Monday, August 14, 2017


-area #5 ❤ 
-departing missionaries 
-because it's not a "Sister Yance" photo if it ain't crazy 💁🏼
-JOSH. I am so excited for his baptism in January. What a guy. Also, we match 👌🏼 
-My Greenie Graduate
-Proud Mother.
-Beach pday today 🌊 
-a new take on "sun salutation"☀
-if you love me, you'll be there. 









Grand Finale

 Wow. This is happening. I have been so emotional this week, y'all don't even know.. last Monday I had ran out of mascara so I bought some more. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I had accidentally bought the waterproof kind. 

....I don't think that was a coincidence. 

I have shed so many tears this week, of joy and sorrow. I have just absolutely loved this time the Lord has blessed me with to be a missionary. I can't believe its coming to a close. No amount of words could do justice to explain how I feel about my calling.

But I'll start with a brief weekly update:

Monday night our plans fell through so we went straight to finding, which I was fine with because my time was limited. We met the son of some former investigators-his name is Bryan. Super cool dude. His mind was semi-blown when we explained the great apostasy. He's excited to learn more. 

Tuesday was my last district meeting. It was super intense. All of the thoughts and trainings were just so refining and really brought in the presence of the Spirit. There were so many tears shed from everyone. I love those kinds of meetings. I also had my departing interview with President Clark. He had a lot of wise words for me as I prepare to return home. I just love my mission President so much. 

We taught Michael all about tithing and fasting. I used my felt money for demonstration. Object lessons are my fave.

We had dinner with the Appel family and we shared a message all about Jesus Christ. Their 5 year old son is SO stinkin cute. Oh my heck. He said the closing prayer and he said "thank you Heavenly Father for having the Sister Missionaries teach us about Jesus". Y'all should've been there. It was adorable. 

Wednesday we did some more work at Heart and Home. I love that little thrift store. Imma miss it. Then we had dinner with Sister Moseley and Sister Cole. Man, I love them. My people. 

THEN we went with Walter, Sabrina, Michael, Rod, and Austin to the temple!! They got to tour the grounds and it was such a good time. Michael was especially excited.
Happy happy happy. 

Thursday we did a lot of cleaning and organizing for Sister Schuster-she's the daughter of the 92 year old Sister Schuster. It was a fun time. 
If I ever become a hoarder, please smack me. 

Then we did so so so much finding. I'm going to miss feeling normal when just approaching strangers and telling them about Jesus. It's my favorite.

We got to teach Michael again. He's doing so good, aside from the fact that he still hasn't been able to get to church due to his work schedule. Agh. Anyway. We taught him the 10 Commandments and used the little hand signs to help him remember. He's just a little sponge. When we explained "coveting" to him, he said "okay guys, so ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted to have a wife and children... is that coveting??" Hahaha NO MICHAEL. He asks the sweetest questions. I'm gonna miss teaching that guy. 
Taco Bell Homies 🌮 

Austin met us at the park as per usual. He told us how good of a job we do as missionaries and to never think that our work goes unappreciated. That was so nice to hear. 

We saw Sister Davis and did a bit of reflecting with her. We had her think of a year ago and where she was then. Then we had her look at how far she's come now. After that, we had her write down her goals for one year from now. She's going to the temple. She's gonna get there, gosh darn it. 

That night, Sisters Brady, Lamborn, Griffiths, and Wilson all stayed over because three of us had our departing temple trip in the morning. Before going to bed, Sisters Brady, Griffiths and I all reminisced on the MTC days and how far we'd come since then. It was much needed. 

Friday we got up in the early hours of the morning to get to the temple at 7:00 am. AND YOU KNOW WHO I SAW??!?!! 
MY BFF Whitney Reid!!!!! She came to visit the mission and she joined us for our temple session!! Ahhhh I scooped her up in the lobby of the temple and squeezed her to death. I love her so much. 

The temple was the best. I love being in the House of the Lord. I have to say that one of the things I'm looking forward to when I get home is to be able to go to the temple more than once every 6 months. I just reflected the whole time on how important Jesus Christ is. I mean think about it. Literally it's all about him. Everything. All of it. He is the reason for love, kindness, humility, forgiveness... Because of Him, we can be relieved of pain and guilt. We can be forgiven of our sins. We will be resurrected. We can live with our families for ETERNITY. I love my Savior. And I love sharing about Him with everyone. His is a message of happiness and hope.

All of the departing missionaries got to have a special little meeting with President and Sister Clark in one of the sealing rooms of the temple. More tears. My departing temple trip was so surreal because I've gone so many times to drop off my companions when they've been the ones about to go home. Now it was my turn. It just didn't feel real. Still doesn't. 

After a yummy lunch at Yellow Dog Eats, we were headed back to our areas to WORK. Well, I just helped Sister Schwendinger plan a little but because she went to teach some of our investigators like a little trooper (with Sister Wilson, her MTC companion; how fun for them!). I'm so proud of her. Then we turned right back around and headed to the temple with Danielle and Brother and Sister Brazao. They are the COOLEST. Danielle is the bomb, also. Love love love her. She was so pumped to do baptisms for her ancestors. She had spent some time doing some family history work the last few weeks to prepare. 

>>Before I go on, I have to insert this. So Wednesday morning, I had a freak-out moment when all of our plans for the temple that week fell through. I was so sad. It was my last week being a missionary and I just wanted things to go according to plan. We were supposed to go with Danielle and her visiting teacher and the family history consultants to the temple on Thursday night because that's when they have a special "recent convert" night. Well everyone cancelled because things came up that they couldn't help, so we weren't going on Thursday night. Friday, however, was ward temple day, and the Brazaos were already going, so we hitched a ride with them.

Okay. Now. So we get to the temple Friday night, and I walk in the door and see several familiar faces from PALM BAY 2ND WARD aka my first area!! It was such a blessing. I saw Sister Adams, Sister Boileau, and Brother Rasmussen and his son, Jordan all at the desk. That was a treat. Then when we went downstairs, I saw Sister Rasmussen too!! It was a joyful reunion for me to be able to see everyone. I know that was a tender mercy from my Father in Heaven. Of course things didn't go according to MY plans, because HIS are WAY better. DUH. 

Danielle's first experience with baptisms for the dead was so amazing. She was baptized for her grandmother, and guys, let me tell you... THE. SPIRIT. It was so incredibly prevalent in that moment. I know her grandmother was there, and I know that she accepted that ordinance. I know that Danielle knew it too. What a beautiful thing to do work in the Lord's house. 
So blessed. 

Saturday we had breakfast with the Leedoms and that was the best because we had AREPAS. Family, get ready to learn how to make them when I get home because they are the BOMB. 

That afternoon, I got to go up to Bunnel to witness the baptism of sweet little Shawn, the son of my dear friend and recent convert, Amanda!
My soul was just so happy!

I gotta tell y'all, this kid is a good sport! The sisters didn't know it took so long to fill the font, so when it was time for the baptism, the water was only up to Shawn's knees... he had to be dunked three time before he was fully submerged. When the witnesses said it was good, they gave Shawn a thumbs up and he said "I did it!" It was so precious. I love it. 

THEN we hitched another ride all the way to Lake Nona to witness the baptism of GARY! 

Sister Reid and I started teaching Gary way back in March, I think, and he finally prepared himself to enter into his first covenant with God. The whole night was so emotional for me. Josh, another investigator from Lake Nona that was supposed to get baptized a couple months ago, but his dad wouldn't let him, said the opening prayer and I just cried. The way he spoke to his Father in Heaven was beautiful. He explained the doctrine of baptism and covenants in his prayer and I was just in awe. He has come so far. When Gary was baptized, he cried. I cried. Everyone cried. It was just a big cry fest. 

Ashley, his youngest daughter, bore her testimony and said she'd probably be the nest to get baptized. Then Jasmine, the oldest daughter, said the closing prayer, and it is she said "thank you for helping us come to your true church". 

Y'all. I was overwhelmed. This whole weekend was a grand finale for me. I was upset at first because I knew I wasn't going to be out teaching a bunch of lessons, but with all the events that I got to take part in this week, my heart was full. I was reflecting, and it felt like God was just saying "you planted the seeds, now you get to reap the harvest." 

Alma 26:5 says "Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves!" 

'behold the number of your sheaves'. I remember in the MTC at In-Field Orientation, one of the instructors said how usually when people get their mission calls, other people will say stuff like "oh that's a cool place; you'll plant a lot of seeds!" But he went on to say "You aren't there to 'plant' seeds. You're there to reap the harvest." That's exactly how I've felt this week. I honestly wouldn't have had it any other way. 

Sunday was full of lots of goodbyes and it was dumb. 

You guys, I don't know what to tell y'all. I'm not the same Lauren I used to be. I'm changed. I am forever grateful for my mission. I know it will absolutely kill me to leave the Sunshine State. It will be so hard to retire my name tag. You know why it's so hard? Because literally NOTHING I have done in my life up to this point has been nearly as fulfilling as being a full-time servant of the Lord. Nothing. And I know it's because I have been fully immersed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love it. I love the scriptures. I love praying to my Father in Heaven. I love attending my church meetings. I love sharing joy with those around me. Guys, I'm never going back to my old ways. I just want to be what He needs me to be. I'm never going to stop sharing the gospel. I'm never going to stop serving. I will always be a missionary. Always. 

"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." Alma 26:12

"Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Yea, and now behold... the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors." Alma 36:24-25

Florida is now a little more brighter and a tad bit sassier because of me. I'm grateful to have served in such a wonderful, beautiful state, full of incredible, humble people. I've been blessed with 5 great areas, and 15 amazing companions. I have learned something from every single one of them. I am so blessed. 

Thank you for all of the prayers, support, and encouragement. I honestly couldn't have made it 18.5 months without it. I love you all. See you soon.

Monday, August 7, 2017


 -district homies 🎣 
-our view 🏞
-when it rains but your hair and makeup were on fleek 🙄
-I heard splashing and my sweet companion singing "I'm enjoyiinnggg being a missionaryyyyy!!" It's the little things, y'all. 
-candle dipping with Sister Johnson and Audra! 
-And great was the Fall thereof...
-we still crossed dat finish line tho 👌🏼 
-vacuuming up bugs that had been fried by the sun to Lawaine's car...
-enjoying Sister Moseley's recliner
-"guys do I have to wear this thing?" -Andy


Heartbreak Sister Yance 💔

Heartbreak Sister Yance

Hey y'all!! I have some SUPER DUPER exciting news.....

"20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me." (2 Nephi 4:20-24)

Congratulations Daddy! Way to show cancer who's boss. That's another win column for Alabama. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing my Daddy with the strength and determination to not only fight cancer so hard, but to have such a positive attitude while doing it. Thank you to everyone for keeping our family in your prayers.

That's basically the single greatest thing that happened this week, hands down. But I'll go ahead and give y'all the 411. 

This week, I let the cat out of the bag to everyone that I'm going home soon and to my surprise, tears were shed. I think I broke a few hearts... it was painful. Maybe I should have just let everyone know from the beginning that I was leaving this month. Oh well. At least I know I'm loved. 

We went fishing with the Elders and a couple of the Young Men on a member's property. Man. I haven't fished in SO LONG. It was good to get back it. 
Is this not the most graceful cast you've ever seen? #dancerproblems

We didn't catch anything though. That was sad. But it's fine. It was just good to be out by the water. I LOVE THE WATER. 

THEN we went to the most wonderful, magical place on the Earth. 
You know it was a good day when you've got 57 different lipstick swatches on your hand 👌🏼 

I bought Sister Schwendinger her first lipstick and taught her how to apply it. It was a successful day. I love makeup. 

After our typical pday shenanigans, we had dinner with Sister Danforth, whom I LOVE. She commented on my lipstick (which I had just bought earlier in the day 😏) and insisted that I try her fancy "lip sense" lipstick. Y'all. That stuff don't come off. Like at all. I tried later on when we had come home and long story short, I went to bed looking like a blood-sucking vampire... 

After dinner, we met with our homie Kris and his sister Emily. This was a super cool lesson! Their family is inactive right now, but there is SO much potential for them to come back, and it is so exciting. I was telling Kris that I wanted to share a scripture with him from Mosiah, then he piped up and said "Oh I love Mosiah! My favorite scripture is from that book" then proceeded to quote Mosiah 3:19. And the spirit just took over from there. It was the coolest. Toward the end, we had them each flip open to a random page in the Book of Mormon and we timed them as they read, to prove that they have time to read the scriptures each day. Guess what page Kris opened up to?? Mosiah 3. It was wild. Then Emily opened up and started reading Alma 39:10, which reads "And I command you to take it upon you to counsel with your elder brothers in your undertakings; for behold, thou art in thy youth, and ye stand in need to be nourished by your brothers. And give heed to their counsel."

Kris' eyes got big and he jumped up and said "WOAH, WHAT DID THAT JUST SAY?? READ THAT AGAIN!!!" Kris is her older brother and they are really close. Emily was blown away, so we assume there's been some stuff going on behind the scenes and that was guidance given directly from God. It was so STINKIN cool. Agh.

For exercise, we ran down to the boat dock down the street and it was so beautiful. I love the water. I know I already said that a second ago, but I needed to remind you. 
We're so fit 💪🏼 

We did some serious WORK at Heart and Home! We went through 5 racks of clothes in 3 hours, which is more than they get done in a day. It is such a good feeling to be able to help others in the community. I can't wait to do it when I get home. 

Then we met with Michael! We taught him about the Word of Wisdom and he just got it. He's so awesome. We're so blessed to be able to teach him. He was reading the Book of Mormon when we showed up. What a guy!! I'm so excited for him to get baptized because God is just ready to dump a whole bucket of blessings on him. I just know it. He's been having a hard time getting to church though because of work, so we've had to push his baptism date back some more, to allow him time to get familiar with church. Everyone pray that Michael can come to church!!!

We stopped by this former investigator named Luther and he was super interesting. He has been taught 100% of the missionary lessons, but he was never baptized. He said he almost did, but decided not to. We talked to him for a long time trying to figure out why he wasn't. He told us he believes everything the church teaches is true... 🤷🏻‍♀️ I just felt like running into a brick wall after talking to him. I told him very boldly and lovingly, "Luther, you're stubborn." He looked at me kind of shocked for a second and I thought he was going to go off on me. But he didn't. He just said "I know I am!" *sigh* He'll get baptized one day. ONE DAY. 

We had dinner with Sister Morera and we set up a plan with her on how to invite her friends to a dinner/FHE to learn about the gospel! It was so exciting because she was just pumped for it. We also showed her how to use Facebook to share the gospel with her friends. I love helping members take part in the gathering of Israel!

We visited with the Chateaus that night and my heart was so full! Sister Chateau's son and grandson live with her, and the grandson, Brock, is SUPER shy. Every time we've gone over there, he just stays back in his room and will look at us just from the corner of his eye from time to time. WELL, this night, there were tons of children's books just laid out on the couch and I asked Brock if I could read him a story. He nodded his head yes and came into the living room. 
^^daughter of an elementary school librarian^^ 
He covers his face like that because he thinks if he does, you can't see him.. but by the end of the night, the hands came off of his face and Brock was sitting on the couch with me and was telling me ALL ABOUT his friends and his cats. And he drew me pictures on my ipad. I made me a new friend, guys. I LOVE kids. I can't wait to hold one, gosh dang it.

We read in the Book of Mormon with our girl Sister Davis! She's a hoot. 

At District Meeting, I was asked to give an "adjusting to missionary life" thought, because clearly I still haven't figured that out yet. Well, we still had all the balloons up from y birthday in our apartment, so I decided to recycle them. In my thought, I had the district tell me all the things we had to juggle in missionary life and as they called them out, I wrote down those things in sharpie on the balloons. Each time I was done writing on one, I tossed it to Elder Changchum and he had to keep them all up in the air. Which was impossible. So I opened up the floor for a discussion on how we can stay organized with goals and plans as a missionary. We literally do SO MUCH as missionaries; I honestly don't know what I'll do when I get home because I won't have every 15 minutes of every day planned out anymore... HELP. 

We taught Michael again! We decided we would read with him in the Book of Mormon to help him understand it even better. We read Alma 36, about Alma the younger's conversion. It really resonated with him. I'm so grateful for that story-and all of the stories- in the Book of Mormon. It truly was written for our day. 

We got to go over to the Stebniski's that night and help Danielle with her Family History! She is going to the temple this week for the first time and we are SO excited for her!!!

OH MY GOSH. We had the most incredible lesson with our new friend, Andy. He is basically a self-referral. He has a friend that is a member and lives in Utah. Andy has been asking her a lot of questions about the church and asked his friend to ask us to come by! So we went with Sister Danforth and she honestly couldn't have been a more perfect member friend for him. Andy is really seeking to find God and know Him. We talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation and Andy's role in it all. He didn't understand that he was a son of God and that He loves Andy so much. He had never prayed before, and at the end of the lesson, we taught him how. Andy said "okay.. I think I'm ready" and just said one of the sweetest, most sincere prayers I have ever heard. It is such a beautiful thing to witness God's children communicate with Him-especially for the first time. 

We ran all over town that afternoon trying to contact people in our teaching pool that we haven't heard from in a little bit. It was very eventful. 

We had dinner with Danielle and the kids that night and that was when I ripped some hearts out... I started out by asking "how would you guys feel if you could text me or call me from ANYWHERE at ANY TIME?? Wouldn't that be so cool??!" Danielle said "...yeah......???" I said "well you can because I'll be going home in two weeks!" Then she buried her face in her hands and bawled... 😳 then Abigail and Tristan cried. UGH. NO. STOP. I wasn't expecting all of that! It was so sad. My heart broke.. I don't want to leave these people that I love so much. Guys, my heart belongs in Florida. I'm going to be such a wreck here soon... Danielle pulled herself together and we had a lighter conversation. We talked about all of the positives of me leaving and how I'll be coming back soon to visit, and I'll definitely be here for her to receive her endowment next year!

We met with Michael once more and he told us a pretty funny story: he was at Publix buying stuff for dinner, and he flirted with the girl at the check out and was actually pretty successful! He said he went home and told his family and they told him that Mormons aren't allowed to flirt and their parents choose who they marry... 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 hahahahahahahaha the things people come up with... we cleared that up real quick and told him that he can most definitely flirt with girls. How are you gonna  get married if you don't flirt?? The poor guy was so worried. Hahaha I can't even contain myself as I type this 😂 

We met with Austin IN THE RAIN. It rained liked crazy this week. Austin's family isn't supportive of him taking the missionary lessons, even though he's 26 and can do what he wants.. so we meet him at a ball park, which is fine by me ⚾ So it was down pouring the entire time we taught the Plan of Salvation, but we didn't care. Austin actually remembered a lot of the Plan of Salvation from when he was taught it by the last missionaries! He's a pretty smart dude. 
Tru homies ☔ 

We stopped by Audra to try to see if she still wanted to take the lessons because she hadn't been keeping in touch with us... she asked if we could still continue the lessons. She wants to be baptized, it will just take a while. The poor thing just has so much going on in her life. 

Right as we left Audra's her neighbor was outside cleaning out her car, so we went over and talked to her! Her name is Tamara and she is supa dupa cool. We told her all about the restoration and when we told her about Joseph Smith's first vision, she goes "WOAH! I JUST GOT GOOSEBUMPS!!!" Same girl. Same. We're going back to teach her on Tuesday. 😊 

We did some really good weekly planning--it was mostly Sister Schwendinger. I'm slowly handing the reins over to her and she is just doing fantastic. I'm so proud of both of my trainees (Sista Anderson, where you at? ❤) I'm so blessed to have been able to train such sweet sisters. 

We had dinner with the Leinbergers- they are the ones whose grandchildren just got baptized up in Seattle and they just love missionaries. They made us super yummy food and sent us home with tons more! Walter had me DYING of laughter the entire night. He is such a jokester! Man, I love them! He has read the entire Book of Mormon and has highlighted verses and written comments and questions in the margins... WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??! They love the church and are eager to learn more. They do have LOTS of questions though, which I love, because it means they really want to know. 

The ward had their annual Pioneer Day celebration and it was SO fun! We had FIVE of our investigators come! Rod, Austin, Andy, Salomon, and Audra (and her kids)!!! YAYYYY!!!! It was a blast, and they all had a good time! There was a wheelbarrow race and the elders and us naturally had to compete. 
They were on an exchange, and my homie Elder Martial was on my team. That boy is real tall and dense, and all my arm strength has turned to jell-o, so when it was my turn to push.... 
If you couldn't tell by the look on his face... we fell over. Hahahaha it was so fun though! 

That afternoon, we met with Sister Moseley and I broke the news to her that I was leaving... and she had to use her inhaler.. WHY AM I SO HEARTLESS. But she piped up and said "don't worry when you come to visit, you'll have a place to stay.... we'll pop up a tent in the back yard!"😂 😂 😂 She kills me. I love that sassy lady. 

We had dinner with the Montoya Family! They barely speak any English, but that seriously doesn't even get in the way. It's so funny how much you can love a person who doesn't even speak your language. I feel like Sister Montoya and I especially were like bffs in the pre-earth life. Our spirits just speak to each other and its a beautiful thing. 

We taught Nina and John that night with Sister Kellner. Sister Kellner is a mess, hahaha. She is stinkin funny. Nina shared a very special experience with us about how a friend of hers that passed away a few years back came to her in a dream, dressed in all white, and thanked her for being a friend. SO. You best believe we talked about the Plan of Salvation and temples. It was so sweet, and the spirit was undoubtedly present. 

 An appointment fell through, so we decided to go stop by a former investigator in the area. Lawaine was already outside with someone working on her car when we pulled up. Blessings! We got out of the car and asked if they were the Smiths (Brother Smith was a less-active member). She said she was, but her husband literally JUST passed away that week, and this guy was her neighbor that was helping fix her car. Man. Talk about perfect timing. I went over and gave her a big, tight squeeze. The poor thing is holding herself together really well for being recently widowed. We talked to her for a minute, and she told us she had been washing her car for a hot minute because she hasn't been able to since her husband has been so sick. You best believe we kicked off our shoes right then and there and washed her car in our skirts. Service doesn't wait. 

Oh Sunday... well the Leinbergers came to church!! And Danielle was sustained in her first ever calling!!! She is a ward missionary and she is going to do so good! 

I bore my testimony in Sacrament meeting of how the Lord really does make weak things strong, because that's what he did with me. Then I informed everyone that I was leaving next week and I just cried and cried. How hideous. But really though, I really have seen a miracle in myself because I truly have grown so much from my mission and I don't know who or what I'd be without having served. I'm so grateful. 

After church, everyone and their pet fish came up to me and were all "I HAD NO IDEA YOU WERE GOING HOME!" Yeah. Nobody did. The biggest con in FOM history, I tell ya.

Last night for our 12 weeks training, I had Sister Schwendinger and I read from our first few days in the MTC. It was amazing to see how much I had really grown. I read of a really rough day in the MTC, where I just felt completely inadequate and I didn't know how on Earth I was going to succeed in missionary work. I sobbed as I reflected on he last 18+ months and how I beat my own expectations. 

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27

How grateful I am that I humbled myself before the Lord so early on in my mission so that He was able to mold me into the instrument He needed me to be. I love being a missionary, and I love the people I'm here to serve. This is the greatest thing I've ever done in my life. 

Thanks for all the love and support y'all! 

❤Sister Yance