Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 17, 2014

So, its nearly summer and I'm a little torn when it comes into this season here. On one hand, it's really awesome to be able to gloat to everyone back home about how sunny and beautiful it is, and send awesome photos of the sun out. While on the other hand, it's really not that cool having Christmas be sunny. Not sure a white Christmas is worth the other months that are needlessly cold in Utah, but I think it gets pretty close to making it worth it.

It's getting close now. Just under three months left, from what I understand (not that I'm counting or anything). For the most part it isn't that much of a distraction in the day to day. Every now and again I'll have a moment of clarity where I realize how long I've been out and how long I have left. Usually though, we stay busy enough so there's not really the time to think about it. When it does get to me though is at night. Whenever I start going to sleep I always end up in this weird spot where my mind wanders free, and currently all it can think about is what's going to happen after the next three months. So annoying. By that point I'm asleep enough that I can't force my thoughts to shut up, but I'm not actually asleep. So I've started on some meditation techniques I learned in Sports Psychology in high school, and they've been working out well enough. Still though, so annoying.

I think I mentioned in my last letter, but transfers are this week. Usually the calls come through today and tomorrow, so I'm praying for no calls. Especially since we've got some awesome stuff coming up in the near future.

Heriwini Jones is coming here this Friday! I've mentioned him before in a few of my letters. He does really powerful talks on Maori Whakapapa, (Whakapapa is the recitation of genealogies or stories which create a base or foundation of meaning for people. As whakapapa can include genealogies or stories about the entire world, whakapapa are ways by which people come into relationship with the world, with people, and with life.) connecting them through the islands and to the Native Americans through the Book of Mormon. He'll be holding three separate meetings; one on Friday night, then one Saturday morning and one Saturday afternoon. We've been handing out flyers for it to our investigators, and the members have been trying to spread them around too, so I'm hoping that we get a good turn out. You never know if people will respond well, but Heriwini always speaks so boldly and the Spirit is always so strong that I'm hoping somebody will be touched by it. Aside from the good that these things always do, I'm really excited to learn some more. The history of this country is so amazing, it makes me wish I could just go around with Heriwini and learn what he learns. For example, I'll give you a bit of history on Kawhia.

Apparently Kawhia was settled by one of the original Waka (canoes) that made it to Aotearoa. The first waka settled on the East Coast of the island, but the second was led by a prophecy to continue to the west side. So they landed on the east and carried the waka across the north island to the west coast. Once there, they sailed down the coast of the island, eventually making it to the bottom of the island. Upon getting there, the leader of the waka knew they had gone too far and had them sail back up, searching all the while for the place that matched the description of a prophesy. When they reached this bay, they knew they were in the right place, so they settled Kawhia. The waka that they came in on is buried in a hillside on the Marae at the end of town. The stones that mark each end are still there, buried in this hill. How cool is that?  Almost on a daily basis I drive past those stones that mark the location of a boat that settled New Zealand. So awesome. The coolest part is that people still know that history. It's not lost or forgotten, but pretty well common knowledge. I find it extremely interesting.
 Anyway! Enough of my carrying on. I hope everybody has a good week.
 Arohanui! Elder O'Neal

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