tender mercies and little miracles happening  here but honestly it's all a blur.

Sister Machen

PS. The earthquake was about 5 hours south of me but people here felt it, I slept through it sadly so I have no idea what it was like. We had a tsunami warning and President told us to stay away from the beach but jokes because we live 2 minutes from the beach. But we only got a bit of rain and that was it!

Attempting pole vault drills on a fraying rope by a waterfall

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Week 57 - new transfer, same place

Kia Ora.

Well I have been blessed to stay here in Tauranga for another six weeks, just as I anticipated. My new companion is Sister Kendall!!! She's from Australia but she's part Samoan. I was soooo excited when I heard because we served in Hamilton together and she was just companions with my baby, Sister Taylor! So I knew we were gonna get along great and have heaps of fun and I was right! Seriously, I love her. The first night she was here we chased a guy down in the rain at 8:57 at night just to find out he was really urgently looking for Pokemons... It was awesome but sadly he was not interested.

This past week has been crazy, I was with some other sisters for like three days in their area (which is pumping) but I missed my area so much! I really love the people that I serve and I know that I am where I am for a mighty purpose. We got to experience a full on Tangi this week. Our relief society counselor's young son passed away suddenly so the whole ward and most of investigators were at the marae for four days helping and supporting her and her family. We went a lot because everyone we visit was already there and it was actually a really great finding opportunity. I was able give a prayer for a service one night and I honestly have never been so nervous to say a prayer in my life! All these nonmember Maori people mourning their family and this white girl is giving the prayer, in their marae, in front of all the koumatuas (elders of the marae). Anyway it's hard to explain but the traditions are really cool and I learned so much! Just glad they didn't kick me out haha.

I learn so much everyday and feel the spirit so often it's incredible. I am so grateful for my understanding of a loving Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. We will see our loved ones again and we can have so much more joy in this life if we follow his commandments. I'm so grateful. The church is true. Ka Kite.

Sister Machen

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Week 56 - I Love Eliza MacCartney


Well this week has been sunny and beautiful so my attitude has taken an alarming turn for the better. Amazing what the sun can do for you. So in relation to my subject line, Eliza is the New Zealand pole vaulter that got bronze a few days ago and is now my new hero. Pretty much she is all anyone talks about here because it was such a surprise medal and anyone who knows I pole vault is just SO excited to talk about it haha.

Besides that, it was a pretty normal week! We had Stake Conference and our nonmember choir was asked to sing in the adult session on Saturday night and it was so awesome because all those nonmembers were pretty much forced to listen to the talks in between our singing. Awesome. The spirit was so strong as we sang "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" in Maori. What an awesome language. Seriously. So that was probably the highlight! We also got to help with New Beginnings in our ward because one of our investigators came!

In the way of transfers, I will most likely be staying here in the blessed land of Tauranga another 6 weeks, and I will be receiving a new companion! I will miss Sister Mitchell and have learned SO MUCH the past few weeks.

One thing in particular stood out to me as I was reading D&C 105, mostly about being unified as a companionship, as a family, as a ward, a stake, and as a church as a whole. The only way we can succeed is if we build our lives, wards, the church, on celestial laws. Only in the Lord's way can we succeed in our endeavors! So may we ever be more unified in our duty to God, in our callings in the church, and in our efforts to support one another.

Love you all,
Sister Machen
Choir Girls

With our Ward Mission Leader and his Wife

New Beginnings - Smallest YW group ever!

Week 55 -

Kia Ora,

This week we taught a lady from Turkey who pretty much believes in Relativism and that we're all good people so we don't need Christ (WRONG). We had to drop a few people that are just not progressing and are eating up precious time. We helped another lady move, chopped fire wood for days (yes, sisters can chop wood), and taught numberless less-actives.

One less active in particular called us up after being missing in action for like a month. She told us where she has been staying, asked us to come over and asked for a ride to church. So we went over and just listened to all this crazy stuff that has been going on and she was able to find her own solutions to her problems without us really saying anything. It's awesome when people apply things and then see them work out for their good. Anyway the next day we went around to make sure she was awake for her ride to church. She wasn't and she said she was too sick but we were able to help her see why church was important for her to get back on the right path. I don't really know the end to this story yet but she came to church and she's excited for a FHE tonight so hopefully the little things pay off!

Not much else is happening but we're working hard with the ward to get them more involved in missionary work and were able to do some role plays in ward council with the auxiliaries so that was pretty awesome. Anyway, the Lord has His own timing and we just have to TRUST! The church is true, the work is moving, and Heavenly Father is aware of each of us!

Sister Machen

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Week 54 - Congrats A & A!!!

Hey Whanau.

I don't even know what to tell you but it was another good week haha. We finally got one of our investigators to come to church yesterday and she loved it! It was exactly what she needed to help her feel at peace with the things we have been teaching her. Funny thing though, I bore my testimony (as a promise to her for coming), and might have shed a few tears about eternal families and the plan of salvation (shout out to Aaron and Amy, who were having their reception at about the same time!). But afterwards she gave me the biggest hug and asked, "when did your brother pass away?" LOL she thought Aaron DIED. Pretty funny cause she probably didn't understand the words "sealed in the temple." Anyway that made the day a whole lot better!

Some things from the week-Sister Mitchell witnessed a lady breast feeding her child right in front of us and freaked out; we helped two people move; had zone meeting; and found out Sister Mitchell is a very talkative sleeper-she also laughs and cries in her sleep. I am so entertained at night. I love being with a new missionary and re-experiencing all the wonders of missionary life!

We found some awesome new investigators this week, a couple from India (pray for them..) and a cool lady from Turkey!! We are seeing the miracles happen here, slowly but surely. and I can't emphasize enough how important it is for us as members to fulfill our missionary responsibilities. We can't do anything as missionaries if we don't have the help or support from the members we serve. So ask yourself, "am I a good member missionary?" And get back to me :) I love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Machen

Felt like I was right there watching the happy couple come out of the temple!

Got the announcement two days before the wedding-that's why I couldn't make it...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 53 - A Long One


Another great week in the promised land of New Zealand. We have been blessed with tender mercies throughout the week that are great reminders of why I want to be here and that this is exactly where I need to be. We were able to teach some youth about the Plan of Salvation as it relates to temples and family history for mutual and the nonmember girl that has been coming for a few months now is so keen! She really felt the spirit and asked how she can help her ancestors to progress and then how she should go about being baptized herself! So that was an awesome moment. Another experience we had this week was when we visited this part member family that we knew was getting kicked out of their home. When we got there just one single mom was left with her five year old son adn as we talked to her she shared a lot of crazy and sad things that she has been through in her life. Once again I was humbled to realize how blessed I have been in my life, but I also felt great hope for this young mother knowing that whatever she has been through in the past, the Lord will eventually compensate her and the gospel will absolutely bless her life. I love these expereiences!

We had interviews with our mission president and I received a lot of great peace knowing that with everything we are going through, the Lord already has a plan laid out for us. He knows what we will study, where we live, what our careers will be, etc. but He doesn't overwhelm us with all the information at once, He reveals things in His own timing that in turn is best for us. Going along with that, we had a great lesson from our Bishop this Sunday about simplifying our lives, but simplifying just means prioritizing and gi\etting rid of things that waste time so that we can replace them with important things of eternal perspective. "If what you're doing now has no eternal outcome, you're wasting your time." A mission is definitely not a waste of time!!

Also want to thank Mapleton 1st Ward for all the awesome letters and encouragment I have received over the past year! I always love getting letters from my "army" back home!! Shout out to Aaron and Amy tying the knot this Saturday, I'm so happy for you both! And happy birthday to Corey, thanks for being alive another year!

I love you all HEAPS!!
Sister Machen

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Week 52 - Family History is COOL!

Kia Ora!

So this week was a super cool eye opener about how awesome family history is. So, as some may know, great-great grandpa Parley Waters served a mission here in 1894, and my dream of a mother sent his missionary journal with me to this promised land. I read some of it at the beginning of my mission but just kind of got busy. But I pulled it out again and am nearly finished reading. HE IS SO COOL. I recognize lots of places he served and even names of people he taught. And all of his service so far has been in my mission. I shared that story with some less active members and ward leaders at a scripture study this week and they were so excited! The Maori culture is all about family and knowing where you come from and everything, so having a journal from way back then is like gold. It has been such a blessing and so special to connect with my family in that way. I'm also so grateful that I don't have to walk 16 miles a day, beg for dinner at the first house I see, bathe in the river, or drink from a swamp. Missionaries today have a pampered life. Truly.

Other than that the work is moving slowly but surely. Alma 26:22 has come to mean a lot to me. As we exercise faith, repent, pray always, and serve, the Lord blesses us with greater knowledge and miracles.
I love you all! The church is true and I'm so grateful for my family's legacy of faith.

Ka kite ano,
Sister Machen

Chopped down a banana tree!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Week 51 - One Year Down!

Hey family!

So first that's so crazy about missionaries in Russia!!!! Satan is working to harden peoples hearts more than ever, but the gospel will win in the end.

My new companion is Sister Mitchell from St. George Utah. Brand new, fresh out of the MTC and already so good at being a missionary! I love her soooo so much!! She's much blonder, much skinner, and talks much more like an American than me, but all that will change in time haha. Jk cause we are now dedicated to running every morning. The past week has been great, we have had really awesome lessons with a few people and just been reminded of why we are here. Sister Mitchell asked me how long I have been out and that's when I realized I hit my year mark on Saturday (what the heck) and time doesn't seem real. As we have gone around introducing my new comp to the members, I have felt such a great love for them and appreciation for them. This area is not as busy as others but the members really make it amazing!

So I've been told to share more about investigators, the one part member family that we are working with and has great prospects is Jemma and Junior with their three boys. Junior is a member from his childhood and Jemma is so onto it! They are so busy so it's been rough trying to teach actual lessons and they have only come to church once but they are the best we have at the moment and once we can get them progressing faster they will be such a great addition to the ward! Other than that we have Gabby, who is a 17 year old super busy, athletic, high schooler that is NEVER home. So pretty much it's a struggle setting up appointments and teaching her but once we do, she will be so ready for baptism!

This work is the greatest thing ever. We are ALL a part of it. A scripture that is awesome is Alma 31:34-35, every soul is precious!

Ka Kite Ano and Arohanui,
Sister Machen

Bye Sister Suk!

Hello Sister Mitchell!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week 50 - President and Sister Cummings

Korean Ice Cream!

Kia Ora,

Well this will be short, but we got to meet our new president this past week! He is so AWESOME. They are from Sydney, Australia and brought their son along. I felt so much love from them both and the spirit confirmed the divinity of his calling. He's the man for the job right now. They both were so nice. I'm sure there will be changes to the mission in the way of rules and things, but President just exhorted us all to be obedient. "Being worthy when the opportunity arises is what a good life is all about." We need to show the Lord that He can trust us when He needs us. Maybe He will place a prepared investigator in our path or allow the priesthood to work through a worthy priesthood holder at a time of need. But I am grateful for their worthiness to serve and the excitement they have brought to this mission! Hope you all have a great week!

Much Aroha,
Sister Machen

Crazy Sisters

Week 49 - Happy 4th!

Another week gone by. Of course I'm decked out in red, white, and blue today in honor of America, but sadly no one here seems to care. And fireworks are banned. so sad. Anyway we get to meet our new mission president this thursday for one hour haha, should be interesting! We went on exchanges and I got to go to the area across the bay where people are nearly lining up to be baptized (not really but it seemed like it). It's crazy how much you can learned/be reminded of in just 24 hours. But mostly I learned there is a balance between being focused and enjoying yourself as you do the Lord's work. I don't think you could ever work TOO hard, but just understanding that there needs to be great enthusiasm and joy paired with the hard work. Don't worry I'm very happy!

We went to yet another funeral "tangi" on the Marae and did the nose touching "hongi." I don't think I'll ever get used to pressing my nose against an old man's. And then there're those cheeky fellas that kiss you on the cheek and basically I just want to die. But it's all a beautiful culture when done properly...

Then yesterday we had a baby blessing in church and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the plan of salvation. As one spirit left this world and one spirit entered, it hit me how short and precious this life is, and how pivotal. Our decisions DO determine our destiny. I love this gospel and I love the confidence it gives me that we can be families forever. Even though it just annoys me that you're all fit and tan in the pictures you sent, I still love you hooligans.

Have a great week!
Sister Machen

Monday, June 27, 2016

Week 48 - RAIN RAIN & More RAIN

What a crazy week!

Our marshmallow of a car was getting fixed so we got to pull out the bikes and dust off our walking shoes. So pretty much it takes an hour to walk from our house to the main road. Such a waste of time. Then winter decided to come in full force and just pour on us all week. So we made the most of it and danced in the rain a bit. And then my companion got sick haha. But we still had a week full of miracles!! We actually found some new investigators and the biggest miracle of all was this part member family we have been working with finally came to church! They are so golden, already married and everything haha. We had an awesome lesson about the plan of salvation with them on Saturday and the spirit was so strong. They have three boys (one set of twins) and they are CRAZY. Truly. But somehow everyone was quiet and paying attention when we testified of eternal families. It was beautiful. I love the gospel.

Funny quote from Sister Suk, "You know what's good when you're married? You will always have someone to watch over you when you take out the recycling." That's just a peek into the entertaining life being comps with this Korean.

Well I hope my family had fun at Lake Powell without me. Must have, since you're all too tired to write me!!! I forgive you I guess. Maybe.

Have a great week! Much love,
Sister Machen

Ps. heres a video of the torrential rain and how soaked we were.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 47 - Bye RUDDS!

Huria Marae

Well this week was good and hard and sad and happy.

We had a last zone conference with the Rudds on Friday and said bye to them. I am so appreciative of everything they have taught me and helped me to become. They are so special! We sang "God be with you 'til we meet again" and of course everyone was just bawling like idiots. But I'm grateful I'll be able to annoy them all the time cause they just live in Sandy haha! We had the conference on the Huria Marae in my area and we went through the whole ceremony of being welcomed onto the marae and doing the hongi with all the old men and women, where we press our foreheads and noses together and like stare into each other's eyes. It's slightly creepy and very awkward, but it represents God giving Adam the breath of life and it's really cool!

We lost our one progressing investigator cause she is moving and so we were all gutted and sad but then were able to have a really solid lesson with a new part member family and that lifted our spirits. Sometimes the Lord takes away something good but He always prepares something better!

We were asked to speak in Sacrament meeting yesterday about the Book of Mormon and so that was really good for me to study more and I realized how essential it is for us to be reading from the Book of Mormon DAILY. Yes the Bible is great and the Ensigns and everything are wonderful, but the Book of Mormon is the most important. After I spoke, our Bishop quickly got up and expressed his prompting to exhort us all to read it everyday, and if we are not already doing it, we need to start now. It was slightly scary but so powerful! It's truly the only way we can withstand the temptations and deceptions we face everyday.

I know the Lord has prepared the means for us to have success and be happy each and every day, and those things are found in His word. Hopefully, you are all reading it everyday, I know it's true. I love this gospel. And I love you all!

Sister Machen

Huria Marae

Huria Marae Outside

Inside Huria Marae with Sis. Suk

Sis Machen and Sis Suk


Week 46 - Change, Change, Chaaaaange


We had a great week! It's always a great week when you take the time to reflect on the miracles and blessings you have seen and received. We had a zone meeting all about INVITING, it was a good reminder to me to leave people with an invitation to act every time we talk with them. Otherwise they won't do anything! Also, with President Rudd leaving, a lot of things changed in the mission, most of his protocols were taken away giving us a lot more freedom... Scary though haha. Anyway, so after getting all fired up at zone meeting we went out and visited this part member family. We started right away and asked their daughter if she would like to receive the lessons, she said yes and we sat down and taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ and Invited her to be baptized... drum roll... she said YES! It was such a cool experience because her parents have been less active for years but they just came back all of a sudden to full activity by themselves (they said, "no one but me can save me.") and they want SO bad to be sealed. So at the end of the lesson her dad shared his testimony and his great desire to be sealed as a family. The spirit was so strong. This is why we do missionary work- so families can be together forever.

Another cool experience we had was yesterday we had the opportunity to go to a tangi! My first one. That's the Maori style funeral at the Marae. Anyway it was really cool and interesting to see how different cultures do things. At the tangi, there was a Christian pastor and he said a few words before our member who was conducting the meeting shared some thoughts. The stuff the pastor said was somewhat good and true but I noticed how plain and precious truths of the plan of salvation are, mainly that because Christ was resurrected, we will all live again. And that death is not a punishment for a person's unrighteous deeds but a part of the wonderful plan that enables us to progress through eternity. I'm so grateful for the restored gospel, the wonderful knowledge we have of the true character of our Heavenly Father and His plan for us.

Well that's about it, I'm loving the culture and the miracles that we see everyday. You don't have to be a missionary to see miracles everyday! I invite you all to discover what the Lord is asking of you at this moment, and DO IT. I love this gospel and I know it's true!

Sister Machen

PS. Yes my mission is approved to wear PANTS but I refuse to wear pants. The pant options are all hideous. I think I'll live with a few mosquito bites.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 45 - Harvesting!

Well transfers came and went and Sister Suk and I stayed together in Otumoetai! I'm really glad, I love her! We actually had a great week this week.

Remember the lady that came to the baptism last Saturday? Well she is now set to be baptized the beginning of July! Miracles happen. Truly. She is awesome just working with her to stop smoking. But she is so prepared. Her sister asked her, "hey are you still keen on getting baptized?" (missionaries wait, holding their breath), "yep." That's it; she is just ready and accepts everything we teach her so easily. The Lord rewards hard work!

Yesterday was one of the most spiritual testimony meetings I have ever been in. Everyone who got up had simple but pure testimonies. They all testified of the Savior, and it didn't turn into story time! I felt an abundance of the spirit testifying that Heavenly Father knows each of His children individually and has a personal relationship with each of them. It is so great to see our brothers and sisters growing in faith and strength in the gospel and I am so grateful for this wonderful ward family. One thing that stuck out to me while I was studying was in 3 Nephi 18:7, when we take the sacrament we are not doing it for anyone but ourselves. It is a precious ordinance that is for US every single week. It allows us to testify to our Heavenly Father of our personal commitment and is so special!

Anyway, I learn more than I can even write but I hope you all delighted in your Sabbath this week and felt the spirit.

I love you all!
Sister Machen

Woke up at 5:30 to say bye to my fav Tongan Sis Havea! 

"the BOM dropper district"

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Week 44 - It's almost JUNE!

Well well, what a week.

We had exchanges this week and I stayed in my area with Sister Havea. I just love her! She actually goes home tomorrow so it was her last exchange EVER. I was so honored. But we did work and miracles happen on exchanges. I testify. People who are never home, or always busy, were home and INVITED US IN. We had a really cool lesson with a girl named Courtney. She's a single mom of two girls and had been taught the restoration like a year ago but didn't think much of it. We shared that God is our loving Heavenly Father and He hears our prayers. She felt the spirit way strong and by the end of the lesson she was asking us how to pray and telling us she was really excited to try it. Such a simple truth that we often over look. We are literally children of God!

The elders had a baptism on Saturday for a lady that had been coming to church for like 9 years but had never been baptized! Crazy. I was reminded how important baptism is, it truly is the gate to all the other blessings! Also, Alex and Sarah, the awesome Brazilian couple from my last area got baptized!!  President Rudd called me saying they had written a letter requesting for me to come back for the baptism but he said it was too far... SAD. But I am sooo happy for them!!

Lastly, I have learned a lot about my weaknesses this week. It seems the longer I'm out here, the longer my list of weaknesses gets. It's a beautiful paradox. I am grateful to know that we can change those weaknesses into strengths through our Savior Jesus Christ, and we can change the moment we decide to. See 2 Cor 12:9-10.

Transfers are this Thursday but we won't know anything for another day. I'll be staying here though that's for sure! This work is the greatest work ever. There are people prepared, and we all have the responsibility to find them:)

Sister Machen

Beaches in the winter are still cool.

Week 43 - I just wrote! (5/22/16)

Kiaora Kiaora.

I feel like I was just writing you people. So there's nothing to say...
Just kidding!

This week we were just pretty run down, working hard and not really seeing anything happen. But we went to one of our dinner appointments with a member and about two minutes after we walked in they introduced us to their 17 year old daughter and said, "she's not baptized" and basically said they wanted her to be. But it was crazy cause I though this family was fully active and whatnot but after talking with them they had been inactive for 15 years and barely came back to church about 3 months ago and so 2 of their daughters are not members. Coolest member referral ever. Doesn't sound that cool writing it, but it was. Sister Suk and I started screaming the second we got into the car hahahaha.

Seriously the struggle has been real trying to find anyone that wants to listen to us.
Another cool thing is this Tongan man that has been investigating for ages has finally started to study the Book of Mormon. He wouldn't even let us give him one about 4 months ago and now he is studying it full on everyday and knows way more than his member wife! Miracles of fasting on that one.

That's about it but I truly am grateful for fasting because that is how we have received the blessings we've seen lately. "Put the Lord first and all other things fall into place or drop out of your lives."
Its true!

Lots of love,
Sister Machen

Week 42 - Quick One (5/15/16)


This week was an improvement! But the solid investigator we picked up dropped us like three days later haaaaa. Joy. Just gotta get out and keep searching out the elect! We talked to an anti-Christ guy that said the spirit was telling him to smoke and Satan is his savior. I laughed and walked away as he shouted lovely words at us. We were FINALLY able to catch up with some investigators and basically cleaned their whole house, I love service, truly.

This week I have truly seen how important charity is and how much I lack it. So thats the ongoing endeavor, to develop charity and patience! People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. The work is hard but still so rewarding!

Hope your week is mean.

Sister Machen

(Not) Actually Swimming!

Party at the Beach

My New BFF