Wow so first week in the field! it's so much to take in but I love the Manurewa area so much already! My companion is Sister Clarke and i love love love her. She is from Australia and is literally my twin. we are so alike it's scary. we quote the grinch and sing disney songs together all day! :)
Sister Clarke has been showing me around the area and having me meet everyone in the ward and it's been so much fun. We met with Bishop Rere and he gave me Kina which is sea urchin. it looks so disgusting but it was actually really good! you have to slurp it off the sppon, squish it in your mouth and then swallow it. it was yummy. he said i'll be a proper Maori in no time because i told him i'm up for trying anything. i love this culture and all these people so much. the area that im at has a lot of islanders because we're up north so there has been so much food and so much love for us and it's so amazing to see how humble and giving all of these people are. i love it.
I also ate a fish eye!!! CRAZY! i just took the fish head and sucked that eye ball right out. it was really good and everyone was so proud of me. I'm embracing this culture and eating anything they give me! it's so fun!
We have been teaching a lady named Stevie and she is so hilarious. she is the definition of Maori and she loves us so much. we visit her almost everyday and teach her and read The Book of Mormon with her. The relationships here are really weird because almost everybody has a "partner" which someone more than a serious boyfriend or girlfriend but they're not married. They will usually have kids with their partners as well. So the Law of Chastity is a very common lesson we teach! So Stevie lives with her partner and two kids and she says she's shy so she won't come to church so we brought over a member, Shelly, and had her get to know Stevie and we, with some persistence, had her agree to come to the Valentine's Dance the ward was putting on that night. So she came with her sister in-law and she really liked it! she kept saying "yous know how to have fun and you don't even need alcohol" it was great. so now we're working wit her to come to church. She'll come i know it.
We are also teaching another lady, Marama, and she's pretty much in the same situation as Stevie. She lives with her partner and three kids. she has such a strong desire to be baptized and reads and prays all the time that her partner will let her. Here the men have a lot of say in what their partners do, it's really sad. but we visited her on Friday and i invited her to be baptized AND set her for a date! it was so amazing. the spirit was so strong and i wasn't nervous or anything. She still has some things to do before she can be baptized but if she keeps praying and acts on her faith Heavenly Father will bless her.
The last two are my favorites. Pone and Feao. They are 15 and 14. They're so funny and remind me SOOO much of the boys. They love working out and are very worried for sister clarke and i because we only get 30 minutes of exercise a day. These two boys have such a strong desire to be baptized i can see it in their eyes and they love to read the Book of Mormon. they will read it for hours and hours with us if they could. I invited them to be baptized and set them last night but their dad is Catholic and doesnt want them going to church or getting baptized. But Pone told us that if we pray for their dad he will understand how badly they want to get baptized because the spirit will tell him. These boys are so special. after our lesson they brought out their guitars and played for us. they are so good if we sing something they can just pick it up and play along. So we taught them I Am a Child of God and we sang with them. They are so special and they have so much faith that they will get baptized and i do too. Heavenly Father will help their dad to see his son's love for the church and soften his heart.
This work is so amazing. Seeing the brightness in these people's eyes is everything. When they feel the spirit and listen and learn from what we're teaching i just get reaffirmed that this work and this gospel is true. it brings so much hapiness and joy to my life and i am so blessed that i get to help others feel that love and joy as well.
I hope you all had a great week and that you stayed safe! I'll send pictures from my camera next week because i forgot my chord today so there's just the pictures from Shelley's phone. I'm praying for all of yous every night and love yous so much! Mom hold as many babies as you can for me because the babies here are cute as and i can't hold them. it's a struggle. i love yous and i'll talk to you next week!!!
Kia Kaha (stay strong)