E-Mail dated 1/14/12

Kia Ora My Whanau (Family), This week was pretty good. We had transfers this last week so it's been really interesting. I was not shifted so you all can relax! My companion however was shifted to K which is even more north than here. My new companion however is from Alberta Canada. His name is Elder Taylor Hill. He's only been out for 6 weeks. It's weird because usually at that stage they're still being trained but this time President did something different and made all of the missionaries from that intake Senior Companions. So my companion is going to be Senior but not yet. He's only with me for a couple weeks until the missionary who he's supposed to be training gets here (He's waiting on his visa). What happens after that to me? I don't know. It's a little weird knowing that you're only going to be with a companion for a short time. Oh well the work goes on. We did get a new ward mission leader yesterday which came as a surprise. I just hope our new one will be just as good. We are looking to have a few baptisms in the coming weeks. We have one that is preparing for this Weekend but it's going to take a lot to get him there. With the Lord's help anything is possible. Then we have a girl named C that's going to get baptized in February as well as a guy named G. They are both very solid and I'm excited to be here for their baptisms. Not much else really happened this last week. We had the most boring P-Day last week because we didn't get to do anything fun. But this week we're going to the caves again because the new missionaries in the Zone haven't been. I'm excited. I feel like I've turned into a Maori because they do some really hoary stuff (hoary is kind of like red neck almost but not that bad) and I made a head light out of a flashlight with a clip on it and those earmuffs you sent. It's hilarious. Sorry I forgot to say last week that I love the ties and everything else in the package. There was a missionary in our Zone last transfer who I let borrow the Etch-a-Sketch and that was the first time he had seen it then he showed me a picture of what he had drawn on it and it was like this very detailed drawing of the beach and palm trees with the reflections on the water and the sun setting. I was blown away. I can't even do that drawing regularly let alone on an Etch-a-Sketch. Well not too much else going on. We are also going to this store called Rebel Sports today because we know someone who works there and gets like a 30% discount off on top of any other sales. So we're going for the sale today and she's going to get us 30% off. I've decided I'm going to get an All-Black Jersey because usually they're really expensive. Normally they're about 150 but with the sale and discount it's hopefully going to be about 60 to 75. I'm excited for that. Well, that's my week. Love ya heaps, Elder Lee

E-Mail dated 1/7/12

Kia Ora, It's good to hear that things are settling down there. Things are kind of settling down here as well. Most people are back from their holidays and we can start teaching them again. We have so many good investigators that are ready to be baptized. We had a baptism this last weekend and are looking to have at least 3 to 4 more this month. The work is so good here. We had the meanest Sunday yesterday because first our church started at 9 as well and then we were able to see quite a few of our investigators at church. It was also a really spiritual Sunday. We've been teaching a 16 year old girl named C who came to church for the first time yesterday and loved it. Before that she was struggling with getting an answer to know that the Book of Mormon is true but then during our Gospel Principles class she got her answer. It was a really good lesson on faith. The baptism on Friday was also really good. It was a bit last minute even though we were planning for it for ages. The night before we went to teach her (T) and she had decided that she didn't want Elder Johnson there at all. Being in the Parking lot was even pushing it. But he sussed that our with her and so she was good for him to come but then her fellowship was also telling her to push it to the next week. It was so frustrating because she didn't know what to do and was about to postpone it but we called our Bishop to talk to her fellowship. They must have had a good talk because soon after we got a call from her fellowship to go ahead with the baptism and that she wanted Elder Johnson to do the baptism. It was the weirdest thing ever. She went from hating him to wanting to baptize her. We also went to this nice as beach last P-day and then a couple days after we received a new rule that we can't go to the beach at all. That was pretty gutting to hear. We're running out of things to do on P-days now. We have transfers coming up this week on Thursday but we don't know who's going yet. That means that neither of us are training. I don't think either of us will go but you never know these days. We also heard a rumor that the mission could be splitting soon. It's not official yet so could be exciting but also sad at the same time. It would be weird not being in the same mission as your past companions. Oh yeah, on New Years we had a massive feed at a members house in the other ward. There were a few companionships there and it was mean. It was a massive hangi. That's where they cook their meat in the ground. There was pork, chicken, smoked fish. It was delicious. That's all I can remember from this week. Hope you all have a great week. Love you heaps, Elder Lee

E-Mail dated 12/31/12

Well, today is the last day of 2012. It's a bit weird thinking about it. It's been a really good year. Since the call I have only had one really interesting experience. Yesterday we were at our flat at the end of the night and after all of our phone calls with our leaders we were just kind of playing around (Yeah, probably not a good idea). My companion had a green laser that he likes to just shine around for the heck of it and so last night he was shining it out of our window. Nek minnit, a helicopter flies past and so he has this brilliant idea to shine it on it. I was in the other room as this happens and then he comes running into the room that I'm in with all the lights off and then as the helicopter goes around again he shines it on it again. I had warned him and told him not to, but oh well. It was a bit scary because it was like circling the building and so we were a bit worried. I jokingly said things like, "Oh great, now we're going to have the police come banging on our door in the middle of the night." We then called up our District Leader and told him what happened and when we got off the phone it was time for bed. A couple minutes after we got off the phone and hopped in bed we hear this loud as pounding on our door. I looked at the door from my bed because it's got window panes and I could see a light outside. I knew it was going to happen. The police came and confiscated the laser from my companion and told him that it could end up in 14 years in prison. BUT, he did say that it will probably only be a warning because we were cooperative and gave a statement. It was quite nerve racking but it should be alright. At least it makes for a good story. Well that's my story for the week. Not much else happened. I only have a couple pictures from Christmas but I'll send them. We don't really do anything heaps special for New Years. We will probably only be going to a Hangi which is a feed that they cook underground. Not much else planned. We might crack open a bottle of Pam's Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Grape Juice. Hope you all have a good New Years. Love you heaps, Elder Lee

E-Mail dated 12/24/12

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! It's finally here! Well tomorrow any way. It's been so awesome being in this area for Christmas. Yesterday at church was the best Sunday EVER! During the third hour of church we were asked to come into relief society at the end and so we did and they ended up giving us this massive table full of stuff! It was a basket and a couple bags full of just food and shampoo and deodorant and chocolate and yoyos and just about everything you can think of that a missionary would need. It was so much fun. I love this ward. We also have big plans for Christmas and even today after P-Day. Tonight we're going to this investigators house for dinner and she's just a miracle herself. Her name is N and she is a single mum of a very tiny 5 week old baby. When we first knocked on the door she was very apathetic to what we were sharing and didn't really care much to believe in God. We had given her a Book of Mormon and she seemed keen just to read it not for anything else. We tried to say a prayer with her but she said that they don't pray in her house and so we just left with a goodbye. As we've been visiting with her she's changed heaps. She says that we're so close to convincing her that this is the right way and now she prays and wants to feed us even! It's been awesome. Any ways so after her we're going to a couple other investigators. Tomorrow though we're planning to go to like 6 different houses for feeds. It's going to be awesome. We just get to relax! Other than that not much is planned. I did get the package that Mom sent so I'm going to open the one present tonight and then the rest tomorrow. This last week though we had our Christmas Zone Conference which was fun. I got to drive down to Auckland and it's crazy there like D.C. except not quite as messed up. The conference was fun because we got to learn about this new "Master Teacher" thing that's supposed to help us become a better teacher. I'm excited though. It's going to be a mean last bit of my mission. But I'll talk to you more on Christmas so love you heaps. Hope you have lots of questions prepared. Love you heaps. Elder Lee

E-Mail dated 12/17/12

Kia Ora, This week has been an excellent week! We had a mean baptism this last week on Friday. It was one of the most spiritual baptisms that I've been to. What was also cool was that when N got up to bear her testimony she had said in it that she couldn't have done it without us and that we were the perfect missionaries for her (She's met with missionaries for a while). We also did got to some waterfalls for P-day last week which was pretty cool. It was really interesting because it was basically in the middle of a neighborhood. Only in New Zealand! We also have 2 people set for the 29th of this month. One of them is a huge miracle! We were at church yesterday just enjoying our Sacrament meeting when our District Leader waved us over to him. We noticed that he was talking with a young couple. We found out that the guy was a member from Auckland and his girlfriend wasn't a member but had received all the lessons in Auckland and had just come up for the holidays and she really wanted to be baptized. We were so excited but of course we had to maintain our composure so we just talked with them a bit and she said she would be here in Whangarei for about a month or so. It was the miracle that we had been praying for. It was awesome because earlier in the week I had said to my companion that we had to save at least 2 more souls this month and we already have one that wants to get baptized. God really does watch over us and knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts. My companion and I have so much fun because we always know what the other is thinking. It's really weird sometimes but it's hilarious.

E-Mail dated 12/10/12

Kia Ora, Well, it's been another great week in Whangarei! So you all wanted more information on the area so here it goes. We cover two units. ONe is Whangarei 2nd ward and the other is Te Horo branch which is out in a little town called Pipiwai. Whangarei is part of what they call the Northland and is very hilly. I'm grateful to be in a car for that reason. There is a lot more to do here in Whangarei for P-days than there was in Gisborne because it is much bigger. Last P-day we went to Abbey Caves and that was heaps of fun. We took a few pictures but I can't get them to you yet because my hard drive isn't working on these computers for some reason. It was nice and cool down in the caves which is a contrast to outside because it is just like Virginia here except a little bit cooler. It's been a lot of fun in this area because we are teaching so many good people. We've made a goal as a companionship to invite someone to be baptized everyday. Since I've been here we've only missed one day. We had 3 people set with a date for this month but two of them have fallen through because they didn't come to church. One of them, named Pucki, is a 9 year old boy whose parents are less active and are a bit lazy to come to church. The other is named Avin and he is in his twenty's and knows the Book of Mormon is true. He is a good guy but loves to talk. We still have one person set. That is Nancy! She is awesome! She's given up her smoking and is doing so well. She knows just about everything and is just a really nice lady. She's already practically a member. She even signs up to feed us every month. She's getting baptized this Friday at 7:30 PM and we are so excited. We are also teaching a few other people that are really good as well. It was funny this last weekend we were teaching these two sisters that are in their late 20's and one of their sons. Khaviarn (the son) and Katarina (the Mom) committed to coming to church but the other sister said she wasn't going to. We organized a ride and everything for them and then on Sunday when we were making all of our last efforts to get people to church we got a phone call from the ride and they said that Katarina wasn't coming. We also found out that the other sister was. We later asked her what changed her mind and she said she didn't know. She just did. I know that is the power of the Spirit to change the hearts of men to their carnal state to their spiritual state. We also had a mean miracle this last week. We were trying to contact a potential investigator named Makayla and we knocked on her door but it was her sister that answered. Neither my companion or I had ever met her before and so we talked with her and ended up teaching her about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration.She then taught us it back! She had apparently just moved up from Whakatane which is near Gisborne and she had been going to church with her friend down there, but no one had actually told her about the Book of Mormon. She had heard of it but didn't know anything about it. She was so excited to hear that it meant that God's church was on the earth again. We were just so amazed by how prepared she was. It's just been an awesome week. What tops it off is that my companion, Elder Johnson and I get on so well. We have so much fun while working. Even though he's been out for about 3 months, he's the man! He is way better than I was when I was a out for 3 months. I'm not sure if I told you but he's from Adelaide Australia and is into martial arts. He's a pretty stocky fella. He's hilarious. So being here in Christmas isn't all that weird anymore. It's pretty nice. Getting to go to bbq's at christmas time is quite nice. I love being in New Zealand. People still have Christmas trees here with little snowflake decorations but I don't much notice Snowman decorations. So I'll try and look out for it. Love you all heaps, Elder Lee

E-Mail dated 12/3/12

Kia Ora, First Happy Birthday Dad, even though it was just the other day. It sounds like you all have had a busy and fun week. It's been an awesome week for me. As you all guessed I have been transferred. It was a bit gutting at first but I'm allgoods with it now. It was funny though because Elder Gentry in my last ward replaced me so he just moved down the road about 3 minutes. That's the first time I've heard of that happening. I've been shifted to Whangarei. Which is up in the Northland. It was a long trip because I came from all the way down at the bottom. It's been a mean last few days though. My companion's name is Elder Johnson and he is from Adelaide Australia. He's the man! We've been having so much success and fun as we've been working hard. The investigators here are all so good! They practically all have a testimony of the Book of Mormon but there's always like one or two things that get in the way. Oh and I'm in a car area again but this time I'm the driver! It's been so nice. I missed being in a car. Since I've been here I've been able to meet a few members of the ward and the Bishop is just on to it. He's knows what he's doing. He came with us to a lesson and invited her to be baptized and he set her for the 14th. It's been heaps of fun though, and I love this area. It's still crazy to think that you're going to be in Utah for Christmas and that Ryan and Brittany are having a baby! Speaking of Christmas coming up. Can you let me know what phone number I'm supposed to be calling as well as what time? That's about all I can think of. Hope you have a good week. Love you Heaps, Elder Lee