Monday, August 31, 2009

Lows and Highs

31 August 2009
Dear Family,

This week has been a week of some lows but some great highs. I recall Sister Achiu or some other person that talked about missionary work saying that a sister that was serving mentioned the lows and the highs on her mission and how the highs helped them overcome the lows. I wholeheartedly agree that a mission is a form of marriage prep. Most problems that arise come not from the areas or the climate, but from the people we work alongside and for and from ourselves.

The greatest thing that happened was that Ainsley's baptism went very well. I had the opportunity to baptize her. She is quiet and calm but has a strong and growing testimony. She said in her testimony just after her baptism that the events that she has been through have this last year have prepared her for becoming a member of the church. It was good that she had most of the YSA from Mt. Albert present and her family, who at first were not all going to make it were there as well, and they really enjoyed it. Ainsley actually has family that are already members of the church up north, from the Busby family. Her mom is a Busby. She also wants to serve a mission. She just barely turned 21 so it will be a perfect time to do so. Chris McIntyre was able to go just after being a member for a year.

I think much of our success with conversions is that the members are being there before and after the first ordinances. I know it is vital that investigators have strong friends in the church, and hopefully before baptism. We have another sister in Balmoral ward that has been working very well with a neighbor and this neighbor and her daughter are getting baptised this coming month. We are being very blessed and so i must continue to be worthy and remain humble.

Last night we also had an amazing musical fireside and we had quite a few non-members there as well. I love music and i have been trying to play the piano more often on Prep days @ the chapel. I am going to have to play the piano more often when i get home. I am not able to devote as much time as i would like to practicing.

The tradeoffs went alright, but i have cancelled the other ones set for this week. The first one was great. I was with Elder Smith, who is from Hamilton, but was called to NZAM when he was in Aussie or Hawaii. He is a top guy and is dedicated to his work. I also had a tradeoff with Elder Malungahu, who is in the Tongan programme. He is also very dedicated and understands the importance of obedience. He was trained by Elder Lausi'i, who is my current companion.

I really do like the city. Parts of our area get quite close to the sky tower even though it is still far away. But its a spectacular scene at night. Certain parts of my body are missing the car, and i don't think I've lost any weight here...yet. They really feed us here. The members seem to get really upset when they don't or can't feed us regularly. We're trying to work on that one with our ward mission leader in Mt. Albert.

Our area is very diverse ethnically and religiously. We are teaching a muslim man, an Indian hindu (Eva), a Samoan family, a part Niuean family, some Maoris and this week we'll be teaching a family from the Congo that speaks french.

I believe you asked me about applying for schools for the Spring. I really do not know what degree i want to shoot for let alone what school i should go to. I wouldn't mind going to BYU Provo, but i don't know if i would qualify with the grades i have. I'm not too sure about the requirements. I am a bit lost as far as what to choose, since i would like to do several different things. But i guess i could pray about it.

Hey Blake. Say hi to Mr. Brickey for me. He was one of my favorite teachers in High School. Are you taking Spanish? When i get back, we'll have to learn it so we can speak in a different language. Remember the Jone's boys. They could speak to each other in German. Neat eh!

Will Camille be coming back from school for Thanksgiving? That is one holiday i really miss, besides Christmas with the family. I just realized i will home for Blake and Camille's birthdays.

Anyway. I love you all and i appreciate what you have done and what you do now for me. I really am aided by your thoughts and comments.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Enduring to the End

24 August 2009
Dear Family,

This week has been another interesting one. I have my new companion, who came up on Wednesday from Otara. He was a district leader down there in an all Tongan district. I don't know how long he will be in the area. He is pretty bummed about being in the English programme again. He may be here to just finish up this transfer with me. His name is Elder Lausi'i. He is also near finishing. He was with Elder Stephenson in Pukekohe before i arrived there.

Elder or Riley Stephenson is apparently at BYU provo playing football. I have been a bit concerned for him because he was sent home last year early and I wrote a letter to see how he was doing and he didn't reply. Sorry i never mentioned that, but it was quite a shock for me. But I've heard he is doing well.

We had interviews this week. I can't believe this was my second to last interview. President Porter had some reassuring words for me. I really love him and respect him and his counsel. He really doesn't mince words in Zone Conferences or interviews. In interviews while i was in Hamilton, he had us come in and within a minute asked each missionary "Are you clean?". He has done very well at raising a standard and putting the missionaries to it.

On Saturday, we had an investigator, Ainsley Marsh, interviewed for baptism by one of our zone leaders, Elder Nelson. She is so prepared. He said that in her interview, she talked about repentance and the Atonement and her experiences with repenting. She was found by friend inviting her to church and when she came she felt the Spirit and came up to the missionaries and asked to be taught. She is having her family come down from Whangarei. Hopefully this will be a great missionary tool for her family in the future.

We had a neat experience with finding and teaching a potential investigator. When Elder Hunter was here, we were heading back to our flat one night when i stopped to talk to some Indians that are YSA age. We got thier names and phone numbers and were able to set up a lesson within the next couple of days with one of them, her name being Ewa. She had to cancel on the day of the lesson, but it was my first suprise that she called us to reschedule. We set up another lesson and finally had one the day of our interviews. She brought a friend with her and we also had a member there as well. We were desperately needing to find new investigators this week and we did. Hopefully we can get one of our Fijian-Indian recent converts to fellowship her this week.

My district leader responsibilities can be overwhelming, but the Lord is supporting me and i know that i am being blessed despite the trials i am currently going through. Tonight i am conducting my first tradeoff. I am a bit nervous, but am looking forward to be able to work alongside the missionaries in my district. We've got some great missionaries in our district.

My departure date seems so close but with some of my challlenges it still feels like ages. I am doing my best to work all day every day. I suppose that happens when i am on assignment from President Porter, as i have been for the last transfer or so.

I love you all very much. I hope I will finish strong and that i will be able to share my experiences with the ward filled with the Spirit and that it will be an edifying experience.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Troubles Are His Concerns

17 August 2009
Dear Family,

This week has been a really testing one, but as my zone leaders have said, it is the way one develops into an effective leader. Right now i am with the zone leaders. My companion, Elder Hunter, was sent home on a medical release. He was struggling with some things and that is all i will say at the moment. I may explain in the future. So any way, i have been with the zone leaders since Friday evening.

We had a fairly good week with lessons and preping people for baptism. We have two coming up very soon. Ainsley Marsh and Sarah Carrington are currently set for the 29th of this month. We also have a Musical Fireside planned for the 30th, which will be a good way to finish off two baptisms and confirmations for that weekend. This area has a lot of potential.

I forgot to answer one of your questions in regards to Elder Love. He is actually be trained by Elder Fawson in Tauranga. If you recall, I trained Elder Fawson in Tokoroa. He is now a zone leader in Tauranga. I believe Elder Love is from Orange County. I briefly met him @ transfers.

I will be getting a new companion on Wednesday. He is a Samoan missionary who has been out about a year...nearly. I served around him in one of my previous areas. I am looking forward to having him as my companion and me being his comp.

Thanks Mom for getting the registration of my classes nearly completed. I hope everything works out as far as paying for the classes. I really don't want to be home a week early if i won't be able to go to school this semester. But it should all work out.

I have had a couple neat experiences this week, mainly with prayer. I have been praying a lot more fervently and more sincerely. I have noticed that i sometimes get into a pattern where i quickly rush through praying. But it is such a wonderful experience when i really pray and feel a sense that Heavenly Father is closely listening and that my troubles are his concerns. The few weeks that i was with Elder Hunter were a definite strain in different ways, but I did learn a lot and now i am learning a lot about Gospel leadership from my Zone leaders, Elder Davenport and Elder Nelson. They are great missionaries.

By the way Stacey, Elder Davenport had a sister named Amy that was @ BYU-I last year. She is nearly 25. I'm not sure if you knew her or not.

It was good to have Sarah come to church this Sunday, because she hasn't been able to the last couple of Sundays. She is working on some Word of Wisdom challenges, but she is improving.

Being a district leader is enjoyable but a bit strenuous as well. I love being in a calling where i can be of greater service. I look forward to serving more effectively in callings after i complete my mission.

As for the speaking assignment, I would like to speak on the talk by Elder Kevin Pearson. I really enjoyed it and it is probably based much upon the lectures on faith by Joseph Smith.

I was surprised that you got the pictures so quickly. I cant recall which ones i sent.

Well, i gotta get going. I love you all so very much.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ooops! Forgot to Mention the District Leader Thing

10 August 2009
Dear Whanau,

Its so good to hear from you. Sorry i didn't tell you about my assignment as a district leader. But i didn't realize that President Porter would send a letter about me being called.

As for the pictures, i will send them today. I printed them out in my last area. I don't know how to put them on CD. I suppose the Warehouse (similar to Walmart) could have done it. But i still keep the pictures that I've taken, so i will try another time to put them on CD. But the ones i have i will send off.

This week is Zone Conference, which i am looking forward to. I can't believe this is my second to last Zone Conference. I wasn't wanting to let anyone know when i finish, but its hard when companion from the same out-take let other missionaries know when i finish. Yesterday, i had a good chat with President Porter. He is such an awesome leader. I really do love both my mission presidents. Both have great qualities of leaders.

My first District meeting went well. I was a bit nervous before i got down to the city, but being here it is quite nice. I think i realized long before i became a District leader that i would make mistakes, like forgetting to call the missionaries in my district every day and knowing how to encourage, persaude and lift them.

As for my classes, these are the main classes i want to take:
-Speech 101 (Ticket #3586)and-Political Science 103
-American Govt (Ticket #3577)and
-WLD T 399 Basic Blacksmithing (Ticket #3766) I would like this class as well.

If the classes up above don't go through then these will do:
-Engl 103 Critical Thnkng + Compstn (Ticket #3619)and
-H ED 100 Health and Wellness (Ticket#3665)

Well, I hope all goes well. I don't have my transcripts with me. I hope you can register it for me on WEBREG. If you need some more information, i suppose you could call President Porter. But not unless you really need something.

Gotta go.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Transferred to the Big City of Auckland....Finally

3 August 2009
Dear Family,

I am in Mt. Roskill Auckland! I didn't think I would be sent down here so soon. My companion is Elder Hunter. He has been out about a year and a half, so a little less than me. He's been here for at least two transfers. We cover two wards, Mt. Roskill (18th ward) and Balmoral wards. I am on a bike again and there are heaps of hills. Most of the mountains around Auckland are inactive volcanoes? They have a lot of islander members here as well, which is always good. They always love the faifekau(tongan); or faifeau in samoan.

Elder Kelemete is still up in Kawakawa. His new companion is Elder Reese, who is finishing this transfer. Hopefully he may get his visa soon. He's been waiting for nearly a year. Their mission recently had a new mission president called, but the former mission president can't leave until the new one receives his visa. Elder Kelemete is an awesome missionary.

I got a chance to talk to President Porter on Tuesday morning about the schooling and he said to talk to one of the office ladies. I then got a call i think on Friday from Sister Sheperd and told her about the schooling. I didn't realize that they would give me two flights. If i knew that, i would have told them to include Santa Maria in the itinerary. They should be able to fix it.

We have been able to meet with some of our members and also some of our investigators. We have one baptism coming this Saturday, and hopefully two more later this month. There are two other companionships in our district, Chinese missionaries and Tongan missionaries. It should be a tight district.

We had a short lesson on Sunday with a part member couple. The previous missionaries have been working on them to help them get married. They told us they just recently got engaged. Their names are Stan and Joey(Josephine?).

As for the schooling, right now i would prefer going to Allan Hancock during the winter, so that i may transition. I don't know if BYU has any fast track classes. I will have to ask President Porter if i can check those school websites on Prep day. I have selected some classes that would interest me and go towads gen ed.

It sure is wierd being in Auckland for the first time, but its quite nice. We can see the sky tower quite well from any part of our area.

It is quite cold right now, so i hope it starts to heat up a bit.

Take care and i wish you all a good week.

Love, Elder Cashmore

Moving the Work Along - Olivia and Her Son Were Baptized

27 July 2009
Dear Family,

It was amazing that i received a letter from each of you. Its amazing that Camille is already finished with her semester.

To answer Mom's question about the ATM card, i got it. I'm glad i got it this week just because i was getting a bit worried about it.

As far as going to BYU, I would like to go, but im not sure if they have good engineering programs. BYU-I does, but its only for mechanical engineering. What Im going to do is just take general ed classes that would best fulfill CSU and IGETC requirements. Then when i get back i can start talking with the counselors to see where i can go and also do some shadowing.

Some of the classes that interest me are internet classes. Also, if i am going to take classes in the second term, i will probably have to leave the mission field a few days earlier than the scheduled day. I was talking to our zone leader who is also leaving from his mission early and he said i should that i should talk to President Porter ASAP. So I'll have to do that. What I'm thinking of doing is taking a few classes that are on the same days, so that on the free days I can either find work or do shadowing. I will need to earn some extra money. But enough of school.

We had Olivia Owen and her son Simon get baptized this Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. She is a very awesome recent convert. I had the privelege of baptizing her and confirming her, and Elder Kelemete baptized and confirmed Simon. That was my second confirmation that I've done and i felt it went well.

We had quite a good ward council on Sunday. They seem to be getting better at them here in Moerewa. They are focusing on things like getting the adults and youth to the temple and activities that can unite the ward members. One thing i realized is that every meeting should be centered around people, not activities. You tailor the activities to the people, not the people to the activities.

Dad, does the ward use the Progress Record in meetings such as PEC or Ward Council? Just thought i might ask.

Transfers is this Thursday. I don't know if i am staying or going. President Porter said in last interviews that i probably wouldn't stay up north too much longer. But Elder Kelemete is waiting for his visa to go to Papua New Guinea, and i dont think that they would put a new missionary in the area when he could recieve his assignment to report to PNG. So we shall have to wait and see. I would still like to stay up, but if i eventually get transferred, i would like to be there for more than one transfer, not just one. Que sera sera.

I love you all. Take care.

Love, Elder Cashmore