Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm a Pakeha in Aotearoa

Kia Ora Everyone!! 

This week has been one of trial and error, happiness and sadness, and COMPLETE EPICNESS!! New Zealand is totally different from everything I've ever known my whole life. The words here are different: heaps=a lot, rubbish=garbage, pakeha=white person, flat=apartment, and heaps more. They say as after everything (hot as, huge as, awesome as, awkward as, etc.) also, they say eh like canadians! It's pretty funny. (:

The plane ride over here was completely wonderful. It was so long, but it was nice that it was red eye, so I slept the majority of the time. I sat next to Elder Napier and Sister Smith and I was in the middle so the entire flight, I was working on not sleeping on Elder Napier. I was SO paranoid that I'd end up on his shoulder and then it would just be awkward. Haha, it didn't happen and we were talking as we were landing and he was worried about the same type of stuff. (:

Going through customs was way easy. I pretty much walked through. The lady that helped me gave me a strange look when I started talking. It's weird to me that I'm the one with the accent here. I get weird looks all the time. (: But it's okay because Sister Holmes and I are in the same boat.

Well, after we landed we drove on a bus 2 1/2 hours to H-Town. (Hamilton) It is SO GREEN HERE! Like, I've never seen so many green things in my life. The hotel that we stayed at was nice as! The beds were like baby clouds. (: President and Sister Rudd are so awesome. Like, I can't even believe that I was blessed with such an awesome Mission President. (: So, that was on Wednesday that we met them and then on Thursday we had transfer meeting! That's when I met Sister Holmes! She is totally awesome. We get along really really really well. Anyway, we got a ride to Pukekohe from Elder Johnson and Elder Brann, they're our zone leaders and they are WAY FUNNY! Just imagine the moose from Brother Bear, and that's Elder Johnson. Oh, man, he is a hoot. We don't have a car, but our area isn't that big, so we have been walking, but our bishop drove us around our area yesterday and there are some places that we'll have to bike to.

THERE ARE HEAPS OF BUGS HERE. I'VE NEVER KILLED SO MANY. You'd never believe it, but I have squished and killed about 10 spiders and 20 moths. I'm getting so brave. (: The reason bugs are so common is because no one has Air Conditioning! So, we open our windows and let in the light! It's not too bad.

There are heaps of differences here like, no Wal-Mart and no Target, instead they have Pac'n'Save and Warehouse. I miss American stores. OH! Driving is so hectic here! They don't have stop lights and they don't have stop signs. Everywhere just says give way and you basically just go when there aren't many cars. It's so scary. And they drive on the other side of the road. So that's way different.

Our flat, or apartment, is so nice! There are 5 rooms, and we only use one of them. Haha, and it's a brand new flat so there's no furniture except our beds and a fold out table with four chairs for studying. It's huge! But alas, we have pretty much no food. And we have a garage that is huge where our washing machine and dryer are. (: We haven't really had an issue with bugs in our flat, just moths that fly in at night. Our neighbors like to get drunk at 9:00 and party all night though, rock on.

There haven't been any missionaries in the ward we're assigned to in a long time and so when we got here we were way lost. We didn't have an area book and we didn't know where our area went, what the ward was like, nothing. We were confused as! So, we just started knocking doors. And I hated it. I was so knew and they wanted me to knock doors?! Well, luckily Sister Holmes is a way good trainer and I had the hang of it in no time. We got a hold of the Bishop. Bishop Tangi, and we went to his house for dinner on Saturday. His family is so cool. His wife is so nice and she is just way down to earth. Guess what they fed us? KFC. It's better in America! But he settled our stress level and we weren't so worried anymore.

Oh, uh, we're living in the Broncs of Papakura. We're not allowed to be out past 8:45 and we can't go onto certain streets past 8:00. We don't open windows on the bottom floor of our flat and we prop a chair up against the door as an extra precaution. It's sketchy as. But I think the people are pretty good.

It is hot as here! The weather is so warm. I haven't noticed the humidity, but my hair is curlier and my skin is way soft. (: I have a watch tan. (: And I have to apply sunscreen liberally, otherwise my skin would fry. There's a hole in the ozone here and some days the sun is more intense than others. I'm a pakeha in the most sunny place on earth. Ironic. (:

Oh, yeah! So, as we were driving out to our area, a car pulled up to us on the motor way and signaled to us and Elder Johnson and Brann were like, What the heck? So we pulled over. I guess luggage have FLOWN out of the trailer. We were going 100 ks so I guess it makes sense. Well, we stopped a Pokeno's as a result and got ice cream. Holy Crap, it's so insanely good. I can't even believe the deliciousness of it.

The first night, I had to go and get bedding right? Well, the Warehouse closed at 8:00 and so I went without bedding. Luckily Sister McCarthy, another sister in our zone, had extra bedding. It sucked, but at least I had something. (: The next day, Elders Johnson and Brann took us to the warehouse and I bought a straightener and a blow dryer and bedding. (: It is so nice. (: I love it! And I bought a really nice pillow. Because what's the point of sleeping, if you aren't comfy doing it. (;

When we met with Bishop Tangi, all nonchalantly he said, "Oh, you know you're speaking in church tomorrow right?" So, I was really happy that we met with him because otherwise we would of had to speak on the fly and that would've sucked. I spoke on temples and being worthy to go because that is a HUGE as issue here. We got to church on Sunday and found out that the ward we're assigned to, Pukekohe 2nd, is 90% less actives. It is a TINY ward. There were 6 people in relief society other than Sister Holmes and I. So tiny, but we got a household report and so now we have heaps of people to go and visit. We don't have any investigators yet, but the Elders that are double covering Pukekohe 2nd with us gave us heaps of referrals yesterday, so that's nice. We're going to try and meet with a young girl named Paige tonight. She's 11 and Bishop really wants her to get baptized. Bishop said that there are three kids that are supposed to get baptized on Sunday, but they weren't at church yesterday, so there's no way they can be baptized if they aren't coming to church... I'm sure it'll all work out eventually. (:

Okay, if there's one thing that is noisy about New Zealand it is the BIRDS! There are millions of birds and they are always making a lot of noise. It's like a nature track on a CD, but real and playing all the time. You kind of get used to it after a while, but the first night it was a beast to get to sleep. But I've been sleeping like a log the rest of the time. My body is still getting used to the whole day ahead thing, but it's getting there. I'm just tired all the time.

OH, MY GOSH. HOBBITON IS IN TEMPLE VIEW!!! So, if I'm ever down there, I can go! Temple View is where Sister Holmes was before Pukekohe. That's where the temple is and the visitors center. (: It's expensive to go though, like $70, but it'll be worth it. (:

I know there are more differences to New Zealand that I've missed, I'm trying to think what else has happened. Oh, heaps of people use the excuse, "We're moving," when they see that we're missionaries. It's funny because it's really obvious that they aren't moving. Sister Holmes and I just kind of snigger when they use that excuse. (: I'm really hoping that it works out with Paige!! A lot of people don't answer the door, either because they're not home or they just don't hear us..

Sister Holmes is really awesome. We like a lot of the same things. We both don't like tomatoes, so that's good. (: We connect really well and we can already tell that there's a lot of unity! 

Photo #1 This is on our drive to H-Town! It's so green!!
Photo #2 This is also on our drive to H-Town! Water here is really beautiful. (:

Photo #3 This is my MTC district together for the last time!

Photo #4 This is Sister Lamoureux and I on a walk the morning of Transfers.

Photo #5 This is Sister Holmes and I!! That's a crappy as picture, but it's the only one I've got so far. (:

I love you all and I hope to hear from everyone! (:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Official - Sister Rachel Pearce has Arrived!

So we finally received the long awaited email from the Mission President.  It read as follows:

Kia ora!  Greetings from the New Zealand Hamilton Mission.
Sister Pearce arrived safely to Hamilton, and is already labouring in her new area. Her companion is Sister Holmes.  They will be serving in the Papakura Zone, in south Auckland.   I have enclosed a picture of them, all the missionaries that arrived the same day, and one of her with us.  We love Sister Pearce already.
We look forward to serving with Sister Pearce in this wonderful work as the missionary wave floods this great country of New Zealand!  We need her and are excited to serve together!  Her testimony will grow as she helps others receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.
President and Sister Rudd
And the Photos:
Sister Pearce & Sister Holmes
(her trainer)

Sister Pearce &
President & Sister Rudd
Sister Pearce with all the new missionaries in
her group as well as President & Sister Rudd

Monday, November 18, 2013

I am outta here!

Rachel's Second Email

So, I got put into a trio on Wednesday because Sister Penman has something wrong with her blood. So, it was her, Sister Lamoureux and I. It was so great. We all worked so well together! Both of our investigators committed to baptism, which made me so happy. It's an indescribable feeling when your investigator has gained faith in Christ and committed to come unto Him through baptism. (: OH, MY GOSH, IT'S AN AMAZING FEELING. I have learned and grown so much in the MTC and I've only been gone 12 days. It's fantastic.

I played in sacrament on Sunday and I was so nervous, but when I got up to play my song, everything just flowed out of me and it was so so good. (:

Sister Penman is SO HILARIOUS!! She kind of reminds me of LouLou, which by the way...I've been saying How Embarrassing and now my whole district says it. Fun Fact. (;

I can't believe I'm flying 7,000 miles away today, but I am so ready to be in New Zealand with my trainer and breathing in water! IT'S GOING TO ROCK!!!

The elder I've developed a crush on...(bad missionary) is supposed to come to New Zealand today with us, but his visa was delayed so he is going to Indiana instead.

I got another blessing from our District Leader and it was so amazing. I can't even begin to explain my love for the priesthood. I LOVE IT!!

Yesterday, Mary Ellen Edmunds was our Sunday devotional speaker and she was HILARIOUS!! She planned it so she forgot her talk and had to go and get it and then she changed the 13th article of faith into something about all the meetings we have and it was HYSTERICAL. I learned so much from her.

This week has been insurmountably better than last week. My attitude changed and I'm completely rocking missionary work. (: I love teaching people and I love helping their faith in Jesus Christ grow. Something that they really stressed here at the MTC was "Teach People, Not Lessons." Basically, saying that we need to love our investigator and then it will be all the more easy to help their faith grow.

I'm feeling a lot of anxiety about the flight, but I think I'll be fine. I've been praying for help and Heavenly Father has answered my prayers ten fold.

HE LOVES ME. AND HE LOVES YOU. HE LOVES MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS ALIKE. He is mindful of you and your needs and He will support you.

Okay, funny/scary story. On Wednesday, we were in "Classroom Instruction" with Brother Fegan, one of our teachers, and all of a sudden, Elder Strong starts like freaking out saying he's dizzy and that his depth perception is way off. Elder Christensen (the elder I'm crushin' on) was sitting right next to Elder Strong and he thought that Elder C. was really far away. So, we didn't really know what to do, but Brother Fegan was all calm and he called the front desk and they sent security up and this scary British Police Officer. The security officer called the doctor and the doctor prescribed this medication but Elder S wouldn't take it! So, they called paramedics who came and were assessing him. Elder Strong was so shaky, it looked like he had that disease that the boy gets in the Other Side of Heaven. It was pretty scary, so they stretchered him out and he was at the hospital for about 5 hours when they got home. He slept the whole next day. He was really sore because his muscles had been so tense and shaky. They haven't figured out what it was, but he has an appointment to see the Cardiologist. He's supposed to leave on Wednesday, but they think they're going to hold him back just in case it happens again.

This week was literally so great. OH! L. Tom Perry came on Tuesday! Did you know...he's 6'6" and he's 93 years old. He's insanely bouncy for being so tall and so old, but it was so cool to be there when he spoke. (: I sang in the choir! I saw Hermana Workman and Elder Lindquist! I've also seen Elder Hay and Elder Galura. It's been way cool to see a lot of my friends. (: AND I SAW BECCA KNOWLES! She works in the cafeteria, and it was way awesome to see her. (: The MTC is amazing! I love it. (:

I love you all and I am so grateful for your support, I can feel your prayers and I appreciate them so much. Heavenly Father is filling me up with his love and with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I am becoming so much more than Rachel Pearce. I am a daughter of Heavenly Father and I know He loves me. (:

Photo #1 These are my Elders!!! From left to right: Elder Jones, Elder McDonald, Elder Hunt, Elder Strong, Elder Christensen ( (; ), and Elder Garner. (: I love them!!!!
Photo #2 This is Sister Lamoureux and I on the first night. (:
Photo #3 This is from left to right, Sister Lee, Sister Fisher, Sister Ware, Sister Kang, Sister Penman, Sister Lamoureux, and Me. (:

I love you all!!

Sister Pearce

P.S. I've lost about 15 lbs here at the MTC just because the food is gross and I don't eat much. (: Haha. Love you!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rachel's 4th Letter

Rachel's 4th Letter
Nov. 7 2013
Dear Family
Mom, Will you send me my Star Wars lanyard? I forgot it!
Oh, man. This was my first morning and it was a little rough getting used to my new routine. The showers are kind of like high school gym showers, except way nice.
I seriously love my comp. Sister Lamoureax and I get along so well. She’s everything I’m not.
We have a pretty full day today. We’re going to a “People and purpose” meeting, I’m not sure what that’ll be. Then the rest of the day is basically studying. I feel so great! I can feel myself changing into the person Heavenly Father needs me to be! I love you all so much

Sister Pearce

p.s. The elders in my district are really  cool. Elders Hunt and Christensen are my favorite!
p.p.s My companion, Sister Lamoureax is also a HUGE Harry Potter fan. She brought me some “Butterbeer” it is seriously the best thing ever. Heaven in a bottle. I love her :) and I love you!  Don’t miss me too much, I’m loving it here:)
P.P.P.S. PLEASE SEND ME STAMPS. I NEED THEM. Also, please remember to transfer my money.
Love you!

Rachel's Letters

My friends son needs some keyboarding time so I have sent Rachel's letters down to have them transcribed I will put them on soon! I also hope she will send us some photos soon.

Dear Family, November 6

HOLY COW! What a busy day it has been! I am so happy here! The spirit that I feel here is something I wouldn't trade for anything the world! I have felt Heavenly Father’s love more in these last 9 hours than probably any time in my life.

I bet you’re dying to hear about my companion, Right?? Okay, well her name is Megan Lamoureax and we complete each other! It’s absolutely amazing how much we compliment each other’s personalities. we got along right from the get go. I absolutely love her. Her mom made me a package with 13 days worth of little gifts and a 13th one that Sister Lamoureax will open on our final day here. It’s so weird getting used to Elders and Sisters. Like, seriously. So, the Host sister took me to get my name tag, then we went to my room to drop off my luggage. THEN, I got my books, THEN I went to my classroom / district. The other two sisters in our district / room are Sister Fisher and Sister Ware. There are 6 Elders, and I don’t remember their names. Some of us are going to New Zealand and the others … Iowa. Ha! Our Teachers are Brother Woof and Welch. They are really really awesome. After we finished intro's and such we went to a “Meet the Mission Presidents” thing and their wives all spoke! They mostly told us to remember to smile and that we are representatives of Jesus Christ. Then we ate dinner around 4:15 :) chicken fried steak, it was pretty good! Then we had a teaching experience were we went to knock on doors and teach investigators! Holy Cow, even though they were actors, I still felt a great joy when they said they’d commit to, you know, reading the Book of Mormon or getting baptized. Then we met our Zone leaders. Elder ? is so good looking :) I think his name is Kusim. I am not sure!

I love you all dearly. But I am having a wonderful time.
I love the M.T.C.!!
I mean

Sister Pearce

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Email from Rachel;

Holy cow! So much has happened since I last wrote you!

I've seen both Sister Kennedy and Sister Klundt a TON!! We're not in the same zones, but we do see each other in our residences!

During our gym time, we get to play volleyball with the elders and that's really the only sport we're allowed to play with them. Ha, they make a huge deal about us NOT TOUCHING! We are only allowed to handshake. So, when we run into elders its kind of funny cause we're like, "AHH, sorry Elder!" It's funny. (;

Our service day is set aside for Saturday mornings(: We helped clean out the senior headquarters after the leave for their missions. It's like working in a hotel. (: Sister Fisher And Sister Ware and Sister Lamoureux and I got the chance to bond a little bit more and that we good for us as a district.

My district is TOTALLY AWESOME. It's consisted of 6 elders and us 4 sisters. (: Elder Hunt and Elder Christensen are companions...Elder Strong and Elder McDonald are companions...Elder Jones and Elder Garner are companions. The other night Sister Fisher and I were struggling a little bit emotionally and so we were encouraged by our teachers to ask our elders for a blessing. It was the most powerful experience that I've ever had with a priesthood blessing! Elder Christensen gave me my blessing and it was his first time giving a blessing and it was literally so powerful. While he was blessing me I could see the man he was becoming and I could tell that his mission is going to turn him into one of the greatest men of all time. He is such a good man and missionary. He calmed me so much and I just know that the Elders are endowed with the authority of God.

Elder Christensen is literally the funniest kid. He says these one liners that make us all laugh so hard! It's so fun. (:

Sister Lamoureux and I were assigned to be STL's or Sister Training Leaders so we get to meet with the new missionaries coming into our zone next week! Lolly Bowler, my friend going to Idaho (snigger), is going to be in my ZONE!! Wahoo.

So, we aren't supposed to call each other 'guys.' It's supposed to be Elder and Sister, so every time we accidentally call a group of us 'guys' Sister Lamoureux and I find something hard to hit and say "dang it!" It's really funny. (:


One of our investigators is Rafael Ortiz, he is portrayed by our teacher Brother Welch, but we are supposed to completely act as if he's a real investigator. It's really cool to be able to see him grow.

We have a new investigator that we'll be teaching tonight at the TRC building and we're pretty excited to teach her about the gospel.

I GOT MY FLIGHT ITINERARY. Monday, the 18th, Mom, I am going to call you. So, PLEASE BE PREPARED. Dad, I'm not sure if you want me to call you at work, but if you want me to I will.

The food here is pretty gross, but I'm trying not to complain about it anymore because Sister Lamoureux gets kind of sick of me complaining. We kind of had a heart to heart last night about why we weren't getting along and today is a lot better in that area. We are a lot more unified as a companionship and we are feeling the Spirit a little bit more. And we are really prepared to teach Melissa tonight. We are planning on teaching her about the Restoration! It's going to be awesome. (:

We study pretty much all day. And sometimes it is really hard to focus, but I am getting better and really delving into the scriptures and studying Preach My Gospel.

We got to go to the temple with morning and we did something short because we knew we wouldn't be able to stay awake for a session, then we came back to our residence and took a nap, which was super nice. We are just so exhausted here because they don't give us enough time to sleep and it's really hard to focus when we're so tired.

I was struggling a little bit with homesickness. And I was seriously considering coming home becuase I just didn't know if I could do it. But after the blessing I felt so much better and now, I'm still a little bit sad, but I am really focusing on turning my will to the Lord.

We had a temple walk yesterday and we just got to walk around the temple. It was really cool. (:

I miss you guys, but I'm getting better. I think once I get to New Zealand it'll get better. I don't really like to MTC. They expect a lot out of us and they are just working us down. It is literally the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I can feel your prayers! I need them. Just know that I really do need them.

I love you so much. Please keep writing me. Please send me mail. I need the encouragement!

Sister Pearce.

Drop off

November 6th, We drove to Provo, Utah and went to lunch at the Brick Oven, where they feed the Missionary for free, that was awesome! Rachel's Aunt Bethany was our chauffeur. Our family car did not have seats for everyone! She rocks! Rachel's cousin, Kavyn, met us lunch and then followed us to the temple where we took photos. The Stake President suggested this, so we could get the pictures we wanted before the drop off at the Missionary Training Center. We had plenty of time to take photos and visit while we waited for it to be Rachel's turn to be dropped off. 
We drove down the street and waited for our turn to pull up to the curb and off she went!