Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 25, 2013

We had transfers this past week, and I now have a new companion. I got a picture with him to send, then forgot to bring the cord so that I could hook up the camera and send it. My bad. His name is Elder Lolo. He's Samoan from Samoa, though his mother is American. He grew up speaking English at home, and apparently at the church school that he went to you're only allowed to speak English, so his English is really good. Which I was pretty happy with. My last companion ended up going to a place called Gisborne as a Zone Leader.

Our next transfer meeting is in four weeks, and apparently we have 29 new missionaries coming in, so we'll see what happens. I'm hoping that I don't train though. The other thing that happened from transfers is that I'm now a District Leader. I'm not sure yet if I like it or not, so we'll see how it goes as the weeks progress. For myself I'm just hoping that I can be humble. I can see how being in a leadership position like this could lead to some problems with pride. Like how it's now my job to correct incorrect behavior. Not cool. I reckon that's got to be one of the worst parts, trying to correct other people. I don't know if I can do it eh. It's a little scary too being the one that others come to for answers. Getting calls about whether the missionaries can do this or if they can do that. Gives me the willies a little bit. 

Aside from that it's mostly the same. We were able to have another lesson with our new investigator that I talked about last week, and it was really awesome. Everything that we say, she understands and can see how it works. It's so much fun being able to teach somebody that wants to listen and wants to learn. I'm hoping that it can continue on like this. The Spirit that we feel when we go there to teach is incredible, so I'm not too worried. 

That should just about do it.
 Elder O'Neal

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 18, 2013

This past week was so awesome. I love how the Lord works.

So, we've been having a pretty difficult time recently finding people to teach. Since we're double covering one ward (two sets of missionaries - a set of Sisters and a set of Elders), we've split the ward boundary into two areas, and we have the area with basically nobody; hardly any members, and only a few former investigators that have since moved out. It's been rough. We've tried to knock doors, and we talk with everyone we see on the street, but it's honestly not that effective. Even for the ones that we get a return appointment for, we show up and they're either not interested (they probably didn't expect us to show up) or it's an incorrect address and we just end up talking to a random dude, that usually isn't interested either. Even though I love this work, it's still hard to put up with. I think eight weeks of rejection would get to anybody. 

This past week, the Lord gave us some additional help. It was Friday, and we'd just finished seeing the one less-active that we've been working with. On the way out I got a referral at the office from the Sister missionaries. The house was actually just down the street, so we headed over, and on the way I could feel something different. For some reason I was really optimistic and hopeful. When we showed up to the house there was only a fifteen year old girl there, but she was really open to talking to us. We talked at the doorway for a bit, set up an appointment for the next day when her mom would be home, left a Restoration pamphlet and left. When we showed up the next day, the daughter wasn't there, but her mom was, and she was super excited to see us. I'm normally pretty skeptical about teaching Christians, because they usually seem to be pretty hard-hearted. This woman, however, had been prepared for years. She had read the entire pamphlet that morning, and was so excited about what it says. She talked about how lately its seemed like something is missing in her church; how it's always kind of disorganized and just doesn't feel right, and how she's always admired the LDS church and how organized and family focused it is. Apparently she grew up with a lot of members, and even had lessons about eight years ago, but it just never clicked. I don't want to make this story super long, but I'm still buzzed out about it. The Spirit was so strong, and you could feel how ready she was as she talked. We ended up extending the invitation to be baptized, and she said probably, dependent on if she receives the answer that this is true. I'm really hoping. Though, I have to admit that I'm super nervous. Who knows what the adversary will do to get to her before we have a chance to go back. I guess this is where the faith comes in. 

My storytelling isn't the best, and it probably came out kind of disjointed and confusing, but I hope it made sense. One of the things that I loved most, was that as we were teaching her, I could not only feel the Spirit testifying to her of the truthfulness of our message, but I could feel the Spirit testifying to me as well. I walked out of the lesson a little bit stronger in my testimony. Gotta love how the Spirit works. 

That ought to about do it for now, and hopefully I'll have some good news next week, so long as I don't get transferred on Thursday.
 Love ya!
 Elder O'Neal
 P.S. Kurt Caselli died? Really? That pretty much just destroyed my entire universe. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 11, 2013

It's been a pretty good week. 

The weather is getting better, and along with it my attitude has seemed to be getting better. Funny how a little bit of sunshine seems to make everything go a bit smoother. The picture is from a little short cut that we found in our area a few days back. The way they have all of the roads and blocks laid out here is really weird. For example, to get to one road in our area, if you were driving, you'd have to go way outside of our area and through a bit of the city until you get to the beginning of the road, then you can follow it down to the end where it turns into our piece of area again. So what you find all over the place are little short cuts so you don't have to walk ten miles just to get to the other side of block, and some of them are super cool. They seem to put a lot of time into making them feel like you're not in the city anymore. Seems to me like it'd be easier to just design your city on a grid system, but hey, I could be wrong. 

Transfers are coming up in about a week and a half, and I'm hoping to be able to stay in this area. We've been having trouble finding new people to teach, but it feels like there's so much potential here that we just haven't tapped yet. Our Elders Quorum is so awesome too. They've been trying to do an activity every fortnight, and everyone has been trying to bring a non-member or a less-active to the activity. I love it when the ward members are hard-out into doing missionary work. The Elders Quorum president has been really killing me though. We were talking the other day about things we're interested in, and of course I said I love dirt biking, so ever since then he keeps talking about how he's going to set up a ride for one of the activities, and I'll just have to come along and watch. Come on now. It's almost as bad as one of the LA members that we've been working with. Every time we go around, he uncovers his KX450F and tells me I should take it for a spin. Ah! No more temptation please. 

Brett (I think I've mentioned him before, he comes out with us all of the time for fellowship n' such) opened his mission call the other day, and he's going to the Marshall Islands. Apparently he has to go to Provo to learn the language, so I told him that I'd have my extensive whanau (family) take care of him while he's there, since he's been so awesome to us. So when March comes around, I'll have to give you his details so you can send him some cinnamon rolls or something.
 Love ya!
  Elder O'Neal

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

Sounds like things are going crazy back home, or at least, the folks are. Every week they're somewhere else hanging out with another part of the family. 

How was Halloween? Anything cool happen? I didn't even realize that it was Halloween until someone told me. Apparently Kiwis don't really care that much about Halloween, and from what I hear, Christmas either. Nobody really dressed up, though I did see a few people here and there walking around trick or treating, but most houses put papers on the door saying that they didn't have any candy, so nobody should knock on their door looking for any. Things were pretty much the same as the day before. So I was in the process of mentioning that when my companion told me that nobody goes all out for Christmas, I thought, "Come on. Lets get some decorations up. Lights and fake snowmen. Some reindeer and Santa.". Oh well. 

We had an awesome ward activity this past weekend, celebrating Guy Fawkes. I'm not really sure the story behind the day, but it's the one time of the year that you can buy fireworks in New Zealand. You're allowed to launch off fireworks whenever you want to in this country (which is pretty cool) but you're only allowed to sell them for the three days leading up to Guy Fawkes. Apparently there aren't any restrictions on them either. So one of the guys that we work with a lot went and bought about four hundred dollars worth, and we just went crazy with em. It was really fun having ones that shoot way up in the sky as opposed to the ones that we always had growing up. 

So our ward thing was at a big park right next to the lake in town. We had invited all of our investigators and less actives that we've been working with and everything seemed so promising. They all were pretty excited and were even bringing friends along to it. Just as I expected though, nobody showed up. Not a single one of the people that we invited actually showed up to the activity, though we did have one show up to church the next day, so I'm counting my blessings here. What did happen though was pretty good. Since the party was in an open public place, we had heaps of people join in that had just been out for a walk around the lake. The ward was really good about going and talking to people as they passed, and inviting them to join into the festivities. So, even though nobody that we had invited showed up, we ended up getting a few new families to teach, as well as heaps of names to pass on to the elders in their respective areas. Everything always seems to work out now doesn't it? 

Other than that, it was about an average week. We did however go talk to this old guy that was out washing his 1965 GT40. Dad. We need one. Somehow we need to get our hands on one of those and restore it. He also had an F430, GTR, and a 911, but those weren't near as impressive as the GT40. 

Love ya'll. Its awesome getting letters from everybody each week. Maybe everyone should ask me some questions so I have some ideas of what to talk about next week.
  Elder O'Neal