This email was sent by Sister Welker on July 3rd. We received it on July 2nd. Week 47: Best PDAY!!, Super slow slow week So it wasn't a very exciting week. Monday was probably the most exciting, but that's about it.
Monday was PDAY and everyone who serves in South Auckland knows that PDAYs are super boring. In the past, our highlight on PDAYS would be emailing our families and grocery shopping. So I figured that if we wanted to have fun on PDAY, then we'd just have to be a little creative.
We went to the dollar store (since you know us missionaries we're super rich right?), and bought two kites. Then we went to a park by our flat and flew our kites. All the other sisters had never flown a kite before!! I was so surprised since that's something I use to do as a child. It took us a bit to figure out how to keep them in the air, but once we figured it out, we were good to go!! We were flying our kites right by a skate park so the teenage boys looked at us as if we were super weird, having four 20-year-old-girls flying kites in skirts, haha. But it was soooo much fun!! And just a side note, kites that you buy at the dollar store actually fly really well.
Then later that day, we had an FHE with a member family. I hadn't been to an FHE in ages, but it was so much fun!! We made banana cake, had nachos for dinner, and then had a spiritual message about the restoration. My companion absolutely LOVES bananas!! She's practically a monkey haha. So she had been counting down the days until our FHE. Then the nachos were sooo yum!! Heaps of Kiwis eat nachos with Doritos, which tastes pretty amazing if you ask me. I will probably never each nachos again without Doritos. Then we had a fun game to introduce the Restoration, and that was the end of our super fun PDAY.
The rest of this week was just heaps of meetings and driving around trying to get our car inspected for it's 15000 K check up thingy. Plus we had Zone Conference, so that was a majority of the week.
Then to finish out the week, we had a less-active family come to church!!! Which was super exciting!!
That's about it for life here in New Zealand!! Hope you all have a great week!!
Sister Mandy Welker
We flew a kite for PDAY (I'm such a child), but it was so much fun!!!!
We made banana cake at a members home for FHE,
as you can tell from all the bananas at my elbow, haha.
We finally bought some shades so I'm not blind as I drive. But if you ask me we look pretty dangerous haha. The dollar store really is the best!!
We got a Snickers bar for being one of the cleanest cars at Zone Conference!!
And it's really, really cold when you sleep without the heater!!! Just saying
Familysearch has this new database where you can look up to see if any of your ancestors served a mission and where. I tried it out, and guess what!?!? One of my ancestors served in New Zealand in 1905!!!
This email was sent by Sister Welker on June 26th. We received it on June 25th. Week 46: New Kind of Tracting, Dinner Almost To-Go, and Visit Lacey Again? Last week was pretty slow. However, towards the end of the week we started to see HEAPS of miracles!!!
We went tracting last week, hoping to find new investigators. Tracting is not my personal favorite, I actually have to kind of bribe myself in order to "desire" to go tracting, but instead of knocking and telling others about the Restored gospel, we tried asking if they wanted to learn more about their ancestors. I was amazed at how much easier it was to talk with people about their ancestors than the restored gospel. People were either polite and said "no thanks," or their eyes grew wider and they wanted to learn more. At the end of the day, we got one new investigator but he wasn't keen like we thought. When we went back for the return appointment, he told us he was busy. However, I felt that it was a cool experience for me and helped me to have a more genuine desire to go tract again.
While we were tracting, the Brown family (name changed) texted us asking if they could drop our meal off tonight. In the past, I would have agreed, but I felt I should try to find a different option. So instead, we offered to come to their place and pick up the food. Sister Brown agreed as long as we came before 5pm. We arrived at the members home at about 4:30 pm. She told us the food wasn't quiet ready and invited us in to sit while we waited for her to finish the meal. As we watched her cook, we asked Sister Brown about her 1st impressions of missionaries. She explained to us how at first she wanted nothing to do with missionaries, and would tell them to leave. At the time she was living with a less-active member, and the LA member wanted the missionaries to come inside. Rather than argue she let the missionaries in, and went to the kitchen so she wouldn't have to be in the same room as the missionaries. Over time she realized how she would subconsciously listen to the discussions happening in the other room. One day the missionaries came to visit and she asked them if she could get baptized. A couple weeks later she was baptized, and is now married in the temple with two children.
By the time Sister Brown had finished telling us her story, the dinner was ready. I thought she would pack it up in ice cream containers and invite us to leave, but to my surprise she looked at her clock, realized she had more time than she thought and invited us to stay and eat the dinner there. Once we finished the dinner, I thought again we would be asked to leave, but we were invited to stay again to share a quick message. We asked everyone in the home to share their favorite Jesus Christ story. We then discovered that Sister Brown's darkest time in her life was when she found out she couldn't have kids of her own, and during that time her life she learned how to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
This last Sunday, Sister Brown had been assigned to speak in church and she was so touched by our visit that she mentioned our visit during her talk in church!! Hopefully that helped the members gain trust in us!! Now we plan to see her family again tonight for FHE, and we plan to share the Restoration, and maybe get referrals as well!!
I received a written letter from one of my companions earlier this week, and I now have a testimony of how companions are inspired of God. I don't think either one of us had any idea why we were meant to be companions until now. I guess we may not always see ALL the good we do, but GOD DOES!! And it matters in his eyes.
Another miracle had to be when we went to visit a LA sister, Lacey (name changed). I had visited this sister before and would only talk with her behind the gate. Usually she would tell us that she was busy, but we had members in the ward refer us to her, so we felt more responsibility to go and visit her. This week as we went to visit Lacey and to our surprise she said "You know there's a reason why I don't come to church." My ears grew hoping to finally learn of her concern. We inched our way closer, and could barley see her in face from the reflection of the dim street light. She wasn't very specific, but buy the end of our visit we had spent 20-30 mins talking (which is the longest I've ever talked with her), and we got a return appointment!!
When we went back for the return appointment, we were invited into her house!!! I had never been past her gate before, and was completely shocked when we were invited in. Turns out her whole family is LA, and she had a child who needs to get baptized!!! :D
Then just as we were walking to come and email today, we meet someone who wanted to study more about the Mormon faith along with his 3 others sisters back home!!!
So basically God really does love me, and is helping me to see so many miracles. :D
Thanks again for all your love and support. I hope you all have a great week!!
Sister Mandy Welker
Sorry the pictures have nothing to do with anything I emailed haha
This email was sent by Sister Welker on June 19th. We received it on June 18th. Week 45: Airport again, Transfers, and Sunday Surprise Well for someone who's not that close to finishing her mission, I've sure been to the airport heaps hahah. I'm not getting trunky (missionary term for someone who is ready to go home) or anything, but it is kinda ironic.
Yep we had another sister stay with us this week. Her name is Sister Taragnutu (tera-new-two) and she's from Kitibus (might have spelled that wrong). She was telling us of all her favorite memories and told us that the only advice she has for missionaries, is just to be yourself. The night before we dropped her off we had a movie night watching the District, and eating ice cream!!
Finding the airport is easy since all the signs have airplanes on them making it easy to find the airport. It's getting back home that's the struggle. So we may or may not have gotten lost on the way back home, haha.
In regards to transfers, I'M STAYING!!! I've only had two areas my whole mission and I've been here since February. Not sure I'll be staying again after this transfer but who knows!? And I'm still with Sister C. By the end of this transfer, she'll be the companion I've been with the longest.
Sunday there was hardly anyone at church. Not sure why but we did have Elder Henry B. Eyring, and Neil L. Anderson here this weekend for a dedication for a church history museum, I believe. So maybe that's why hardly anyone was at church. There was however, a family visiting from Tauranga. It was the Tusenga family!!!!! :D Straight after sacrament I ran over and gave them the biggest hug!! It was so good to see them, and I was so so happy!!
That's about it for this week. But I hope you all have a great week and I wish you all the best!! Thanks again for all the love and prayers.
This email was sent by Sister Welker on June 12th. We received it on June 11th. Week 44: Exchanges, Baptism, and Transfers It wasn't a super exciting week. We had exchanges with the Mountford sisters. The last one of the transfer. The theme was "Have Courage and Be Kind" from the latest Cinderella movie. Each sister looked up one scripture with the word courage and another scripture with the word kind and then we were suppose to think about that scripture throughout the exchange.
Our area had been struggling lately so honestly it was a blessing to be in another area for 24 hours. We are really low on investigators and in general the area isn't progressing. Mountford area on the other hand is doing great!! By the end of the exchange we had visited with about 5 different families and had shared everything from the plan of salvation to a simple prayer. It was just what I needed to regain my motivation to do the work. Now that I'm back in my own area, we plan to find by day, and do member missionary work by night. Hopefully through our efforts, we'll find something or someone that's willing to progress.
We had a baptism on Saturday for a girl that I'll call Millie for now. Millie had been baptized as a member when she was 8 years old, but when she was a young women she went less-active. Years later she had missionaries visiting her trying to help her regain a desire to come back to church. It was then that she was informed that her records went missing. Meaning that the prove that she had gotten baptized as a child was lost. At first Millie was disappointed and frustrated, since she knows that she was baptized before, but as she thought about it, she realized that having her records go missing was a blessing. She had been praying for a way to have a second chance, a new chapter in her life. Millie would have never thought that baptism would have been the answer to her prayers. With the help from friends in the YSA, and a desire to change her life, Millie got baptized again this last Saturday.
Minuets before the baptism began, while the prelude music was playing, Millie whispered to me how she was getting emotional and started to cry. Before I even had the chance to react, one of her best friends came to the front row and gave her a hug. I was happy for her knowing she could feel the spirit and that she had her best friend by her side. Having a best friend by your side definitely makes all the difference in the world. I'm so grateful for my best friend and I want to let her know that I miss her so much and can't wait to see her again soon!!!
Out of all the baptisms I've had since I've been in this area, this one was definitely the most well done. We had heaps of members come to show their support, including our stake president. The speakers were great and Millie had the chance to share her testimony about her reactivity. She had told us how there was a number of less-active friends that came to her baptism to show her support, and she was hoping that her story may have touched one of her friends that attended the service.
That had to be the highlight of my week. Transfers are this week and it could go either way. I don't know if I'll stay or go. I'm hoping to stay one more, but you never know what the Lord has planned. I'll be sure to keep you up to date next time I email.
Thanks for all the love and support. I hope you all have another great week!!
This email was sent by Sister Welker on June 5th. We received it on June 4th. Week 43: How about June 6th, Green field, and Old Faithful
Compared to the last couple of weeks this week was really slow. Overall it wasn't my favorite week but there's always something to love about every week.
The highlight of this week definitely had to be when we were visiting with one of our investigators. We hadn't had the chance to visit with her in a couple of weeks because every time we went to her place and asked if Amy (name changed) was home, they said no one by that name lives here. We were so confused. She had just moved in only a couple months back, and it's rare for someone to move that quickly. We had a funny feeling she still lived there even though we were told that there was no one by the name of Amy that lived there. Amy finally returned our call and told us yes she still lives there, the rest of her roommates just didn't know that Amy was her Samoan name. That explains why we were told that an Amy didn't live there, because they didn't know that she also went by Amy.
We had a return appointment with her on Tuesday and were finally able to meet with her. One of Amy's roommates, Allie (name changed), also joined us in the lesson. That day we had planned to teach them the Plan of Salvation. Usually we don't go into heavy detail when we first teach the Plan of Salvation, but by the end of the lesson we were reviewing things like temple work and family history. As we neared the end of the lesson, my companion had mentioned the word baptism. My companion and I were thinking about inviting them to be baptized, but we never decided on an exact date. Allie asked "How about June 6th?" I looked at my calendar, realized that June 6th was next week and muttered a loud "Oh." Both Allie and Amy looked at me with a concerned face. Then I continued by saying, "I've never had anyone that's wanted to get baptized that fast before!!" There was a mixture of excitement in the air. We've picked June 27th as their baptismal date for now, but they have to get married 1st so they may be getting baptized later than the day we scheduled them.
Saturday morning, we did service for one of our investigators. Ruby (name changed), had told us she wanted help with mowing her lawn. We kept pushing the day farther and father away, and we finally had the chance to mow her lawn this weekend. Her grass was about knee high and she had a huge pile of tangled weeds in the back corner of her house. So we had two members help. One with a lawn mower and one with a weed wacker, and we also had the help of the Alfriston Elders using another lawn mower that we had borrowed from a member. Then my companion and I had sickles that we used to help with the tangled weeds. So I felt as though the field was "green" and ready to harvest haha.
Lastly, we had the chance to visit with a member family this week. I'll call them the Robins for now. The Robins family is a cute senior couple. We often see Brother Robins at church, but we hardly have the chance to see Sister Robins. The both of them are constantly in pain. Brother Robins played rugby when he was younger, and now has constant pain in his neck and spine, while Sister Robins has to rely heavily on a walker and has a nasty cough that doctors can't explain. Even though they are both always in pain, you will hardly ever see them frown. They always smile and try to think positive despite their pain. We visit with Brother Robins at his door all the time, but this time we were invited to come in and meet Sister Robins for the first time. It was such a joy to hear of their stories. Brother Robins told us how he used to be a ward mission leader and had 52 baptisms while he had that calling!! He even had the chance to work with Elder Monson, who was President Thomas S. Monson's son!!!! Brother Robins told us how they used to have MCM's early Sunday morning before church, and Elder Monson would always fall alseep, haha. We decided to ask the Robins' what their favorite story of Jesus Christ was. Between the four of us, we mentioned stories like his suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, his humble birth, and the story of when he calmed the storm. There was such a peaceful spirit there, that I didn't want to leave. Brother Robins was so touched by our visit, that he mentioned it during testimony meeting yesterday.
I just wanted to say Thank you to all of you!! I'm sorry that I don't always respond to emails or when I fail to send a weekly update, but just know that I always read all your emails, and I can feel of your love and prayers. I wouldn't be able to be the person I am today without your influence in my life. So thank you again.
Hope you all have a great week!! Oh and Happy Queen's Birthday (that's our holiday today).