Hi I'm sorry but the last few months of my life just VANISHED and somehow I'm coming home THIS WEEK.
let's start from the top :)
Monday I had my last district pday at the one and only Warwick Castle! Sister Nelson and I had both been on previous occasions but it was new to all the elders in our district. We had lots of fun once again seeing the falconry display, traveling through time and exploring the posh castle. We also climbed about a bajillion stairs for a nice view from the top of the castle. England is beautiful. I'm obsessed with castles. Can we build a castle in the back garden mum?!?
Since we were in Warwick for pday I took the opportunity to visit my friend Mandy that I had been teaching there. It was so nice to be able to see her again and visit with her and her family. She's missing sister missionaries a whole lot so hopefully Warwick gets sisters back soon :)
Monday night we drove down to Bicester and saw the Garwood family for my last time. We used a new app we have that is a virtual chapel tour. They live pretty far from the church and don't drive so it was a perfect way to let them see what it is like and the different organizations. Such a fun family that I'm truly going to miss!
Tuesday was a delicious day if not anything else. We spent the morning following up with just about everyone that we could think of and doing finding as we went along. At one door a man walking by stopped at the bottom of the path and waited for us. He cynically called out "ahh, nobody home??" And we said, no she is home! To which he replied "we'll see" and then our friend answered but her son was poorly. We walked down to the bottom of the path hoping for a miracle but this man truly didn't want to listen. It was so heartbreaking to hear him angrily tell us his problems with God and life and he wouldn't let us even try to share something. It's always SO sad holding the happiness of the gospel you know will help them when people won't even attempt to listen. One of the hardest parts about a mission for sure.
Then we went and had lunch with our member friend Mel from Zimbabwe that we recently started working with. She cooked us some reaaalllyy good African food! It was so filling and we helped her do alllll the dishes afterwards. Which was nice because we always offer, and hardly anyone ever lets us help! Let people serve you!!!!
We then drove to Bicester and did lots of finding. We tried following up with some families we had met as well. After that we went to eat with the Liddell family, one of our favourite families here. They excitingly told us we were having ribs, which is just super American of course. But then it was going to take a lot longer to finish so they ended up taking us out to an Indian restaurant that was just divine! There we were with the cutest American family eating the most amazing Indian food. The Indian food here is something else I will miss so I was super thankful we got to go. #blessed
Wednesday we taught Amina for the last time probably. Amina has a lot of flat mates who are also from Ghana and she has been talking with one of them about what we do. He came up to us and asked us for our number and if he can come to church with us! It was so cool to get a referral from our sweet friend Amina.
Then we went to Wolverhampton to do a Workover. I got to be with sister Hessenauer which was just a party. And guys. We BIKED. I felt like I truly came full circle Wednesday because I LOVED IT. Many a days biking brought me tears throughout my mission, but Wednesday they were thankful tears I couldn't hold back! Thankful that I could power through and endure, thankful that I was enjoying the wind in my hair, and thankful for the last 18 months as a missionary in England. You just feel like a real missionary on a bike hehe.
Thursday was my last district meeting. Sweet Elder and sister walk brought lunch for the whole district for a goodbye party. The AP's even joined us and we had a really nice meeting talking about the amazing miracles we have seen this transfer. I was able to close with the thought on Christ.
Then we went to teach our miracle friend Shafik and we could not find his house. He wasn't texting back and we were driving in a new housing development in circles trying to find house #70 on a road where we could only find up to #35. We were getting so discouraged and right before we were about to give up and move on, he texted back and we were able to find his house. He is SO solid. He is just so spiritual and really has that desire to improve in his life. He also adopted us as his daughters because he doesn't have any.
We had been texting almost everyone in our phone to invite them to an activity on Saturday when we received a text from a woman named Angelina from Zimbabwe asking if we were free to meet in town. Guys, we have literally been trying to meet this woman for the 2 transfers we have been here but she has been too busy. #MIRACLE! We went and met her and had a lovely discussion. She has been taught many years ago by missionaries but slipped through the cracks with a transfer change and stopped coming to church and investigating. Her work is slowing down now so she's going to start having us over regularly again... and feeding us African food so that's a plus!
Thursday night we got fish n chips for dinner to celebrate my 18 month mark and Sister Nelson's 15 month mark which happened to fall on the same day! It was also delicious of course. So much to miss!
Friday morning we had flat inspections, our car got fixed and we did our weekly planning. And then we drove to the mission office for my departing interview. The zone leaders had passed on the wrong updated time for that so we were 45 minutes late with traffic but it all worked out fine. It was a beautiful interview as I was able to reflect back on my 18 months here in the EBM with President Leppard. He pulled up my house on Google Earth and had it up on the screen the entire interview. Ahhh. He gave me some great counsel for moving forward and it really helped me to feel peace about moving on and coming home.
Besides the amazing interview *tender mercy* one of my favourite groups of sisters had their trunky meeting so they were alll at the mission office when we finished with their companions and I got to say goodbye to a lot of my favourite missionaries I hadn't been expecting to see again :) so fun!
To top off the day we did some finding and had our last dinner with the Walks! I'm gonna miss my adopted grandparents here so much!
Saturday our ward had a majestic summer fete *carnival/fair thingy*. It was complete with a bouncy house, slip n slide, BBQ, games and so much more. It was also completed with a HUGE rain storm.... noooo! We moved as much as possible inside the church basement and had an inside BBQ and activity. It still turned out really nice! Our friend Shafik came and loved being able to get to know more of the members. We helped with the clean up after and got absolutely drenched through taking down everything outside. We came home, changed and we're back off to do some tracting. We drove to a cute little village called Chipping Norton and tracted a few streets to finish off the night.
My last Sunday was really good as well. I was asked to give a talk on my favourite Book of Mormon stories and what they mean to me. Basically the hardest topic ever... tooooo many amazing stories to choose from. Thankfully it all came together alright :) we also had the privilege of teaching YWs to our 3 beautiful young women here. Which was just a blast and a half! We taught them about their baptism Covenants and what promised they made and were made to them. After church we had a munch and mingle with all the leftover food from the fete! It was really nice to be able to sit and talk with a few more families that I'm really going to miss. So many goodbyes!
Then we went off tracting, only interrupted a few times to hear who is coming to replace me in Banbury. After finding we drove to meet the zone leaders and pick up my train ticket for tomorrow.
And that's a mission for ya. Literally. AH.
I know this is already long *isnt it always?* but I just wanted to finish by saying how truly THANKFUL I am that I was able to come here to the England Birmingham Mission
to serve the Lord for these last 18 months. It's hard to put into words all that I have learned and gained from this amazing experience. But I know it has changed me forever and greatly solidified my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This truly is His work. These miracles wouldn't be possible if it wasn't. I feel like my mission can be summed up in this quote from M. Russell Ballard which has become a favourite of mine.
"Weaknesses become strengths
Challenges become opportunities
Trials become triumphs
And adversity becomes an adventure
In the service of the Lord."
-M Russell Ballard
It truly has been the greatest adventure and I'm sad to see it come to an end! It may have taken a while but England and Wales truly will hold a piece of my heart forever!
Signing off for the last time,
Sister Aubri Cebollero xx
SEE YOU SOON AMERICA!!!
*SO much room in my suitcases but TOO much weight...PRAY FOR ME!* Happy Pioneer Day! I'd definitely be one of those Pioneer women who tried wearing multiple layers of clothes to bring just a bit more along... hmmm not a bad idea 😉
Warwick Castle!! Last P-day on the mission!!
Biking with Sister Hessenauer in Wolverhampton
Indian Food with the Liddell Family
The last district meeting!!
Our adopted Indian father, Shafik
Sister Cebollero with the legend Sister Christy on our 18 month mark!! What!?!