Day 1/7 of Birthday Week


image2 (8)

 

I don’t have much to share this week OTHER THAN ITS MY BIRTHDAY ON WEDNESDAY & everyone wants to feed me & no one wants me to be transferred for my last transfer. Including me. It’s really beautiful here. I have the best farmer’s tan in the world.

I’ve been pondering a lot this week about being a missionary. Someone in the ward said to me this week, “sometimes I want to slap return missionaries in the face. Too often do I hear them say, ‘the mission was the best two years/18 months…if only I could go back…those were the glory days….blah blah blah.’ & that tells me that they didn’t learn a thing! Missions are a springboard to the rest of eternity, not the climax of spirituality.”

On the other hand, we just had a sister in the ward return from her mission a couple weeks ago. She was at a ward service project on Saturday & said to her father, “I am the only girl here!” “No you’re not, there’s 6 sister missionaries here.” “They’re missionaries. They don’t count.” lol #awk

What even is a mission.

I’m still trying to figure it out.

We get asked a LOT what we do & why we’re here & how we got here. We get to share with them how we have a living prophet today that leads & guides our church. We get to tell them how we are are just 2 in a worldwide effort, 75,000 strong. Sometimes I even get to tell them that on February 14, 2014 I told Heather Hansen that Jacksonville, Florida would be my dream mission, were I to serve.

 

I left my family, my friends, my car, my work, my school, my individualism, my romantic feelings, sleeping in, staying out, alone time, MUSIC, & my skinny jeans for what would eventually be 19 months.

I am living a life apart from the world. I don’t watch the news, I don’t go on vacation, I don’t go to the beach, I don’t communicate with my life back home on a regular basis, I wear a skirt every day, I wake up at 6:15 a.m. & go to bed at 10:30 p.m. I am a missionary.

image3 (8)

People often ask me what the best part about being a missionary is, & I always say, “watching people change through the atonement of Jesus Christ.” There is no joy greater, that I have experienced so far, than having someone tell you they need to stop drinking coffee simply because the spirit told them to. It is indescribable to explain watching a grown man weep because he is feeling the pain of his sins & how they negatively affected his children’s lives. It blows my mind to this day that we are the first people that get called when someone kept the Sabbath day holy for the first time in their LIFE & wanted to share the blessings they received with someone.

Why me? What did I ever do to deserve this?

Why do I, Sister Aure, have the privilege of wearing the Savior of the world’s name on my lapel?

People often ask me what the hardest part about being a missionary is, & I always say, “Watching people that you love make decisions that will ultimately bring them sorrow.” That could really be the hardest part about life too, though. This week we received an email from one of our investigators:

“…I could not find faith in the Book that you are so devoted to. Yes, feel free to declare that I never tried hard enough or made myself vulnerable.  For what it’s worth, I wanted you to know that your efforts and prayers were not entirely ineffectual. I’m volunteering at a local hospice on weekends, currently being screened for TB and will start training soon. Maybe it was how enthusiastic you are as missionaries, the financial restrictions, the modesty, the grease underneath your fingernails from fixing the flat tire, seeing you wipe your eyes after praying, Aure’s pain pills sitting on the table at the Deli, living on Jolly Ranchers or just the gravity of everything that broke me down to this conclusion; I needed to serve. The Mormons are loving, embracing people ( sometimes excessively if that’s even possible). But I don’t see myself converting to the faith and by my nature I’m not a social animal. Perhaps that’s the way it has to be. I’m always an outsider. No easier is it to convert me to the LDS church than for you to convert to something else. But you had to try. It is after all, your mission…”

What IS my mission?

My mission is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ & His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost & enduring to the end.

It’s hard to measure whether or not I’m completing my mission. We have numerical goals & indicators, but if you’re a good missionary, you know that it’s more than that. Some people might view our hours spent praying with/for & studying with/for this man as wasted, but pure religion is serving man kind. We served him & now he wants to serve others. By serving him, we served Him. As he serves them, he will come closer to Him.

In other news, we met with Alyssa on Monday night with Sister Bowring. We had a great restoration lesson cross-legged on the floor in her small apartment because her abusive boyfriend took all of her furniture. We invited her to be baptized on a specific day next month & she gasped with her hands over her mouth. With some urging from us, she confessed that the day we invited her to be baptized is the anniversary of her brother’s death. She knows that we were commissioned of Jesus Christ to spread His gospel & invite her to change. She felt the spirit tell her that the things we taught her are true. It was a beautiful evening.

I know God lives. I know that I am fighting the good fight & that I am on the winning side. I know that I am making a difference.

Sister Aure

image1 (23)

 

 

 

Advertisements

Week 2/4 of Birthday Month

 

image1 (21)

The Bowrings

 

Right now I am in the Bowring’s convertible, wearing pants, on our way to the Suwannee river to go on an airboat ride!! 🚤🎊They really are the best people in existence. Two claps for a fun P day! The highlights of this week are as follows

Zone Meeting

Where all 48 missionaries in the Gainesville stake/Zone got together for a few hours jam packed with revelation & inspiration for the following month. I’ve  been to a lot of zone meetings in my life. One for every month I’ve been on my mission, actually. They’re pretty good for he most part. But this month!! I feel like I learned so much!! Two of the four trainings were on things that I’ve really been trying to figure out/implement into my work here. I feel like I have so much new ammo to quench the fiery darts of the adversary now! Plus, Sister Case is now in my zone. You may remember her from the first half of my mission. We got to go to lunch together & reminisce about the good old days.

Trade Offs

Yay!  I had the pleasure & privilege of spending 24 hours with Sister Mansfield in the YSA area. We slurped slurpees & got sunburnt while teaching the law of tithing. Trade offs are always a breathe of fresh air & the sisters are always so good at making us feel like we can do no wrong & we are the best people in the world.

Stake Conference

This is my second stake conference in the Gainesville stake. The first of which was my very first Sunday here. Yesterday someone said to me, “wow. You’ve been here awhile, huh?” YUP. stake conference was so neat. Our area 70, Elder Munns came & spoke at both Saturday & Sunday night. This was his last assignment as an area 70. Both sessions were awesome & totally focused on missionary work. Towards the end he passed out some microphones & told everyone to think of the most random sentences they could & he would relate it to the gospel. There were questions such as, “what’s a Pokemon?” “I wish I could reach the top shelf at the grocery store” “the employees at Walmart are so rude!” “How would you like your steak cooked?” & my favorite from our very own bishop, ” sir, can you explain to me why you were going 65 on a 35 mph road?” Elder Munns laughed & said, “That’s easy. I’ve had lots of practice with this one. I am late for a church meeting!”

Miracle of Miracles

Two weeks ago I was reading in Alma 5 when Alma was teaching some people & he kept mentioning “the spirit told me that…” Or “by the spirit, I perceive…” & I just really wanted to be like Alma & start verbally giving the spirit the credit He deserves. So, I made a goal that day to talk to people about the promptings I received. WELL HAHA, UNIVERSE, cause we basically didn’t talk to a single soul that day. BUT I didn’t let that deter me. I wrote on every single note we left on people’s doors that day, “hello! We felt promoted by the spirit to stop by today….blah blah blah.”

Fast forward two days

We are checking our voicemails at the end of the night & there’s a voicemail from a number we don’t know. It goes as follows, ” Hello…I don’t really know who you are, but my name’s Alyssa. I got your note on my door….it’s so weird because I was praying that I would find someone to talk to, I just have all these different things going on in my life….please call me back so we can talk. I can’t wait to hear from you.”

UHM OKAY, THAT NEVER HAPPENS!!! Folks, we are meeting with her TONIGHT! We are so excited. We know that God provides us with miracles when we respond to the promptings we receive when reading scriptures.

THE GOSPEL IS ALIVE & WELL

It’s my birthday soon!

Elder Zane Nuttall of the Mesa, Arizona mission wins for best present so far. A hand made care-bear card with two never before seen pass along cards. Pictures included.

Have a blessed day, y’all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

1/4 Week of Birthday Month

image2 (6)

 

Today is a great day. It’s a new month, which means we have 750 miles on our car & $170 on our card. I’m sipping a Mountain Dew outside, watching the university students run around, waiting for my gyro to come to my table. Don’t worry, Uncle Georgios. I know this place is legit because they are playing that Greek music that you always listen to. It’s beautiful, sunny, & there’s a slight breeze. April really is the best month. Especially in Florida. On our walk to this Greek hole-in-the-wall, a middle eastern man smoking a cigarette stopped us by saying, “good afternoon, Sisters!” He introduced himself as “Brother Sousa” & told us that he knows the YSA missionaries. He took seeing us as a sign that he needed to go to church & get back in contact with the missionaries. It is such a surreal experience to be able to be recognized as the Lord’s servants by people I have never met before. It reminded me that we, as missionaries, really are the billboards for the church. We are doing missionary work simply by walking down the street.

What a spiritual feast this past weekend was!! The older I get, the more I love & appreciate our living prophets & apostles. They have such wisdom & love for us as individuals & disciples of Jesus Christ. They really do try to emulate the Savior’s life. If you haven’t watched/listened to/read all of conference, you really need to. If you have, you need to download it & listen to it again x2927

Sister Bowring went to the temple this week with some other sisters in the ward to do baptisms. She was able to baptize her grandmother & great grandmother. She said she was sobbing the whole time. At the temple, a woman with two teenage daughters came up to her & said, “did you get baptized for people today that you are related to?” “Yes, I did.” “Thank you so much for giving the experience to me & my girls to be able to watch you do that. We’re from Utah, where most people’s direct relatives are members, so we don’t see that very often. This was such a neat experience for us.”

Wow! This mother is such an inspiration to me. First off, they are on vacation & at the temple! Secondly, she followed the spirit & shared with Sister Bowring that her experience touched her. I’ve been reading in the Book of Mormon about the spirit lately. Alma the younger really  followed the spirit as he taught, but more than that, he told those he was teaching that he was feeling the spirit & being guided by the spirit! Just as alma did so many years ago, this woman is expressed her love for the lord as she shared with Sister Bowring ways that the spirit touched her. What a great example she must be to those two
young daughters.

In other news, I am sick. Again. Hacking & coughing & dying. But loving it.

I am really happy. There is so much joy that comes from missionary service. It just makes you love everyone so much.

“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.”

LOVE YOU
SEND ME BIRTHDAY GIFTS/LETTERS
HOST A REFUGEE
TELL MY MOM THAT SHES COOL
SAY A PRAYER OF GRATITUDE
EAT A GYRO
LIVE LAUGH LOVE PROPHETS

🎂Sister Aure