Hi Mom 🙂 We only had 60 minutes to email, and you know how slow I am, so I figured I’d just write some, too! Plus I don’t know if I’m going to get a P-day next week and I don’t want to fall behind.
If I remember correctly, I left off on Day 5! Which was Sunday. I really loved Sunday. Like a lot. It went by super quickly, and I’m so grateful that we took pictures as a district at the temple that day. Anyway, one thing I found to be really convincing is this: “This work could not have been crafted by the minds of men.” I’m not sure who it was who said it, but no matter, I Loved it. I Love it because to me that is logic. It makes sense. I don’t know lots of things, but I DO know that whether I was really conscious of it or not, it must’ve been something big to motivate me of all people (and so many others, as well) to leave you. To leave our families and friends in the heights of our lives. “It” meaning the godly spiritual influence. The supreme being we love. I honestly don’t understand most of it, and I probably never will. But I know there’s something driving me. Getting me through. And the only way to explain it is that He, God, is real, and this is His work, because I think we all know that there’s no possible way I’d be surviving this without some serious spiritual assistance. I’m doing a terrible job of explaining it. Just know, I’m glad to be here.
So we also had a devotional Sunday evening! It was so so good. My greatest take away was that each of our weaknesses were DIVINELY APPOINTED to us for a purpose. Pretty wonderful to think about, right? It was exactly what I was needing to hear. I’d been feeling so spiritually numb after Saturday. Not because I wasn’t learning and enjoying myself, but because I felt so left in the dark, lacking an understanding of how everyone else can so readily identify the spirit and attribute so many thoughts and ideas to its whisperings. I felt neglected and alone. The whole spirit thing has been a life-long trial for me. And I guess I just thought when I got here I’d be magically fixed, but alas, this was not the case. It’s taken a lot of work and trust and faith, but like I said– I would not be here if somewhere, inside of me I knew, and I felt all that everyone else feels. But I am grateful for it. I am grateful for this DIVINELY APPOINTED weakness. I’ve never prayed so hard in my life, and while I do at times wish that I could be normal in my spirituality, I also know that my experience (my struggle) is exactly what I have been called as a missionary to share. I lost sight of that for awhile, and I’m embarrassed I did. I am not here to be like the others–or guess what they seem to me, to be. I am here to be myself. Weaknesses, trials, stubborness and all. And Im going to make the most of it. I can feel it. I can feel that someone out there needs me. I can’t wait to find them and love them, because what they don’t know yet, is that I need them just as much.
I think the excitement is finally making itself manifest.
(p.s. for Sunday) The musical number almost killed me. The two singing decided they wanted to finish a capella. It was seriously like a dying cow and llama trying to harmonize.
June 22, 2015–Day 6
Monday was a test for our District. If I haven’t made it clear enough, we love each other a lot. We’re really close and I’m pretty sure we’d win in any competition. It’s sad it took a loss for us to really recognize how important we’ve already become to one another. It’s backwards, and I hate it, and I cried, but I am grateful. Since one of us chose to go home, our love and friendships have deepened exponentially.
Ugh, so get this. Someone stole my lemon drops! We’d all been sharing our hard candies all week. Icebreakers, lemon drops, and altoids (We really should stage an intervention for Elder Rumsey. He eats probably 6 an hour. not exaggerating.) Then when we came in one morning. The EMPTY bag was in the garbage. Why? Why? We were all devastated. It was probably the other district in our zone. We don’t like them……moral of the story: feel free to send some hard candies our way!
Anyway. Monday at breakfast I recommended to Sister McNeely that we make some new friends! We found some sisters and asked if we could sit by them. One nodded. We prayed (don’t know how I managed to remember that day.) And started in on our food. I looked up a second later only to notice the girls were speaking to each other with sign language. Seriously. How do I manage. It was cool though 🙂 also hilarious.
Monday evening when we were doing some role playing, Elder Jensen and I got paired together. Elder Rumsey had just opened a new tin of altoids (They save the old tins to use as pretend phones. Yes, they are indeed 18 year old boys.) So we each took one (altoid). We both commented on how this batch was particularly minty. It was kind of getting to that time of night so for some unknown reason that was funny to us. But we got over it and started some “How to begin teaching” practice. We did just fine for a few minutes but then I breathed in through my mouth and felt the coolness and lost it! Not even funny, I know. But the breath had just reminded me of the excessively flavorful altoid and it seemed super hilarious. See, this is what constant spirituality does to people. Beware.
June 23, 2015–Day 7
Tuesday we ran stairs in class. We were all super tired so Brother Nielson all of a sudden started racing up and down. It was pretty great! We were all asleep again a few minutes later though. Okay, not really. We just sort of WISHED we were asleep. No, not even that. Bro Nielson is way too knowledgable and intriguing to make a class sleep.
We also got to wear pants! Which was cool. Other than the reason we were wearing pants was to clean the showers. Ick.
Later we went to the Tuesday devotional. Everyone was excited because ALL of the apostles are here now for the new mission president seminar. I thought we were going to be run over by mormon fan girls. But then it just turned out to be a member of the seventy. I know……such a bummer. The devotional was all right, but the awesomeness for me was actually before the meeting had officially started. This week is the anniversary of Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, so we sang hymns about him while waiting to begin. Obviously, Praise to the Man was among them. All of the verses were good and powerful, but when we started the last verse something changed. It might have been that they added some girth and depth to the organ’s part, but it was more powerful than just that. No matter the case, the change was literally tangible. You could hear it and you could feel it. I had chills everywhere. I hadn’t been cold before and I wasn’t cold after either. It was the most beautiful thing. I felt a lot, but most prevalent was an over whelming sense of love and gratitude to him, Joseph Smith. I have a testimony of him. He gave up so much, endured so much, and provided so much for us. I’m sure it’s a sacrilege or something, but I like to say hi to him in my prayers every now and again. I feel his power. It’s not that I didn’t believe before, just that I really believe now.
Another tender mercy. . . We’ve been drinking a lot of water. It’s kind of become our new habit since we can’t check phones and so I kind of have to use the bathroom a lot. You know because my bladder’s the size of my pinky finger. Sister McNeely told me I’d better not have to go during the devotional because. . . . . So I prayed. It was a lot to ask because I already had to go a little when it started, but I made it through! GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS, Y’ALL. THE CHURCH IS TRUE.
June 24, 2015–Day 8
At lunch I forgot to get water. So I asked Elder Jensen, who was getting up, to grab me a glass. No ice, of course. Instead, Elder Rumsey handed me his, which had ice. He then proceeded to spoon it all out for me. I Love my elders! Did I mention we’re starting an a capella group? We’re cool.
Sad story yesterday, we had to skip gym yesterday to do laundry. It was kind of perfect timing though because the gym is closed since it’s been converted to a cafeteria (All of 1M is closed for the mission president seminar) AND our time slot was 3:30-4:20 p.m. So it probably would’ve been 97 degrees anyway. All right, point of the story. . . . Laundry was a party! I Love how our district sticks together even when we don’t have to. I love them bunches. Big bunches. Anyway, while waiting for our stuffs to be done, we had a little bonding session. A past-life pow-wow, if you will. We talked about our hopes, dreams, fears. It was pretty great. A few of the elders have girls. Rumsey’s “girl,” we just discovered, is his cousin. Don’t worry, they’re not romantic, thank goodness! He just neglected to tell us for a few days. . . .
In class we were role playing follow ups and what to do if an investigator fails to keep a comittment. Sister McNeely and I were paired with the trio (Jensen, Wescott, Matson). She was the failee, I was observing. In Preach My Gospel it says (actually I think it’s a quote from Holland maybe) that we first need to show our devastation, then proceed to help and invite them to do whatever the comittment was with you. We started and the elders asked her if she’d read the chapter they’d assigned in the Book of Mormon. She answered saying no. And Elder Jensen, along with the others, just stared. It was truly terrifying. Then we died with laughter. Brother Nielson came over to us and clarified: Don’t ACT devastated. BE devastated. I don’t even know what Elder Jensen was going for, but is certainly wasn’t correct! I was genuinely scared for my life for a few moments. It’s probably one of those things you have to experience in order for it to be funny. . . . .which is really a bummer. It still makes me laugh every time I think about it.
June 25, 2015–Day 9 P-day!
Oh, where to begin. Lets just say that I doubt I’ll have a P-day in the next 18 months that is close to topping this one. We started at the temple which was great. They played Come Thou Fount during the prelude in the chapel and I couldn’t help but feel it was a little ode to our squad. It’s been our song of choice since day one! Anyway, I really loved it. There was just something about being together with all of my district in the session that brought an awesome spirit. It was like we were communicating and being with them without any actual interaction. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that we’re all currently unified in purpose. We have the same goals and plans and excitement and anxiety. I’m sad that we only got the one time to have that experience together. I know there will be other districts and all, but still. You know I’m bad (practically incapable) of letting people go and saying goodbye.
We got back and emailed. It was nice. Then lunch. It was nice. Then I wrote this letter for 2 hours. It was nice. Then we went for a special visit from a new mission president. We were all pretty bummed to sacrifice 2 more hours of our P-day, but I think it was worth it.
What I realized more than ever is that I need to give God more credit. Someone mentioned in the discussion that willingness to listen is in and of itself a manifestation that they have felt some form of the spirit. So, basically, I feel the Spirit all the time! I’ve just got to hone in on how and be more ready to attribute it to God rather than myself. I mean God has blessed us with minds and consciences of our own, but I really, I guess, need to work on accepting just how involved He is in the things we think and feel and do. I am slowly but surely learning to humble myself in that respect. Giving credit to God, like lots of other spiritual things, is a choice. And I’m seeing now more than before WHY I should choose this way. Whether it be direct or indirect (in my opinion, the more common of the two), God is involved. In all of our lives, all of the time.
All right, so we were supposed to get some free time after that, right? Well guess what. We didn’t. Instead, they called an emergency meeting for all the sisters right at 4 p.m. to tell us we were moving. APPARENTLY there were bat sightings in 17M (our residence) so they shipped us out. Yes. I had to pack, relocate, and unpack with 3 days left to go. And here’s another kicker! The new building has one door, and NO elevator. So we all rallied together to get everyone moved into their new rooms in 98 degree weather and no elders to assist us. Yup. We’re pretty awesome. It really was an adventure. BUT. We missed our member lesson because of it. And then we went straight to class after. Some P-day, right? We didn’t even get to wear pants. . . .
We were all pretty exhausted, and feeling deprived of free time, but once we got to class, the entire evening was just going up and up and up!
Sister McNeely and I role played with Elders Clare and Rumsey. Brother Nielson observed. I was acting Alydia from “The District,” which was great because I’m pretty sure if I was an investigator, then I would be her. She is me. I’ll spare you all the details but just know, it was flawless. My district is the Best district. Have I said that already ;)? Then we swapped and Elder Rumsey was the male version. Al. I was nervous to follow them up, but we rocked it! I do need to work on eye contact though. Which I know has to do with confidence and insecurity. Elder Rumsey really helped me with it though. He said that clearly I was in tune with the spirit–so it hardly mattered that I was searching for the word somewhere in the corners of the room—it had power and spirit regardless. I’m not trying to be boastful, it was just something I really needed to hear. I’ve needed that affirmation lately (and always) because they’re always saying that the spirit is the only Real teacher. So I’ve been worried sick that I was going to be a flop my entire mission since I didn’t know or think that I had(have) it. I’m so grateful for his assurance because it means that just because I’m not sure I’m feeling it, doesn’t mean that others aren’t. It’s like in 3 Nephi 9:20. It’s in the email, but it makes a little more sense with this context. . . so look it up!
Then we taught our P.I. (practice investigator), Levi (Bro Nielson) and totally kerdunked (committed to be baptized) him. We just went with the flow the entire lesson following no plan at all. It was wonderful. Like I said, I’m definitely beginning to feel it. Little by Little by Little.
Then we made megabed back in our residence by pushing the bunks together. I like this room so much better! We stayed up way too late, and were probably way too loud, but I’m also completely unregretful, so. . . . whoops. It was a good night. At one point, Sis McNeely was talking about how she was never going to fall asleep. I responded with “Eh, give it 5 minutes and you’ll be cold.” Left out the “out” part, so. . . . . it was kind of hysterical. You know, slightly.
June 26, 2015–Day 10
So that’s all! I know it’s long and pointless and probably completely unentertaining for you all, but I enjoyed writing it. I Love Love Love it here! It makes me tear up whenever I really think about leaving, but I know I’m going to love it out there even more. Two more days, yo, and I’m shipping out! Hope to hear from you all:) I’ll send pictures when I can.
Love you, Mom! Tell Chickie thanks for the letter she emailed me. I printed it off. Also, Barbara’s was perfect. I didn’t have time to get back to either of them, just make sure they know how much I appreciated their thoughts and love:)
p.s. Thanks for the sweet notes from Emma and Dad and you. They were wonderful. Dad is wise like always, as are you. How are Ivie’s butt glands? and the cat? Alive?
Preach My Gospel is a church reference guide/book used as a training manual for missionaries and anyone else wanting to preach the gospel.
For those of you who are wondering what the hymn Praise to the Man sounds like, I hope you listened. It’s incredible.
Also, Ivie is our black lab who was a little smellie not too long ago. After a trip to the vet her “butt” glands are fine. And, we are currently living with Anastasia our 17 year old cat who we hope will still be with us upon Aubrey’s return. As could be expected Aubrey cried while saying goodbye to the cat the day we took her to the MTC (Mission Training Center).
Aubrey will be unable to view this blog until her return, but know that I will forward your posted comments. She will enjoy knowing that someone is following her adventures. Your comments are greatly appreciated.