You're probably wondering the same as us how this month has flown by so fast! It's the end of June and we are already through 1/6 th of our mission!
I think Craig is happy to stay close to the apartment doing errands on our P-day, but come Friday night, I'm studying maps and googling cool places to visit, anticipating a day of exploration. Saturday found us only an hour northwest of Auckland at Wuriwai Beach. Knowing that the weather might not be too good, we dressed right and had a wonderful time. It was windy and cloudy, but soon the sun broke through. We weren't alone there. Lots of people walking dogs, and about 30 wind surfers out in the water (you might be able to see one behind me in the above picture). If they can brave the water, we can enjoy walking on the sand.
We thought this would be fun to try, until we saw him blow completely over. He up righted, fiddled with it some and then drove on.
Craig takes a breather from our walk. This ground looks like mud, but it's black sand. The west coast of NZ has black sand, while the east coast has the lighter colored sand. Behind this mound of sand we were surprised to see a nice golf course packed with golfers. I told Craig that come Spring, he can drop me off at this beach and then golf 18 holes right there. I will be happy and so will he.
Looking out at the wild and windy Tasman Sea from the nearby beautiful cliffs. On the far left are the dotted remains of last spring's Gannet colony nests. These birds come by the thousands from Australia to lay on their one egg on these cliffs. We will come back to see them in September.
We had a great week finally being able to visit with some members we had been trying to see. One couple with grown children, we were so happy to see at church and their home. Their son is visiting from Australia. It turns out that this son took leave of his job and is here for three months so he can buy a home for his wife that they won't even live in. Because of home purchasing laws in NZ, you have to work and live here 3 months to get a loan for a home, so he is here to work and buy this home, then go back to Australia. They always wanted this house and it's now available, so he's come to buy it.
Another great visit was to a woman and her 18 year old daughter. We gave them a short lesson about the influence of Holy Ghost. She got a little teary and opened up about how she had a calling and thought she wasn't getting support from members, so she quit her calling and quit coming to church. We invited them to church and to sit with us, and they came, and sat with us on the first row! It was a perfect meeting, because the daughter is wanting to serve a mission when she is 19, and a newly returned Sister missionary spoke and gave a wonderful testimony about her mission. We are going back to see them this week to do a FHE.
We were lucky to catch up with another sister who we knew was soon moving two hours away. It turns out she needs help loading up her van in two weeks. She is so greatful we are able to organize some men to help her move. I'm not sure she would've asked anyone to help her or what she would've done if we had not stopped by. She has only lived here one year and has no family near.
I heard this quote on a video that I love, " Let us be the answers to other people's prayers."
I have to say that we love, love visiting with members in their homes! The spirit of love is there, the children are so mannerly and happy to see us (old folks), but they feed us too much. Fry bead, homemade donuts, coconut buns, sweet bread, and Pizza Hut pizza. Friday we had a game night with a wonderful family and the kids were so happy to learn Spoons and Farkle. At the end of the evening before a prayer, the children sang "A Child's Prayer" and one at a time thanked us for coming to teach them games. Their ages were from 6 to 14 and it was the sweetest thing ever!
We had Family Home Evening at the University of Auckland Institute building with the other Seniors and Craig found a competitative opponent in one of the students there. It was a close win for Craig, but he said this guy is a better player than he is.
This is a great book we bought that is teaching us about the Moari culture, their early church leaders, and the influence of the early missionaries and the church in NZ. There were many prophesies from Moari Chiefs in the 1800's that came true, which greatly influenced so many to embrace the gospel.
In 1883, many Moari from the Wellington area had joined the church, but when the missionaries taught them the Word of Wisdom, about no drinking tea and coffee or alcohol, and no smoking, they all left, except the most faithful.
I could go on and on, although this post is already too long, but we hope you know how much we love this opportunity to serve a mission. We are trying to make the most of each day we have here. I'm in charge of our daily calendar and it's a big job keeping it full. We are so blessed and feel your love and support. We love our Savior and know we are doing His work.
I will leave you with this scripture from Romans 8:35,37-39,
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or peril, or sword?
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."