Fast forward: Tuesday and Wednesday were just filled with packing and saying goodbye. Nothing too exciting there.
Thursday: We woke up insanely early. 5:00. After going to bed at about midnight. Not good for missionaries. All good though. (: We met the rest of the zone at the chapel and we headed on down to Hamilton! We arrived a little bit late, but it worked out just fine! I got to see a lot of my mission friends. (: And yeah! President Rudd announced that we would be having a Christmas concert, so I am really excited for that! We then had to wait for one of the Elder's bikes to get fixed and so we didn't end up leaving Hamilton until 3:00 and it's about a 4 1/2 hour drive down here. So, we drove down. Let me tell you...that is a crazy, but insanely beautiful drive. Holy llamas! It was fabulous. I serve in the most beautiful country in the world. (: Hands down.
So, we got here and got stuff into our flat and then the Elders told us that branch council was going on, so we went up to the chapel to meet some of the auxiliary leaders. This branch seems pretty onto it, but there is a lot of work for us to do! We are so excited. And we are so close to the ocean! We hear it constantly and we see it every day. It's beautiful down here!
We've already had a few encounters with absolutely crazy people. It's been a really big testimony builder for me on the importance of keeping the word of wisdom. We met a lady who was on our ward list. And we were knocking on her door and we could just smell the house from the outside and we could see the nicotine on the curtains. She wasn't home, but then as we were walking away, she walked into her driveway and then second we saw her, we knew that she was so far gone. She started talking to us and basically she got into drugs and now her body is wrecked, and because of the state that she is in when she is on the drugs, her body is used for completely immoral things. She is completely crazy and while we were talking to her the Spirit was testifying to me the importance of keeping the Word of Wisdom. The importance of keeping the Law of Chastity. It made us so sad. But, that, my friends, is the beauty of the gospel. If we live the principles taught in it, we will be free of addiction and we will be able to feel the Spirit of the Lord warning us of the dangers of Satan.
This week has been a great testimony builder for me. I am so grateful for the wonderful Plan of Salvation the helps us to know where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going. I am so grateful to know who I am and what I am doing. I am grateful to be a missionary. And I am grateful for all of you back home who are supporting me unceasingly. I love each and every one of you. I am so grateful for my call to come to the New Zealand Hamilton Mission. It has changed my life. I am grateful for the Saviour and Redeemer of the world, who suffered for my sins, for my imperfections. He felt all that I have felt and all that I will feel, just as he did for you. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who placed me here at this time. Please, if you do not have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, ASK. Ask Heavenly Father and he will reveal it to you through the power of the Holy Ghost. I know He will. And I know that He loves you. This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. Prepare now. Do. Not. Procrastinate.
6620-> This is Mount Taranaki. It is such a shocking landmark here. (: You see it all of the time and there is snow on it! The first snow I've seen in over a year!(:
Here's another cool photo of it. (: