Monday, July 24, 2017

And that's a mission for ya...Sister Cebollero signing off!

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!!! 

P.s. 

*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!?!

Monday, July 17, 2017

"We're specialists in the gospel of Jesus Christ"


GUYS I ONLY HAVE 2 MORE OF THESE TO WRITE. okay freak out done. It's fine. *ask my mum if you want info for my homecoming on the 30 of July!* Let me tell you about our week! 

Monday night we finally got to teach Amina again! She was away for 3 weeks visiting some friends in London so we missed out on 3 weeks of lessons. We had to move her baptism date but she's back on track for that! We took a member Margaret with us who is just soo sweet. Then we did some tracting and nobody was interested but then this random Indian takeout driver got out of his car and just asked us what we were giving out and asked us for a leaflet so that was cool! 

Tuesday we drove to Walsall for workovers. I got to be with Sister Chenna and it was a blast! We started out doing some finding in town and met this amazing prepared woman named Sarah and gave her a Book of Mormon. Then we went and taught the first lesson to one of their new investigators. She was definitely more skeptical than sincere but we really felt the spirit as we testified to her. Then we just got soaked in the rain doing more finding. Sister Nelson and I came back to Banbury and taught Amina the law of tithing.

Wednesday morning we went and followed up with this woman from South Africa that we had found. She let us right in and we had the most amazing lesson on the restoration! I could just tell such a difference between her and the lesson I had the day before. She also asked a lot of questions, but she listened sincerely and really wanted to know the truth. It seemed as though the restoration answered every concern she had about Christianity. She said that she hadn't ever met Mormons before us and when she asked around everyone told her to steer clear and stay away from us. So she asked us why! And we were like, "we're just 20 year old girls helping people come closer to Christ. We're harmless!" Haha lol. But the spirit was just so thick when we shared about the first vision and the Book of Mormon. And she just was so focused and into it and just was shocked she had never heard of any of this before. Such a good lesson!

We don't get to do a whole lot of teaching here so it was special to be able to teach the restoration and testify to two different people who had never heard it before two days in a row. And especially on Wednesday just to feel the difference and the sincerity as she listened and honestly wanted to know if it was true. 

Thursday we had a super quick district meeting then we headed to Coventry for an exchange! I got to spend my last exchange in my last area with Sister Romero from Australia! It was so much funn! We started off by getting to teach a lady from Nigeria named Joy. It was so special because I actually found her on one of my last days in Coventry and never got to teach her! We taught a beautiful plan of salvation lesson and she was so thankful to learn about the fullness of God's Plan. Then we did some tracting and had some members bring us some really good homemade Chinese food for dinner. And then we went and visited a member named Carol from china and read the Book of Mormon with her. 

Friday morning we got to see one of my favourites in Cov, Georgie! We did personal progress with her at the park. But then it got a bit cold so we went into subway and tender mercies, another adorable member Athena from Hong Kong was working there! She was so excited to see me and told me she's about to move back for summer. It was really sweet because last I'd seen her she was really worried about what to do and now she has a clear direction and was so happy! We did some finding in Coventry town centre which just brought back loads of grand memories! The Cov love is real! We made it back to Banbury for our monthly games Night which was fun. We had a few families come and played a mega game of UNO that got pretty intense! Then our polish friend Henry showed up right at the end so we gave him a spontaneous chapel tour that was really nice! He told us we had a bright light about us and that we were specialists in the gospel of Jesus Christ and he trusted us with his questions. What a humble seeker of truth! 

Saturday morning we had an amazing visit with a less active member from Zimbabwe. She said she recently set two goals, one to come back to church and the other to go to the gym more. And we showed up at just the right time to help with that. She's going to feed us African food on Tuesday and come to church with us next week when she is off. We've been trying so hard to find a less active member that is ready to return and she is who we've been searching for! Then we had a great lesson with a cute family that used to be taught by missionaries. Sister Nelson and Crandall found them on exchanges this week when they were tracting and they invited us back. They were talking a lot about how much they admire what we are doing and what a sacrifice it must be. But as I look back at this time as a missionary *not only has it gone soooo fast* it hasn't been a sacrifice, but truly a blessing in every way. It was cool to share that with them and talk about why. And then we Weekly planned and planned out my last full week as a missionary *insert panic* SO WEIRD!

Sunday was beautiful! Amina was able to come to church after her long trip away. The Relief society lesson on service somehow got sidetracked to a discussion on time and how fast it flies. *insert everyone staring me down during the lesson as visitors made continual comments about the end of their missions and returning home* awkward. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It's fine. After church we did a load of finding once again! 

It's been another quick week. An also an exhausting week... but that also might just be an accumulation of the last almost 18 months. I'm really feeling the wear and tear! But no worries, we've got a full week ahead of us to work hard and lots more miracles to see for my last week as a missionary! 

Love you all! 
Sister Cebollero xx
 Walsall Workover

 Exchanges in Coventry with wonderful Sister Romero from Australia

Georgie brought us cakes!! 


Monday, July 10, 2017

"That is the smell of SOULS that need saving!"


 I don't know if I've ever mentioned it before, but Banbury has a very distinct smell of coffee. There's a coffee factory here and in some parts of the area on some days the smell just hits you like a brick wall. Monday night after pday we got out of the car and it was definitely one of those moments. It was the smell of souls that needed saving hehe! 

Tuesday morning we drove to Wolverhampton to pick up the sisters for exchange. They ended up having a flat check so we waited there a bit longer than planned and had companionship Study there while we waited. We rushed out the door with some unique sandwiches for lunch as we had some lessons to get back to and knew we'd hit some traffic. We enjoyed our peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches on the way back to Banbury haha. I got to spend the day with Sister Bateman which was just amazing. She just started training and her and Sister Hessenauer are so fun. We first went to follow up with someone I had met with sister Funk the week before and we got let right in! We taught this sweet Filipino woman the restoration and it was a great lesson. Then we had a good less active member visit and did a load of finding before and after dinner. We had some ice cream to celebrate the 4th of July to finish off our day. Happy Birthday to America! 

Wednesday morning we drove the sisters to the mission office for their Zone interviews with President. Then we came back and did some finding. We were following up with some people and felt like we needed to go to town since no one was really in. Then we ran into our recent convert Rhiannon on her lunch break and it was so perfect since we don't get to see her much. We met a nice man and gave him a Book of Mormon. Then we headed to the chapel to help a member clean as everyone else that was supposed to help was poorly. After that we did some more finding and had dinner with Sister Walk. Then we had a tri-ward relief society service activity. It was Warwick branch, Coventry ward and Banbury ward combined... my last three areas of my mission so it was extra special for me! I guess that's the perk of having three areas right next to each other in a row! It was so fun to see some of my favourite sister's again and to catch up with them. We made school bag kits for the local refugees and it was a lovely activity. 

Thursday we had our zone interviews in Coventry! My departing interview is coming up oh so soon but these were my last normal interviews. I had a lovely chat with both of them and they are always just so kind and encouraging. I have been blessed with an amazing mission President and wife who just love us all so much! From Coventry we drove to Bicester and followed up with some potentials there. It was just scorching hot and we did some finding as well. Then we taught the Garwoods about family prayer and church attendance before we headed home for dinner and companion Study. 

Friday was my last MLC! It was combined with all the district leaders this time and it was in Solihull which was really nice. It was a powerful meeting as always. We watched these two amazing video clips, one about the growth of the church since the beginning of the restoration and one clip of people baptised in the last 2 months from all over the world sharing how the missionaries found them. They were both beautiful! We had a lot of discussions to counsel on and sister Nelson and I both had a turn to lead one. We headed back to Banbury and received a phone call of someone in one of our furthest parts of the area asking for a Book of Mormon! She sounded young, and it almost seemed like a prank call. It all made sense when we got there and her mum shared that her 12 year old daughter had called us wanting a Book of Mormon and was a little shy. They had seen missionaries and the daughter asked her about it and went online for a Book of Mormon! The mum wasn't too pleased but it was a cool miracle and we are waiting to hear back from them. 

Saturday we had a unique service opportunity to volunteer at a school summer fete. We led the Tambola station which is kind of like a raffle. People would pay for a ticket and if it had a 0 or a 5 at the end they would win the corresponding prize. We were the busiest table at the fete and it was a great opportunity to meet lots of families. Some would note our accents, mention they had seen us in town or say something like "hey you talked to me the other day when I was walking my dog!" A perfect missionary service opportunity. It was a hot hot day and we walked away VERY sunburnt and exhausted! 

Then we went tracting.. and the road we had picked just didn't feel right. So we left and another road caught my eye but I kept driving. Then I just had the slightest nudge to go back so much to sister Nelson's confusion I drove in a circle back to that road. We started tracting and noticed that some of the house numbers skipped but we couldn't see where the missing ones were. One of the doors told us his two neighbors might be interested and walked us around the back to where they were. The first door wasn't interested. Then who should open the second but our recent convert John's sister Sarah! She invited us right in for a break from the heat and a drink. She had been a special part of his baptism day and thought he had sent us over. She'd just printed off the photos from the baptism the day before and we went through them together. We had a lovely chat and left her with a Book of Mormon. Such a powerful experience of following the promptings of the spirit! 

Sunday we had a great church service once again. Shafik, the man who walked in two Sundays ago was able to come again and really enjoyed it. After church we headed to tract near the school we had volunteered at in hopes of seeing some families we had met. We specifically prayed for that and both felt prompted to tract a certain street. When we were almost at the bottom a family opened that we had seen at the fete! They also invited us in for a drink and we had a great lesson. They have had a lot of deaths in the family lately and just stopped meeting with the Jehovah's witnesses so it was just perfect timing, especially since they had seen us the day before in a fun setting. Such a miracle! 

The days keep counting down and the miracles keep coming! With just 2 full weeks left there's a lot of people to find and a lot of miracles to see. Thanks for all your prayers and support over the many months! 

Love you!
Sister Cebollero xx 

Lunch on the GO! Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Fluff! Shout-out to traffic!!

 FUN to see these two Elders from my first zone!!

 Exchanges with Sister Bateman and Hessenauer


Manning the Tambola station at the school summer fete! 

Having fun with my comp and Sister Bateman and Hessenauer!

 My mission sister...Sister Carson!

 STL picture at MLC!

Traffic selfies!


Monday, July 3, 2017

Car Struggles, Exchanges, and Money Spiders?

GUYS ITS JULY. WHHAAATTT?!? Time continues to fly as always, especially after the busy and crazy week we have had! 

Last Monday for pday we had a pretty chill day. We hit up allll the charity shops in Banbury. We were talking with a member this week about how great the charity shops are here. Back home if you get something from a charity shop it's probably pretty tatty. But here it might even still have the original price tag on it. Good stuff to be found! We also went to Primark... ahhh primark... it's similar to forever 21 or H&M just cheaper and more magical. I'll truly miss it! After pday we had another family home evening with the Walks and brother Gooch about prayer. It was a lovely lesson and gave me a new perspective on prayer. 

Tuesday did not go as planned at all. There's just something about having an exchange and having car troubles on the same day! We went in for a standard oil change bright and early and I could just feel something was going to go wrong. So we found out one of our tyres had a slight bulge or bald spot and needed to be fixed. But our car was missing the locking wheel nut key to get the tyres off. This car thing is really helping us grow up. We just played the innocent card most of the day and received lovely customer service and even got a new locking wheel nut key fitted for free haha. The only Toyota dealership with a master key was in oxford so we were given permission to leave the mission and go there to get it all sorted. 

But to brighten our day with all the struggles we got a text from the golden Joe, asking us who wrote Mosiah. Guys he's basically the most amazing person I've ever taught. We answered his question and told him about the institute manual since he uses the gospel library app a lot. And then he was like oh yeah, "I used that manual to study the allegory in Jacob 5". Like those were his exact words....what?!? He's basically loving the Book of Mormon which is so cool to see! 

It was a quick fix and then we headed to Walsall to pick up Sister Funk and Chena for exchanges! They both came down to Banbury and I got to be with Sister Funk from my group! So fun to spend an exchange together our last transfer after starting our journey together so long ago. We did loads of finding and teaching and ended off the night with some games and ice cream of course. 

Wednesday morning Sister Funk and I had to go rescue the Walks from a flat tyre. Ya know what they were missing? A locking wheel nut key for their Hyundai! Who knew that could cause so many problems for the Banbury missionary force in one week?!? Sister Funk and I did some finding while the other sisters taught Joe. Turns out he read about the word of wisdom online and has already been living it for a few weeks, he's just ahead of the game! We took the sister's back and then when we got to Banbury picked up a member to come teaching with us to Henry. He is also just super cool and prepared and we had a great lesson on the plan of salvation. 

Wednesday night was exciting because the Walks son and daughter and law are here visiting for a few weeks and they all took us out to dinner. They got out of the car and their son was wearing a Utah state hat! And they told us they were both Aggies, and we were like we're both Aggies and we all became bffs. It was probably the most American table the restaurant had ever had so we were overjoyed by the end. And then we stopped by a former who hadn't ever been dropped and she literally screamed at the toppp of her lungs (out of excitement.. we think..hah) when she saw us standing there! She was so excited to meet sister's as she was taught by elders and we can't wait to go by again. 

Thursday we spent time in the morning at the auto shop again getting our new tyre fitted. Then our district meeting got cancelled so that was a bummer. We felt like we should stop by some less actives and turns out they'd been in hospital so it was good timing for a visit. We helped them get some new cat food since they can't get out much. Then we went to Coventry for a Workover! I was with our new sister, Sister Crandall from Kaysville and we did a whole lot of finding. And she is just a natural legend, the new missionaries impress me so much! It was fun to be finding in Coventry again, what a blessed place! 

Guys we also got another media referral on Thursday. This has never happened to me so much everrrr. Her name is Gurmit and she was found at the temple visitors centre so cool things ahead!

Friday we got to go to the American base!!!! We went and had lunch with the cutest family and then since the mum is pregnant we did service for her and ran around with the kids for awhile while she supervised. They are a half British half American family and so the kids are just adorable as can be. We even got invited to stay on base for the  big Fourth of July celebrations but we had some lessons to get back to.  Then we went to Bicester and the Garwood family ordered us a Chinese food feast. It was a celebration of Emily's birthday and both of us passing our driving tests. It was so sweet of them and sooo delicious. I love the Chinese food here so much! 

Saturday we drove out to one of our further areas since we had a whole day with nothing planned. We visited an elderly member named Diana Riley. When we got there they was a tiny spider in her hair and she told us it was it was an old English tradition that if there is a spider in your hair money is coming your way. She called them money spiders. Needless to say we found some in each other's hair as we left her flat so good things ahead! We then spent the rest of the day finding and it went pretty well:) 

Sunday was my last fast Sunday in England! Whoahhh. We had a beautiful fast and testimony meeting and a super helpful ward council meeting as well. Our favourite part of church was when our bishop taught sweet old Diana Riley what a high five is. It was hilarious and she was so confused, bless her! Then we spent the rest of the afternoon finding some more! There's always loads of finding to do and it was a beautiful day out. 

Things continue to be hectic, time continues to fly and the Lord continues to bless us here in little old Banbury! 

Until next time, 
Sister Cebollero xx 

 We fed a member's cat this week while they were in Spain. She didn't want a selfie so she looks angry but we're really best friends!

 Ice cream and laughs are a must for exchanges! Sister Funk from Idaho and Sister Chena from India.

 Coventry Workover!! Sister Romero from Australia and Sister Crandall from Kaysville, Utah

 We hijacked the Garwood's new message board this week!

 Sister Funk and Sister Cebollero

Sister Crandall and Sister Cebollero