Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just Transferred to Paradise

30 March 2009
Dear Family,

Today I am writing my email in a place called Paihia, which has the same feeling as Taupo, but is so much more beautiful. You should take a look on the web and see how pretty it is here. I have been transferred up to the Northland. I am very excited to be back up here with the Maori people.

We are staying kawakawa, a small town of about 1,000 people. We cover three units. Moerewa Ward, Marumaku Ward, and also Paihia branch. I really like the branches that I've served in. My new companion is Elder Stevenson-Haumono. His dad is Tongan, mom is Australian. He was baptized into the church only two and a half years ago. He has a very thick Australian accent. Whats funny is that he knows exactly where Santa Maria is and know his geography better than anyone i know. When we talk to people he is very capable of starting a conversation and getting the people that we meet to talk and open up. I've been able to do that a little better since I've been with him.

We didn't do too well on our goals this week, but we are going to pick up our teaching people by the way. The work is going well here, or so it seems, but i can already see the ward needs to be more involved with the work; it seems rather stagnant in some areas. But the Brethren have been implementing plans that will move missionary work more powerfully in the ward.

I will answer some of your questions that you posed in your emails. Last transfer i finished "Jesus the Christ". I absolutely enjoyed the book and it was enhanced because at the same time i was reading through the Gospels. I really like how the book ends. I didn't get a chance to teach that Spanish family from Colombia before i left, but i hope the other Elders will followup with their family.

Thank you for your supportive emails. I can be pretty rough on myself, but i just need to be more organized and set goals for myself. It sure is good to hear how the others are doing on their missions. I was a little surprised about Maria's actions. But i have felt that way sometimes and it takes a lot of patience and fortitude to stand still and not make things escalate. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Cashmore

(Here is an overview of the Bay of Islands in the area of Paihia that Ramona added from the Internet - WOW - that really is beautiful!!)

(Another beautiful waterfall in the Bay of Islands area!)

(One more of the Paihia area.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Walking in Their Shoes....

22 March 2009
Dear Family,

Thank you for your good emails. Thanks for answering my questions. The reason i asked about the refereeing was that i might be interested in doing a little bit of that after i return from my mission.

This week has been a very rough week with us not having as many lessons as we had planned. The majority of the planned lessons we had did not go through. It was quite upsetting. We finally had a lesson last night and it didn't go well either. It was a lesson with a family from Colombia, a mother with eight year old twin girls. They are really funny kids. She is quite a neat lady. It was quite awkward having everything you said translated and we both felt that we missed quite a few of the principles that were supposed to be taught. I guess i am upset because I've been a year + out and can't seem to teach with clarity or teach for understanding. This isn't what i expected and I'm pretty disheartened about it all.

Elder Tham is doing pretty good. He is good at analyzing our teaching and helps me keep going. He is very stalwart and loves to be bold.

I really enjoyed Sacrament meeting this week though. I really tried to find direction and peace and it came more powerfully than it normally does. Something i did prior to one of my studies this week was that i sang one of the Sacramental hymns and then had a good prayer and I really felt the Spirit more that study than i normally do. I somehow always feel like i need to play catch up with the many things i cant seem to get done. I wish i were more organized.

We were at our ward mission leader's home and as we were leaving yesterday i noticed all his different shoes and i asked where I could buy some new shoes. He didn't tell me where, but just gave me a pair! I don't know if i should have accepted them, but i did. They also gave us some canned food and other foodstuff. That is one of the greatest feelings of having someone give you something that is needed. I have never asked for anything, but usually make a comment, and then end up with an offer. For example, in my last area when i was with Elder Ta'ulelei, we had ran out of firewood and were relying upon oil heaters, but it was still really cold. We were at a members house and i joked that our flat was so cold that we should just turn off the fridge and save power! He then offered us a supply of firewood and Elder Ta'ulelei accepted. For the most part, the members really take care of the missionaries temporal needs the best ones are the ones that trust us enough with their friends and family to teach. I want to be that way and do those things for Elders when i get home. They give up a lot and it is much appreciated when they provide us with those basic necessities.

How are the others missionaries that are serving from our ward doing? I have not heard much about them or how they are going. Please update me.

I honestly cannot think of anything i need or want for my birthday. I don't have to worry about the shoes. Maybe a very unique but not distracting tie would be good. I've been thinking of getting a new watch, because the face of it is cracked almost from the top to the bottom. It has let in any water or anything. I don't even know how it cracked. I 'll probably just wait till i finish. I'm not allowed any knives or tools either. Well anyway, that isn't that important.

Have a fantastic week.

Love, Elder Cashmore

P.S. I can't believe how many people are getting married back home. Is there anyone else from my seminary class that is getting married soon or is already married?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All Pumped Up

15 March 2009
Dear Family,

Thank you for your wonderful emails. I am excited about how things seem to be running. Something that i heard recently that comes to mind is this : " There is no growth in the comfort zone".

We had an interesting Sunday...none of our investigators came to church. We know that at least one of them was sick. We went over and a gave a blessing to her and her daughter, Tennessee.

Last night we had dinner over at a Korean family's home and we had some authentic Korean food. We had Kimchi and some soup with noodles, onions, and sea weed. They only gave me chop sticks and i was able to use them quite effectively. Elder Tham misses using his own back home and he said its weird to eat noodles without them. Whenever i am with Koreans, i often recall Grandpa telling me about his stories when he served there during the Korean war. He said that he had learned a bit of their language, but that he couldn't remember much.

We also had interviews with President Porter this week. I have always enjoyed having interviews with both President Cook and President Porter. They are very different individuals, but i have already learned much from both of them. That reminds me; i wrote a letter to one of my companions and I've been expecting him to write back, but he hasn't. Anyway, President Porter says i am doing good, but he said that i am often too hard on myself.

With the blog, please change the picture that is in the top right corner with another one. I will need to send more. i am taking more pictures with Elder Tham. The batteries always seem to die quickly (the rechargeable ones). There have been several times past that I've wanted to take pictures but haven't been able to.

Just a question i had: mom, how much do you make @ your volleyball officiating?

Another question: how is Kyle doing with work and further schooling?

Also, what is Brother Hohaia's first name?

Something i am near to finishing is Jesus the Christ. I have less than ten pages left. If i stay on track, i will end up reading D+C, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Old Testament. I have read all of the standard works but the complete Old Testament, so that should be interesting.

As for food, we eat several nights (about four to five) with the members. We do make our own lunches the majority of the time. Elder Tham is definitely the cook in this companionship.

I love you all and continue to follow the counsel in Mosiah 18: 8+9

Love, Elder Cashmore

P.S. Those singles ward missionaries are setting quite a standard. I need to pick it up. More member missionary work, coming our way. Chau

Monday, March 9, 2009

8 Mar 2009

Dear Family,

It sounds like things are going well and you all staying busy. Right now i am in the Internet cafe in town, near the council building, which would be similar to the Santa Maria city hall. I don't have a time limit since we haven't gone back to that library. I don't like being pressured for time when it comes to reading and responding to emails.

This week went okay. We had some high goals set, and we were able to exceed some of them. We had a total of 16 lessons this week, which wasn't too bad. What was a little disappointing was my teaching this week wasn't too good. Elder Tham and I practiced teaching this morning so that we could refine the way we teach and remove any vocabulary that is hard to understand. I seem to do okay when it comes to writing emails because i can change what i right before i send it, but i really want to be more articulate and deliver the message more effectively, thus enabling the Spirit to testify to the individual of the truthfulness of the message.

We have one person set for baptism this month. She is set for the 21st. She had been doing alright. She kicked out her partner a week or so ago, and when we had a lesson @ the fellow-shipper's house, we went around to her house, and he was home. We were pretty bummed out. But when we talked to her about it later, she said that he got upset with her when he came back and she told him that she is going to keep the law of chastity. We will just have to continue to gauge promptings from the Spirit and be sure that she is being honest. We finally got some better fellowship involved on Sunday.

We had a pretty fun service project on Saturday. It took about 2 hours. This lady and her family from Colombia South America that we've been teaching wanted us to clear these bushes and shrubs in her backyard. She almost had a thief (ladron) enter her house because he was hiding amongst the trees and bushes and he couldn't be seen from the road. We decimated those bushes and filled their entire backyard with the cut limbs and bushes. We thinned it quite well and it looked quite good.

Well, keep doing your best. Camille, you seem to be pretty excited about going to BYU-I. You'll do great. I really have no idea what i am going to go into after i return. I'll need to do some fasting and praying about that. Maybe dad could send some options for me to look at as far as studies go. Its good that you are cleaning the garage and organizing the food supply.

Love you all. Take care.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Monday, March 2, 2009

1 Mar 2009

Dear Family,

This week went quite well. Had quite a few highs but also a couple of lows. We taught quite a few lessons this week, a total of 15 lessons (member presents lessons, other lessons, and less active and recent convert lessons). Actually, we also taught a part member family (the dad is quite anti) but the mom wants her 8 year old son to have the discussions, so we gave one of the them this week as well.

We also attended both ward council in both wards. It was a long Sunday partly because we got picked up at 7:20 for ward council, but also because we were fasting. We finally have ward mission plan in Rototuna ward, but they are still developing one in Chartwell ward.

We had 3 investigators attend church this Sunday. One of them, Rebecca Mika, is set for baptism. She is doing fairly well. She has come to church now three times.

Just a question for dad: did you ever baptize anyone on your mission that ended up becoming less active or moving away from the church, or doing things that disappointed you?

On Sunday, we also had a Proclaiming the Gospel committee. It went quite well, because we had a couple people in the committee that had recently returned from their missions. They were very helpful in bringing forth ideas that would help the ward promote missionary work. We came up with families having FHE where they invite a non-member individual or family. Also, they are planning a sport activity (rugby) in a month or two. Apparently, one out of every two non-member that participates in a FHE will get baptized. That sounds very good!

Its crazy that i will be turning 21 in a couple of months. Here in New Zealand they make a "key" for those that turn 21. It is usually made out of glass or carved wood, with a picture of the person on the key. They don't have things like that back home, do they?

I was a little disappointed that i didn't receive any other emails from you.

Take care and have a fantastic week.

Love, Elder Cashmore