Monday, October 27, 2014

The Worst and the Best

Holy goodness gracious everyone,

This week.. let me tell you! It was easily the WORST and BEST week so far of my whole mission! I know.. doesn't make sense.. but just wait!

So starting from the beginning... our recent convert P____'s daughter is crazy.. she's kinda gone astray if you know what I mean.. She has a partner who's like 23 and she's 16.. so we've never had the chance to teach them. But they were doing some drug thing in a shed last week with marijuana and 8 bottles of Butane. Long story short.. chemicals in the air burst into flames and exploded a huge thing of Propane on the ground and exploded the shed. 3 of them are covered in 3rd degree burns, and a couple faces pretty much ripped off. I feel terrible for P_____ though.. he's been in the hospital with his daughter ALL week. So that was a weird story! But it made the front page of the newspaper so it was kind of a big deal!

Next... The Samoan ward was having a feed on Thursday at the chapel after one of our meetings, and of course, they insisted that we share it with them. So we had to...  I had HEAPS of sausages and meat patties, and other crazy stuff. I freaking woke up at 1 in the morning with a massive stomach ache... Threw up all morning!! So there's the bad news.. here's the good. Elder Wangsgard gave me a blessing that i'd be okay before the baptism that night. Right after.. i fell asleep, woke up right before i needed to go and felt just fine!! I was able to confirm Kopo after the baptism and it went really well. After all that fun stuff, the sisters in our ward called asking if we would give an investigator a blessing. (This investigator was one who me and Elder Wangsgard worked with forever.  She hasn't progressed very much because she hasn't felt the Spirit, so we handed her over to the sisters)  We went over and I gave her a blessing. I didn't say anything too crazy I thought, but when it was finished, she was bawling!! She told us she NEVER cries. The sisters told us how the rest of their conversation went after we left.. and the spirit pretty much smacked her in the face!! She said that she knew it was true!! It was a great experience!! The priesthood is amazing!! 

I think i told you guys a little about D______- last time.. Forgive me if i didn't.. but he's a less active that hasn't been in years!! He has wanted to change his life around though so... he did. He has been searching the scriptures inside and out!! He is easily the coolest guy i've ever met. So we had a little lesson with him about the temple and invited him to church. It was amazing!! We thought he wasn't going to come because he never gave us a call.. but we walked in the chapel, and there he was.  (D____'s job is not really the best... doesn't go too well with the gospel.. so he talked to bishop and told him he was willing to give it up.) So during sacrament meeting.. a man came up to D_____ with a piece of paper with some job thing on it for him. The man said "I had a feeling I should put this in my pocket this morning, and I didn't know why, but now I do!!" It was unreal!! The blessings were just pouring out all over him!! He could see it, and so could we. He was so pumped.. he was giving me and Elder Wangsgard hugs and telling us he loved us and stuff and thanking us over and over for helping him come back!! One of the best feelings I've had. If that wasn't prepared.. i don't know what is. One of the coolest parts though.. was he went back and got all his money and gave it to bishop for his tithing!! He's making it to the temple soon!! I'm determined to get him there!!

So honestly... The beginning of the week was straight up terrible!! Satan was really trying to smash us before the baptism. I think he knew we were going to have some awesome experiences and he didn't want that to happen! But it turned out pretty awesome in the end. 

Oh.. just a random fact... The bakeries here... PHENOMENAL!! Holy cow.. Meat pies, Potato top pies.. my goodness!! 

One more.. the dogs here are hideous!! They're mean.. and nasty! But we went on an exchange to a nicer area.. and i saw a little Tia. (our dog)  My heart sank!! It was ridiculous. Here's a big 18 year old missionary.. almost in tears because he misses his little buddy;) oh well.. 

And I guess one more... So Kopo had a guitar sitting in his room!! They let me jam on it while we ate lunch.. It felt so good!! 

That's all... I love you guys a ton.. You're little missionary is killing it everyday in the good ol' NZ!! 

Elder Butler

Lakopo Scanlin's baptism.  They get to go to the Temple in 1 year if everything works as planned.. and i'll most likely be able to follow them there!! I'm so pumped.. Oh.. and we have our 5th baptism soon on Dec 13! Oh...and check out the big man Elder Wangsgard just looking fresh as, looking off into the distance. ;) 

I'm bummed this picture is jacked up.. But this is Jonny.. My buddy!! He loves missionaries.

The Crew!
The Indians know how to party!  "Diwali" festival last week.. This is a picture of the Sikh temple right before the fireworks:)

Newspaper of the bomb...

Monday, October 20, 2014

KFC, Cops & Robbers, Snail Fights...and a liiiiittle Spirituality! ;)

What's up my crazy family and friends from back home, :)

Here in NZ.. Life's been treating me pretty "smashing" (as Elder Cox would say) Here's a bunch of random stuff that happened this week!!

I was able to go on 2 exchanges the last couple i actually have some pictures. One with a Fijian (Elder Prasad), and the other with a Tongan (Elder To'a). Elder To'a's exchange was my favorite though. I was in his area over in Mountfort (by the bay). It's much nicer over there. So when we woke up we didn't have anything to eat.. so we went over to the Tongan elders flat to see what they had. They didn't have anything either so we all went to KFC. It was so sick.. Elder Butler and the rest of the Tongan elders in our zone.  I didn't bring any money.. But who cares.. The islanders know how to shove it down!  So I sat down and they put a plate in front of me and made me take HEAPS of food! They were speaking Tongan the whole time so I didn't understand much.. but what I did understand was "Elder....EAT!" So I didn't disobey! :) It was way fun!!

I have finally realized.. I am not in Farmington, Utah anymore. Let me tell ya why! So we were at the usual Friday night "cottage evening" with our ward at bishops house, when we see this guy running.  He ran right through our back yard! And about 25 yards behind him, two police cars were chasing him. The police cars ran into the fence and jumped out and started using their tasors and stuff and were running around all over the place... all in our back yard. It was hilarious though... The whole room changed from dead silent, listening to sister Fitzgibbon's testimony, to running to the back door and on the deck yelling, "Oh Yeah!! Get Him" ;) (poor sister Fitzgibbon)

We had a service project the other day at a member's house to pull all her weeds with all the other missionaries.  It was raining pretty good, so the snails were all out, traveling at their usual fast pace. Let's just say it started out as a service project. but ended up in a snail fight (every missionary for him/herself!!) It was a great time!! 

Oh man.. I saw/talked to the first American (besides other missionaries) that i've seen in 2 months!! It was crazy!! They're actually normal people!! His name was Tanner from Minnesota!

Since i'm a missionary.. I'll be a little spiritual with you guys!! I finished the Book of Mormon again! And after, i listened to Elder Holland's talk, "Safety for the Soul." His final testimony of the Book of Mormon is one of the greatest one's I have EVER heard! Before he starts smashing everyone he said, "No wicked man could write such a book as this... and no good man would write it unless it were true... and he was commanded of God to do so!!" And I'd like to say that my testimony stands with his!! That the Book of Mormon is not just some other book!! That there is No way that anyone would ever write such a thing unless it were true!! And over time...I've come to know for myself that it truly is the word of God!! 

I love you all.. The gospel is true! It changes lives!! I saw that the other day! My boy Dominick! He was a huge gang member fella who was heading down the wrong path when he completely flipped his life around. Now, he can't put his scriptures down.  He gets SO pumped when we talk about the Spirit... and his testimony is phenomenal!! There's a song we listen to here that says,  "mistakes of the past don't define you.. they refine you!"  And that was so true with him.. and with the gospel.. People can change!! It's unreal!! I love you all HEAPS!!


Elder Butler

Brother Haurua... He makes the best dang meals ever (you can probably see why)!! I thought i was going to throw up after we ate at his house the other day i ate so much!! I was seriously at the edge of my chair ready to run!! But ya.. He's way sick!! If you've ever seen "The Other Side of Heaven" He's in it.. He's from the Cook Islands.. he's about 5'10 and a good 400lbs! :)

**see next post for 3 more photos!

Elder Wangsgard was trying to get me ALL this week by hiding water balloons in my bed.. He didn't get me once.. I'm too dang smart!! So i thought i might give it a try... Totally got him!!! :)
Me and Elder To'a in his flat.

The Bay area by Elder To'a's flat! It's okay looking i guess. Nothing like the rest of NZ. But for Manurewa.. This is pretty nice:)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Seeing Miracles Through Hard Work

Kia Ora everyone!!

I hope you all had a wonderful week. I sure did.. If you were wondering;) 

First off... Mother... stop swearing on hikes! (that was a hilarious story though!) 

Second... Mother... I honestly haven't been able to take pictures because my area is ugly as!! You'll have to wait! I will take pictures!! The next transfer is in late November!! So pray for me:)

Next.. Me and Elder Wangsgard pretty much killed it this week! In the mission.. the average for "other lessons taught" is about 10-15 per week. So during weekly planning we decided to set an outrageous goal of 40 other lessons in a week!! We worked our butts off every single day!! Even with conference taking up like 10 hours of our time.. We still managed to get our 40th lesson only 1 hour before we were supposed to go inside on our last day!! It honestly was a miracle. When the Zone Leaders called for the weekly report and we told them our numbers... Elder Wark's reaction was to die for! (in his funny as Scottish accent) "What?!! You had 40 other lessons? How in the heck did you do that Elders?" It was so sick! 

But we definitely saw some miracles this week for working hard. My favorite though was a lady named Kylie... We passed her house on our bikes and her and her husband were sitting outside.  As we passed, Elder Wangsgard said, "I've tried them, they don't like us!" But since we had our goal, we had to go back and talk to them. As I started getting to know them and sharing the message of the restoration, I bore my testimony of how it could bless their lives, and they said we could come back. We went back a few days later to share the Restoration in more detail. But as we were talking, Kylie just started balling in the middle of our lesson.. We learned that her best friend was murdered the week before and she had a ton of questions. So we listened for a bit, and flipped our message to the Plan of Salvation! It was so awesome because the Gospel of Jesus Christ had every answer she was looking for. She committed to read the Book of Mormon and to pray and all that good stuff.. So it was solid as!!
Also.. We finally got a date for Lakopo's baptism.. He'll be baptized on the 24th of October, and he's just pumped as!  The cool thing about him is his wife is a member.. and they really want to be sealed.. and if i'm still here in NZ, I'll be able to follow them to the Temple and go through with them. So i hope that all goes down as planned!
Conference was amazing!! I went with only 2 questions that I needed answered. During President Uchtdorf's first talk on Saturday, I was writing some notes down on my paper when i got this crazy feeling to look up.  He then answered my question perfectly!! I felt the spirit for sure! It was amazing!! All the talks were very good. I also enjoyed when President Eyring said (in his awesome emotional voice) "He. knows. your. name!" That hit me also! It's an amazing thought that Heavenly Father knows me personally.. He knows me by name!! Very cool! 
Well that's all I've got this week... I have 1 transfer down.. but still stuck here in Manurewa. But it's been so great!
Oh.. One last thing.. it's kind of funny. So in our area, we have something we call the IC or Indian Central where literally every single house is Indian! It's way funny because when we talk to them we start off saying like.. how are you, and all that stuff.. but then we say "Oh, are you Indian?" They say yes.  "Man that's awesome.. are you from Fiji?" They say yes.  "Suva?" Yep... "Oh sweet...are you Hindu?"  Yes!  Then they're like, "Man... you pretty much know my whole life story!!" It's way funny because literally like 95% of the Indians are Hindus from Suva, Fiji, so you're almost always right.. and they get pretty pumped! :)
That's all!!


Elder Butler

Monday, October 6, 2014

From "Our Favorite Kiwi" :)

Hey there everyone,

It's your favorite Kiwi, Elder Butler. So there's not much to talk about this week. Nothing too crazy happened. But hey.. If i happen to repeat myself in my letters, you'll have to forgive me.. I have no idea what i sent the week before. :)
So my companion is the district leader.. which is perfect for me because we have to go on exchanges ALL THE TIME. (an exchange is where we switch companions for a day and learn from them and stuff like that) It's been awesome to get to know all the elders here. Usually when we go on an exchange i'm with somebody that's been there a while because i'm a new guy.. but this week was a little different. I was able to be the head guy for a few transfers... and i haven't even been out for 2 months yet. So honestly... when i heard that i was going to be with someone that hasn't even been out as long as me.. i was terrified. I'm usually the one learning from the older guys, but this time i was on my own! But lets be honest.. I definitely needed it. So i prayed my little heart out that i would be able to have a successful day. 

I can honestly tell you that i had so much help those 2 days i had transfers. In Alma 26:12 it says, "Yea, I know that i am nothing; as to my strength i am weak; therefore i will not boast of myself, but i will boast of my god, for in his strength i can do all things..." And that's what i'm doing right now! When i went out those 2 days, We almost had more lessons taught and more new investigators than the whole entire month before! It was unreal. And when Elder Wangsgard returned and asked how we did... I've never been so excited to tell him! his reaction was exactly how i pictured it was going to be;)

I just finished the book of Alma, and Helaman, and almost all of 3 Nephi.. I have really been feasting on the words as much as possible!! But as I came to the story of the 2000 Stripling Warriors, I couldn't help but think of my dear family. The fathers of these boys kept there covenants and led/taught them by example.. their mothers taught them to walk in the ways of righteousness. These stories reminded me perfectly of my parents. My dad who has taught me by his amazing example, and my mama who has worked her butt off the last 18 years to raise this little boy:) I love thinking about you guys! Everything about missionary life says, "leave everything at home behind." But in my eyes.. that's a bunch of rubbish!! thinking about my family in such a positive way is what keeps me going! I can see how it wouldn't be good for some..but for me, it's all good:)

So I just thought i'd let you know... We have a little ward FHE type thing every Friday. It's called cottage evening. I gave the lesson last week.. It was awesome. The ward loves me! they thought i was freaking hilarious! ;) So that's been a big help while having to work with the members!:)

Last cool story! Alma 63... It's about a man named Hagoth!! I bet you've heard his name.. he made ships and sailed on the west sea... Yeah.. Well Joseph F. Smith came out and said, "you brothers and sisters from New Zealand, I want you to know that you are the people of Hagoth!" and David O. McKay in the Hamilton Temple dedicatory prayer said, "We express gratitude that to these fertile islands thou didst guide descendants of Father Lehi, and hast enabled them to prosper." New Zealand is so sick.. These people are the real deal!! I love being the minority.. I may be in the ugliest part of all of New Zealand, but it's also where ALL the islands live! so it's been way sweet! 

Oh.. i actually have one more.. So Bro Harris (big Maori fella in our ward) made us dinner the other night.. it was so sick! So to start out, he made me and elder Wangsgard a homemade pizza. Then for the dinner itself, we had a whole chicken each, about 4 or 5 potatoes, vegetables of every kind, 5 rolls, and heaps of other stuff! It was ridiculous! I smashed it like it was my job!!

But yeah.. that's about it for the week!! I'm killin over here in the good ol' NZ! 

Elder Butler