Sunday, December 29, 2013

No, I want to watch this on TV

Oh, my goodness, gracious. This week was much like last week, but worse and better, all at the same time. For some reason our trio unity went down the toilet this week and we struggled to pull it out of the abyss. Luckily, the Lord knows all and He knew that we were struggling, so Sister Whiting, our Sister Training Leader, and her companion set up exchanges for Friday and Saturday. They set it up so that I would go with Sister Whiting back into her area for Friday night into Saturday morning. So, I packed up my stuff and went off to Beachlands. They weren't messing around when they called it's seriously like right on the beach. Anyway, so we drove up there, and it took like an hour, so we got there around 9:00. Then we kind of got to talking and I was able to vent a little bit about the week and what I was struggling with. And it helped immensely. I was able to sort out my feelings in my head and in my heart and Sister Whiting gave me some really really awesome advice.

Funny interjecting story: Their flat is pretty old, but pretty nice. And the toilet is like in between two sliding doors, one of which Sister Whiting's bed is pushed up against, so you have to go all the way around into the kitchen and through the shower area to get to the toilet. Well, anyway! When we got to their flat, the first thing Sister Whiting said was this, "I hope you're not shy because whatever business you take care of on the toilet echos through the whole flat." Holy crap, I lost it laughing. And she said it all nonchalantly, like...yeah, anyway, it was just really really funny. (:

Anyway, so onto the next day, it was pretty awesome. Exchanges went really well and we saw some miracles happen. When Sister Miggin, Sister Lamoureux, and I were together we had a mean lesson with a Maori girl named Teno. She really wants to stop smoking and drinking and so we taught her about the Word of Wisdom and how the change she would make in her life would also benefit her little daughter, who is cuter that pie. So, we're going to keep teaching her and hopefully we're going to set her for baptism tonight. I think that that lesson really helped Sister Miggin and I to connect. I learned some pretty personal things about her and what her past is like and I feel like from then on we became really close friends. But still not without trials, praying, crying, laughing, a little bit of yelling, and more praying. I have grown so much closer to the Saviour, even since last week. But that is what this work is about, the Saviour, and I think for a minute, I forgot that. But now that I've figured out what I'm doing, and remembered why I'm here, I have started to grow and learn even more about myself.

So, something wonderful about Sister Miggin, is that she is really motivated. She is pushing us to meet our goals and then shoot for even higher goals. So, yesterday, our goal for "talking with everyone" or tracting was to talk to 40 people. So, we went to one of the neighbourhoods that we haven't been to and knocked on every house and every door. For 4 or 5 hours, we knocked and knocked and it felt like we were just talking to rocks. But we hit our goal and went passed it! 47 TWEs later, we were tired, wet, and hungry. (: It was all good though because then it was dinner time. AND we found a shortcut home. So, moral of the story, you can work as hard as you can and have no success, but Heavenly Father still loves you enough to get you home quicker. (: It's the little things in life that make me happy. (: Like, pictures...I really want more pictures. From all of the people!

So...Christmas. My first one away from home...I think that it's a tender mercy from Heavenly Father that New Zealand has warm Christmases. I think that if it had been cold and snowy for Christmas, I would've been a wreck. So, having a warm Christmas was a tender mercy that it was warm. Well, it was actually rainy on Christmas, which ruined a lot of families plans to have barbeques at the beach, but no big deal. (: Anyway, the Coopers, an awesome family in the ward had us over for lunch. And holy cow. holy cow. holy freaking cow. In Over the Hedge, when RJ is explaining to the animals about how much food the humans have and where it comes from, well that is an accurate descpription of just how much food was present at this meal. I'll attach photos. I think I've probably never eaten the quantity of food that I did there, and I'm actually quite ashamed to admit that, but I ate heaps and then there was dessert. Oh, my goodness, don't even get me started on dessert. Okay, I'm already started...they had these delicious "chocolate shots" in little shot cups and it was probably the most heavenly thing I've ever eaten. (: It's a pity that I was so full because I could've eaten 10 of them. Which is pretty embarrassing, but it is true. (: (:

On Thursday my time, I got to Skype my family! Holy cow, it was so good to see them! It was so good to see familiar American things! Like the fact that our house only has one door and it is really clear that it is the front door. You can't tell here...they have like 3 doors and they are all potentially front doors, so you just kind of knock and hope that it isn't the bathroom door or something else really embarrassing. (: But, yeah. It was awesome to be able to talk about this land that I have grown to love so much with my family that I also love so much.

This week, on Thursday, a woman very dear to my dear is turning 25 and since I am not going to be there to celebrate with her, I want you all to make that day extra special to her. I love my mommy with all of the energy of my soul and I probably wouldn't be here without the example that she has set for me all of my life. She is such an amazing woman and so compassionate. So, make her day special. Make her feel like she's 20 and she'll probably love you forever and ever. (: I LOVE YOU MOM! You'll always be my role model. (:

So, tomorrow we have MISSION CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, the whole mission is meeting in Hamilton and we're going to be hanging out with all of the other missionaries and President and Sister Rudd. And then all of the Senior couple missionaries as well. (: I am so excited!!! I can see all of my MTC friends and meet a lot of the other missionaries. (: I love being around other missionaries! It is one of the best things ever to happen to man kind. (:

You wouldn't believe how tan I am. Me, the whitest white of the white people, and my skin is tan. Can you even believe it? Now I'm even blonder and tanner. (: And my hair is supa curly. All the time. No stopping it. Even straightening it is a waste of time. Haha(:

Well, I love you all! I hope you are all doing well, and that you are healthy and happy! I am loving it here in New Zealand! The people are really awesome. (: And I really love my companions and we are growing together in unity and in the gospel. (:

IMG_4259 -> That is just one of the many tables that the Cooper's set up for dinner in their garage.
 IMG_4261 -> This, my friends, is the dessert table. I think that it might be self explanatory. (:
IMG_4262 -> They had pretty ornaments hanging from the ceiling and it was like a summery winter wonderland. (: And then there's just Sister Holmes making a crazy as face in the corner of the picture. (:<
IMG_4264 -> Okay, this old guy is probably one of the greatest men I've ever met. He rides around on his little Jazzy all day and we've become some of his best friends...his only friends really. His wife just passed away three weeks ago and he's really lonely right now. But I'm telling you, he is the cheekiest old guy with the most warped sense of humor you'll ever meet. He's such a sweetie.
IMG_4265 -> This is Beachlands where I went with Sister Whiting. (: So, pretty. I can't even believe that I'm here in New Zealand!
IMG_4267 -> This is a little duck pond that we found tracting the other day. It was so pretty!
 IMG_ 4272 -> This is Sister Me, Sister Holmes, and Sister Miggin. (:
IMG_4281 -> This is Sister Miggin with different flies on both of her shoes. We probably killed about 20 flies the other day and our flat is still over run.
(Ghost Writer - i.e. Dad received this photo with no description - I think it has something to do with sheep!)

Monday, December 23, 2013

I can do hard things!

Last week was such a good week! And the beginning of this week was wonderful as well, and then Sister Holmes and I found out that we were staying in Pukekohe and we would be training a new sister! We were both pretty nervous and we weren't really looking forward to having a third sister, but we were helping each other to be motivated and excited! I love Sister Holmes. (: The day of transfers rolled around and we rode to Hamilton with Elder Hester and Elder Dellaca, and we finally got Elder Hester to sing for us! We've been trying to get him to sing for the whole transfer and he finally did! He has an amazing voice. Holy cow. I...just...dang. He's really amazing. (: So, the car ride was really fun! Then we arrived at the chapel and we just hung out with all of the people getting transferred. In our zone there were only three people, Elder Johnson, Elder Oliva, and Elder Dellaca, but we gained four new! Elder Otto is Elder Hester's new companion. Elder Kaio is Elder Wright's new companion, and we got a new zone leader! Elder Terry is Elder Brann's new companion. He's from England and he is so funny. Like a comedian. (: And then there's Sister Holmes' and I's new companion, Sister Miggin. She is 22, from Ogden and she is really funny! The first three days of our companionship were the hardest days of my mission. It was so awkward. And it didn't help that I was feeling extra emotional because I got my Christmas package and I started to feel really homesick. So, I think out of all three of us, I've been the one having the biggest struggle. But, then, we were all struggling to get along and to find our stride. The second morning, we were a complete mess, like it was terrible, so we had an emergency comp inventory and we had companion study with Elder Wright and Elder Kaio. Elder Wright really helped us, but it was still really hard. I've never prayed to Heavenly Father so earnestly in my whole life. I've never hungered so much for an answer. I've never cried so much in one prayer. But I did. And I poured my soul out to Heavenly Father. And He listened. Yesterday, our tripanionship hit a breakthrough. We had another inventory and we all decided that we waned to get along. We wanted the unity that we had all been praying for. And we had a really wonderful day yesterday. Sister Miggin is really really awesome. She is a super hard worker and she is really good at talking to everyone. And that is something that I've struggled with, and I've learned heaps from her just in the past three days. We still have an insanely long way to go, but we are getting there. And we have all grown so much closer to each other and to Heavenly Father in the past 3 days that it is immeasurable. The Atonement, and the power of the Atonement are real. I've felt it's power buoy me in the past 3 days more that I ever have before. Jesus Christ died for me and I will never ever ever forget that. What is it about us, His imperfect siblings, that made Him want to do all of that for us? It was His love for us. And I have felt that love deepen and grow in just a few days. I love the people of New Zealand. I love the people of Pukekohe 2nd Ward. I love Sister Holmes. And I love Sister Miggin. I can't deny, nor will I ever that Jesus Christ lives! That He died for me, that Heavenly Father's love is so real and He does answer our prayers! And I love seeing people come to that realization. (: It makes my day when one of our investigators feels the Spirit. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL. I LOVE ALL OF THE THINGS!!!!!! (: (: (: (: (: (: A couple of scriptures that really helped me were Alma 26:22, 27: "Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works and prayeth  continually without ceasing-unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance. Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy bretheren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." Just thinking about Ammon and the wonderful missionary that he was and the fact that their hearts got depressed makes me a little let stressed that my heart got and is depressed that I can pull through it, if I bear it with patience. (:

Okay, so, Sister Miggin is really really awesome. (: She made up a fake scenario, making it seem like I would marry Elder Hester. (; Haha, it was a hoot and a half. It all started when I told her that I hadn't ever been kissed and then it all escalated from there. Man, it is a hoot and a half, I already said that, but it emphasizes how funny it is. I'll have you heart is supa locked, but Elder Hester is pretty darn attractive. (; Basically, it included Elder Hester, showing up in Herriman and asking me to marry him. And then of course I said yes, I mean, who wouldn't? (: Man, being on a mission has made me so much more confident in myself. I can't even tell you how much confidence I've gained being out here. I mean, let's be honest, boys are more attractive when they're missionaries, but, it goes downhill. BUT! It's really nice to be able to get to know Elders on a completely no strings, not looking to get married basis. I love it. I have made so many friends both missionary and member and non member. I love it. And I really love the accent. (: The people here are so funny! All so cheeky and sarcastic. It is so great! They think I'm funny. I'm pretty much like a comedian here! So, yeah it's really awesome. Not gonna lie. (:

So, we set one of our investigators, Billi for baptism! She was way pumped and we felt really good about it. Then we went to visit her the other day and she had decided to not get baptized. She wants to learn more before she commits to a date. I mean, she's only 11 so, it does make sense, but we think she'll get there eventually! All of our investigators are progressing nicely and we are constantly striving to find new ones! Our area is so huge and so we are going to start expanding our borders and go outside of where we have been tracting. (:

I can't believe Christmas is on Wednesday! That's in two days for us Kiwis. (: TWO DAYS! We have a dinner appointment with an awesome missionary oriented family named the Cooper's! I guess Christmas feasts here are like...CHRISTMAS FEASTS. So, our feast starts at 2 and will probably last for a long time. I'm so stoked. Food here is so delicious. (: Different, but delicious! And the Cooper's make some really really really really really good food. (: We had a feed with them a couple of Sundays ago and they made this delicious mushroom chicken...and no one can go wrong with mushrooms and chicken. A lot of people here make this Rhubarb Pie. I'm not going to say it's gross because that's not very nice, seriously isn't very good. Maybe I just need to get used to it, but I do not like it so far. (: Adapting. I need to work on that. (: NO, I LOVE IT HERE. Man, I wish you could all just come and experience it with me!

So, something I struggled with before coming out is calling people! And Sister Holmes makes me call people all the time, so I'm getting better at it. I like that I can say, "Hi! It's the Sister Missionaries!" So, they don't actually know that I'm the one talking...ah, jokes. (: But yeah. I'm growing in so many ways! Luckily not, out! I'm actually losing weight! Wahoo!! It's really awesome. (:

Okay, picture time!!
#1 and #2: Are the same sunset, just different...anyway, so pretty, eh? And that's just outside of our flat. (:

#3 Sister Holmes, Sister Me, and Sister Miggin. (:

#4 Sister Miggin and Sister Me (:

#5 This is the sky just all of the time. That was twilight on a really hot day. (: Earlier that day, we had a crazy random thunder storm. And thunder here is like 100x better than in Utah. It's so loud and since there aren't mountains you can here it for miles and miles. The Elders in Waiuku, which is 20 minutes from Pukekohe could here it. It is so amazing.

#6 This is on the way to transfer meeting. Elder Hester is on the left and Elder Dellaca is on the right. (: And then Sister Holmes and I in the back. Elder Hester thinks he's a cool cucumber with his sunglasses. Elder Dellaca is just a character. Unique and one of a kind. Haha, and then Sister Holmes and I are just way awesome. (:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I'll be glistening for 18 months(:

IT IS SO HOT HERE. And it isn't a hot like Utah, it's like soak you to the bone with sweat hot. But I am loving it! I'm getting sort of tan, well, I have tan lines, so I like to assume that I'm getting tan. (: But both Sister Holmes and I sweat heaps, so at least I'm not alone in that gross area. (: (:

This week was the best week yet. We saw heaps of miracles happen in our area. (:
Miracle #1: This is our longest miracle, it took a whole day to unfold, but once we recognized that it was a miracle, we got super grateful for everything that had happened throughout the day.  Sister Holmes and I had planned to go to an area of ours that was further away and so we were going to ride our bikes. I don't remember if I told you about our garage mishap a couple of weeks again, but guess what? Happened again. Sister Holmes pressed the button and it only opened half way. So, we tried for like 15 minutes to fix it, but we just couldn't, so we texted our district leader Elder Wright, and so he and his companion rode their bikes out to our flat to help us. It took them like 15 minutes to get there and another 15 to fix it. Turns out the area we were planning to go to wasn't even our area, so we rode a little bit differently and knocked some doors, then we had an appointment at 4:00 so we rode back to our flat at 3:20 ish and we got there and she pressed the button and...nek minit...garage is broken again. It wouldn't even open at all. So, we just figure we'll go through the house door...ah, jokes, we didn't unlock the bolt at the top this morning because we just went through the garage. And there isn't a way to unlock it from the outside. So, there was literally no way that we could get into our flat. So, we had to call up Elder Wright and Elder Oliva again, and they had to ride hard out to get to our flat. It was probably 25 degrees C, so like 97 degrees F. So, like super hot. And Humid, but anyway, we spend 1/2 an hour breaking into our flat and when we finally got in we were like 15 minutes late for our appointment. So, Sister Holmes and I hustle our way over to his house and it turns out he wasn't even home! So, we started thinking of ideas that we could do instead, when...nek minit...he pulls up in his car! So, if all of the events that had been happening through the day hadn't of happened, we wouldn't have seen Rima and we had a really awesome lesson on the Book of Mormon with him. HEAVENLY FATHER ROCKS.
Miracle #2: We had a dinner appointment scheduled for Tuesday and they called the night before and said they'd just drop something off at our flat. Which is nice because then we can take a nap. (: Anyway, so earlier in the day Sister Holmes was like, I want McDonald's and me being the stickler that I am with McDonald's didn't really go for that. Anyway, towards the end of the day I started to crave McDonald's. Weird, eh...I...just ew...anyway, Sister Langi drops off McDonald's at our flat for dinner...nek minit..Sister Holmes and I both downed a Medium Fry, two Big Macs and a Medium Orange Fanta. It was probably the best meal I'll ever eat. Don't judge me, okay? I've walked it all off and more. (:
Miracle #3: Sister Holmes is getting married! Ah, jokes, A like 65 year old man and he was hitting on both of us. Sister Holmes just asked him if he needed help with anything and he was like, "Oh, if I was 40 years younger, you could marry me." Oh, man, it was crack up. Then the next day, we got hit on by another old man! He was a little tipsy though, he'd had a few glasses of wine. (: It was funny as!

So, on the other side of miracles is...not miracles? But there is this less active woman that we've been working with..her family has been consistently coming to church and her husband is a prospective elder, but she has this crazy concern about modesty in the church. And we tried to explain to her that people aren't perfect and that the church is perfect, but the people that run it aren't. She is just looking for an excuse to not have to quit smoking and going to church. Well, that was last Monday that we talked to her and almost every day this week we have stopped by their house to see her because we have, hopefully, a lesson that will help her with her faith, but every time they either don't answer, or one time she had her son Bailey come to the door and tell us she was sick. We know that she wasn't because the next day Bailey told us that she had him tell us that she was sick. We are just sad that she is mad at us and doesn't want to talk to us, but I guess she has a history of being easily offended, so I guess from now on we need to be extra careful of what we say to her. It makes me sad because she obviously had a testimony..that's why she got baptized, but something has made her doubt everything that she believes. Oh! I know what it is. It's Satan. That little fiend. So, Sister Holmes and I are going to try and weasel our way into their house so we can make her remember why she was baptized. We love her. And we love her family, but it just makes me mad that she doesn't want to work anymore! We'll get her!

The reason this email is coming a little later than usual is because we had zone p-day today! It started out...well...Sister Holmes and I had to use a real live map and find the train station from our flat. Nek problems, we got there like 1/2 hour early. We were just super worried that we were going to get lost so, we booked an hour to get to the station. So, we waited for the rest of our district and then bought tickets to Papakura! We got on the train with our bikes and then rode from the train station to the chapel and had about an hour of companionship study. It was really fun! Sister Holmes and I hung out with Sister Leung-Wo and Sister McCarthy and role-played different ways to teach about the Book of Mormon. (: It was so fun and then we sang some songs and it was really really awesome. (: After that we rode our bikes to the park and played kick ball! It was so hot and the sand we were playing on was white, so it was completely blinding, but I made an awesome catch and it just made my day. (: Then we took pictures and headed back to the train station. This might be TMI, but I was more sweaty in the last few hours that I have ever been in my entire life. It was so hot and humid and running and stuff didn't really help the whole situation, but everyone else was sweaty too, so it wasn't as embarrassing as it could've been. (: I love this zone! The zone leaders are Elder Brann and Elder Johnson and they are really really great missionaries! Then there's Elder Lelenoa and Elder Brown. Elder Lelenoa is the DL of the other District. And Elders Vakemeilalo and Veimatahao are the tongan speaking elders. And then there's Sister Pula and Sister Muava and they are the samoan speaking sisters. Then there's Sister Fiu and Sister Truhijillo. They are English. That's the other district and then in my district there's Elder Hester and Elder Dellaca. Sister Holmes thinks I'll marry Elder Hester one day. I just don't comment because my heart is locked. (: But I wouldn't mind it (; Then Elder Wright is the DL and Elder Oliva is his companion. And Sister McCarthy and Sister Leung-Wo are just super awesome. (: It was a blast!

So, this week I saw a legitimate haka! The boys at Wesley College did one for us. (: It was probably the most terrifyingly cool thing that I have ever seen in my entire life. They were so into it and they just made it look way cool. Even cooler than the one in Forever Strong, but I still love that one. (:

Anyway, this week I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I am strong, and I can do hard things. I can do uncomfortable things, I can do things that don't make sense, and I can teach people about the gospel. We had an awesome lesson with one of our investigators this week. Her name is Sarah, she's 16 and we set her for baptism! She is set to be baptized on the 4th of January! Sister Holmes and I are hoping that we don't get transferred so we can see her be baptized. But guess what? There is a huge possibility that I'll be training! Transfers are on Thursday and in the intake there are 19 new sisters and President is probably going to have to ask my intake of 4 weekers to be trainers! I don't really feel ready to be a trainer, but if that's where Heavenly Father needs me, then I'll do it. So, I might be in a completely new a trainer next week. I really want to stay here, but "not my will, but thine." It will never cease to amaze me that Heavenly Father is so aware of our needs and our desires, but also that He is aware of the things that we need in our lives to help us grow. He knows me better than I know myself and I think I know myself pretty well. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about the people back home, but I don't dwell on that and I don't want to. I throw myself into the work and I am loving it. I LOVE NEW ZEALAND!!!

Sister Pearce

IMG_4214 is Sister Holmes and my arms...we're comparing watch tans.. (:
IMG_4218 is Sister Holmes and I before we got on the train. We were sweaty, but it only gets worse. (:

IMG_4219 is the train station and a sign that says Pukekohe!!

IMG_4222 this is my zone!!! Top Row, Left to Right: Elder Wright, Sister Holmes, Elder Brann, Elder Johnson. Middle Row, Left to Right: Elder Dellaca, Sister Me, Sister McCarthy, Elder Hester, Elder Vehimatahao, Elder Vakimeilalo, Sister Pula, and Sister Truhijillo. Bottom Row, Left to Right: Elder Lelenoa, Sister Leung-Wo, Elder Brown, Elder Oliva, Sister Muava, and Sister Fiu. (:

IMG_4224 is Sister Holmes, Elder Brann, and I. (:

IMG_4335 is Elder Hester and I!!! (: He is really awesome! He is from here, North Shore, but he has a medical condition that made it so he had to stay here, but he is totally mean (cool) and a way good missionary.

IMG_4227 is Sister Holmes and I when we were sweaty as. Supa gross, but it is a bodily function that all people everywhere will one day have to accept. (:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Raw Fish and Capsicums

This week was a little bit slower, but still really awesome!

We started working with a really great Tongan family, Faiva is their name, and they are really awesome! They are less active, but Brother Faiva really wants to get the priesthood and so we've been working with Sister Faiva because she's super less active and they aren't married and they have to be married before he can get the priesthood. Their littlest girl, Lona, got baptized on Friday, but I'll tell more about that later. (: The first time we met with them, Brother Faiva made us a traditional Tongan dish, Raw Fish and Capsicums (they call peppers capsicums here). I was actually pretty excited to try it! What is was goes as follows: raw fish, like...completely raw, in coconut cream, with tomatoes and green peppers. It was actually pretty tasty. Then I found a bone and it kind of just turned me off to the whole raw fish scene. Luckily, Elders Hester and Dellaca were "full" so Sister Holmes and I followed in their footsteps. Sister Holmes despises sea food and I was really impressed that she tried it. (:

This week was super as rainy! Every day this week, we got at least a little bit of rain, but mostly a heap of it. I was soggy and wet the majority of the time this week, but guess what?! It was super awesome. (: The humidity does wonderful things for my hair and it just looks awesome all of the time. (:

So, this week Sister Holmes and I started Quote of the Day! So, basically we just look for hilarious things that happen in the day and then at the end of the day we write them down on our Quote of the Day Calendar! A couple of the funniest quotes the week come from Elder Hester. He is just a cheeky as Kiwi and everything that comes out of his mouth is so hilarious! We were talking about food the other day and he goes, "I like bananas on my cereal, with yogurt, and honey. (Then he paused) It's a natural sweetener!" It was so funny! Another one is, we took one of our investigators to the Faith in God activity and Sister Tangi was having the kids do this activity where they would suck in a straw to pick a carrot up and take it over to the table and Sister Tangi demonstrated it and she was like sucking in hard out and Waimaria, one of the primary girls goes, "(GASP) She can't breathe!" And she was all panicked. It was really cute and funny at the same time. (: Oh! So, Elder Dellaca is a special soul and thinks that it's okay to listen to Disney music in the car and Elder Hester does not like that. So, we were driving somewhere the other day and every time a song came on Elder Hester would ask Elder Dellaca, "Does this song remind you of Jesus Christ? Is it conducive to the Spirit?" Oh, man. It was super hilarious! Pretty much every time Sister Holmes and I are with the Elders we have to refrain from laughing because when we do laugh Elder Hester asks, "What for ye laugh?" They are both really awesome elders and Elder Hester is funny in a more mature way than Elder Dellaca, but we love them both!

The other day, Sister Holmes and I were walking up Tasman Street and Tasman connects with Helvetia. They're perpendicular. (I remember a few things from school!) But anyway, I look in the road and just sitting there, in the middle of the road it a bird with it's mouth open and it's just sitting there. A car drove past and the bird didn't even flinch, so Sister Holmes and I decided to stand there like idiots and watch this bird. Cars kept driving past just missing it and it STILL WASN'T MOVING. So, I decided to do the humane thing and throw a rock at it. I hit is full on with the rock and it still didn't move. Don't worry, I didn't touch it, but I was sorely tempted to kick it. (; Anyway, so every time a car would pass it would flutter it's wings a little. Sister Holmes and I were just kind of paralyzed watching this bird commit suicide. Alas, a car turning from Helvetia onto Tasman ended this poor, stupid bird's life. It was fluttering and it's wings were going all spastic and then it gave up the ghost. I don't think I've ever watched anything die before, so it was kind of traumatizing. We went back to the fateful spot a couple hours later and to keep it G rated, he was as flat as a pancake...maybe even flatter. Bleh, it was supa supa gross and sad and depressing.

So, Lona Faiva's baptism. Sister Holmes and I got to fill up the font, which in turn allowed me a chance to play the piano! Oh, how I miss sitting and playing the piano. But yeah, that was a fun adventure, trying to figure it out. There are heaps of different things you have to do. Plug, turn on the pump, oh, guess what, the pump leaks, so put a bucket under it, turn on the heater, don't let the heater door close while in the heating process, oh and the controls are all in different rooms. (: But I got to hang out in the boys bathroom...for a heap load amount of time. Haha, then the Tongan elders showed up at the church so, I quickly and in my awkward self way, exited the bathroom for males. (: Anyway, I guess there was a horrible lack of communication between all of the people and it turns out Sister Holmes and I were supposed to come up with a program. Well, fun story short, we came up with the program and wrote talks all in about 5 minutes. (; It was awesome! Oh, and our Elders didn't show up, so we had to scramble to find someone to baptize her! But the service was really good and they had good food afterwards, so it was nice. (:

I got myself a mini hymnal this week because I was dying without it. So, I ordered one from the mission office and it got here this week! (: They don't really have hymn books here and so, it's nice to have one that I can use in sacrament. (:

So, the most frightening thing of my entire life happened this week. Sister Holmes and I were in companionship study on Friday, I think, and there was all of this banging going on outside of our window. So, me being the Nosy Nelly that I am, I went over to the window to look out. The next sequence of events happened all in about 10 seconds. I opened the curtains, looked out, saw a can of something, nek minit, bald man right in my face, scream, shut the curtains, turn around, Sister Holmes is laughing on the floor, I fall on the floor laughing my head off. It was the scariest moment of my life. But it was so hilarious. (: (Nek Minit is just next minute, but here they say it funny because there's a video, anyway, long story, they say Nek Minit. (: ) But yeah, I think that from now on, I'll be a little more cautious looking out the window. (:

We have a meal roster!! Haha, Sister Kwan-Wing went around on Sunday and hunted down people to feed us! So, we have feeds almost everyday for the next two weeks. (: And we have somewhere to go on Christmas!!!!!!(: The Coopers are kind enough to let us invade their home on Christmas Day and feed us. They fed us last night, Sunday, and it was SO GOOD. There was heaps of food and we were stuffed like turkeys after, but it was good as food. (: So, we're excited for that! I can't wait for Christmas! We have heaps of service lined up for the next couple of days and I am just really excited that #1:I'm not in the -4 degree weather like ya'll back home and #2 that people are finally allowing us to serve them! Elder Hester and Elder Dellaca are serving in Waiuku, which is where an area of our ward is and there is a bridge that we get to clean up this week! I cannot wait! And then at the high school, Wesley College, the teachers are letting Sister Holmes and I come and help with some stuff that they need. (: I am so excited!

So, this is our shaming missionary moment of the week.......we met someone on the street and set up a time to go and meet with them, but all we know about this person is that their name is Taylor. We don't remember their address or whether it's a male or a female...we could swear that we wrote all of ... it's ... info down, but we can't find it anywhere! I like to think there's a reason, but mostly it's probably just lack of something on our part. (:

We had a zone meeting this week and it was really awesome. (: We talked heaps about how we pray and about how we can pray better. I've really been trying to implement their advice and counsel into my daily and nightly prayers. It has made a world of difference!

During personal study this week I found this scripture that I'd like to share with yous.
2 Corinthians 8:9 "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, thought he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." I've been studying a lot about grace and the atonement lately and this scripture made everything kind of click into place. The Savior made such a huge sacrifice for us. He, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, left His throne on high and came to the earth to suffer for everything that we'll ever feel in this life, to atone for us, to die for us because He loves us. And because He was willing. Not only because of that, but because He was exactly obedient to His Father in Heaven. "Not as I will, but what thou wilt." It just blows my mind to think that He suffered for our sins, our sicknesses, our sorrow, our loneliness, or pain, everything and all that He asks of us is to repent and believe on His name. Why is it so hard for people to see that?! But no matter what, we are going to teach them, and they can use their agency to either accept or reject our message.

I've noticed that whenever I'm negative, I don't have as good of a day. But when I'm happy and positive, Sister Holmes and I see heaps of miracles! And I've also noticed that when my prayers are lacking, so is my day. That's why our prayers as missionaries are so important! And I love praying, it's not something that I feel like I have to do anymore, it's something I look forward to doing.

My address for now and forever on my mission will be

Sister Rachel Pearce
131 Ward Street
Hamilton 3204
New Zealand

All of the letter go to the mission office and then the zone leaders distribute them. (:

Oh, my goodness, I love you all so much!! And my love for you grows stronger every day, but I miss you less and less each day as well. (: You are in my prayers every day and every night. (:

Sister Holmes and I before we left our house in the morning. (: So we still look all pretty. (:

Sister Holmes and I after a long walk in the wet rain. It was pretty awesome. (:

Me standing next to a sign that we thought was super hilarious! Such a sassy little shoveling man. (:

The picture of New Zealand as we're landing in our huge as airplane. (: That was the first I ever saw of this beautiful land that I'm serving in. (:

This picture is my awesome watch tan line. (:

This one is my awesome shoe tan line. (:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I was born on the Dark Side (:

Kia Ora, Everyone! Now, don't read that like an American, here, we say it sort of like keeoda! Sort of...not really.

This week was really really awesome! I rode my bike for the first time this week!! My bike is pretty dang nice! Sister Holmes and I were planning on riding our bikes to one of the areas that's further away from our flat, luckily this area isn't too hilly, they're more like, bumps. I don't know. That was a terrible description. (: But it wasn't too bad. Oh, man, it was SO funny! Sister Holmes went to avoid a "giant as crack in the ground" and she totally almost crashed. We had to stop, not because of her, but I was laughing too hard. (: That was a laugh where my stomach hurt! I love Sister Holmes!! We rode our bikes for exercise the next morning and OUCH! It was so painful! Our bottoms were so sore!!! But we pushed through it like the tough missionaries we are! (:

I experienced my first New Zealand rain this week! It started when Sister Holmes and I were proselyting. Yeah, we had no umbrellas and it was POURING! It was so fun though, we both got drenched and her glasses were useless. (: I guess that's all a part of the learning process though, eh? (: It was way humid afterwards! Both Sister Holmes and I had crazy curly, frizzy hair!

The outlets here are super weird! The power is different and their outlets have switches on them, so you have to turn on and off the outlets. It's pretty efficient, I guess. (:

So, the subject line, I was born on the dark side! In the mission, they say your first area is where you're born, your trainer is your mom, and anyone that they have previously trained is your sister. Haha, unless your elders and then it's dads and sons. (: It's really funny. And since our area is called the dark side, I WAS BORN ON THE DARK SIDE!! (: It's sort of like Star Wars. I'm defending the Pukekohe 2nd Ward from the powers of Satan! It feels pretty awesome. (:

Okay, everything is smaller in New Zealand. The cars are tiny! They have most of the same brands, like most of the mission cars are Toyotas, but the steering wheel is on the other side, of course, but they're like shorted and more squat. And all of the cars are like that...the vans...all of them. It's like living in a Dr. Seuss book. (: Or, the Lorax. (: The houses are all pretty small though! I mean, there are those houses of the supa rich people, but even they're pretty small. Smaller than American houses anyway. (: But I love it. People live so simply here and it is so nice! The things that I heard before my mission are true! It's like they live in slow motion here. The kids don't wear shoes most of the time. And even thought they go to school wearing shoes, they come home without them. It's really cute. All of the kids are really cute here! There is a young girl in our ward who reminds me of Savannah Malm. I mean, she looks exactly like her! Dopplegangers are real. And I keep seeing people that look like Mr. Thorpe...weird.

The Elders in my zone are really awesome! I really appreciate them. There's Elders Hester and Delleca, Johnson and Brann(Elder Brann is secretly my favorite...shh don't tell anyone. (: ), Wright and Oliva, Lelenoa and Brown, and two Tongan elders whose names are impossible to pronounce. (: Something that I've grown to love is that, elders and sisters are able to get to know each other on a purely friendship based level which I love wholeheartedly! We are such good friends with all of our elders and we always have such a good time! Today, after emailing, we're playing district against district kickball which will be a total blast!! (:

One of the less active families we're working with are named the Howards. Both of the parents are members, just less active. Then their son Bailey(14), is active, he comes every week and passes the sacrament. Their daughter Paige(11) isn't baptized though, so we're working with her. We went over to their house for a "feed" the other night, that's what they call mealtimes here. (: Sister Howard made some yummy chicken and coleslaw and then we had this delicious dessert! It was biscuits (cookies) soaked in Fanta, covered in cream. Oh. My. Goodness. It was SO GOOD! We really love the Howards. They are such a fun family. (:

The other night, we were walking home and this lady stopped us on the street. It was obvious that she was drunk, but it didn't look like she was wasted. She just started talking to us and we started to slip into our roles as missionaries and tell her about us, but then she just started verbally abusing us! We didn't really know what to do, so we kind of just agreed with whatever she said. I won't say what she said to us, but I am so glad that I had Sister Holmes there because she was totally cool and calm. Looking back it was pretty humorous, but during it was like, "Whoa, what is going on?" But it was definitely a good learning experience.

I bought a blowdryer...I plugged it in the other day and sparks flew out of it when I turned it on. Then it wouldn't blow hot air anymore. So, I've been mooching off of Sister Holmes and using her hairdryer.

The other day Sister Holmes and I were out tracting and all of a sudden a police car pulls up next to us and the cop says, "Have you two been walking around today?" And at that point Sister Holmes and I were a little bit worried, but we answered and said yes, just being honest with him, but freaking out inside. Then, he asked if we had seen a man in a yellow and purple cap. Stress relief times 10000. We hadn't and so the cop thanked us and drove off. We were on our way home for dinner and as we turned onto our street we counted 10 cop cars lining the street. So, we swiftly walked to our flat and swiftly went inside. Haha, we never found out for sure what happened, but it was a fun time. (:

We had our first teaching appointment this week!!!!!! It was three kids named Xavier(13), Samsara(11), and D'Artangan(8). They are literally the cutest kids ever. We taught them on Wednesday and then they got baptized yesterday!! That's how good Sister Holmes and I are. Hahahahahahahah!!!! No, they were being taught by the previous missionaries and we just had to make sure that they were ready. And boy were they! They are the most obedient kids I have ever met! They were born in the Cook Islands, not that that's important, but I just thought it was cool. (: They are so awesome, and I am really glad that we got to teach them before they were baptized!!

Sister Holmes and I went on companionship exchanges with our Sister Training Leader and her companion this week! Our STL is Sister Whiting, and guess who her companion is?! Sister Lamoureux! Crazy, huh? So Sister Lamoureux and I were together again as real, proselyting missionaries. (: It was a great experience, I learned so much from Sister Whiting! She is really good about getting her foot in the door when tracting. She knows exactly what to testify of and she is good about doing it. I am hoping to get more comfortable doing that! It's my goal for this week. (:

While Sister Holmes and Sister Lamoureux were companions, they were walking on Birdwood Road and all of a sudden they heard someone yelling at them! So, they went back and they found three kids that said that they wanted to learn more about God. They said that they didn't want to end up like the people who smoke and drink. So, they set up an appointment for the following day! It ended up falling through, but they came to church the next day and they also attended the baptism! So, I'm hoping that they felt something different and exciting about our church. (: We're hoping to set them for baptism this week!

Okay, so about the baptism! Our zone leaders, Elder Brann and Elder Johnson came to support, which was really awesome. (: There were three talks before the ordinance, and the talks were really awesome. I learned heaps! Then the ordinance took place, there were so many people there that we didn't actually get to watch, but we got to hear and that was just as special as anything. (: Afterwards, they had a dinner. Holy Crap. So much good food. (; SO MUCH FOOD!!!!!!! I don't even know what half of it was, but it. was. so. good. And after fasting all day it was really really x10 good. (:

We've had two other dinner appointments. One from the Relief Society President, Sister Norma Iriaka, we still aren't completely sure how to say her name (: but she made this yummy casserole stuff. It had heaps of cheese and noodles and then on the bottom was kind of sloppy joe stuff, but even better than that. (: Kiwis really like coleslaw and I actually don't mind it that much anymore. It's actually pretty good. (:  The other dinner appointment we had was with the Relief Society 2nd Counselor, Vanessa Kwan-Wing. She made us this yummy curry stuff with chicken and potatoes and carrots. Then we had cheesecake ice cream with strawberries. It was so yummy!! My taste buds are expanding their horizons. Haha!

A weird phenomenon happened this week. I got asked to pronounce words! The people here love American accents and so the other day at the Howards, Brother Howard asked Sister Holmes and I to say all of these words. The say car names differently. Nissan, we say it Neesahn, but they say it Nihsaan. Subaru, we say it Soobahroo, they say it, Soobaa(likebat)roo. And they say Toyota a little differently, but not too much. Haha. (: I never thought that my "accent" would be cool to someone. It's funny, Elder Hester, he's a Kiwi, he's from North Shore, but he says his name all kiwi-like and then when we say it we emphasize the "r." It's pretty funny. (: People here have trouble saying my name! They always have to ask my how to say it. And they don't really pronounce "r's" here, so they always either say, "Pehrce," or they really emphasize the "r". So, it's like a southern American accent that they pronounce my name. It's really funny. I always thought that Pearce was an easy name to figure out. It makes me feel pretty special. (:

I love New Zealand. I love the people, I love the work, I love my companion, I love the humidity, I don't love the heat so much, but what does it matter when I'm on the Lord's errand?! I'm getting used to the accents, and I talk a little bit like them more and more every day. This work is something that I never thought I would love so much, but I am loving it and I do love the people of New Zealand. Something that I am grateful for everyday is that I am able to have the energy to make it! Every day I wonder how I'll make it through the day with enough energy, and with the Lord's help, I manage to do it. My feet hurt and my body is sore, but I know that with the Lord on my side I can accomplish anything and that is the motto that I have adopted being here in New Zealand. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is nothing I'd rather be doing with my time. It's something that I would never give up. I'll work until I die if I have to. I love you all so much, but 18 months is going to fly by and I'm going to come home different than when I left because if you come home the same as you did when you left, you aren't being a missionary the right way.

I love you all heaps and heaps!!
Sister Pearce

Photo #1 This is looking into our living room. The table is the desk that Sister Holmes and I use for study time. (:

Photo #2 This is our kitchen! We have a dishwasher, but we never use it, we just use our hands and wash the dishes. (: Besides, we don't have any detergent. (:

Photo #3 This is our burgal proofing chair. It does a lot, eh? They call it burgaling here, not robbing. Haha.

Photo #4 This is our garage with our bikes, mine is the white one closest to the camera.

More photos from the MTC!!

Photo #2 Our MTC district! Top row left to right: Elder Garner, Elder Jones, Elder Hunt, Elder Strong, Elder McDonald, Elder Christensen. Then Sister Lam, Sister Me, Sister Ware, and Sister Fisher. (:

Photo #3 Me at the MTC map!