I cannot even begin to explain how beautiful it is here. Not just the place, but the people! Everyone is just so nice and so humble. Especially where I am...which is in the Laie Zone! I will be serving here for the next three months with my fabulous and AMAZING companion Sister Rodriguez! She has already taught me so much, and I could not have asked for a better trainer. She is from Guatemala, is the oldest of three sisters, and is just as crazy as I am, haha. Well, let me tell you about my adventures!!
So first, simply on the plane ride here, Sister Johnson and I sat next to this awesome guy, Jared, who is from Hawaii, 26 years old, and was just coming home for the summer! I felt sooooo impressed to teach him the gospel, and so I turned to Sister Johnson, and I just said, lets do it! So we had already been talking to him, and had gotten to know him, and asked him a thousand questions about Hawaii and the culture and the food and the animals, and so on a so forth. So then we asked him if he had ever been to the polynesian culture center (PCC), and said that he had. So then we asked if he had gone to the Visitor Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He admitted that he had not, but that he has a friend who went on a mission like us! Long story short, he had told us that he believed in God, but just didn't really feel like what he was raised learning in his church could be true. So we taught him the restoration of this gospel, and taught him that this church is the true and everlasting gospel that Jesus Christ himself established on the earth during His ministry, and that it had been restored upon the earth because of a boy that felt just like him. Eventually he allowed us to give him a Book of Mormon, said it couldn't hurt to try it...and then we promised him, after reading Moroni 10:3-5, that if he prayed to know these things were or were not true, that he would receive an answer! He said he would !!! We told him to add us on Facebook, and that when we get home from the mission, we'd love to keep in touch! It was pretty amazing. He is the one we have a picture with on the airplane!
So when we landed, the assistants and President Dalton and his wife came to pick us up!! It was pretty much the best day of my life. He did things with us that he said he had never done with arriving missionaries. But, being memorial day, he took us to the "Punch bowl," which is an inactive volcano that has been turned into a cemetery for all those who died in Pearl Harbor and in Vietnam and WWII. Of course, being my mother's child, I was bawling. It made me feel so appreciative of my amazing brother, Devan, and my cousin Al for their service to this country, my heroic Grandpa Nichols who was a pilot for the Navy in WWII and the Korean War, and my Uncles Bruce and Paul , who served our country during the Vietnam War. The spirit was so strong, and I felt so close to you, family!
We then went to a baptism...yeah. I know. The very first few hours I'm in this beautiful place, and I get to witness a baptism. It was in the Tongan ward, and I just fell in love with the people here. Bahhh! It was great. The rest of the day was training! Then yesterday, I met my companion, did more training, then we went tracting, got rejected by like a thousand people, and it was AWESOME! Haha. Two people listened to us, and accepted a pass along card, though. And THAT is what it's all about. Then we drove to my beautiful home for the next three months, in Laie, got myself oriented with the beautiful visitor's center....stared at the temple forever, pinching myself over and over again, and then got my muumuu at the VC director's (Elder and Sister McDonough). This mission is amazing, my Mission President is amazing, and I love it. There is SOOOOOOO much work to be done, though !! But I cannot wait. You all are so amazing...and I know I say this every time, but I can truly feel your prayers every day. I know that this is where I am supposed to be, and life has never felt so good and so right. This gospel is true!!! I know that. Heavenly Father loves His children so much, and wants us to be happy. Something I've truly felt is that even if I had nothing in the world, at least I would have this gospel. Seriously, that is all that matters. God will take care of the rest in the end, as long as we are willing to give everything we have to Him. The Hawaiian people have taught me that. They don't care about their homes, or what their car looks like....but, what is shameful, is not sharing everything you have with company and friends. I LOVE that....except for the fact that the average weight gain for this mission is 40 pounds, hahah. But hey, if that's what it takes to gain trust, I'm on the Lord's errand, not mine. So many times we get caught up in what we don't have. Instead, we should be asking ourselves, what do I have that I can give and share with others. I know that as we forget ourselves, forget our weaknesses, forget our accomplishments, everything, and focus on the well-being of our friends as well as our enemies, that we will feel soooooo much more love and joy than we could possibly imagine.