The first exchange I went into Papakura 1st area with Sister Newton, and we had an amazing time, she is from Dunedin, NZ. She told me that there was a referral that they have tried 5 times to contact, and she was "never home", so they dropped her, but she really felt like we needed to try again. We decided to follow that prompting, and we went to the house and her daughter said, "Mum is staying at Model Lodge in room 1, go visit there." We were pretty sure the daughter was lying, but why not try it anyways.. haha we walked to this dodgy motel, and knocked on room 1, this lady opened the door barely, and said hold on, she then shut the door, took a second and opened it, and said, "Come in sisters". We were shocked that she knew who we were and that she invited us in. It turns out that her sister is a member in the Auckland mission area and that she has been going with her sister. She told us the reason why she is at a motel is because her neighbors are in the black power gang, and they hid their guns in her backyard and she turned them in, but now she is the target that they are after. She told us with a smile on her face that they had literally stolen every LAST thing out of her house, they kicked her door in, even took her very last utensil, YET she had a smile on her face as she explained the new person she had become as she started learning more about Jesus Christ. She told us of her desire to be baptized, and to truly live a higher and better life. She was so kind, she taught me to appreciate all that I have, really she has nothing, but a testimony of Jesus Christ. She was a beautiful woman.
Karipwa and Teera didn't come to church on Sunday, and we were quite sad. We decided to go visit someone after church, and it just didnt' feel right, we felt to go and see Karipwa. We drove to his home and out on his porch he sat with about 20+ beer cans around him and smokes in his hand, he was holding his head and he looked so sad. He then told us, "Sisters, I am trying so hard to change, but I feel the harder I try, the more temptation comes." It was amazing to us that Heavenly Father led us to him, knowing the he needed help. He then told us how he was sure Heavenly Father didn't love him anymore, and we sat there and testified from the bottom of our hearts to this completely drunk man, that Heavenly Father did indeed love him, and that we were guided to help him this day. The thought that came to Sister Ticong and I was to read Alma 42:1&29
1 And now, my son[Karipwa], I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand..
29 And now, my son[Karipwa], I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
As he read these words aloud the spirit testified to each of us that indeed the Lord does love him, that this is EXACTLY where we needed to be, and we were all sinners, though we sin differently to him I am no better than Karipwa, and to him, we are all equal. It was such a privilege, I truly felt like I was talking to my brother. I know that Heavenly Father really does love you, no matter what you are going through, I know he is aware of you. STRIVE to be your best, and that is enough for him.
Sister Maddie DeLoach