Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 35 - Easters!!!

Happy Easter!!!

Thank you to those that sent packages for Easter and my birthday! Even though I don't even know some of you, I really appreciate it! So Easter in New Zealand is 100% about chocolate Cadbury eggs. So that gave us a great opportunity to share the true meaning of Easter with so many people! Yesterday we had a lesson with a part member family that we hadn't seen in a while and the 8 year old girl didn't even know who Jesus Christ is (tears). So we shared a bit about His life and then the reason for the season and then asked each family member what it means for them personally that Jesus Christ lives. The little girl replied, "I really love Jesus. Because He lives, He can help us with everything." I gave her a high five cause that was spot on. I love Easter, this year and, of course, I appreciate it so much more! We have been able to share the "Because He Lives" video from last Easter with a lot of people and I love it. I am so grateful for a knowledge of my Savior, and the understanding that because He lives today, I can live again with Him and with my family.

This week we went on exchanges yet again and I got to be with my old comp Sister Asiata! It was so cool to see how much we have both grown and changed since we were together 5 months ago. And I got to spend part of my Birthday with her! She goes home in three weeks and I think it was something we both needed. I am so grateful for all my companions and the things I've learned from them. I love her!

Had a great birthday! Our recent convert Aunty Alwyn from my last area came to visit and brought me a cake (LOVE HER). And an American family had us over for dinner on the day and made fajitas so it was preeeeettyyy great. Made me feel like I have family here! Hope everyone had a great Easter!

Sister Machen

Happy 20th Birthday!

Aunty Alwyn brought me a cake!

Random Buddha?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Week 34 - My Baptism Wish

Kia Ora whanau,

This week was fabulous. We set our Chinese family with a date for baptism in April!!!! SO EXCITING!!! We were in the middle of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and asked if everything made sense or if they had any questions and the wife, Ada, goes, "when can we be baptized?" Picture in the "Best Two Years" when all the elders are looking up to heaven when the phone rings during the prayer and angels sing Hallelujah... That was basically me and my comp. I couldn't help but just grin and laugh. They are just so prepared and humble! I love them.

We went on exchanges with the Tongan Sisters so I was walking all day in the glorious sun and brushing up on my Tongan... all I know how to say is "yes." But they were good and it's always a fun time with those sisters. We went to the Elders' baptism and sang another musical number but this time we made sure to get a pianist and practice before so it was MUCH better and nobody's ears were bleeding. (My ears are currently bleeding because someone is playing the bagpipes really bad right outside the chapel.)

Oh and one more fun thing is that we got rear ended on Saturday. But good thing we were in the Lord's car and didn't get hurt and the car has like one tiny scratch on it 'cause the bike hitch saved our tail and destroyed the other person's car. So it was a good time and the first crash Sister Taylor has been in so she was actually slightly in shock... but she recovered and just started laughing so that was good.

Anyway, I have one wish since my birthday is this week... I would really LOVE if I could hear some of your personal conversion stories. Just an experience or moment in which the spirit really testified of gospel truths and you felt you had a testimony. I would extra love it if my family could ALL do it:) Hearing members' conversion stories and testimonies is one of the best things about being on a mission and so I reckon it would be even better coming from people I love! Okay thanks, thanks, thanks, have a great week!

Sister Machen

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 33 - BAPTISMS!!!!


We had interviews with President Rudd on Thursday, which were great. He is truly inspired. And super funny. So that was a good time. Then we had all three baptisms happen on Saturday!!!! What an insane day but so full of the spirit! The first one was at 10 and that was the little Kiribati girls, Levinna and Rabi. They were so excited! Sad story about that baptism: we were supposed to sing a musical number with the Elders but we hadn't really practiced or anything so we were just gonna sing "I am a child of God," usually good, but last minute, the Elders walked out of the room to go check the font and then like 30 seconds later it's our turn to sing! So Sister Taylor and I just went up and started singing... acappella.... if you can only imagine. It was the worst singing I had ever heard and it was coming from my own mouth. The Elders walked back in half way through the song and were heavily growled afterward by our ward mission leader hahaha. Also I ended up having to play the piano for two of the baptisms and let me just say, I might be tad rusty... Wishing I had practiced more before coming out (yes mom, I really admitted it).

So then the next baptism was Nikki at 12 and that one was soooo good! Her whole family came!!! The YW sang a musical number so no disasters there, and she asked sister Taylor and me to speak so that was a really awesome opportunity. Definitely felt how ready she was. That one was followed directly after by a ward swim party, so everyone went over there afterwards. Man I have never been so tempted to swim in my life. I miss swimming!

The last baptism was at 6:30pm and that was Isaiah. His whole family came as well. His mom is currently less active but she just kept saying how crazy this all was 'cause she got baptized in the very same chapel in March when she was 14 and now her son was getting baptized under the same circumstances. Pretty cool. All the YM showed up for that one and were super welcoming!
Then yesterday they were all confirmed and the ward was again so welcoming. I love this ward!!

The church is true!!!! We are here to bring others unto Christ through baptism. I am so grateful for these saving ordinances and for the priesthood which makes them available to us.
Hope everyone has a great week!

Sister Machen

Rabi and Levinna




Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 32 - Still in Hamilton East Ward!

Another greaaaat week. Our baptism got pushed to this Saturday with two other ones so we've got a triple header happening on Saturday! The stress is real. But it's a good stress obvi. Nikki's son got blessed in church yesterday and her whole family came so that was super awesome! They are all planning on coming to her baptism as well so we're looking forward to more missionary opportunities there. One concern with our baptisms is just that the support from home and family hasn't really been there. It's hard to join the church by yourself let alone having your whole family basically make fun of you for it. So that's where the ward comes in and I have become SO appreciative to the ward members who really reach out and fellowship these people trying to do what is right. But we need everyone on board. Seriously. 

We had MLC this week and Zone Meeting and I lucked out this time because the STL for the Visitors Center is in our Zone this transfer so we did a training together about working with members. SO from a missionary's perspective, feeding the missionaries doesn't actually mean feeding them.... We get plenty of money to survive! Feeding the missionaries is a great opportunity for members to invite less active or nonmember friends or relatives so the missionaries can uplift them. Even if they don't want the discussions those people will realize that we missionaries are real people too, and we just have a great message to share. Anyway that will do for my soap box about member missionary work!

As per Mom's request, here's an outline of my day: 
Wake up at 6:30, attempt to exercise but fail miserably. 
Study from 8-11 (extra hour for training hallelujah)
Visit potential investigators, investigators, less actives or members until 9 pm
Eat with members everyday at 5 except mondays and wednesdays
Um basically the same thing everyday...
Pretty standard. We usually have about 3 set appointments everyday on average so that's actually super great. And most of our investigators are single uni students cause we literally live two min from the biggest university in New Zealand. But we have a chinese family that we set for baptism yesterday!!! I love them so much. They are so humble and sincere! They knew nothing at all about Jesus or Heavenly Father but every time they pray they thank God for sending "angels from America" to teach them. Talk about golden investigators. 
Also a thing funny.. we have a stalker haha. Some Fijian Indian guy that calls our phone all the time. But he thinks my name is Sister Chechan sooo we're all good and the Lord protects right?? Right. 

Well that's about it! I challenge each of you to pray about and prepare someone for the missionaries to teach within the next 3 months... Even though you live in Utah it's still possible:)

Much Love,
Sister Machen

Giant Sunflower


NZ Temple Visitors Center, bc why not? (Nikki is on the left, next to Sis. Taylor)