“Fly With Me, Cry With Me, Die With Me”-Alexander Lynn (on being a friend)‏

Oh my gooooodneeeeeeessssss.

Guys, it’s super hot here. And it’s not really even that hot. Heavenly Father knows and loves me so perfectly because he only sent me to one Florida summer. Totally worth missing two Christmases.

We weeded and almost died due to heat, but then didn't die because someone gave us vitamin waters

We weeded and almost died due to heat, but then didn’t die because someone gave us vitamin waters

This week has been a week of tender mercies. Small glimpses into the eternities of what’s important and what’s not and how short our time is & how we can best utilize it.

Family Home Evening with Noel went AMAZING. He wholeheartedly accepted baptism & is so excited to start including his family and getting them excited about the gospel. He also told us that he has requested every Monday night off of work from now on (: We went fishing with Chris Hunt’s grandson again along with some youths in our ward. We STILL didn’t catch anything, but it was really fun. And pretty. I do love the outdoors.

Where we went fishing again

                          Where we went fishing again

In Wednesday our bishop texted us saying, “I see that Noel has a baptism date. Can he meet with me tonight at the church?” Which is so crazy cool! Cause he just came to church once…! During stake conference the other week, one of the revelations I received about missionary work was about how truly important the members of ward council are in helping our investigators become truly converted to the gospel. Last Sunday at ward council I bore strong testimony to them about how important they each are to the success of our investigators. I told them that they needed to be setting a strong example for the rest of the ward on fellowshipping and helping Christ’s lost sheep come unto them. I then asked who would have Noel over for FHE the next night and waited silently until someone volunteered. Let me tell you…..it has been AMAZING to see how true all those words were. We have had more lessons with Noel & ward council members in the past two weeks then I’ve had with any other gators in the past 6 months. And the progress Noel is making is astounding. Just two and a half weeks ago he was trying to get us to go away & stop bothering him….and now he is researching the church on his own and deciding to live the word of wisdom before we even teach him about it!! Ugh. So cool. God really gives us the tools and knowledge that we need exactly when we need it. We had a lesson with him after church on Sunday that the High Priest Group Leader attended. This morning we woke up to the nicest email from him. My favorite part was,

“…it was such a blessing to be a part of Noel’s lesson after church.  …..you are doing amazing work.  You have done exceptional service in our ward in strengthening the less active members – it’s just amamzing – I’m telling you that I have never seen this kind of success in visiting with less active members… and I’ve been in ward councils for 20 years ( I don’t feel like I’m that old?)….. Great service Sisters – you are a real key in increasing the spirituality of our ward!”

It was such a blessing to receive that emai! I want to live my whole mission and life being a blessing, not a burden to the wards I serve in. It is such an amazing experience to be a part of helping wards strengthen and grow. How grateful I am for the help we receive from the Lord as we do these things!!

Today we have FHE with Noel again at the Smith’s house! We went biking with them through Guana Preserve today! It was so fun. I’ve really come to love that family. How could you not after having a weekly meeting at their house every week for six months?! It was super fun and we found a ditch with a bunch of blue crabs in them!! So, we did what any normal Floridian would do and fastened a spear, took off our shoes and socks, and caught ourself some crabs! They are going to make crab cakes for tonight for FHE.

Smiths!! Our ward mission leader and his awesome wife

Smiths!! Our ward mission leader and his awesome wife

Me and my favourite blonde babies in the swamp.

                       Me and my favorite blonde babies in the swamp.

We went biking in Guana Preserve today for P day!

We went biking in Guana Preserve today for P day!

Don't be jealous, but I caught this blue crab with my hands.

Don’t be jealous, but I caught this blue crab with my hands.

Then I stabbed one!

                                Then I stabbed one!

I have a testimony that God loves us today and tomorrow. That love never changes. If you aren’t feeling that love, pray a little harder, search your scriptures faster, and ask for more help through priesthood blessings. God knows you & He knows me. He knows your potential & wants to help you reach it. My invitation to you this week is to ask Him how you can become more like the person He wants you to be….and don’t stop asking until he answers you.

Heel click!

                                           Heel click!

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JAX Beach is boss!

                                                     JAX Beach is boss!

So much love is coming at chyou from Florida right now. So much love.

Forida, Baby!

                           Forida, Baby!

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Gator Tail!

Gator Tail!

Sister Aure

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Stop seeking out the storms of life, and enjoy more fully the sunlight

Because, ya know.

Because, ya know.

Shortly after I emailed you last Monday, we got in car with Laura & Noel & went to Family Home Evening at the mission home home! We’d been struggling with getting Noel to come to church. He had been to an LDS church before a couple years ago, but it was during the General Conference broadcast so he didn’t love it. SO. we get to FHE & President Craig is teaching keeping the sabbath day holy through church attendance! It was amazing that Noel came (he didn’t text us back until 15 minutes before we were supposed to leave.) and that the lesson was exactly on what he needed. He had a great time and we all hung out and laughed and ate treats afterwords

And he came to church yesterday!!! He loved it!!! The talks were amazing!! My favorite Laura & my favorite Brother Simmons both gave PHENOMENAL talks. Sunday school just happened to be about the restored church. The Jefferies had a lesson with us after church and Noel said, “I have felt the spirit here….I really feel like it’s all true. It’s like my church, which I love….but more. It’s like….more true.” He said a prayer at the end of the lesson where he asked Heavenly Father to help him feel that it was true. It was amazing. We’re going to FHE with him tonight at some members home to teach him about the plan of salvation!

Somewhere in the midst of all of that, Sister J invited us over to the Smith’s home for dinner. They are also the best (have you got the clue yet that everyone here is?). They just so happened to be having STEAK…..and they ALSO HAPPENED TO INVITE LAURA, THE LAYS, AND THEIR NON MEMBER NEIGHBORS OVER.

These members in our ward have this giant luv sack covered in giant teddy bears and we were the most comfortable we'd been in months.

These members in our ward have this giant luv sack covered in giant teddy bears and we were the most comfortable we’d been in months.

WHAT WAS YESTERDAY. Just miracle after miracle after miracle. I can’t handle it. I really can’t. But it’s the best. And Heavenly Father is the best. & JAX is the best. & my cutest ever family is the best.

But we put our feet in the river. And I giant ship came by and made a wake that washed over my head. What a  tender mercy. That's the closest I'll get to swimming for awhile!

But we put our feet in the river. And I giant ship came by and made a wake that washed over my head. What a tender mercy. That’s the closest I’ll get to swimming for awhile!

It’s weird to be reminded so clearly that life back home is still going and the earth is still turning. But I’m glad it is. I’m so glad everyone has the chance everyday to learn something new and be something more. I’m so grateful that I know why there is more and that we are never truest alone.

“Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them…Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better. Moroni spoke of it in the Book of Mormon as ‘hope for a better world.’ For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of ‘good things to come…this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel…Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” [An High Priest of Good Things to Come: Elder Holland]

The magnolias are blooming and they're beautiful!!!!!

The magnolias are blooming and they’re beautiful!!!!!

I'm not the only one that tries to make Florida water drinkable! This one had lime and mint in it too though, which was sublime.

I’m not the only one that tries to make Florida water drinkable! This one had lime and mint in it too though, which was sublime.

I found a new favorite scripture

I found a new favorite scripture

I flew the world's cutest, smallest kite.

I flew the world’s cutest, smallest kite.

Sometimes it gets so hot and you've biked real far and you just need to sit in the shade and take selfies.

Sometimes it gets so hot and you’ve biked real far and you just need to sit in the shade and take selfies.

We went fishing this week!

We went fishing this week!

Seek for the source of the light at the end of the tunnel, & I promise you will find it.

Sister Aure

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven‏

This week there has been a lot of “How long have you been here, Sister Aure?”s & “CAN YOU BELIEVE I’VE BEEN HERE FOR ALMOST SIX MONTHS, RANDOM MEMBER/FRIEND?!” “….woah, calm down.”  So there’s some mixed reactions to me in the universe right now.  All in all, I’m super happy about it. & I think secretly the ward is too. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. It’s hard to imagine being anywhere else in Florida. Before I left for a mission, whenever people would tell me about theirs, they would say they were in an are for over four months and I would think that’s so long and crazy. I feel like I finally got a hang on all the members and gained their trust and friendship just barely. Six months is the best. You have so much more time to watch things be put into action and watch people’s lives change. The JAX Beach ward has a huge chunk of my heart forever.

Last dinner with Jazzy

Last dinner with Jazzy

Our Chilean family and Sister Garcia with her babies!!!

Our Chilean family and Sister Garcia with her babies!!!

On Tuesday at District Meeting (which is a meeting we have once a week with surrounding missionaries) President & Sister Craig showed up! And they’re the best! They were super encouraging & inspirational & cute & just great. We made a goal as a district this week to 100% reach our goal of member present lessons. (The incentive being Krispy Kreme doughnuts, so you know it’s serious) Our average is about three a week, BUT PLOT TWIST/SIDE STORY BUCKLE UP.

On our trade off last week, Sister Mackay challenged me to set our companionship goals higher than usual to see what would happen. So we set our member present goal at five. The idea is that if we set our goals higher than usual, we’ll be more likely to rely on the Lord to help us achieve them. We also ended up looking at our goals a lot more because we knew it wouldn’t be easy to accomplish them. Sister Mackay should get a raise or something, cause it totally worked!  It was amazing to see the Lord work through His righteous members as he placed them exactly where they needed to be to help us accomplish our goal! For instance, we were teaching this guy on his stairwell and literally out of nowhere a member walked around the corner and boldly testified of the Book of Mormon and invited him to church. A couple days later we were going to have a doorstep lesson with a new male (Stephen) investigator and he asked if we could come inside because he was in the middle of something he wanted to finish while we talked. Obviously we couldn’t, so we knocked on a less active’s door that lives in the building next door and she was home and able to come with us!! Seriously, miracles. It’s weeks like this that remind me I can be a missionary because it literally has nothing to do with how good I am at it. All it has to do with is my willingness to push my companion and I to try harder and have a little more faith. This is 187% the Lord’s work & I’m just along for the ride. If he wants something to happen, it will happen. How blessed I am to have been called to witness these miracles daily, first-hand.

Cool, right? You gotta try this missionary thing guys; it’s pretty great. Or I guess just read Alma 32 & put the faith cycle to the test. Pretty much the same thing.

Our favourites sisters Jefferies and Hagen took us out for MShack burgers! I got a crab cake(:

Our favourites sisters Jefferies and Hagen took us out for MShackburgers! I got a crab cake  (:

This weekend was Stake Conference, so we were able to attend that with Laura on Saturday & the Lays on Sunday. The theme was *drum roll* MISSIONARY WORK! And temple attendance/genealogy! President Craig spoke twice, cause, ya know. (I actually don’t know. Why did he speak twice…?)  the stake president told us about how the prophet decides what the topic of stake conference should be. He said something super profound that may or may not mean anything to you. “What are we being prepared in this life to do? What is the nature of the work that goes on in the spirit world?” Food for thought.

My new study topic is humility & I kind of thought I got a head start on it with all the ground work I covered with charity, but wow, this might take a while. Has anyone else done a study on humility? If you haven’t, I suggest you start now, & if you have, pls send me all your notes, k thx.

The dye cupcakes!

Tie dye cupcakes!

Soooo muuuuch froyooooo. This place was giving it away for free!

Soooo muuuuch froyooooo. This place was giving it away for free!

This email is a lot of random thoughts and paragraphs & I’m so sorry about that, but it is what it is. I’ll leave you with this quote from our favourite Dieter F Uchtdorf: “Every mortal has at least a casual, if not intimate, relationship with the sin of pride.”

And also this Book of Mormon scripture about vulnerability, “…all the kindreds of the earth cannot be blessed unless he shall make bare his arms in the eyes of the nations.”

Where we ate dinner last night

Where we ate dinner last night

Seriously though, let's talk about how my hair is longer than the waist on my skirt.

Seriously though, let’s talk about how my hair is longer than the waist on my skirt.

Love you & I’m not angry, just disappointed, in the lack of videos I got from people driving through canyons. But I understand. It was finals week. ….This week, you have no excuse.

xoxo

Sister Aure

Tornado

So bugged right now that there’s no tornado emoji. C’mon, Apple. Priorities.

So, yeah. There was a tornado here this week. Why is nobody constantly checking the weather for JAX, FL to find out how my life is? I’m not hurt that I didn’t get any frantic emails asking me if I’d been crushed by a tree. Because I didn’t. And I’m fine. And everyone’s fine. But it was really cool. We were at the Chilean Rosbach’s house when it happened. Turns out tornado is tornado in Spanish too.

Secondly, best birthday ever. Once again, thank you all for the lengths you personally went to to remind me of my Rocky Mountain friends and family back home. It did not go unnoticed.

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On Tuesday, we had trade-offs with the STLs. It was my first trade off being in my area! And it was with my cute friend Sister Mackay who was in my district for the longest time and just got “promoted”. So that was her first trade off in a leadership position. It was really great and we even invited someone to baptism that we’ll be seeing again this week! We taught a total of 8 lessons in just that one day.

The next day was great and I found the most terrifying cat ever and an old man that used to have missionaries over gave us some fresh eggs from his chickens! We taught the Book of Mormon class that week which was super fun. We love Book of Mormon class. And I like teaching things.

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We had the best fast and testimony meeting of my whole life yesterday. I love this ward so much and have made some life long friends here. Can you believe at the end of four weeks I will have been in JAX Beach for 6 months? It feels like I just got here yesterday & I cannot imagine how quickly it’s all going. I know that I have come so far, but I have so far to go. I worked so hard to be exactly where I am right now. It’s so interesting to me how what we want to achieve changes immediately after achieving said goal. I think that’s the way God meant for us to be. Maybe that’s what enduring to the end means. Being who you want to be then finding a different person you want to be. Always changing, progressing, and becoming. I’m a little terrified about who I’m supposed to be once this is all over, but I know I’ll be ready to face that when it comes. Miracles happen everyday & I’m so grateful I was placed in a situation where I get to focus on them often. I know that if you look for them, you will find them, and it will blow your mind how much your Father in Heaven loves you and looks out for you. He knows exactly who He wants you to become.

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Now get out there and go on a canyon, windows down, music blaring kind of drive for me. 20 points if you film it and send it to me.

xoxo
I Miss the Mountains