Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Discovering Lake Pupuke

One of our first explorations after we arrived was a walk to nearby Lake Pupuke (pronounced Poo-Pu-Kee).   

While it is almost the end of December, here that means full on summer, so there were several kids on the pier enjoying the chance to go for a swim.  The park around lake is truly lovely.   We were surprised not to find more people there.

There are lots of black swans and a strange looking bird we later  were told in known as a "swamp hen" or "pukeko" (many things have have both an English name and a Maori name here).

Photo by Stephen Streeter

Photo by Stephen Streeter

 We were walking around taking photos and enjoying the beauty of the place.  We saw a young Asian woman down by the water's edge and asked her if she would take a photo of us together.   (We have lots of pictures of each of us individually as we take turns taking one another's pictures during our travels, but not that many of the both of us, so this seemed like a good opportunity).   

We struck up a conversation with this young woman to learn more about her.  We learned she was from Korea. Her name is Song and she had only been in New Zealand for a couple weeks.  We explained that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She had never heard of the faith. From further conversation, it was clear that she had very limited knowledge about Jesus Christ. 

We spent the next several minutes talking to her about the gospel.  We told her about our assignment to help people learn about their family history and bore testimony about the importance of families.

Then we talked about our faith in Jesus Christ and showed her the website Mormon.org on her smart phone.  (It automatically came up in Korean so she was able to read it easily).  We had a wonderful conversation, culminating in us inviting her to come to church. I do not know if Song will choose to come or not. That's up to her and I will respect whatever choice she makes.  But either way, having this opportunity to spontaneously bear our testimony to someone we just met and to have it be received so positively was a great experience.

As we walked back to our apartment we met three young missionaries who are serving in the Chinese Branch.  We enjoyed talking with them for a few minutes to learn a bit about proselytizing here in New Zealand.

All in all it was a great day.  We still have so much to learn and I'm sure we will face our share of challenges.  Still, experiences like this are a great reminder of why we are here.  While our particular assignment may be family history,  as we were taught in the MTC, every missionary's primary role is to bring others to Christ.  I'm so grateful we got a chance to share that.

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