Elder Cowley is doing well. We seem to be getting along :) We are serving in a good ward - I think our area might be the envy of most of the mission (just below the Cook Islands and Nuie of course.) We have 3 companionships in the flat so six total. The Assistants, The Zone Leaders and District leader and his companion. It is a lot of fun - just until The Assistants find a new flat. The week has been good. My ankle seems good, just every once in a while during basketball it gets sore, nothing major. The Elders thought the title of your email, Mum, meant that you were like counting down the days until I got home, and then it had nothing to do with that. Still gave us a good laugh though! [The subject of Kelli's last email was "The End Is In Sight" which referred to finishing her masters degree] Sounds like the family is doing well. Thanks for the update on a little bit of the rest of the family. All the excitement seems to have passed and everyone is settling into normal life which is always good. Rizzy, Nora and Olive, I haven't met any of these kids - it makes me feel like I have been gone for ages. I was going to ask about the Debit card, thanks Mum and Dad. Congrats on almost finishing your Masters mum, I am not sure what a defense meeting is but good luck.
This week was hard and pretty good at the same time. Over the weekend we didn't have any appointments really at all. We were talking to people all day. That is one thing about this area that isn't as fun. We don't really visit members except for meal appointments because they are all busy and their families have other missionaries from their home wards visiting them so when we don't have set lessons, there is not too much to do. We persevered however and ended up having a good Sunday.
On Tuesday we had the unfortunate experience of spending a day with an Elder who was headed home early. It was interesting. He seemed like he was taking it really well but we spent time with him so he could have an interview at the area office in our mission. After that we took him to the chapel and let him email then we bought a phone card and he got to call home. We tried to give him privacy but President had asked us to specifically stay in the same room with him all day and to keep a close eye on him so we overheard some of the conversation. It was so sad. I've never felt so sad over the course of my whole mission. It made me grateful that I have been blessed with the health and strength to persevere on the mission. Going home feels like one of the worst things that could happen. We wished the Elder good luck and one of the other missionaries made him promise to always be a missionary and spread the gospel even when he was at home. It was a good/bad experience. He needed to go home but it was still just so sad to see him go. We dropped him off at the Mission Home at the same time we dropped another Elder who was finishing on time and getting released that day over Skype. I think that just made it harder for the early missionary. It was an experience that I never want to have again.
That evening really changed our week though. We were able to finally get into our area at about 6:00pm and then we talked to some people on the street had two good lessons on the street and we were able to meet one of our referrals at the Chapel in the city. Her name is Ihapera but goes by Pera for short. We had an amazing Restoration lesson with her and she agreed to be baptized on the 9th of April. It was a great ending to a hard day.
Again another week I am grateful to be serving in NZ, on my mission, with some good Elders.