Maunawili Mud

26 April 2016

Hi mom!

I know. I cannot believe Sister Smith is dead (gone home)! I’ve been mourning all week long. For real it is so confusing. She was barely half way when she started training me!

So nice to see Abigail’s sweet face again. 🙂

And funny story, Amelia is definitely engaged as of a few weeks ago! I guess she’s just been holding off on the Facebook official part. I am infinitely happy for them! But also freaking out some because, uhhhh life is weird.

Happy Em is going to prom. 🙂 Sounds like Tyler is pretty cool. Also sounds like he didn’t think it all through, but hey, high school is for learning. I sent her a note, but I’ll say it to you as well. I don’t think it will be very fun to dance without any hair movement. For me, at least (Jokes, I don’t even know what dancing is anymore). Anyway, Emma might be different. But it’s just a thought!

Praying for Robert and for Kate and for Emma. Each for their own respective endeavors. You and Dad, too. So happy the family is thriving! I was kind of caught off guard when I realized that I’d get to video call you all so soon. Strange the way time passes.

So sorry to hear about Aunt Martha, but I’m happy we will be able to visit her, too, when we go to visit our other family each Memorial day. (Tangent: Cemeteries in Hawai’i are so awesome. Always covered in colorful flowers and people having barbecues with their deceased loved ones. It’s so nice because they’re in no way sad or eerie. Very lively 24/7/365. I don’t know where the mainland got their graveyard practices, but they should really adopt some new ones.

When did this whole Ivie-sleeping-on-the-bed thing break out? (Another tangent: Lokahi’s Dog, Winter. Sooooo spoiled! In the best possible way you can spoil a dog, I mean.)

All this, and I’m still stressing over what things I’m going to write to you about my week.

We had a lesson in the YSA branch on Sunday that revolved greatly around 2 Nephi 31:20 and in the most classic Hawaiian talkative sort of way we somehow ended speaking about how we should pay great attention to themes that recur throughout our lives. Oft times, it is God at work. This, for me, is the surest part of my testimony’s foundation. Again, Patterns. Sister Biggs and I line up often; I swear I’m calling synchronicity right and left. And this morning I finally verbalized to myself and to her that the reason we as missionaries notice so many is that every theme in the gospel is a common, recurring theme.

Still, there are some that stand out more than others and for me, the past few days the theme has been “divine.” Divine love; divine calling; divine knowledge; divine people, places and things. I think that sums it up well. All the ups and downs of a mission, no matter how far up or how far down, the experience is in the moment, and I know always will be, something to be considered divine. The reason it is so hard to capture and hold on to the thoughts, the feelings, the conversations of anything that is good is that it comes from a level above. They are Godly. It somehow begins to make sense to me in that way.

Something I’ve felt a lot lately is the urgency of all of this. For real, Sister Biggs and I ran across the gym last night after the YSA Basketball championship so that we could talk to this one guy before he left. Yes, we are dorks, but we try not to show it so much in public, so no need to worry, he didn’t see it all go down! Just know, that one will be a through the gate in no time.

Today the Paikuli-Strides took us up to work on the ‘aina at Maunawili. The ‘aina that the song Aloha ‘oe was written on, and the ‘aina that preserves to this day, ancient burial grounds of Hawaiian elders. The Strides lived there on the land 7 years sustaining themselves during which time four of the nine kids were born. They were, in every way, self-sustaining and completely protected from the world.

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In a nutshell, Maunawili is the Hawaii that I always imagined. Probably that many people have always imagined. Unless you’ve been a tourist only, in which case, I AM SO SORRY.

I don’t know that I will live there permanently, but I do fully intend to take at least a sabbatical at some point. The place is infinitely closer to heaven than the world we live in. Hawaiians have believed for centuries in the healing power of the mountains. I believe it, too. I don’t know if there is any known science behind it but no matter. I believe in divine logic, and I know that Maunawili mud has power. There is no possible way to spend time up there and not be affected even just by the air. It is so beautiful and 100% real, untouched Hawaii.

Life is good 🙂

Aloha, Aubrey

Editor’s note

Aubrey prepared last week’s email and forgot to press send.  Perfectly devastating for a missionary mom! I have recovered. The Teves Ohana (family) who fed them sent a text along with a lovely photo of the sisters explaining how she had forgotten.    Also, ‘aina means land or earth.

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