Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

So, we got transferred. I'm still with my companion, and we're even still in the same flat, we're just covering a different ward now, Dinsdale Ward. The ward is pretty big, so we're double covering it with another companionship. We totally got the short end of the stick though with it. When we showed up we had to split the area book because usually the ward only has one set of missionaries. Looking at the boundaries for the area, it looks like a bow tie, with a big round about right in the center for the knot. So my companion and I cover one side, and the other companionship covers the other. What stinks is that nearly every single investigator that the sister missionaries were working with lives on their side of the area. So when we went through the area book and took out everything that was for them and their side, all we were left with was one investigator family. Youch. So we've been having to do loads and loads of finding. Door knocking, street contacting, etc. One of the hard things with our side though is that, for the most part, it's extremely wealthy, which is probably why the sisters didn't have much going on here. It's about like if you go to those neighborhoods on the mountain side in Bountiful or something. Really, really big houses, really nice cars, lots and lots of money. There must be a reason why we are here though, so all we can do is work and hope that it all works out. 

That's about it for now. We usually go play touch rugby on Mondays, but it's raining hard outside right now, so we'll see what happens. A bunch of big storms have been coming through for the last couple of weeks. Apparently the south island keeps getting all torn up with high winds and flooding, but by the time the storms get here, they just dump a bunch of water and don't even give us any good lightning or thunder.
 Love ya's
   Elder O'Neal

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 23, 2013

And the rain rain rain came down down down... I can't remember the rest, but you get the picture (on another note, the song Winnie the Pooh sings when he's getting the honey while pretending to be a little black rain cloud keeps getting stuck in my head)

I broke the key off inside the lock this morning in our front door. Not cool. I had unlocked the door and was walking inside when my jacket pocket snagged the key and snapped it off. What a way to start off a P-Day. I'm just hoping that the landlord will be able to get it fixed (he was working on it when we left) or we're going to have to pay for a locksmith.

It also looks like it's going to rain again, so we may not be playing touch rugby today like we usually do. I actually quite enjoy playing rugby, I've been thinking that I might pick it up when I get back home if I get good at it here.  

We've got transfers coming up this Thursday. It seems like just as soon as we get settled in and start getting things going, transfers come along. We haven't heard yet if either of us are getting transfered, and I don't really think that we will, but we'll see what happens. We're losing one of our zone leaders tomorrow, Elder Rawlinson, he's going back to Oooooklahoma (another song, of course), which isn't cool at all, since he's been my favorite zone leader. Apparently he's a really good football player, offensive line, so keep an eye out. We figure that the rest of our zone/district will pretty much get moved around too, since none of the companionships get along at all. We've just been waiting for one of the companionships to get in a fight. Hasn't happened yet, and hopefully it won't.

We found some pretty awesome new investigators this past week, amid all of the fake referalls and angry people, we managed to find a couple of super keen part member families. We haven't been able to have any lessons with them yet, but we've got appointments on Tuesday, so hopefully by next week I'll have some good news (unless I'm not here anymore, of course).

 Well, that'll do it for now.
  Love Ya!
   Elder O'Neal

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

This may be another one of those letters where I have a hard time figuring out what to write about. So just be warned.

The week started off pretty awesome. We were able to go to the temple on Tuesday. The second of two yearly trips that the mission takes. The next one will be in April I think. That is unless President Rudd decides to change things around for this mission, though I doubt it. I love being able to go to the temple, though I don't particularly love having to go with the mission. It seems as though there just isn't enough time. Everyone is always rushed, and it serves to just stress me out, rather than allowing me to properly relax like I really want to. It made me think about the few weeks that I had before coming out. Being able to go anytime that I wanted to, and being able to go alone, having the time to ponder and relax, disconnect a little bit from everything outside. I can't wait until I can do that again. It made me think a bit about how awesome my parents have always been about going to the temple. What an awesome example for all of us.

After the trip, the week pretty much just went back to normal, but I've been able to feel a greater spiritual strength since.

We learned an interesting thing over the weekend. Apparently Elder Ilai and I are the only companionship that gets along out of our zone. We've been having companion exchanges every single week, either with the Zone Leaders, or the District Leader, or both, and we were really curious as to why. So when we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders on Saturday, we asked, and they told us they've been having to do it so that the companionships don't start killing each other.

So, it got me thinking as to why, and I've come up with the conclusion that it's because of the mission attitude. In the Auckland mission professionalism was always really emphasized. So much to the point that it almost seemed taboo to laugh and have jokes. Everyone is so caught up with trying to be super serious missionaries, that nobody allows for fun. Its been driving me nuts. I've always been under the impression that this is a happy gospel, a fun gospel. So, my companion and I have taken it upon ourselves to help everyone loosen up a little, have some fun. I'll let you know what happens.

I think that ought to about do it.
  Love ya!
   Elder O'Neal

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 9, 2013

What an interesting week. It started off fairly good, but by the time we made it to the end, it had taken a slow turn in the wrong direction.
Our one investigator that we have set for baptism on the 21st isn't going very well. He seemed like he was doing really well when we first set him. After he saw his sister get baptised he kept saying how he wanted to follow and he wanted to do it, and he would do it the next weekend if he could. So we set him for baptism and we've been going over every day and teaching lessons and trying to help him be ready. The one thing that is holding him back is his smoking, so we made him a quit calender and he was determined to follow it and stop smoking so that he can be baptised. Then this week he started saying things like, "we'll just shoot for that day for now," and "we'll just plan on the 21st but.." At the beginning of the week it seemed like it would be alright and that we'd be able to work through it and help him stop smoking and progress. Then on Friday we had a lesson with him, and now we're looking at dropping him as a set and possibly as an investigator for the next bit. He didn't seem all that invested in the lesson, and I don't know what it was but the Spirit was having a really difficult time being present. His sister even sits in for all the lessons and helps us when we ask her, and she's been trying to help him stop smoking and read, since they live together. So we're going to see what happens this week, and then decide what's happening with him.
The other problem that we've been having is that he's pretty much our only investigator, and not for lack of trying. We've been knocking doors, and talking to around 120 people on the street every week, but we haven't been able to get a single investigator out of it. There've been missionaries in this country and in this area for so long that pretty much every one has heard it. We meet people a lot that even just got talked to by the sister missionaries in the area right next to ours. Not cool. It's been making us think that there has got to be a better way to go about it all. We've been trying to work with the members but they've actually proved to be fairly difficult. I think that this ward has just had missionaries for so long that they take it for granted, as opposed to Cambridge branch, where they haven't had missionaries in forever so they were more than happy to get involved. It makes it surprisingly difficult to do this when members treat you like some sort of alien. We have met some really awesome LA families (less active) that we're working with, however, and there're a couple of active families that have been extremely helpful, but I can count them all on one hand.
But, enough of my complain-athon. Even with everythig the way it is I still love being in this area, and my companion is pretty awesome. So far I don't think we've even had a single argument. Which is pretty awesome. Makes me nervous.. Like maybe I got a really awesome companion because my next one is going to be difficult to be with. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Love ya heaps!
   E. O'Neal

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

It's finally coming into spring here! The official first day of spring was yesterday. I think. It's pretty awesome knowing that you're all about to go into another cold, long, dark winter, whereas I'm just coming out of a rather mild, slightly wet though still relatively warm winter, and into a beautiful, pretty much never too hot New Zealand summer. I'll give you a second to digest that one.

We had another baptism and confirmation over the weekend. Pretty awesome. And we've got our next baptism set for the 21st of this month. It was pretty interesting when we told our ward mission leader about the date. He came back a few minutes later and told us that the chapel was booked on that Saturday, so we were either going to have to move the date, or move the baptism to another chapel. I'm still pretty upset about it. Where exactly are our priorities here? I told him the worth of a soul is greater than the worth of a party, so people are just going to have to deal with it. We still haven't gotten it resolved. How crazy is that though? We're having a shin dig so you can't have a baptism. Wow.

The week was pretty mild, we just had one moment of excitement. I was on exchanges with the Zone Leader, Elder Rawlinson. We were walking down the street and a guy pulled up next to us and waved us over. As soon as we got to his car he asked us what the firmament was, because this is our job, so we should know what it is, and how crucial it is to our existence, talking about D&C and stuff. Whenever I tried to answer his question though, he wouldn't let me talk, then he started to get really upset that we weren't answering him. So he started yelling at us and telling us we're ignorant and arrogant, and that we failed, etc. After a few minutes of it, we said, "see ya" and walked off. That didn't stop him though. He started following us along the road yelling at us, then cussed us out for a few minutes and finally drove off. That night when exchanges finished we told the story to our comps, and it turns out that the other Zone Leader has met him a few times before. Apparently the guy believes that the Firmament is a place where Heavenly Father has a giant god making factory. Right now though the factory is broken down, so that's why we're stuck here on earth. I guess some of us are the mechanics for it too, so that's why it hasn't gotten fixed yet. Crazy right? Sure threw me for a loop.

 Well, that about does it for this week.
  Love ya!
   Elder O'Neal