Tuesday, December 24, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS... almost!!! And Mexican Avocados are THE BEST!!! :D

HEY EVERYBODY!!! Oh my goodness!!! WHAT A WEEK!!! This past week has been crazy - but I guess what week out in the mission field ISN'T?? Haha. Anyways... Monday, as I think I mentioned in my e-mail last week, Sister McKenna and I played the board game Life with Elder Stone, Elder Harper, and Elder Richards - while Elder Smith watched. Haha. It was SO much fun!!! :) I really am blessed with the Elders who I serve with! They are all really remarkable and I've become such good friends with all of them, too - especially Elder Stone. ...Speaking of Elder Stone, he got a few packages before he left the area on Thursday, and they've still been comin' for him even after he left! Haha! But it's ok. Elder Harper's going to bring them to District Meeting tomorrow and give them to the Zone Leaders to take to the Mission Office and get them to Elder Stone. :) Monday night, we went over and visited Sister Stolpe. I really do love her! She's such a sweetheart! Seriously! She was afraid that one of us might get transfered, so she bought each of us a going away/remember her present! She got us make-up (lip gloss - mine's a barbie pink, mascara, eye liner, and a whole eye shadow color palet!) and then each of us a bracelet! She is really too kind! I love it! :) Don't worry - I took pictures of everything she gave us, so I'll send the pictures so y'all can see! Also, besides the wonderful gifts, she practically fed us dinner cause she asked us if we had had dinner - we told her not really (I never leave enough time on P-days to actually have a meal for dinner, so I usually just end up eating a granola bar, or something like that... Oooopsies), so she took all of this food out of her fridge and insisted that we eat it! I was like, "OK!!!" I'm not gonna complain if someone wants to feed me! Haha. :) But in all seriousness, that really was such a HUGE tender mercy from the Lord that she fed us, cause we were really scrambling to get everything done for the week. God truly IS our loving Heavenly Father, and He is SO mindful of us and knows EXACTLY what we need and when we need it! It's truly amazing to me sometimes, but at the same time it's like, "DUH! OF COURSE He knows all of that! He's God!" I really am SO grateful to know that I am a daughter of a King - the creator of the universe - and He loves ME. :) Tuesday we had Zone Training, and it was SO good!!! We talked a LOT about gratitude and being more grateful in our everyday lives! Then our Zone Leader told us to write down 10 things a week that we're grateful for, and we're going to share them at Zone Portion of District Meetings every week! I'm SO excited! And I thought, "Well, this is gonna be easy! Only 10 things a week?? I write in my gratitude journal every day! This is nothing!" And I don't say this to boast at all, I want you all to truly know how much it has helped me to diligently write in my gratitude journal each and every day! And if I miss a day or two, I always make sure that I go back and catch up! It really helps me to keep my mindset on Christ and all that He did for me, and Heavenly Father and all of the blessings and tender mercies that He gives to me each and every day! I am SO grateful for this wonderful Holiday season and the spirit of Christmas!!! It is truly a magical time of year! I LOVE it! :) That afternoon after lunch, we went over to a part-member family's home, the Roze's, and I cute Sister Roze's and her little three year old daughter's hair! It was SO much fun! We also shared a nice Christmas message with them, and she made gluten-free mushroom soup in return for me doing her hair - which, of course, was totally unnecessary, but she wanted to do it and she already had it basically done when we got there, so it was sweet of her! :) This really was such a wonderful visit for many reasons - one of which being that Sister Schramm and I had tried scheduling a time with her MULTIPLE times to go and visit her before, but she didn't seem too thrilled about it. And then this time she actually invited US over - granted it was for a haircut, but still. Baby steps. :) And when we saw her at church on Sunday, she was really excited to see us, and even more excited to see that I didn't get transfered! :) After that, we did some facebook time, which was really good! I was able to chat with some really amazing people! :) That night, we went by Sister Davis' and gave her a Christmas card from the Relief Society, and she gave us each a Christmas card and a candy cane! She really is such a sweetheart! I love her! :) I love Kingstowne! After that, we went to our Gospel Principles class at the church... that didnt' really happen... Haha. We sat around and waited for anyone to show up for about half an hour, but everyone who might've come ended up being no-shows. It's ok, though. We had a good time chattin' with the Elders, and Elder Smith and I talked about hair and what our favorite hair products are - true story. This boy knows more about hair than anyone I know who's not a cosmetologist. He's a really cool Elder! He told me how to get to a Sally's Beauty Supply. True story. Haha! We finished the night off by visiting Bobbi and her sweet mom. I really do love Bobbi SO much! :) Wednesday we had our very last Launching Leaders, which was sad cause it was the last one, but it was an amazing class, as always! :) After that, we had lunch, then we did some online proselyting on facebook, which was really great, as always! Speaking of which - y'all could help me (and God) out by spreading the good word via facebook by simply "liking" and/or "sharing" my posts! So THANK YOU SO MUCH to those of y'all who have already been doing that! It means a lot - as silly as that may sound! :) And I strongly encourage each and every one of y'all to do what you can individually - ESPECIALLY this Christmas season when people in general are SO much more apt to listen to people talk about Christ - to share your testimony and/or simply share the gospel with others! :) We are now in a very electronic world, so as sad as it is sometimes, one of the best ways to share the gospel now is really through facebook - which is why you may have noticed that SO many missionaries are now online, it's CRAZY!!! After that, we visited the Clouse's for a bit! I LOVE them!!! And they had their adorable little dog perform for us by barking along and sorta dancing to a disney song! It was absolutely PRICELESS! Don't worry - I got it all on video, and I'll send that home. I just can't e-mail that, so I save all of those to a jump drive that I'm going to mail home very soon! :) After that, we went over to the Carver's and I cut Sister Carver's hair (and Sister Carver is also a hair stylist, so we were able to talk hair, which was really fun, because none of my companions understand my crazy neurotic-ness with hair! But she DOES! It was WONDERFUL!!!). After I was done with her hair, we had dinner with them, and it was SO good!!! Sister Carver made a wonderful home-made gluten-free vegetarian lasagna where she used cut up squash as the noodles, and then layered it with various types of cheeses. SO good!!! :) I love the Carvers, I really do! :) After the Carvers, we went over to the Kemp's and visited with them! I love them SO much! They are seriously such a sweet elderly couple! They ALWAYS give us cream soda, gatorade, and/or water every single time we go over there! I'm tellin' ya - for some reason, there are SO many people out here in this mission who just want to spoil me in various different ways! I'm definitely not complaining by any means, but I'm just sayin', your prayers are sure workin', Mom, Dad, and Cory! Haha! :) After our wonderful visit with the Kemps, we went and saw Desmond and had a wonderful lesson! I am SO grateful for Desmond and for his interest in learning about the gospel! It sure is refreshing to teach a man who actually wants to learn about the gospel more than just talk to a cute girl! Seriously! The latter gets WAY too old! We finished the night off by stopping by Elder Stone and Elder Harper's apartment to say goodbye to Elder Stone (and give him his jump drive back that I borrowed from him earlier to get a video off of it, but mostly to say goodbye. Haha). I really am sad to see him go because we really developed such a strong friendship, but it's just like how it was when Sister Schramm and my other companions left - it's the nature of the beast. But it's all good. I'm sure I'll see him around some other time, just as I see my past companions once in a while. :) Thursday we did our weekly service at Koinonia - the local food bank. I really do love everyone there! They are all SUCH wonderful people! And they always give us food, or at least some sort of treat to take home at the end of our two hours, or however long we're there for! I love them! :) After lunch we did some online proselyting, and I was able to chat with some other amazing people! :) Then that night was a MIRACLE!!! We were delivering Christmas cards from the Relief Society to less-active women in the ward, and we went to an elderly woman named Sister Asher's home to give her her Christmas card. We knocked on the door, and she just yelled, "Come in!" Not wanting to intrude, I shyly opened the door a crack, and said, "Is it really ok for us to come in?" and she said, "Yes! I said 'come in!'" so we went inside, and she had us take a seat and we ended up talking with her for about an hour and a half! She even introduced us to three of her children, and we shared a Christmas message with her - pretty much every Christmas message that we share with people lately has been using Elder Holland's talk "Maybe Christmas Doesn't Come from a Store". Thank you SO much, Steve Gordon, for being so kind and e-mailing me as often as you do with all of your uplifting stories and talks, including this very one! I don't know if I ever would've come across it if it weren't for you, so THANK YOU!!! :) Anyways, Sister Asher really enjoyed what we shared with her and she said that she would read the rest of the talk on her own time! Truly remarkable! The Lord's timing is AMAZING!!! Seriously! I don't know if we would've ever met Sister Asher if it weren't for us delivering those Christmas cards, so I'm so grateful that we did deliver those! :) After that, we finished the night off by popping in and visiting sweet Sister Owens! And she ended up telling us in Relief Society yesterday that that was EXACTLY what she needed right when she needed it! I LOVE those moments!!! :D Friday morning we were surprised to receive a wonderful call from none other than PRESIDENT RIGGS!!! And he ended up paying us a visit to our apartment with PRESENTS!!! He told us that there are some sweet temple workers at the DC temple who donated several (possibly dozen) gift bags and told him to give them to missionaries who he felt like needed them! So he said that he loves us so much, so he wanted US to have them (one each)!!! It really made me almost cry, because that was EXACTLY what I needed right then! I just needed to see President, and seeing him playing Santa for me was that much better! He told us that he doesn't have one for everyone, so to keep it on the down low! :) Later that morning, we went over to Sister Davis' and helped her wrap Christmas presents, then shared a Christmas message with her! It was really fun! :) Then we spent the rest of the afternoon weekly planning. However, that night was a MIRACLE!!! We spent most of the night in Fairchild, but first we visited Carol. Then we went and saw Mama Paulina; after Mama, we visited Pokuwa, but she wasn't home, so we visited her twin sister, Pokuwa, who isn't a member, but has met with missionaries before. ...Well... we ended up teaching her the Restoration and scheduled a return appointment for Christmas Eve! And she said that we can continue teaching her! Yep! New investigator! I LOVE this work! It's amazing!!! Saturday we spent several hours at the Clouse's helping them clean and organize their apartment. After we were done working, they had us stay over for dinner and we had a delicious home-made gluten-free and vegetarian meal! I LOVE them! And they're who we're going over to their place to call home on Christmas! :) Sunday was wonderful, too! We had another lesson with Carol, which was really great! :) And she even came to church, which was amazing! :) And she kept on making all of these hilarious comments all through church, and once even in Relief Society as an announcement to EVERYONE, saying, "This is the most fertile church I have ever been in!" She was referring to all of the children and the pregnant woman in the ward. Yep. It was great. Haha! Anyways, I gotta run! But have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! :D I LOVE YOU ALL!!! Remember to keep Christ in this beautiful wonderful Holiday! :) LOVE ALWAYS, Sister Aubrie Orrock

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