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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Kia Ora, So from everyone's email this week it's been a crazy week. I completely forgot about Thanksgiving. Oh well, it's been fun down here as well. We had a wedding for the other Elders' investigators. It was way hectic because they have one rowdy family. We've been told that looking back on it we're going to see rowdy families and think Man that's nothing! It was good to have their wedding though so now they can get baptized. Not much else happened last week. We had a linger longer after church yesterday because it was the Primary Program which I got to help with which has been heaps of fun. Then we got asked to help out yesterday in Primary doing the Music time because the lady that normally does it had to go with the nursery kids. It was cool though. I was a little caught off guard though cuz I didn't know what I was doing and yet she asked me to conduct. This week is transfers but I don't know what's going to happen. We don't find out until the night before. So I could go but I hope not. I love Gisborne so much. Well I got to go but I love you all heaps. Sincerely, Elder Lee
Kia Ora, It's good to hear from you. I can't believe you skipped out on Stake Conference! That's just sad! But, not much to report this week. We had our Zone Conference this last week which was pretty mean. We got to drive up on Wednesday to Hamilton. It was even more fun because I got to drive for some reason! It's been good here in Gisborne though. I love it here because it feels a lot like home. All we did for P-day last week is we played mini-golf again. I won this time with a score of 13. We also hung out with the other elder's neighbors. They're a less active family but they are so funny. Well our Zone Conference was the only thing that really happened this week. It was awesome because it was on the Doctrine of Christ and it taught me a lot about faith and repentance. We also started a scripture study class this last Friday and it only had one person there. But it's just the start so it'll get there. I love you heaps and pray for you all the time. Ofa Atu, Elder Lee
Kia Ora, This week has been a pretty good week! We've been doing a lot of service this week and we also had a couple mean ward activities. On Monday was a holiday called something that sounds like "Guy Forks." I'm not actually sure how you spell it. It's the one day of the year that they do their fireworks. It was really fun because the ward had an activity at the beach that we went and helped with. It was a big barbeque and a bon fire. It was heaps of fun. We also went to have our MCM on Tuesday and while we were waiting we were taking pictures of the Young Women's activity because it was crack up. They were playing a life size board game and at different stations they had to do funny things like put "makeup" on, but the makeup was different food dressings and things. We also had a ward missionary weekend where we had a speaker named Hiriwini Jones come and speak to us. It was all weekend basically and it was mostly about the whakapapa (genealogy) of the maori's and how they are descendants of Lehi. It was a really good weekend. I wish you could have heard it because I can't do it justice. Apparently he's been all around the world and he's done heaps of research. I also got to go on a couple Murae's this weekend. That was the venue for the first two activities. It was really cool because they are the Maori meeting places and they are pretty sacred. So sadly I didn't get any pictures of those. It was a really fun week though. This next week we have a Zone Conference up in Hamilton and so we have to leave on Wednesday to be there for Thursday. It's going to be so much FUN! I love road trips! I'll send some more pictures though. Love you Heaps, Elder Lee One of the Young women's putting on funny clothes.
Kia Ora, Sorry Mom, for not answering your questions. It's just that usually by the time I start writing a new message, I forget about the questions. I don't think I really need anything. The only thing I would say would be a new pair of slip on shoes. The Clarks Bostonian pair was a good pair. I think I'm wearing a size 9 in this but I'm usually like 10ish. I would get a pair here but they wear out really fast here. My last companion went through a brand new pair of shoes in like 2 weeks. This week was pretty good though. We are trying to work with the members more. I think we've been gaining the trust of the Bishop because he has started inviting us to Ward Council and things. It's been pretty cool. We've decided that we're going to do a service day every week. We get asked to do heaps so we might as well. We also have been going with the other elders a lot lately because we've been told the best way to work our area is to just not worry about the boundaries. We are also looking forward to the Christmas time because it's summer here and it gets pumping! There is going to be heaps of people out that we can talk to. We also made some "Thank You" cards kind of. They are just pictures of us with our names and phone numbers. It looks pretty legit though. I attached the picture that we used and a couple other ones that I thought were funny. Dad- the baptism on the 26 was really good and went off with out a hitch but we didn't have a baptism planned for this last week. Nothing extremely interesting happened last week. Oh we did go fishing for P-day last week which was pretty crack up because all we had for bait was these little hot dog type things and we were using these massive poles in this river that wasn't all that big or deep. We looked like we were going to go deep sea fishing. I'll grab the pictures off the other elders. Love You Heaps, Elder Lee /Elder Gubler with a basketball "helmet" on his head.
Kia Ora, First I want to say Happy Birthday on Friday, Ryan! How does it feel to be a quarter of a century old? Haha, that's kind of a sad way to look at it, eh? Well not much is happening. My companion is pretty sick today so that means nothing is happening today. I have my cord this week so I attached some pictures for you. I got the ballot off so hopefully my vote counts! It's been an interesting week. We did get to have another baptism this last week so I'm happy about that. I attached the pictures. 1091-Zone Picture after our Meeting. Left to Right (Myself, Elder Lui, Elder Rangi, Elder Palaiti, Elder Gentry, and Elder Willson) 1104-Baptism of S K. L to R (H, Myself, S, and Elder Viane) 1111-Baptism of M H. L to R (W B (Kid sitting down), Elder Gentry, Myself, Elder Gubler, M H, N H, Elder Viane, and President Lekias) 1163-Baptism of H K. L to R (Elder Viane, D K, S K, H K, and Myself). 0160-Funny Goodbye Picture for Elder Rangi. L to R (T (Less-Active Member), Elder Rangi, and Myself). The baptisms went exactly according to plan. Everything is going good though. Love you heaps. I wish I had more to say but I can't think of anything that happened this week out of the ordinary besides the baptisms and my companion being sick. Ofa Atu, Elder Lee
Kia Ora, It's been a good week. I got the package and the cereal but it was just at transfers so Elder Rangi didn't get to try them. We were both pretty gutted that he left. Neither of us were really expecting it. My new companions name is Elder Viane. He is from Apia, Samoa. He is good so far. It seems like its going to be a little bit of a struggle with the language barrier but hopefully we'll be able to work well together. I'm excited to report that the baptism on Saturday was successful. I will send pictures next week because I realized that I forgot my cord at the flat today. We didn't get to hike a mountain last week but that's alright. Today is a public holiday so there should be a lot of people here to play basketball. Nothing much happened other than the transfers and the baptism. Oh, only one person got baptized on Saturday instead of the original 2. The other one is going to get baptized this Friday because President Lekias wanted him to come to church one more time. That's alright though. I'm just glad that I get to be here and that he's getting baptized. Hope all is well at home. Love you heaps. Ofa Atu, Elder Lee
Kia Ora, I'm getting a little worried because I haven't heard from Mom in about 3 weeks now. I'm not worried too much I'm just a little bit surprised. We had a decent week nothing really has changed. We still have two people preparing for bapism on the 20th. They are so awesom and are prepared. They are Shanti and her brother. His name is H and he is a 12 year old b-baller. He's a crack-up. We have so much fun with them. We're really excited for this weekend because I don't think anything will get in the way. The only sad part is that transfers is coming up this Thursday. We don't know who's going yet but I doubt it is me. There is a chance that it is my companion but neither of us wants to go. We don't want to miss out on this baptism especially since we worked so hard for it. It will be the first baptism ths area has had since this area has been opened. We haven't been doing anything really special for P-days lately but we're supposed to be hiking a mountain today which should be fun. The last few weeks we just played sports here at the chapel. Nothing else to report really. Hope everything is going well back home. I still love you all and pray for you everyday. Ofa Atu, Elder Lee
Kia Ora, How is everyone? Have you all seen General Conference yet? It sounds like there is a lot going on. I haven't gotten to see it yet. We are going to watch it this weekend. I'm pretty excited. I heard they changed the age to go on a mission which is CRAZY! It's been a pretty good week here. We had the opportunity to teach L and her sister, P, about fasting. It was funny because we were just talking with them and then L asked what fasting is. We explained it to her and she said that she wanted to fast for her husband who drinks. She really has a desire to be baptised and everything but it's hard because her husband is holding her back. We are also continuing to work with a Maori/Tongan family. They also have the desire but the dad's not really for it. We notice this week that we are working with a lot of people with family concerns. It's going to be a struggle but it's also rewarding. Hope you are all doing well back home. How is home, Mom? Still lonely? Ofa Atu, Elder Lee
Kia Ora, How is everything? Brandon, how are you liking BYUI? Mom, how is being home by yourself? This week has gone very well for me. We are still looking forward to a baptism this weekend so that's exciting. We already took care of the program and everything. We have been working hard to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. We also have another person that we're teaching who is willing to be baptised. Her name is S. She is pretty cool. She is 16, but she is a crack-up. She is very busy for 16 because she does her Kapa-haka almost every weekend. We set her for the 20th of this month to give her a bit of time. It's so exciting all the success that is starting to happen in an area that no one believed it was possible. I guess that shows that anything is possible if we have faith. God is always preparing his children to receive the message of the Restoration of the Gospel. Who do you know that is ready? Even if they're not ready, give them the opportunity to hear the gospel! Hope everything is going well. Love you heaps. Ofa Atu, Elder Lee
Kia Ora, Hope everything is going well back home. Sounds like it has been pretty boring though. It was funny on the 7th of this month I was thinking, "I hit my year mark in one week from today." The funny part is that 2 weeks later I realised that I had already passed it and I didn't even think about it. That's what happens when you lose yourself in the work. This week has been one of the happiest and best weeks of my mission! Being able to go to the temple and being able to see a massive change in myself and my companion as a result has been the most amazing thing to see. We have seen heaps of miracles since going to the temple. We now have 4 new sets for October that will be baptised for sure and we also have a couple other investigators that are experiencing miracles as well. We have an investigator named L who comes to church and everything but the only thing that was holding her back was her drinking and her husband, who is a less-active member, wants to baptise her. She recently found out that she is pregnant and so that means no more drinking! They also found out yesterday that her mum up in Auckland is getting baptised! This should be a huge help for her. Her desire is going to sky-rocket when she sees that. What's crazy also is that we're teaching her sister across the street named P. She is a miracle as well because we taught her the Restoration and extended the commitment of reading the intro and praying. It was so cool because the next time we went by we found out that she studied the intro and read the scripture it refers to (Moroni 10: 3-5). She really liked it but unfortunately she didn't pray that time. We went by the next day or two later and she said that she prayed for her family and about the Book of Mormon and she felt like a huge burden was lifted and she felt really good. They are one prepared family! Miracles in Mangapapa! We are going to get this area pumping! I love this area and my companion! Love you all heaps, Elder Lee P.S. Mum- would it be possible for you to send me some Captain Crunch and Cinamon Toast Crunch. My companion wants to try them.
Kia Ora Fanau, It's weird hearing about all these changes that are going on. It's a little hard to take it all in. Nothing has really changed here. We have been able to find more new investigators this week and get more people to church. I was pretty happy about that. Nothing really memorable happened this week though. We've just been trying to help this recent convert who went less-active to return and helping her sisters to get baptised as well. It's been good though. But I will leave a spiritual thought with you that has helped me. There is a lot of people who beileve that God expects us to be perfect. This seems hard when He knows that we will make mistakes. Why would he then expect us to be perfect? He doesn't! He expects us to use the Atonement and to BECOME perfect. It's definitely not easy but it's what He wants, and what other motive do we need than to receive His everlasting love? Keep working for it! It will come slowly! Love you all, Elder Lee