Sunday, May 25, 2014

I Left my Appendix (and heart) in Virginia!!!

HEY EVERYBODY!!! I know that at least most of y’all know that I’m home by now because of health issues, however, I just wanted to update you all on my last week in the mission field leading all the way up to my departure and arrival back home in the Rocky Mountains. Just a warning: Because I had the time, and I didn’t want to risk forgetting anything myself about this event in the future, this is extremely detailed and long. Do not feel like you need to read all of it if you do not desire. But here are all the details for anyone who would like to know. :) It all escalated pretty quickly, to be honest. Monday I was still not feeling well; however, I somehow managed to get past the whole feeling deathly ill thing until AFTER we were able to get all of our shopping and e-mailing done, which was muy importante. :) Haha. After that, however, it was all downhill from there. Pretty soon, shortly before 6:00 hit, I began to feel an immense sharp pain in my stomach, and it progressively got worse as the night went on. We went and visited a sweet less-active member in our ward, and the entire time we were visiting with her (for about thirty minutes or so), I was having to awkwardly sit on the foot rest and lean back, and put most of my weight on my left side because my right side was in so much pain, I couldn’t even sit on my right side anymore by that point. But it was all good! Haha. After we were done visiting with sweet Winnie, we were on our way to have a lesson with one of our investigators whom I still hadn’t met yet. We even had a member coming with us who met us there, but then our investigator cancelled at the last minute. This ended up being one of the biggest tender mercies of the Lord because by this point, I was in so much excruciating pain that I couldn’t hold it together anymore, and I was just awkwardly sitting in the back seat of the car, just sobbing to myself. My companions know me well enough to know that I’m not much of a cryer – in fact, I’ll do just about anything to keep myself from crying, or really showing any sort of sad emotion, especially in front of other people. I know it’s probably not very healthy, but I’m working on it. Haha. Anyways, since my companions knew this, they knew that things must’ve been pretty darn bad for me to be sobbing like I was in front of them. So since Sister Ellis was driving, she turned to Sister Osmond and told her to call Sister Riggs, which she did. After Sister Osmond explained to Sister Riggs about what was going on with me, Sister Riggs instructed us to call Dr. Dunn (the Mission Doctor), and talk to him and see if he could at least prescribe me some sort of pain medication to tie me over until I could get into an Urgent Care the next day (Urgent Cares are really funny in VA, at least in Arlington, and they close around 6:00 at night, and by this point it was about 8:30, so it was already closed). So I called Dr. Dunn, but he wasn’t in, so I talked to his wife, but bless her heart, she wasn’t able to do much for me, either. She told me to take a lot of Aleve, and then ibuprofen the next afternoon. I took the Aleve that night, which helped dull the pain some – at least enough so that I could sleep, but the pain was back again in full force by the next morning. I also received a beautiful Priesthood blessing from one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Lewis, that night. And although it didn’t take the pain away by any means, it did at least help to calm my nerves about it all, which was VERY needed! I am SO grateful for the power of the Priesthood and for the warmth, peace, and comfort that it brings into our lives!  And I am SO grateful for the wonderful Elders (and men in the church) who live worthy to be able to be on missions and help a sick Sister at a moment’s notice – and more than once, I might add. :) Tuesday my companions had to go to a meeting (Zone Training), so the other Sisters who we live with (Sister Vaitu’ulala and Sister Gray) found someone from their ward to come to our apartment and babysit me for a few hours that morning while they were all gone at Zone Training! So I basically just stayed in bed for the majority of the morning and slept, besides taking a quick shower, and talking with my babysitter for a little bit, which was nice. Then when my companions came back around 12:30ish, Sister Ellis came into the bedroom and told me, “Hey! We’re gonna take (the member) home, and you’re gonna come with us, cause then we’re gonna take you to the Urgent Care! How does that sound??” And she smiled at me, and I just turned my head and looked at her with a straight face and said, “That sounds like a TERRIBLE idea!” So then my poor companion left the room and yelled for our other companion to go and talk to me and said, “Sister Osmond! You’re up!” So then Sister Osmond came in and talked to me, and said something similar as to what Sister Ellis said, and at first I responded in a similar manner – being stubborn and not willing to go to the doctor. Until finally the thought came to me that there might really be a bit more goin’ on here than I originally thought there was, so maybe I really should get that checked out… But probably more than that, the pain was SO bad by that point that the more I thought about it, I was finally beginning to be willing to do just about anything to relieve myself from this pain – even if that meant going to the Doctor for the SIXTH time on my mission! Haha… So I caved, and I forced myself to shove a bowl of cereal down my throat (since I hadn’t really had much of an appetite since I first started to get really sick on Saturday), and then we drove the member home, and then went straight to the Urgent Care. When we first got to the Urgent Care, I’m not gonna lie, I was kinda REALLY nervous, and a little bit skeptical about it all, considering this was the exact same Urgent Care that I had been to eight months before when I was so sick when I was in Crystal City. I didn’t have the best memories from there, and when we first got there and the first nurse saw me, I was SO nervous! I’m sure she’s a very sweet lady deep, DEEP down, and maybe she just wasn’t having a very good day that day, but whatever the case, she was not a happy camper and didn’t want to see me anymore than I wanted to be there in her office. This made things unsettling; however, my nerves were calmed, and my prayers were immediately answered just minutes later when a new nurse came in to evaluate me! She was seriously the SWEETEST nurse who I have ever met in my entire life! …right next to Veronica, who was my first main ER nurse, of course! :) Anyways, this lady at the Urgent Care quickly determined that I had appendicitis, or a gall bladder issue, but she was 99.99 percent positive that it was appendicitis, and she told me that I needed to go to the Emergency Room RIGHT THEN!!! She even offered to call an ambulance, but she just said that either way, we needed to go there NOW!!! “…Well… this just crashed our plans for the rest of our day!” I thought. Then I immediately looked over at my two sweet companions and gave them a look as if this was all their fault that I was going to the ER – as if it was because they forced me to go to the Urgent Care… Haha. My poor companions! It’s ok! I’m honestly grateful for their stubbornness now in getting me to a doctor! Because if it hadn't been for them, I don’t know how much longer I might’ve just layed there in my bed in so much immense amounts of pain! I am sure blessed to have had those two amazing Sisters as my companions at that particular time! I love them SO much! :) We rushed straight from the Urgent Care to the nearest Hospital, which just so happened to be a few miles up the road. As soon as we got there, we booked it into the Emergency Room area, made a quick pit stop at the bano (bathroom) cause we ALL know that once you’re checked into the ER, they take FOREVER to let you go! So anyways, once we got up to the front desk to get me signed in, the guy at the front desk asked in a very “Ferris Bueler’s teacher”-typed tone and hardly even looked up at me as I was hurdled over and holding my stomach in pain, “So, what brings you to the Emergency Room today?” Sister Osmond immediately flashed him the papers from the nurse at the Urgent Care, describing her diagnosis of the appendicitis, and she said, very urgently, “We just came from the Urgent Care, and we’re pretty positive she has appendicitis.” …Well, he didn’t look too concerned about that; in fact, he barley even looked up from his desk, and simply gestured to me and said in the same tone that he had used before, “Ok. Well, take these forms, and either you or your friends need to fill these release forms out, and I’m going to need your insurance information…” I handed him my insurance cards, and my companions filled out the information on my forms that they knew, and then gave it all to him, and then he said in that same tone, “Ok. Now have a seat and they’ll call you back when they get to you.” After about twenty minutes or so, I turned to my companions and asked them, “Do you think it would help speed up the process a bit if I just went into septic shock right now?? I don’t know…” Haha! Oh goodness! All we all could really do at that point was just laugh at the unfortunate situation at hand! However, during our time sitting there, waiting, while I was in agonizing pain, I was very blessed with the opportunity for my companions and I to talk a little bit with a sweet woman who was sitting near us in the ER waiting room. She was waiting to have an operation on her hand, and possibly even have one of her fingers amputated, and yet she was so calm and collected. She knew that whatever ended up happening to her was God’s will, and she was completely ok with that! I definitely learned A LOT from her in just the short amount of time that we had together! I learned a lot about trusting in the Lord with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength, and what that truly means! I know that it was no coincidence that we happened to meet her and talk to her at that time, because that was EXACTLY what I needed, and EXACTLY when I needed it! I am SO grateful to have a loving Father in Heaven who knows me (and ALL of His children) better than I know myself! :) My faith increased ten fold and I felt SO much more at peace after that one moment, it was incredible! :) Well, apparently all of Arlington, VA was having a REALLY rough day that day, or so it seemed, because it took them FORTY-FIVE MINUTES to call me back, and even when I went back there, they still didn’t have any rooms available. So there I was, laying on a stretcher, with my arm hooked up to an IV in the middle of the hallway… Haha! True story! It’s ok, though! :) Once they started pumping the morphine through me, I really didn’t mind whether I had a room or not! Plus, while I was in the hallway, I was able to talk to all of the people who walked by! (By the way, in case you haven’t seen it, there’s a video that one of my dear, sweet companions, took of me – I believe it was Sister Ellis – while I was in the hallway and on morphine. It’s on Facebook, so please feel free to check it out! Haha.) After I had been laying there for a couple of hours or so, they finally got me in and did a CAT scan. I really don’t remember much of what I said or did during most of my Emergency Room visit once I had the morphine; however, I do remember that while I was getting my CAT scan, I was just asking the Doctor who was doing the scan some questions about it, and just telling her, as well as every single one of my Doctors and Nurses how great they are! Seriously, I would find out their name (either by looking at their name tag, or by asking them), then I would look them in the eye and say their name and say, “Thank you SO much! You are SO great!” Well, they all sure got a kick out of it! And then when I felt like they had really gone above and beyond, I would say, “You are SO wonderful!” Haha! Yep! True story! :) Anyways, after my CAT scan, the Doctor informed me that I had a cyst on my left ovary, and that my appendix was inflamed. Well SHOOT! That’s a double-wammy right there! Haha! Well why not kill two birds with one stone?? Bring it ON! Haha! So anyways, shortly after I came out of the CAT scan, they informed me that they would like me to stay overnight so that they could observe me and see if I needed to go in for surgery in the morning. Well, I wasn’t too thrilled about staying a minute longer than I needed to, but hey! As long as they kept pumpin’ the morphine through me, I didn’t complain. Haha! :) So they got me my very own private room, which was nice – kinda creepy being a missionary and sleeping in a hospital all by myself with doctors and nurses just popping in every few hours, I’m not gonna lie, but it was still nice non-the-less. :) Eventually after I had gotten in my room, and my nurse Veronica was helping me to get settled in there, President and Sister Riggs came in to visit me! It was SO wonderful to see them! I had been asking my companions where they (President and Sister Riggs) were over and over again, until they finally showed up! :) When my nurse, Veronica, came back in the room after President and Sister Riggs showed up, I turned to President with a big smile on my face and said, “President! This is my nurse Veronica! She is SO great!” President smiled and said, “Oh really? I’m glad!” And Veronica smiled as well, and said, “Stop it. You’re gonna spoil me!” And President smiled and said to Veronica, “She spoils everyone.” Anyways, the Zone Leaders ended up stopping by as well, cause my sweet companions had asked them to come by to give me a blessing. However, since they had already given me a blessing the night before, they really didn’t need to, but President Riggs still gave me a blessing. It was a beautiful blessing!  While the ZL’s and President and Sister Riggs and my companions were all there, my companions both took the liberty of taking turns to show each of the videos that they had taken of me while I was on morphine! They all – especially President – thought they were HILARIOUS! Haha. Well, after a little while, after the ZL’s and my companions had left, Sister Riggs asked if I wanted to call my parents, so I did. I went ahead and took about ten to fifteen minutes and talked with each of them! And somehow even though I was heavily on morphine when I talked to each of them, their nerves were still calmed a bit just by talking to me. :) My sweet companions left shortly after President and Sister Riggs got there, and went home to our apartment and got me my things that I needed to stay overnight and then brought them back to me! While I was waiting for them to come back, after President and Sister Riggs had left, it was just me and Veronica in my room, and she started asking me missionary-related questions, such as, “That man who was just in here (referring to President Riggs) with the suit and tie – why was everyone in here calling him “President”?” So I went on to explain to her that we’re all missionaries and he’s our Mission President, and so for short, we just call him President. We also got into a more gospel-related conversation and got talking about God and how he is our literal Father in Heaven, and we are all His children. She seemed to agree with that pretty well! So then we talked a bit about her religious background (she’s Catholic, but only goes to church a couple of times a year), and her personal relationship with God. It was SOOOOOOOOOO amazing to still be able to talk with someone about the gospel – even when I was trapped in a hospital bed! :) God sure does answer prayers, that’s for sure! :) Late that night, I had a prompting that I needed to write Veronica a note, thanking her for all that she had done for me, and telling her how great she is, and then give her a pass-along card! So I did! I wrote the note around 1:00 AM after one of the times that I woke up, and I just couldn’t go back to sleep, and I gave it to her early the next morning before she got off work. :) Wednesday was… mostly a big blur, to be honest. Haha. Tuesday was BY FAR the most dramatic and interesting day this week – in my entire mission, to be honest! Haha! But what I DO remember from Wednesday was that the Doctors had come to the conclusion at some point that the antibiotics that they had been giving me through the IV hadn’t been working to bring down the inflammation in my appendix, so they obviously decided to go in for surgery, which we all know, cause now I’m here at home! Haha. Anyways, right before I went in for surgery, the head of the surgery team came and talked to me with his team, and informed me that they were going to go in for surgery. He then proceeded to tell me all sorts of nitty-gritty details that I frankly did not care to know about, such as where they were going to cut me open, and what they were going to put in and pull out of each incision. But that wasn’t all; about two minutes after explaining this to me, another nurse came in and asked me what I was having done, and asked me to explain the surgical procedure to them. Then after the second time or so that they had explained the procedure to me, they also added a little detail about them putting a breathing tube down my throat (they do this AFTER I’m asleep, and take it out BEFORE I wake up, they assured me), but they told me this so that I would know why my throat felt so dry and sore after surgery. I was already confused and nervous enough as it was after they explained, and then had me re-explain the procedure to them numerous times, that I was beginning to lose faith in my surgery team. Thoughts and doubts from the adversary began to creep into my mind, such as, “Are they really qualified to be performing this operation?” and “Do they really know what they’re about to do to me?” and so forth. Although I’m still not exactly sure why they went about it the way that they did, (probably for legal reasons of some sort), they obviously knew what they were doing, and did a great job, because here I am, typing this up, and home safe and sound! :) After they brought me back up to my room after surgery, my sweet companions and Sister Riggs were in the room, waiting for me! :) Although I was SO exhausted and could hardly keep my eyes open, I was, and still am, eternally grateful for them being there because I was really quite nervous for all of it, and it just brought me so much peace and comfort knowing that they were there! :) I am SO grateful to have such an incredible mission family! I love them all SO much! :) Shortly after I got out of surgery and back in my room, my nurse (by this point she was a sweet and funny Asian lady named Anna, whom I also grew to love and appreciate!) instructed me to order something to eat since I hadn’t eaten anything in about 24 hours by this point! So, Sister Riggs ordered me a gluten-free deviled egg sandwich and some vegetable broth. They brought the food in about thirty minutes later or so, but I wasn’t too thrilled about eating anything right away, so I just took little nibbles of it here and there. The main thing that I was concerned about by this point, even more so than getting food in my belly, was going to the bathroom. So after about an hour or so, when I felt like I could possibly try to move, I asked Anna to help me to the bathroom. I won’t give you too many details, but basically, I almost passed out while I was on the toilet. Haha. Yep! It’s true! Anna could see the look on my face that I was about to pass out, so she started yelling for help in her cute Asian accent, saying, “HELP ME!!! SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!” About a minute or so later, another nurse came running into my room and helped me up, and they both helped me to walk back over to my bed. Man. Who knew that going to the bathroom could be so dangerous?? Not me! Haha. But all that I can say, is it was pretty embarrassing. But it’s ok. At least I was able to get a good laugh about it afterwards – about this whole situation, really! :) And you know what?? That’s really what life is all about! LAUGHING! Cause honestly, what’s the point in being upset or crying over anything that you obviously can’t change?? So you might as well laugh about it! That’s my philosophy of life! :) “LIVE. LAUGH. LOVE.” That’s one of my favorite sayings! I figure if you live by these three principles, you’re bound to be a happy person! Am I right?? :) A few hours after surgery, President Riggs stopped by to visit me again, which was when he informed me that I would need to go home – at least for a couple of weeks to recuperate. However, I was still so tired and on drugs, that I didn’t really remember what we talked about during that particular visit very well. That is, until he called my companions and talked to Sister Ellis, and then talked to me again. So I was told that I needed to go home, but that I would have the option of coming back out and finishing the last six months of my mission. However, because I had already served a full year by that point, I also had the option of going home and just simply being honorably released. This was quite a lot for me to take in all at once, but under the circumstances and needing to get things done quickly, I didn’t really have much time to really digest what was really happening until it was already over. Thursday morning my companions packed up all of my stuff for me, and we went to the post office and I sent home a couple of boxes of things that wouldn’t fit in my luggage. After that, they dropped me off at the Davis’ home (the cute Elderly couple who I lived with last transfer when I was in Great Falls), and I stayed with them for the rest of that day, and then that night, all the way up until Friday night when I returned back to my apartment to spend my final night with my companions. During my time in Great Falls, I was able to spend some good, quality time with my dear, sweet Sister Christensen, whom I had just been companions with the transfer before! She really is SO wonderful! She and her new little trainee, Sister Gerber, are both wonderful! I love them! And I really had SO much fun during the time that I was able to stay there with them! :) …that is, as much fun as you can have just one and two days post-surgery. Haha! But in all seriousness, though, it was really wonderful to get to see her again! :) And the Davis’ are just INCREDIBLE and really went above and beyond to do everything they could for me! I sure love them! I’m SO grateful for the short time that I was able to spend with them, and I’m so grateful for the short time that I was able to go back and be with them again! :) I even cut Sister Christensen’s bangs for her on early Friday afternoon! I had to take a couple of breaks and lay down while I was doing it, but I really honestly am SO grateful that she gave me the opportunity to do that! Because I had been wanting to cut her hair the whole transfer that we were companions! Plus, it was a really great bonding moment for us! :) Friday was a really rough day for me health-wise. My pain meds were not agreeing with my stomach, and I could hardly keep any food down. I ended up throwing up twice, and after the second time, I decided that this wasn’t worth it, and that it would almost be better to be in as much pain as I was in, then to be in pain with throwing up. So I called the hospital and asked to get a different prescription pain med that would be lighter on my stomach. Finally, I was able to get some Hydrocodone, which still made me kinda nauseous, but not nearly as much so as the Oxycodone, which is what they had me on before. Well, needless to say, shortly after the drug switch, I was feeling MUCH better! :) That night, the Davis’ drove me back to my apartment in Arlington/Alexandria to spend my last night with my companions! And on our way back, they stopped by a CVS and Brother Davis bought me some Dramamine (an anti-nausea medicine for me to take on the plane)! :) And then after they dropped me off, it was a wonderful last few hours with my companions! I really love them SO much! There was even a time when I attempted to roll myself out of bed to hobble into the kitchen to fill up my water bottle, and Sister Ellis saw me and asked what I was doing, and then told me to get back in bed, and she went and filled it up for me! :) I really cannot say enough about how truly blessed I am to have had such incredible companions who are so sweet and caring and served me without even batting an eye! :) Even though I was only able to spend three short weeks with them, I truly felt like I grew to be SO close to both of them, and I love them like my own sisters! :) Saturday morning, President and Sister Riggs picked me up EARLY (about 5:45 AM), and drove me to the airport. Sister Riggs gave me a hug goodbye, and President even gave me a quick hug goodbye! It was such a bitter-sweet moment, I cannot even describe it to you! And then before I knew it, I was on the plane, flying FIRST CLASS (since I had just had surgery), which was pretty cool! And then I took some Dramamine, and I was out for about 4 out of 5 hours of the flight! It was wonderful! :) Haha. I want you all to know how truly grateful I am for the wonderful blessing and opportunity that I had to serve! Although my heart is heavy when I think about not going back out and finishing my mission, I know in my heart that this is the right decision for me. For whatever reason, it is God’s will for me for my full-time mission in Virginia to be done; however, I know in my heart that my mission has only just begun! That was just one year of the rest of my life of serving God’s children, and I cannot wait to get started on the next thing that God has in store for me back home here in good old Utah!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Emergency Surgery

Letting you all know that Sister Orrock was hospitalized last night and went into surgery today for removal of her appendix. Surgery went well and she is now recovering. Will let you know more when information comes available.


HEY EVERYBODY!!! WOW!!! WHAT A WEEK!!! I know that I say that about basically every week, but in all seriousness, THIS WEEK was CRAZY!!! Like, WAAAY more crazy than normal!!! But it's ok! Life is still WONDERFUL!!! :) It's the life of a missionary! LOVE it! :) To start things off, last Monday we had a WONDERFUL Sister's hang-out day at the Sister Training Leader's apartment, and we played card games (Apples to Apples), and watched cheesey Mormon movies from like the '80's and ate pancakes and chips and salsa and CHOCOLATE!!! It was WONDERFUL!!! :D Tuesday we had District Meeting, as usual. After District Meeting, we went and grabbed some lunch at Subway, then we went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders! It was SO wonderful! First off, it was SUUUPER funny cause the three of us (me and my companieras) decided to play an April Fool's joke on the STL's and since it was only Sister Osmond who was leaving us and going with Sister Billman, and then Sister Ellis and I were staying, and Sister Richards came to us, Sister Ellis packed a couple of bags and acted like she was also going with the STL's, and that I was the only one staying with Sister Richards. They were actually SUUUPER confused at first until we finally told them "APRIL FOOLS!!!" Haha! It was SO funny! :) The exchange itself was WONDERFUL!!! It was DEFINITELY SOOOO needed for Sister Ellis and my companionship! I mean, we had been getting along, but it's just difficult being in a trio and making sure that everyone feels included ALL the time. So, it was just really good to strengthen OUR relationship with each other on more of a one-on-one kind of basis. :) We saw some INCREDIBLE miracles while we were on the exchange! We went street contacting in Crystal City (I STILL cannot begin to describe how joyful it makes me to be back there!!!), and I street contacted into a less-active lady! It was SUUUPER cool! She was really nice, and she told me that she actually isn't interested in coming back to church (whatevs. We totally hear the same kind of things every single day from less-actives and non-members alike. It's fine); however, she gave me her address and phone number and told me that we could stop by anytime and just chat, and she'd give us some hot chocolate or herbal tea, or something like that if we wanted. :) Um... OK! It's fine. She's totally gonna come back, she just doesn't know it yet. :) I LOVE finding lost less-actives! And just working with less-actives in general is MY FAVORITE!!! :) We had some other amazing miracles while street contacting at that time, and we even met an incredible couple from... I don't remember where they're from... I think Bosnia?? Yep. That sounds right. Anyways, the husband is actually an ambassador for Bosnia, so that was cool. He was really nice, and his wife was really interested in what we had to say! :) I don't know what's up with me just meeting Ambassadors from other countries while street contacting in Crystal City, but that would be the second one now! No big deal. Haha. Oh man! That's one of the many things that I LOVE about this area! It's just FULL of a million different people and thousands of different cultures and ethnicities! I LOVE it!!! :) Anyways, after we were done chattin' it up with the Ambassador and his wife, we went to dinner at Chipotle with a member in our ward named Carlos. It was SO wonderful! :) We did some more street contacting and a bit of tracting later, which was great, and we ended the night with talking with a really nice couple from some part of Africa that I can't remember the exact name of right now, but anyways, they're really cool! :) That night, before we went to bed, Sister Ellis found it. The proof of what we had been suspecting for the past week or two. JORGE!!! Well, at least that's what we named our little bed-bug friend that Sister Ellis found in the garbage in our bathroom... YUM! Haha! So, Sister Ellis took some tape and taped him on up so that we could preserve him to have proof to show to anyone who we may need to show him to. Wednesday when we exchanged back, it was SUUUPER funny cause I accidentally spilled the beans to Sister Osmond in front of Sister Billman that we have bedbugs (oh, and just as a little side-note, this particular bedroom of this particular apartment has already previously been exterminated for bedbugs FOUR different times. Yep. That's right. So as soon as we found our little friend, Jorge, we KNEW we were in trouble!!!), and Sister Billman FREAKED OUT!!! It was SOOOO funny! So then We had to start playing it off that it was an extended April Fool's joke so that she would calm down. Then, shortly after Sister Ellis, Sister Osmond, and I had all gotten back in the car and we had broken the news to Sister Osmond about the truth and reality of our real bedbug predicament, Sister Ellis rolled down her window and told the truth to Sister Billman! It was all SO beautifully played out, I REALLY wish that it all could've gotten on camera! It was definitely a moment to remember! :) After that, we went over to the home of an investigator named Donna, and had lunch with her! She is SOOOO cute! She's probably about in her 60's, so we're going to have to pass her to a family ward eventually, but I just LOVE her! She is SO sweet! She reminds me a lot of my cute, sweet Jan from Crystal City! I LOVE it! :) After lunch, we spent the next several hours de-buggifying our apartment. Seriously, it was great. LOADS of fun. And literally LOADS (8 total) of laundry. And since we don't have a washer or dryer in our apartment and we have to use the ones in our apartment building, we ended up spending $36 in laundry with washing most of all of our clothes, and all of our bedding and towels, etc. It was a PAR-TAY!!! Haha! We also vacuumed our apartment and deep cleaned the bathroom (where Jorge was found), and just cleaned a LOT! It was REALLY good, and VERY much needed! Plus, it was a REALLY good bonding experience for all of us! :) We're definitely all MUCH closer now! :) That night, we went to the church to help teach our weekly English class, but we had to leave pretty quickly after it started so that we could have a meeting with our ward mission leader, which was really good. :) Thursday was my YEAR MARK (at least from the MTC)!!! It's serioulsy SOOOO crazy how quickly time flies! I PROMISE I'm NOT counting down the days that are left of my mission because I really genuinely LOVE EVERY SECOND of it! I just had to say that because I just cannot believe how quickly time flies! So remember that, all y'all who are getting ready to serve a mission! It really IS THE BEST THING EVER, and it also really does FLY BY!!! I'm realizing that more and more lately, and it's hitting me like a ton of bricks just how much more I need to really hone in and focus on my mission even more than I already have, because I realize that I don't have very much time left, and I want to get as much out of my mission in these last 6 months as I possibly can! :) Anyways, that afternoon, we went and had a REALLY AMAZING visit with one of our recent converts named Yelli! She's from the Ivory Coast in Africa, and she is AMAZING!!! I LOVE her! :) That night, we went on splits, and I went with a member in our ward named Amy (who is also a return missionary and is AMAZING), while Sister Osmond and Sister Ellis had a lesson with one of our investigators. It was supposed to be a pass lesson with the Elders in a family ward, but that didn't end up working out, so they just taught her, and Amy and I went street contacting together around the apartment complex where we were at! It was truly AMAZING!!! (Don't worry, I talked more about it in my audio recorder that I'm now using as more of my journal. I might send it home in a bit so you can hear it!) Another amazing part was how we ended our night! We topped off our night by visiting a less-active member in our ward named Anshirly, and it was WONDERFUL! She actually lives in the ghetto part of Kingstowne, so I got to go back to another part of one of my old areas! LOVE it! :) Friday was pretty chill. We did our weekly planning, and ended up taking it easy and resting for a good portion of the day cause Sister Ellis had a TERRIBLE migraine. That night, we had dinner with a couple of members in our ward, and it was WONDERFUL!!! :) They even made gluten-free peanutbutter cookies FROM SCRATCH!!! Can you say AMAZING?? Yep!!! LOVE it! LOVE THEM! :) After dinner, we went and checked on a referral from a member who had told us about this townhome with five attractive (those were her words) black guys from Africa in it, and she told us that we should go check on them and try to teach them. So we did. And WOW!!! She was NOT kidding! Haha! But it's ok. I'm a missionary, so whatevs. Obviously I didn't care at all. Haha. Anyways, long story short, we had a brief lesson about the Book of Mormon, and a little bit of the Restoration with one of them (the one who answered the door), and now he's a new investigator, and we have a return appointment with him TOMORROW, and our member who referred him to us (Tali) is coming to the lesson with us! Oh, and by the way, his name is Baba, and he is AMAZING!!! I am SO excited to teach him! :) After that, we finished our night off by visiting one of our AMAZING ward missionaries named Bobbi! I LOVE Bobbi! She is SUCH a sweetheart! She even gave us a bag of food (which included a HUGE jar of Nutella!!!)! LOVE her!!! :D Saturday was WONDERFUL cause of CONFERENCE (hence, "the spoken word)! However, it was also kinda crazy cause I ended up waking up not feeling well, so we didn't end up doing much that day besides watch Conference. Other that that, we basically just chilled at the apartment and relaxed. But it's ok. You know what? Something that I've come to realize on my mission and somewhat accept is that just because I'm a missionary, doesn't mean that I'm not still human. Seriously though. I still get sick, just like everybody else. I still have physical needs like everybody else. The only main difference is that a lot of people don't realize that or see that, and they expect all missionaries to be like "Superman" or "Superwoman", but unfortuantely, I've found out time and time again on my mission, that that's not the case. We cannot force our bodies to go beyond what they are physically capable of before they eventually just give out on us. Once in a while we just have to listen to our bodies and take a sick day, and that's completely ok. The point is that God knows what's truly in our hearts, and He knows our pure desires to serve Him, and just because our physical bodies get in the way of us fully serving in the ways that we would like to serve sometimes, doesn't make us bad missionaries. It makes us HUMAN. :) Anyways, So, that was mostly what Saturday - and Sunday were both for me. HUMAN days. Haha. But it's ok! Hopefully I'll be over this sooner than later, and be able to be back to my normal hard-working, Hell-shaking self! :) However, despite my "human" weekend, I must say that I had a VERY spiritual weekend as well with Conference! :) I honestly loved ALL of Conference, so I do not even know where to begin as far as my favorite talk! Maybe my top favorite talks! :) I LOVED Elder Holland's SUUUPER bold talk! That was INCREDIBLE!!! I cannot wait to read it and really STUDY it! :) I also loved President Uchtdorf's talk! He ALWAYS speaks to me and knows JUST what I need to hear! And then the one who spoke on family history was really good, too! It got me STOKED to start working on my family history as soon as I get off my mission! :) I know that aunt Gaylynne's got the Heiner side down, but maybe there's some work that needs to be done on the Orrock side?? :) Well, it's time for me to go now, but I love you all SOOOOOOOO much!!! Thank you SO much for all of your constant love and support! And always remember that the Lord truly LOVES us! And He IS there with us in the midst of our trials and infirmities! :) I know that this church is true with everything in me and I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a missionary!!! :) LOVE ALWAYS, Sister Aubrie Orrock

Monday, March 31, 2014

HELLO, ARLINGTON!!! It's good to be BACK!!! :D

HEY EVERYBODY!!! MAN! This past week has been CRAZY!!! First off, transfers were on Thursday, but Sister Christensen and I were not prepared for either of us to be transferred! At the very beginning of the transfer, we both felt very strongly that it was only gonna be a one transfer stay with us being together; however, we felt like it would probably be HER leaving, and not me, since I JUST got there. Well, Monday night rolled around, and it turned out that the Lord had different plans for BOTH of us, and we got the call from AP (Assistant to the President) Elder Riggs telling Sister Christensen that she was going to TRAIN!!! So, we were both in a bit of shock, a little bit confused, and a little bit excited to see how everything was all going to play out. We figured just from the fact that she was training that she would be the one to stay and I would leave. Then Tuesday night came along, and we got the second call telling us who was staying and who was leaving... with the result being that I ended up leaving. Honestly, I wasn't too heart-broken about it. I mean, it was a great area, I loved my companion, the Davis' (the sweet, ADORABLE members who we live with, and Brother Davis is also President Riggs' Executive Secretary), and a handful of other members and less-actives and investigators who I got close to, but overall, it just didn't quite ever really feel like HOME, like my first two areas did - ESPECIALLY Crystal City! :) Anyways, now that I've told y'all about those big details, I'll quickly start telling you about my week! :) Monday was Preparation Day, and I honestly don't really remember who all we ended up seeing, or what we ended up doing. But I'm pretty sure that we just spent most of the night driving around and trying to check on people, but nobody was home for almost the whole night. Yep. That's what happened. Haha. Tuesday we had District Meeting, which was really great! Then after that, we got pictures as a District and Zone, which is always fun! After that, Sister Christensen and I went on a little mini exchange with a companionship of Hermanas (Spanish speaking Sisters) because one of them is training as well, so Sister Christensen and her went to a trainer's meeting, and Hermana (not to be confused with SISTER, who was my trainer) Woodbury and I went and worked together for the afternoon. It was really fun! Unfortunately, we didn't actually get to check on any spanish-speaking people like I so desperately wanted to, but it was still really good! :) After we exchanged back with our own companieros, we went and had a lesson with our investigator, Jason, which went really well. :) After that, we went home and grabbed a quick bite to eat, then we finished the night off by having a wonderful skype lesson with Sister Christensen's cousin! I LOVE it! :) Wednesday I spent the majority of the morning after studies packing since by this point we had received the call the night before, and I knew that I was the one leaving. That afternoon around lunch-time, cute Brother Davis made Sister Christensen and I (at least MY) last chocolate ice-cream sodas! Those are SOOOOO good! And since I'm dairy-sensitive, so I can't handle eating a lot of dairy in large quantities, he just puts a small little dollop of a scoop in mine! It's PERFECT! I seriously miss that cute old man! And Sister Davis, too! They are my adopted Grandparents! I LOVE them! :) Then around 4:00 in the afternoon, we went and saw Renette and Ashley and had a WONDERFUL lesson with Renette (while Ashley practiced the piano, which was totally fine, cause she was already swamped with homework and such, it was amazing that we even got to see her at all!)! Then I got to say goodbye to both of them, which was definitely sad and hard. Ashley started crying and asking me why I had to go - SOOOOO sad. But I explained to her that the Lord had called me another way, and for whatever reason, my time in Great Falls was up, and God needed me somewhere else. She accepted that, but was still sad to see me go, and I was sad to leave her. :( But it's ok. I'm definitely going to keep in contact with both her and Renette! I love them both SO much! :) After that, we went and had dinner with the Hartt's. They are super cute and a sweet family! :) After dinner, there were several people who we tried to see really quick so that I could say a quick good-bye to, but unfortunately, a lot of the people who we tried to see weren't home. But it's ok. I honestly felt a really weird peace about leaving Great Falls when I did. Even though I was only there for one transfer, I honestly feel like I finished the work that I was sent there to do. Crazy, but true. God really does have a different plan for me! :) We finished the night off by having a wonderful lesson with Bruce! I LOVE Bruce! He was SOOOO funny, though, when I asked him if I could get a picture with him! Haha! He looked really confused and almost a little suspicious at me and kept on asking why I wanted a picture with him. I tried to explain over and over again that it wasn't for anyone but me - that I simply wanted a picture of him to remember him by. Well, he still didn't like any of those answers, so after several minutes of me trying to convince him to allow me to get a picture with him and him just rejecting me over and over again, I just eventually gave up. So anyways, I guess that all that I'll remember Bruce by is that he's a nice Chinese man who didn't want his picture taken! Haha! SO funny! :) Thursday was transfers, and I said my goodbyes to the Davis', which was a bitter-sweet. It was bitter cause I love them and I'm gonna miss them, but it was sweet because although I was nervous, I was also excited to see what lay ahead in my journey! :) Transfers came along, and I got transferred BACK TO ARLINGTON!!! That's right - I'm partly back in my very first area, my love, Crystal City!!! I'm now serving in a YSA (Young Single Adults) ward, which is SUUUPER weird, and I honestly NEVER thought that I would serve in a YSA ward, for MANY reasons, but it's all good! I LOVE it! I mean, I honestly DO miss the family wards and all of the adorable little children, but now I'm in the Colonial 2nd ward, which half-way overlaps Crystal City, and I LOVE IT!!! Honestly, the main reason why I love it so much right now is because of the area itself! Being back in Arlington, and even partly back in Crystal City just makes me feel like I'm home again! I LOVE ARLINGTON SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!! Being back here is truly SUCH an answer to prayer! I am SOOOOOOO grateful to be here!!! :D And I am actually in a trio now, so I have TWO companions, and they are WONDERFUL! I am technically helping to finish-train one Sister (Sister Osmond), and my other companion is Sister Ellis. They are both SO sweet and wonderful! I LOVE them! And being in a trio actually hasn't even been that bad. I mean, I was worried a little bit about it, but it really has been great! We all get along really well, and we all love to hug each other all the time, which I am DEFINITELY grateful for! :) After we got back from transfers, and after we ate a good dinner, we went straight to work and did tracting for about an hour or so, and I LOVED it! :) We met several really good potential investigators! :) And to answer y'all's questions about my foot and ankle, it is actually doing MUCH MUCH better now, so thank y'all SOOOOOO much for your prayers! :) After going to the Orthopedic Doctor about a week and a half ago, and he told me to stop using the crutches ASAP, although it was PAINFUL AS HECK for the first couple of days, and I'm not gonna lie, I was poppin' ibuprofen like it was goin' outta style, after I got past those first couple of days, it got MUCH better! :) And now I'm almost walking around on it like normal! :) And it's a good thing, too, cause here in Alexandria/Arlington (Colonial 2nd), we definitely do a LOT of street contacting and tracting! :) And although my ankle still bothers me a little bit, through doing my daily stretches (my personal physical therapy), it's improving each and every day! :) Anyways, here are some high-lights from the past few days since transfers! Friday evening we went tracting for about an hour and a half, and it was probably the most successful and entertaining time that I've ever had tracting before in my life! Haha! We knocked on this one door, and first this lady answered, then this guy came over and asked who we were and what we wanted. We told him that we are representatives of Jesus Christ, and then proceeded to tell him a little bit about what we believe. He was really interested in what we had to say, and we ended up talking with him for about 15 minutes or so, just standing in his doorway. He asked us if we sang and if we could sing to him, so we sang him "I am a Child of God", to which he looked like he was in shock (but in a good way) and told us how good he felt and that he had goose bumps. We told him that what he was experiencing feeling was the spirit (at least that's what WE were feeling SUUUPER strong), and he proceeded to tell us how beautiful it was and how grateful he was for us coming and knocking on his door, and how much he wanted us to come back. We proceeded to get his name and phone number and scheduled a return appointment to stop by next weekend, and told him to make sure to be sober the next time we came over. (He was TOTALLY drunk - we could smell it. Kinda gross, but REALLY entertaining all at the same time)!!! Amir (that's his name) is probably definitely my favorite drunk person who I've ever talked with! SOOOOOOO funny!!! That night we had a wonderful lesson with an investigator who's on date for baptism for THIS SATURDAY who the Alexandria 2nd Elders are passing us! That was AWESOME!!! :) Saturday night we had dinner with a nice member in the ward. Then around 7:00 that night, we had a lesson at the church with our Russian investigator named Serge! He's so funny and mysterious, it's really intriguing to me because I wanna figure out what's in his head and what he's really thinking about what we're teaching him! ...anyone seen "The Saratov Approach"?? Remember the character Serge in it?? Yep. 'Nuf said. Haha! ...Seriously though. Sunday we had church early in the morning (8:00 a.m.), but it was really good! I ended up seeing like three people who I already knew or had met from past areas! SO great! In fact, my new Bishop and his wife are actually technically residing in the Kingstowne ward, so I already knew her! SO great! I LOVE them! :) That night, we had a wonderful lesson with our recent convert named Tony, and he's such a sweet heart! It was SO great! :) Then we finished the night off by visiting our other recent convert, Velmi, which was also WONDERFUL! :) I really am SOOOOOO grateful to be here serving in C2 (that's the abbreviation for Colonial 2nd)!!! I love it ALL, and I KNOW that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be right now! :) I am SO grateful for our loving Heavenly Father and for how well he truly knows each and every one of us and EXACTLY what we need, and exactly when we need it! :) I love you all SOOOOOO much! Thank you SO much for all of your constant thoughts and prayers! Y'all are AMAZING! :) Y'all are in MY thoughts and prayers each and every day! I LOVE YOU!!! :D THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!! :D LOVE ALWAYS, Sister Aubrie Orrock


HEY EVERYBODY!!! This past week has been CRAZY, but absolutely WONDERFUL all at the same time!!! :D I'm partly back in the good old Crystal City, as I mentioned to y'all last week, and it is GOOD to be BACK!!! :D Plus, I also partly cover Kingstowne as well, so I'm just basically back in my two favorite areas! It's seriously THE BEST thing ever!!! :D I really don't know what I did to deserve this sometimes, but man! God is GOOD! And life is WONDERFUL!!! :) Monday was preparation day, and we had F.H.E. (Family Home Evening), and we ended up being in charge of it, but nobody really told us anything about it until the day before, so that was interesting... Haha! But it actually turned out REALLY well! And now I'm facebook friends with a TON of people in the ward, so it's AWESOME! Furthering the work through fb! LOVE it! :) And I strongly encourage y'all to start doing the same! It could be something as simple as "liking" my posts on facebook, and then your friends quietly seeing that, or you could even "share" my posts as well. Or, if you really wanna be crazy, you could even MAKE YOUR OWN spiritually-uplifting post and share that! :) Tuesday was great! :) We had District Meeting that morning, which was WONDERFUL! It turns out that my new DL (District Leader) was in my very first district my very first transfer of my mission - Elder Chaffin! And he's companions with Elder Staples, who I served in Crystal City with for my fourth, and last transfer there! SUUUPER small world! I LOVE it! They're both great Elders! :) That night, we had dinner, then after dinner, we had a wonderful lesson with Mabinty! She is SO wonderful and sweet, and she wants to be baptized SOOOOOOOO badly! We just have a few more things to teach her! So she told us that she had been thinking and praying about it, and she wants to move her baptismal date to sometime in April! We said "ok!" So we ended up praying about it later, and Sister Ellis, Sister Osmond, and I all felt really strongly that April 26th is gonna be the day for her! We are SOOOO stoked! :) Wednesday early afternoon we started the day off by going to the chiropractor for Sister Ellis. After that, we worked on the area book and transfering information from that into electronic form on our iPads, then we did facebook time for a bit! :) After that, we met a wonderful potential investigator who had been sent to us from Sister Woodbury and Sister McKenna, and it was seriously a MIRACLE that we met him when we did! We went by his house to go check on him, and right as we were parking, we saw a young looking guy walking through the parking lot, and we totally would've missed him if we had left even a minute later! It's moments like those when I KNOW that God is truly looking out for all of His children, and He truly has a plan for ALL OF US in our lives! He will place prepared people in the path of His prepared servants! I STRONGLY believe that and have a testimony that that is true! I've seen it in my life time and time again - ESPECIALLY on my mission, and it is AMAZING!!! :D That night, we had dinner with Kari, then we had an AMAZING lesson with one of our INCREDIBLE investigators named Leslie! She is SO sweet and we LOVE her, but she's married and has an ADORABLE sweet little baby, so we have to pass her to the family ward... Darn it! least for us. Haha. I mean, we're SO happy for her and her husband that they're happily married and that they have a sweet little family, but for the first time in my entire mission, I just want EVERYBODY who I teach to be single! Haha! It's a weird phenomenon and mindset to get into! Haha! But it's ok. The family ward that she will go to is great and they will love her and embrace her, so it's where she needs to be and it'll be best for her for us to pass her. It's just the selfish side of me wants to keep her cause I love her SO much! Haha. Anyways, that night, we didn't end up having our English class which we apparently usually help teach on Wednesday nights to the spanish speakers in the area, but nobody was able to come, so class was cancelled. It was a slight bummer, but it ended up being EXACTLY what needed to happen cause we went on a little mini split with the other Sisters who live in our apartment with us (that's right - there are FIVE of us Sisters in ONE appartment! It's a party. We definitely have WAAAY too much fun sometimes! Haha. Just kidding... but seriously though. Haha!), so Sister Vai'tu'lala went with me and Sister Osmond, and then Sister Gray and Sister Ellis went together, and we street contacted for an hour, and it was one of the most glorious, BEST hours of my life! Haha! But seriously though! It was SOOOOOOOO WONDERFUL!!! It was EXACTLY what I needed!!! It was SO wonderful and freeing to get back in my element of street contacting, cause that's the way I was "raised" in the mission, so that's where I feel the most comfortable. So, with that said, I was pretty darn excited, to say the least, while we were street contacting! I went a little crazy and I was literally talking to every single person who would listen to me who I walked by! It was WONDERFUL!!! I love this work! I love this gospel! I love being a missionary! It really IS THE BEST thing in the world! There really is NOTHING else that I would rather be doing right now in my life, and no where else I would rather be! Arlington is my true home away from home, and it is SOOOOOOOO wonderful to be back! I know that I've already said that SO much, but I just cannot even fully express in words how incredibly happy - MORE than happy, more like JOYOUS - I am to be back here! :) Thursday was a MUCH-NEEDED day for all of us Sisters in our apartment! :) Sister Gray bought hair coloring equipment (color and developer), and I colored her hair for her! It was SO much fun! :) The only minor details that I forgot to tell the Sister when they were getting the goods, was to get a coloring brush or bottle, and gloves, and maybe even a cheap shower cap... so we were missing a few major things to actually get the color onto her hair, but it was ok! We improvised, and we used a kitchen bowl and a fork to mix the color, and I put a sandwhich back and a grocery bag on top of both of my hands to use as gloves, and we didn't have anything to use as a color brush, so I just scooped the color into my hand (that was more like a paw), and slapped it on her hair and just massaged it in like shampoo. And it worked!!! It turned out REALLY good, actually! I was quite surprised and a little impressed with our impovisational skills! :) Later that afternoon, we went street contacting for an hour before dinner, which was WONDERUFL! :) After that, we went and checked on Fernando, who is a sweet less-active member in our ward! We LOVE him! We also met one of his neighbors after we were done talking with him and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon! It was SO wonderful! :) That night, we had dinner that night with our favorite member couple, Matt and Sarah! We LOVE them! They are the epitome of what I want in the future! They are just too cute and sweet! :) That night, we finished the night off by having a wonderful member-lesson with a couple of Jason's in our ward (there are a LOT), and Elise from the Crystal City ward ended up being over there, too! It was SO wonderful to see her! SUCH a wonderful night! LOVE it! :) Friday we did our studies, then weekly planning, which took most of the day through the afternoon. After that, we went to a musical at the Temple Visitors Center called Savior of the World. It was great. Saturday we did our studies, then lunch, then our progress record and facebook. After that, we went tracting for about an hour or so. Then we visited a sweet member of our ward named Benedicta! We LOVE her! :) She is WONDERFUL! After that, we had dinner with a wonderful member of our ward named Solana! SO sweet and wonderful! LOVE her! :) After dinner, we had a wonderful lesson with our investigator, Saliu, and our wonderful member, Alex D. came as well! :) After that, we finished the night off by going to the stake center (which just so happens to be the church building that I met in when I was in Kingstowne), and went to the General Women's Broadcast, which was WONDERFUL and FANTASTIC!!! I really hope that all y'all were able to watch it, and that you DID watch it! Cause it was WELL worth it! :) Plus, I was able to see a TON of people from the Crystal City AND Kingstowne wards!!! It was WONDERFUL!!! That's right. I'm back in the Mt. Vernon Stake for the THIRD time! Or, should I say, I've only been OUT of the stake ONCE! And that was for ONE TRANSFER!!! SO crazy! I guess that there's more work that I need to do here in Arlington and Alexandria! :) LOVE it! :) Sunday we went to church, which is ALWAYS wonderful! :) After church, we went and visited one of our WONDERFUL less-active members named Amao. LOVE him! And one of our wonderful members, Bobbi, came with us! :) It was SUCH a wonderful visit! :) After that, we went back home and took a nap for our "lunch hour" since it was fast Sunday cause it's General Conference next weekend, and it was WONDERFUL! Oh, how I miss Sunday naps! Haha. But it's ok cause I would MUCH rather be out here tired and doing the work that I'm doing, than at home, able to sleep whenever I want! I LOVE being a missionary!!! :) Unfortunately, however, when I woke up from my nap, I wasn't feeling very well. I mean, I had started feeling not so great from when I first woke up that morning, but it was even more after my nap. I felt better in the way that I was more rested, but I just felt kinda nauseous and other things, and I still don't know where it came from - just outta the blue! But it's ok. We went to dinner, and I thought that maybe I just wasn't feeling well cause I was hungry, but even after I ate, I was still feeling sick. So we ended up going inside for the night about 2 and a half hours early, but it's all good. I took a good, long nap. Then woke up and went straight back to bed for the night, so when I woke up this morning, I was feeling MUCH better - still slightly uneasy in the stomach, but better none-the-less. Although it's frustrating at times when I'm not feeling well, I've really come to accept the fact that there's ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS something to be learned from whatever trial I (or even any of you, or anybody in this world) may experience. God allows us to go through trials - big and small - for OUR BENEFIT. It's for us to grow and to learn how to depend on HIM. These experiences with all of my health challenges on my mission have certainly been exactly that - challenging. However, I wouldn't change or trade any of those experiences for anything because of what I have learned and gained! I am SO grateful that my Father in Heaven trusts me and loves me enough to allow me to go through so many trials! God is good! Life is beautiful! :) The church is true! I love you all! Thank you SO much for e-mailing and/or writing me to those of you who have! Y'all are WONDERFUL!!! :D LOVE ALWAYS, Sister Aubrie Orrock P.S. In case any of you are wondering, YES, my cute companion, Sister Osmond, IS indeed related to Donny and Marie Osmond. They are her great-aunt and uncle. Cool, huh?! And yes, she can sing and we sometimes jam out to "Joseph and the Amazing Techni-color Dreamcoat" and it's the best. Haha! But in all seriousness, she really is just such a REAL person, and Sister Ellis is, too, and I love them both and am SO blessed to have them both in my life! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


HELLO EVERYBODY!!! This week has been quite the roller-coaster ride, but over-all in a good way! :) Before I go on telling y'all about my week, I want to let you all know how extremely grateful I am for this incredible opportunity that I have to be a missionary and serve our Father in Heaven by serving His children! This really IS such an incredible part of my life, and even ESPECIALLY through the ups and downs, I am SO grateful to be out here where I am, and there is NO WHERE ELSE I'd rather be! I LOVE being able to witness miracles each and every day, no matter how big or small! Every little movement that someone makes to change their lives for the better and to draw nearer to our Father in Heaven is truly an incredible thing! I really feel SO blessed to be a part of such an incredible work! :) Monday was a great day! And especially that night was incredible! We started out the night by having a wonderful Family Fun Night with the. Titus family, which was fun! After that, we had a wonderful lesson with Renette and Ashley, and they both really opened up to us, and we shared exactly what we felt needed to be shared! The spirit was SO strong! I LOVE when I can witness the power of the spirit working through me and my companion, as well as those we teach! It's a truly remarkable feeling unlike anything else, and I LOVE it! I wish that I could feel that feeling every single second! :) ...well, I suppose that I already feel the spirit much stronger in general on a daily basis by being a missionary, but it's when it's REALLY strong and powerful during lessons when I just wish that I could have that feeling with me FOREVER!!! :) Tuesday morning we had Zone Training, which was really wonderful! Honestly, it was SO powerful! Literally EVERYTHING that was said in that meeting spoke to me. It was incredible! It reminded me how much of a blessing it really is for me to be out here right now! I mean, I knew that already, but I felt like I had gotten to a point where I knew it, but I didn't KNOW it, if that makes sense at all. I had been struggling A LOT with the health (or the lack thereof) of my ankle, as well as my overall health in general. Of course, it's no secret that I have been sick on and off throughout my entire mission; and I'm not gonna lie, this aspect had started to wear on me emotionally. I had begun to feel quite discouraged and feel as though I am physically incapable of doing all of the work that The Lord sent me here to do. This had begun to cause me to feel like a bad missionary, which, I of course know that I am NOT. Anyways, after experiencing this roller-coaster of emotions for quite some time, I quickly began to come to the realization that I AM, in fact, doing all that The Lord sent me out here to do. Missionaries are NOT out of a cookie-cutter. We are all different, and therefore, we all have different challenges. What's challenging for me (my health) may not be challenging for someone else. However, what has been fairly easy for me throughout my mission, such as talking to random strangers, may be quite a challenge to others. It has taken me some time to fully realize and accept this, and through realizing and accepting this, I have also come to realize that that we are not all meant to be that stereo-typical missionary who goes out and knocks doors all day long. We are all here for a specific reason and purpose, and as long as I'm following the spirit and doing the Lord's will, I am doing exactly what He sent me out here to do, and I am blessing (and will continue to bless) lives! :) Anyways, sorry, I'll get off my soap box now. Haha. I'm not trying to preach or anything, that was FAR MORE for me than for anyone else! :) It was just SO cool for me to feel that and to recognize that even though I haven't always been doing what I imagined I would be doing on my mission, and my mission hasn't quite gone as I had expected in a lot of ways, I am SO grateful for all of the many lessons that I have learned, and continue to learn, as I'm out here on my mission! It is truly SUCH a growing experience that is unlike anything else! But I LOVE every second of it! :) Anyways, I'll quickly tell you about the rest of Tuesday, then I'll get on with the rest of the week! After Zone Training, we had lunch, then we met with Sister Salisbury to talk about Jason, and what we might discuss in our lesson with him that night. After that, we did online proselyting via fb, and then some area book time. Then we had dinner with the Olsen's (LOVE THEM!!!). After dinner, we had our lesson with Jason, which went... Alright... Sis. Salisbury was sick, so we had Sis. Olsen come with us at the last minute. He just has some concerns, but he's not ready to open up to us about them... Oh well... I guess we can't really force that. It'll all come in due time. After Jason, we visited Jessica and her husband, Glenn. It was a really great visit! I love them! I always have so much fun talking about Harry Potter with Jessica! Haha. I can really "nerd out" with her! Haha! :) Wednesday we went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, which was WONDERFUL, and EXACTLY what I needed and exactly when I needed it! :) It's sure funny how The Lord does that for us. :) Actually, it's sure wonderful and PERFECT and amazing how God truly knows us SO well - even better than we know ourselves - that He does things, or causes things to happen in His perfect orchestration of our lives that is EXACTLY what we need, and EXACTLY when we needed it, even (and in some ways, ESPECIALLY) when we don't even realize that we needed it! WOW!!! That was a HUGE run-on sentence! Haha! I hope y'all followed what I was trying to say there! :) Sister Olson came here to Great Falls to be with me, and Sister Christensen went to their area with Sister Olson's companion, Sister Lindmier. Sister Olson and I went to the Alternative House and did our usual weekly service there, then we went home and did some training. After that, we went out to lunch with Sister Fisher and her son at Chipotle! It was SOOOO yummy!!! :) After dinner while Sister Olson and I were driving around from place to place, we saw the most BEAUTIFUL sunset - a true gift from God to me at that moment (at least, that's what I felt that it was)! I seriously felt as if it was God's way of reaching out a hand and showing me how much He loves me and letting me know that it's ok that I've been struggling and having a rough time with certain things; because His son, Jesus Christ, truly knows all that I've experienced, and all that I'm going through, and He's right there to help me through it! :) And probably the most beautiful and incredible part of this sunset that spoke to me the most was the way there were half storm clouds, but then in parts of the sky you could see the sun breaking through. If y'all have seen the two pictures that I posted on Facebook of the storm clouds, those were taken that night. :) Of course the pictures didn't even do the real thing justice, but you can get a general idea from looking at those! :) That night, we had a wonderful MIRACLE lesson with our investigator, Bruce, AND his family!!! His niece and nephew, as well as his cousin and his cousin's daughter were there, too! We taught them the Restoration, as well as parts of just about all of the other lessons, too! It was WONDERFUL!!! We originally we're not intending to go beyond the Restoration at that time, but they all just had SO many questions - about everything - including the Restoration, that that's just how the lesson went! :) At the end of the lesson, Bruce's cousin's daughter accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and added us both as friends of Facebook! It was wonderful!!! Thursday we exchanged back, but hen right after that, went on another mini-exchange and I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon in the Mission Office again! I love spending time with the Senior couples there! :) That night, we had dinner with Coralee and her husband Zack, which was wonderful! They're wonderful! I love Coralee! :) Then we finished the night off by having a lesson with a little nine-year-old girl in our ward to prepare her for baptism on Saturday!!! Although both of her parents are active, and she's been coming to church her whole life, because she didn't get baptized when she was 8 years old, she had to go through us. It was all good, though! I mean, after all, not that numbers really matter (cause they DON'T), but it counted as a convert baptism for us! Haha. We really just thought that it was SUUUPER funny! So we texted it in to our Zone Leaders as a "miracle" saying that we had an INCREDIBLE lesson with our investigator (cause she technically was counted as an investigator for a few days), and now she's getting baptized on SATURDAY!!! The next morning they sent it out to everyone in our Zone, and everyone really thought it was incredible! HAHAHAHAHA!!! Oh man! Sister Christensen and I STILL think we're SO HILARIOUS for that! :D Friday we had a Sister's Conference, so we got to see all of the Sisters in the Mission!!! It was SOOOO wonderful!!! I got to see all of my past companions from the field! It was WONDERFUL! :) After the Sister's Conference, we went straight to the Doctor! I went to an orthopedic doctor so that I could find out once and for all what is wrong with my ankle, and if it's more than just a sprain, cause it just wasn't really getting much better. Anyways, the Doc. told me that it's a second-degree high-ankle sprain, and that it will probably take closer to six to ten weeks for it to heal all the way! He also told me to stop using the crutches right then cause my ankle and foot needed to be walked on in order to stretch out the muscles properly and in order to heal... Let's just say that it's been a painful past couple of days; however, it did come as a relief to know that I wasn't just being a baby because it really will take longer to heal than l had originally been told. But it's fine. I'm just happy to finally have more information on that and have more information on exactly what I need to do in order for me to go back to my full level of health in my foot and ankle! :) After the doctor, we did our weekly planning, then we went and had dinner with Sister Parker and her sweet friend, Fedelis! I love them SO much! They are WONDERFUL!!! After that, we had a lesson with Jean Pierre, and the Johnson's came with us to that! It was... Interesting... Haha. But it was overall a really good lesson! :) Saturday we finished weekly planning that morning. After that, we went straight over to the Olsen's home and has lunch with them before we went with them to their daughter's baptism in the POTOMAC RIVER!!! Yep! You read that right! She got baptized in the Potomac river because her mom's family isn't LDS, so they won't go into an LDS church building. But it really was SUCH a wonderful and beautiful experience, and I am SO grateful that we were able to be a part of it! We did have to hike about ten minutes or so down to the river, and then another ten to fifteen back, and although it was painful (for my foot and ankle), I am SO grateful that I was able to be there for it! I mean, after all, it's not everyday you get to see someone be baptized in a literal river! SO cool! :) After e baptism, we went to the bishop's home for her confirmation. It was an absolutely beautiful thing! After the confirmation was over, the Bishop asked if anyone wanted to say anything, and her little sister (who can't be more than 4 years old) said that she wanted to say something. So she went up in front of everyone and basically bore her testimony of God and that He is our Loving Heavenly Father. It was the sweetest, most pure testimony I have ever heard. I almost cried. So sweet! :) After that, we did Facebook for a little bit, and that night we had dinner with the McConaughey's, which was WONDERFUL and hilarious! I LOVE them! :) After dinner that night, we went to Stake Conference, which was all about missionary work, so it was WONDERFUL!!! :) Sunday we had Stake Conference agin, then that afternoon we saw Renette and Ashley and had another incredible lesson with them! :) Renette even made us African fried rice! It was SO good, and it was so sweet of her to make it for us that we couldn't refuse, even though we had a dinner appointment fifteen minutes later. Haha. But it's fine. After that, we went and had a wonderful (second) dinner with the Taggart's! I love them! :) After the Taggarts, we finished the night off by visiting the Beard family, which was WONDERFUL!!! They are SOOOOO fun and funny!!! We LOVED visiting with them! And we even had a member lesson with them (it's a new thing that President Riggs wants us to to to get members pumped about sharing the gospel. We teach them a lesson just like we would an investigator! It's AWESOME!!!), and by the end of it, they told us that they WANTED to find us someone to teach! :) Anyways, I love you all SOOOO much! Thank you SOOOOO much for all of your constant prayers and love and support! :) The church is true!!! LOVE ALWAYS, Sister Aubrie Orrock

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Miracles Happen with Members!

HEY EVERYBODY!!! This week has been packed full of things, as always! :) Monday we were snowed in all day, so we just hung out at home and had a lovely home-cooked meal with the Davis' and chatted with them. It was wonderful, and exactly what I needed to be able to give my ankle the much-needed rest that it needed (and still needs)! Tuesday we did our grocery shopping (cause we couldn't do it on Monday due to the weather), then we went to Noodles and Company and had lunch, which was wonderful! After lunch, we went and had our IPAD TRAINING!!! That's right. We have iPads now. No big deal. It's pretty great, I'm not gonna lie. :) however, it takes a little but longer to email on them cause they didn't come with a keyboard, so I'm just finger-pecking this whole email... Haha. It's fine. I've actually gotten kinda fast at it. :) Anyways, after we were done with iPad training, we went and had dinner with the Salisbury's, which was wonderful! They are such a kind family! :) After dinner, Sister Salisbury came with us to a lesson with Jason, which was really great! He's comin' along in his learning - slowly, but surely. He's really wonderful! I just want him to come to know that these things are true SOOOO bad!!! Haha. But I know I have to be patient. He'll get there - just in his own time. :) Wednesday we had DistrictMeeting, which was SUUUPER funny and interesting to look around and see all of us missionaries with our iPads out - typing out notes and looking up scriptures and Preach My Gospel. I LOVE it! It makes it SUUUPER convenient because now we don't have to carry around a million things with us anymore cause it's all on our iPads! LOVE it! :) After District Meeting, we went out to lunch at Cafe Rio with the McLean Sisters, and that was SUUUPER fun! We're trying to make some District, and even ZONE unity here, so hopefully we can get that goin' sooner or later! :) After District Meeting, we went home and did some online proselyting via Facebook, then we started to work on putting the area book online in our iPads (it's pretty much gonna take FOREVER cause our area book is THICK, and we have to type in all of the information from all of the teaching records, but it's fine. Haha), then we did companionship study. After that, we had dinner with Sister Parker, which was wonderful, as always! I LOVE that woman! :) After dinner, we visited (and I met) Sister Frank, which was great! She's a sweet older woman! :) After Sister Frank, we finished the night off by visiting and having a quick lesson with our investigator, Bruce. He's a nice older man, but he just doesn't seem to have that real intent when it comes to reading the Book of Mormon. Hopefully we can get him there some day! :) Thursday we worked on the area book, did some Facebook time, and then went and did some service at Great Falls Manor. I LOVE going there and visiting with those SUUUPER adorable and hilarious elderly women! They are SOOOO FUNNY!!! :) After that, we had dinner that night with the Steven's! It was WONDERFUL! I LOVE them!!! :) Friday morning the Vienna Sisters came and picked me up and took me to the Mission Office. But right before we left to go to the office, they gave me a pack of gluten-free OREOS!!! I cannot even express to you in words how grateful I was (and AM) for that seemly small and simple (but HUGE to ME) act of kindness!!! :) After they dropped me off at the mission office, I spent the rest of the morning and half of the afternoon there. While I was there, I helped out with checking vehicle miles papers and stapling receipts to them, and then visiting with Sister Riggs, and occasionally Elder Riggs and Elder Collins (the other Seniors who work in the office); and I also did some online proselyting. After they picked me up from the mission office (which, by the way, is about a 30 minute or so drive WITHOUT traffic), we went straight to the Olsen's and dinner with them; after dinner, we had a Family Fun Night with them and their friends. After that, we went and had a lesson with Jean Pierre, which went well. :) Saturday we did some weekly planning, then we had lunch with Brother Larsen at Olive Garden, which was delicious and SO much fun! I love Brother Larsen! He has such a quick wit about hi and always has a riddle for us! He's such a sweet elderly man! :) After lunch, we finished our weekly planning. After that, we had dinner with the Hall family and our investigators, Renette and Ashley! After dinner, we went to the Temple Visitors Center with all of them, which was wonderful! It was EXACTLY what they needed! After we left the visitors center, Renette said to me and Sis. Christensen, "It looks like we need to make a decision. We need to think about baptism." We almost cried with happiness and complete joy! I am SO happy for them! :) Sunday we went to church, which was wonderful! We had a special ward conference that was specially geared towards non-members! It was WONDERFUL!!! Renette even called us that night and thanked us for inviting her and Ashley to church, and for all that we've done for them! It was amazing! I love them SO much! :) That night, we had dinner with the Roberts, which was wonderful! Sister Roberts made THE BEST gluten-free brownies I've ever tasted in our life! :) Anyways, I love you all SO much! Thank you SO much for everything that y'all do for me! Please write me! And email is ok, too! :) I love you all! :) The church is true! Thought for the week: You're stronger than you think you are! Go out and chase your dreams and MAKE THEM HAPPEN! :) LOVE ALWAYS, Sister Aubrie Orrock