Monday, September 30, 2013

Hey! Looks like I got my big break! Sept 29, 2013

Okay who is with me and opened up the October issue of The New Era and laughed? I sure did. I know, right? What in the heck? That couldn’t possibly be me! My inspiration for this weeks email stems from the title of the article my giant face was on, “For Young Women: Making the Mission Decision.” A small handful of you may know how my decision to serve was made but I figure the vast majority doesn’t so let me just take a sec and share!
Now looking back, I can so clearly see how God prepared me for this calling throughout my entire life. I’m coming to a realization of character/personality traits I posses that were given to me for these people and this work out here; It’s astounding to literally acknowledge God’s hand in my personal preparation and worthiness to represent His Son.  Even though, the thought of serving a mission was nonexistent before I met the Hawkins’ sisters. But even then I thought, so cool for them and I was inspired by their passion for serving a mission but I just never thought it would actually be for me. I was so okay with being a “member missionary” and trying to be a good example to those around me, never actually contemplating serving a full time mission. Little did I know the Lord had something extraordinary in store for me.
Saturday Oct. 6, 2012. The Prophet of the Lord, Thomas S. Monson announced that the minimum age of sister missionaries would now be 19. When those words were spoken I was not in the right state of mind to be receptive to any answer. I was kinda numb to it all. I was off in la la land with a boy and was just so totally aloof to even the consideration of any other plans or desires. I received numerous texts and such of “Avery, this is so for you!” “You were the first girl that popped in my head!” and so forth. Why did everyone else think I should go when I sure wasn’t convinced?  However, I really was so excited for all my girly friends I knew were to answer the call to serve. Attending in afternoon session with this boy, the rest of Saturday was lovely and happy.
Sunday Oct. 7, 2012. I was going to go up to SLC for the morning session but accidentally slept in, missing my ride and when I woke up and realized that, I remember thinking “eh why go? You’ll have to run around to find a ride and that’ll take too much effort. I’m tired.” Silly Satan! God wins. I don’t even know how and it’s all a blur to me but somehow or another I hitched a ride with random people and threw on some dress, hair and make up a definite no. I met up with Nicole, Kenny and her family and took our seats (BTW the best seats I’ve ever sat in! The pulpit is right in front of us!).  
Then an apostle of the Lord, Elder Holland, addressed the world. He spoke of the account of the resurrected Lord and Peter on the Sea of Tiberius ( I was captivated. He had to have been speaking directly to me. It felt as if the Savior Himself was talking to me and asking me, “What I need, Peter (Avery), are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do.
 As I listened in spiritual awe, I knew with absolute surety that I was to serve. It felt at that moment that if Jesus Christ were to ask me if I loved Him, truly loved Him, He may have had to ask three times. And that alone killed me. I swore that Sunday that I would never give the Savior a reason to question my love for Him. I needed to leave my “nets” behind; I had to show Him I was willing to give everything up to “feed His sheep.” So, I didn’t question my answer. I texted my bishop at the conclusion of Holland’s talk and set up an appointment for the coming Tuesday.
And now here I am. More love and passion fills my soul than ever before. Love is my motivation, it has been since the get go. Making my mission decision was life changing. I believe in the atonement and I know I’ve been prepare and also forgiven to now be entrusted to feed His sheep. Because… “Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world.” I can bear you my testimony that this work, His gospel is changing the world, and it sure is changing mine.
Y'all have a blessed day :) 
Sister Miyahara 

Our miracle, Robin.  Met her on the street, committed her to be baptized and she sobbed and accepted.  God is good to us out here in GA!

Julia Love's baby shower.  The Whitewater ward is so awesome!

Raff !!! The crazy parrot and the coolest people ever!!

Love me some hard core cleaning....poop covered walls, mold infested everything.  You name it, we will clean it

Sister Green's mother called in an order for us at Carrabas Haha - she's the bomb!

My soul sista

My sweet boy, Julian.  I gotta get myself one of these cuties someday!

Always have always loved the swings!  Especially with Niveah and Norris Love!


I planned a zone p-day...what did we do? Kickball, of course

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Change is as Good as a Rest 9/23/2013

I’m grateful for my legs covered in bug bites because it means that we’re outside, working hard talking to everyone. I’m grateful for the bags under my eyes because it represents long nights consoling my dear soul sisters and early morning runs on the golf course with Sister Pitcher. I’m grateful for the perma-dirt under my nails because it shows the glorious service we render for all those we love. I’m grateful for the blisters on my feet because they mean we are walking with a hastened pace each and every day. I’m grateful for the mondo caulis on my right ring finger that mistakenly looks like a wart because it represents pages and pages of revelation and inspiration in my study journal.  I’m grateful for my ever growing pooch because it means the kind ward members take time to provide meals for me. I’m grateful for the funkiest tan lines I’ve ever had because it shows me I’m modest and uphold the missionary standards.  I’m so grateful for my undeviating desire to be out here in da ATL, proclaiming this everlasting gospel and to feel such bursting love and joy while doing so.
I can’t believe I’m already here at the library to email! Geez la weez does time fly or what?! I have zero grasp on time these days. I had three exchanges this week, bringing the senior companions to my area of Whitewater. Not even going to complain about my spiritual/physical exhaustion because the positive is so much better! President always tells us leaders about “the miracle of exchanges.”
The miracle of exchange #1: Sister Terry and I visited our new investigator Jeanette. To preface this miracle story, we met her a few days prior in our apartment complex. Jeanette, her daughter and her granddaughter were walking to her sons house and they always, always go a certain way. On this particular day her daughter told her that we spirit was telling her they needed to go a different way. As they walked this different route, they crossed paths with us. We shared with them a quick message, prayed with them and set a return appointment. Jeanette confidently says that her daughter’s impression to go that different way was God. In our lesson she kept saying she has been thirsting for something she can’t quite satisfy. She committed to be baptized with an enthusiastic “YES! Ahh child of course I will!”  
The miracle of exchange #2: So you know how Jeanette was walking to her brothers? A couple days later we tried to contact a “former investigator” the elders had previously worked with.  Turns out the former investigator is a roommate of Jeanette’s son!! Did that just make sense? Hopefully. God is so mindful! So with Sister Christensen we had a lesson with Tyrone (Jeanette’s son) and his family. Our team up was a recent covert, Norris Love and they clicked like we could have never ever clicked. The lesson was so powerful and this family is totally progressing.
The miracle of exchange #3: The Love family is the trophy family in the Georgia Atlanta Mission. President Harding found, taught and baptized half the family and now the other half is being taught by us.  Sister Hixon and I had the most incredible lesson with Julia (the mom/wife). She was questioning if God even loved her and heard her prayers/knew her heart. She is a tough lady and so quickly discounts the influence of the spirit. She needs evident, proof with her own eyes. There was a point in the lesson we were talking about the picture of Christ standing at the door without a handle and how we have to let Him in. It was cloudy outside and at that moment the most bright sunbeam flooded the room. Julia sat there stunned at God’s manifestation of His love and perfect knowledge of her. She knew at the moment that a loving Father in Heaven really is watching out for her and wants her to open the door.
I’m learning that you can truly measure a person by the object they pursue. Just a reminder to really remember and realize what it is that you’re pursuing and what your character is being founded upon. Life is so glorious when we pursue righteousness. Keep it up! I love y’all so much and drawn such strength from your support. Thanks for the mail and emails and love!
Sis Miyahara!

After attack~Thank heavens for electric fences!!


Scout spaghetti dinner/dessert auction.  Our bishop bought these yummy cakes for us!  I love Whitewater Ward!

The rain is finally coming back!  Happy days tracting in the rain.

Sister Pitcher turned 21.  Lunch at Which Wich!!!  I about died when I saw they had one here!

Norris Love.  My BFF out here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Fighting Fayetteville Fifty Three!! 9/16/13

It’s been another week of absolute God crafted miracles! It’s so totally true that all God asks of us is a mustard seed of faith and a speck of faith may be all we have but with God, it is enough. I’m just so ridiculously blessed with the opportunity to witness such miraculous changes in people’s lives due to only a speck of faith. I have to laugh a little when people don’t believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ but their souls long to believe it. Who am I to hold anyone back from the extraordinary? That is why I am so committed to talk with everyone, inviting everyone to let the Lord take the front seat!
This week we had Zone Training Meeting. The Fayetteville zone is the largest and strongest zone, ever. 53 missionaries and 10 senior couple missionaries set apart representatives of the Lord in the Fayetteville Zone. President told us that our average of member present lessons in this zone is the highest in the nation! The Fayetteville Zone! Hitting records for the country! So inspiring to be a part of it all. Anyways! President Harding is a big believer of the powers that come forth with temple attendance. He has arranged for us to do a session in the Atlanta temple before every mission leadership council and every zone training meeting. That allows a handful of us to attend the temple twice each month, it’s incredible! So this week all missionaries did a session and as I stood back by a wall in the celestial room I was stunned. As I reverently observed my mind was taken up in thought and I literally felt like a fly on the walls of heaven. It was like time stood still and heaven was rejoicing over these valiant servants of God working so hard for the salvation of the living and the deceased.
 The work isn’t going to hasten, it is hastening. We are locking arms, we’re united and are one! I’m learning to have to love and have patience on an entirely new degree. Throughout the loneliest of Christ’s life he ‘held His peace’ sometimes we over look the significance of finding and helping others come to a friendship with the Savior. Christ said that ‘greater love hath no man than this, he that layeth down his life for his friends.’ If you’re truly someone’s friend you’ll mirror their righteous actions and follow their example. I’m so excited to ‘waste and wear out my life’ to allow others to feel and have for themselves the joy I feel and have each day.  Truly a ‘fullness of joy!’
I love y’all a lot. Thanks for your encouragement and love!
Sista Miya

Georgia Sunset

My sweet boy Julian

She seriously loves to take pictures

So much love for the Love family

Sister Picher is my running buddy

Sister Bangerter is the coolest!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hurrah for new beginnings and a trip to the ER 9/3/2013

Hello! Glorious sweet family and friends of mine! I’m so beyond thrilled to tell you that I’ve been transferred to Peachtree City, Georgia in the White Water ward. My precious new companion, Sister Green is from Orem and we have opened a new sisters area in the “model area” (so everyone has been telling me). Why? Because the entire Georgia Atlanta Mission Presidency live in this ward so it is expected to be the “model area.” Talk about pressure! Geesh, tell me about it. The missionaries serving in this ward are the Fayetteville zone leaders (who totally rock) and another set of stellar sisters who have been killing it here! So it’s exciting because we are walking into a ward that is already hustling with missionary work! And guess who is my new Sister Training Leader companion? SISTER KACIE JEAN RALEY!!!!! We will be over 12 companionships of sisters. We live in the “hood” of Peachtree City hahaha so they call it…it’s the “rougher” part of town. Considering that everyone here are pro athletes, CEOs and rappers, the “rougher” area isn’t so bad. It’s the coolest thing actually, everyone drives golf carts here. Like there are golf cart lanes everywhere! It’s hysterical. I live in another world; and I love it. The day we arrived the ward delivered bags and bags and bags of things to fill our new apartment. I’m talking everything: plungers, lamps, air fresheners, all kitchen supplies, towels, blankets, food, soap, rugs, cleaning supplies, everything! Again... “model ward.” They so generously served us without having even met us! That is true Christ like charity.
Oh yeah let me not forget to mention I had to a little freak accident this week that may or may not have ended up in the ER but don’t you worry one sec, I am tooootally fine! So only this crap happens to people like me…and Nicole Hawkins (if you’re reading this out there in Argentina, I love you forevermore). So I’m standing in the grocery store line at Krogers and my big heavy leather purse is on my right side. There is a big metal buckle that latches my thick strap to the bag. So out of nowhere the bucket unlatches, my heavy bag shoots downward and that big metal buckle whacks me straight in the eye.  It was possibly the funniest thing that anyone has ever seen in their life. Sweet sister missionary is happily standing in line to purchase her peaches and oatmeal and BAM she’s taken out!! And then I blacked out and my face swelled up and I could see out of my right eye and I was laughing in hysterics. We had planned to meet the zone leaders at the church so we carried on with our plans and when they saw me they kinda freaked out a little, made some valid Asian jokes, gave me a priesthood blessings and urged me to go to the ER. I was quite reluctant. How silly! I surely was not going to check myself into the ER with a poked eye. Buuut they convinced me and ends up I had/have a mild concussion and all these contusions around my eye…just a fancy word or a black eye.  But no worries at all! I’m more than okay.
Yesterday was Labor (for the Lord) Day J We switched our P-days (hence we writing today) and went to work yesterday. I knew this day was going to be a day of miracles. We had zero teaching pool, being that we opened a new area and no missionary wants to give up their precious investigators so our goal was to work harder than ever and faithfully find individuals and families to teach and bring to the Fold! I was so excited I could hardly sleep on Sunday night. Yep, I’ve become that missionary and I’m so proud of it! Anyways, so we wake up, studied really hard, prayed even harder and went out to our apartment complex.
Miracle after miracle after miracle occurred. In only a few hours we had found 9 new investigators to teach, offered kneeling prayers on countless apartment floors, filled up our planners for this week, invited many to be baptized and even found a precious family who accepted to be baptized on September 21st.  I’ve never felt such fierce desire to work so hard. Not knowing a thing about really anything, except my testimony of course, I’m having to work so hard. And I want to work so hard. I want so badly to fulfill my purpose here. There is no time to dilly dally and try to get acquainted with the area and the ward! I refuse to slow down the work here in White Water. I know that with absolute faith in the Savior, we can do all things.  I love being here;  I love being obedient and diligent; I love my companion and the sisters here; I love the fact that each day I can represent the Lord and preach His gospel.
All my love,
Sister Avery
This woman!  Sister Mendenhall is my inspiration

Peace out Powder Springs

They have my heart, always!

Sister Green and the Hardings

Yay! for a new beautiful bug invested apartment

Elder Moodie (Jamaican) and Elder Perez (Argentinian) the model zone leaders!

Flipping friends!