July 13, 2015

Jacob Henze! Aww that kid is the best. And Mels, too, of course:)

And congrats on the pasta salad, I’m sad I wasn’t there to experience it! But don’t worry, I’ve got carbs for days around here. Sister Smith and I have to dejunk our fridge on a daily basis. Rice. Pork. Beef. Chicken. Rice. Three dozen eggs. Juice for days. They buy us groceries AND give us dinner. It’s crazy. Crazier still, though: who woulda thought you could go an entire two weeks in Hawai’i without seeing even a slice of pineapple?

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Make sure Dad knows that I have my medal hanging on the bulletin board in my room.

Ugh, why do I always want to cry.

So Sister Smith is from the wonderful land of Utah. Completely unheard of, right? She’s a sweet thing and although the friendship has been slow in coming, we do have some pretty classic moments every now and again! She, like Elder Rumsey (Baby booth’s doppleganger) from the MTC, has 2 goats back home! When I found that out, it really made me miss my MTC elders again.  The other morning we ran for an entire 13 minutes. I don’t know how far it was. She walks while I run ahead and then once I get too far I sprint back to her. The original interval training, folks. It’s good, but a solid, set workout plan (Please, Nicolle?) might be a little more reliable at this point. Make sure to give Kaden a giant hug from me! And also apologize because I definitely brought his sweatshirt out here to Hawai’i. Some people are weird and told me it gets cold.

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Anyway, the very day that Sis Smith and I became companions was her 9 month mark so she’s now more than halfway through.

Annnnnd I’ve nearly been out a whole month. Craaaazy, I know.  Don’t get me wrong, the whole mission thing is really great, but I’m still very anxiously waiting for the day when I no longer have the desire to count the days until I can come back home to you all. I have faith that it is coming!  And then once it does, I’ll get to be a whole new sort of sad.  Life’s pretty messed up, isn’t it.

The mesh garments are fine, but the seams are itchy on my back, and it’s honestly kind of hard to tell the difference between a 95 degree sauna and a 90 degree sauna, so I’ll just keep the G’s I already have:).

So what exactly happened this week? Well, the work is picking up speed, so that’s good, and also time is moving a little quicker too, I think, so that makes me a little ecstatic.

I wrote a letter that I’ll send out later today about Keesha.  She was one of my godsends for the week. She’s been a member since she was fourteen.  She is me.  Or, I guess more like a thoroughly ponderous, very articulate and expressive me.  You know, the person I’ve always wished I was.  Still though.  Me.  She has a limitless supply of questions, and I am so excited because for the first time in my life my skepticality is an undeniable strength.  It was a miracle.  She completely opened up to us mere seconds after we knocked on the door.  Every sentence she spoke brought story (my own and yours) and scripture to mind.  AGH, there was so much I could say!  It was overwhelming but also so completely exciting.  My hands were shaking with the adrenaline of it all.  I wish I could explain the encounter and do it justice.  There’s just too much substance.  But know this:  The Book of Mormon is truly infallible.  I’ve felt that before, but her questions very nearly proved it today.  And, as always, my testimony that God knows us continues to thrive.

No new marvelous revelation here:  I struggle.  I am probably the most bipolar believer you will ever know.  This morning I told Sister Smith that if I wasn’t Mormon, I’d probably be athiest.  Honestly for every 40 seconds I spend out here as a faithful mormon missionary there are 20 seconds spent doubting–but then I sane-up and attribute that to how much I miss home.  I guess what I’m trying to say is, the days are still long–I still don’t ever want to take my shoes off–my pad is still 89 degrees–the ants are eating the cockroaches–I still feel like I can’t breathe right–I still haven’t eaten any pineapple, and I still start to cry every time I think of home.

But God is good.  And thank goodness He’s patient, too, or I would’ve been damned a long time ago.  The other day during personal study, aka personal struggle, I decided it might be wise for me to try out the sort of things I’d be asking my investigators to do–which is to pray to KNOW the truth of these things having faith you will receive.  I knelt and prayed, specifically about the Book of Mormon.  So badly I wanted to magically feel or know of its reality, but alas, that sort of thing remains an impossibility for me.  But I did have a thought to just flip open my quad (scriptures) and for once it didn’t open up to the bible dictionary, topical guide, or even the pronounciation guide.  God doesn’t have time to waste, so how could I ever expect him to answer me in a way that I’ve never felt I could trust?  It doesn’t matter how badly we think we want something.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  Annoying at times, but true.  And if we’re patient enough we’ll see:  He is constantly providing–just not in the most obvious way.  He is the original gamemaker (forgive the sacrilege).   He knows our uniquities and caters to them.

For me, God has always used people.  He gave me you, my family:  the only reason I’m not dead or institutionalized.  He gave me my friends for perspective.  Strangers to unknowingly provide spontaneous, unbiased unavoidable answers to prayers.  I have always believed in people.  Believing in and loving people is the reason I want to be home.  But it’s also the reason I have to be here.

Tell BJ, There are Marshallese people everywhere around here!  We meet several a day.  They’re so sweet.  Also the Chuukese. I swear, they’re never not smiling.  Maybe send me a list of greetings in all of the island languages.  A familiar hello is the best conversation starter. 🙂

Fa’a se fua (Goodbye in Samoan. More or less.), Aubrey

Ps. I have a question. Everyone out here, yes, everyone, believes in God and practically everything else we share with them. That’s not our struggle. The struggle is finding support for organized religion. I tried thinking about it myself, but I had to stop before the panic set in. Some input would be appreciated.

It’s weird.  Under no circumstances would I put up with the heat and sweat back in the mainland.  Here, since there’s not really another option, you kind of stop noticing it and just endure.  I’ve often slept with my window open in the middle of the winter.  Now 85° is refreshing enough.  God blesses His missionaries.

3 Nephi 26:9-11   And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.  And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation. Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying:  I will try the faith of my people.

Oh, and a confession. When Sister Mayfield called to tell me about my Dentist’s appointment and how you’d emailed her a list of all the places that accepted our insurance, I had a complete breakdown. Why do you have to be perfect, mom? Who else would do that. No one. So, so, so homesick.  But Elder Tavita gave me a blessing, so I’m good now.  Well, OKAY now. You know. Anyway, I love you a lot. Bye.

Editor’s note:  The medal Aubrey is talking about was received when she ran the half marathon in Provo on June 13 just days before entering the MTC.  Her father Brett, sister Kate and brother-in-law Scott Anderson all ran it together.  I have promised her not to publish any photos of the event which has been a struggle.   I constantly want to go back on my promise.  (How awful is that?)  I will remain strong unless she gives me the okay.  The medal is a reminder that she can do hard things.

Also, FYI, we received a letter from her mission president on Friday 7/17.  This letter, sent out to all parents of missionaries serving in the Hawai’i Honolulu mission, is a plea for all parents, family, friends, ward members, etc. (the list is quite extensive) to refrain from visiting their missionary.  He says, “Our missionaries face a difficult challenge.  While many may half-jokingly remark that a mission in Hawaii is a prolonged vacation, the realities are that the beauty of this place is both a blessing and a curse.  The streets are filled with people in recreation apparel and the atmosphere is often one of distraction. . .Hawaii is among the worlds’ most sought after vacation spots.  We regularly hear from those requesting addresses and phone numbers of missionaries so they can “just say hi” or take them to lunch, dinner, church meeting, sightseeing….”  Bottom line, we have been urged not to plan any vaction trip to Hawaii while our missionary is serving there and if we do, to avoid contact with our missionary.  He (Pres. Warner) further states that “Experience has proved these visits to be uniformly adverse to the best interests of the missionary.  The missionary frequently loses the Spirit in his or her work.  The companion of the missionary is also adversely affected, sometimes even more dramatically.”

Apparently this is a considerable problem.  That being said, be wise and careful–and be good.

You’ll notice it has taken me a week to get this post published.  Aubrey sends out her email and a handwritten letter which arrives a few days later.  The posts are a compilation of both.  Yes, you can tell she’s an English/writing major and probably puts most other missionaries to shame with the amount of info and honesty she provides.  Having a sister missionary is SO different than an elder missionary (no disrespect to her brother). Thank you for your comments on Facebook as well as here on the blog.  I will continue to make sure Aubrey gets them.

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