This is not a time to endure, this is a time to embrace

This week’s email is going to be really weird again, sorry, not sorry.

First things first, if you want to experience firsthand the best thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life, go to this link & watch this video:https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history/rootstech/find-our-cousins/video?lang=eng

Secondly, I’ll give a brief overview of this week.

HIGHLIGHTS

➖ four friends at church this week WHOO!!!

➖ I got some #JagSwag in the mail (thank you, Brother Aten)

➖ sister Randle’s first trade off was this week! I stayed in Dunn with Sister Case & Sis R went to Hendricks with Sister Mackay. She was so cute & was so scared to leave me. But of course she had the best time EVAR, because who doesn’t love Sister Mackay? She’s also the cutest. Sister Case & I saw a miracle! Keiare, her mom, & her brother Kewan came to bible class that night. Keiare is safe & sound with the Curry’s again & she wants to start working towards baptism again. It will be a long road, but we have faith that she will get there.

➖ Sister Randle gave her first district meeting training! It was so great. It was on Christlike Leadership. This mother’s heart was so full that day.

➖ have I ever talked about the Sprague family? No? Well, they’re amazing. Sister Sprague converted at 17. She & Bro Sprague have six kids. They’re looking to adopt three more, one of which has a mental handicap. She has a degree in something to do with special needs education. Shout out to you, Bekah J! Sis S somehow finds time at least once a week to go to a lesson with us & be so nice & feed us dinner & love us. Last time we were there for dinner, we helped all the kids put together a production of them pretending to be their parents being member missionaries! It was so fun & they loved it. Today Sister Sprague asked us if she could take us grocery shopping. She took us to organic/locally grown produce shop & stocked us up on oranges & apples & strawberries & evurthaaaang. Seriously. They’re the best people in the world. Seriously the best example of charity I’ve ever seen exhibited with my own eyes. I want to be her when I grow up.

➖the Dunn Ave’s primary program was this week! It was ADORABLE OH MY GOSH. Sis R & I were crying the whole time because it just felt like our own children were up there!! We’ve spent so much time with them in each of their homes, at their dinner tables, in their yards, at Ward activities….it was just really special. Maybe being a mom won’t be all that bad.

➖ we had to go to Mandarin for Sis R’s follow up trainers/trainees meeting. I had a doctor’s appointment there that morning & then an hour & a half to kill between that & the meeting, so we went to my old apartment in Mandarin. Because…..that’s where sister Jensen lives now!!!! It was so much fun. I love her so much. AND SHES GOING HOME NEXT WEEK, SO WHAT THE HECK IM ALREADY CRYING.

So. It was my halfway mark this month. Yesterday I found a letter that I wrote to myself (half in the mtc & half the first day in the field) at the beginning of my mission. It was a really neat experience, so I want to share it with you. Then, I decided to write back to myself. Cheesy, I KNOW, but it was therapeutic, so wtvr, I don’t care what you have to say. Without further adieu…

12.8.14

“The minute you think you’ve arrived, there’s something wrong.”

Dear Sister Aure,

Today is the last day that I am in the Empty Sea. Bekah’s my biggest fan at this point & Haley has sent me two emails & I’m scared she’s dead. Hopefully she’s not dead!!! I’m still really concerned about Twitter & Instagram & what Mom is putting on the blog, so hopefully at this point, you are more focused on the people you’re with than on the people at home.

I feel like I’ve learned so much here about teaching by the spirit & about Christ’s infinite  atonement.

I definitely still have so much to learn about being a happier person. I have so much to learn about being kind. I have so much to learn about being patient & being a better missionary & someone who is more aware of the people around them & the people I work with.

Sister Aure, I hope you’re humble. I hope you don’t let your pride get in the way of your purpose & your relationships with others. I hope you’ve cried because you’ve loved someone so much & witnessed them come to Christ. I hope you’ve wept when people you love aren’t understanding God’s love for them. I hope you didn’t give up on them.

How is the family doing? I worry about them everyday. Are they coming closer to Christ? Have you relayed to them the importance of the gospel in our lives? Has Dad read our Book of Mormon yet? Is he proud of us?

I hope you have gotten better at teaching revelation through the Book of Mormon. I think I understand how to teach by the spirit, but I hope that you have learned more about committing your life to keeping it with you at all times.

Sister Aure, right now I am struggling with not being sad about some of the rules. I hope at this point you have come to love them & follow them exactly. I hope you don’t get as mad or offended when people who don’t have the right, try to correct you. Everything will be right in the end.

You’re strong, you can do this, & please don’t forget how hard you worked to get here. Please don’t forget the moment you spent on President’s lawn that first night finally feeling like you were home. You belong here. You have people waiting for you to find them. So get out there & do it!

-Sister Aure

Dear Sister Aure,

What a trip this was! I don’t remember who you got the inspiration from to do this, but I’m very glad you did. Bekah’s so great. & Haley’s not dead, just wandering the world–don’t worry.  It is strange to see all of our friends at the stage of life that they’re at. Everyone’s got a grown up job, a college degree, or both! You’ll feel a little bit behind of them. You’ll think a lot about the years of school still ahead of you. You’ll have to remind yourself,”…that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father…”. There is nothing else nearly as important as what you’re doing. Remember that. Social media doesn’t exist to you anymore, but hashtags are a big part of your life, for some reason. It’s Sister Randle’s fault. Your reflex to constantly check social media will fade. I eventually realized how to prioritize my life. Things are really looking up for us. Apparently the blog is doing really well! You even have some new followers of it since the mission started (here’s looking to you, Lindsay! 😘). Mom does a great job keeping it up to date. Your problems will never be focused around homesickness. You will be so focused on the work in Florida, that most Mondays you won’t even want to spend time writing home. You are going to make so many life long friends here.

I’ve become a fairly happy person. I’m working on eliminating sarcasm & complaining from my life right now. It hard because that’s Sis Randle and I’s main form of communication. I want to be an uplifting person by the time I go home, though, & no one’s really uplifted by complaints & snide remarks. We’ll see how it goes.

Haha. What are you, my patriarchal blessing??! Alright, alright. I’m trying. Everyday I am trying to be more humble. Everyday for the rest of my life I will spend trying to be more humble. Now I want to be humble. Before, I didn’t. So that’s gotta be a step in the right direction, right? Many happy, joyful tears have come because of a breakthrough in someone’s relationship with Heavenly Father. There is literally nothing more fulfilling & joyous than inserting all of your soul’s energy into helping someone understand the spirit & how it works. “I hope you’ve wept when people you love aren’t understanding God’s love for them. I hope you didn’t give up on them.” I’m just going to warn you ahead of time, that the person you didn’t know you were talking about when you wrote that sentence was yourself. Your faith in Christ’s infinite atonement will be tested & tried to its very outer limits. You will weep. You will feel like the only thing left to do is give up on yourself. This is when you will really come to understand God’s love. Without this hard, inevitable experience you will never know how to rely on those around you & how to help others that feel the same way. This will be painful, but God is preparing you. You will be okay.

The family is great! Jessica will have missed every phone call until your second Christmas. But for some reason you’re not really mad about it. For some other reason your relationship with your parents & siblings will grow stronger the longer you are gone. You will come to understand how blessed you are to have been born into the family you were. Ethan’s going on dates now. …ew. 😜. He’s just getting really old. But he’s a way better missionary at home than you ever were, so prepare to be proud! Mom graduated & is teaching 9th grade English at Kearns High. We’re so lucky to have such amazing examples in our life. Dad is the most proud of us. Our grandparents come in a close second. He’s our biggest fan & some of the emails you get from him will be what gets you through hard days. He’s read our testimony the Book of Mormon. Not sure if he’s read the actual text. I need to be a good missionary & follow up on that…

GIRL. You are the LUCKIEST person in the whole planet because you are in the Craig’s mission. Sister Craig has an obsession & love for the Book of Mormon unparalleled to anything you will probably ever see. That love for the Book of Mormon will catch fire in your soul the more you share it with others. You’ll love it so much that by the time you’re training Sister Randle, she’ll start out every companionship study saying, “Let me guess….you read the BEST chapter in the Book of Mormon today…” The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. If we don’t have a testimony that it really is the word of God, then our opinions about other truths of the gospel could crumble. You will see it happen first hand. It is devastating.

This ones funny too. You’ll eventually come to understand that “…when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” Regardless of whether or not we agree with the rules or understand them, you will have a desire to do what is asked of you because I understand now that that is the only way we can deserve the things promised to us. Not only that, but I love Heavenly Father so much & that’s the only thing he’s asked us to do to show our love to him. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” The ONLY thing that we can give to God that He doesn’t already have or can’t get on His own is our agency. That’s why when we use our agency to follow his will, we are really just telling him we love him. Saying we love Him is lip-service only until we follow that through with action.

My short amount of time in Jacksonville so far has been the best spent time of my life. You will change & be molded in ways you can’t even imagine. I would say don’t get discouraged when the work seems slow, but luckily that’s not something you have to worry about. There is ALWAYS someone to teach here.

Stay safe, stop being cranky in the mornings,  & for glory’s sake, don’t spend so much time not knowing about boiled peanuts.

-Sister Aure

I am here to experience change; I am here to make a difference.”

Trainers/trainee meeting. We wore color coordinating outfits.

Trainers/trainee meeting. We wore color coordinating outfits.

We are the best funnest missionaries ever because we made lesson 3 (the gospel of Jesus Christ) into a jeopardy game.

We are the best funnest missionaries ever because we made lesson 3
(the gospel of Jesus Christ) into a jeopardy game.

I taught an entire lesson about prayer wearing this bad boy.

I taught an entire lesson about prayer wearing this bad boy.

I got my #JagSwag before she got hers.

I got my #JagSwag before she got hers.

love

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Missionary Life is the Only Life I Remember

Our district plus the Winters plus the Craig's!!!

Our district plus the Winters plus the Craig’s!!!

Hello all you random people that read this email.

I’m loosing my steam on trying to make these interesting, I’m tellin’ ya! P-days stress me out so bad. So little time, so many things to do. I always plan on taking a nap & I think it’s only happened once. In 9 months.

Right now I’m transferring all of my pictures to a USB & it is taking forEVER. #LiveEmail

This week, I want to talk about the youth of the church & the Book of Mormon. Because I’m suddenly leading a book club. I’m losing my topic transition skills, clearly. I’m having NIGHTMARES about going home. Who am I?!

Let me try again.

So, we have some amazing youth in the ward that I’m in. 75% of which are recent converts. 75% of which are black. Not necessarily  the same 75%. Anyway, they are ALWAYS bringing their friends to activities & church. Always. We have the privilege of sharing a spiritual message with them every Sunday. I love them so much. We meet with this family that’s been recently converted every week. The Currys. I think I sent a picture with them the other week. Anyway, Trinidy is 1..4…? & she’s made friends with this girl named Kieare (10 points if you can figure out how to say that) & she’s been coming to church & young women’s for two weeks now. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon yesterday & plan on seeing her again to talk more about it this coming weekend!!

We’ve been reading the Book of Mormon with some recent converts that have been struggling. It has been amazing. One example specifically comes to mind. We were reading in 3 Nephi 11 & talking about the priesthood & how important it was to Christ because that’s the first thing he taught about when he came to the Americas. In the middle of it, she says, “….I need to stop drinking coffee. I haven’t been feeling the spirit because I’ve been drinking coffee.” We weren’t even talking about anything remotely close to coffee, but because she felt the spirit, the spirit was able to tell her the things she needed to know. You can’t study the Book of Mormon without feeling the spirit. I dare you to try!

The Schmidts last Sunday in Florida!!!

The Schmidts last Sunday in Florida!!!

So yeah, life has been really great here. When I told Sister Craig that I’ve been having nightmares about going home, she said, “That means you’re a real missionary now!” Sad that it took me so long, I guess…?

I love you, I love Christ, & I love the way that Sister Randle just listed off a million things for me to tell you that I love. Including, but not limited to “temples! Haley! Little pictures! The gospel! Me! Laura! Snap cat shirts! Regular shirts!”

Sister Missionaure

3 “Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.” (Mosiah 28)