15 March 2016


You totally ruined it! I was going to surprise you both (meaning you) by remembering your anniversary, but then you just had to say it in your email and now I have no real proof that I actually I remembered all on my own. So bummed.

Such a big week, though, yeah? Your anniversary, my halfway mark… and that’s all I can think of at the moment, but I’m positive there are more. There’s so much going on back home and it makes my heart beat so hard to hear about it, the bad things and the good things. All of them, scary things. I had a dream the other night that I finished my mission honorably and was at home and it was completely normal and I was thinking to myself, “You know, this doesn’t mean I wasn’t a consecrated missionary, it just means I’m adaptable.” Something I’ve always felt to be true. But then over the next 14 seconds (the anxiety welling up so unexpectedly) I nearly had an in-dream panic attack because of the music and TV and everything else going on.

I still don’t know how I’ll handle going home. I imagine there will be just as much yo-yo-ing of emotion as there is out here. I’ll be just fine, and I won’t be just fine all in the same second. Kind of like Idahoan weather. Or really, Hawaiian weather. (I’m learning now that many things we think to be unique are quite universal. Take the previous example, and then if you need another: “Mormon standard time,” “Hawaiian time…” “…Human time.)”

Usually there are thoughts and feelings in my head and heart throughout the day that I keep in hopes of journaling. The trouble is that by the end of the day, my thoughts and feelings have changed upwards of a thousand times. The idea of documenting those thousand things I find far too overwhelming, this week especially, so I was happy to have the upcoming musical fireside for an excuse. Ukulele is the best therapy. For real that thing has paid itself off time and time over, and I’ve only had it since November.

We put the fireside together at the Stride’s farm as a means of fellowshipping some of their friends and for our active members to get to know the Stride kids. The focus was families, lovely and fairly nondenominational. Brother Mossman wanted us to sing “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” a lovely song. But I didn’t have any special version for it at the time, so Sister Biggs just about threw her pillow at me as I played the new “song that never ends.” We ended up merging it with “Lead Kindly Light,” though, always my favorite. And I’m glad we did because when we got to the farm I quickly realized the fireside wasn’t really meant for anyone we’d originally intended.

Musical fireside


Without official permission we invited a potential friend we’d met a few weeks ago, Liam. I’ll spare the details but the end result was ends that met.

I knew it was no coincidence that I was stubborn about including my favorite song and I knew it was no coincidence that Sister Biggs and I had been thinking more than usual about the comfort scripture in 1 Nephi 17:13. I’m not going to quote it in here now, I just want to promise you it’s always worth looking up.

1 Nephi 17:30  And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

This week was perfect because while it never was easy, many, but of course not too many times, things fell perfectly into place, just as it did on Saturday with Liam.

Harvesting cocoa at the farm



also ‘Olena aka turmeric (it’s a member of the ginger family)


There’s a sweet young family in the ward. They are, in so many respects, #goals. And I had the thought a while back to go to visit them, even though there was no particular reason to. The thought didn’t leave, and finally I added it to our daily plan for Wednesday. Wednesday is the day we did work on the farm, just small kine, in our pros (proselyting) clothes before teaching the lesson. I forgot that my hands were still dirty until we’d left, which I was thrilled for because now we had a more substantial excuse for stopping by the Eubanks home. We texted her, but no response came. Still we decided to go anyway. When we arrived she was on Facetime coordinating a family trip to Japan. Awwwwkard. We stood at the door a minute or two until the call ended and she let us in. I washed up and we stood visiting. I don’t know why we didn’t leave more quickly, though I think I know now. Her oldest, 3 hadn’t been feeling well. But I guess she’s kind of like me, so her mom wasn’t sure whether or not to believe her. A few minutes passed though and she came running, She hadn’t been making it up.

Of course my very first instincts were to turn straight for the door, and that’s exactly what I did. But God gaaaave strength, and I instead walked to the kitchen to get paper towels.


Again, I’ll spare the details, but I knew from that experience a few things:

  1. I’ve grown up a lot.
  2. Unfortunate as it outwardly seemed on behalf of both parties (us, and the mother),the timing was uncanny enough only to have been orchestrated by God.

It was so humbling and at the same time so enabling. So much coordination went into the incident, and so many were blessed and strengthened because of it. Though she very well, and understandably may have been horrified we were there at the very moment everything began to fall apart. We were also able to quickly help her piece it back together.

I knew then that God was watching out for each one of us and again that he KNOWS each one of us, so completely. He knew it’s taken me awhile to get around to believing and following that prompting. God is merciful, and if we try our best, He will work with us in spite of our weaknesses.

Other reasons I’m thankful:

  1. I still fit into 1 of the 2 pairs of pants I brought to Hawai’i with me. Score.
  2. The plants are doing well.
  3. We have an incredible ward council. It floors me every time. Allllll so missionary minded. (Thanks for supporting ward activities, mom).
  4. When Aunty Gloria (Carlile) asked us to bring our wash to dinner, I thought about protesting, but I knew it was no use. Going back to college is going to be rough.
  5. The cockroaches in the car are small cockroaches.
  6. There’s a Tammy’s Polynesian Market on the way home from the Honolulu Tabernacle. I love panipopo.
  7. I understood much of the beginning of the Samoan elder’s testimony at our meeting yesterday.
  8. The bug-spraying guy didn’t steal ALL my papayas.
  9. Brother Skonecki let us inside his house! Shoots I could write about him all day. Just know, he wasn’t joking about the drone.

Other things:

  1. Hawaiians are very open and curious about each other’s political beliefs. That made for some interesting dinners.
  2. Keikane loop. In other languages: man child loop.
  3. I refuse to have any kind of anniversary on February 14th.
  4. I finished Alma again, and it was really sad. Did you know Moroni was only 45 when he died? The exhaustion he must have felt.

Anyway, love you much. Glad Rob is okay. I’ll keep praying for everything.

Aloha, Aubrey

p.s. So sorry I didn’t tell you we weren’t emailing yesterday! Gosh, it’s like I’m an elder or something.



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