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.
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.