Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013

It's finally stopped raining so much, and instead has been warm and sunny most days. So awesome. Especially when I think about how all of that is almost over back home and you're all heading into the dark abyss of winter. It's light from about 6 AM to 8 PM here.. Love it!

I feel like I had so much to say, and I came so prepared, but now that I'm actually sitting here emailing I don't remember what the awesome story was that I wanted to share. I'm probably just so old and wise now that my brain is having difficulty deciding what wisdom to share. Let's just go with that. Of course, we email in an internet cafe, and there's a bunch of people in here playing LAN games and cussing their faces off, so that's kind of distracting.

Honestly, nothing even really happened different this week, but for some reason it was awesome. Since conference I've really been trying to get better at seeing the good-finding happiness and joy in everything that happens. It's interesting how much of a difference it makes. It's so amazing how much there is in my life to be thankful for and happy about. 

Take yesterday for example. We left the flat to walk to church and it was sunny as could be. Not a cloud in the sky. Our chapel is about a fifteen to twenty minute walk from our flat, but I wasn't worried about it, because being raised by Dad I love mornings, and going on a walk to church in the morning sun with the birds chirpin seemed like a pretty sweet deal. We had walked about 5 minutes and clouds rolled in. They didn't seem that dark or ominous, and we had just gotten to the bottom of a big hill, so we weren't about to go back to the flat to get rain coats or anything. We made it about half a block and it started to pour. My companion goes, "come on, send somebody," and not a second later, the second counselor in the bishopric rolled up and offered us a ride. A really simple thing to do, just offering us a ride. But to us, in that moment, it meant everything, and I was certainly thankful for it. 

It's awesome getting letters every week from so many people, and I love getting so many letters from Dad. The man has some awesome insight and thoughts to share. Keep it up, and I'll try to do a little better with my emails, I'm just not that interesting most of the time.
  Elder O'Neal

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

Lets see...
Are you all working on making me homesick? Come on now. First Dad talking about peaches (which I'm going to be craving for a really long time now), then pictures of some awesome trip to Boston. No worries. I'm in New Zealand serving the Lord, try to beat that. haha. Looking at those picture, has anyone else noticed that Kacie looks all grown up? Man. Looks like when I get back and start training MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) again I'll have to test out whatever new moves I learn on dudes trying to take her on a date. What up? 

Rusti, come to Hamilton, I have an investigator for you to teach. She's not Russian or anything, but she is so bubbly. The sister missionaries gave us her name as a referral a few days back and we were able to contact her on Saturday. As soon as she answered the door she got really happy and started talking about how she had talked to missionaries before, and began to recount everything that she remembered. Maybe a minute and a half later, she had gone through the Plan of Salvation, the Restoration, and how she was currently doing a fund raiser for a trip that they're doing in her church a few weeks from now. My companion and I were both just standing there smiling and trying our hardest to understand what she was saying. So, I need you to come here and teach her for us, because you speak bubbly. We're actually pretty excited about her. She seems really keen to learn, and even mentioned that if we ever have any activities going on that she would love to come along. Hopefully we'll be able to capitalize this week. 

We've been having trouble contacting the guy that texted us "I need help" last week, and we're worried that something might have happened to him. Considering that he was talking like bad things were about to happen, I'm hoping that he's still alive and not in prison. If he's neither of those two, then he probably just ran out of credit on his phone, which happens a lot here because they don't have cell plans like we do in the states. 

It was a fairly disappointing week for us, lots of people cancelled appointments, and a couple of the families that we were teaching started to dodge us. Not cool. If they're not interested in the gospel, I'd just prefer they tell us, not schedule an appointment then not answer the door when we show up, even though we can see them through a gap in the curtain. 

All in all though it's awesome here. My comp is the man, and President Rudd is an awesome guy. He's really been pushing for all of the missionaries to relax a bit and really find joy in doing the work. The attitude in the Auckland mission was really really strict, and I always felt like I had to tip toe everywhere just in case I would break a rule I didn't know about. President Rudd has just been emphasizing the White Handbook and governing ourselves. It's hard to explain how it's changed, but I've been finding so much more joy in the work now than I ever have before. Things are awesome. 

That should just about do it. Hope everyone is having a good time back home, even though I'm not there. It's hard partying when the life of the party is gone, but I'm sure you all can figure it out for the next while.
  Love ya!
   Elder O'Neal

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013

Had a good weekend, wasn't able to do a whole lot of work, but it was awesome being able to watch General Conference. I kept thinking about how it wasn't live like I'm used to, and how everyone back home had already seen it a week earlier. I kept being torn about whether I should bow my head for the prayers or not, considering that they were a week old. I ended up treating them like live prayers, but it still made me curious about what protocol would be for that. 

I think the theme for me from this past conference was service. It seemed that everything that was talked about ended up coming around to service. It's interesting to see how important service really is. It's always been one of those things that I never paid much attention to, but as I've studied I've realized that it's far more important than I ever figured. So I've decided that for the next while I'm really going to work on giving service; to those we teach, to the members, to my companion. Doesn't matter. We'll see what happens. 

We had a bit of a miracle over the weekend. As much as I hate using that term, it was a pretty cool turn of events. We've been having a real struggle recently with finding people to teach. As much as we work, the area doesn't seem to be as fruitful as it should be. I'm not looking for a million baptisms a week, but a few keen people would be sweet, and we haven't even really been able to find that. Friday night we were just getting ready to go sleep when we got a text from a random number that said "I need help." We were both a bit skeptical, so we called the number to see if it was somebody was messing with us or something. Turned out to be a guy that is actually looking for help. He quickly told us about how he's divorced and his kids don't want anything to do with him. My companion had been talking to him up to this point, so I hopped in at the end. As soon as I spoke he recognized my voice and asked if I was the guy in the USMC back home, as soon as he mentioned that I remembered him. I had spoken to him a few weeks ago on the street with my Zone Leader, and we had talked about the Marines a little since he used to be in the New Zealand Army. He thanked us a bunch of times for talking to him, and we're hoping for an appointment this week. I don't know how it'll all work out in the end, but he said he wanted to learn, he wants to find out how what we teach can bless his life. I'm hoping for the best.
That'll about do it for now.
  Love Ya!
   E. O'Neal

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 7, 2013

So many blessings, we didn't have room to receive them!

We just found out this morning that we're getting another companion. I don't remember what his name is, but he's been on the mission for about two weeks, I think, which means we're going to have to be training him. He's from Tahiti too, so we'll see how good his English is. It's going to be interesting, since we have one of the smallest flats in the mission, and now we're going to have to somehow fit another dude into it. Really not stoked about this one, but, I guess it's just how it goes. We don't make the decisions, we just have to roll with whatever is thrown our way. 

Our new ward is pretty sweet. We taught the lesson yesterday in Elders quorum, and of course we did it on missionary work. Then after church, as we were walking home, we watched one of the newly returned missionaries stop at a house and go talk to a guy that was in his front yard with his kids. How cool is that? So far everybody has been super motivated to help us out. As well as feed us, which is the most important part. Though, we had a pretty rough day yesterday because of that..  We had a Samoan family invite us for lunch, so we had a massive lunch with them from 2-3. Then we had some members scheduled to feed us for dinner from 5-6. When we got to the dinner we weren't even hungry yet, not even close, but we were there and they had prepared food for us so we ate as much as we could. Then we had another appointment with a Samoan family at 7. When we showed up, the wife had cooked massive amounts of the donut hole looking things, and of course we had to eat as much as we could, otherwise they might get offended. By the time we walked out of there, I was hunched over because my stomach was too full to stand up straight. Guess who we had as the last family that night.. Another Samoan family. They usually just give us Cocoa Samoa to drink though, and don't cook us a feed unless we show up around dinner time. Since we were getting there at around eight, we figured we'd be fine. Just our luck, when we got there, they had cooked us a dinner. And we had to eat it.. I've never hurt so bad in my life. It just made me think of the promise that the Lord will pour out blessings so that we won't have room enough to receive it. We were receiving blessings, and we definitely didn't have room enough to receive it. 

Other than that, it was a pretty good past week. We were able to find some new investigators, and we're hoping to be able to get people progressing this next week. I'll make sure to keep you updated when we start getting people set for baptism.
 Love ya!
  Elder O'Neal