Monday, June 27, 2016

We will keep trying because WE LOVE JESUS!

Monday night we were trying to do some member and less active visits but we were having the hardest time! We tried about 6 different families and nothing was working. So instead we did a lot of tracting! And we found some really nice people that I'm really excited to go follow up with. 

Tuesday we had a really lovely visit with a ward member named Sarah that just got baptized a few years ago. She was so kind and supportive and really brightened my day! We did a lot of tracting on Tuesday again. I have never done so much finding, especially tracting! Yay for whitewashing and having no investigators to teach! Tuesday night we went to a ward activity they called "football rounders." Football is just soccer here. Rounders is the closest thing to baseball but it is a lot harder to score, because basically you have to get a home run to score a point. It was a mixture of the two and all us American missionaries laughed when we realized it was pretty much just a game of kickball! Well with the rounders way of scoring…but we thought it was pretty funny the members thought they made it up! 

Wednesday we went to teach a friend the sisters used to teach from the Czech Republic named Jana. The lesson fell through so we did some…Yep…Tracting! Then we had lunch with the Hallman family. After lunch we tried contacting some former friends and less active members. Then we went to Sister Fielding's house for dinner. She is a widow and has recently lost a few children as well so she loves visits with the sisters to cheer her up. She gave us big bowls of delicious homemade soup and a whole small loaf of French bread each and it was very filling. Then she went back into the kitchen and brought out a heaping plate for each of us with mashed potatoes, three hamburger patties each and three Yorkshire puddings. And oh man, I was already so stuffed! But she was so sweet and she had worked all day preparing it and so I just prayed to be able to eat so I wouldn't hurt her feelings! Then she brought out a whole pie for our pudding and expressed that we needed to finish it! I thought I would explode but I just couldn't say no, bless her! Besides the fact that I never need to eat again, it was a really nice visit and she is just the sweetest little old lady ever! 

Thursday we had a district meeting that was really good! It started really late though so we couldn't stay for much of our district lunch. Then we travelled to visit a recent convert and her less active husband. And oh man, they were great! They had us close our eyes and pick out a colored bead from a goblet to sort us into the Harry Potter houses and had us sign their posters so pretty much, it made my day! I came out to be a Ravenclaw, then we had dinner with another widow in the ward. She told us about this big spider in her tub and how she had been too scared to shower for two weeks but she couldn't kill it. So I offered to capture it and take it outside. I went up to the bathroom and saw this little skinny spider with long legs and thought “oh wow this will be easy!”  I went to step into the tub to capture it...That's when I almost stepped on the real culprit! A very big fast fuzzy brown spider that scared the daylight out of me when I almost stepped on it! You should all be very proud of me because I still captured the big scary creature and saved the day for this sweet widow!! Thursday, England voted about whether or not to leave the EU so basically that's all we've heard about the last few weeks and especially on Thursday! We had people approaching us first on the street to influence our vote...which is weird as a missionary. They weren't too excited when they realized we couldn't vote, or when we offered to trade pamphlets. Historic times here in England! 

Friday morning we did weekly planning and had our first flat inspection in Stourbridge. We tried to visit lots of members and former investigators but didn't have much luck with either. So more tracking! 

Saturday we tried to have another lesson with Jana but it didn't work out again. We had lunch with Sister Hallman and her granddaughter. We were able to contact a less active member with unbaptized children, the sisters were teaching. The oldest son turns 9 this week and wants to be baptized so hopefully we will be able to help reactivate her and teach him! Then we did some more tracting. A member referred us to try her neighbor who is a Christian and we were really excited to talk to her. Let's just say she wasn't very Christlike towards us and really tried to tear us apart. After a week-long of doors shut in my face it was quite upsetting. But we still had an hour left to tract so we just kept going to another long street of all no's and more slammed doors. It was a really hard night. I know there is a reason they brought sisters back to this area after closing it! I have so much faith that there is someone in this area who has been prepared to be taught. We just have to have patience and keep trying our best and we will find that reason eventually. 

We had a lovely Sunday! There were more members at church this Sunday which was a relief! We had a lovely Sunday roast dinner after church with some members. English Sunday roast dinners are pretty much the best thing in the world. Man…So good! Then we spent the rest of our proselyting time doing more finding. We will find someone to teach if it kills me! Then we had our weekly call-ins with our district leader and dinner. We also had our 12 week study! These last few weeks I have really been treasuring up every moment of study time. I love it and it's so nice to be training because we get an extra hour of study time each day! It's so great and helps me de-stress to just plunge into the scriptures. 

It was definitely a week where I can say I tried everything I could and knew how to do, even if we didn't see any success. 

But we will KEEP TRYING because we LOVE Jesus and we know He is on our side and He is with us every step of the way! 
Have a great week everyone! 
Love, Sister Cebollero
1.Sister Knudsen and Sister Cebollero

2. Hanging with Sister Hallman and her cute granddaughter Scarlet-Rose

Monday, June 20, 2016

Whitewashing Stourbridge and Training a new missionary!!

The whitewash training adventure begins!
My last night in Stamford was lovely! We met again with Florence and Belinda from Africa and they fed us some authentic African food again. I couldn't honestly tell you what we ate because I have no idea...But it was really good! I was so sad to already have to say goodbye to them after such a short time because they were so hilarious and we were getting to be such good friends. Then I spent the rest of the night packing up again! Thank goodness for vacuum bags! 

Tuesday morning I finished packing and we headed to pick up Sister Jones and Sister Wadsworth in Leicester. We drove to the mission office and they dropped Sister Jones and me off. We had a lunch with all the trainers. We were all so nervous and excited and just knowing our greenies were in the same building had us all a little on edge! Then we got to meet all the new missionaries and watch the cornerstone tradition where they all announce their name and where they come from. We had some training all together from President and Sister Leppard and the Assistants to the President and then I became a mission momma! My girl is Sister Knudsen and she is from Fruitland, Idaho! She came from the Provo MTC so she was a bit tired from her flight. Thankfully, our sister training leaders picked us up with all our luggage and brought us to our new home in Stourbridge (pronounced Star-bridge) because we had a horrible rainstorm! The flat here is soooo nice! Like honestly, we are so blessed! The location is amazing as well because we are right on the high street (main road in a town with lots of shops and food). The STLs helped us get some groceries since the flat had been cleared out when the area closed. We went out and did some finding and handed out Sister Knudsen's first Book of Mormon! Then the Elders brought us a ward directory and our area book. We did the twelve week study for new missionaries and tried to get unpacked a little bit. 

Wednesday morning we took some time to look through the area book, ward directories and maps. We did some street contacting in the afternoon and tried to familiarize ourselves with the area a bit more. Then we visited a sweet widow in the ward. She was very kind and talked our ears off! Later that night we went to the Bishop's house to meet him and his wife. The ward hasn't had sisters for a few weeks now and they were so sad when they got taken out. The ward is almost completely made up of widows and so there is a lot of work for sisters to do here. They were all so excited to hear they had sisters again. 

Thursday we had our first district meeting in Stourbridge. We have four sets of missionaries in our district. Our district leader is Elder Qesada from Spain (Fun fact: He was the first missionary to knock on my dear Catherine's door in Nottingham!) and his companion is Elder Nicotra from Italy. Then we have Sister Gevik from Norway and Sister Marshall from England. Those teams are all in the Woodsetten ward. Then we are in Stourbridge with Elder Petersen from Logan, Utah and Elder Stephenson from Colorado. We stayed at the church after the meeting so Sister Knudsen could get her iPad set up. I was studying and sorting through the area book while she did this. And I was feeling so stressed and overwhelmed and lost! Then I picked up my iPad to look at the map and saw that I had just received an email from Catherine! She sent me an email all about receiving the Holy Ghost and how her family has been to all 3 hours of church since the baptism and how well everything was going. It was such a tender mercy to hear such good news from her when I was feeling so low! Thursday we had the craziest rainstorm again! The rain by our flat was knee deep! We tried to visit some members but none of them were in. 

Friday we had our weekly planning session in the morning. Then we did some member visits and tracting. We got Sister Knudsen's first Chippy for dinner. We went and contacted a Russian woman named Nadia that the sisters have been teaching. She is in her 60's and she was so funny! She offered to feed us dinner but we were still stuffed. She felt bad and that she needed to do something for us so she made us some ice cream bowls. Then she started pulling out rice and sausages and pasta and before we had finished the ice cream we had a full on meal. We had a good lesson with her about the scriptures. Unfortunately she left today to spend the next 4 months in Russia…So I probably won't ever get to teach her again. But she was great! Sister Jampapan who was the last Sister here before they closed the area called us Friday night to give us some information and help us out a bit. It was definitely an answer to my prayers and it helped so much! 

Saturday we tried to visit a whole bunch of members but we were having a hard time finding anyone in. We finally were able to contact a less active sister who was really sweet and let us right in. In the afternoon, we contacted another friend from the Czech Republic and set up a time to teach her next week. Then we met a member named Sister Hallman and we had a great visit with her. We had our first dinner appointment here with the Relief society president. 

Our first Sunday in Stourbridge! The ward here is even smaller than the branch in Stamford! There were only about 5 priesthood men. And the rest of the ward is mostly made of widows! We were able to bear our testimonies and introduce ourselves. Everyone was very kind and one sister even brought us a bag of snacks for the week. I felt a little out of place, but it will get much better once we start getting to know the ward members. We had lunch with Sister Hallman which was so lovely. Then we had to return to the flat for 12 weeks study and to have our weekly call-ins with our district leader. 

To be honest it was definitely a very hard and stressful week! I did not expect to be a trainer this early on my mission, let alone whitewash training in a new area. Most of the time I just wanted to cry and I felt so lost. But I know it will take time to get to know the area and to find people here to teach. So we'll just keep taking it one day at a time and working as hard as we can and everything will work out fine. 

Thank you for all of your prayers this week!
Sister Aubri Cebollero 
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:13 
1. All the trainers with their new missionaries!

2/3. Sister Cebollero introducing her new companion Sister Knudsen from Fruitland, Idaho
4. Sister Knudsen with President Leppard and his lovely wife

5. Beautiful Stourbridge

6. Sister K's first time having Chippies!

7. Sister K's first double decker bus

8. Lunch with our district

 9. Our Russian friend Nadia

 10. First Sunday in Stourbridge ward! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

2 Weeks in Stamford comes to an end!

Last Monday night we visited a part member family in the ward that is from Portugal. Then we had family home evening with two women in the ward from Africa. They cooked us some delicious African food. And let me tell you, they were absolutely hilarious! They told us about their conversion process with so much enthusiasm and sincerity. It was one of the most entertaining visits ever!

Tuesday morning Sister Spangler wasn't feeling very well so we had to stay in for a bit. We had both been asked to talk on Sunday so I started writing my talk and did some work in our area books. We did some member visits in the afternoon. Then we helped with a physical fitness enrichment night for the relief society. The branch meeting house is so posh, it has a tennis court in the back garden so we played some tennis and badminton. 

Wednesday we had zone meeting in Leicester. It is a really fun zone, even if I only got to be apart of it for two weeks! My district leader from the MTC; Elder Langi, is in this zone so it was fun to catch up with him. We had a nice zone lunch all together and then made the long drive back to Stamford. We did some finding and then we had dinner with the Leighton family. Then we attended a very long and interesting branch council. 

Thursday was an exciting day! I had a trainer's meeting at the mission office. Sister Spangler and I got up at 5:30 and got ready then we headed to Leicester to pick up Sister Jones and Sister Wadsworth. Then Sister Jones and I took a train to Birmingham and then another train to the mission office! We had a really good training meeting for two hours with President and Sister Leppard and the assistants to the president. They basically told us they were handing over the future of the mission. But no pressure!! I felt a lot of peace and that I was where I was supposed to be, but it was still a little overwhelming! There are 6 sisters training and 4 elders and after our meeting we had a really nice lunch all together. We will get our new companions on Tuesday! Then we trained back to Leicester! Sister Spangler and I drove back to Stamford and made it just in time for our dinner with the branch president. Then we visited a less active family that has a nine year old daughter on a baptismal date for July and had a short visit to get to know them. We also planned our relief society lesson for Sunday. 

Friday we did our weekly planning. Then we helped Sister Edwards pack up her stall at the Stamford market again. It was such a rainy day and it absolutely poured and poured! We did some tracting and visited some former investigators and less active members. 

Saturday morning we drove to contact a referral who wasn't in. We dropped off some notes to members in that town. Then we had a lunch appointment with some ward members. It was a lovely English roast dinner and it was delicious! We did some tracting as well. Then we worked on planning a branch family home evening activity for next Tuesday. We were really struggling to come up with any ideas when we realized we had forgotten to pray! After we stopped and said a prayer it all came together quickly and perfectly. It was a good reminder of the importance of prayer and asking for guidance from Heavenly Father! 

Sunday the branch kept us very busy! Both of us gave talks in sacrament meeting. We had a little break to enjoy the Sunday school lesson and then we taught the relief society lesson. Thankfully the branch sisters are very talkative so it was a really easy lesson! After church we visited some members. Then we went tracting in the rain! We stopped by the branch president to discuss a branch family home evening activity we had to plan for Tuesday. We had a nice visit with them and he offered to give me a priesthood blessing of comfort and guidance before we left which was most appreciated! A sweet woman in the branch had given us a whole bag of food to have a roast dinner so we came home and cooked a late dinner. 

Today we went to the Burghley House in Stamford! It is a giant Elizabethan house and it was absolutely stunning. 

It was an interesting experience to only serve here for two weeks, but I'm thankful I had the opportunity to be here. The branch was so kind and welcoming to me in my time here. And I know that by coming here and whitewashing this area I will be more prepared to whitewash in my new home of Stourbridge these upcoming weeks! Here comes the next big adventure! 
Love ya!
Sister Aubri Cebollero

1. Meet the new Trainers: Sister Infanger (Idaho), Sister Huh (New Zealand), Sister Christy (Ireland), Sister Cebollero (Me...Utah), Sister Belnap (Arizona), and Sister Jones (Idaho)
2. Sister Cebollero and Sister Spangler

3. Burghley House (An amazing beautiful Elizabethan house). Has connections to pride and prejudice! 

4. Such a beautiful stately home! 

5. The modern sculpture garden of surprises (See the surprise in the background)

6. So HUGE

7. The grounds were absolutely stunning!

8. Here's a time-lapse video or our English countryside drive

Monday, June 6, 2016

First Baptism, First Move, & First Drive in England!

Remember last week when I said my life was crazy? I knew nothing…. Hold your horses everyone because you won't believe the week I've had! This is gonna be a long one so I apologize for that!

Monday night was my last night living in Nottingham! After P-day was over we headed to see Catherine and the family to have family home evening and to say goodbye. Pretty much Catherine and I both lost it and were crying, it was so hard. I love them SO much! But thankfully it was just a temporary goodbye. Then I packed up my life in Nottingham and tried to get some sleep. 

Tuesday was so so crazy! The sweet Hulse's picked us up in the morning to take us to the Nottingham train station and to wait for the coach. I will miss them so much as well! We waited for the coach and all the other missionaries leaving the zone to arrive. Said goodbyes to my best friends in the Nottingham zone and we were off! Sister Spangler and I met at the mission office and she hadn't even heard we were whitewashing so that was a bit crazy and she hadn't been told about the trio in the future either. Not gonna lie, as we waited we got lots of "hmmm Stamford...well you can do it!" And, "Wow...(insert long awkward pause)...good luck!" So that didn't help much with our nerves. The last sisters here had a really hard time and a lot of challenges recently. But we were still excited! Then we got back on the coach to Leicester where our car was waiting for us.  We got to the city of Leicester and they handed us the car keys. Since Sister Spangler is still legally able to drive here until July we did rock, paper, scissors to see who would try first, because we were both a bit terrified. She drove first and we took Sister Wadsworth and Sister Jones, who will be training in two weeks to their area with their luggage. The original plan was that when Sister Jones gets her trainee, sister Wadsworth would come here to Stamford. We followed the zone leaders there which was easy. After that they said it's about a 40 minute drive to Stamford, the address is in the GPS...good luck! And we were off… My turn to drive! Driving in England... Wow! The roads in England are SO narrow and small so it's a bit terrifying but we haven't died yet; and it was raining so hard! But it was a beautiful drive through the very green country side of England! We had a really hard time finding our flat and where to park...pretty much we don't know any laws about driving or parking here. But we finally figured something out around 8 o'clock and got all the luggage moved in. We were so exhausted that we unpacked our bedding, took a look around and went to bed. 

First full day whitewashing Stamford! Sister Spangler has whitewashed 3 of her 4 areas now, so that's a bit more comforting! But we still feel SO lost here so that's always an adventure. We spent the morning trying to decipher the different area books. There was a lot of recent paperwork missing but we found a separate area book behind the couch that put some important pieces together. We had about one page of notes from the last sisters here that we had to decipher as well. Sooo much information to take in! We had no food in the flat so during lunch we had to go find the cheapest and closest grocery store to do some shopping. Then we set out for a dinner appointment. I was the designated driver the first few days because my license is still valid the longest. Their address was nonexistent because they live in a new house. So we were a bit late and trying to listen to their directions on the phone without knowing anything about the area to use as a reference point. But we found it okay! We had dinner with a young couple, the husband is from Utah and served a mission in the EBM. We had a barbecue and they were really fun and very kind. 

Thursday was equally as crazy...or even more so by the end of the night. I finished unpacking all of my stuff when we got up. We had district meeting in Peterborough which is about 30-40 minutes from Stamford. There are 3 sets of missionaries in that ward. Our district has 4 sisters; all from Utah. Then we have 4 Elders from Texas, California, Brazil and New Zealand so it was really fun! We got stopped in heavy traffic in the middle of the English countryside for a long time on our way back. Then we visited the branch president's wife to meet her. Then we stopped by the McKee's, who are awesome! President McKee is on our mission presidency so I've met them once before and they are so lovely. Then we found our way to our ward mission leader's home for dinner. His wife is from Germany and they have the cutest and funniest kids! After dinner we had a coordination and he gave us the low down on missionary work in the branch and loads of other information. This is where my life got turned upside down...again...haha. So during our meeting we got a call from the APs asking to talk to me. And they said they need another trainer for the group coming in two weeks and President has asked me to TRAIN! In just two weeks! Whitewashing a whole different area!!!!! Ahhhahahahahahhhhhhh (insert mini heart attack) what is my life?!?  Yeah. Wow. So I'm going to leave Stamford in two weeks to whitewash train in Stourbridge ward in the Birmingham stake. So yeah wow I'm still in shock…CRAZY!

Friday was pretty much the same as the rest of this week. In the morning we weekly planned and had lunch. Then in the afternoon we visited members and tried not to get too lost and figure out driving. The branch president's wife has a market stall selling dog biscuits so we helped her take that down and pack up their van. We had a really good English dinner called “Toad in the Hole.” It's like a giant Yorkshire pudding with sausages poking out and it's served with gravy and veg. It was delicious! Then we had to figure out how and where to put petrol (gas) in the car which was another adventure I'm too embarrassed to go into.

Saturday morning we went to part of our area for some district finding. It took our district an hour on the train to meet us there so we're quite a ways out here in the country! Sister Spangler and I did a little tracting and street contacting. Then as we were about to have district lunch all together, we got a call to go home so our oven could get fixed. Did I mention the sister's oven here blew up last week? (Apparently the boiler here is broken as well which explains why we have been so cold... I find all the broken boilers in this country!) After the oven was fixed we had a quick lunch and contacted some former investigators. Then we headed to Nottingham for Catherine and Tyler's BAPTISM! It was so amazing to see them be baptized. Catherine was still terrified of the water but she was so happy after and as she watched Tyler. She told me they had the flu this week and they didn't go out the last two days. But they woke up feeling fine and when the kids asked if the baptism was still on she said I am not changing this again, we are doing this today! And she was so so happy they did. Wow they're amazing! I had been asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost and I had a horrible cold and cough all week so I could barely talk but it went okay. We also did a musical number with the missionaries. It was seriously the highlight of this week and the last few months working with their family! All of the hard times and stress was more than worth it to see them be baptized. Wow I love them SO MUCH! It was also really cool because Sister Pascua's new companion was the last sister in Stourbridge; my future new area, so she was so excited and told me a lot of helpful things! #Tendermercies! 

Sunday in Stamford branch was also Sister Spangler's birthday! It's a bit awkward when you're with a new companion that you don't really know…and then they have a birthday. And then you live in the middle of nowhere and know no one to help her have a special day. But I did mention it to a few members and they put it on the branch FB page and so many members we didn't even know brought her sweet gifts at church. She was so touched she was in tears! I had the opportunity to bear my testimony in sacrament meeting. The spirit was so strong and this branch here is amazing. One sweet old woman in the ward came up to us after and handed Sister Spangler a gift. Then she pulled some fresh honey out of her bag in a bottle and said "sweetie, your voice sounds terrible! My husband is a beekeeper and you need this honey!" It was so kind of her. We had an amazing roast dinner with the oldest woman in the branch from Germany. It was so delicious! We visited formers and also had a nice visit to get to know the branch president. 

Mission life is quite the adventure! I've got a terrible cough and no voice now.  It's been an absolutely crazy week but it's been amazing as well. I am truly so happy! I'm nervous about everything ahead this transfer but I know with the help of the Lord it will be the best adventure yet! 
Love you all so much! 
Extra prayers this transfer that I don't mess up this poor new missionary!

1. Sister Cebollero went back to Nottingham for Catherine and Tyler's Baptism
2. Saying Good-bye to Catherine and her sweet family

3. With sweet little Isaac

4. Last Day with my BFF Sister Pascua
5/6. Fun to come back to Nottingham for the day and see Sister Pascua and Elder Vaitoa
7. Awesome Baptism Day!

8. Elder Shumway was one of the missionaries that found Catherine and was able to come for her baptism

9. My new companion Sister Spangler from Utah and my temporary district in Peterborough

8. Sweet German sister in the Stamford Branch. Famous for her delicious mashed potatoes, she fed us a delicious meal and wanted a picture for her missionary book!