Just got the pictures from the family reunion. Oi. Talk about missing out. Nobody could wait to have fun with me. I see how it is. You should have taken a picture where everyone looked sad, holding a cardboard cut out of me, just crying since I couldn't be there. Then just left it at that. But no, turns out that, contrary to popular belief, people can have fun when I'm not around. Don't worry, next time will be way more awesome, and then everybody will realize how much fun they didn't have at this last one.
Also, so awesome to see my new nephew! I reckon by the time I get back I'm not even going to know half of the family. But it's always really cool to be able to tell people how big and awesome my family is. I do find a bit of pride in ya'll.
Had the rainiest week so far of the mission, and apparently it's only going to get worse as some massive storms works it's way down the island. I was on exchange Saturday, and we ended up walking two hours to the chapel as the rain came flooding down. Never been so drenched in my life. There's something weird with the rain here too. For some odd reason it puts yellow stains on our white shirts wherever it dries, so hopefully that comes out. Not sure if it's a New Zealand rain thing, or if it always happens that way and I've just never been in the rain in a white shirt before, either way, pray that it doesn't stay stained, because I'm about to be running out of white shirts really quickly otherwise.
We haven't had any baptisms yet in this area, but the rest of the zone has been picking up. We've had a baptism almost every weekend since I got here, and there were three for three different sets of missionaries on Saturday. Being the zone leaders we try to attend as many as we can to show our support, and to also see how the services are going; in order to take good things that happened and implement them in other services, or see where we can improve. Since we were on exchange my companion attended the first baptism that happened, I attended the second, and then we exchanged back and both went to the third. It was a really cool experience being able to be somewhere where the Spirit is so strong twice in one day. One thing that I noticed really helped was something that the Sisters did at their baptism. There's always that little period of time after the baptism when the people are getting changed, and most often it's just dead time, where people are standing around chatting. As a mission we've been trying to capitalize on that time period, and the Sisters did an excellent job. Instead of milling around, they got everyone quickly back into the chapel as another set of sister missionaries were singing a hymn. They then quickly taught the message of the Restoration, and showed a short Mormon Message on it as well. The difference in Spirit between that service, and the earlier one in which the missionaries hadn't done anything in that gap time, was absolutely noticeable. I couldn't believe it. It really got me to thinking about how my baptisms have been in the past, and if I have ever taken full advantage of that time. Probably not. But now I know to do better in the future, eh? When you think about it, a baptism may be the only time that a non member steps into the building or hears anything about the gospel. We may as well pounce on the opportunity and share a powerful message while there's the powerful Spirit that attends a baptism.
We'll hopefully be going to a Maori thermal village today to get to see some cool geysers 'n such. Should be sweet.
Ka Kite Ano!