Sunday, January 26, 2014

Kakite Ano

Wow, this week was definitely way fun! We get fed almost every night and sometimes for lunch too. Our ward loves us. (: We have been fed HEAPS of KFC. Man, it is crazy how much the love KFC here. And it is heaps better in America. (: But we eat it to be polite! I have been eating heaps more of Samoan food, but I have really started to enjoy it. (: Oh, how the tables turn! Mom! You're not going to believe this, so you might want to sit down, but I LIKE TOMATOES. Can you believe it? I used to hate them, but they eat them so often here that I have grown to like them. (: BAM. (: Oh, and I'm getting better at letting my food touch...that one is still a work in progress.

We got our flat sprayed for bugs! It has been so much better since then! Our fleas have pretty much disappeared and our cockroaches are much less of a bother. It did make our flat smell pretty rank though, so we had to air it out for a LOOOOOOOOONG time. (: But it was a small price to pay for the reward of no more bugs. (:

So, this week...I got to drive! Sister Whiting, our Sister Training Leader, took me out to certify me! I don't think I can accurately describe how different it is! In America, we are used to having the rest of the car on the right side of us, and here the rest of the car, meaning the passenger, is on the left side. It was pretty rough starting out, but then I got the hang of it! I really enjoyed it! And Sister Whiting has a really nice that helped too. Right turn is left turn, left turn is right turn. I just had to keep telling myself that. But really it's not that hard to get the hang of it when you're actually on the roads because everyone else is setting the example. (: What kind people. (:

So, we have a couple of investigators, Ruby and Blaire. They are best friends and their partners are brothers and less active members of the church. Ruby's partner is Whitianga, or Fitz and Blaire's partner is Rupes. Well, basically Ruby and Blaire would get baptized, they just don't want to get married, and you have to get married to get baptized. They have labelled themselves the eternal investigators, which is slightly annoying because they are practically members of the church...they come to church every week, they have strong as testimonies, they know all the things. They just don't want to get married. But last Friday, they invited us to come to the Temple Visitor's Centre with them and so on Saturday we got to go down to Hamilton and go to the Visitor's Centre! It was so fun!

So, real life transfers are this week. So, I might be getting transferred again!! Sister Leung-wo is convinced that I'm going to be staying in Puke 1st Ward with a new companion, but she thinks that she'll be leaving. I have grown to love Sister Leung-wo in the past 2 weeks. We are really great friends and I have loved having a companion that wasn't American. (: She has taught me a lot about Australia and the Samoan culture. (: Just for clarification, her dad is Asian and her mom is Samoan, so that is where the Asian last name comes from. She has 8 brothers and sisters of which she is the oldest! And she has siblings the same ages as Becca and Nate. (: AAAAND Her sister is preparing for a mission too!! Anyway...just a random side note. (:

This week I learned a lot about how the atonement works. And also about grace. I actually wrote a heap down, but I forgot my notebook unfortunately): But basically Brad Wilcox's talk, "His Grace is Sufficient," sums up all the things one could ever need to know about grace. It is a fabulous talk. FABULOUS! I read it before my mission, but it didn't really impact me like it did now. I really have become dependent on spiritual nourishment being out here on my mission. I love studying and learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't even believe that it's almost been 3 months since I left home! I am a changed woman. I only say that because I know yous would say it, I feel the same. I probably talk a bit differently now, Sister Leung-wo says that I sound like a kiwi now. (: Which pleases my soul. (:

So, in our ward there is this adorable woman named Emma, but everyone calls her Auntie Emma. She is 93 and she is in the final stages of her life. She is living in a rest home and she is tired, but she has the sweetest spirit that I have ever felt in my entire life. You can feel her spirit emanating from down the hall. She is a devoted member of the church and she is the most wonderful woman that I have ever met. (see img4426) I can't even describe her, she's that amazing. She's a Maori woman and so we sang Whaka Ria Mai to her. (: She loved it so much and she just lit up when we started singing and she sang along with us. It was a really spiritual experience for me and I am really glad that I got to lift her spirits. (:

I love you all so much! The saying, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," is probably the most true of all statements ever to be said on the face of the planet. Besides gospel sayings, anyway. I have grown to love all of you even more through my growth in the gospel and through my increasing love for the New Zealanders. If you have a few seconds this week, read the hymn, "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul." The lyrics are really beautiful. (: Also, "I Need Thee Every Hour," is another good one. (: Really, all of the hymns are amazing, so read all of them. (: But I do love you all! And I am really so blessed to be serving a mission! I wouldn't change it or trade it for the world. (: You are all wonderful and even though I miss you, time is flying and I am having the time of my life!

Sister Pearce

4434 -> Sister Leung-wo and I in front of the Christus.
4436 -> Ruby and Blaire and I, Ruby is the one on the left and Blaire on the right. (:

4432 -> This is all of us including the VC sisters who taught Ruby and Blaire, Sister Brown on the far left and Sister Laban on the far right. (:
4448 & 4450 -> Sister Leung-wo and I today before emailing. We're pretty awesome. (:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kia Ora!

So, this week started out with a dinner appointment with a recent convert named Phillip. (: He is probably the most cheeky guy you'll ever meet. (: It was a combined appointment with the elders and so it was really fun! Because Phillip's wife wasn't there, we had to eat outside. But a weird rule with tripanionships is that because there are three of us, we can teach single men and we can also go in their houses. Phillip, being a recent convert, didn't know this, but had already set everything up outside, so we just ate out there. It was nice eating outside, the temperature was really great, and the food was really nice. After we ate, we were doing a little family home evening with him and Elder Hester told him that we could've eaten inside. Phillip was so embarrassed! But then he turned it around into a learning opportunity. (: He's a really great guy, with an awesome testimony!
My companions and I got along much better this week! We had district meeting this week and we talked about not flirting with other missionaries, or members. And then we talked a little bit about our purpose as missionaries and that helped heaps. My district is really awesome and we have some really great missionaries!
On Wednesday morning, we had companion study with the Zone Leaders and at about 10 o'clock, Elder Brann got a call from Elder Hirsche, so he went out of the room to take the call. When he came back in he was like, "Sister Pearce! You're moving to the Pukekohe 1st Ward to be companions with Sister Leung-wo!" Man, that hit me like a rock. I loved my ward! Which was the Pukekohe 2nd I moved just around the corner. But Sister Leung-wo and I came in the intake, so we've both been out about 8 weeks now. So, we are finishing one another's training. I was just so nervous. So, I had to go to the flat and pack up all of my stuff and move it to the new flat. Well, it's a freakishly old flat, and it's definitely a step down from my old flat, but it's better than nothing. Sister Leung-wo has already been living in that flat since she came here, so she's used to it. But there are cockroaches everywhere and fleas in the bedroom. I guess Sister McCarthy didn't care about the bugs so she wouldn't let Sister Leung-wo do anything about it, but since I don't want to be living with cockroaches, I called Elder Goodman and he is having someone come and spray our flat today, so we won't have any more bugs! Well, not nearly as many. There are heaps and heaps. So, I'm excited to get rid of the bugs, I'm sure that once that happens, it'll be a lot easier to live there. Sister Leung-wo and I get along pretty well. It is really easy to laugh and talk to her, we just come from completely different walks of life. She grew up in Australia with a Samoan family. (: So, we've been visiting all of the members in our ward and a lot of them are Samoan, so they just speak in Samoan and I can't ever understand them, so that is pretty hard, but it's been good. I'm hoping to learn Samoan from her! I know a couple of words...fiapoko is a know it all. (: Fa is bye. And maoga is full. (: I use that word a lot. Haha, it's pronounced mahonga. (:
In the past 4 days, I've eaten more Samoan food than I have in my entire life. And they eat heaps of food. I don't like a lot of it, but I try everything at least once. Taro is a big thing and it is so....I don't know how to describe it, but they use it like we use rice. Luckily, they know I'm American, so they offer me rice instead most of the time. (: Taro doesn't really taste that great, and it is really really fattening. It is pretty much just pure starch. Haha, but they love it! I guess in Samoa, they don't have much to eat and Taro is a really good filler, so they just eat that when they don't have anything else. Pretty resourceful if you ask me. (:
The ward that I'm in now is a really really awesome missionary ward! Our Ward Mission Leader is a really tiny British guy who wouldn't hurt a fly and he is so motivated to do missionary work! It's awesome. His wife, Sister Stanford is this big Maori lady. She is really awesome, but she is really blunt and straightforward.  We're working with this less active Kiribati family (pronounced Kidipis, it's a small island off the tip of New Zealand.) named the Bureti (pronounced Burez, 'ti' in Kiribati is pronounced as an s...weird, I know.) and the parents don't like coming to church because they don't really understand English that well, but the kids all really enjoy coming to church, so we are talking to Bishop Daji about starting up a class for the Kiribati people in our ward. (: Bishop Daji is really awesome! He's half Maori and half Indian. 
This week has been a real test for me. I've gone through a bought of homesickness and it's been really hard. Sister Leung-wo has helped a lot though because we are both pretty much in the same boat. I'm learning to rely heavily on the Lord and the Atonement and I am learning so many things about myself. Some of which I don't really like that much and so I am going to work on changing them, but some of the things I am really happy that I am learning about myself.
I hope you are all doing well, I love you and pray for you every night!
Sister Pearce 
P.S. I learned How Great Thou Art in Maori...
Whaka Ria Mai
to-ri pe-ka ki-au
nga-ro-to ite po
kei ko-nei au
ti-ti ro a-tu ai
o-ra ma-te hei au koe no-ho ai
faka dia mai
toh ree peh kah kee oh
tee ah hoe my
(I don't know how to explain nga) roh toh eeteh poh
keh koh nee oh
tee tee toh ah too aih
oh rah mah teh hey o koh no hoh aih
nga is made sort of by putting the back of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. (:
I love you!!

I didn't take very many pictures this week, but here are the ones I did take. (:
This is at District Meeting, well, before it started. We decided to be a little immature and hide from the Zone Leaders ...don't ask why..(:

This is a picture of how much shorter my legs are than Sister Miggin's and Sister Holmes'. (:

This is a picture of a dinner that one of the members brought us. (: We had a Domino's picnic on the ground. (:

This is the last day that Sister Holmes and I were together and we matched almost perfectly. (: Haha.

Rachel and her new companion, Sister Leung-wo.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bug Bites out the Wazoo!

Man, our flat must have fleas or something because Sister Holmes and I are getting eaten alive! I have bites, all up and down my legs, on my, it's itchy as, but I washed everything and I'm going to vacuum my bed and spray permithrin. (: Hopefully, it'll cease to torture me. (: I look like I have a disease or something. (:

SO! I had legitimate, authentic Indian food this week. Don't you dare try any Indian food in the States and tell me that it's good Indian food because chances are it wasn't anything like what we ate this week. I can't even accurately describe to you how good it was. It was Brown Daal and then there was a dish of cooked chick peas with this bread stuff, not naan, it was just flour, water and some spices, but holy llamas, it was delicious. The chick peas were surprisingly good! But it was so freaking spicy. Ya'll probably know how wimpy my taste buds are, but this was out of control spicy. Holy crap. But I'd eat it every day if I could. It was so incredible! Indian culture is really beautiful. The only thing is that they demean the value of women a heap. Jazz had to serve us and the men, like we weren't allowed to do anything and if the men wanted something, she had to get it right away. I felt terrible, but I guess they are used to it. It really is an amazing culture, I mean how could it not be when they make such good food! (;

So, the beach was absolutely amazing! It was such a beautiful sight, and the water was so refreshing. (: President Rudd allows us to I'm not being an apostate missionary, don't yous worry. (: I've hardly ever been to a regular beach, let alone a black sand beach and it was a blast! We took off our shoes and ran through the waves. My feet have never been and probably never will be, so black. (:

We almost got attacked by a dog this week!  It was scary as! But I guess being a missionary constitutes being chased by dogs. Otherwise, you aren't doing it right. (: We went to visit a less active that we had never met before and they had a gate. Being the persistent fools we are, we opened the gate and walked up to the front door. As we were knocking on the front door, a dog came barrelling around the corner and started yapping and barking and growling at us. It was trying to bite us, but it had really bad aim or something, or I think that Heavenly Father was definitely watching over us. We didn't really know what to do so we just slowly worked our way around it and back out the gate. Moral of the story: don't go in gates. (:

Elder Hirsche and Elder Galt came and spoke to us this week. I guess the whole mission knows that we're having companion issues, but talking to the assistants made everything better. We are getting along so much better and it is really really great. (: Elders Hirsche and Galt are so inspired and they were able to solve our problems. They left us each with a  commitment and as we are applying those commitments into our companionship, we are getting along so wonderfully now!

Yesterday, we went tracting out in the wop wops again! On this road called Gunclub Road. Yeah, we found a new investigator. I'm telling you, the roads that are the most neglected are the ones that have the prepared people! I freaking love the people here. Even if they do slam the doors in our faces. The ones who don't are even more amazing, and the ones who let us in are absolutely celestial. I'm telling you, when we work hard and are exactly obedient, we see miracles. And when we go to all the places of our area, we see even more miracles. It's absolutely mind blowing. I love missionary work! It's crazy to think that I'm already on week 8! (:

This week was really quite amazing. We saw heaps of miracles and all of our investigators are really golden. They are all so keen to learn more about the gospel and they are just ready to be baptized! I love watching the work move forward in the Pukekohe 2nd ward! Our ward is absolutely amazing and the people in our area are so prepared and so ready. Of course, there are the people that are just rude and don't want anything to do with religion, but for the most part, it's really amazing! Walking around all day, I have developed some pretty mean calf they're really impressive. (: But anyway, I pray for all of you every night and I can feel your prayers strengthening me everyday. 18 months is a small price to pay, when what we know is so special and important. When we know that families can be together forever and that God is our loving Heavenly Father, 18 months isn't a long time.
I love you all so much. And my love for you grows everyday.
Sister Pearce

P.S. I wouldn't be objected to a letter here and there. Not to sound desperate or anything, but...seriously. (:

Sister Rachel Pearce
131 Ward Street
Hamilton 3204
New Zealand.

4341 -> Don't tell me that that isn't the prettiest thing that you have ever seen.

4346 -> Just another beautiful picture of the ocean and the black sand. (:
                                                (From the Editor:  Photo missing from email  - sorry)
4352 -> This is Elder Hester and I. We're so cute together, right? (; Ah, jokes. (:
                                                (From the Editor:  Another Photo missing from email  - sorry)
4359 -> So, this is Elder Otto and Elder Hester...don't tell me that that isn't the most epic picture you've ever seen...and I captured it at exactly the right time. (:

4366 -> This is Jazz! Our cute little Indian friend. (: You can kind of see the food that she and her mom made for us...oh, my goodness gracious hallelujah. IT WAS SO GOOD. Dad, you have no idea what good Indian food is!

4382 -> This is the Howard family minus Bailey (he was at SMYC), but we had just played a game that involved cookies and it just got messy. (:

4394 -> So...this is our district...starting from the, elder hester, elder otto, elder wright, sister miggin, elder kaio, sister holmes, sister leung-wo, and sister McCarthy. Haha, we were super bored and Sister Miggin had happy face stickers. Nek Minit. (:

4409 -> This is my beautiful companions and I .(:

1237 -> This is the official Pukekohe 2nd Ward picture! Elder Hester, Elder Otto, Sister Miggin, Sister Me, and Sister Holmes!

4350 -> (The unknown photo - sorry from the editor - no description to put here)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tainui says HII!!! week was so awesome. Like, almost too awesome for words. (: It started out on Monday with Mission Conference! There are now 201 missionaries in the New Zealand Hamilton Mission and all of them gathered in Hamilton for a Conference with President and Sister Rudd. We met at Hammond's Bush (forest) and it was absolutely stunning. Roger Hammond has been cultivating this bush for over 40 years and now the church has asked him if they can take it and turn it into a camp for families and youth and YSA. It is going to be so awesome when they finish it! Well, anyway! We had a lot of speakers come, one of them being Roger Hammond. He told us about his journey in growing the bush and such. Then....ya'll might wanna sit down for this next, seriously, it's too cool for know the famous rugby player that there is a Mormon Message about? Sydney Goins? Yeah, international rugby star, return missionary, and now temple president? It's no big deal or anything, but he and his wife came and spoke to us. NBD. They spoke to us about the temple and the sacred covenants that we make there. They did a really good job. They are such a cute couple and they tease each other relentlessly! It's so cute. Anyway, that was really awesome. (: Then President Rudd spoke to us for a second and then we listened to Elder Ballard's talk to new mission presidents about companion unity. It was an answer to my tripanionship's prayers. It helped us so much. Then President Rudd told us that we were going to be rededicating the mission. So, the stakes, the flats, the areas, the zones, and the mission as a whole. He gave the elders permission to come into our flats and rededicate them for the use of missionaries. It was really awesome and since we did that as a district and zone we have seen heaps of miracles happen! Totally blessed. (:

So, some of our investigators, Sonie and Jazz, they're India Indian and they are super super awesome. (: Yesterday was Jazz's birthday party and so we went to support her. Best idea ever. First of all, Indian music is really awesome, second of all, Indian food is really delicious, and third of all, Indian dancing is really hard. (: Jazz made us get up and dance with them and it is a serious work out. They had on their Indian garb and so they were probably hotter than we were, but it was hot as! but so fun. (: I am really happy that we went. I have faith that we can bring them closer to Christ, but Sonie loves his weed. (; It'll happen one day.

Tainui is one of the members we're helping prepare for the temple. We walked past her on our way to emailing today and she told us to tell all of our peeps in America, HI! (:

So, this week we went out tracting in the wop wops of our area. Like seriously in the middle of nowhere. We found this country road that had a mailbox in front of it, so we assumed that there would be a house at the end. So, we walked down it! There were two houses and the first one that we went to had a huge as dog that started barking at us, and a girl came out of the door and she got this happy look on her face and told us that her sister's boyfriend was a member of our church and that she was thinking about getting baptized! She wasn't home when we were there so we decided that we would come back after dinner. So, after we ate dinner we walked back out into the middle of nowhere and knocked on her door. Her dad answered the door and was like, "We're all Catholics here, go away." He was just super rude and so we just kind of walked off all dejectedly. We were about 8 meters away from the house and these little girls ran after us and said, "WAIT! OUR COUSIN WANTS TO TALK TO YOU!" So, we went running back and there was Anne, our golden investigator, waiting for us. They were all apologizing for their dad and uncle and the way he treated us, but anyway, Anne is now set for baptism on the 15th of February and she came to church yesterday. She's golden as! (: We love her!

A couple of emails ago, I talked about the Howard family and how they're less active recent converts and Sister Howard is really struggling to get a testimony? Ya'll remember that? Well, anyway, they are now going to temple prep class! WHOO!! We were so excited when we saw them going to temple prep yesterday, we about did Sister Miggin's happy dance...which isn't publicly displayed..ever... (:

So, here in the lovely country of New Zealand, you have to buy stickers to put on your rubbish bags, otherwise they won't take the bags on rubbish day. Well, we ran out of stickers, so we just set our bags of rubbish in the garage. They were tied up tight and junk, so we didn't really think anything of it. Well, on New Year's Eve, we were sitting in our flat and all of a sudden Sister Holmes goes, "EW!" And flicks her foot. And there was a little maggot just minding it's own business in our flat. Then we started looking around and there were about 6 just in our flat. So, we went into attack mode and started killing maggots. I don't know how many of you have had experience with maggots, but they don't die. Ever. I hit one maggot probably 57 times and it didn't even faze it. Grossest thing ever. EVER. So we got out our bug poison and even that didn't kill them, so we started shuttling them out of our flat via papers.......grossest thing ever! So, we continued to kill maggots for the next couple of days, our garage was seriously overrun. We spent over an hour one night just trying to kill and poison them. NASTY AS. So, we bought heaps of rubbish stickers, so we won't have that problem again. :/

Pretty much all of our investigators right now are golden as. But one of our best is Teno. Her goals for the new year include quitting smoking and drinking and finding faith in Christ. So, yeah, we're here to help her with that! She is really really keen on learning all that she can about the gospel. She has read every single pamphlet that we have available for her and she writes notes on them. She prays every night and is starting to read the book of Mormon. The first night that she prayed, she wrote it down and then the next time we met with her she let us read it. If I thought my prayers were improving since being on my mission, I have some serious lessons to learn. Her prayer was so sincere. So heartfelt. And the first line was, "thank you for sending the sisters to teach me." So, of course that made us all tear up. Man, it was seriously the most awesome prayer ever. (: She's so awesome.

IMG_4283 -> Sister Klundt, Sister Mann, and I at Mission Conference. (:
IMG_4285 -> Sister Fisher and I at Mission Conference! (:

IMG_4305 -> This is the country road that we found Anne's house on. (:

IMG_4309 -> This is Sister Miggin, Sister Holmes, and I on the country road that we found Anne on. (:

IMG_4310 -> This is a bridge over a railroad track that we found and Sister Miggin and I tried to make it look like we were falling off the didn't really work, but Sister Miggin's face is pretty priceless. (:

IMG_4315 -> These are some crazy cows that were eyeing us and following us around. They were seriously just walking with us along the road, but if we tried to get close to them, they'd like turn and run the other way. But we had some friends for a while. (:

IMG_4319 -> This is the sunset...yeah, be jealous. (:

IMG_4333 -> This is Jazz dancing in her beautiful Indian dress. And all of her Indian friends that are sitting behind her. They all eventually started dancing, but my camera lost power, so I didn't catch that.