Sunday, September 25, 2016

This email was sent by Sister Welker on September 26th.  We received it on September 25th.

Week 7: Waterfall, My First Zone Conference, 7 days of rain, and DRIVING!!!!

It was a rough week, but we are still working hard, and doing it all with a smile on our faces. 

Last Monday, we hiked a waterfall for P-day.  Actually there were two waterfalls, one of them was like a little stream with rocks and the other was a little water fall that was hidden along a path only about 20-30 ft tall, but it was still way fun!!

Poor Sister Johnson was sick for the first half of this week.  She had an upset tummy and even had to stay at the flat (New Zealand for apartment) for one night.  She's doing much better now!!

I had my 1st Zone Conference this week!!  It was fun to see the other missionaries that I knew at the MTC and have President Cummings speak to us.  It was like my spiritual boost for the week.

It's been raining everyday this week.  I don't mind--I like the rain and it reminds me of my mom cause she LOVES the rain, but most people don't like the rain here.  Even Sister Johnson who's from Nevada, doesn't like the rain either, which is saying a lot since in Nevada if it rains it's a big deal and everyone will run outside and play for about 20 min until the rain leaves.  I just try and tell my companion that "rain is simile weather," but she doesn't believe me yet.

On a good note I started driving!!!  It's actually not that bad once you figure out how to use the round-a-bouts (which is way nicer than the lights we have in the states).  I'll definitely miss those when I go back home.  I get quizzed/tested tonight and then I'll be official and can drive on my own.

We have a couple of really good people that are really close to baptism, they just need a little more time.  I'll be sure to let you guys know how that goes.  Other than that, that's about it here.  I hope you've had a great week and would love to hear all about it.  I'm sorry if I don't get to respond to every email.  I only have 90 minutes on the computer.  

Hope you have a great week,

Sister Welker

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This email was sent by Sister Welker on September 19th.  We received it on September 18th.

Week 6: 18 and two kids, Lesson 1 for Sunday School, and Miracle Moment

It's been a great week!!!

Last Monday all the sisters and I went bowling.  I don't think I'd been bowling since last semester of uni (New Zealand for college).  It was a blast!!  If my bowling teacher would have seen my score though he would have been pretty disappointed haha.  

Anyway after bowling we went to dinner with a sister in the Mount ward.  She's so cute!!  She's a tiny old lady, who is about the size of me and dresses as if she was still in her late 20's :), but I still love her!!  Probably the sweetest girl I know.  Not to mention it was her birthday and she was feeding two sister missionaries.  So we gave her a colored card and a bright purple scarf and she though it was the best thing ever!!

Right after dinner we meet with her granddaughter, who has been less active for a while.  Both her mom and grandma still go to church, but she's just busy and hasn't been to church.  I found out that night that she was only 18 and has two young children, and she's raising them on her own.  I can't imagine being in her situation, to be a year younger than I am now, and being a mother of two.  It's hard especially when she wants to get a job and find a place of her own instead of living with her mother, but she needs to take care of her kids.  I think she finally felt ready to come back to church, but she just needs help; she just feels stuck, so hopefully things will work out for her.

We have a family in the Welcome Bay ward that is some of the best people I know.  They are actually from Utah, but have been living in New Zealand for a couple years, and are actually moving back to Utah in about a month.  Anyway, the father has been doing some missionary work of his own and been talking to one of his clients.  They've had deep doctrinal discussions, and she wants to be baptized, so now all we have to do is teach her the lessons.  So he's done all the hard work for us.  He brought her to church on Sunday and during the Sunday school hour we taught her the Restoration.  She was travelling this weekend, so we didn't see her yesterday but we're excited to she where she goes next.  

The last thing I wanted to talk about is our Miracle Moment.  Just a few days ago we were visiting a different member in the Mount ward (sorry I haven't been using their names just don't want any privacy issues), when her phone rang.  The happy bright smiling sister we were just talking to became concerned and worried.  She hung up and explained to us that that was her friend that just called.  Her friend was extremely upset and was talking about not wanting to live anymore.  The Mount sister wanted to visit her, but had work in a couple of minutes, so we went instead.  When we got to her friend's house, she was super upset.  She had one of her legs amputated last year and has felt so lonely.  Her husband committed suicide and her daughter can't handle to see her that way, and doesn't talk or contact her.  So we were there to comfort her and tell her she's loved and a daughter of God.  We even watched a couple Mormon Messages with her.  We later found out that she doesn't believe in a God, she believes in a higher power, but not a God.  She's agreed to meet with us again so we can teach her what we believe.

Sorry for the long email but I have a couple pictures to attach this week.  Most of them are from hiking the Mount last week but I hope you enjoy the pictures and have a great week!!

Sister Welker

Josh 1:9

Sunday, September 18, 2016

This email was sent by Sister Welker on September 12th.  We received it on September 11th.

Week 5: All by myself, Hiked the Mount, and Wrong Groceries

This week there wasn't anything too crazy or unique, but there was definitely some fun stories.

Last Monday after emailing, all the sisters in our district went to hike the Mount Manganoli (I think I spelled that wrong).  We were debating whether we should cancel our plans since it had been raining off and on that day, but we decided to go anyway.  Near the beginning of the hike there were fields on either side with sheep just hanging out.  There wasn't even fences to keep them in a certain area.  They would just walk right in front of us with their babies following behind them.  It was SO CUTE!!!  Then shortly after it began pouring, and it kept pouring till we reached the top of the mount.  How convenient right?  But the view was AMAZING!!  You could see all of Welcome Bay and the ocean surrounding it.  Sister Johnson says that there are people in the Mount ward that hike the mount everyday.  Cool right!?!? The hike only took about 30 mins and compared to hiking the Y, it wasn't that bad at all.  I'll attach some pictures, I just hope you'll be able to see them.

We also went grocery shopping last Monday, and man do I love the way Sister Johnson shops!! We get in, get what we need, and get out.  It's the best!!  Anyway, we were getting some fruit and I ran ahead to grab some bananas.  Once I found some good ones, I brought them back and put them in the cart, and realized that my companion was on the other side, and that I had put my bananas in some gentlemen's cart.  The gentlemen started taking his things out of the cart as if to offer me his cart instead, but I just laughed and told him "Sorry wrong cart". 

This week was MLC (Mission Leadership Council), and since my companion is the Sister Training Leader for my area, she and the other training leaders left for Hamilton on Tuesday and left me all by myself.  Jokes--I had Sister Green's companion for the day but that left me to lead the area by myself.  Luckily I didn't lead the area too far astray. ;)  I actually did better than I thought I would and we got a couple return appointments. 

Other than that it's been a pretty normal week.  I have pictures of a cool map, and of one morning that we went running to the beach, and of the hike so I'll attach those below.  I hope you'll be able to see them. 

Hope that you all had a good week and I'll talk to you again next week.  Be sure that if you just want to read my emails or get updates you can follow my blog  If not, I love reading all your emails.  I'll do my best to respond to as many as I can. 

Sister Welker

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sister Welker sent us tons of pictures, which we can't figure out how to open!  Maybe with some insight from her, we will be able to post some of them next week!  This picture was posted on the mission's Facebook group page.  Sister Welker is hugging her second companion (her first in the field).  Her name is Sister Johnson!  You can read about her in Sister Welker's last e-mail below.
This email was sent by Sister Welker on August 29th.  We received it on August 28th.  (No I didn't type that incorrectly.  She is 19 hours ahead of us!)
Week 3 - Good-bye MTC, Hello Hamilton

Before you panic there wasn't a weekly letter last week.  I spent all last P-Day responding to emails.  The only weekly email that I've sent so far is Week 1 - New Zealand MTC.

So this week was super crazy!! I said good-bye to my friends at the MTC and hello to my 1st area.

Early Wednesday morning after breakfast, those of us serving in Auckland and Hamilton packed up and left the MTC.  There's 18 missionaries from the MTC that have been called to serve in Hamilton, and 15 of those missionaries were Elders.  So there was only me, and two other sisters from the MTC called to serve in Hamilton.  There were 3 missionaries that had been picked up from the airport (one elder and two sisters) that went to the Provo MTC, that were also called to serve in Hamilton.  The drive from the MTC to the church office was a little over an hour.  Once we arrived at the church office we had three workshops, one about our flats (that's a New Zealand word for apartment), one about the Hamilton Mission, and one workshop about paperwork.  We also were able to briefly meet with President Cummings.  We then drove to the motel that President Cummings had arranged for us to stay the night at, with just enough time to unpack before we left again to go to the President's house. President Cummings lives within 5 mins of the Hamilton Temple and has a great view of the temple from his home.  There we had a short lesson and a yummy dinner.  Then it was off to the motel to spend the night.

The next morning was Thursday.  That was the day we were going to be told where we were serving and who was our companion.  President Cummings just seamed to be talking and talking forever, before he finally told us where we were going.  So my first area is called Welcome Bay and Mount Manganui.  They're two wards along the East coast of New Zealand.  It's considered one of the best tourist spots in New Zealand and it is absolutely beautiful!!  The drive from there (Hamilton Temple) was about 2 hours long!! Just as we pulled up to our stop, you could see my new companion Sister Johnson jumping up and down with excitement.  She's the oldest of six and from a small town in Wells, Nevada.  She loves singing and theater and wants to be a high school music teacher.  Sounds a lot like some people in my family. ;)  She has heaps (that's a New Zealand word for a ton/a lot) of energy and LOVES talking!!  From there we dove right into missionary work.  I meet with a recent convert named Chastity, and the Saloman family.  Then later that night, I had my first dinner and met with Harmony and I was given the assignment to ask if she wants to be baptized.   I know the first day on the job, and I'm already asking someone to be baptized, but she said "yes" so I must not be doing too bad. 

Since then, I've just meet heaps of people, and then Sunday I had a double meeting.  I even met a New Zealand news reporter!!!  What are the chances, right!?!?! Welcome Bay ward starts at 9:00 am and then the Mount Ward starts at 1:00 pm , so I have church twice.  It's kind of funny, especially when they have the same lessons.   In both meetings, they asked if I'd come up and introduce myself and give a small thought.  Now the hard part, will be trying to learn everyone's names. 

Well that's about it for this week.  I finally was able to upload pictures, so I'll be sending three other emails with pictures from all the way from Aug 4th!! Can't wait to hear from you guys next week.

Sister Welker 
This letter was written by Mandy on August 21st.  We received it on August 27th.

Only three more days and I’ll be out in the field!!! Crazy right?!?!  This last Wednesday, I had the chance to go proselyting with the REAL missionaries (I forget sometimes that I’m a missionary too, until I look down and see my name tag, haha).

Oh and sorry about not writing a weekly email this last week. I spent the whole time responding to emails instead!

Anyway, the day before, I was actually kind of nervous.  I thought I wasn’t ready to proselyte and was worried about it for two days straight.  It wasn’t until an hour into proselyting that I realized “Hey, this isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”  My companion for proselyting was Sister Parkinson. She’s from North Salt Lake, Utah, is the oldest of four girls, went to school at BYU, and is 10 months into her mission. She was way nice and really cute.  We actually got to proselyte in the Hamilton Mission, so there’s a chance we could be companions for real!  For lunch, we had Domino’s pizza (I know I come all the way to New Zealand just to have American pizza), Tim Tam’s, and New Zealand ice cream. “K,” America may do pizzas right, but New Zealand does ice cream and chocolate right!! Just saying, I had Tim Tam’s at the airport once I got here, but I hadn’t tried a Tim Tam Slam until that day.  What you do is get this mix called Milo. It looks and kind of tastes like hot chocolate.  Then you take the Tim Tam (looks like a chocolate dipped biscuit, but tastes kind of like a Kit Kat) and bite off a small corner on opposite sides of the Tim Tam.  The idea is that you use the Tim Tam as a straw and you dip it in the Milo (hot chocolate) and suck until the Milo mixes with the Tim Tam insides and into your mouth.  Looks and sound really weird, but it tastes SUPER GOOD!  It doesn’t take long for the Tim Tam to then start melting and at that point, you just shove the whole thing in your mouth.  It’s GR8!!  That’s one of the treats I’m planning on sending to you guys, so I’ll be sure to give detailed instructions on the best way to do a Tim Tam SLAM!~!

I don’t have tons of time left, but I want to finish this letter with two quotes that my MTC teacher told me.
Quote #1: “Live is such as way that people who know you, but don’t know Christ, will want to know Christ, because they know you.”
Quote #2: “No matter what others think or like about you, you will only see yourself as who you think you are.  So if you don’t like yourself, change the way you think.”

I’ve enjoyed my time here in the MTC, but I’m excited to get out in the field.  I hope you all enjoy your last few weeks of summer before school starts again.  I miss you all SO MUCH! I pray for you individually every night.  Brandon, I hope you have a good birthday, and eat lots of sweets.  Don’t forget to have fun and I love you all.  I’ll write to you again soon.

Sister Welker