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