Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 27, 2014

Got the call this morning....

It's always a little disconcerting when you receive a call from President. Especially when transfers are coming up this week and usually the only people that get called earlier than Tuesday are the ones that are being asked to be trainers. Thankfully, I dodged that bullet. Instead, I have now been called to the position of Zone Leader. I'll be down in the Taranaki zone, serving specifically in a place called New Plymouth. Apparently it's not even a stake yet, it's still only a District. We'll be covering the largest branch in the district. President said the missionary work has exploded recently and they had 120 people at church this past week. I'm hoping that it'll be awesome. I know I'm sure excited for the change, and now I'll get to see a bit more of the country. This is crazy. I don't know much of anything about the area except that if I stay down there for the winter it gets really cold. If I'm still down there when winter comes I'll have to have my snowboarding jacket sent to me or something. Who knows. 

I think the past couple of weeks were some of the most difficult that I've ever had, and now everything just turned around. I love a good fresh start. New area, new companion. Not only that but I was recently informed that Villipoto ( a motocross champion) is ahead in the points standings and the Broncos are going to the Super Bowl. Can't get much better than that. 

I reckon that's pretty much all of the news that's worth sharing, and I'm way too distracted by thoughts of transfers to think of anything else to say. I know there was something that I thought this past week, one of those times when I thought, "I really need to write home about this," but alas, I don't have the memory of an elephant, and I can't remember even the slightest bit of what it was. I'll make sure to get pictures of my companion and my new area once I'm there for next week.
 Love ya!

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2013

It was a pretty boring week. Though, I still found myself having ample amounts of fun. It's been good being able to be a District Leader. Even if I end up not being in leadership after transfers, I've learned heaps from it over the past few weeks. It's interesting being in these shoes. 

I reckon the most interesting thing that I did this past week was get acupuncture. It was pretty cool. The first counselor in the bishopric is a really good acupuncturist. Apparently he's studied for ages in Asia for it, and he's been doing it for over twenty years now, so I took advantage of the opportunity. It worked surprisingly well. For some reason my back always wants to be really full of knots and hurt at totally random times, but since we did the acupuncture, it's all sweet. We went directly after emails last Monday and it took a little over thirty minutes I think. He stuck the needles in first and I had to lay under a heat lamp for twenty minutes with em in, then he popped em out and put those cup things on for about another ten. The only bad thing is that the cups ended up leaving huge perfectly round bruises all over my back. It almost looks like somebody painted giant dots all over my back. I'm sure you'll all love the pictures. Shannon, don't pass out. 

Other than that, we had an interesting conversation with one of our new investigators, who I'm not sure if he's an investigator anymore, we'll see this week. We'd taught the lesson on the Restoration to him and were going back a few days later to see what he thought and try to have another lesson. Turns out that in between our first lesson and when we showed up on Thursday, somebody had convinced him that all Christianity is incorrect; proven so by carbon dating of the earth, dinosaurs, and the so called "God Particle" found by CERN last year (which I'm pretty sure doesn't actually exist because of a miscalculation on CERN's part). If I'm thinking of the right one, that is. We talked to him for about twenty minutes, and I'm pretty sure we were able to resolve his concerns. So we're going to go back this week and see if he still thinks it's phony. We get heaps of people that get anti material and send us on our way, but this is the first time that I've seen someone lose faith in their Christian belief. Not cool. It actually made me really sad to see too.

That should just about do it. I'll just let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
 E. O'Neal

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Kia Ora Whanau, what a lovely week it has been. 

It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride as of late, but I imagine that's what makes this mission life so much fun. Without the low times, and the struggles, I bet it'd get a bit boring. I've been wondering lately why it is that nothing seems to be working out just how we want it to, and I realized that without the bitter we wouldn't know the sweet. There's a scripture on this, but I'm totally useless with references, so I can't give it to you. Sorry. So, since we've been dealing with disappointment and delay for the past little while, I'm hoping that means that we'll be having ample amounts of success in the not too distant future. 

Mostly we've just been fighting with being able to make appointments. I'm not sure if it's still the Holidays taking over people's lives, but we haven't been able to have many set appointments with our investigators. We're looking at a good start to the week though with a set appointment tonight, and another one tomorrow. Who knows, maybe by next week we'll have someone set for baptism. The appointment on Tuesday is with a new guy that we taught the restoration to last week, which always stresses me out a little bit, because you never know if you're going to go back to them knowing that what we taught was true, or if they're going to have a bunch of anti material that random people gave to them throughout the week. 

The week was a bit up and down as far as weather goes, but it's been nothing like what everybody is having to deal with back home, so I can't really complain. It usually rains in the morning, then gets really sunny and humid in the afternoons, which isn't too bad, though it does kind of stink trying to talk to people when you have sweat dripping all down your face. 

We also had our fridge break this past week, sort of anyway. Turns out there was a monstrous buildup of ice in the back of it behind the rear panel, so none of the cold air was able to get down into the fridge part. We ended up having to turn the fridge off for a couple of days, and munch all of the food that was in there quickly. Not cool. Especially since we somehow ended up with no member dinners this week, and we don't get paid for a couple more days. So we've been having to live off of canned tuna and bread. Can't wait until we can go shopping later this week. No worries though, the Lord always provides.

It was awesome getting packages and letters from so many people over the past couple of weeks. You have no idea how awesome it is to get them. Definitely makes my day. Emails too, it's always a good day when I show up and have a heap of emails to read and tons of stuff to hear about.

 Love ya'll
  E. O'Neal

P.S. here's a picture of me riding my new KTM350SX that the Spencers sent me. I'm the man :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

I was listening to a talk this past week given by Matthew Cowley, and he talked about how he was called to be a High Priest at a very young age, 22 I think. He was being set apart to a position in the church by one of the twelve, and he ordained him to the office of High Priest without any previous thought going into it; the spirit directed, and he followed, all of them unsure why the young Cowley had just received that office. Later in life, Cowley's name came up as an option for a position in the 70, but because he was a High Priest he was ineligible for the position; the Lord's way of saving him so that he could be one of the 12. To get to the point of it, Kevin, let's watch you follow in Matthew Cowley's footsteps. 

This past week was a long week. We weren't able to teach hardly anybody, since it was New Years and everybody is still on vacation apparently. Most of Hamilton, it would seem, relocated to Ragland beach for the holidays. Funny how everybody here spends Christmas and New Years at the beach, whereas everybody back home spends them indoors with a huge blanket, a cup of hot chocolate, and if possible, a fire. New Years was surprisingly uneventful. Fireworks are legal all year round here, and from what I can tell there's pretty much not any type that is illegal, but companies are only allowed to sell fireworks for the three days leading up to Guy Fawks Day, which is in November, and no other time of the year. So some people have enough foresight to hold on to a package of Roman Candles, but for the most part, people don't seem to think about it, so there was a significant lack of explosive aerial displays on New Years; very disappointing. Our Mission President ended up allowing the mission to stay up until midnight, but it wasn't all that great, considering we don't have any fireworks ourselves, and we still had to be in the flat before 9:30. Count your blessings though, right? 

I really hope that this next week can be different. We have some really good investigators, and I know they're ready to commit and be baptized, the only problem is that we never see them. We have an appointment tonight though with one of our new investigators, and we're hoping to be able to set him for baptism. Hopefully that's what the Spirit directs us to do, because as much as I don't really care about numbers, it's awesome to be able to guide someone into the straight gate every once in a while.
 We have transfers at the end of the month, and I reckon I'll be getting moved. I've been in this area for a while now, and it feels like I'm about to be getting bounced. We've got a little while until then though, so hopefully I can get this place all set up for whoever comes in and takes over. We've got a mid transfer coming up on the 14th because there's a huge group of Tongans coming in fresh. I'm really hoping that I don't have to train one of them. Training is hard enough, from what I hear, without having to teach them English at the same time. I trust the Lord knows best, so I'll be cool with whatever happens, but I'd prefer a training free mission. 

Other than, I had an interesting week of reading about marriage. It all started with an email from Dad talking about eternal marriage, then we taught a lesson about the Plan of Salvation but mostly just eternal marriage. After that I was studying in the morning and flipped open the D&C to a random page and started reading, I don't remember the reference but it was about eternal marriage. Not to mention I did the same thing with the January Ensign, and opened right to the page about loving your spouse. It's been ridiculous. There were a few other instances that I can't remember details of, but it was certainly out of it. It's almost like the Lord is trying to distract me. I have no idea. Doesn't he know I still have over a year left? Goodness.
 Well, that'll about do it for now.
  Love Ya!
   E. O'Neal

This is one of the Samoan youth in the ward. Cool dude.

These are the sister missionaries that are now in the ward with us. Plus the Aussie on the right that was with us only for a couple of days before he went home.