365 Days

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2nd cleanest car in the mission!

 

“Day five:

Today was Sunday. I feel like I learned more about my purpose as missionary & a member of this church. I really love everyone in my district. Or District Leader, Elder Stanley, is an 18 year old that just loves us so much & tries so hard to make us know how important we are. He reminds me of Ethan. We walked around the temple & it snowed today. I was able to sing in choir & I realized how much I miss it. Music is such a huge blessing. I am blessed & I am loved.”

That was my journal entry for November 23, 2014. A year ago today, I was in the emptysea. A year ago on the 19th I woke up from sleeping solo in a room for the last time in a long time, put on my favorite skirt, & met my family downtown for breakfast. I couldn’t eat the awesome breakfast I ordered because I was too nervous. I said goodbye to my sister (not knowing that the next time I would see her, she would have a baby in her arms…congrats, Sethica!!) & my cutie dad (who drove away in my car….I hope Nuke is still doing alright & is getting excited to see me. Hopefully I can remember how to drive a standard). I drove with my mom & step dad to Orem where we dropped off a card to my previous place of employment & listened to John Denver for the last time in a long time. We then proceeded to the Provo temple to take some of “those” pictures. I said goodbye to mom & Scott & said hello to a sister that was mad that I wasn’t crying like she was her first day.

Serving on a mission for the Lord has literally been the 19283938382% best decision I’ve ever made in my entire existence, next to deciding to follow Heavenly Father’s plan & receive a body by coming here to this earth. Every experience since that day has shaped & changed me. I have a testimony of obedience to His commandments. I trust in His timing. I LOOOOOOOOOVE the Book of Mormon. My teaching skills have increased ten fold. My organizational/planning skills leave little to be desired (can you believe I keep a clean room & make my bed now, mom?) I understand my worth & know what to expect from those that understand it as well. I love my Savior. I love His gospel. I love this mission.

This week was amazing. I met some awesome members of the ward & we bikes at least one million miles. We met so many new investigators & less actives that we are excited to start working with. I got sick yesterday. Right on cue with being sick exactly a year ago in the emptysea. Hopefully it’s not as debilitating as it was last time. Right now it just feels like my throat is being rubbed by sandpaper at all times. Nothin I can’t handle.

My favorite miracle happened on Thursday. We were biking around on the main road when we see this guy hanging out of his car window yelling,
“SISTERS! SIIISSSTEEEERRRSSS…!!!” We turn around (I have no idea who it is because I still don’t know anybody) & it’s Brother Christensen. He starts telling us that his home teachee, Sister Bowring, just called him wondering if he knew where we were or how she could get ahold of us. (Sister R, you ain’t the only trainee that leaves the phone at home😘) Apparently she had signed up for dinner that night & we had no idea! Bro Christensen just HAPPENED to be the person she called & just HAPPENED to be driving past us at that exact moment. So she came & picked us up & we had the best night of fish tacos ever. Sister Bowring is great. She’s a plane pilot, horse riding/owning, Harley riding, nurse. & she’s hilarious. A kindred spirit for sure.

We had zone conference this week & President & Sister Craig had inspired trainings as per usual. My favorite thing that president said this time was, “If you don’t have a goal when you wake up in the morning, you might as well go back to bed!” I have goals for lessons, & weeks & stuff, but rarely do I have personal daily, or even hourly, goals.

I’m so grateful  to have another Thanksgiving on a mission. What a blessing this experience has been for me. I hope each & every single one of you are having the missionaries over for dinner sometime this week!! & you better not feed them any of Nana’s creamed corn…if I can’t have it, no one can!

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Sister Breckenridge

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Biking 4ever with my new comp, Sister Breckinridge

 

I’m in Gainesville! Is it as weird for you as it is for me? Of course it’s not. It doesn’t make any difference to you. Unless you’re a mission friend. Than it might.

So Gainesville is in the middle of the state. It’s the second biggest city that our mission covers. It has a very popular school, UF in its boundaries, so the YSA missionaries are in my new district. & so is sister Bolos! You may remember her as my emptysea companion. Everyday that I’ve been able to see her so far has been the best day. Also holla at mah main gurl sister Miller whom I have been obsessed with serving with for the past 6 months because of two words she said to me once during the madness of my emergency transfer to Dunn. So that’s a blast. Finally sisters to hang out with. Finally. FINALLY.

Elder Welsh, who was in Mandarin 2nd with me, is my district leader. He’s been a zone leader/ assistant for the past forever, so he’s a little rusty on the DL responsibilities. Like last night, for instance. When I first came out, our District Leaders would call us to get our weekly numbers to report, but about 10 months ago it got switched so our Sister Training Leaders call the sisters. So last night, we get a call from elder Welsh. “Hey, Sisters, I’m just calling to get your numbers.” “Oh…okay…..is that….for district meeting…?” “No, it’s for the weekly report.” “OH! Ha! That’s so cute. It’s been so long since you’ve been a district leader!” “……the sisters do that now don’t they.” “YUP!” “..well…I’m figuring this thing out…grumble grumble….bye.”

 

Not to mention he texted a number that wasn’t our number so we didn’t find out about district meeting until 30 minutes before it started.
It’s fine.

 

ALSO! I’m in a car share for the first time! Which means we only have the car half the week & the rest of the week, we are on bikes. That has resulted in the neighborhoods near our home to be over saturated with former investigators because sisters are lame & wont bike over a mile. The area book was atrocious  when I got here, so we’ve been spending a lot of our free time cleaning it up so we can actually use it effectively. In doing so, we found that two giant chucks at the top of our ward boundaries have never been tracted in the history of ever. So guess what we will be doing for the next five weeks?!

 

Now. My new companion’s name is Sister Breckenridge. She is from Driggs, Idaho. She did rodeo, volleyball, softball, swim, & other things I know nothing about in high school. She studied at BYU-I for two years doing pre-recs for nursing. & this is only her second transfer as a missionary! Usually trainers & trainees will stay together for the whole “12 week training program”, but Heavenly Father felt like we needed to be together for the last 6 weeks of hers! So I’m a step-mom! & sister Randle, you have a half-sister! (Miss you, boo☹️😘) she’s awesome & loves & wants to work hard. We have a great vision for our area! I haven’t met a lot of our investigators, apparently we’ve got three on for bap date, so hopefully that goes well. Two little black brothers, just like in my last area. & Tony.

Gainesville 2 is AMAZING so far. It reminds me a lot of the beach ward. The members we’ve met are STELLAR missionaries & have both feet firmly planted in the gospel. I’m still definitely in a little bit of culture shock coming from Dunn, but this will be a great, different  experience here. & fun fact my grandparent’s best friends live in this ward with one of their sons that my mom used to babysit when she was a teenager. Nana, they told me a funny story about how they got y’all free flights to Hawaii & you were going to provide a free condo on one of the islands that one of your family members owned….& the condo ended up being in London, England!! Lol. “That’s just like Sandy…” Brother Anderson said. They are having us over for dinner later this week. Richard Marsh’s parents are in the stake & stake conference was this weekend, so I got to see them too! The world is so small, but it’s even smaller when you’re a Mormon.

So that’s my week in a nutshell. My new duplex is swag, but my feet
get cold on our hardwood floors. #1stworldprobs #eatitjaxeast

I’m loving being a missionary & I can’t wait to see what the Lord has
in store for us here.

xoxo
Sister Aure

Gainesville’s Got No Soul

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a last few golden moments of last p day.

This week was really fun. Being a missionary in general is a good time, but this week seemed to be full of different things.

On Monday, the Spragues invited us over for dinner & FHE. we had tacos with their six adorable “spraguelings”. I was super excited to see how they were going to do this FHE thing, because my family of 5/4 couldn’t even get it together most Monday nights. We sang I am a child of God & the “prayer fairy” (their 5 year old, Lily) picked one of her siblings to pray, & sister Sprague held up a familiar photo of Christ appearing to the Nephites in America. She then asked each of the children (us included) questions to fit our understanding. She asked her 7 year old, how the people felt listening to Christ. She asked her 14 year old where we could a story about this in the scriptures. All in all the lesson lasted about 10 minutes & then we played a game that their 10 year old, Finley,  made called “Kitty Ritten” & I lost because there was literally no way to win unless you drew one very specific card & Finley was hiding it the whole time lol. I learned so much about positive parenting, but more than that, teaching scripture & gospel doctrine in the home. I know that that’s why those kids are so obedient & why the Spragues can handle six of them! They understand what is expected of them, because it’s the same thing that Christ
expects of them. I’m so grateful for the things I get to learn on this mission.

Also, we taught seminary this week! The teacher went out of town & she asked if we could fill in, so of course we said yes. Not because we know ANYTHING about the scriptures their teaching about this year (Old Testament…what…?) but because that’s just what you do as a disciple of Christ. You say yes when people ask you to help & you have the time to spend. Luckily Sister Petersen told us we could teach anything we wanted, so we taught some lessons out of the gospel principles book. These girls are all converts, so they never got the gospel principles lessons, being in young women’s for Sunday school. They said they learned a lot, so that’s good.

You want to be in our seminary class.

You want to be in our seminary class.

Remember the BYU hat wearing guy I caroled to on the 4th of July? He & his wife had us over for dinner this week & we talked all about how they’ve taken all of the lessons before, but haven’t hit quite the right timing for joining the church yet. We love them so much. It is heartbreaking to watch their struggles, knowing that if they would jump in with both feet into the world of the restoration, their burdens would become light & their problems would seem smaller through sacred ordinances. Agency, man. It kills ya as a missionary.

On Sunday during ward council, our bishop was reading a report that he had received from the temple in Orlando that week. He started talking about how when the ft Lauderdale temple had opened a few years ago, it took a lot of the load off of the Orlando temple, so they assumed it would take awhile to get it back to the capacity it was. Bishop started tearing up as he read from the report that all of the Saturday baptism slots were maxed out & that they could no longer accommodate walk ins or scheduled times outside of the regular schedule. North Florida had been praying for a temple for so long. What this means to the members is that they are one step closer to having those saving ordinances closer than 4 hours away. What a blessing it will be when that happens. Because it will.

We did some service at a different farm this week. I cut off a chicken’s head & ate rabbit that was marinated in applesauce & apricots. Yum.

In other, other news, I will be leaving Dunn Avenue, my new Best Companion Friend, & the JAX East Stake entirely. Tomorrow, I will be heading to Gainesville to finish a sister’s training in the Gainesville 2nd ward. I have many many mixed emotions, I’m a little nervous to be so far away from the city I’ve loved & lived in for the past year, but I know the Lord wants me there. I am excited to find out why. Also, I’ve always wanted to go to Gainesville since hearing Go Radio’s “Your Song”. Take a listen to that this week for me, will ya?

One last photo of my favorite district so far.

One last photo of my favorite district so far.

So here I go. Off to a very unknown adventure to place I know very little about. God is at the helm & we are to trust in His orders that He gives to His servants.

I LOVE being a missionary.

Sister Aure

P.S. Shout out to Sister Randle’s dad for being born in Gainesville.🙌🏿

P.P.S. GO ‘NOLES

4 quarters vs 100 pennies

Happy Halloween, friends!

Elder Green brought in doughnuts for our district meeting when we reached all of our new investigator goals!!

Elder Green brought in doughnuts for our district meeting when we reached all of our new investigator goals!!

We are loving all of the spooky decorations that remind us it is October. It’s been in the 80’s every day this week, which means it’s felt like the Fourth of July not chilly, crisp, leaf crunching autumn nights! (Lol, Sister Randle just climbed on her bed with her blankets to take a nap & started singing “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Jungle
Book quietly under her breath like I couldn’t hear her.)

Let me tell you a secret about the south. EVERYONE IS LOOKING OUT THEIR FRONT WINDOW AT ALL TIMES OF THE DAY. seriously, nobody has anything better to do, I guess. So everyone always knows we’re coming before we get there. 9/10 times whenever we drive by somewhere slowly or park somewhere at night, we will have 1 or 2 people come out & stare at us or tell us to leave even before we get out of the car. We usually don’t listen to them because the law caint keep me from parking on a public street, THANK YOU. That would be why the law has been called twice on us now. It is such a strange cultural phenomenon. I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. So that happened to us last night during Golden Hour. Shortly after that, we knocked on a baptist minister’s door & eventually got let in by a man named Eric who went to Boy Scouts in a Mormon church in South Carolina when he was young. The Walking Dead was on & the couple glimpses I saw & the sounds I heard coming from it made me feel like it was the gnarliest, grossest thing known to man. But it was also hard to look away. When did Carl’s hair get so long? ….I digress. That was my worldly temptation of the week. & also me realizing how hard it will be adjusting to real life again. I think I’m going to take it as slow as possible so I can enjoy this blissful innocence for as long as possible. For instance, the other day I remembered that cars have access to the radio. Who forgets something like that??!

I sang in sacrament yesterday & it went well! We got a lot of compliments & an influx of people signing up to feed us. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not. When sister Sprague was signing up to have us over she said, “you know, I don’t even bother with the elders. Why have 100 pennies when you can have 4 quarters?” Hahaha. Whenever sis R & I talk about the elders now, we just say “the pennies”. Transfers are in two weeks!! Can you believe I’ve been here since June?! So crazy, I felt like I just got here! & I love everyone so much. & also I’ve never left the Jax East Stake, so I know the Stake President, all the high councilmen, & whenever we go to stake activities I always have a million friends. I would not be sad at all if I get to spend another transfer with Sister Randle in the DA. I have a feeling that whenever I get transferred next, there will be big changes!

I think I mentioned before about how Sister Sprague has six kids under the age of 16 & is in the process of trying to adopt three more under the age of 4? Well, we went over there this week to help put up some walls in their 100 year old house! We didn’t actually do much. We did paint!…. Our names onto the wall. We were a big help, okay? Get off our backs.

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This week was a load of fun. We met some new people, said goodbye to some old people, & gained stronger relationships with some we already knew!! I am reading in The end of Alma in the Book of Mormon right now, which is my absolute FAVORITE part of the Book of Mormon. I love how often it talks about the Nephites motives. How they never delighted in bloodshed & would only ever fight if it were for the liberty of their country, freedom for their wives, children, & religion.

This morning I was reading in 48:23 which reads, “Now, they were sorry to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood; yea, and this was not all–they were sorry to be the means of sending so many of their brethren out of this world into an eternal world, unprepared to meet their God.”

The Nephites truly understand the purpose of this life, which is to prepare to meet God. They needed to protect their homes, families, & religious freedoms, but they did not delight in the shedding of their fellowman’s blood. They knew that upon death, the Lamanites would not have as great of a chance coming to know the truth of their Heavenly Father as they would on Earth. THAT is what saddened them. THAT is what made going to war so hard for them. If I were them, I would probably WANT to go to war & wipe them all out so they would quit bugging us. But the Nephites are so Christlike. They understand the covenant they made at baptism to invite others to come unto Christ. These guys are the telletubbies of the New World. All they want is happiness for their brethren, even though all their brethren want to do is wipe them off the face of the earth for LITERALLY no good reason at all. I think we could all take a leaf outta their book.

Eat some candy for me & send me something in my
mailboximnotjokingthistimeyoubetterdoitorelsecuzistillhaventgottwnanyletters.

We went to the Museum of Natural History for P day with Laura & Jason & some kids from JAX BEACH. then we all made fun of sis R's sorority

We went to the Museum of Natural History for P day with Laura & Jason & some kids from JAX BEACH. then we all made fun of sis R’s sorority

Elder Green brought in doughnuts for our district meeting when we reached all of our new investigator goals!!

Elder Green brought in doughnuts for our district meeting when we reached all of our new investigator goals!!

❤️Luv yew.
Sister Aure