Monday, July 14, 2014

The Time is Far Spent

Dear Everybody,
Well.  This is weird.
Toronto is a sacred place.  My mission is sacred.  These experiences are sacred.
This morning I drove to Brampton and had my departing interview.  President Clayton asked me, "Sister Waldron, are you glad you decided to serve a mission?"  There's no better decision a person could make than to serve the Lord as His full-time representative.  There's is nothing in the world that could replace the experiences and changes I have experienced in the last 18 months.
Yep.  So pretty much all that there is left to say is:

1. Be a missionary!!!!
2. THANK YOU for your prayers, notes, support, love, etc.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
3. I'll see you in two days. :]
Love, Sister Waldron


"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.  How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings." -President Uchtdorf



Monday, July 7, 2014

#becauseofhim

Hi. Hello. Hey there. Hola.
Well... we had such a gooooood first week of July.  It was jam packed of celebrations and miracles.
Wait just two seconds: I was just talking to one of the Elders who is also in the library.. and he's Geraldine Gunnel's grandson.  He said to tell Bishop White hi. :]
Anyway- back to business.  We celebrated Canada Day by meeting President and Sister Clayton!!  They are the nicest people I've ever met.  Ever.  It's impossible to not feel loved in their presence.  I had a short interview with President Clayton and when he asked how long I've been out, and I told him, he instantly hung his head and said: "We will miss you so much."  And he was being so sincere.  I tried to volunteer to stay.. but then the spirit constrained me when I pictured my mother giving me the Devey scowl.. wouldn't want that. :] I know that there are people who are/will be called to this mission because they need the influence and example of Pres. and Sis. Clayton.
One of my favorite lessons this week was with a man named Tom.  I just love Tom.  He is from Korea and he speaks very broken English.. so we have to teach very simply.  As we were teaching him about the Atonement I was wondering to myself how Christ can love us so perfectly.  I think a lot of it comes from the understanding He has of us. Because He performed the Atonement He understands the way we feel.  He understands why we make the decisions we make and why we do and say the things we do and say. Perfect understanding=perfect love. 
The other day I was in the subway talking to a man about Jesus Christ.  After a while with a degree of understanding and reverence he said, "Oh.  So He didn't have to die- but He chose to- because He loves us."  It's the truest truth!!

President Clayton asked me to write him a letter about what my mission means to me... as if I could actually put that into words!  Ammon put it best when he made the disclaimer: "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."  I think one of the biggest things that I've learned is that LOVE is a verb.  It's active.  Not passive.  We can't love our missions until we experience the moments of chaos, despair, miracles, stress, JOY, frustration, and GRATITUDE.  Generally, we don't experience these things in personal study.  They only happen to those who experiment upon the word- they only happen to those that act.
Christ LOVES us.  How do we know?  The evidence is in each one of His choices and actions.

I just really like this quote by Corrie ten Boom:
"It is not on our forgiveness anymore than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."
I don't know if one sentence of this email even makes sense.. but the moral of the story is this: Just love people.  Then share the gospel with them.  Because Jesus Christ really loves those people that we're trying to love too.  And He performed the Atonement for them too.  And they need to know it.  ...The church is true. :]
I love you!  Have a great week!!

Love, Sister Aubrie
"Ministering is not just something we do- it defines who we are.  Minister every day.  Opportunities are all around you.  Look for them.  Ask the Lord to help you recognize them.  You will find that most consist of small, sincere acts that help others become followers of Jesus Christ." -David L. Beck

Oh.. ha.. so.. we watched this video with our super awesome investigator Madison yesterday.. and I just love it so much.. so y'all (Sister Howle is getting to me) should consider watching it... again: mormon.org/becauseofhim

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Oh, Canada!!

Hey there.  How's it going?  

HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!!!

Let's just talk about the weather for a second.  So it was all sorts of bi-polar this week.  Probably the best and most unexpected was a severe thunder storm on Tuesday night.  Sister Howle and I were walking home and all of a sudden... the heavens opened... and insta-flood!!!  Within 30 seconds not one particle on us was dry.  So we just took our shoes off and splashed in all the puddles.  It was really really fun. :]

Here's a miracle we had: our phone charger wasn't working, and our phone was about to die.  We were slightly worried because our phone doubles as our alarm clock.  We tried to engineer some makeshift alarms... but ultimately what it came down to was when Sister Howle said, "We'll just have to pray that we wake up on time."  So we did.  And our phone died in the night, and none of our alarms worked... but guess what time we woke up.  6:29.  Conclusion= the church is true.
Other aspects of my week-  One experience that we had at the beginning of the week has stayed in the back of my mind ever since.  We were in a park and started talking to a nice atheist man named Jack.  He asked us what our views were on gay marriage.  We told him.  He asked why we think God would make some of us a way that he doesn't want us to be.  Adding to the end, "Everyone seems to have a cop-out answer for that one."  We bore our testimonies to him about the significance of gender and how the Atonement can help us overcome weaknesses.  Jack was (quite literally) confounded.  The part of the conversation that keeps tugging at me was how he ended our chat: "Hmm.  I wish that I could be that confident in my beliefs."
So I've been thinking about confidence.. there's confidence in one's self.  We hear that one a lot.  "I just believe in myself."  But it's generally pretty shallow- (as in it lasts until your girlfriend breaks up with you.) Then there's confidence in Jesus Christ.  We also call it faith.  It's a solid foundation.
I've also been thinking (lots of thinking this week..) about what my faith in Jesus Christ has allowed me to confidently believe in.  Before my mission I had a blanket belief of the whole gospel in general... but when people on the street call you "servants of Satan" and "the cause of the destruction of Christianity" and when your recent convert stops coming to church because she thinks that it's not right that the church puts limitations on "who you can love" and the nice girl sitting next to you on the bus sweetly states that she thinks it's very close minded to think that there are universal truths and only one way to God... it's made me really have to decide what the articles of MY faith are.
I believe Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  I believe that it is ONLY through Him, and obedience to His restored Gospel that we can receive a remission of our sins, and eternal joy and salvation.

I believe in marriage between a man and a woman.  That is an eternal law that will never change.  Nevertheless, God loves all of His children despite their choices and has commanded us to do the same.

I believe that gender is essential to God's plan.  I believe that I am a daughter of God and that I have special and specific roles and responsibilities.  One of my responsibilities is to support the priesthood, but it is NOT my responsibility to hold the priesthood. 
I believe that one of our obligations as children of God is to seek truth.  Ignorance actually isn't bliss after all- nothing will hurt us more than what we do not know.
I believe that "charity never faileth."  It's not just a slogan or catch phrase. It's an absolute truth.
I believe that the objective of God's commandments are to keep us free.  They are evidence of God's love and wisdom.  It is sin that restricts, captivates, and binds us.
So yeah.. I'll just stop there.  I am so grateful for a heritage that allowed me to learn from day one "who I am, and whose I am."  I'm so grateful to be a missionary and have the opportunity to declare truth and to offer hope.  It's a pretty great situation.

Thank you for all your prayers!!  I feel them!!  Have a Happy Independence Day!

"As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free." -Hymn #60

LOOOOOVE YOU!!!!

<3, Sister Aubrie


Monday, June 23, 2014

Light vs Darkness

Hi. :]

What a week.  This week we had zone conference.  It was so good.  Like really really good.  The theme of the conference was Light vs. Darkness.

As I studied in preparation I couldn't help but remember all of Dad's analogies of life being just like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.  It's a battle between good and evil, and every decision we make takes us one step into the darkness, or a step into the light. 

One of the roots of darkness that Sister Howle and I have noticed a lot lately is how Satan has a way of getting us to glory in contentment. 

I never realized before how much doctrine was behind Mom's words when she'd always tell me: "Don't settle for what is comfortable.  If it's comfortable, you're settling."

In one lesson last week a guy asked us, "So what if I make relatively good choices, and am a relatively good person, and I work relatively hard?"  Our response was- "You'll be relatively happy and relatively at peace and your life will feel relatively fulfilling."  And his answer was- "I'm okay with that."
  
The thing is that carelessness and casualness don't bring happiness.  Not at all.  One of the comments Sister Sorensen made at zone conference (I got to see Sister Sorensen!!) is that it's uncomfortable to go outside in the sunshine after being in a dark room.  It's the same thing with leaving the darkness of sin and mediocrity and entering the light of gospel living.  It requires us to leave our comfort zone, it hurts a little bit- but that light, the light of Christ, gives us "enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, ennobling, persevering influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ" (Bible Dictionary: Light of Christ).

What I love about it all is that just because we take a step into the darkness doesn't mean that we're bound to spend eternity there.. Christ performed the Atonement not in case we mess up- but because He, and Heavenly Father knew that we would.  The Atonement is there to help retract us from the darkness of poor choices, and to be led by the light once again.

 ...and on the other hand, just because we make a right decision doesn't mean that we can just soak up the sun in a beach chair for the rest of forever.  It's all about eternal progression.  Otherwise we'll just be "relatively happy."  Meh.  No thanks.

We seem to just see miracle after miracle.  Sister Howle and I are constantly asking ourselves, "How does He (God) do it!?!?"  I don't know but I'm grateful that I get to be a part of it each and every day.  For example: on Saturday we were leaving an appointment and we 'accidently' walked up the wrong street to find a man working on his truck.  He wasn't YSA, but we invited him to come to church on Sunday and told him where it was.  Turns out that he grew up in the neighborhood where the church is and he's wanted to visit the building for a long time. (Some people don't seem to notice the big "Visitors Welcome" sign engraved on the building.)  Once we realized that we were on the wrong street we retraced our steps to find a man and his daughter resting in the shade for a few minutes.  We started talking to the man and it turns out that he used to have many LDS friends, and "if he were to pick any religion it would be yours.  You're the most respectable people I've ever met."  THEN, we walked out of an apartment building after a lesson, and Sister Howle said, "Let's go find some new investigators." We stepped onto the sidewalk looked both ways, saw a man walking towards us, I said, "How about him?" .....and sure enough.  The Lord has guided him to Canada to find the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  How does He do it?  I dunno- but He does it.

So... President and Sister Scott are leaving this week- and it's sad.  I love them so much.  They've had an immeasurable amount of influence on my life.  President Scott told us the life lessons that he usually gives to departing missionaries.  Above all he stressed this principle: "Try to be a little bit better tomorrow than you are today."  It's the secret.


That's all for now. Have a great week!  Choose the light!! ( #CTL)

Love, Sister Aubrie

"The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light.  Each will have to be guided by the light within himself." -Heber C. K

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rodolfo

Hi lovelies!

So... once upon a time Sister Howle and I were teaching ESL to an all YSA-aged class.  Akiho from Japan.  Kelly from China.  Tom from Korea.  We were about halfway through the lesson when another YSA-aged guy walked in with a huge grin on his face. He said, "Hiiiii everyone.  My name es Rodolfo.  I em frum Mexico.  La cap-e-tal."  It was quite the addition to our all Asian class- so we welcomed him in, and he laughed, sat down and put on his thin wire frame glasses... 
And that's how we met Rodolfo. And we knew right then that he was going to be baptized.  And he was! Yesterday!
It was such a good baptism!  In his testimony at the end he said, "I feel so happy.  I have never felt like this before." ...I live such a charmed life. :]

I hope that you had a good Father's Day yesterday!  I think most worries and problems would be solved if we understood more fully our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  That's why I love this video... that you probably already watched this weekend- 

Yesterday we were able to have a full lesson about how God is our loving Heavenly Father.  I was reminded of one of my very favorite scriptures, so I'll throw that in for good measure too:

3 Nephi 14
 7 Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
 8 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
 9 Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?
 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

I'm so grateful for how my relationship with my earthly father helps me comprehend a smidge of how much Heavenly Father loves me and all of His other children.  I love being a missionary because I love telling people that God knows and loves them.  Everyone from Rodolfo to Sophie to this random person I'm sitting next to in the library.  He's in the details of their lives.  The church is true. :]

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

Love, Sister Aubrie

PS. The lead singer of Imagine Dragons was in our sacrament meeting... so that was different.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Just Another Week in Parad...Toronto

Hi! :]

Thank you for the birthday cards and wishes!  I had such a good birthday!!  It is up there with one of my best birthdays ever.  Sister Howle made sure that I felt loved.  She got me some mechanical pencils made out of cardboard- she knows me so well. :]  2 of my ESL students gave me gifts (they're so cute!!), and all of the branch members sang me happy birthday at least a dozen times.  I haven't had any sweets for 2 weeks.. But yesterday was fast Sunday- and then we birthday binged... and so, I have a sugar hangover today. But it was worth it!!  I love these people SOOO much.  My insides just feel squishy when I think about all the wonderful people that I get to spend time and share spiritual experiences with.  It's pretty crazy.  I... feel!!  Weird. Birthday miracle!

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY (on Sunday)!!!!!!!!  I'm so lucky that I have the best dad in the universe. :]

We had a miraculous week.  AKA we had a week full of miracles.  

For example:  We were walking towards Seneca college to contact on campus.  On our route we kept stopping and talking to YSA going home from class.  One of these nice individuals was Bobby.  Bobby told us that he saw a movie about Jesus Christ- but he didn't understand it.  He asked us questions like, "Jesus Christ seemed like He was just trying to help people.  Why was he punished for it?"  and "Why are people happy that Jesus Christ was killed?"  We taught him about Christ's earthly ministry and about His Atonement.  His response: "That's incredible."  It is! 

Everyday I come to understand more and more how aware God is of each of us.  We were trying to visit a less active that lives down by Lake Ontario.. but the bus is slow.. and we weren't going to make it there and then back home in time.  So I told Sister Howle, "Let's get off here."  Then we were walking down the street and Sister Howle said, "Let's turn here."  So we walked up the road and came across a Filipino dad and his two cute daughters taking a walk.  We talked to them for just a little while, gave them a mormon.org card and kept walking.  Then we saw a girl sitting on a picnic table.  At first she looked at us like we were crazy and gave us one word responses... then she started opening up and told us, "This is so weird.  I told my friend Nathan yesterday that I really wanted to go back to church."  Later that night the Filipino dad text us and said, "It'd be a good thing for my family to learn about the Mormon ways."  It's no random thing that we end up in the right place at the right time.  No coincidences.  :]

I listened to this talk by Elder Holland a couple days ago.  Many of you have probably heard it.. but it's such a good reminder.

"I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind... Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come.”  (Remember Lot's Wife- http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1819)

It's the truth.  God has so many great plans for us!!  We just have to have the faith in Him to leave the past in the past and turn down new and "random" roads. :]

I love you!!  Have a happy, warm, summery week. 


Love, Sister Aubrie

Monday, June 2, 2014

sorry if this is preachy...i'm just over here typing away...

Hola familia!! (That’s for you, Connor!)
KANSAS!!  Whoop, whoop!!  I can’t believe it- I’m so excited!
This weekend we had stake conference.  I was a little distracted when the broadcast started (I haven't been around little kids in church for 6 weeks) when all of a sudden I heard Elder Perkins from the 70 say "Canada Toronto Mission.." and so I looked up and saw a photo of President and Sister Scott and Elder Johnson who I served around in the Oshawa Zone!  Elder Perkins told the story of how Elder Johnson was hit by a car about a year into his mission.. was in a coma for 4 months.. went through over a year of painful recovery.. and then came back to finish the last year of his mission.  Elder Perkins said, "If Elder Johnson can return to complete a year of service ALL young men can leave behind hockey, and sports, and school, and their car, and their girlfriend to serve Jesus Christ!!"  I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I am a missionary, here, at this time.  My life is so good.  And Connor, your life is about to get so good too.  Being a missionary=happiness.
Guess who else spoke at stake conference.  Elder Holland.  He told all the investigators who were listening that they needed to be baptized.  It was very nice of him. :]
Oh the transfer news is that there is no news.  Toronto YSA gets to keep us.  And I couldn’t be more pleased!  6 more weeks of the TTC is okay with me! 
In my personal study I was reading in chapter 9 about finding people to teach.  There’s a paragraph at the end of the chapter that I felt like I had never read before.. but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  It says,
“Your consistent efforts in serving and teaching as many people as you can is one way God prepares His children to eventually receive His servants.  He often reaches out to his children through you.  Even when people do not accept the opportunity to learn the gospel, YOUR SERVICE AND WORDS ARE EVIDENCE OF GOD’S LOVE FOR THEM” (PMG, 170).
I know that that is so true.  Not just for missionaries but for members too!  I think it’s crazy that some of my most sacred experiences in this area have happened on the bus or subway.  We have some incredible conversations with people.  Rarely do these people get baptized or even give us their number.. but our meeting each other is evidence to me, and hopefully to them, that God is so aware of all of his children.  Sometimes when I'm on the bus and get rejected and don't feel like taking the walk of shame to go talk to someone else I think, "What if me talking to that person over there is how God is planning to answer their prayer today.. and what if I don't do it?"  It's a scary thought.  But it works. :]  It's the same thing in non- full time missionary life too... not always on the bus to complete strangers.. but to co-workers, those we visit teach, annoying brothers, etc. "YOUR service and words are evidence of God's love..."  So.. go be an answer to someones prayer, eh? 
President Eyring spoke about how we are accountable for those who have been placed in our path.  He reminded us of the promise from the Lord to those who are trying to keep up with the hastening of the work.  It just so happens to be one of my favourite scriptures:
D&C 84:88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
Truest truth!!!
I love you!!!
Love, Sister Aubrie