Week 4/4 of Birthday Month

 

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In the words of a once famous poet,”These are the days when I wish was my bed was already made; it’s just another manic Monday. I wish it was Sunday! That’s my fun day! My “I don’t have to run day”. It’s just another manic Monday.”

These words are very accurate to how I feel every Monday. It throws a wrench in the missionary groove! Anyway, THANK YOU ALL, WHO PARTICIPATED IN MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! I seriously had the best week of my life. Just knowing you were thinking of me, made me very happy. Some of the best surprises I received, was a Mother’s Day card from sister Randle, 5 lb bag of gummy worms from my mom, a bathtub full of glitter from sister Rickenbacker, Sister R’s mom sending me a necklace with a description that was actually a description of me (pictured below) key lime pie from a member, & metallic gold/silver sharpies from my other babe, Sister Breckenridge. The BEST present I received this week, however, was not a material. Two days ago, Sister & Brother Bowring had dinner & a tour of Temple Square in Salt Lake City with my mother & step father!!!!! Ahhhhhhh. I almost died. They are so ready to be sealed. I love it when different parts of my life merge. Best birthday ever.

This week WE DID NOT STOP EEVVVEERRRR!!!!! Did I still have allergies? Yes. Did my back still feel like there were needles in it? Yes. Was I still tired beyond all comprehension? YES. BUT I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!!!!! Do I sound excited? It’s because I am. There’s a quote in PMG (best book, next to the BoM, check it) that just really vibed with me this week.

I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work–there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.”

–President Ezra Taft Benson

The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (1988), 200

YEAH. WORK!
I don’t even know what else to say. I’M JUST HAPPY OKAY, STOP REMINDING ME THAT I HAVE TO LEAVE SOON.
(Here’s lookin at u, Miller n Randle)
My sister is having a baby soon!! Yay!! Shout hooray!!!
bdaysisaure
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Day 1/7 of Birthday Week


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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.

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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

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Week 2/4 of Birthday Month

 

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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.

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1/4 Week of Birthday Month

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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

Happy Easter!!! 🐣🐣⛪️

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I hope y’all had a really great time & enjoyed family & friends & shared your testimonies & went to church to partake of the sacrament.

Last week on Pday,  we all got together & had a hotdog bbq & played sand volleyball. It was a blast. But also sad, because the occasion was that some of our friends were being transferred & leaving us! RIP Sister Bolos & Reusch & Elders Caputo, Smith, & Welsh. But guess what! My OG companion Sister Bolos is now in my blessed Dunn Ave!! How fun is that? I told her all the best places to eat fried food & places to avoid being after dark, so don’t worry.

We did lots of service this week of painting, Easter egg hunt setting up, face painting, & thrift shop packing up. The Bowrings fed us & we talked about the temple. They’ve been going to temple prep the past couple of weeks & still have a goal to be sealed in June 🙌🏻🙌🏻

We’ve been inviting Sunil to Book of Mormon class for the past month & a half & he’s never come. Turns out all we needed to do was drop him, cause he came for the first time this week! & LOVED it which is so great because the Book of Mormon is what he was struggling to accept. He still doesn’t believe it’s true, but now he understands that we’re supposed to read it trying to relate to the stories & characters instead of as a historical artifact. Then he came to church yesterday, stayed for all three hours & (unprompted by us) a member invited him over for dinner with us in the next few weeks!! So maybe we’ll keep teaching him? Not super sure yet. He just has no desire to be vulnerable & exercise faith. Lol we just told him that there’s ten hours worth of conference for him to watch next weekend & he said, “as long as there are enough bathroom & snack breaks” who is this guy???

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It’s been very lightning & thundery this past weekend. A Florida storm is something I cannot describe its just beautiful. Especially as we’re riding our bikes back from knocking doors in the countryside, the sun’s down, it’s hot, but there’s a cool breeze, & the sky looks like it’s exploding every five seconds. Just beautiful.

We had a miracle this week when we were biking in the beautiful country side of Alachua. I really needed to go to the bathroom (surprise surprise) & there was only one member of the ward that lived within a 2 mile radius. So. We started for her house. When we got there she wasn’t home. But her daughter that hasn’t been to church in many many years. We asked if we could use their bathroom. It was only slightly awkward. When I came back out, sister R was doing what she does best, playing with her puppies & whatnot. Then she says, “I’m actually really glad you came by….I have something I want to talk about.” She shared with us some challenges she’s going through & we talked about the plan of salvation. We read the scriptures, shed some tears, & exchanged digits. It was a tender mercy for all of us.

Easter was great! We got to teach Sunday school on the atonement, we had an investigator at church, the Bowrings did their 3rd temple prep class (praying for an endowment & sealing in June) & I, not so coincidentally. was reading in Jesus the Christ this week about Christ’s last week on earth.

I hope y’all are happy & learning new things about yourself.

Slug Finder Supreme

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I realized last night that I’ve really been skimping on my letters home lately AND I AM SO SORRY. I AM REPENTING RIGHT NOW & IMAGINING THE MOST DETAILED, SPIRITUAL EMAIL AS I WRITE.

This week was amazing!! Sister Rickenbacker & I both decided that it felt waaaayyyyy too long though. Who knows why that is. We were probably just excited for Sunday because that’s when we get to see if the people we are teaching are truly progressing!

On Tuesday I got to go to this pizza place with mah gurlz after district meeting & we wapped miracles & stuffed our faces with my favorite of bbq chicken. We had our weekly meeting with my bff Grant Copeland & he & his mom finally set a baptismal date for him!!! (It won’t be a convert baptism because he will still be shy of 9 by one month) but still, it has been such a fun time getting to know this family & watch their testimonies grow through their actions. They have made so many changes in their lives the past 6 months & they have never been so happy.

On Wednesday we did some yard work with my new best friend Janie. She’s a non member daughter of a member in the Ward. I FOUND ONE MILLION SLUGS. I PUT THEM ALL IN A PILE. THEN I FOUND A SLUG THAT WAS LAYING ON TOP OF A BABY FROG. this frog was clearly the slowest frog in the world if a slug could crawl over it. Also then we found a giant snake. It was a blast. & we asked Janie to find a project on justserve.org for us to do next week with her! Have you been to that website yet?? It’s pretty shweet.

Lol then at Book of Mormon class that night Earl & Brooke were there & anytime someone paused for longer than .012 seconds in between verses, Earl would get impatient & just start reading. He ruffled a couple old lady feathers. It was pretty hilarious. He’s just so excited about reading the Book of Mormon, okay???!

Thursday was road trip city where we once again found ourselves in JAX due to doctor’s appointments.  My doctor was like, “huh. Looks like you’re a short timer. Guess you can just do your follow up visit in Utah.” *cue Niagara Falls 😭

I also asked President if I could see my bffs on our way home & said YES & I ate fried ice cream & we just had a blast. I love my baes.

Friday & Saturday were days full of talking to every single child of God that we saw & none of them really caring that we were trying to share the steps to exaltation with them. ‘Sal good. They’ll find out sooner or later.

Also sister Bowring FINALLY came home & even her husband is home now which is weird because I forgot she had a husband because I had never met him before. Turns out he is really great too! She went to a lesson with us Sunday night & she shared her experiences from converting from Catholicism to the LDS faith & how modern day revelations & the Book of Mormon fill in all the gaps where other religions don’t make sense. It was powerful for all of us. Especially, I think, for her.

We had 4 friends at church on Sunday. Earl came for sacrament even though he was about to throw up the whole time. That is conversion, if you ask me!! Laurence came as well & I got to see the SECOND purple suit that he owns. I really hope there’s more purple suits. & also he bore his testimony!!! About the plan of salvation & whatnot. He said, after church, that he cannot join the church because of his wife, but he will continue to participate. Sad, sad day. Sunil came to church (after church was over….whatever, Sunil) & continued to tell us all the reasons why the Book of Mormon couldn’t be true AND HE USED THE BIBLE TO EXPLAIN WHY. it was beautiful!!!! He’s gone from atheist, to now using the bible to prove his points. Which means he’s using it as evidence. Which means he thinks it’s solid proof. Which means he thinks it’s real. Small & simple steps, my friends. Tonight he is taking us out for Italian because he is scared that all I eat are jolly ranchers. He’s not far from the truth.

Miracles are real & they are more often than not, small things that we will miss if we’re not looking for them. As I have made a concerted effort to love my fellow man & work my hardest to do what is right, the lord has put his hand in our work & we see people’s heart change. This is all done through the spirit. I read this great scripture in Mosiah 5 this morning about that process & how beautiful it is.

And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Love y’all.

Send me a letter in the mail this week otherwise a ghost will haunt you every time you open the fridge. Fwd to 10 ppl so this doesn’t happen!!!!!¡¡¡¡

Sister Aure

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Christianity & Communism

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Kids, this week was GREAT. Not because we baptized anyone or even got  a baptismal date, BUT because I think I’m fiiiiinaaaallyyyyyy figuring out this missionary thing. I think I’ve finally figured out what it  takes to get the results you want.

One of my favorite parts of this week was when we all drove to Lake  City to have a conference with the Lake City Zone & P&S Craig✨

It was the best. Partly because Sister Craig & I were wearing the same  shoes. The other partly because I had already received 2/4 trainings  we got (how long have I been here…?) AND THEY WERE EXACTLY WHAT I  NEEDED. ugh. Thank you Heavenly Father to restoring divine revelation  to the earth. I think my favorite part was Sister Craig’s training on  Pres Uchtdorf’s Oct 2014 address titles, “Receiving a Testimony of  Light & Truth.” I would encourage you to read it. The basis of the  training was, “just because you can’t explain why elephants are in the  Book of Mormon doesn’t mean it’s not true!”  It was clearly great. I just want to be on an eternal spiritual  trajectory & that isn’t possible if we stop doing the things to renew  our testimony daily, i.e. Daily scripture study, prayer, taking the sacrament each week.

“The more we incline our hearts and minds toward God, the more Heavenly light distills upon our souls. And each time we willingly and earnestly seek that light, we indicate to God our readiness to receive  more light. Gradually, things that before seemed hazy, dark, and  remote become clear, bright, and familiar to us.  By the same token, if we remove ourselves from the light of the  gospel, our own light begins to dim–not in a day or a week but  gradually over time–until we look back and can’t quite understand why  we had ever believed the gospel was true. Our previous knowledge might  even seem foolish to us because what once was so clear has again  become blurred, hazy, and distant.”

My other favorite part of the week happened on Saturday. The elders in  our Ward had an investigator who got baptized! She is so cute & wrote  a 6 1/2 page testimony of her experience with the gospel. She really  is a changed person. Our investigator Sunil came to the baptism. (He’s  the one who came on the church tour) He’s 39. From Trinidad. He owns a  condo & a car & has a job. He’s met a lot of people in the ward. He’s  really progressing. He’s reading the Book of Mormon right now to prove  it right. He loves Joseph smith & totally understands the priesthood.  I think. We invited him to be baptized (because we’re inviting  everyone now) & he said he would be if he came to know God was real.  He prayed at the end of our last lesson & prayed that he would find  truth & be able to recognize it. Today he texted us & said he thinks  he received an answer to his prayer!! We are so excited to meet with  him again. He needs the church & the church needs him.

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I got to go on a trade off with Sister Yolos this week which was such  a tender mercy. We just hung out on UF campus all day & talked to 1  million people, most of which seemed to be Jewish. We had a lesson  that night with a young man from China who wants to be baptized  soooooo bad but he knows someday he will have to go back to China &  all the Christians he knows there can’t get jobs or wives. His parents  will not let him take the lessons anymore. He is so sad. & that made  me so sad. God bless America. It may not be perfect, but it’s  waaaayyyyy better than it could be.

I love the gospel! & I love you! Florida is beautiful this time of  year & I wish you could be here to experience it with me.

Have a blessed week!

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