Monday, June 30, 2014

photos from Taranaki

I can't remember if I've sent any of these pictures already, but here they are just in case. Pretty much all from Taranaki. Man I miss that place.
BTW. That's Derek Stubbings. One of the guys that I really miss from there. That's from when I told him I was leaving. He used to be in the Mongrel Mob for ages, and hadn't been to church in about 15 years. He thanked me heaps for "helping him to break out of his shell." Just kept thanking me again and again for helping him come back to church. He was awesome. Apparently he didn't like most of the missionaries that came through, but for some odd reason he really liked me and good ol Pete Johnson. 

This is Elder Glines. He's my "Shadow." He came out exactly a year behind me, and he also has an unhealthy obsession with dirt bikes. Pretty much the only missionary I've met that I can totally relate with.

June 30, 2014

I've been goin' crazy the last few days! One of the news rules that came out was with music. We're pretty much only allowed to listen to hymns, or things off the church website; which isn't too bad. The worst part is that we're no longer able to listen to anything at all in the car. We didn't usually listen to just music very much, but it'd always be playing in the background, and if a good song came on we'd turn it up and have a listen. Now it's either talking or dead silence. It's been rough. Well, not that rough, but still, you get attached to little things like that, and then it's gone and you're left with dead space. Not to mention MoTab starts to drive me nuts when it's all you have to listen to day in and day out.

We had a pretty decent past week. Not the best ever or anything, but certainly better than the week previous. I'm super pumped about the couples that we've been teaching. Usually we don't seem to come by a keen couple; more often than not one of them is interested, and the "partner" isn't, but somehow we managed to find two couples that are both really keen on learning about the gospel. So awesome! One of the couples, Steve and Lia, really brought to mind where we're told be be child-like. For everything that we've taught so far, they're always just blown away. We teach them that they have a loving Heavenly Father (or the one that I really enjoy, Atua Ora Tonu, which means Eternal Father) and that you can talk to him through prayer and they were both so amazed. As we were leaving Lia was talking about how she couldn't wait to pray and be able to get answers back. How awesome is that? Not only that but they always mention how when we come over they can feel the Wairua hard out. Last time they told us they were having a bad day and then we showed up and they just got happy and everything got warmer. So cool!

Had another cool experience this past week where I used a little bit of the Maori that I've sussed out. We went over to see one of our LA(less-active) members (Peter), and he ended being outside chilling with one of his mates. He's always really nice to us and down for a chat, but his mates don't usually hang around for long. We talked for awhile and the korero (conversation) lead in perfectly to the Gospel. I told em about te Atua Ora Tonu, na te Tama o te Atua, na te Wairua Tapu (which is the Eternal Father and the Son of God and Holy Spirit) and how the best way to know if what we're talking about is true is through the Wairua. Then once we receive our answer we must Whakarongo ki te Wairua Tapu, which means "hearken to the Holy Spirit," and they thought it was mean az that I knew some Te Reo (which they refer to it as, even though it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since it just means the language. All good though.) Turns out they really respect pakehas that can or at least try to speak te reo, and they thought it was awesome that I'm trying to learn. Such a cool experience. Now the other guys that live at the house don't disrespect us as much, and they'll even talk to us if we see 'em on the street.
 Well, probably about time to go get something else done.

This is before the Luge. Those little black carts are what you ride down. I can't remember what the other guy's name is, but he's a member out of Hamilton.
This is from a few weeks back, right before we hopped on the zip line. The dude in red is Jordi, and the other one is my comp, Elder Moore
This is right after the zip line. You hook onto a deal up in the trees and jump off. It was pretty mean.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

Veggies ruin everything.
My companion got some gumbo mix stuff from his parents a few weeks back, and the stuff is awesome. We made our first batch of it two weeks ago and it was delicious. One of those things where I was stoked to go eat back at the flat because I was about to be munching some gumbo. Then we made some this past Friday and put in some mixed veggies. Not heaps, just a little bit. Worst, idea, ever. There was probably about a handful of veggies in the mix and they took over the whole flavor. Not cool. At least we know now to never desecrate the gumbo with mixed veggies again.
This past week was a struggle, as far as lessons go. We were able to teach a few really awesome lessons, but we had to work hard to get that to happen. It seems as though most of the places we go to, nobody is home or they're too busy. This equates to us walking all over town and never feeling like we're getting anything done. Thankfully Saturday and Sunday ended up being pretty good, so they redeemed us from the dismal week. Hopefully we'll have some better luck in the coming weeks and be able to not only get more teaching in, but some more investigators as well, since right now we only have six investigators. However, there's two families that make up those six. This is the first time on the mission that I've been able to teach a family, let alone two.

To add to the struggle that it was to get into homes, we also got some more rules. When President Rudd first came in he was all about using the existing rules coupled with wisdom. Turns out he's now aware that most of the mission probably doesn't even know what wisdom is. So, in consequence, the mission is now getting more strict. It stinks to watch the change slowly happening. Especially since I'm leadership, so I've been there for the councils where they discussed new rules n such. All good though.

The coolest thing I reckon I've been up to though is I've been teaching myself Te Reo Maori. Which means the Maori language. Te is the, and Reo is language. It's probably not useful at all to know, but I think it's really cook. I started a couple weeks back of just reading the Book of Mormon in Maori, and it actually works. I don't do it exactly like the Other Side of Heaven, but it's close. I found if I read verses side by side, I get too hung up on trying to match up words and paying attention to what the English stuff is talking about. So instead I just read straight Maori, and when I see repetition, I look over into the English one and see what it could mean. I just finished chapter 12 in 1 Nephi this morning. Only that far in and I can already decipher a surprising amount of the stuff that I'm reading. So cool. I understand now when people say they can understand but can't speak a language. Turns out it's really hard to remember everything and try to formulate a sentence out of all of it.
Arohanui! Elder Kurt

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

Today has got to be one of the best P-Days that I've had so far.

Rotorua is a pretty touristy place, so there's actually a heap of cool things to do; so long as you have money of course. One of the attractions is called "The Skyline". You have to take gondolas up to the top of a mountain (which is pretty much just a really big hill, compared with home), and at the top they have a bunch of sweet stuff to do. Turns out that one of the YSA's in our ward works there; his names Jordi, and he's actually pretty famous in New Zealand since he's the lead singer for a band called Titanium. He reckons he wants to be done with it though and go serve a mission, which I reckon is really cool. Anyways, he was able to get us in for free, but not only that, since he's in tight with all of the other workers, we were able to do everything until we were just ready to do something else. The first thing we did was "The Luge". It's basically just three different race tracks that go down the mountain. SO mean. We were just cooking it down the tracks. Drifting corners, and in a couple of areas you can even catch some air; not heaps, but just enough to make things a bit more interesting. We did five runs and then decided to move on to the zip-line. It's about like the one they have at Park City. You get all harnessed in, and then cruise down a 400 M line. You can flip upside down and stuff, so it was pretty sweet. The line stops at a huge raised platform, probably about 40ft high. To get down from that you can either walk down a flight of steps OR you can hook on to this line and jump off the edge. That was pretty tight. It's about like the lines on fake rock walls that let you down fairly slowly. So we went up and down a few times. Hike up the steps, jump off, and go back again. Normally you wouldn't be able to, but we could since Jordi was with us. Feels crazy doing flips off of a 40 ft ledge with only the ground below to catch you. Needless to say, it was a fun filled day.

The week was pretty good. We actually got a few sunny days, which was surprising. Now we're back to overcast and rainy. Sister missionaries came in this last transfer to double-cover the ward with us, so we gave all of the single ladies (all the single ladies, all the single ladies) to em. Turns out that was most of the people that the missionaries were previously working with, so we've been spending a lot of time walking and talking to people. We haven't found a passel of people that want to be taught as of yet, but I'm hoping it'll happen. I was thinking about it the other day, and it seems as though most of the work that I've down on the mish has been with less active members. I'm not sure why, but less active members always creep out of the woodwork, when other missionaries in the same area work with almost no less actives and just baptize heaps. I reckon it's interesting anyway. Makes me wonder if it's just because of my working style, or because the Lord needs me to be working with them. Who knows. But I have had a surprising amount of success with re-activation.
 Well, that ought to about do it. Love ya!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 9, 2014

I got transferred! I can honestly say that I did not see this coming. Usually I get a feeling when transfers are coming up that I'm going to be moving, but not this time around. All good though. I'm now in Rotorua, Tarawera Ward. I haven't really been able to get my feet planted yet, but so far so good. The ward seems pretty awesome, there seems to be a handful of awesome members that are really motivated to do the work. Hopefully that means we're going to be seeing some seriously good growth coming up.

Somehow the weather here is even colder than it was in Taranaki. Not sure how that works out. Pretty interesting place though. There's heaps of geysers and crazy stuff like that. In fact, there's a massive one pretty much just around the corner from us, but it's in some Maori village, so you can't get to it unless you want to pay something like $40. No thanks. Geysers are cool, but not that cool. It mostly equates to there always being a bunch of fog and mist around, and the whole place smells like rotten hard boiled eggs, because of the sulfur. Yuck.

Speaking of which, I had a hard boiled egg the other day, cracked it open, and the thing was black. So disgusting. I have no idea how long that egg must have been in the fridge for that to have happened. Haven't been able to get the image out of my mind since, not sure if I'll be able to trust any more of the eggs that they have in this flat. Gotta just #letitgo.

My new companion is Elder Moore. We came out at the same time. Good missionary, nice guy. It feels weird being with somebody that I knew from the MTC. It also feels pretty weird being one of the older missionaries in the mission. I think the statistic is something like 70% of the mission has been out for under a year. After the next transfer cycle, pretty much all of the older missionaries will be home, and it'll just be us left. It's no big deal really, but it does kind of stink not knowing most of the mission. All of the missionaries that I met when I first came out, and really grew to love, have all gone home. Now I'm stuck just looking at a whole bunch of new faces whenever I go to transfers.

Can't tell ya a whole lot more about the area, since I don't know much as of yet. Apparently the mountain biking is some of the best in the world, so one of the members is going to let me use one of his bikes, but we'll see what happens. Hopefully I'll spend while in this area. Not a fan of moving around much.

It's good to see that everything is going well back home. Stabilizing a bit sounds like.
  Love ya!

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

Not a whole lot of time to email today. Stinkin New Zealand and always having holidays on our P-Days. Not only are we emailing on one computer, but we're planning on having the zone up here for another fun filled day on the beach, talk about a tight schedule.

Over the past week I got adopted into a Marae (a Maori tribal unit). I'd say that'd have to be the highlight. We went up to Hamilton on Monday for a zone conference that we were having on Tuesday. It turned out to be a stressful trip up, as per the usual, and a bit of a stressful trip down, as happens when you're in a Caravan full of missionaries that don't know where they're going still. But stuck right in between those two moments was nearly a full day at a Marae up in Huntly, which is north of Hamilton about 30 minutes. We learned a lot about the Maori history, and the correlation between their legends and stories and the Book of Mormon. It was really awesome. The guest that did most of the speaking was Heriwini Jones, which I've mentioned before, near the beginning of my mission in an email. There was way too much information for me to absorb it all at once, but I ended up with just enough that when we had a lesson with a Maori family later in the week, some of the prophecies actually resolved some of their concerns. How cool is that? At the end of the conference, the chief at the Marae told us that he had a gift for us, and that the gift was the Marae. I'm not sure what it all entails, but it's pretty cool to know that I now have a Marae that I can call my own. Hopefully one day I'll be able to go back and learn a little more about the culture.

Well, sorry for the short letter, but I gotta get moving.
 Love Ya!