CHRISTMASCHRISTMASCHRISTMASCHRISTMASCHRISTMAS

image1 (6).JPG

 

Merry CHRISTmas, friends & family!

 

We had such an exciting week here in GV2. On the top of the list of exciting happenings is that we finally figured out what our companionship name is: “Aure to Breckenridge yet?”

Hold your applause, please. Yes, we know how amazing it is. Yes, we high five each other & say that whenever anything awesome happens. Thank you, thank you.

The Gainesville stake here in Florida has been working on the musical production of “Savior of the World” for the past six months. We’ve helped a couple times with painting scenery & practices were held every night at our church building, so we had been able to see bits & pieces of it. But this week was showtime!! They rented out an auditorium at a school, because they didn’t want to turn people off by having it in an LDS church. It was not only their Christmas gift to the community, but their Christmas gift to the Lord. The missionaries had the pleasure & privilege of being the ushers for the shows & we got to go both opening & closing night. The musical itself was great. However, my favorite part was how it affected the cast members. It was all they could talk about. Chatter in the church hallways often consisted of “I’ve got 3 non-member families coming to see Savior of the world!” The attitude of Christmas for these cast members was never lost in commercialism or how good their lights looked. because they were constantly immersed in portraying a people that were waiting for the birth of Christ or had just walked, talked, & worshipped with Him, their minds were focused on what the season is all about. It shows through their countenances that they are truly worshipping Christ during this season.

We have a town called Newberry that we can only work in once a week because it’s a ten mile bike ride on the freeway without sidewalks to get there. (Although we did bike it once this week on the coldest day! We felt like champions) & with Savior of the world going on, none of our members have been available to give us rides or go out with us, so I’ve kind of just felt like we’ve been running in a hamster wheel! But if I were to leave for whatever reason in two weeks, I think I would finally be able to confidently say that I’m leaving the area better than I’ve found it. I’m sad it took so much time to get all the areas organized & fixed from the mess it was when I got here, but whatever. It is what it is.

We taught this woman named Sherry this week & it went really well! She met some elders about a year ago, but they never really taught her anything, so she has been in our area book for a long time. We met her about two weeks ago. When we knocked on her door, it was late, raining, her house smelled strongly of cigarettes, & there was a loud movie blaring in the background. We set an appointment for the following week. Well, she lives Newberry & some crazy things happened, & we weren’t able to make it to her house. We only go to Newberry once a week (when we have the car), so we weren’t able to knock on her door again for two weeks. When we did, she wasn’t home, so we left a note. The next day, she called us! She said she waited all day for us the day we didn’t stop by & asked us if we could come over & bring a Book of Mormon soon! We decided that we needed to see her soon, so that’s when we biked to Newberry the next day. When we went into her trailer it was 100% different than the first time we were there! It was cleaned, vacuumed, smelled really good, & Sherry was happy to see us. We read 3 Nephi 11 with her & went over the restoration again. She’s excited to pray about whether or not to be baptized & to continue reading the Book of Mormon. She said she wants to change her life & come closer to God. We assured her that what we want to teach her will help her do that. We are excited to continue working with her.

On Saturday we got to work at a food distribution for a food pantry called “Farm Share”. I used to work with them all the time in JAX because that’s where their warehouse was. So, it was fun to get back into my food sorting groove again. You may not believe me when I tell you this, but that morning it was FREEZING. especially when we don’t have Utah winter gear, just Florida winter light coats. Anyway, there were people standing in line to receive food from six o clock that morning & we didn’t distribute until ten. We are so blessed, people. Don’t you ever forget it. The line was hundreds of people long. & it was freezing. & I realized I needed to stop complaining about how cold it was & start wishing more people coming through the line a merry Christmas. How grateful I am for this time of year & to have two opportunities to be a missionary for it.

On Sunday, the ward had their Christmas program. The highlights are:
A clarinet duet performed by two youth, accompanied by the ward choir,
accompanied by a piano professor.
A flute duet by two younger youths.
A cutest song from the primary babes.
A duet sung by two (married to each other) ex BYU Young Ambassadors
with an ASL interpreter. They’ve still got “it”, if ya know what I
mean.
A storytelling by a professional storyteller.
A violin & piano mother/son duet

& I got to sit next to a service dog & my new best friend Martha. Wins all around.

I love Christmas. I love the pretty lights. I love the nativities. I love the food, the cookies, the trees. I love Jesus Christ. I love my father in heaven for sending Him to us so we could learn how to live with them again someday. I love my sister for sending me sour gummy octopi because that’s like 8 worms on every octopus. I love my dad for sending us gingerbread houses to put together to make our home feel a little more festive. I love my nana for sending me Christmas music to get in the Christmas spirit. I love my mom for emailing me at least twice a week to keep me updated so I can feel like I’m still a part of everyone’s life. I’m lucky because I’m not the type to get homesick, but I sure am excited to see y’alls cute faces in 5 days & share testimonies & love.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Sorry that you’re not a missionary right now. You’re really missing out.

Advertisements

I’m Just Happy, Okay?

image1 (5)

 

I could tell you about the mission wide Christmas party & how Sister Craig & I hugged & cried for like, 10 minutes.

Or I could tell you about the insane drama of one of our investigators.

Or I could tell you about the power of the Book of Mormon that is influencing a family so greatly that they are coming back to activity or the first time in many years.

Or I could tell you about the sleepover that I had with Sister Bolos that changed my mission.

Instead, I will share a brief miracle.

It seems like no one wants to talk to us here. This is my first area like this. On our trade off this week, sister B & Miller stayed in GV2 while I went to the YSA branch with Sister Bolos. They made a goal to find a new investigator to be baptized. The next day, they told us about a girl they met named Kathryn. The experience they described with her seemed luke-warm to me. But we had another appointment with her on Sunday, so I was excited to meet her.

Kathryn calls Sunday morning before church. Surely she is cancelling. As per usual. Nope. She’s asking if we can come later that night, due to her baby’s sleep schedule. Awesome. Great.

We’re at the Fogleman’s house for dinner. Their ten year old is speaking in Portuguese & playing Called to Serve on the cello. I suddenly realize I’m the least intelligent person there. The Fogleman’s are telling us about their amazing story of coming to FL from Vernal, Utah & how they wanted to be able to feel the same missionary spirit they felt on their missions. So they moved somewhere where there was missionary work to be done. We ask Sister Fogleman if she will go to the lesson with us at 8:30. She surprisingly says yes on such short notice.

We knock on Kathryn’s door. She opens it with a big HELLO,HEY,HOWAREYA??!! She has bright red hair & is wearing Mormon modest clothes. Her house smells like Christmas & I feel the Holy
Ghost there with us, excited to double testify to our testimonies. Kathryn talks & invites us to sit at her table where her bible is open next to the Book of Mormon & a notepad filled with questions she had while reading the introduction. We start talking about prophets & she tells us how it’s confusing how there are so many churches. Sister Fogleman is bearing strong testimony & teaching like she just took off her black tag yesterday. What a woman. Kathryn is writing things down as we answer her questions about the Native Americans & Joseph Smith. We talk of Christ & rejoice in Christ. Kathryn says she will be baptized if that’s what God wants for her. We assure her that that’s EXACTLY what God wants for her. She says the closing prayer & it’s beautiful.

I remembered what being a missionary is all about this week. Not from that one moment, but all the little moments fitting together to create an spiritual exercise Heavenly Father designed specifically for me.

I know Christ lives. I know Joseph smith was the prophet God called to help restore His priesthood keys to the earth. I know that EVERYTHING
(pride, wealth, time) is worth giving up to be close to the Savior.

Merry Christmas

Sister Aure

Faith Has a Short Shelf-Life

Sometimes during life you make specific plans about how the next couple days/weeks/months/years are going to go & then Heavenly Father’s like, “lol ive got somethin else in mind” AND NOTHING WORKS OUT HOW YOU ANTICIPATED AND NOW SUDDENLY YOU HAVE GAVE TO MAKE A MILLION NEW LIFE PLANS. & then you get a little scared. & a little sad. & feel like your life is careening out of control.

Then you take a deep breath.

& you remember that that’s not the first time you’ve ever felt like that. That in fact, life rarely agrees with all of your plans 100%. & you realize that everything always ends up working out & that God knows way more about what we need/where we need to be/who we need to be with. Then you take another deep breath, pray for forgiveness for your faithlessness, & give it to Him to worry about.

That’s how my week has been.

Is everyone excited for Christmas? Are you making sure to spend lots of time serving your loved ones? I know you are. Are you having any missionary moments? It’s been a couple months since anyone has shared with me their miracles sharing the good news of the gospel!

We spent a LOT of time with other missionaries this week. We had zone meeting where we were trained on consecration, among other things. Someone made a comment about how we are expected to follow all of the rules in the white handbook. That is the bare minimum we are expected to do. If you do the bare minimum, that just means you are obedient. It is once you start going the extra mile & staying as far away from the line as you can that you become truly consecrated. We make promises with Heavenly Father to live consecrated lives & do all we can to help others do the same!

We also had two different service projects with our district. One of which was with Kevin. We helped him clean out one of his rental properties & he took us all out to lunch at a buffet afterwords! We were the only sisters there, so I felt like I was back in Dunn at the boy’s club. The other project we did was at the St Francis House which is a soup kitchen.

On Friday we had interviews with President Craig. The Zone Leaders & Sister Training Leaders trained us on first contacts & inspired questions. It was really fun & we all laughed a lot about how awkward it is to be a missionary. You should try it sometime. It really is so awkward. President Craig had some great advice for me in regards to training & some of our investigators. He’s a great man & the perfect example of consecration. I am so grateful for the example he & Sister Craig have been to me. I’ll probably still be calling them for advice 10 years down the road.

We have some fun things planned for this week. Like for instance, tonight I will be going on a trade off with Sister Bolos, my emptysea comp, to the YSA branch. Then we have our mission Christmas party AND I GET TO STAY THE NIGHT WITH SISTER RANDLE IN DUNN AVE for my doctor’s appointment the next day YAYYY.

I love being a missionary.
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Have u sent me a Christmas package yet?

image1 (4)

This week was a week just like any other.

JUST KIDDING WHO AM I KIDDING IT WAS THANXGIVANG.

I’m hopped up on a whole lotta things that Sis B gave me saying, “here, take these” so sorry if I ramble a lot & don’t make any sense at all. My mind has been foggy since Tuesday when I called Sister Craig, in exhausted almost tears, “I’m trying! I’m trying really hard! I just can’t!” & she pulled a classic Sister Craig & said, “What the heck are you trying so hard for?! Go get some rest!” So that’s what I did. Our DL Elder Welsh offered earlier that day to give me a blessing, so I finally took him up on the offer. He came over with some chap I don’t remember the name of & gave me the most inspired, beautiful blessing of my entire life, right behind my patriarchal blessing. There is no way that men in this church do not hold the priesthood authority of God. Elder Welsh spoke about things he would know nothing about unless he was reading my letters home to friends & family. It was amazing. The most amazing part is when he said, “As the scriptures say, ‘Take up thy bed & walk’, for this illness will leave you immediately.” In a span of ten minutes, I went from an aching pile of tears & snot & phlegm lying on the floor, to a semi functioning sister missionary that was more than able to attend the lessons we had scheduled for that night. This was a moment I will never forget. It really made me recommit myself to marrying someone who is 110% worthy to hold & use his priesthood so my children can experience sacred moments, such as those, often.

But like I said, I’ve still been sick. Just no longer debilitatingly
sick. 🙌🏿 #praise

 

Last week we bumped into this guy named Kevin THATTALKSLIKETHISANDSUDDENLYWEARWTALKINGABOUTHISDOGANDNOWSUDDWNLYWEARETALKINGABOUTWENDYSANDMAYONAISEANDITSHALFANHOURLATERANDNEITHEROFUSHAVESAIDASINGLEWORDANDWHATISHAPPENINGNOWHESTALKINGABOUTMARCHINGBAND & also he’s the best & believes the gospel is truer than most members do. & he has six kids. & they all want to be baptized. & theeeeeeeen there’s mom. Who doesn’t & kind of is throwing every piece of anti at Kevin & he’s deflecting it all like a ninja in a Jackie Chan movie AINT NOTHIN GONNA BREAK HIS STRIDE. but he really loves his wife & won’t get baptized without her. So. Say prayers her heart will become soft & squishy & full of the Mormon love.

We spent thanksgiving in three different member’s home & topped it off at my grandparent’s best friend’s farm eating my weight in candied yams, while successfully avoiding eating any turkey or pumpkin pie. Ten points for Slytherin. & Kevin was there talking to everyone about everything & i’ve never wanted anything in my whole life as much as I want him to get baptized.

I am grateful.

We had a mini-mission this weekend with our bishop’s daughter who clearly pays way more attention in seminary than I ever did. We had a blast & it was AWESOME to see Sister Breckenridge take her under her wing & teach her how to be a great missionary. It was like missionary training inception. A trainer training a trainer training a 16 year old. So, we had a blast. It was so fun to have a little sleepover for one night. I love the people in this ward so much already!!  How do I get blessed with the best wards in the mission?!

I applied for a post mish job today & put  “made this resume from scratch” as one of my achievements on my resume. I feel like my chances are good.

I’m so glad I’m here. I know I don’t say that neeeeaaarly enough but I really just can’t think of any other way to describe it. It’s the best thing I have ever done. These places & these people & this gospel is shaping my soul.

Ain’t nothin’ but a God thing.

Sister Aure