Q: how many missionaries does it take to change a lightbulb?

Okay, so sorry about the lack of substance to my email last week. It’s been a lil’ cray latelayyy.

As I mentioned before, I am training this transfer. Following is a few random facts about Sister Randle.

She’s from Salt Lake City (Holladay), Utah

She attended the U before coming out (in other words, we can be friends)

She filmed a documentary about quidditch once

She’s my soulmate.

She’s a member of a sorority (don’t tell her I told you, she’s so embarrassed about it)

She hates bananas

She’s been to Haiti three times to volunteer at her father’s non-profit

She is allergic to cats

She is 19 years old. Per usual.

New trainee, Sis. Randall

New trainee, Sis. Randle

We have a blast. I was worried to train because I have gotten to the point, where it think I would almost rather have a companion that already knows how to be a missionary, then get to manipulate someone to look & act exactly like me. It turned out to be something I didn’t even have to worry about. She’s got everything down pat already. She’s not weird, she doesn’t cry everyday from being homesick, & she’s been able to tell me about odd trends that have been going on since I’ve been a gone. An entire minion movie? Seriously????

We’ve been able to meet a lot of people this week, but the normal people I talk about have been unavailable this week, so there’s nothing really new to report there….EXCEPT. Ya know Crissy & her girls? Well, they’re moving over by where we live this week into her sisters house. Who happens to be married to a member. & they happen to have been attending a neighboring ward for over a year. & she loves the church. So. The miracles with this family just keep on coming.

Faulkner kids. Recent converts that we work with every week.

Faulkner kids. Recent converts that we work with every week.

Random facts about me:

I’ve been a pretty avid sleeptalker for the past five or so months.

It’s turned into me sleepwalking & turning the A/C up to 85 degrees

I have an unexplainable rash on my leg that I will be going to the doctor’s for tomorrow.

There’s something wrong with my eye so I can’t wear contacts. For right now at least.

I’ve started learning how to crochet! I’m making a hot pad in my free time.

I lost & found both my PMG & Book of Mormon in the span of last week.

I love fried pickles.

I have a million skirts & like…10 shirts. Donations welcome. As well as Ross gift cards.

I am learning so much about the gift of the Holy Ghost rn.

I haven’t got a letter from someone back home in over a month.

I am 18372920283%%% gr8ful to be a missionary for my lord & savior Jesus Christ.

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The girls at CattyShack + a lion in the background

A: Two! But the lightbulb has to want to change first.

Sis Aure

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Hi.

How is it already preparation day again?

Srsly.

So.

Sister Coutts has a lot going on here & at home, so she’s made the courageous & difficult decision to go home one transfer early, or six weeks early. So we basically stepped everything into high gear the last couple of days.

I spent the day with sisters Mackay & Case while Sister Coutts was at the temple! Basically, I spend all of the time with them it feel like.

I spent the day with sisters Mackay & Case while Sister Coutts was at the temple! Basically, I spend all of the time with them it feel like.

We have met another family that feels like they’ve been led to the LDS church. They have a baptismal date set for the end of September. Crissy & the girls are still doing great. Hannah (14) came to church ALL BY HERSELF on Sunday. Her mom has been packing because they’re moving closer to where we live in a couple weeks, so things have slowed down there for a short while. Keep em in your prayers.

There’s a family in our ward, the Donatos, whom I just love. The dad has been inactive since he was a young adult & just came back to the church about 2 years ago. The kids jumped on board & are the best & were baptized within the past year or so. They are an amazing asset to our ward. They took us out to dinner this week & had us over for dinner last night to say goodbye to Sister Coutts. Aaaaaaand mom’s not baptized. & we forget about that sometimes. Because she’s the most Mormon non Mormon we’ve ever met in our entire lives. I think we will see miracles with this family. Brother Donato wants to be sealed as a family in the temple so badly.

So basically the missionary work here is doing itself. I just get to be a lucky participant & instrument. Nothing better than being a missionary, my friends. Nothing at all.

Now, for two items of business

Item 1:

Am I the only one freaking out & what the heck amazed that I am basically half way done with my mission? SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HECK. did I not just land in Florida 3 weeks ago? Does it feel like I’ve been gone for nine months to y’all or does it feel like just yesterday that I was bugging you to take off work & drive up a canyon with me?

I literally can’t even.

Item 2:

The Lord has seen fit for me to train a new missionary this coming transfer. So….I’ll be doing that. Expect future emails of struggles & hilariously stupid adventures. I can’t wait to meet her. I just know she will be an amazing addition to the FJM.

-Sister Aure
Korean Kimbop...that's phonetically spelled.... Sister Smith from Korea makes us lunch every Sunday at the church! SO yummy!!

Korean Kimbop…that’s phonetically spelled…. Sister Smith from Korea makes us lunch every Sunday at the church! SO yummy!!

It rained....a lot....and we biked....a lot....

It rained….a lot….and we biked….a lot….

ROAD TRIP!!!

This email will be short.

I am currently in a car, wearing pants, eating snacks, listening to righteous tunes, & hanging with my friends Sister Coutts & Laura. Laura wants me to say homies instead of friends. But Jacksonville hasn’t got to me that bad yet. So, we will stick with friends.

You may wonder why I am on a ROADTRIP right now & feel the most normal I’ve felt in 9 months. Well, we are going to Okefenokee Swamp today!! Which is in Folkston, Georgia! When I opened my mission call, a year ago this month, the first thing my mom said to me about Jacksonville area is that Okefenokee Swamp was in my mission & that I needed to go there. Well, I’m finally close enough for it to be semi feasible & I have a friend who wants to go! So we’re doing it!

Our week has been awesome. Just awesome. We taught a total of 24 lessons & have 8 new investigators!! So Crissy, the woman that showed up at church this week, came again & brought her three children, two of which are young women’s age!! They are the sweetest, most humble, kindest, genuinest, people ever. We went over to their house, taught them about the restoration of the gospel & Joseph Smith. Then their grandma walked in, & the 14 year old Hannah started showing her the picture of the first vision & explaining to her what happened. It was so touching. She already has a testimony of it! Sister Coutts & I have been praying to find an investigator to be baptized on August 29th……we thought this great family might be the answer to our prayers. So we invited them, & they said yes!! Grandma is even going to come to church on Sunday & work towards baptism as well. I LOVE being a missionary.

Well, gtg have the time of my life. I’ll try to spend more time answering emails next week.

-Sister Aure

The Currys! They're in our ward & AWESOME.

The Currys! They’re in our ward & AWESOME.

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I'm so excited!

I’m so excited!

THIS PICTURE IS NOT ZOOMED THIS IS REAL LIFE WHAT THE HECK I SAW IT WITH MY EYES

THIS PICTURE IS NOT ZOOMED THIS IS REAL LIFE WHAT THE HECK I SAW IT WITH MY EYES

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Pretty Pretty

Pretty Pretty

Swamp Prairie

Swamp Prairie

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P.S.

This tree is 200 years old. We went on a tour of downtown together!!‏

This tree is 200 years old. We went on a tour of downtown together!!‏

P.S.

I know there were a lot of you that were worried I have leprosy. Don’t worry, I still haven’t caught an armadillo….YET. but I know the lost fingers will be worth it when I do.

Here follows a list of concerned/not so concerned emails:

“Maybe I’m late to the game but “—–” has a really bad sun burn and is peeling everywhere. He said something about leprosy and said that several people this year had been diagnosed with it. And then he said… From armadillos! And then I exclaimed NO ASHTYN CHASES THEM AND I DONT KNOW IF SHE TOUCHED ONE
So I fact checked and there have been 9 cases in your area of leprosy from armadillos.
So plz be careful.
Was so worried I said, I HAVE TO EMAIL HER RIGHT NOW
be safe kid”

“Never stop trying to touch weird animals to the utter astonishment of your companions plz.”

“No catching armadillos!  I just read last week about how Florida armadillos are spreading leprosy. No joke :)”

“I wonder if armadillos have the same mutually respectful relationship with cats that O-possums have.

Careful, though, those things can apparently give you leprosy. Then we’d have to make you carry a bell all the time and live in some commune outside the city with other lepers.”

MIRACLES

Seriously, this week has been one giant miracle after one giant miracle. I cannot wait to be able to share all of the stories I have first hand with you instead of trying to cover every detail in one measly email every week. At the same time, I can wait. I can definitely wait.

First off, it was the end of the month, so we got to ride our bikes a lot! Which I LOVE. At the end of the day, it makes me feel like I accomplished more because I’m more tired. Wtvr. I just really like riding my bike, okay? So, we got to ride on highway a lot, which meant we saw a lot of squished raccoons…and opossums…and squirrels….and cats….AND I SAW A SQUISHED ALLIGATOR, THAT’S RIGHT, WELCOME TO FLORIDA.

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Looking a hot mess after biking forever. Also, I'm so proud of that tan line

Looking a hot mess after biking forever. Also, I’m so proud of that tan line

Last weekend, our car kept dying. All the time. Every time we would turn it off. Luckily, there was always someone around to jump it for us. Also, lucky me I had a car in high school that did that any time it was below 20 degrees, so I had lots of practice. Well, one time we had went all the way out in the backwoods farming country for a lesson…like, had to drive down a dirt road off the main road, to get to their road. WELL. our car died again. With not a soul in sight. We tried it a couple times. Nothing. We did what any normal Mormon would do, & said a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to help us in this unfortunate situation. After we said “Amen”, Sister Coutts slowly turned the ignition…we heard some gurgling….& then the engine turned over. The car had started. If we didn’t believe in a Supreme Creator, it would have been in-explainable.
Don’t worry, we got a new battery the next day!
Pday with Laura!

Pday with Laura!

All the bridges in Jacksonville in miniature form!!‏

All the bridges in Jacksonville in miniature form!!‏

We had lunch with President & Laura & her co-worker Jason. So, this is the guy that’s read the whole Book of Mormon, Journal of Discourses, D&C, & is now working on General Conference talks. But he very distinctly believes in the baptist faith. He doesn’t believe the Book of Mormon is inspired scripture. Last week we talked about how he really wants to be an honorary Mormon, so we told him he could be, IF he stopped taking the Lord’s name in vain. Pretty sweet deal, I must say. It was mostly a joke though, & we didn’t think much else of it. I also shared with him this quote from Jesus the Christ that I read that morning. (Best book EVER. if you haven’t read it, start today),

“It is well to know that prayer is not compounded of words, words that may fail to express what one desires to say, words that so often cloak inconsistencies, words that may have no deeper source than the physical organs of speech, words that may be spoken to impress mortal ears. The dumb may pray, and that too with the eloquence that prevails in heaven. Prayer is made up of heart throbs and the righteous yearnings of the soul, of supplication based on the realization of need, of contrition and pure desire. If there lives a man who has never really prayed, that man is a being apart from the order of the divine in human nature, a stranger in the family of God’s children. Prayer is for the uplifting of the suppliant. God without our prayers would be God; but we without prayer cannot be admitted to the kingdom of God. So did Christ instruct: “your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.””

Well, this week we get together & he shares with us that he’s made a decision to try & stop swearing. Not just the Lord’s name. & then he told us that he shared that quote with his wife…& he’s planning on sharing with his pastor. There was a change in him. Ever so slight, but still noticeable. We were happy to have President there to talk about priesthood authority with him. He brought the fact that in the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11, when Jesus Christ came to the Americas, the first thing he did, wasn’t heal the sick….or share the beatitudes….or perform miracles. The first thing he did when he visited the Native Americans on this continent was given is righteous disciples the power & authority of God. Then he showed them the correct way to baptize….using that authority,. Then the proper way to bless & administer the sacrament….using that authority. That authority from God is SO vital if you want to be baptized into HIS church & carry HIS name. It was a great lesson.

Our lesson with the Letelliers was PHENOMENAL. Brother Mike is so close. They even made southern supper for us with smoked ribs, creamed corn, potato salad, & the most amazing baked beans that rival my mother’s. My heart bursts every time I think about that couple, I love them so much. I feel & know in my heart that he will accept this gospel as truth. Just say lots of prayers that he will decide to attend church with us soon.

Sunday was just one giant miracle. Have mercy. It was fast Sunday, which is always the best Sunday. There was a woman there that said she had been attending the Arlington ward across the river for about a year with her three kids, but that she just moved down the street….and that none of them are baptized….and that she wants to become a member with her children. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING. I literally can’t even.

8 year old Stanley drew this picture of me & hates having his picture taken. He gave me the biggest, sweetest hug as I was leaving.

8 year old Stanley drew this picture of me & hates having his picture taken. He gave me the biggest, sweetest hug as I was leaving.

A small portion of the Letelliers beautiful backyard

A small portion of the Letelliers beautiful backyard

Beautiful Florida

Beautiful Florida

Living & loving this gospel is the ONLY way we can find happiness, not only in this life, but in the eternities. I know this with my whole soul. I know this, because every time I open my mouth & share with people that there is church today that has Christ at it’s helm, led by modern day prophets & apostles, the Holy Spirit burns inside my heart. This is so real that it hurts. If your soul has yet to sing the song of redeeming love, I suggest you open the Book of Mormon & get to work. I promise you the Holy Ghost will witness these truths to you too.

-Sister Aure

Flo-Rida‏

I feel like I always know exactly what I’m going to say in this email ALLLLLLL week, & then I get here & I’m totally blank.

& I just typed a bunch of stuff out that just disappeared. It seems as if I’m having a stupor of thought. Maybe I’m not supposed to share about my week…
I’ll share about my week in form of categories.
Flora & Fauna:
A lizard jumped off of our car on the freeway & we caught it on film.
A giant locust hatched in our car that looked like a nether-worldly monster.
I petted all of the flea ridden kittens & dogs
I got stabbed & sliced by a plant.
I almost caught an armadillo!
I fed a horse!

Lessons:

Our lesson with Laura’s co worker went really well this week. Sometimes I forget that even when people are really smart about worldly things, that doesn’t automatically mean they’re apt spiritually. So we kind of started over & just shared our favorite scriptures & testimonies with him. The spirit was very present in that busy, bustling Panera Bread. President Craig is going to come with us to see him this week(:

Brother Letellier still won’t come to church because he’s scared we won’t come back…crazy talk! He’s a lot closer though. He gave us a tour of his property & it is BEAUTIFUL. 5 acres of pretty lakes & swamp & gardens & treehouses & bridges. Can’t wait to take each & every single one of you back there someday.

We’ve started meeting with a woman who hasn’t been going to church for awhile. We go & read the Book of Mormon with her. The first day we met her, I shared the story of Abinidi with her & bore my testimony of Christ & shared a scripture about Him from the Book of Mormon. After that, she said, “You know, I think I’m going to start reading the Book of Mormon again.” We were so excited! She’s been reading on her own & decided to start on the last book, because so many times we start at the beginning and lose steam….then start at the beginning again….so she’s mixing it up a little cause she said she’s read the beginning too many times! I love finding new, fun ways to study.

Members:

We had a Pioneer Day Celebration on Saturday!! It was a lot of fun. Everyone helped make Dutch oven meals….& I shook a lot of cream for a long time & made butter! They had a wagon making contest….the High Priest Group won!

There is a senior missionary couple that goes to our ward, the Schmidts. They used to be missionaries for the ward, but they got moved to the office in Mandarin. They love the Dunn Avenue ward so much though, that they still attend the ward. My very first night in Florida….after I met the Craig’s & almost fell asleep during dinner…the Schmidts picked me up & took me to their apartment. They were the first missionaries I met other than the ones I came in with! I love them very much & it has been a tender mercy to have them in this ward. Well…they are going back home to Arizona very soon, so they gave the cutest, best talk in sacrament meeting about their missionary service. They spoke together…like at the same time. Neither of them served missions in their youth, so this was a new experience for them. Senior missionaries are just as, if not more vital than us youths. If you’re on the fence about serving a senior mission, this is your sign. Do it. Do everything you can to make it happen. Go where the Lord sends you. In the process of your life changing, you will change so many lives.

Dinner with sister Taylor the relief society president, the Schmidts, the senior couples, and our favorite Korean Un Chin!

Dinner with sister Taylor the relief society president, the Schmidts, the senior couples, and our favorite Korean Un Chin!

The Dardens

The Dardens

We get fed here by members nearly every night. Even those with nothing to give, roll out their best for when the missionaries come over. It is truly humbling for so many reasons. Sister Coutts & I are the luckiest sisters in the mission getting to serve here.

We painted some tires this week

We painted some tires this week

Service:

We did some organic gardening by painting some old used giant tires for someone’s flower bed.

We did yard work for a woman in our ward whose husband is coming home from deployment for a week! There’s a lot of military in this area.

Random:

We toured Laura’s work! Where they make & design & things for prosthetics on the face area. Clearly I learned a lot. I’ll work on my terminology. But it was really cool! There’s three Mormons that work there & between Sister Coutts & I, we know all of them! It was neat to be able to meet so many people & be little billboards for the church. Laura’s had some great missionary opportunities at work. What an inspiration she is to me!

We got a tour of Laura's work where a guy (Pere) from the Mandarin second ward works too!

We got a tour of Laura’s work where a guy (Pere) from the Mandarin second ward works too!

It rained! A lot!

I sweated! A lot!

Oh hey! & remember the couple we carolled to on the 4th? With the BYU hat? We went back to see them & they let us right in. We talked to them for an hour about the struggles their family is seeing right now….and then they brought up temple sealings. They said they’ve talked about it & how it would work with their yours, mine, and ours situation. Luckily, I have a little experience with that, & Sister Coutts’ siblings are both adopted, so together we were maybe able to come up with at least half of an answer. But seriously, who randomly talks about LDS temple sealings with their spouse? They’re so Mormon, they don’t even know it.

Our district went from 8 to 7 to 6 missionaries in the span of 3 weeks.

I’ve started having nightmares about coming home. How is that even possible? However, It is VERY strange to think about how this time next year, I won’t be a full time missionary…but seriously mind, I have 10 months left. Calm down.

What does the Atonement have to do with missionary work? Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others. … A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others.”-Howard W Hunter

 

Sister Aure