I’m Normal, I Promise

I am trying really hard to think of something really interesting that happened this week, but I’m coming up blank. Missionary work is interesting though, right? Maybe the fact that I’ve started dreaming solely about being a missionary.

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The closest we are allowed to get to the beach.

I’m normal, promise.

I’m falling in love with the members here. There are so many that mean so much to me. Sister Nillson came up to me yesterday after relief society & said, “You could never tell that you’re new here. I don’t know what you did to prepare yourself, but you do not seem like a new missionary. I wish your mom could see you here conducting the music, she would be so proud of you.” That was such a tender mercy. Some days (most days) I feel as if I have no idea what I’m doing here & I’m just bobbing around in the tide. So the fact that nobody’s noticing that made me really happy!

These little girls wouldn't let us give our lesson in the park unless we took selfies with them. Not sad about it.

These little girls wouldn’t let us give our lesson in the park unless
we took selfies with them. Not sad about it.

Speaking of relief society, yesterday’s lesson was the greatest thing ever. It was all about rescuing those who are lost. In the General Conference talk, given last October, called Rescue in Unity, it talks about the paraplegic man who was entered in through the roof where Jesus was going to heal him. Elder Wong goes to say,

“Do we know anyone in our life who is afflicted with spiritual palsy, someone who just cannot come back to the Church by himself or herself? He or she could be one of our children, one of our parents, a spouse, or a friend…

“In conclusion, may I share with you one more hidden treasure found in his scripture account. It is in verse 5: “When Jesus saw their faith” (emphasis added). I had not noticed this in the past–their faith. Our combined faith will also affect the well-being of others.

“Who were those people that Jesus mentioned? They could well include the four who carried the man with palsy, the man himself, the people who had prayed for him, and all those who were there listening to the preaching of Jesus and cheering quietly in their hearts for the soon-to-come miracle. They could also include a spouse, a parent, a son or a daughter, a missionary, a quorum president, a Relief Society president, a bishop, and a faraway friend. We can all help one another. We should always be anxiously engaged in seeking to rescue those in need.

“I testify that Jesus Christ is a God of miracles. Jesus Christ loves us all and has the power to save and heal, both physically and spiritually. When we assist Him in His mission of saving souls, we too will be rescued in the process….”

I have a bigger testimony now than ever before of visiting and home teaching. So often do we go visit less active members that say, “You know, I normally don’t let the missionaries in. But for the past couple of months my visiting teacher has been leaving sticky notes and cookies at my door, & today I figured that today might as well be the day that I let someone in.”

I just want to kiss those visiting teachers!!!! By simply doing their assignment every month, & NOT giving up, even though the teacher is never responsive, they are softening their heart. They’re helping them feel the spirit. They are showing them that they Are. Not. Alone. So many times these people are afraid to come back to church because they don’t want to be alone or feel like everyone’s looking at them wondering why they are there. Think of how much easier it would be for them to come back if they knew they had their visiting teacher to sit with! This is such an inspired program. What a blessing it is that we can & should all be a part of it.

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We saw a (clean) homeless fellow named Jonathan at Wendy’s this week & invited him to church. He showed up on Sunday & loved it. We were able to teach him the restoration after church & help him recognize what the spirit feels like. It is breathtaking to watch someone realize for the first time In their life what getting divine help feels like.

We have a lot of lessons lined up this week that we’re really excited for.

I feel all of your prayers & I hope you feel mine.

Sister Aure

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Investi-“gators”‏

We started biking this week!

We started biking this week!

Let me break this down for you.

So you know how when you’re on a mission you’re supposed to find people to teach, then teach them, sometimes stop teaching them, then maybe if your lucky, baptize them? Cool. Great. We’re on the same page then. Now let me give you a peek into our teaching pool right now.

Natalie: decided she was too sick to progress or to take the lessons & is still living with her boyfriend. She then told us that she’ll get back to us when she’s ready.

Monica: rejected our invitation to baptism, but still wants to be friends….

Miss Chris: cancelled her baptism, but still wants us to come over every once in awhile to nag on her about her prescription pill addiction & bake cookies.

Jean: she’s been on baptism date for 6 months. Not only does she have sores on her legs that will never heal, but now she has the flu & bronchitis, so that’s going really well.

Stacey: accepted baptism on the first lesson, then ran away screaming when her friends told her what Mormonism “really” is.

Russell “Angel”: when we invited him to be baptized, he thought Sister Pasko (who’s name he thinks is Sister Aure) was asking him on a date for six months from now, which he was really excited about. Also, he’s homeless.

The Battell Family: doesn’t want to get married & doesn’t want to separate, but also wants to get baptized. But they did just buy a new townhouse to move into together, so good for them?

OUR TWO TOP PROGRESSING INVESTIGATORS Eli & Michael: they’re taking lessons for business reasons only and
our member present is their boss.

So in other words, Heavenly Father is keeping things eternally entertaining for us; we’re so lucky to be here.

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Elder Anderson from the Quorum of the 12 apostles came and spoke to the whole mission this week which was incredible. I’ve been able to see 3 apostles speak in the past 2 months! I’m so blessed. Elder Anderson talked A lot about faith & how anything in this life is truest possible if we are willing to work hard enough for it & have faith enough for miracles. What an incredible message to hear from a consecrated servant of God…especially as a missionary!

Last Sunday sister Pasko gave a talk on hope & equated it to a yellow balloon. A nice lady we’ve been working with since we got here liked it so much that she went out & bought us yellow balloons! The next day, after all of our appointments had fallen through & knocking on doors was more than unsuccessful, we went to target with our yellow balloon & started asking people in the parking lot what it made them think of. Some of the answers we got were, “sunshine, carnivals, fog, my kids” and we were able to relate all of their answers back to the gospel. It was so fun & such a great way to get to know people’s real feelings fairly quickly.

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I also gave my first training in District Meeting! It was on the Preach My Gospel Topic “Talking to Everyone” I think it went really well & the Zone Leaders called the next day to tell me that they thought it did as well.

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There are 2 older, single ladies, Sister Nillson & Sister Jump, in our ward that took us out for lunch this week! They are the sweetest women & avid sharks teeth collectors. One of them, Sister Nillson, divorced at the age of 53 and then served two, full proselyting missions. One in Chile, & one in South Africa. How amazing! I can’t imagine doing what I’m doing right now at that age. What a woman.

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The most important thing that happened this week, however, was a conversation we had with a young black man while we were walking down the street.

S. Aure: “…well that sounds great! My name is S. Aure, what’s yours?” Y.B.M. “Daquan. Spelled D-E-Q-U-N-N. It was sposta be an A, but my mama…I don’t even know.”

That was my week, friends. I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be & I know that if we let Him, the Savior will lead us to the exact path we are supposed to be on. We must have the faith & desire to do tough things, in order to receive those higher blessings that are waiting for each & every single one of us.

My favorite Sis. Blatter

My favorite Sis. Blatter

Love y’all.

Sister Aure

P.S. It’s been 6 weeks in Florida already, can you believe it? We got
the news last night that Sister Pasko & I will be here in JAX Beaches
for at least another 6!

Snow & Sickness‏

No. Luckily this time it’s not me that’s sick. But it is every single person that we’ve been working with/trying to get to come to church. Most people ended up in the hospital this weekend actually. Satan, amiright? So, yeah! It snowed this week too. Did I really ever leave Utah? I prayed that it wouldn’t snow before I left the empty sea (and it didn’t) & I get all the way to Florida & THEN IT SNOWS, OKAY GOD, VERY FUNNY. & by snow, I really just mean slush that turned into rain as it hit the ground. Wtvr, #PVBFL (ponte vedra beach Florida, for future references. I can promise you that this is not the birth & death of that hashtag)

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Last Monday we went out on a double date with some other sisters on our district. That was really fun. We ate too much pizza & tried on clothes that none of us could afford. Ya know. Girl stuffs.

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The investigator that I told you about last week, the one with the boyfriend, got deathly ill & wasn’t able to move out when she was supposed to. & also the old lady that she was a caretaker for died and/or moved to a permanent hospice home….so now she doesn’t have a job. Satan really hits you hard when you’re finally trying to change your life. She set a baptismal date for Easter & everything. We’re going to do everything in our power to get her there. The rest is up to her & the lord. She has incredible faith, though. She asked the elders for a blessing of healing & she said that it made a world of difference. I like her a lot.

Remember the (28year old) investigator I told y’all about that had my Book of Mormon? Well we went by to grab it & also talk with him, but he wasn’t home! However….his mother was. & she was doing his laundry. & she was cleaning his apartment. ….so we taught her a lesson instead. I hope he’s embarrassed when he finds out that we know who does his housekeeping

We also met a crazy elect family. They have 3 kids & accept & love & have so many questions about everything & they want to get baptized. Miracles in JAX Beaches, my friends.

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One of our investigators asked us to come to his church if he came to ours. On Sunday he came to church so we met him at his later that day. It was one of those mega churches. They had a rock band play for the first hour (which was fun and it made me realize how much I miss real music, but it definitely didn’t feel like a sacred church service) and then we learned about Moses and the burning bush for the last half hour. It was strange to see a church that was more like a paid job for so many people.

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There were so many other miracles but those are the ones that really stuck out to me this week.

Also! I got an iPad! Which means that I get to read your emails as they come in all week long, which is really nice.

Pray for these people out her in JAX Beaches. They’re just the best people in the whole world & they need it way more than I do.

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Oh, also, next week is transfers, which means p-day will be on Tuesday instead of Monday! Sorry, y’all gotta wait an extra day to hear from meFace throwing a kiss

Love from the east coast,

Sister Aure

WHAT YEAR IS IT!?‏

10 celestial points for you if you got that movie reference.

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This is what our weekly schedule looks like. So much planning! look at all those backups.

This week was fun. I think we finally have an idea of what the heck is going on in this area & what it is exactly that we’re supposed to be doing & how to kind of pretend to know how to do it.

I don’t know why, but I’ve become obsessed with people’s dogs & other various animals since being here. We went to a dog park & we picked up a new investigator! He also currently has my personal Book of Mormon (because I’m a terrible missionary & didn’t bring one with us to our first appointment with him) so hopefully he wants to meet with us again so I can get it back…. I’ve also learned that if you are crazy nice to old, single people’s dogs, & talk to their dogs & just love them & pet them, you will melt their old, single owner’s hearts. So that’s been my door approach, lately. Heavenly Father has been blessing me with being able to remember the names of all dog breeds that I learned while reading the Dog Encyclopedia my parents got me when I was 10 years old. Sooo…..Yup. This is what being a missionary is like. Super cool. When I go home, the only way I’ll be able to prove to people that my mission blessed my life is by being able to tell them the differences between an Irish Setter & a Brittney.

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LOOK AT THESE CUTE BIRDS

Its fine.

I’ll take what I can get.

We’ve been working with a lot of less active people lately & just trying to visit every single person in the ward, which has resulted in a lot of delicious dinners. I’m all about that food.

There’s this “mission famous” couple that happens to be in our ward. 8 years ago, they both served their mission in the Jax Florida Mission. She got here like…6 months before he did, but they both started in the same area (JAX Beaches, represent, what what).  At one point he was her District Leader, but that’s basically all the contact they had with each other their entire missions. THEN 6 years after they’re both home, they met up with each other & started dating & were married six months later. They’re the best people in the world & just love the missionaries so much. Sister Jeffries comes out with us a lot & still is so great at teaching & preaching the gospel. I still want to have the spirit of missionary work in me like that 8 years from now.

There’s been some drama with someone we’ve been working with since we got here, that I won’t go into. She was on date for baptism in February, but we don’t really think that’s going to happen anymore. Which is a bummer. We have this other incredible investigator. She has been investigating the church for about a year and a half. She’s gone though so much in her life and for a long time, the reason she couldn’t get baptized was because she had a really bad prescription pain pill addiction. She got rid of that and now the thing that is stopping her from baptism is her abusive boyfriend (that she’s had for 12 years). She recently found out that he is married. She’s been living with him for that long (which you can’t do when you want to get baptized), but he never let her have a job or a car, so she had no way to save up money to get her own apartment. She’s finally had enough and is ready to make the decision to have faith in god and just get out. She is going to try to go to a women’s shelter, but they are really hard to get into & have a really long waiting list. we pray for her so many times a day. Because she has been taught all the lessons a thousand times already, we mostly just encourage her and help her set goals and remind her about how important her progress is.

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It’s been like….70-80 degrees all week which has been great. Today is a little chillier. We have a training meeting at headquarters this Friday, so I am excited to see all of my MTC friends again.

That’s pretty much my life.

Catch ya on the flip side. I love every single email that I get every single week.

We in the south! look at all those clotheslines.

We in the south! look at all those clotheslines.

Sister MissionAure