Monday, April 21, 2014

transfers and stuff


I'm pretty sure that every sentence in this email is going to end in an exclamation point.(!)  

Transfer news!!  On Friday I went on exchanges in Toronto.  I told S. Zerkle afterwards that I wanted to get transferred to Toronto and be on the buses... and then added in- jokingly- because I didn't think it was possible- in a YSA ward!!  President Scott called at about 10:15 and said that 6 of the 8 Sister Training Leaders are scheduled to go home all in the same transfer as me.. so he released me as a Sister Training Leader.  And guess what!  My new companion and I are opening up a new area in the new downtown Toronto YSA branch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Sister Howle is my new companion.  I have no idea who she is.  She's been out one transfer, and so I get to follow-up train her.  In Toronto YSA South!  My life is so good!!!!!  In addition to all the amazingness.. some of my recent converts go to this branch now- plus lots of my Churchville friends from back in the good ol days.  I'm so stinking excited.  

Also exciting news, Sister FELIX is the new Sister Training Leader, and is Sister Zerkle's new companion.  She'll do so good.  :]

Other things that happened this week were:

-Sister Zerkle and I have been praying like crazy to find new people to teach.  Yesterday at the end of sacrament meeting a member who was in the foyer came and got us and said there was a lady who had some questions.  She told us that she didn't not like her Roman Catholic church, she was just looking for a change and was wondering if we could give her some information about meeting times.  We gave her a church tour while teaching her the Restoration.  She's incredible.  She doesn't believe in drinking or smoking and she really wants kids, but she believes that kids should be raised in a home with a mom and dad that are married and in love- and she's never found anyone who has the same standards as her.  Holy Toledo!  (Sidenote: We were talking about the Family Proclamation that is hanging next to the Family History Centre, and a kid came screaming down the hall... followed by his mother in a full sprint... who yelled "I WILL TACKLE YOU!!!!" as she passed us.)  

-We served at the soup kitchen.  It was a blast.  Most of the people were very grateful- and one told me that I was his soul mate.  Flattering.

-We met an old man in the elevator.  He told me that I had a very nice smile.  I told him that my teeth were just too big to fit in my mouth.  He laughed and said.. "You took the words out of my mouth.  I was just about to say you had really big teeth!!"

-Sister Zerkle and I watched 'Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration' in bed the other night after planning.  I realized that I need to testify of Joseph Smith more, but I know for sure that he was as prophet.  

...I am so grateful for the opportunity that I've had to serve as a Sister Training Leader.  I've been able to go on over 100 exchanges and serve with almost 80 sisters!  Of all the things I've learned (and I've learned A LOT) I think that the one that stands out the most is that "Charity Never Faileth" is a true statement.  It's not just a slogan or theme, but it's a divine promise. 

Elder Eyring said, "Let the weight of your innocence be felt as you lovingly motivate others to good works.  With your mind so attuned to the Lord and his power, your influence for good becomes immeasurably great."

I know that we can all have an influence for good on others if we lovingly motivate, uplift, and encourage.  

I love being a missionary.  I'm so excited to go to Toronto!!  TTC here I come!!

Love you!!!!  Make it a great week!!

Love, Sister Waldron

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Easter!

Hi lovelies.  

Weird story.  So the other day, Sister Ogden and I were eating supper in the Primary room (that's not the weird part- that's a common occurrence in the life of a missionary.) and they have a bulletin board of all the kids from the ward who are serving missions.  So I was looking at the pictures, and low and behold, there with Elder Adodo was Mitch Bowles.  Crazy how small the world is.  

This week was.. I don't even know.  Crazy, I guess.  We went on 3 exchanges.  One of which was with Sister Harris!  My MTC companion!  It was a blast!  Sister Zerkle got to go on an exchange with Sister Felix.  She said that me and her must've gotten along so well because we both have old souls..  her old soul is comparative to Grandmother Willow's... and my old soul is comparative to the crazy old lady on Princess Bride.  I was flattered. :]

Yesterday Bishop invited Sister Zerkle and I, and the other 4 Elders serving in our ward to visit with him in his office about helping members do missionary work.  He's an awesome guy.  One of the goals that we made was to read from Preach My Gospel with members every time we share a spiritual thought with them.  As we were talking he said something that stood out to me.  He said that faithful members of the church do the big things.  There's no second thoughts about preparing/teaching lessons, coming to extra meetings, setting up young women activities weekly, teaching with the missionaries, organizing the primary program... but in the busyness of the big things- we can often neglect the little things.  And there's too much at stake to neglect the little things.  Just like Alma 37:6-7 says.. it's through small and simple means that God fulfills His purpose.. and that's how He has set up our path back to Him.  Simplicity!

I'm sorry to hear about Aunt Phyllis.  But I know what President Uchtdorf said in General Conference is true: "Endings are not our destiny...The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful." 

Why are endings not our destiny?  Because of Christ. :] Here's a great Easter video.  I hope you watch it and share it with someone else!

I love you lots!!!  Take care and hear from you soon!

Love, Sister Aubrie

PS. I still haven't heard what any of you have learned from Preach My Gospel studies, so I'm following up again. (Ahem, CONNOR)

Monday, April 7, 2014

I Must Serve Until I'm Safely Dead


I hope you enjoyed General Conference.  It was so good. :]  So...have you learned anything cool from Preach My Gospel lately? 

I've gained such a testimony of the order of the speakers- the talks that our investigators need to hear, are always given at the session that they need to attend.  For example:  
1. We are teaching a 17 year old boy named Tyler.  He has a rough life surrounded by less than righteous influences.  He came to the Saturday Morning session which focused mainly on the youth and being strong in your beliefs a midst adversity.  
2. Rob, the one I told you about last week, was sick on Saturday, but he made it out for both sessions yesterday.  We had a lesson between sessions and he told us about some of the things he's been struggling with and some questions he's been having.  We might have just been cheating our way out of resolving his concerns, but we just promised him that he would find his answer as he listened to the afternoon session. (You can put your money on the prophet!!)  And guess what.. he found his answer! 

Last night we taught a man that went on and on and on about how there's not a prophet on the earth today.  Brigham Young said, "More people have obtained a testimony while standing up trying to bear it than down on their knees praying for it."  I'm grateful for opportunities to have my testimony tested.  We listened to the prophet, then got to testify of him.  Win, win.

You know how every once and a while God tries to teach you something with no subtly at all?  That happened yesterday.  The importance of giving loving service really stood out to me in the Saturday sessions of conference.  In PMG I was at Laws and Ordinances about service.  Then in my Book of Mormon reading I was in Mosiah chapter something that I don't remember and it mentioned 4 or 5 times how the people had a desire to serve God with all their hearts and keep His commandments.  Then when we read in the Missionary Handbook for companion study we were on the section about service!!  

So yesterday I tried to be very aware of the service that others give.  Holy Toledo- the chapel wreaked with service.  And all the acts of service I saw were small and simple and for the most part unthanked and unrecognized.  I think that I serve- but most the time I don't think that it's deliberate.  So that's my new goal.  Deliberately keep my covenants by deliberately observing then serving.  The small, simple, unthanked, unrecognized stuff.  I'm excited.  

"As true disciples, may we offer our willing hearts and our helping hands to hasten His work... It does not matter if we are not yet perfect and complete. We are devoted disciples who reach out and help each other along the way. Our sisterhood reaches across the generations to those faithful sisters who have walked before. Together, as sisters and in unity with living prophets, seers, and revelators with restored priesthood keys, we can walk as one, as disciples, as servants with willing hearts and hands to hasten the work of salvation. As we do so, we will become like the Savior." -Linda K. Burton

I love you lots and lots and lots!!!  The church is true.

Love, Sister Aubrie

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It Might be Spring!

Some things that I like about being a missionary:
-Ornery, old, less active German men who make you promise that you'll get married in the temple. (Why are my best friends always over the age of 65?)
-Little girls put on their best dresses for when the sister missionaries come over for dinner and curtsy as you walk in the door, and giggle when you curtsy back.
-50% of the middle aged convert women joined the church because of Donny Osmond.

A man named Rob was baptized in Etobicoke yesterday, but he recently moved to Oshawa so we get to teach him the new member lessons.  He's really cool and one of those people who has been physically changed by the gospel.  We asked him if he's seen any differences since he's started meeting with the missionaries.  He said, "Well one of my friends commented on my FB photo: 'You don't look evil anymore.'" .. That's always a bonus.  The gospel changes lives and countenances.  

The main thing I learned this week is that THE TEMPLE IS THE PLACE.  I have missed the temple so much.  The fact that I haven't been in a year combined with the new video resulted in me learning sooo much.  I got to see Sister Miles and the Robinson's.  I love my mission family outside of the temple, but inside it's amplified.  The temple followed up with the Women's meeting about covenants made for a pretty good Saturday.

Oshawa is this crazy place where 15 people start walking toward the stand in fast and testimony meeting way before the Bishop says 'amen'. My favorite testimony yesterday was from a 10 year old autistic boy.  He said, "We all know that the world is ending soon...  If anyone is excited to see Jesus I am.  I'm excited to see Jesus so that He can heal my eye.  All I can see out of it is blurry colors and I know He'll fix it for me."

So yeah. I love the gospel.  It heals people.  All people.  Rob who has a past of drugs and violence.  Sister Waldron who is a missionary.  And Caleb who is 10 and wants to see out of both eyes.  :]

I love ya!! Have a fun spring break!  Do good and be good. :]

Love, Sister Aubrie Rose

"As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, ours is a ministry of healing, with a duty to bind the wounds and ease the pain of those who suffer. Upon a world afflicted with greed and contention, upon families distressed by argument and selfishness, upon individuals burdened with sin and troubles and sorrows, I invoke the healing power of Christ, giving my witness of its efficacy and wonder. I testify of Him who is the great source of healing. He is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, “The Sun of Righteousness,” who came “with healing in his wings.” -Gordon B. Hinckley

Monday, March 24, 2014

Know Your Relationship with God. Know Your Covenants. Be an Agent. Charmed Life.

Dear family,

First of all- that video Connor made is incredible.  I loved it!  Good luck with the play, Conrizzle!!

Alrighty.  Are you ready?  This weekend hasn't fully sunk in yet- but here we go.

At the beginning of the week we saw lots of miracles (and disasters).  One of the miracles was meeting a Chinese man with absolutely no concept of God named Ming. During our second lesson we had a conversation that went like this:

Ming: Zerkle? Do you remember when you asked if I believe in God?
S. Zerkle: Yes.
Ming: Well I don't. ... ... Will you help me change my mind?
-He then took diligent notes as we discussed prayer, reading the Book of Mormon, and coming to church. 

Now fast forward to Saturday morning.  We were instructed that no one was to visit inside the church building- so it was as silent and reverent as the temple waiting room.  I wish I could tell you ALL the details- but that would take awhile.  I'll just say that it was a sacred experience to be taught by an apostle of the Lord with my entire Canada Toronto Mission family.
Elder Bednar is awesome.  He's hilarious!  The meeting was about being agents.  Acting and not being acted upon.  And treating our investigators as agents, and not acting upon them as if they were objects.  
Other things:
-There is power in the consistency of character.
-WE are not hastening the work.  The LORD is hastening HIS work.  The question is: Will we keep up?
-Just be good on your own. Don't aspire to leadership positions.  Leaders are constrained to be good.  
-And mainly: looking inward gets in the way of the work.  Look outward and GET OUT OF THE WAY.

He asked what we learned from the talks we had read- and we discussed them.  Then he told us that we could ask questions- and emphasized that we will never again have the opportunity to ask a panel consisting of one of the 12 apostles (one of only 15 men on earth that holds all the priesthood keys), a member of the presiding bishopric, and 2 members of the 70.  I decided I would regret it forever if I didn't ask what I've been thinking about for quite awhile- so I gulped, put my hand in the air, Elder Bednar called on me, some force greater than myself helped me to stand up and ask my question, and the scariest part was that rather than address the general congregation with the answer he looked me in the eye- for a solid 5 minutes (it felt like 20)- and we talked about it.  WOW is all I can say.  My question was about developing the self discipline to remember Christ always like it talks about in the sacrament prayers.  In essence he said that it's not about self discipline- it's about covenants.  Keeping our baptismal and temple covenants to take Christ's name upon us and ACT as HE would ACT.  To ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK.  And to take Christ's yoke upon us.  And a bunch more stuff.  Then he extended an invitation to me.  He said to get a paperback Book of Mormon and read it from the first to last page looking for the answer to this question: "How do my covenants help me remember the Saviour always?" When I finish, review what I learned, type up a one page summary, glue it in the front, glue the question on the spine of the book, put it on a bookshelf, and then come up with a new question and do it again...and again..and again.  One day- I'll tell you more about it.  I live a charmed life.

Mainly, every question that was asked could be answered by one very crucial and significant point: knowing our relationship with Heavenly Father.  

Towards the end of the meeting Elder Bednar was asking questions about what we were learning.  One Elder raised his hand and was called on.  Now picture the most humble Elder you can imagine.  He's a convert from the Philippines who has been out about 2 months.  His family does not have money or vast opportunities or really anything temporally.  This Elder desires to do nothing more than just be good.  He explained to E. Bednar that he felt extremely guilty because he wanted to give him a good answer about what he had learned from his talks but he couldn't think of anything to say.  And it made him feel really bad- but he had read another one of E. Bednar's talks called "Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary" that E. Bednar had closed by saying he wished he could pat all the missionaries on the back and tell them they could do it.  So in this Elder's broken English that he learned in the MTC he asked E. Bednar through his tears if he would pat him on the back and tell him he could do it.  Without hesitation Elder Bednar said, "Sure."  He then walked off of the stand, right over to this Elder and hugged him.  He then held the Elder's shoulders and said, "The Lord has sent me to Toronto to tell you that you can do it.  And He will help you.  I love you."

I think that's a lot like what our relationship with Heavenly Father is like. I wish you could've been here.

That afternoon we had a lesson with Ming.  We read about King Lamoni's father.  He read King Lamoni's response about the great spirit creating all things, contemplated it, and said- "I believe that something created all things.  I believe it was God.  I believe in God."


Ming was very excited for church.  His first time at church!  Every missionary's dream is for an apostle to speak at your investigator's first sacrament meeting. :]  It was an INCREDIBLE meeting.  We were sitting on Marv's bench, right by the back door.  When the meeting was over Elder and Sister Bednar exited on our side and as they left they shook 3 people's hands: Ming's hand, Sister Zerkle's hand, and my hand.  Bah!  We had a lesson directly afterwards and we asked Ming what he thought.  His words: "I feel so lucky to shake a prophet's hand.  I believe it is God telling me that he loves me and that I am special because he let me shake a prophet's hand."
So that was my weekend.  I don't understand in the slightest why I live such a charmed life.  But I do.  Stay tuned for next weekend when I get to go to the temple.

I love you!!!!!!!!

Love, Sister Aubrie

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Shaw

I love it here.  All of their investigators dropped the sisters like 3 days before I came- so we're starting fresh.  It's always good to do a bit of deep cleaning. 

Oshawa is one of Toronto's outlying cities- I think it's still considered part of the Greater Toronto Area- so it's still pretty suburbian which I'm happy about.  Lots of the towns we go on exchanges to are out in the bush so we get the best of both worlds.  We serve in the north, which is the nicer part of town- but there's still plenty of subsidized housing. :]

The ward here is wonderful.  They pray for the missionaries by name in sacrament meeting!!  After Elder Bednar's Saturday meetings, he's coming to Oshawa on Sunday for a special stake meeting.  How lucky am I!! 

Sister Zerkle:
She's the coolest.  She's from Las Vegas.  She's the oldest of 10 kids.  Her dad is an atheist and her mom is a member.  Her brother just got back from Oklahoma- does Dusty know an Elder Zerkle? She grew up racing dirt bikes and even worked in the mines after high school- so it's not surprising that she's by far the hardest working companion I've had. She came out the transfer after me and was trained by Sister DeGroot!  She's spent the majority of her mission in downtown Toronto where everyone is insane so she tells me good stories and we laugh a lot. 

More good news:
So.. I thought that I wasn't going to get to go to the temple.. but they moved the boundary so that Oshawa can now go!!  Yippee!!  Elder Bednar.  Temple.  General Conference.  My life can not be bettered. 

Some bad news:
The weather has been playing tricks on us.  On Tuesday I wore a JACKET to proselyte- on Wednesday we went outside to exercise and then when we went back out after studies... there was a fresh foot of snow!!  It was a joyous occasion.  Not. 

Lots of my studies have been focused on faith lately, and I'm starting to understand it a teensy bit better.  It really is a cycle.  It starts with a desire to believe that leads to action that leads to evidence that leads to increased faith and assurance.. which leads to more action. We talk to so many people who believe that accepting Christ in your heart is all you have to do.  That's why I love this poem.  It's a Bro. Marv poem: 

Believing is nothing, if nothing is done.
In getting to heaven you follow the Son.
To follow a leader, you do what is said,
faith without works is nothing but dead.
Satan knows Jesus, believes in Him too.
So what is the difference between Satan and you?
Believe in the Savior, but always recall,
faith is important, but sure isn't all.
-Wes Stephenson 

I love you!!!  Make it a great week!!  Be happy!!

Love, Sister Aubrie

Monday, March 10, 2014

March Madness

The title of this email is not exaggerating in the least.  March is going to be crazy!.. Crazy awesome that is! 

1. Tomorrow: Elder Fielding called to tell us that we have transfer news. :(  ... I'm super sad to leave Sister Sorensen.. but I'm super excited because I'm going to Oshawa!!  Right on the lake. I'll get to go on exchanges in all the northwest sister areas of the mission.  My new companion is Sister Zerkle.  Sister Zerkle is the first person I ever went on exchanges with.  It's going to be good.  Sister Sorensen's new companion is Sister Edwards!! 

2. 22 March: (this is really number one but we'll go in chronological order) Elder Bednar, Elder Soares, and Bishop Davies are coming to our mission!!!!  At zone conference we were asked to diligently study 3 talks by Elder Bednar: "Seek Learning by Faith", "Ask in Faith", and "Converted Unto the Lord"... they're all really good if you want to read them.  The spirit is going to be incredible not only because of our guests, but also because it will be the first time in history the whole mission is under one roof.  President Scott also told us at zone conference if we aren't spiritually prepared, or in the right mind set, then to please not come.  This is serious business. 

3. 29 March: First ever Women's General Meeting! (This is also the mission temple trip date.. but of course I see the temple everyday for 4 months and then leave right before I can go inside!).. and then it's general conference.  Life is so good. :] 

Don't worry.. I'm taking March day by day.. especially since it's warming up.  Single digit negatives!  Woo! Sister Sorensen and I even went outside for exercise on Saturday.  That's a miracle in itself. 

..I'm really happy to be a missionary and learn all that I get to learn.  One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Chronicles 28:9-10...
"And thou, [Sister Waldron my daughter], know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to [serve a mission]: be strong, and do it." 

Over and over I ask myself and missionaries around me how we can develop a closer relationship to the Savior and be the missionaries we need to be.  This scripture tells us.  It takes our heart, our will, and our determination to seek, take heed, and do.  

Lori used to tell us all the time at softball practice that skills are important.  If you don't have the fundamentals there's very little you can do.  But skills can only take you so far.  Lots of people have 'skill'.  The key to true success is playing with heart.  And when you're absolutely exhausted you pull some more heart out of your back pocket and you keep going.  You might win if you rely on your skills- but you will have truly succeeded if you play with heart.  Same thing goes for missionary work.  Skills are important.  The fundamentals are crucial.  But when all is said and done, we are successful missionaries when we serve with a "perfect heart and with a willing mind."  And when the Lord asks us to do hard things (most of the things that He asks of us are hard) we just "be strong, and do it." That's what makes the difference. 

I love you lots and lots and lots!  Have a wonderful, marvelous week!!  I hope you get to wear capris!! :] 

Love, Sister Aubrie